New year, new you: Try some easy fitness
Let's face it, we all have visions of a new year and a new goal to achieve, getting fit, eating well etc etc. But be realistic about the time you have says personal trainer Loretta Hourigan, and it can become a reality. Loretta shares her 15 years of experience in exercise, fitness and nutrition to help us all shape up in 2015
1. When you start introducing exercise when you haven't been doing any, what exercises would you recommend?
If post childbirth, be sure that you are ready to return to exercise 6-12 weeks after your child is born. Many women assume they will be ready to exercise after this time and often it isn't the case so listen to your body. Cardio vascular exercise which gets the heart and lungs working is a sensible choice; this could be walking briskly outdoors with your baby in a pram or using a piece of cardio vascular (CV) equipment in the gym. Avoid high impact and HIT (high intensity training). This should not be attempted for individuals who are new to exercise or returning to working out after a long break. Enjoyment is key, so chose an exercise you have enjoyed in the past, there is no need to suffer!
2. How long would you recommend exercising for when you start fresh?
If you are new to exercise, you should start with as little as 6-10 minutes, increasing this by adding a few minutes per session. The aim is to increase your breathing rate and get slightly sweaty and as individuals all progress at different rates, again listen to your body. If your heart rate isn't steadily increasing, this indicates the level of exercise needs to be more challenging. This can be as simple as adding in a hill if out walking or cycling with one more level of resistance at the gym. Increasing in small increments is key. Individuals who trained prior to childbirth may find 15/20 minutes of low to medium intenisty is acheivable.
3. What foods can give you that extra energy to face a workout?
Healthy eating...or eating at all is one of the lowest priorities of new parents, along with drinking adequate amounts of water. Water is essential to keep you hydrated and battle your fatigue. Your shopping list needs to contain foods that require little prep and are immediately accessible. Pre exercise snacks such as beans on toast, bagel with jam or peanut butter, bananas are all nutritious, easy and quick as is a bowl of wholegrain cereal. Apples, grapes, pancakes, teacakes, breadsticks and cooked peices of meat such as chicken and turkey breast are great to have in the fridge so when you feel like snacking you have some healthy options to hand. A handful of mixed seeds also provides a great energy boost along with vital nutrients. Busy mums who are strapped for time don't over complicate things or you'll end up reaching for the chocolate bar when hunger hits; keep it simple and easy to eat.
4. What would your advice be to a tired mum, struggling to get motivated for fitness?
Getting outdoors provides a huge motivational boost. Choosing an activity or exercise you enjoy is crucial if you are going to have any hope of sticking at it. Setting short term realistic goals ( weekly) prove the most effective at maintaining motivation as you can chart your success and see the rewards quickly, the idea of running your first 10k in 6 months time is admirable but its a very long way away. Commit your goals to paper and stick them up in a visible place so you can be reminded of your progress. Online exercise classes work well if you struggle for childcare; GymCube and FitnessGlo are great examples starting from around £8 per month and they even throw in some free workouts and offer nutritional advice.