Get fit - not fed up
- Credit: Archant
Do you hate exercise? Fear not, there are lots of ways to make it feel less of an ordeal and inspire motivation
If you associate exercise only with your local leisure centre or private gym membership, the summer months provide the chance to think again. Why pay to pound a treadmill if you have easy access to lovely routes to walk, run or cycle (and all for free) in the glorious Kent countryside?
You may be doing your brain a favour as well as your body; researchers at the University of Exeter studied more than 800 adults who did the same exercises indoors and outside and found that overall, exercising outdoors was associated with reduced stress levels, an improved mood and greater motivation levels to carry on.
Unless you’re aiming for a specific fitness goal where one form of exercise is proven as the most effective way of achieving it, then mixing up activities is a good idea and can provide different fitness benefits too. So you could alternate between Pilates and Yoga for core strength and flexibility, while adding different aerobic-based classes, cycling or swimming for cardiovascular health.
Strength training is important too but you don’t have to do this in a gym if the weights area puts you off. Classes such as Kettle bells or a Les Mills Body Pump workout (Ed. recommended) are both good options if you think you’d benefit from the motivation of working out in a group and being taken through a routine.
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“Variation can be a great tool to keep things fun and help prevent exercise sessions seeming repetitive and mundane,” confirms Personal Trainer Tom Murphy from the Reynolds Retreat Gym in Borough Green.
“There are hundreds of ways to get a cardiovascular workout and a wide range of equipment you can use. When I first start training a client I encourage them to try lots of exercises and machines to find out what they like and don’t like so I can work with their preferences.”
Go for a goal
According to Fitness Manager Shani Hampshire from The Baypoint Club in Sandwich, the main goal the majority of her clients aim for is weight loss. However, she has a word of advice if you’re using scales to measure progress (and also points out that it is essential to combine exercise with a healthy diet if weight loss is the goal, so no stopping off for chips after a swimming session!).
“Normal scales only tell you your overall weight but the difference between the size of a pound of muscle to a pound of fat is astounding; muscle takes up much less space.
“We use scales which measure not just overall weight but everything from body fat percentage and hydration levels to visceral fat (damaging fat that collects around the internal organs).
“We also take body measurements. These are a much better gauge of results; if you put on 5lbs muscle and lose 5lbs fat, your overall weight stays the same but you will be smaller in size and healthier.”
Even if weight loss isn’t your aim, goals are still a valuable tool in keeping you exercising regularly points out Tom Murphy.
“If you are exercising by yourself, you need to look at way of tracking your progress,” he explains. “So rather than just setting yourself a goal of running for 20 minutes on a treadmill each time you visit the gym, see how far you travel in that time and aim to improve it or set a distance and work on bringing the time that takes to complete down.
“Each time I approach a workout with a client we know what they did last time and try to beat it. Seeing progress and results is a really powerful motivator.”
Get in touch
Reynolds Group has four gyms in Kent in Bexley, Rainham, Sittingbourne and Borough Green, visit www.reynoldsgroup.co.uk/fitness-spa/gym-kent or call 01322 522209 for membership details.
The Baypoint Club is at Sandwich, visit www.baypointclub.co.uk, 01304 613022.
DW Fitness Clubs have two in Kent in Canterbury and Thanet - visit www.dwfitnessclubs.com/clubsearch for membership and club details.