Sunday 19 May 2019

Karl Henry: Get a black bag and fill it with your clothes that don't fit

School of Health Week 3: This week, Karl Henry says variety and fun are key

The exercise you should be doing is the one that you enjoy. Stock image
The exercise you should be doing is the one that you enjoy. Stock image

Welcome to week three of our back-to-school, back-to-basics and back-to-health series. So how have you been getting on with your homework so far? Remember that each week I simply want you to try your best, get as many of the homework tasks done as you can, and if you don't get to them all, don't worry. Each week I will look at a different aspect of health and this week I want to look at exercise. I get asked all the time, what the best form of exercise is and the answer is always the same - the one that you enjoy the most. For exercise to be long-term, you have to enjoy it - regardless of what it is. Ideally you should try get all three types of exercise done during the week:

  • Cardiovascular: Basically anything that gets your heart rate up.
  • Resistance: Anything that involves lifting a weight or your body weight.
  • Flexibility: Anything that involves stretching the body, especially important as you get older.

So these are the three main types and all are great for your body and your mind. They will improve every one of your health goals. So take a look at what you are currently doing and ensure that you are ticking all three boxes. Watch the flexibility one - that's always the one people do the least - it can be incredibly important in healthy ageing.

Ok, so now you know what you should be doing, I want to give you some tips on how to ensure that you are getting the best results possible from your exercise. Life is far too short to spend it getting poor results from your training, so try these tips and see how you go:

Change: The body reacts to change, so ensure to change your sessions as much as you can. Change the route, the programme, the exercises, the sets, the time, to be honest change anything that you can, as often as you can and watch what happens to your body.

Intensity: Ensure that you are working hard enough. Especially as you get fitter, you need to work harder to get the benefits. This is one of the reasons that they body plateaus so often.

Support: If you want to get fitter, train with those who are fitter than you. It's a lesson I learnt so many times when training for events I was working towards. By training with fitter people you work harder, dig deeper and get better results. Support also stands for getting service from a class that you are going to, the instructor should talk to you, observe you and adjust you. Far too many instructors just focus on their own class and not of those around them.

Those simple changes will make a big difference. I also want to bring you a little list of things to avoid, when starting to exercise:

⬤ Avoid trainers with large egos

⬤ Avoid heavy strength lifts, unless that's what you want to train for

⬤ Avoid classes that don't offer individual attention

⬤ Avoid quick-fix and nutrient elimination diets

⬤ Avoid plans that recommend lots of supplements; you don't need them

Fitness and health should be fun, exciting, positive, empowering, balanced and sustainable long- term - so find what works for you.

Homework: This week you are going to focus on three main points — simple, easy and effective

Food: Have some protein with each meal. It's great for your body, for recovering and helping you feel full.

Colour on your plate: Once you have your protein, let's fill that plate with colour.

All of the colourful fruit and veg contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so without making it overcomplicated, simply stock-up your plate with these.

Start batch cooking: Batch cooking has become fashionable of late. It's pretty simple, when cooking a meal make a much bigger portion and store the rest in a plastic container in the fridge, or in the freezer. You will be amazed at how much better you feel knowing that you have a freezer full of meals to eat.

Fitness: This week, I want you to do three 30 minute HIIT training cardio sessions ­- one minute hard and one minute easy. This is a great way to get a seriously effective cardio session done in a short space of time. In terms of resistance training, try three new exercises this week. Wide foot squats, bicep curls and side planks. Aim for three sets of 20 reps of each and ensure you are struggling on the last few reps of each set as always.

Motivation: I want you to make a list of 10 positive things in your life. As always, make these lists visible, not hidden away. The second thing I want you to do is to buy a mindfulness colouring book. It's great for relaxing, and you'll be surprised at how effective it is, especially after a busy day.

Lifestyle: Your lifestyle tip this week is a simple one. I want you to spring clean your wardrobe. Take a black bag, go through all of your wardrobes, presses and drawers and fill that bag with all of the clothes that don't fit, or that you won't wear anymore. You will be amazed at just how empowering this is.

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