As we head towards the last month of winter, you might start thinking about your health goals for spring.
With around six weeks of winter remaining, it is not too late to get moving towards a fitter and healthier you for when the warmer months arrive.
If you have had the school holidays off then your usual training routine may have also gone out the window these past couple of weeks and now might be a good time to press the reset button.
There are a few events coming up that might give you renewed focus to train. One is Variety Spin 4 Kids, which is being held for the third time in Newcastle and after being staged outdoors on the harbour for the past two instalments will this year be held at the new venue of The Forum, University of Newcastle.
This year Variety Spin 4 Kids will be held on Friday, September 13 with spooky Black Friday attire being encouraged.
The event involves getting a team of up to 10 riders together and going hell for leather for six hours on a stationary bike. If you think you're up for the challenge, you could even do it solo.
Whoever travels the furthest in that time will be declared the winner. All funds raised go towards helping children in the Hunter who are sick, disadvantaged of have special needs.
Variety regional director Jason Bourke introduced the spin relay to Newcastle in 2017, saying at the time it was based on a similar event in the United States which was held across 100 cities in one day.
He believed it was the first time a stationary bike challenge like this had been held outdoors but this year Variety will move into the basketball stadium at The Forum, where there is more space and more favourable conditions if the weather turns bad.
"There are 65 bikes for teams of up to 10 people each but we're also encouraging any individuals who thinks they want to get on a bike for six hours too," Mr Bourke said. "Last year we had three or four individuals take up the challenge.
"We're hoping to raise over $65,000 on the day for Variety. The funds will be put towards Variety Heart Scholarships program and our school education grants.
"It's six hours on the bike and the objective for the competitive teams is to try to travel the most kilometres as possible.
"But it's also about encouraging businesses and workplaces and groups to set a winter fitness challenge to train for."
Cost is $650 per bike. The event raised $70,000 last year and Mr Bourke said has grown rapidly since its inception.
"It has resonated with a lot of businesses and locals and in the first week of launching this year's event we've had around 15 teams sign up," he said.
Find out more at www.variety.org.au/nsw/event/variety-spin-4-kids-newcastle.
Cycling is a great addition to your training program. It is low impact alternative to running and can help improve cardiovascular fitness, mobility, posture and also help to improve your strength.
Upcoming Fitness Events
The Bloody Long Walk, Newcastle, July 28: A 35-kilometre walk from Belmont to Newcastle beach to raise funds and awareness for Mitochondrial Disease.
Lake Macquarie Running Festival, Lake Macquarie, August 25: Celebrating its 35th year, this running festival offers a range of distances and a good winter training challenge. There is a 21.1-kilometre half marathon, 10.5km and kids 4km.
Variety Spin 4 Kids, The Forum at University of Newcastle, September 13: Get together a team or go solo for six hours to raise funds for kids who are sick, disadvantaged of have special needs in the region.
Winter Workouts Week #8
Mix up your training with a bike session at the gym, which might look like:
Warm up: 3-5 minutes steady.
Workout:Part 1: 3 minutes seated, making it harder every 30 seconds but still a fairly steady pace. Part 2: 5 minutes flat intervals. 5 x working hard 30sec then 30sec recovery. Part 3: 3 minute steady hill climb. Add resistance to stand up then make it harder every 30sec. Part 4: 4 minutes. Keep a strong resistance and alternate between seated and standing every 20sec. Part 5: 3 minutes. Lower resistance, sustained fast pace.
Cool down: 2-5 minutes slow then static stretching.
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Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.