As part of my thrifty fitness challenge during June, I’ll be doing weekly roundup posts. Here’s how I got on during Week One.
I’ve devised a stepped exercise programme, starting by increasing the total weekly duration of moderate-effort aerobic exercise for the first week. The goal was seven hours of moderate aerobic exercise, with sessions lasting a minimum of 30 minutes and ideally going on for at least an hour, with the twin aims of increasing general stamina and putting the body’s muscles, joints and ligaments through a good range of movements without straining them too much.
This goal was reached by the evening of Day Seven, in fact I slightly overshot it with seven hours and 25 minutes of cycling and about an hour or so of brisk walking. In retrospect, this might have been a bit too much, as it has triggered a lot of hunger and one day of all-day tiredness, but at least it hasn’t set off any problems with the joints in my hands and knees so I haven’t put myself out of action and messed the whole schedule up. More rest days will be needed as we go along, I think.
At this point, I should probably mention that there was a Week Zero too. In the final week of May I did five and a half hours of aerobic exercise, which was more than my usual level of activity, which meant that Week One wasn’t too much of a shock to the system. I’m a firm believer that it’s best to ease into a new exercise regime gradually for the first few days, especially if you aren’t fighting fit to start off with, or have any general or specific health problems.
As we all probably know already, one of the benefits of aerobic exercise is that it starts to burn fat. I’m not trying to lose weight, just get fitter and more toned, so that’s meant eating more to shut down the hunger pangs and trying to keep most of the extra intake reasonably healthy. It’s easy to reach for the quick fix of junk food when you’re tired, but I don’t want that to become a habit.
Cue eating a bit more of those simple but useful foods like porridge, fruit and vegetables, economy prawns and the occasional dollop of Greek yoghurt – I’m not a performance athlete so buying ‘functional foods’ (which are often full of additives and flavourings) would be a waste of money. It’s definitely helping to start the day with a decent sized breakfast as well.
Over all, Week One went very well and I’m happy with the progress. Now on to Week Two, where I’ll be adding in some toning and body conditioning exercises. That includes sit ups / crunches, a few lunges, the occasional press up, and maybe a bit of yoga.
Are you trying to get fit or get fitter during the summer months? Let me know what you’re doing to get into shape!