Great Health Guide


- Kusal Goonewarde­na

Going outside your comfort zone helps you to grow physically & mentally.

There’s no easy ticket to improving fitness and losing weight but there is a simple formula which is sure to outlast any fad.

Too many fitness and weight loss trends push one big idea as the key to better results – whether it’s high intensity interval training, low intensity training or yoga. But this overlooks the most important part of health and fitness, which is having a good blend of exercise. This is best achieved by plugging into the ‘power of three’. A fitness and weight loss program should always include healthy eating. How does the ‘power of three’ work?

When I talk about the power of three, I’m thinking about:

• three different exercise intensitie­s every week

• three days a week for both medium and high intensity exercises • three-minute-high intensity workouts

This provides a balanced exercise regime. Let’s look at these important steps: the first step in the ‘power of three’ is incorporat­ing three different intensitie­s of exercise: low, medium and high.

Low, medium and high intensitie­s are the perfect blend because they prevent us ever being in our comfort zone for too long – becoming too comfortabl­e is where many exercise regimes lose their edge, you find your fitness stagnates and the weight starts coming back on. Going outside your comfort zone helps you to grow physically & mentally.

• Low intensity exercise includes walking, leisurely cycling, or gentle swimming. The exercise is comfortabl­e. You aren’t pushing yourself.

• Medium intensity exercise is pushing yourself to somewhere between 5.5

and 7 out of 10 in terms of exertion, and for about 25-45 minutes each time. You’ll feel like you have done a good workout but you’re not flat out or exhausted. Moderate exercise may include running, cycling, fast walking or swimming – or dancing, or whatever gets you to between 5.5 and 7 out of 10.

• High intensity exercise gives you an edge, with research showing tangible health benefits at short durations. Aim for a high intensity burst three times a week.

How high is high?

Push yourself to 8.5 out of 10 intensity – it’s a step back from going flat out, because this can invite injury. The exercise could be running, cycling on an exercise bike, swimming hard in the pool, or any other way you could reach this intensity.

With high intensity, I have seen great results with a three minute workout I initially developed for my athletes, which is adaptable for anyone at any level of fitness – another example of the power of three. For example, you choose how to reach your three minutes – perhaps three one-minute sprints in a pool or as part of a run. Perhaps six 30-second bursts on an exercise bike. Or three minutes of fast tap dancing. Whatever you like. It will never be easy, but research shows high intensity brings tangible health benefits.

The next important step in the ‘power of three’ is frequency:

• Low intensity exercise should feature every day. This is your baseline activity.

• Medium intensity exercise needs to be three days a week.

• High intensity exercise also three days per week.

This is the ‘power of three’.

If you’re able to stick with the ‘power of three’ for three weeks, then you will have developed a new habit. After three months, you should notice positive changes to mind and body.

Once it’s a regular part of your routine, it will nourish your mind, body and spirit: the three things which keep us going.

Key points:

1. Too many exercise fads focus on one single thing, when our bodies crave a blend of exercise.

2. An easy way to stay balanced is by rememberin­g the power of three: three different intensitie­s of exercise every week.

3. Combine healthy eating with the ‘power of three’!

Kusal Goonewarde­na is an experience­d physiother­apist, lecturer, consultant and mentor to thousands of physiother­apy students around the world. Kusal recently developed the App KINRGIZE, available at Google Play and the App store. He has authored books including: Low Back Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free; 3 Minute Workouts; and co-authored Natural Healing: Quiet and Calm. Kusal consults via his clinic, Elite Akademy.

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