The following is a guest post by Erin Haske of HealthFit Coaching. Erin has an awesome site and blog with tons of great information, so please go check her out.
I’m so flattered to be invited to spend some time with you all, and while I can’t promise to make you laugh as much as you might normally while you’re here, I can give you some handy tips and pointers on giving your abs (and the rest of your body) a different kind of workout.
In my professional life, I’m an exercise physiologist, which in everyday terms is a cross between a personal trainer and physical therapist (or physiotherapist, depending on where you call home). I spend most of my time designing exercise programs for people who don’t like gyms, don’t have time to go to gyms, or for other reasons would prefer to fit in their workouts around their daily lives. This usually means doing them at home, with minimal or no equipment – in gym terms, in the middle of nowhere.
You might not have gym equipment at home, but you probably have some useful every day items you can use. Fill up milk jugs to make your own weights. Step up on stairs, benches, or cinder blocks. Use a chair or two to do dips. Bungee cords work in lieu of superbands. And of course, there’s your own bodyweight! The key thing for any use of non-gym equipment is safety. If you’re not sure you can control the weight, the movement, or another element of the exercise, skip it or find a safer alternative.
Get On Your Feet
Even with an active job or lifestyle, we all sit too much. The more time you can spend on your feet, the better. This might mean walking, jogging, running, or sprinting. Choose your intensity, or head out for a little of everything, alternating between walking and faster movement. If you have the time and space, hiking is a great alternative. Hiking makes you move really differently than normal walking or running, so you’ll get a greater challenge to balance, joint range of motion and muscle stretching, and body weight strength and control.
Seems counter intuitive, yes? One of the biggest challenges to your health and fitness is the non-stop-ness of life. Your body needs time to recover, and most of us need more sleep than we get on a regular basis. To top it off, being busy and tired can cause constant low-grade physical stress, resulting in higher circulating stress hormones like cortisol. This has a negative impact on your immune system, your ability to lose body fat, your blood pressure, and can be linked to anxiety and depression – among many other things. So get some extra sleep when you can!
In every sense of the word. Your body thrives on variety. Challenge yourself with different types of movement and exercise, as well as different intensities. That might mean doing more strength training if you’re a runner, or adding yoga or tai chi to your workout routine once or twice a week. Or try something totally unusual for you, from horseback riding to swimming to rock climbing to playing on the jungle gym with the kids. Your body loves it all.
For most of us, real life fitness means fitting in movement around the rest of our responsibilities. You’ve just read over some of the key approaches points for doing this well, and I have a lot more where this came from. You can find more detailed posts, ideas, and information over at the HealthFit Coaching blog.
See y’all soon I hope!