10 exercises for you to try

Ronald Abvajee shares the top 10 exercises for you to try.

Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. Try a few of these exercises to get active, or to bring in some variation to your current fitness routine. 

1. Interval training

This refers to doing almost any type of exercise at a variable pace, instead of going at a steady pace. For example, if you are walking or doing push-ups, vary the pace of the exercise. You can walk normally for a minute or so, and then speed up a bit, and then return to normal speed several times. For exercises like push-ups, do a few slowly and do others more quickly.

Interval training helps the body to adjust its aerobic system (heart rate, breathing, and metabolism) to burn more calories to lose weight and strengthen muscles.

2. Walking

Walking is simple yet powerful. Nothing quite beats walking. The exercise is functional (you can do it to get places), accessible (no gym needed) and suitable for all ages and abilities. 

It can help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood and lower your risk of a number of diseases.

3. Running

Want to take walking up a notch? Break into a run. The activity strengthens the legs and core, keeps knees and hips healthy, boosts heart health and spurs your body to burn more calories even at rest. As we age, we may need to slow down but running keeps aging bodies active and fit, yielding great benefits for us all.

4. Swimming

Swimming can easily be called the perfect workout. The buoyancy of the water supports your body and takes the strain off painful joints so you can move them more fluidly. 

If you consider the main aims of most fitness regimes – to lose weight, improve fitness and build muscle – there are few sports that tick all the boxes as emphatically as swimming. 

On top of all that, swimming provides a full-body workout with minimal risk of injury, which makes it an excellent choice for cross-training.

5. Yoga 

Yoga helps you become more aware of your body’s posture, alignment and patterns of movement. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even in the midst of a stress-stricken environment. This is one of the foremost reasons why people want to start practising yoga – to feel fitter, be more energetic, be happier and peaceful. The beauty of yoga is that it can be practised pretty much anywhere, on your own or with other yoga enthusiasts.

6. Tai chi

This Chinese martial art that incorporates movement and relaxation is good for both body and mind. In fact, it’s been called “meditation in motion.” 

Tai chi is made up of a series of graceful movements, one transitioning smoothly into the next. Because the classes are offered at various levels, Tai chi is accessible and valuable for people of all ages and fitness levels.

 7. Boxing

Boxing combines all the biggest fitness trends: functional training, intervals, total-body routines. It also delivers body-weight strength training. Every punch requires the legs, core, and arms to flex. Another benefit of boxing is: anaerobic (short-lasting, high-intensity exercise). That’s the reason you’re sucking wind 10 minutes into a boxing class. While activities like cycling or running rely on rhythmic, repetitive motions that allow heart rate to stay stable, boxing is a ceaseless sequence of ballistic, full-body movements. 

8. Kickboxing

To get better balance, power and agility, kickboxing is king among workouts. Kickboxing emphasises powerful movements. Power is different from strength. Pure strength is what a weightlifter uses, but producing power is about both force and speed. Kickboxing training tends to involve short bouts, two to three minutes long of intense, repetitive movement, like hitting a punching bag over and over again and kicking and kneeing a pad someone else is holding. Kickboxing has been shown to improve fitness, power, flexibility and agility, as well as burn a lot of calories. 

9. Push-ups

The basic push-up is the classic exercise to strengthen the upper body (chest, shoulders, and triceps) and core (abdominal muscles). Beginners can first do push-ups by spreading their fully extended arms slightly more than shoulder width apart with their hands against an unmovable object, like the edge of a kitchen countertop. Then bend your elbows until your chest almost touches the edge of the countertop, allowing only your toes to bend and keeping your back and legs in a straight line. Then push your body away from the countertop until your arms are again fully extended. As you progress, you should use lower stationary objects (for example, a stationary bench) and eventually do the push-up with your hands on the floor.

10. The plank

The plank is one of the best exercises because it tightens the deepest core muscles. It’s a static exercise where you use your arms to raise yourself off the floor and hold the whole body straight and rigid, like a plank of wood. You can do it anywhere, you don’t need any equipment and it only takes a minute (literally). What’s more, it’s more effective than sit-ups and crunches because these only work the superficial abdominal muscles.

  • Basic plank: Start on elbows and knees, locking hands together. Straighten legs and raise your body so that you’re supported by the balls of your feet, with feet hip-distance apart. Face the floor, being careful not to arch your back or stick your bottom in the air. Hold this position for 45 seconds to begin with, extending the time as you get stronger.
  • Side plank: Lie on your right side, propped up on your elbow. Let your left foot rest on top of your right, and then push up so that your body forms a perfect triangle with the floor. Don’t let your left shoulder roll forward or back. Hold the position for as long as you can, then repeat on the other side.
  • Prone sky-dive: Always follow a basic or side plank with this move. Lie flat on the floor, face down, with your arms by your sides. Gently raise your chest off the floor until you can feel your lower back muscles start to work, simultaneously raising your arms up, palms facing upwards and with your thumbs furthest away from your body, pointing to the ceiling. Be careful not to clench your buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds.

Push-ups and planking are exercises that don’t require fancy, expensive equipment plus they earn extra credit as they are easy-to-learn exercises that target multiple muscle groups and they give you the practical strength and muscle tone to meet your fitness goals. 

Ronald Abvajee is a health, fitness and wellness expert with a passion for inspiring, motivating and guiding people to be their best. Log onto www.myhealthtv.com for more health and wellness information.

MEET OUR EXPERT – Ronald Abvajee

Ronald Abvajee is a health, fitness and wellness expert with a passion for inspiring, motivating and guiding people to be their best. Log onto www.myhealthtv.com for more health and wellness information.

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