Fit for Life

July 27, 2013 1:55 pm Last Updated: July 27, 2013 1:55 pm

Everything in life that is worthwhile takes effort. The more effort you put in, usually the greater the reward. I often see clients get frustrated when they don’t see results within a couple weeks of training. Normally it takes about six to eight weeks before you start to notice physiological changes.

We all want instant results. I was listening to a client question whether Pilates would help her lower-back issues. She had completed one Pilates session. I gently reminded her to do at least one class a week for six consecutive weeks before coming to any conclusion.

Of course, living with pain can be very taxing, so I understand the desire to want to fix the problem as soon as possible to eliminate the pain, but it just isn’t the way the body works—not usually, anyway.

In addition, if weight loss is your main goal, I ask you to keep in mind how long it took for your body to gain the weight and become unhealthy. If it happened over a period of 5, 10, or 15 years, it is unrealistic to think that your body is going to suddenly respond after a few weeks or months of being treated well, with regular exercise and healthy eating.

Patience and persistence are certainly needed as you take steps toward becoming healthier and fitter.

Fitness doesn’t have to mean being able to run a marathon. Being fit for your life is a combination of different elements. Of course, cardiovascular fitness is vital. Your mental fitness is also a vital part of a healthy existence.

This week’s movements will help improve your cardio fitness. To balance out your mind-body relationship, try meditation on a daily basis or basic relaxation to keep your mind fresh and uncluttered.

Here are four simple moves to improve your cardiovascular fitness.

Star Jumps. Engage your deep stomach muscles. Jump your feet out at the same time, reaching your arms above your head. Jump your feet back together as your arms lower back to your hips. As you jump, land on your feet with soft knees so you don’t jar your joints. Repeat 50 times.

High-Knee Running. Run on the spot, lifting your knees as high as they will go. Pump your arms by your side to give your body momentum. Run as fast as possible for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Puddle Jumps.
Imagine you are jumping over a big puddle and you don’t want to get your shoes wet. Start out on one leg, jump over the puddle, and land on the other leg. Jump as wide as possible and stay low to the ground to really work your legs. Go as fast as you can for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Squat Jumps. Do a basic parallel squat. As you get to the lowest point in the squat, jump up. This is a plyometric movement, which means it combines strength, power, and explosive movement. It is intense but a great fat burner and body toner. If it is too difficult, just lift up onto your toes instead of jumping. Repeat 20 to 30 times.

Repeat all four exercises in a row, two or three times. As your fitness increases, you can do the sequence more times.

Pick a couple of strength sequences from previous weeks and alternate between the cardio routine and the strength sequence for a great interval- training workout.

Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates instructors and is a certified personal trainer. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.