The Simple Approach to Fitness

Health, fitness and general well-being does not have to be complicated.  In fact, the simpler you make it the more effective it can be as you have a narrower focus and are more likely to ingrain the habit.  How simple?  Well, how about the following:

1) Walk

The benefits of walking are numerous:

– It gets you out in the fresh air

– It’s a pleasant and non stressful way of getting some movement and fat burning in

– It gets the heart rate up (if you increase the speed and have some steep hills close by)

– It can be done at anytime throughout the day

– It clears your mind and gives you time and space to think

– It gives you a chance to share a walk and talk with a friend/loved one

– You don’t need any special equipment

2) Sprint

Although you’ll need to work slowly into these if you haven’t sprinted for a while it’s a great way to up your fitness fast (excuse the pun!).  Hill and/or stadium stair sprints will be less stressful than flat sprints but all can and should work well.  Some benefits include:

– It doesn’t take long (5x 50-100 meter sprints after a good warm up with enough rest in between is plenty)

– It can be done at anytime (first thing before work, at lunchtime, or as a finisher after a resistance workout)

– It burns fat fast (ever seen a fat sprinter?)

– There is an afterburn effect that means your body burns fat even after you’ve stopped sprinting

– Beyond a decent pair of trainers (and a hill if you’re hill sprinting) you don’t need any fancy equipment

Lift Something

That something could be a dumbbell, barbell, sandbag, kettlebell, your own bodyweight or a combination of all.  Just make it challenging and make it something that you also enjoy.  A simple, efficient and effective full body routine could look like this:

1) Lower Body Emphasis (squats, deadlifts, swings, jumps, lunges etc)

2) Upper Body Pull (chin ups, rows etc)

3) Upper Body Push (dips, push ups, overhead presses etc)

4) Core (it’s already had a working over but you could add some rollouts, planks etc)

Pick one variant (or something else that fits) from each area above for a few challenging sets and you’re done.  One to three sessions a week (mixing which exercises you choose) doesn’t need to take long but should give your body plenty to think about.  You don’t even need to leave home to do it if you have a few bits of simple kit at home!

Stretch

Throw in a few basic and comprehensive stretches.  Again, this doesn’t need to be complicated and could involve a full body stretch for 5-10 minutes after your lifting sessions while your muscles are warm and pliable.  Or you might enjoy yoga/pilates and get your stretches in there.  Unless you’re a ballerina or gymnast this doesn’t have to take long or be too strenuous.

So, there really is no need to make your exercise approach either complicated or a routine. It can be as simple as you want it to be to fit your goals and the time available to you.  Just set something up you can stick with and enjoy the challenge.

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