During the hotter months you might find that you fatigue quicker when exercising than in cooler periods of the year.
There are a few ways to ensure you can continue to exercise without overdoing it.
A change in intensity is one adaptation. That might mean going for a walk instead of a run or choosing to swim laps or walk/jog in the water instead of on land. This will keep you cool and refreshed and is also low impact on your body joints.
Another option is to be active earlier, before the heat of the day arrives, or later in the day once the weather has started to cool off.
Or make your session shorter. For instance, instead of planning a 45-minute workout, make it 20 or 30 minutes. You can combine exercises to make the most of your time.
This is also a good option if you are time poor (which is most of us these days) when you go back to work after holidays and want to squeeze a workout into your busy day.
Examples of this are combining squats with a shoulder press, biceps curls or triceps extension with lunges, dead lifts and rows, push-ups with mountain climbers, step-ups with a shoulder press or biceps curl, and burpees with a shoulder press.
A 20 or 30-minute session could look like: 10 squats with a shoulder press, 10 dead lifts with a bent-over row, 5 x [2 push-ups with 10 mountain climbers] and 10 lunges with biceps curls/triceps extension/horizontal row with a band tied to a rail at waist height. Add walking, skipping, running or a rest between each set. Do three to five sets.
Finding ways to stay motivated is also important at this time of year. I often hear friends complain they are not getting fitter despite regular activity for a period of time. There are ways to track your progress, whether you are getting back into fitness after an absence or have never stopped, and seeing progress can be motivating.
One way is a 15-minute cardiovascular workout. Set up a loop, maybe around your block or local park, and see how far you can walk, walk-jog or jog in the designated time. Redo every four weeks to give an indication of your progress.
You could also do this in the pool or break it into five-minute lots at the gym on the treadmill, bike and rower with five minutes each. Remember to make a note of your results to compare.
Another way to gauge improvement is a strength set for time.
At the start of a new fitness program or commitment, note down how many squats, push-ups and ab curls, for example, you can do in 30 seconds. Focus on good technique. Vary this time to suit your level of fitness. Then repeat every four weeks to see how your results compare.
Other ways to stick to your new year fitness goals include buddying up and making yourself accountable to someone else, finding a fitness, walking, running or swimming club, and exercising in locations that make you feel good. For me that is near the water, so I can swim after, or in the bush. Being in a location you love can change your mindset and keep you on task.
Upcoming Fitness Events
Nobbys To Newcastle Ocean Swim, January 25: A two-kilometre ocean swim from under Nobbys Lighthouse to Newcastle Beach.
Across the Harbour Swim, Newcastle harbour, January 26: Choose between the 700-metre single crossing or 1.4km double crossing of the harbour.
Coastal Ascent, Dixon Park, February 16: A trail running event that is six weeks away. There is still time to prepare for the 5km, 11km or 25km courses.
Sparke Helmore Newcastle City Triathlon, Newcastle Foreshore, February 23: For the novice to the experienced there are three courses of varying distances to choose from.
Summer Sessions Week #6
Make the most of shorter sessions by combining exercises.
Perform 2-3 sets or do as many rounds as you can in 20-25 minutes:
20 squats with alternating single-armed shoulder press, 20 lunges [10 with biceps curls, 10 with overhead triceps extension], 10 dead lifts with bent-over row, 10 x [1 box jump or 2 step ups then 1 push-up], 5 x [10 mountain climbers with 10 bear crawls], 10-20 ab curls with two punches holding dumbbells at the top of the movement.
Alternatively, split the workout into two 10-minute sets with three exercises in each. Add a warm-up and cool-down.
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Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother.