Do you ever stop to assess your current levels of health and fitness? Now might be a good time. As a personal trainer in London, I’m constantly assessing my clients’ health & fitness levels, and the ones who follow my advice the most closely are the ones who make the most progress.
Here’s a quick check-list you can use right now:
Your heart is your most important muscle, and if you lack cardiovascular fitness, you’re more likely to suffer heart problems in later life. If you’re seriously out of breath after climbing the stairs or running for a bus, it’s time to get to work on your cardiovascular fitness. 20-30 minutes of cardio, three times a week, is all it takes.
Do you struggle lifting boxes, or carrying a heavy suitcase? Time to build a strength training programme into your weekly routine. The best way to build muscular strength is resistance exercise. This is also the best exercise you can do to burn excess body fat.
Muscular strength comes in very handy for sport, moving house, enjoying sex, defending yourself from attack, and getting out of any emergency situation. You look better too.
This includes your abdominal muscles, your lower back muscles, and some experts also include strong glutes (bum muscles) in the definition of core strength. A strong core protects you from lower back pain, bulging discs, slipped disks, and also enables you to stabilise your body during dynamic movements. If you play any sport, you need a strong core to prevent injury.
Twenty minutes of core strength training three times a week will go a long way to giving you great core strength. One of the best exercises is the plank. Time yourself and see how long you can hold the position.
If you find it hard to bend down to tie your shoelace, or feel stiff in the mornings, or pull a hamstring muscle if you run, it’s a sign that you lack flexibility. The best time to stretch is after any workout, and 10 minutes of stretching three times a week is enough.
Strong immune system
How many colds and illness do you suffer? If you’re ill often, you need to review a whole range of things, from your exercise levels, nutrition, stress levels, alcohol/tobacco intake, and sleep quality.
The healthier your lifestyle, and the better your exercise and nutrition regimes, the stronger your immune system will be. Check out the Fitness4London.com site for action plans on all these things.
Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London with 11 years experience.