The Importance of Improved Fitness Levels

Fitness is a term describing the body’s ability to utilize oxygen relative to a person’s body size and composition. Fitness levels are affected by the body’s cardiorespiratory (heart and lungs) system, the musculoskeletal (muscles and bones) system and also by our psychological drive. Low fitness levels can be associated with a malfunction in one or more of these systems.

Low fitness levels are associated with cardiovascular disease (one of the main causes of health issues), including high blood pressure, high heart rate and a high body max index (BMI).  

Recent research identifies that there is a strong relationship between increased fitness levels and decreased risk of long term cardiovascular disease and mortality. Improved fitness levels decrease cardiovascular risk factors, improve immune function, decrease musculoskeletal injuries, improve nervous system function and decreases the risk of Type II diabetes. Improved fitness levels are also associated with many psychological benefits including; improved confidence and self-esteem, decreased risk of anxiety and depression, improved cognitive function, memory and brain function.   

So how do I improve my fitness? Through physical activity! Currently, the guidelines for physical activity from the Department of Health in Australia state the following;
- Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Accumulate 2 ½ to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
- Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.


You can do this via any means! Find a type of exercise that you enjoy such as swimming, riding a bike, going to the gym or jogging. To help motivate you, grab a friend or acquire a health professional to help guide you in the right direction.

If you have any more questions or are interested in a program to improve your fitness levels, please contact us via our contact page.

Happy training and stay healthy,

Kate


Staying Active and Healthy on Holiday

This blog was inspired by my recent trip to the Seychelles for the New Year, whilst taking a break from structured training and work. This was my first holiday in while which involved no training or racing.

I am a big believer in everything in moderation and like to take advantage of travelling to new places, exploring, indulging in local food and having fun. I knew that over this holiday I would indulge in some tasty food (especially over the festive season!) and not be as active as usual, but wanted to maintain fitness and not gain too much weight.

This blog describes some of my guidelines to stay fit and healthy during your holiday, without sacrificing the food you want and importantly, not taking up too much precious holiday time.

Keeping active

Depending on where you are staying, and who you are with, it can be quite easy to stay active and burn calories on holiday. Many hotels have a fitness centre which is an easy option, especially if you are somewhere the weather doesn’t facilitate being active outside. A simple gym program can take 30 minutes and can be cardio or weights based. If you are looking for a quick and time efficient way to burn calories on holiday, jump on a treadmill, exercise bike or cross trainer and complete the following simple workout:

5 minutes easy warm–up
1 minute HARD, followed by 1 minute very easy, 2 minutes HARD, followed by 2 minutes very easy. Repeat 3x.
5 minutes easy cool-down walk

This quick cardio workout will raise your heart rate and definitely make you sweat!

If you are somewhere weather permitting and good for exploring, staying active can be both simple and sociable. Walking is a fantastic form of exercise as well as a great way to explore. Many holiday destinations have designated walks in nature reserves which is a great way to discover your destination with friends. Another way to stay active is to walk or cycle to and from local places instead of a taking a car or taxi. My favourite option is to hire a local bike to explore. This will get your heart rate up and allow you to explore your surroundings at your own pace.

If you would like a more structured workout program, below is my favourite exercise routine to do on holiday. Best of all, it requires no equipment and can be done at the park, beach or even inside your hotel room.

Body weight lunges x 8
Tricep Dips (using a bench/table/chair) x 8
Push–ups (or knee push–ups) x 8
Plank 30 seconds – 1 minute
Burpees (sorry!) x 10
Mountain climbers x 40
Repeat circuit 3x

Take 15 seconds rest between each exercise and 2 minutes between each set 

Lunges

Lunges

Tricep Dips

Tricep Dips

Push-ups

Push-ups

Plank

Plank

Burpees

Burpees

Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers

In general, you don’t have to go out of your way to find a gym or spend hours maintaining your exercise program whilst you are away. Staying active on holidays can be fun and sociable. 

Eating well on holiday

Following the same belief as above, when it comes to eating I am all about enjoying food in moderation. Depending on where you are traveling, eating well can be fairly easy. In the Seychelles there was a wide variety of delicious fish, usually served with rice or lentils, which is healthier than many other traditional foods.

A few key things to remember when trying to eat healthy are:
- Choose a healthy side. Opting for a side salad or vegetables is always preferable to less nourishing alternatives such as fries.
- Indulge every second meal rather than every meal. You will feel better for it and likely enjoy your ‘indulgent' meal more.
- Control portion size. Some restaurants may give bigger serving sizes then usual.
- Drink sufficient water. It's very easy to consume unnecessary calories through soft drinks or alcoholic drinks.
- Alternate desserts. If you have a sweet tooth, every second night try swapping a rich and high–calorie choice for a lighter option, such as fresh local fruit.
- Eat breakfast. Always ensure you have a satisfying, filling breakfast to kick start your metabolism and stop you from snacking later in the day on extra unhealthy foods.

Hopefully these tips will help you stay active and healthy whilst having fun and enjoying your holiday! If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in contact

Happy training and stay healthy! 

Kate