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Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

How much should you train each week?

We are now into the second week of February. As such, the January motivation may have worn off and you might be asking yourself, ‘Do I really have to train this hard?’

The short answer is that ‘it depends’. It depends on your health, fitness or performance goals, the activities you like and dislike, equipment available, what injuries you have, and how much time you have available.

So, we could strip this way back and just focus on someone who wants to be what I call ‘life strong’. To me, this means being able to perform daily tasks without pain, walk or jog a short distance without losing breath, having the energy after a day’s work to play with the kids and when the occasion comes around, to perform more vigorous activities, like completing a 5k run or hiking a mountain – and enjoying it.

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What if I told you that you could achieve this by working out every day for 22 minutes?

Committing just 22 minutes a day either in the morning, during your lunch break or in the evening can help steer you towards your ‘life strong’. The reason I suggested 22 minutes is simple maths.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends we get a least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. So divide 150 minutes by seven days and you get 21.42857 minutes. Let’s just call it an even 22 minutes.

Now let’s break this 22 minutes down into smaller bite-sized pieces:

Mobility flow – three minutes
If you follow CORE NI on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen a few videos of me carrying out my morning movement. Every morning, I will spend three to four minutes mobilising my body. I recommend you start with the neck and spine.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands close to your side, with palms facing forwards. Start by gently rotating the head to your left, then right, and repeat 10 times each side. If you start to feel dizzy, stop and move onto the next movement which is tilting your head back and forth for the same number of reps.
Next, roll your shoulders in towards your ears, tuck your chin in and slowly start sliding your hands down your legs towards the floor. Keep your legs as starting as you can until you touch the floor or if you need to bend them softly. Slowly reverse the move and as you come up take your arms out to the side and stretch as wide and bend backwards as much as you can without your feet moving. Repeat this three times, but on your last one place your hands and knees to the floor.
Keeping your hands and knees on the floor, rock backward and forwards, bringing your bum towards your heels and bringing your shoulders over your wrist. Repeat 10 times.
Finally, staying on your hands and knees, take your right hand and place it through the space between your left hand and left knee rotating your right ear towards the floor as you do so. Bring your hand back through the gap and rotate until your right hand is as high as it can go in the air. Repeat five times each side.
As you start to get the hang of these movements you can add more like cobra, downward dog, pigeon, hip flexor stretch. If you don’t know what these are, just use YouTube.

Cardio – six minutes
For this part it’s handy to have a stop watch, skipping rope, exercise bike or treadmill. Don’t worry if you have none of these, there are many ways you can raise the heart rate. If you have a skipping rope or exercise machine, you can time yourselves for six minutes. Otherwise go for a six-minute jog or brisk walk. Alternatively do three cardio exercises like jumping jacks, high knees and spotty dogs. Do each one for 30 seconds and repeat four times.

Strength training – ten minutes
Strength training isn’t all barbells and kettlebells. You can strength train using your own body weight for resistance. If you do have some resistance equipment like dumbbells or kettlebells you can add them into your routine.
Body weight exercises include press-ups – which you can start doing against the wall, before progressing to a stable table and then finally to the floor. Squats are another great exercise, even using the chair to sit your bum down and stand up is squatting. Add some form of a rowing action – either rowing a weight, chair or even yourself by placing a towel around a banister or other solid object, facing it lean back until you have to pull yourself back upright only using your arms. Again, if you have any other exercise you know add them into your routine. I would recommend that you pick three to five exercises, do 12-15 reps of each and carry out three sets.

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Cool down and connect – three minutes
To finish your session, you may want to hold a number of stretches for longer than 20 to 30 seconds each, but while you are doing that take your time to thank yourself for working out and connect to how you are feeling. Don’t be worrying about what you are going to be doing straight after you finish. Take this three minutes just for you – it is normally the length of a chilled-out song.

And there you have it: A 22-minute workout that you can do every day to keep your ‘life strong’.

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