Tuesday 6 December 2016

Week 9: Karl Henry's 10 steps to turn your health around

Live longer, healthier, happier with Karl Henry's #10turnaround

Published 21/07/2015 | 02:30

Karl Henry says cycling can play a role in your lifelong health. Photo: Mark Nixon
Karl Henry says cycling can play a role in your lifelong health. Photo: Mark Nixon

Cycling is a sport for all ages and all levels of fitness and I believe it can play an essential role in your lifelong health. For step nine, I want to bring you a simple and effective guide on how to get started: Check out the bike to work scheme to see if you are eligible.

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Cycling is brilliant for just about everything to do with the body, no matter what your fitness levels are. If you have joint issues, it's great, it's fun and it is an activity that all the family can take part in.

To start with, you are going to need a bike. There are three main types to choose from:

1) Racer: Slim tyres and aerodynamic. It is fast but not ideal for commuting as it isn't the most comfortable.

2) Mountain bike: With a thick frame and thick tyres, they are very comfortable but are slower and heavier than road bikes.

3) A hybrid: Basically, a combination of both bikes. Hybrids are comfortable with thick slick tyres and are built for leisure riding or commuting.

Karl Henry says cycling can play a role in your lifelong health. Photo: Mark Nixon
Karl Henry says cycling can play a role in your lifelong health. Photo: Mark Nixon

Once you have chosen your bike, you will need:

A bike fit: No matter where you buy your bike, ensure that before you cycle out of the shop, you are fitted for the bike and the retailer has adjusted the bike to fit your body. Especially the saddle. You should adjust the saddle so that your leg is never fully locked out when the pedal is at its lowest point.

A helmet: If you ride a bike, you must have a helmet. There is no excuse for not having one. It will save your life. I have only crashed once on my road bike and if I didn't have my helmet on, I wouldn't be writing this column today.

Padded shorts: I know, I know, they may look embarrassing, but trust me, your padded shorts will save your bum a lot of aches and pains, especially at the beginning.

Glasses: The reason most cyclists wear glasses is to protect the eyes from grit and dirt that can get into them when you are cycling, especially at speed.

Pump/levers/tube: These three are essential in case you get a puncture while cycling. You can get a small saddle pouch where they can be stored and you will be glad of them when you puncture.

Once you have your bike and you have your gear, here are some simple tips to keep you safe on the road:

Don't cycle on footpaths

Don't cycle the wrong way down a one-way street

Don't cycle through red lights

Use your hands to show the direction your travelling at junctions.

Happy cycling!

5 reasons to lift weights

1 Improve your strength

Everyone needs to be strong, strong for life. As we age, especially when we are sedentary, we lose strength. Resistance exercise, basically lifting anything that is a weight, just like you have been for the past nine weeks, will stave off this loss.

2 Slow down the ageing process

As we age, our muscle mass decreases, we increase our fat mass and our metabolic rate slows down. Resistance training will help to combat all three.

3 Burn fat

Fat is the type of weight you need to lose - especially the visceral fat around your waistline. Resistance training is the best way to do this.

4 Improve bone health

Diets that are high in sugar, additives and preservatives, combined with lack of activity are a recipe for weak bones and an increased risk of osteoporosis and arthritis. Resistance exercise will help to combat this and also will strengthen the muscles around the bones.

5 Variety

One of the reasons that people fail to keep healthy in the long term is boredom. Resistance exercise has more combinations and variation than most other forms of exercise.

Week 9 food:

Cut sugar: Look at food labels and aim to reduce your sugar intake, but remember sugar-free products often have aspartame which isn't healthy either.

Week 9: summary

Check your weight, waist measurement and your fitness levels to measure your progress.

Up your efforts on resistance and try and do thenine exercises you have learned during your resistance workouts. l Always work to your ability and take breaks.

Check with your GP before any new programme.

Have all meals in a 12-hour window. Cut sugar, eat nuts, add lemon to water and eat fats. Eat oats or eggs for breakfast, have greens with at least two meals and swap your white food for brown.

Exercise of the week: Bicep curl

What you need: dumbbells or water bottles

Frequency: Perform the exercise for one minute continuously

Start with your feet shoulder width apart, back straight and belly button pulled into your spine and your arms extended fully, holding the dumb-bells.

Curl the dumb-bells up towards your shoulders and back down, keeping your back straight and belly button pulled in. Repeat for one minute.

Exercises at a glance

Tuesday: Resistance – Bicep curl, single arm row, calf raise, military press, side lat raise, tricep dip, side leg raises, static ski squat, table press-up — five sets of one minute for each

Wednesday: Fitness test

Thursday: Resistance — as Tuesday

Friday: Rest or cardio

Saturday: As Tuesday

Sunday: Cardio

Monday: Rest

Irish Independent

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