Keeping fit is a goal many would like to achieve, but what does ‘keeping fit’ actually mean? It’s actually a very general term that can be interpreted as many things.
• Being injury free;
• Having good flexibility;
• Having an abundance of vitality/energy;
• Having good levels of endurance, strength, power and
• Having an aesthetically pleasing physique with weight and body
fat levels in desirable ranges.
With the help of John Williams, Expertise Coach for David Lloyd Leisure we've created this guide to help keep fit and healthy.
Prior to embarking on a fitness regime, it is a good idea to clarify what fitness actually means to you and what you would like to achieve. If you have many goals, consider the order of priority – what is most important?
Clarifying what you would like to achieve allows you to select the best methods of exercise to achieve your objectives; essentially, clarity enables a focused approach, which really improves results. If you are unsure of what you would like to achieve and/or the best methods to use, a discussion with a fitness professional will undoubtedly provide some answers.
So, assuming you have some clear goals on keeping fit, here are
some key principles:
To keep fit, exercise/activity should be undertaken frequently.
As a rule of thumb, three to four workouts per week would be a good goal
to aim for and will significantly improve fitness levels.
To support frequency of exercise, it is highly recommended that you make exercise an enjoyable event. If you haven’t worked out for a while, it would be a good idea to have a chat with a fitness professional who could help you consider these questions:
• Would you like to work out alone or as part of a group?
• Do you like exercising to music?
• What type of activities do you enjoy?
• Are you open to trying some new exercise methods in an attempt
to find something you enjoy?
Health and fitness clubs such as David Lloyd Leisure offer a wide
range of exercise options, from group exercise classes to swimming
to one–to–one or small group personal training – so there is no doubt
you will be able to create a really enjoyable exercise routine that will
encourage you to visit the gym.
There are basically two main types of exercise in terms
of intensity levels:
1. Those that challenge and stress our bodies, encouraging
it to adapt
2. Those that relax our bodies, facilitating recovery and energy
The intensity required to challenge and stress our bodies is obviously
highly specific. This is where fitness professionals and exercise classes become highly valuable; they can provide exercise options that are perfectly suited to the intensity YOU require. This renders redundant one of the worst excuses not to exercise – ‘I’m not fit enough to go to the gym!’ A few examples of exercise classes and workouts that will challenge you and can be adapted to suit individual needs are Body Pump, Body Combat, indoor cycling, ViPR (‘Vitality, performance and reconditioning’) TRX (suspension training), cardiovascular workouts and swimming,
to name just a few.
Exercise sessions that can facilitate recovery and energy accumulation tend to be much lighter in nature. These are very important, too, especially if you are low on energy – perhaps due to the stresses of everyday life or from harder workouts undertaken earlier in the week; it’s not all about pushing yourself to the limit!
Some examples of good recovery workouts, many of which promote breathing and flexibility, are Body Balance, Pilates, yoga and swimming or, though strictly not a workout, perhaps a massage either by a therapist or using a foam roller or Power Plate.
A lot of people think that to get fit you need to work out for hours on end; this is simply not the case. Little and often is a great way to keep fit.
Sessions that are 30 to 45 minutes long are ideal, and three to four exercise sessions of this duration are much more effective than, say, two big workouts of 90 minutes.
Type of workout
There are many ways to exercise. Years ago, gym options were limited in the main to traditional weight lifting and aerobics classes that originated during the Jane Fonda era. These options still exist today in various formats and are still enjoyed by many. However, the offering has progressed and there is far more variety; this is fantastic news if you get bored easily and like to change it up a bit. Here are three workout types that can be performed in the gym:
1. Traditional exercise – resistance and cardio performed
in traditional ways
2. Progressive exercise – modern exercises that promote function
for everyday tasks
3. Hybrid workouts – workouts that blend traditional exercises and
modern functional exercises
When aiming to keep fit, firstly decide what it means to you. Secondly, plan in your diary how you can commit to three or four exercise sessions per week – typically, for most, 30 to 45 minute sessions are ideal. If you think you will struggle with staying committed, perhaps find yourself a ‘workout’ buddy, pre–book your classes or undertake a course of personal training to kick off a regime that will become habit forming. Thirdly, select exercise sessions that are enjoyable and if enjoyable is a stretch, go for more tolerable! If you want to review available options, book a session with a fitness professional – you will come away with plenty of exciting options.
For more information, see www.davidlloyd.co.uk
Femalefirst Taryn Davies