Why You Should Forget About Shaping Up For Summer
What kind of fitness instructor and studio owner tells you not to shape up for summer?
What I am actually saying is start now to get in shape—for life. Not just for summer. Added to that is the most logical advice I can give, and that is to shape up because you know what’s best for you and your family, and that is to live a healthy, happy life.
The good news is that once you start you’ll realize that, like any other habit— albeit a good one— it’s hard to shake.
It's all about attitude
Let’s start with the words we use when it comes to exercise: I should workout, I must sweat or I won’t lose weight, I do it early to get it over and done with, it’s for a special occasion, it takes too long, I’m too tired. The list goes on, and none of this encourages us to keep it up long-term.
It also paints exercise as a difficult or dull experience, despite the fact that it can take many forms and not just an hour on a treadmill or doing sit ups.
So to turn your summer shape-up into a life shape-up, let’s use the following words instead: I choose to exercise, I enjoy exercise, I want to live a healthier life, I feel and look good when I exercise regularly, I am a good example to my children, I sleep better, I have more energy, I’m more productive, I eat better (most of the time), I do not expect immediate miracles.
Next, follow that up with action, which brings me to another hurdle: the "I don’t like exercise" dilemma.
Find "your" workout
The ideal way to get the most out of an exercise plan is to find something you enjoy. In an ideal world, you’d enjoy 100 per cent of every minute of it. But like work, social events, conference calls and the extraction phase of a deluxe facial, there will be times when it’s a challenge, but you push on, and it passes. Then, you reap the benefits.
If you enjoyed 70-80 per cent of a class, a run, swim or hike, you’ve probably found the exercise for you. As you get more comfortable with what you’re doing, safely advance the challenges not only so your body changes, but also so you don’t get bored.
See also: The Origins Of Barre—And 3 Killer Moves You Can Do At Home
How much should you exercise, really?
One of the healthiest things you can do for your body and brain is to have a balanced approach to your routine. In other words, once a week is not enough.
That means doing exercise where you sweat—such as cardio, high interval intensity training—and others where you focus on strength and/or balance such as yoga, Pilates or weights.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization advise that to reap real benefits, most adults are required to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week paired with muscle strengthening twice weekly.
Sweat it out
One of the most efficient ways to detox your body is to sweat. Sweating can flush the body of substances including alcohol, cholesterol, and salt.“Sweat purges the body of toxins that can clog pores and plague the skin with pimples and blemishes,” Dr. Adebola Dele-Michael, a dermatologist in New York City, reported to Medical Daily.
Inflammation can be a huge negative on metabolism and cardiovascular fitness, but when you sweat, a series of positive reactions occurs: your heart rate speeds up to keep blood pumping to your moving muscles, increasing blood flow and the strength of every contraction over time.
When it comes to strength training or weight-bearing exercises, apart from looking leaner and losing weight, you are setting yourself up for a much more enjoyable older age. Bone density improves, pain is lessened, and so is your risk of injury.
Do it for future you
The main idea of being active from an early age? One day, you will be that elderly person who can stand, sit, pick up their grandchild and walk briskly to the store without being in agony. You won't the person breaking various bones after a small slip and you'll also reduce your risk of Alzheimers.
You don’t have to sweat until your head blows off or pump iron like The Rock, but find your own balance of some kind of cardio with another exercise that puts weight on your bones and muscles. If you don't like the treadmill, try swimming, hot yoga, or circuit training. If you don't like running, try HIIT classes, TRX® circuits or walking up and down stairs.
In between, play with the kids, walk the dog, stand more, sit less, and do some squats while the kettle boils. In short, put some effort into everyday tasks. This is your summer shape-up prescription.
Heather Thomas Shalabi is the co-founder and Director of Flex Studio Hong Kong, with locations in Central and One Island South.
Flex has introduced a new workout concept, FLEXtreme (cardio, strength training and TRX® Circuits) which is offered in their new 4th floor Central studio. Their existing 3rd floor studio in Central is now solely for group and private Pilates. Find out more at flexhk.com
See also: This Could Be The Key To Staying Younger And Living Longer