With three weeks left of winter you might feel like the clock is ticking.
A gym instructor commented last week that class numbers had swelled with the nicer winter weather and people realising spring was looming - this was before the weekend cold chill blasted us.
Then conversations with friends over the weekend indicated it had been a winter of discontent, or possibly too much content. Some have been "ticking over" with winter sport, others have sought refuge indoors at the gym while a couple had slipped into hibernation mode.
As always, now is as good a time as any to make a start on your fitness or take it up a notch. If you are bereft of inspiration, here are five ways to get you moving towards spring:
Cardio. Whether you want to hop, skip or jump, or perhaps, run, walk, swim, cycle or row, any form or cardiovascular exercise can make your heart stronger, increase lung capacity and help burn fat. If you are starting out then take a gently-gently approach. Begin with 15-20 minutes a day on every other days. If that is not manageable, start with 10 and build up. There are also loads of adult dance class options and gym classes such as Zumba that can be fun as well as challenging. If your fitness is more advanced, set yourself a 21-day cardio challenge. This might be skipping, which is a great workout for many parts of your body. Start with five minutes a day and see if you can build up to 15 by the time spring gets here.
Strength. Being stronger can make everyday tasks easier. Start with simple bodyweight exercises such as squats (this could be sit to stand using a chair for support), push-ups (which can be done leaning against a wall), lunges or step-ups, dead lifts and rows (start out with single-armed rows where your body is supported or seated rows). Do 10 of each, rest then repeat. Aim for three days per week.
Combo. Combining cardio and strength exercises into a high intensity workout is a popular way to make the most of limited time available. Try 20-30 minutes of: 20 squat jumps, 10 ball slams, 5 burpees, 10 push-ups, 20 jumping lunges, 10 rows/pull-ups, 45 seconds skip, 45 seconds hover.
Summer sport. Sign up for a spring/summer sport and commit to exercise on a weekly basis. Surf-lifesaving registrations are open and many clubs run Bronze Medallion courses which might be a summer option for you.
Sign up. There are running/walking, cycling and triathlon events coming up in the region. Sign up now and start training. It might be a short-term or long-term goal but could be the motivation you need to get moving. These include Wollombi Wild Ride (September 7) and Mongrel Class (October 19), Fernleigh 15 (October 20), Maitland Triathlon (November 10) and Summer Country Run (November 10).
Australian running legend Steve Monaghetti will make an appearance as Lake Macquarie Running Festival celebrates its 35th milestone on August 25. Find out more about one of Australia's oldest running events at lakemacrunning.com.
Upcoming Fitness Events
Lake Macquarie Running Festival, Lake Macquarie, August 25: Celebrating its 35th year, this running festival offers a range of distances. There is a 21.1-kilometre half marathon, 10.5km and kids 4km.
Wollombi Wild Ride, Wollombi, September 7: Featuring 13.5-kilometre, 30km and 60km courses, this is one for the novice to the experienced mountain biker and one for the whole family.
Variety Spin 4 Kids, The Forum at University of Newcastle, September 13: Form a team or go solo for six hours to raise funds for kids in the region who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.
Winter Workouts Week #11
Here is a 'fun' winter-blasting workout. Add a five-minute warm-up and cool-down.
Pick eight exercises. Do them in succession, starting with two repetitions of each and adding two each round until 10 of each. Then work back down to two.
For example: 2 squats, 2 squat jumps, 2 push-ups, 2 renegade rows, 2 mountain climbers, 2 dead lifts, 2 lunges, 2 burpees. Then four of each, followed by six etcetera.
Make it harder by setting a time limit such as 30 minutes, so you are racing the clock. Or time how long it takes to do it the first time then next session try to do it quicker.
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Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.