Try mixing it up with hoops & balls!
I am always looking at ways to increase not only my own fitness but also that of my clients. Once you find exercise you enjoy it is very common to stick with it and keep on repeating the same workout, but it is proven that if you want to lose weight, increase your physical capability, then doing the same routine day after day won’t work. The reason why is because the body will adjust to the workload and you will eventually hit that dreaded plateau. In addition, depending on the type of workout you do, you could ultimately be at risk of harming your body and lead to muscle imbalance significantly if you were constantly training the same muscle groups or only moving in one plane of motion.
To get the best results you should regularly change parts of your workout, ensuring that you master the techniques for several weeks first. Whilst the key to regular exercise is to find that regime you enjoy, it is also very important mixing it up and trying adding in varied, complementary workouts. For example if you run regularly, the body will adapt very quickly. After a few months, you could still continue to feel the fantastic psychological benefits but what was once a great calorie burn could become no better than an average walk. There are ways to combat this by increasing the frequency, intensity and switching up your usual choice with a different type of movement. If cardio is your exercise of choice then try adding something like Pilates, dance, weights etc. This would give you a balanced week of workouts helping to strengthen different muscle groups, improve endurance and eliminate the risk of overuse and injury.
With this firmly at the forefront of my agenda, I have rolled out new workouts to add more variety and at the same time give the body the opportunity to work in different ways to help make consistent progress. This month I have been introducing the Swiss ball and Hula Hoop (not at the same time I hasten to add – yet!). The Swiss exercise ball, also known as yoga ball, stability ball, Pezzi ball etc. is a great fitness tool and used to improve strength, balance and cardio endurance. Despite being called Swiss it was actually developed by an Italian plastics manufacturer, but was used as a therapy tool by a Swiss paediatrician. The benefit of using the ball is that the body has to work hard in response to the instability of the ball and to remain balanced it will have to engage many more muscles. The most popular use of the ball is to work the core body, abdominals and back. It is so versatile and can be used as part of numerous exercise programmes, including stretching, yoga, Pilates, rehabilitation and is even found of benefit during labour. It has been a great addition to the home gym set up. It is available in different sizes, colours and is low cost.
In addition to the Swiss ball, I have been working on a Hula Hoop programme. As a child, I could never keep the hoop going, but the secret is to use a weighted hoop. It makes it achievable, trust me you cannot Hula without smiling. It is such great fun. As with all activity, you will burn calories but it also gives you the added benefit of helping to tone you up especially around your core, hips, back and glutes. It actually works 30 core muscles whilst spinning around your waist. Start with only 5 minutes twice a day and build up. I must stress it takes practise and you may find that you are adding to your workout by squatting to pick it up from the floor. You may also sport some spectacular bruises the first time you try it, but your stomach will strengthen up. I must confess I showed my bruises with pride. My tip is stay confident with it, concentrate on trying to keep the hoop from falling and make sure you have enough space around you. It takes effort and dedication and practise but it improves spine flexibility, posture and balance. It is low impact and will increase hand eye coordination skills. Even better according to results of a study held in 2015, if you want to lose inches around your waist and hips then hooping could be the right exercise for you, especially using the weighted hula hoop. Again this is another affordable piece of equipment and available in a range of colours, plus a choice of weight. You can also make it harder by choosing a wavy one!
I am loving these two latest additions to my home gym which, whilst being hugely beneficial, are most importantly incredible FUN!
Linder Porter is a fully trained fitness instructor & provides over 11 fitness classes online each week
You can contact Linder via facebook or call/text 07763 748666