Health and Fitness: Tips to ensure you maintain your activity levels after holidays

TAKE ADVANTAGE: Beaches around the city have been a hive of activity, including walking, running, surfing, swimming and beach volleyball, at daybreak through the summer holidays.

TAKE ADVANTAGE: Beaches around the city have been a hive of activity, including walking, running, surfing, swimming and beach volleyball, at daybreak through the summer holidays.

Any time holidays come to an end and you face the prospect of going back to work, there might be concerns around whether you can maintain the exercise regime that has been established while off.

It can stop you dead in your tracks. But, if you can find a way to keep going, it could not only improve your fitness but also your mood and productivity levels.

I spoke to a colleague during the week who was proud to be still squeezing in some early morning walks and lunchtime gym sessions that had been started on their break.

Here are some ways that might help keep you active:

Early starts. Whether you’re the kind of person who fills your social media accounts with images of sunrises and feel-good sayings or not, it’s hard to argue that seeing it emerge over the horizon is a bad start to the day. It does however require discipline. Early to bed is obviously the key to the early rise. In summer, it is a way to also beat the heat. A beach workout means you might get a cooler breeze off the water. I was doing on an early morning run last week and was blown away by the amount of activity on Newcastle beach before 6am. It included walkers, runners, surfers, cyclists, swimmers and a group taking advantage of the beach volleyball nets.

Weekend wanders. Plan a longer run or walk one day each week when you have more time to exercise. This might be a day trip to Port Stephens to explore the trails in Tomaree National Park. There are hours of adventure, whether on foot or two wheels, to be had in Glenrock State Conservation Area. If you prefer a more stable surface, the Fernleigh Track is a good alternative in summer because it is mostly shaded. Or you can get a good 20 kilometre return walk from Merewether to Carrington, following the coastal footpaths. If you work weekends then plan this for your day off.

ON OUR DOOR STEP: This is one of many trails to be explored through Glenrock State Conservation Area.

 ON OUR DOOR STEP: This is one of many trails to be explored through Glenrock State Conservation Area.

Lunchtime workouts. Pack the gym gear and a towel. A lot of gyms run shorter sessions in the middle of the day, which can be squeezed into a lunch break. Alternatively you could do a walk or your own short session if there is parkland nearby.

Ditch the car. Riding or walking to school drop-offs and/or to work is one way to squeeze more activity into your day. If you need to drive, consider parking further away than usual to add more walking time to your day. Also, take the stairs instead of the elevator. You may be surprised how quickly the daily steps add up.

Sign up. The start of the year usually coincides with competitions commencing at indoor sports centres. At the Parc in Cooks Hill, they are trialling 10-week competitions to coincide with school terms. Contact your local indoor sports centre to see what is being offered. Pre-season is also upon us for a range of outdoor winter sports.

Upcoming Fitness Events

Maximum Adventure Race Series, Lake Macquarie, February 16: The first race of the series. There is a classic and novice course combining multiple legs of mountain biking, trail running and kayaking done in teams.

Sparke Helmore City Triathlon, Newcastle Foreshore, February 24: Choose between an enticer, sprint or Olympic distance course or get a team together and pick your leg.

Coastal Ascent Trail Run, Merewether, March 31: Starting at Dixon Park, this new event offers challenging 11km and 25km courses into Glenrock State Conservation Area. There is also a 2km kids run.

Sizzling Summer Sessions

Main workout: 20 squats, with or without weight. 200-metre hard run with 50m recovery. 10 push-ups, 200m hard run with 50m recovery. 20 dead lifts with a row, 200m hard run with 50m recovery. 20 diagonal lunges, 200m hard run with 50m recovery, 20 ab curls (add weights and throw punches at the top of each), 200m hard run with 50m recovery. Rest. Repeat twice.

Bonus round: 1 burpee, run 10 metres, 2 burpees, run 20m, 3 burpees, run 30m, 4 burpees, run 40m, 5 burpees, run 50m, 6 burpees, run 60m, 7 burpees, run 70m, 8 burpees, run 80m, 9 burpees, run 90m, 10 burpees, run 100m.

Send your health and fitness news to [email protected]

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.

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