Did you know, the secret to getting fit is to steadily and progressively increase your exercise plan?
…And the secret to staying fit is to vary that exercise plan as much as possible. Yet the common mistake that people tend to make (which can lead very easily to injury), is to constantly pound the same path night after night when walking or running.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
Let’s say you’re in training for something like the Lyke Wake Walk, the Race For Life or the Great North Run, and you walk or jog on the same hard surfaces night after night, steadily increasing your distance each time you step outside.
Do that and there’s a good chance you will suffer from common injuries such as Achilles tendon problems or shin splints, even though you think you’re doing your health some good by doing it.
And by the way, you will be helping your heart and lungs, just not your joints or muscles.
Likewise, if you spend hour after hour on the saddle of your bicycle, and you haven’t prepared by doing the right lower back strengthening exercises, then you should expect to suffer back pain.
Why?… Because if your lower back isn’t strong enough to support you in the seat as you pedal and climb a few hills from time to time (even leaning forwards as you to try make it easier for yourself to get up a steep bank or fight a strong gust of wind), then it will be stressed too much and eventually you’ll pay the price with pain and/or stiffness.
Even swimmers need to vary their training, otherwise shoulder aches and pains are inevitable.
It’s not possible to get into a swimming pool for an hour every day and use the same arm motion to propel you through the water without getting some kind of shoulder problem eventually.
The swimming is fine, just change the stroke you do from one day to the next.
Anyhow. My BIG tip for this week is to always vary the type of exercise you do.
As you’ve just noticed from the mention of how to avoid swimming injuries, it’s possible to change an activity within an activity, so to speak, and it will help you keep active and healthy.
Perhaps you could spend a little more time and effort putting together a plan that will work multiple muscle groups, improve balance, increase core muscle control (around your back), still improve cardio-vascular fitness (heart and lungs) and just as importantly, give vital joints a break.
All you have to do is go along to a local gym and pay a personal trainer to set a programme up for you. Get this right and your chances of suffering from physical injury will reduce hugely. And that would be nice, right?
And one RADICAL way to vary your exercise routine is to head to the great outdoors to test your strength, endurance and fitness in extreme but very stimulating conditions.
I use a company called Outdoor Ambition, based in Darlington, to organise adventure days for my staff and clients.
The company specialises in putting together packages for sports clubs, friends and families and even businesses to allow people to increase fitness whilst making the most of the scenic great outdoors.
My team and I have done it many times now, each time a different adventure but always the same end result – heightened well-being.
We’ve done things ranging from climbing Helvellyn in the Lakes, ‘coasteering’ at Marsden off the coast of South Shields and canoeing up (and back down) the River Tees at Yarm.
On one recent trip I took my team, as well as some adventurous clients (all aged 45+), over to Middleton Teesdale, near Barnard Castle, for what was to be one of the most tiring, yet enjoyable, days I’ve experienced in years, as we took part in something called ‘tubing’.
Might be something for you to consider taking your teams on for the end of season, weekend away?
If you think so… Give Lloyd Murray a call from Outdoor Ambition (he’s well know in the local rugby world – plays for Mowden Park) and he will be sure to help you and your team out with something like this.
Article written by Paul Gough and printed in the Northern Echo Newspaper.
You can get more health and fitness tips like this from the website of my latest book, www.thehealthyhhabitbook.com