Get your health and fitness in order with six weeks until summer

MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB: Getting back into fitness can feel like an uphill battle, so take a simple approach and try to be consistent. Picture: Marina Neil
MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB: Getting back into fitness can feel like an uphill battle, so take a simple approach and try to be consistent. Picture: Marina Neil

If seeing Christmas paraphernalia in the shops last week did not put you into a state of panic then the realisation it was only six weeks until summer probably did.

While some community members would have been basking in the muscle soreness of a return to the gym last week, plenty of others might have been wishing they were.

Whether you are back in the gym or not, six weeks is plenty of time to make improvements to your health and fitness.

Consistency, simplicity and balance are key to having success with any exercise program.

First, work out what it is you want to achieve. Do you want to be able to fit back into your work clothes after three months where it has felt like the fridge has been your colleague?

Do you just want to feel better in yourself this summer, or do you have an event goal for 2022?

Balance is important. A sample week of fitness might include two to three strength sessions, two to three cardiovascular workouts, one session with flexibility the focus and a rest day. A rest day could mean not doing anything at all or could be a low-impact, low-intensity activity like walking.

Progress slowly to ensure long-term results.

Adapt and modify. Everyone is different so a fitness program suitable to one person might not work for another.

Below is a basic six-week guide as a starting point.

Weeks 1 and 2:

  • 2-3 x strength days. The workout could look like: Two sets of seven strength exercises. Perform 10 repetitions of each with a 30-60 second rest. Then repeat before moving on to the next exercise. Squats, push-ups (modify by doing against a wall or on your knees), lunges, dead lifts, seated rows, shoulder press, opposing arm and leg extensions.
  • 2-3 x cardio days. 20 minutes of walking, jogging, cycling, rowing, swimming, or a combination of some of the above.
  • 1 x flexibility. This could be yoga, pilates, body balance, a stretch session, or swimming.
  • Alternate strength and cardio days and slip in a rest day.

Weeks 3 and 4:

  • 2-3 strength days. Increase the repetitions of each exercise to 12.
  • 2-3 cardio days. Increase to 30 minutes.
  • 1 x flexibility and a rest/easy day.

Weeks 5 and 6:

  • 2-3 strength days. Add another set and reduce repetitions to 10.
  • 2-3 cardio days. Increase to 40 minutes.
  • 1 x flexibility and a rest/easy day.

Ways to progress your workouts as you feel ready include using heavier weights or training at a higher intensity. Seeking the advice of a health professional is a good idea if you are starting out to make sure you are performing exercises with the right technique.

Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.

This story Countdown on until summer arrives first appeared on Hunter Valley News.