Health

Tired of the same old work­out? Here are some new ways to get hot and sweaty

DRUM - - CONTENTS - COM­PILED BY JANE SURTEES

TOO hec­tic, too easy, too scary, too com­pli­cated or just too many choices – it’s hard to know what to do to get fit these days. We look at four of the main fit­ness trends ex­perts are rav­ing about and give you four slightly dif­fer­ent ex­er­cise op­tions you might want to try.

1 FUNC­TIONAL FIT­NESS

Peo­ple who don’t like tra­di­tional gyms have taken to this. Clearly not just a fad, func­tional fit­ness has been around for a while and it looks like it’s here to stay. It’s all about help­ing you get on in daily life, mak­ing things like car­ry­ing gro­ceries or walk­ing up stairs eas­ier. Learn­ing to do a squat prop­erly, for ex­am­ple, will help you bend down and safely pick up that heavy box that’s been ly­ing in your garage for weeks. The beauty of these ex­er­cises is that they copy things you do every day and strengthen the mus­cles you use to do them. For ex­am­ple, think of the mus­cles and ac­tion you’d need to move a large bag of maize meal from the back of the cup­board – the ex­er­cises you fo­cus on would mimic that and build strength, co­or­di­na­tion and bal­ance.

Fun c - tional fit­ness will train your mus­cles , both up­per and lower body, to work to­gether and fo­cuses on core sta­bil­ity.

You’ll be do­ing a va­ri­ety of sim­ple moves like lunges, step-ups and bi­cep curls, so any­one can do it any­where. You can use props such as weights but it’s not nec­es­sary as many of the moves use your body weight.

A func­tional fit­ness pro­gramme is aimed at im­prov­ing your over­all strength and sta­bil­ity and de­creas­ing your chances of in­jury.

If you have health prob­lems or haven’t ex­er­cised for a while, it’s al­ways wise to check in with your doc­tor first. Use your own body weight for re­sis­tance be­fore mov­ing on to weights, and if nec­es­sary you can min­imise im­pact by do­ing the move­ments in wa­ter.

2 HIGH-IN­TEN­SITY IN­TER­VAL TRAIN­ING (HIIT)

This has been at the top of the ex­er­cise hit list for a cou­ple of years now, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s for those with a “no pain, no gain” men­tal­ity.

As its name sug­gests, it in­volves bursts of re­ally hard, max­i­mum-ef­fort work fol­lowed by a re­cov­ery pe­riod. The high in­ten­sity bit only lasts a short time – be­tween 20-90 sec­onds – but it can feel like for­ever. And your re­cov­ery pe­riod isn’t a rest, it’s re­ally just a slower - paced work­out. For ex­am­ple, you might sprint as hard as you can for 30 sec­onds and then walk for 45 sec­onds. The beauty of HIIT is that it’s over quickly – a ses­sion usu­ally only lasts about 30 min­utes. Peo­ple love it be­cause it saves time and is very good at burn­ing fat. The prob­lem lies in the high in­jury rate. It’s not ad­vis­able to do HIIT work­outs every day as they’re too in­tense.

3 LOW-IN­TEN­SITY IN­TER­VAL TRAIN­ING (LIIT)

HIIT’s suc­cess has led to a spinoff op­tion, LIIT. For those un­able to stom­ach the manic na­ture of the for­mer, this new kid on the ex­er­cise block is prov­ing to be a big hit too. Pro­po­nents say it burns as many kilo­joules as an HIIT ses­sion, it just takes longer – at least 40-60 min­utes. It still in­volves in­ter­vals but it’s a lot less bru­tal. That doesn’t mean it’s easy – you’ll still feel your mus­cles burn­ing but hope­fully you won’t feel like your heart is about to burst out of your chest. An ex­am­ple would be a 90-sec­ond jog (not sprint) on the tread­mill fol­lowed by a walk­ing re­cov­ery of three to five min­utes. Fit­ness fundis claim this is one of the safest and most ef­fec­tive ways to work your mus­cles. It doesn’t put your body un­der the same sort of strain as HIIT so you’re less likely to suf­fer from in­juries.

4 MIND­FUL EX­ER­CISE

Yoga has been around for years but the trends within the dis­ci­pline are con­stantly chang­ing, which brings new ap­peal for wider au­di­ences.

The ben­e­fits of yoga are many, in­clud­ing in­creased mus­cle strength, mo­bil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity, as well as im­proved pos­ture and blood cir­cu­la­tion. Yoga can also help re­lieve stress, im­prove your sleep, sex life and diges­tion, as well as just make you feel bet­ter in gen­eral. Here’s an over­view of the most com­mon forms of yoga:

Hatha – this is a gen­eral cat­e­gory that in­cludes most yoga styles and pos­tures, so it’s a good one for be­gin­ners.

Iyen­gar – this is a fussier op­tion, as it pays close at­ten­tion to proper align­ment in a pose, us­ing props to help you get them right.

Ash­tanga – pick up the pace and sweat quota with this rig­or­ous style of yoga, which fol­lows a spe­cific se­quence of pos­tures, all linked to your breath.

Vinyasa – like with ash­tanga, you move from pose to pose link­ing breath to move­ment, but the se­quences vary. It’s also phys­i­cally de­mand­ing.

Bikram – it’s very pop­u­lar and very sweaty as you do your work­out in a re­ally hot room. This prac­tice in­volves re­peat­ing the same 26 poses in set cy­cles. Be sure to drink lots of wa­ter.

Kun­dalini – this an­cient yoga prac­tice mixes the phys­i­cal with the spir­i­tual. It com­bines move­ment, breath­ing tech­niques, med­i­ta­tion and mantra chant­ing. S

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