It's holiday season and lots of us will be travelling and having fabulous times away from home. This often means leaving our fitness routine behind. But it doesn't have to be that way. Whilst for most of us holidays are not the time to push our fitness to the next level we can all find a spare 10 minutes a couple of times a week to try and maintain what we have achieved over the last months.
High-Intensity Holiday Workout
My lovely Edinburgh boot campers have asked me to come up with a holiday workout that is quick and doesn't require any equipment. Whether you are in the back garden, in a hotel room or at the beach this 10-15 minute high-intensity summer workout ticks all the boxes: It's a full body workout, time saving but effective and works on both cardio and strength.
I recommend that you download an interval timer for your phone, it makes keeping track of workout an rest times much easier. Choose to go through the circuit 2 or 3 times depending on how you feel on the day and how much time you have. Get your partner, friends or kids to join in to help you stay motivated.
Enjoy and happy holidays! I look forward to seeing all my personal training clients as well as boot camp clients in August!
When most people think of winter in Edinburgh, they imagine dark days, horizontal rain and cold easterly winds. This is not a picture that entices you outside. Instead it makes you dream of warm homes and cosy blankets.
We could remind you of the stunning winter days that are just a little chilly but have clear blue skies, sunshine and no wind. But whatever the weather there are many great benefits of exercising outside in Scotland.
Boost Your Immune System
There are many articles that state getting outside on a regular basis boosts your immune system. Most researchers say that they cannot scientifically state why but people who go outside into a green space every day, whether for a walk or run do seem to have a healthier immune system. And if my anecdotal evidence counts, I am certainly much much healthier since starting my outdoor boot camps.
Reduce Your Chances of Getting Winter Colds and Viruses
Winter in Scotland is dark and for many people this seems to increase symptoms of depression and in particular SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). You must see your GP if you are affected but both preventative treatments and ongoing treatments will include lifestyle changes such as getting as much natural sunlight as possible and taking regular exercise.
Benefit From Getting Vitamin D
Vitamin D is required in our bodies to keep us healthy and in particular to keep our bones strong. Most people get the majority of their Vitamin D from sunlight and a small amount from foods such as oily fish and red meat.
However the problem in Scotland is that we don’t get very much strong sunlight from October to March. For a while it was thought that if you went outside at midday you would benefit from some Vitamin D but recent research states that there is not enough UVB radiation in a Scottish winter for our skin to make vitamin D.
What better reason to exercise outdoors in the winter than to become happier.
There are hundreds of articles on the internet and in the newspapers that will tell you the latest scientific benefit of being outside in green spaces. If you don’t believe them, do you remember your parents sending you outside to play to get some fresh air or to blow away the cobwebs. Previous generations may not have had scientific proof why being outside was good but it was certainly expressed in their actions and sayings.
At Fit & Happy we believe exercising outside, whether at our boot camps or personal training sessions, will result in many benefits even in the winter. All the benefits above merge to help you become fitter and happier. The endorphins created from exercise make you feel good and help reduce stress. Being surrounded by green spaces and trees, and breathing fresh air makes you breathe better and feel better. All of which improve your immune system and help with your mental health.
Get fitter and happier with Fit & Happy.
Note: If you do have a condition such as asthma you should check with your GP before training outside in cold weather.
Try the challenge and get inspired by our 15 ways to move throughout your day
I am trying to challenge your beliefs as well as your activity levels. Read on to find out more.
A lot of my clients believe that physical activity only counts if it is either of a certain length of time, intensity or in some way structured. Believe me, this is not true. Every bit of movement you do will add to your health, fitness and mental well being.
When it comes to exercise, everything counts.
If you believe that only certain types of movement count as exercise you will always have an excuse not to do it. No time, no energy, no space, no gym membership…..
Don’t have time? Think again. If you have a minute, you have time.
No space? Your office or kitchen will do.
Challenge your brain to think differently and feel good about every little bit of movement you do. If you do structured exercise and you enjoy it, keep going. It doesn't mean you can't fit in little extra bits during the day though. If you struggle with formal exercise, just start looking at movement in this new way. Everything counts and you can give yourself credit for the smallest and shortest bit of movement. We are all individuals and different types of movement will feel right for different people. What matters is that we move. In whatever way feels good to you.
So here's my challenge for you:
Here are some ideas (inspired by Michelle Segar's brilliant book: No sweat) to get you started:
1. Take the long cut
Don’t walk the shortest route to your destination. Add a little detour and walk through the park,
or explore some streets you don’t know yet.
2. Walk whilst your on the phone
Turn this one into a habit. Always move around when you are on the phone. Up and down the stairs, in circles or whatever takes your fancy.
3. Be active when you are waiting for your children doing their clubs and classes
Instead of sitting around and waiting, get active yourself. Go for a walk, swim or do whatever works for you.
4. Add some active minutes into your work day
Set a timer at your desk and walk up and down the stairs, meet a colleague or just get some fresh air for a few minutes.
5. Meet a friend for a walk rather than a coffee/meal etc.
You could still have a coffee to go....
6. Dance to your favourite tune
Yep, just like in the good old days.
7. Walk during your lunch break
Have your lunch on a park bench or some other pretty outdoor spot.
8. Be active as a family
Schedule some family activities into your weekends. Walking and cycling are the obvious ones but there are lots of other things out there. Try something new like family parkour, roller skating or climbing. Maybe there is something you used to enjoy as a child?
9. Take some active me time
Choose an activity you like and gift it to yourself. Me-time doesn’t have to be about lying on the sofa or attending a day-spa.
10. Date night?
Why not walk to the restaurant, cinema etc
11. Get off the bus early
...or park further away.
12. Have a walking Meeting
Suggest to your colleagues to have a walking meeting. It will benefit everybody and you’ll be surprised how much more productive these can be.
13. Take the stairs
This is not exactly new advice but it works. Skip the lift or escalators and walk instead.
14. Do some housework... or gardening
I have found that looking at housework in this new way (it’s an opportunity to move!) makes me feel less resistant towards it.
15. Do a one minute workout, anything you like
Run on the spot, do some squats or jumping jacks, wiggle your toes....
You'll find the more you move, the more your body will ask for it and you'll automatically start fitting in extra physical activity every day.
Opportunities to move
Deciding to believe that everything counts can be the beginning of building consistent daily movement that you can immediately benefit from.
Remember, opportunities to move are YOUR choices. Anything and everything counts. Choose the ones you enjoy most. You are a lot more likely to repeat an activity if it is enjoyable.
Try and look at these opportunities as special times, gift yourself those moments.
If you are in Edinburgh and are looking for some help with losing weight or getting fitter, or even just looking for a new fitness class, we offer friendly outdoor boot camps and personal training for women.
Exercising outdoors has been shown to have numerous benefits over exercising indoors. If you are struggling to be consistent with your exercise you will be pleased to hear that there is also some research* that suggests you are more likely to stick to your exercise routine if you take your workout outdoors. That's great news for all reluctant exercisers. There is hope after all. Before you give up exercising altogether you might want to try the great outdoors. Let me know how you get on.
My name is Julia and I am a personal trainer and nutrition coach in Edinburgh.