HEALTH & FITNESS with Les Mills
Make Summer Fit for you
It’s now less than a month from the official start of summer and the kick-off of the festive frenzy. It’s definitely time to organise your diet and exercise plan to take you through the summer.
A good exercise plan includes cardio, strength and flexibility.
Cardiovascular exercise is any exercise that increases the work of the heart and lungs. In summer many people like to take their cardio outside - walking, running, touch rugby, tennis and water sports are North Shore favourites. The gym is still handy for a cardio blast – many members like to get it out of the way early, have a quick shower at the gym and be at work on time sharp and alert. Early morning Combat, Grit or RPM classes are a fantastic start to the day. There are many benefits of cardiovascular exercise. Not only does it burn calories, it also combats health conditions and diseases, improves mood and boosts energy and endurance. However there are a couple of drawbacks to relying exclusively on cardio for exercise. Repetitive movement patterns can easily cause overuse injuries. The most common injuries are tennis elbow, swimmer’s shoulder, runners knee, achilles tendonitis and shin splints. Notice how many of these injuries are named after cardio activities. To get the benefits of cardio without risking injuries it’s important to build up your intensity gradually. It’s also important to include weight training in your plan.
Weight training supports your cardio training in several ways: It builds strong ligaments and tendons, which support your joints and reduces the risk of injury - better muscle endurance makes cardio exercise and sporting performance easier, ie. you can push yourself harder and perform better. Weight training has other great benefits too: It builds lean muscle mass, which increases your metabolic rate. This means your body burns calories even when you aren’t doing anything. Just lying in the sunshine with your lean muscle mass, you are burning more calories than a person with less lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass you have, the easier it is to manage your weight without requiring a super-strict diet. Weight training can be done with body weight, free weights or weight machines. Try out a free Weights Discovery programme, enjoy a Pump class or sign up with a trainer.
The third key component of a good exercise plan is flexibility. Flexibility is the range of motion around a joint. It is usually the poor cousin of the fitness regime. It is the area that does not directly relate to weight loss, therefore many people do not prioritise it. However a limber body forms the foundation for your cardiovascular fitness and strength. When your muscles are more pliable you reduce the risk of injury in both your exercise and your everyday life. If you have tight muscles you can injure yourself in a variety of situations; from lurching sideways to avoid a pothole when running, to lunging forward to grab your child as their bike veers out of control. Les Mills Takapuna offers Body Balance, yoga and pilates as part of the membership. Even if you aren’t a member you can come and enjoy our free Outdoor Body Balance class on Sunday mornings, which runs from November 3rd through to December 22nd.
So that’s all you need to know to get your exercise sorted for the summer season. Make a balanced plan that includes all three components of fitness – cardio, strength and flexibility. Summer fitness is so much more than just building a beach body. You also create a stronger, leaner, healthier more vital, youthful you. Start today!