HOW TO START EXERCISE

 

SEPT 21

Wall Balls – Exercise Guide, Muscles Worked, and Benefits

Most of us know all too well the feeling of the lungs burning, arms flailing, and legs nearly buckling underneath us as we perform a huge number of wall balls in a metabolic workout. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, I have put together everything you need to know about wall balls, how to do them, and their benefits so you can treat yourself to a seriously metabolic and rewarding experience.

Muscles Worked

Wall balls are a movement that entails nearly every joint in the body to open and close repeatedly, making it a great way to hit a lot of muscle at once. Below are the main muscle groups targeted when doing wall balls, with greater demands placed upon them when higher rep ranges are performed (muscular endurance) and/or when heavier loads are used (muscular power/strength).

Quadriceps

Gluteals

Hamstrings

Abdominals

Chest

Shoulders

Triceps

Lats

Erectors

Wall Ball Exercise Demo

Wall balls are a fundamental movement that entails perfect fluidity between a squat and overhead throwing motion, in a cyclical fashion. Below are a few exercise demos and video tips to help you increase your stamina, efficiency, and overall performance during this metabolic movement.

Here are some tips and tricks to maximize your wall ball efficiency and performance.

https://youtu.be/qvjpTJQ1zaU

 

Wall Ball Benefits

Below are a few benefits of performing wall balls, as either a movement as a whole or within a metabolic circuit.

Increased Fitness

Functional movement, muscular stamina and endurance, and even some strength and power can all be developed by wall balls (either done for endurance with lighter loads or done in small explosive sets for max height on the throw for power). This versatile movement can be incorporated to enhance muscular fitness, movement, and cardiovascular health, all of which are critical components of one’s overall fitness.

Fast-Track to Perfect Squats

Goblet squatting is a great way to teach slow and controlled squatting to all levels of fitness. Wall balls are very similar in that they are front loaded which force individuals to properly descend into a squat position. The great thing about wall balls is that you can program a gazillion of them into a training session in a timely manner to add quality reps and motor movement to beginners and/or reinforce proper squat patterning to pros.

Upper Body Stamina

After a wall ball workout you will notice one of two things; your legs and glutes are rocked, and your shoulders and arms feel like Jell-O. The repeated launching of a 14-30lb ball (yea, 30lbs, but heck, why not heavier) high into the air with repeated eccentric contractions as you catch it can due some serious muscle damage. Increased upper body stamina plays a huge role in competitive fitness and even sports like boxing, basketball, and swimming.

Midline Stability

Midline control and stability is necessary for about every movement that we do in fitness, sport, and life. The ability to control the midline via core strength, proper posture, and diaphragmatic breathing can increase endurance, work output, power, strength, and help to prevent injury. Squats, overhead pressing, and front loaded movements all do a wonderful job of reinforcing proper midline mechanics and increasing our abilities to remain strong and stable under fatigue. Runners, CrossFit athletes, and fitness goers alike can all benefit from wall balls.

Metabolic Training

Wall balls are simple and brutal exercise when done for long durations and with significant loading. The act of squatting, throwing, catching, and absorbing and transferring energy in a highly cyclical fashion is demanding on the muscular and cardiovascular systems. Do it intensely, and you may even find yourself in a state of EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which is the sweet spot for increasing your ability to do work while fatigued, increase caloric output, and elevate your metabolism.

SEPT 20 

Exercise to Prevent a Heart Attack
The same training principles that improve athletic performance in competitive athletes also help to prevent heart attacks and prolong lives:
• The SUN Study on 18,737 middle-aged people showed that those who exercise intensely have half the rate of heart attacks as those who do the same amount of exercise less intensely (Am J of Cardiology, Sept 11, 2018)
• Vigorous exercise is associated with a much lower rate of metabolic syndrome and diabetes than low-intensity exercise (American J of Prev Med, April 2017;52(4):e95–e101)
• An extensive review of major articles shows that exercise helps to prevent heart attacks and strokes (J of Clinical and Preventive Cardiology, 2017;6(3):109-114)
• Even low doses of exercise, such as slow walking, are associated with reduced likelihood for heart attacks and strokes (Am J Lifestyle Med, Jul 1, 2009;3(1 Suppl):44S–49S)
• The amount of time teenagers spend exercising intensely predicts markers of arteriosclerosis and inflammation far more than how much time they spend sitting still (PLoS Medicine, Sept 2018;15(9):e1002649)
• A Mediterranean diet and regular exercise, individually and combined, are associated with reduced risk for heart attacks and strokes (Eur J of Prev, June 26, 2018)How Intense Exercise Helps to Prevent Heart Attacks
Intense exercise makes muscles stronger, including your heart muscle. All people lose heart muscle as they age, which increases risk for frailty and heart failure. Strengthening your heart muscle helps you to live a more vigorous lifestyle and to protect you from heart failure. Intense exercise also helps to stabilize plaques in arteries and widens heart arteries to help protect you from a heart attack.

Stress and Recover
If you try to exercise intensely every day, you are at high risk for injuries. To become stronger and faster and have greater endurance, you need to exercise on one day intensely enough to damage your muscle fibers and feel short of breath. Then you will feel sore on the next day and are supposed to exercise at a reduced intensity for as many days as it takes for your muscles to heal and the soreness to lessen or disappear. Only then should you take your next intense workout.
• You can tell you are exercising intensely enough to damage your muscles by a feeling of burning in your muscles when you exercise.
• You will not improve your maximal ability to take in and use oxygen unless you exercise intensely enough to become short of breath.

Use Interval Training to Avoid Injuries
Adding interval workouts to an endurance training program specifically makes muscles stronger than continuous endurance training (Med & Sci in Sprts & Exe, June 2017;49(6):1126–1136). To use intervals in your exercise program, first you warm up for 10 or more minutes by going at a slow pace. Then you pick up the pace in your sport (such as running, skiing or cycling) until you start to feel a burning in your muscles or start breathing hard, usually after about 5-30 seconds. Then slow down. When you have completely recovered your breath and your muscles feel fresh again, start your next interval. Alternate picking up the pace and slowing down for full recovery until your muscles start to feel stiff or heavy, and then cool down by exercising at a slow pace for about 10-15 minutes. Most people will be able to do 5-20 short intervals of less than 30 seconds each in their early workouts and increase the number slightly as they keep on doing intervals two or three times a week. You can avoid injuries as long as you listen to your body when it tells you to reduce the intensity or to stop your workout.

Recovery Days
Most athletes in endurance and strength sports exercise on their recovery days and do not plan to take many days off. However, on recovery days, they work at a markedly reduced intensity to put minimal pressure on their muscles. If you develop pain anywhere that gets worse as you continue exercising, or doesn’t go away when you slow down, you are supposed to stop exercising for that day. Active recoveries on easy days at low intensity make muscles tougher and more fibrous so your muscles can withstand harder workouts on your intense days.

My Recommendations
• Before you start a program of interval training to improve your endurance, you should have exercised regularly for many months, be in good shape and not have any health conditions that can harm you.
• Try to set up your exercise program so that you take a hard workout that damages your muscles so they feel sore on the next day. Then take easy workouts until the soreness goes away, and then take your next hard workout.
• Immediately after an intense workout, eat whatever source of carbohydrates and protein you like best. I eat oranges and nuts immediately after I finish an intense workout to help me recover faster for my next workout. See Why You Should Eat Within One Hour After an Intense Workout.
• When you are training properly, your muscles may feel sore every morning. If they don’t feel better after a 10 minute warmup, take the day off. I do not recommend taking NSAIDs to Relieve Muscle Soreness; they can interfere with your strength gains.
• If you feel pain in one spot that does not go away after you slow down, stop that workout immediately. Otherwise you are headed for an injury.

CAUTION: Intense exercise can cause a heart attack in a person who has blocked arteries or heart damage. Check with your doctor before you start a new exercise program or make a sudden increase in the intensity of your existing program.

 

SEPT 11

IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS FURTHER!

EMOM(Every Minute on the Minute). It is a training protocol where you complete a specific set of movements or exercises every minute, then rest until the end of the minute, then you start again once the next minute starts.

15 MIN OR 30  MIN

Exercise 1 – ALT Kettlebell Swings – 10 reps PER ARM

Exercise 2 – Push Ups 10 reps

Exercise 3 -BODY SQUATS – 10 reps

 

AUG 20

IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS FURTHER!

Week 1:
Monday: Endurance program: 1×4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you’re back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you’re on the path to improved fitness!

Note that it’s important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to keep up the

intensity for the entire four minutes, you’ve overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you’re unable to maintain a conversation.

Wednesday: Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at an intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up – without stopping.

Core strength program

  1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or as in the picture below.
  2. 15 squats. Exercise the front of your thighs (quadriceps), buttocks and lots of stabilizer

muscles. Keep your hands behind your neck and keep your legs a shoulder width apart. Keep your back upright (look up and forward, and tighten your abdominal muscles somewhat), bendyour legs and “go down” as far as you can without losing your balance. Go down slowly and upwards relatively quickly.

3. 10 squat jumps – same movements as for squats described above, but move so quickly up that you jump up in the air.

Friday: Endurance program: 2×4 minutes health boost

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating lightly.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 5 minutes of calm walking – and just like that, you’re done for the week!

Give yourself an hour or two and check the feeling you have now – well donT

Week 2:
Monday: Endurance program: 1×4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you’re back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you’re on the path to improved fitness!

REMEMBER that it’s important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to

keep up the intensity for entire four minutes, you’ve overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you’re unable to maintain a conversation.

Wednesday: Endurance program: 3×4 minutes interval

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.

If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the first 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate). During the rest of the intervals it should take you about 2 minutes to reach 85-95% of your maximum heart rate. 5-minute cool-down – and you’re done for the day!

Friday: Core strength program

Perform 5-10 repetitions of all three exercises (number depending upon your fitness level), 30 seconds rest between

each exercise, and 1-minute rest between each of 3 series.

1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.

2. Split-Squat. Keep your hands behind your neck. Take a big step forward with one foot so that your knee comes in contact with or close to the ground – slide quickly back to the starting position – repeat on the opposite leg.

3. Squat jumps. Keep your hands behind your neck and keep your legs a shoulder width apart. Keep your back upright (look up and forward, and tighten your abdominal muscles somewhat), bend your legs and “go down” as far as you can without losing your balance. Go

down slowly and upwards relatively quickly.

4. Push-ups either with bent knees, or as in the picture below.

Weekend assignment

Is it really harmful not to undertake regular physical activity? The answer is undoubtedly yes. Inactivity causes about 5.5 million deaths annually worldwide, while in comparison, about 5 million die annually as a direct result of smoking. Inactivity is a risk factor for death, and health authorities worldwide have estimated that the strength of therisk factor “inactivity” is equal to the smoking, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol status risk factors

 

combined. Do your favorite activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

Week 3:
Monday: Endurance program: 3×4 minutes interval

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  7. 5-minute cool-down – and you’re done for the day!

Wednesday:

Choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross- country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

Our brain is often seen as the overarching control-centre that regulates the rest of the body. We are born with about 130 billion brain cells that are completely dependent on physical movement and good blood circulation with the supply of oxygen and proper “fuel” for them to develop and function optimally. It has been shown that people who are regularly physically active have a slower aging of the brain, larger brain volume, better learning, improved memory and less risk of developing neurological disorders (such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia and reduced cognitive function).

Friday: Endurance program: 1×4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate (see the FAQ on how to find this).
  3. 5-minute cool-down.

Enjoy your weekend off – next week is going to be intense.

Week 4:
Monday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done.

Check the feeling after a warm/cold shower – amazing – enjoy!

Wednesday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health Booster

Repeat the Monday session from this week – a real booster for your health! You are really on your way to improved fitness and younger fitness age!

Friday: Endurance program: 1×4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate (see the FAQ on how to find this).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you’re back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you’re on the path to improved fitness!

Core strength program

1. Squats 10 reps.

2. Split-Squat 7 reps on each foot.

3. Squat jumps 5 reps.

4. Push-ups, as many as you can do.

  1. Squats 7 reps, see previous picture.
  2. Split-Squat 5 reps on each foot. See previous picture.
  3. Squat jumps 5 reps. See previous picture.
  4. Push-ups, as many as you can do. See previous picture.

You will feel this week of training in your body and mind – you will like it. Weekend off – if you do exercises overthe weekend anyway…. Keep them at low-to-moderate intensity.

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Week 5:
Monday: Endurance program: 1×4 minutes kick-start (same as Monday week 1)

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you’re back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you’re on the path to improved fitness!

REMEMBER (again) that it’s important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to keep up the intensity for the entire four minutes, you’ve overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you’re unable to maintain a conversation.

Wednesday
Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up –without stopping.

Core strength program

Perform 5-10 repetitions of all exercises (number depending upon your fitness level), 30 seconds rest between each exercise, and 1-minute rest between each of 3 series.

  1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or kneeling with handholds.
  2. 15 squats.

3. 10 squats with jumps.

4. 15 squats, see previous picture.

  1. 10 squats with jumps, see previous picture.
  2. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.
  1. 15 squats, see previous picture.
  2. 10 squats with jumps, see previous picture.
  3. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.

Friday

Choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross- country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

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Week 6:
Monday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done.

Check the feeling after a warm/cold shower – amazing – enjoy!

Tuesday: Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up –without stopping.

Core strength program

1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or kneeling with handholds.

  1. 15 squats.
  2. 10 squats with jumps.

Thursday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

Described Monday this week – go for it!

Friday: Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

As described Tuesday this week – easy for you!

Core strength program

1. 10 push-ups, either regular ones or with bent knees.

  1. 15 squats.
  2. 10 squats jumps.
  1. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.
  2. 15 squats, see previous picture.
  1. 10 squats jumps, see previous picture.
  2. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.
  3. 15 squats, see previous picture.
  4. 10 squats jump, see previous picture.

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Week 7:
Monday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.

9. 5-minute cool-down – well done.

What a feeling!

Wednesday:

Choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross- country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get out of the coach.

Thursday:

Do the maximum number of sit-ups you can manage.

30-minute walk or jog at a pace where you’re not too winded to keep up a conversation. Do the maximum number of sit-ups you can manage, see previous picture.
Great job!

FITTER?
Thank you for joining us on this 7-week journey – you should be proud of yourself! You are definitely in better shape than when you started and the training now gives you more energy than it takes – most likely you’re feeling the

mental and physical benefits already. You have improved your physical fitness, which is a very important indicator of cardiovascular health. Moreover, you’ve strengthened important muscles, which will make it easier for you to manage busy day-to-day activities, with a reduced risk of injuries or strains. For a numerical measure of fitness, see our fitness calculator! And if you like – take part in the “Next 7”.

Photos of strength program: Lasse Berre

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The next 7 Week 8:

Monday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #1

This session is demanding and will be felt in body and soul – but trust us – It is effective and is a real booster toward improved health and younger fitness age. Find a suitable activity and jump into it!

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running (uphill) so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should

be at around 85-90% of your maximum heart rate. See how to define this here!

Note that it’s important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to keep up the intensity for the entire four minutes, you’ve overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you’re unable to maintain a conversation.

  1. Three minutes active rest (to get rid of lactic acid) – walk or move slowly – do not stand still!
  2. 1-minute as quick as you can – but don’t stop before 1-minute – adjust the intensity if required so you manage thewhole minute
  3. 1-minute active break – move around
  4. 1-minute as quick as you can
  5. 1-minute active break – move around
  6. 1-minute as quick as you can
  7. 3 minutes active break
  8. Repeat #2 (4-min interval)
  9. 3 minute active break
  10. 1-minute as quick as you can
  11. 1-minute active break
  12. 1-minute as quick as you can

13. 5-minute cool-down to get ready for strength training that you may think that is too much for today… but it is not… give it a try!

Core strength training:

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1. Abdominal-planking – alternate between standing on the elbows and having straight arms. Alternate between moving “opposite” foot and hand forward/backward. Try to do it for 1minute, 20 sec rest and repeat once more.

2. Side-Planking (on your elbows or straight arms). Do as many as you can, twice on each side with 30 seconds rest between each round. Remember to focus on having the right technique so that you form a “straight out” both front, side and top. For each repetition,

hold the position for 2-3 seconds, followed by a similar break. If you are really fit start out on you hands or elbowand “make a star” and hold the upper position for 3-5 seconds – repeat as many times as you can (with focus on technique).

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3. Back-planking. Keep raised position for 30-45 seconds, 15 seconds rest, repeat 2-3 times.

4. Push-ups. Perform as many repetitions as you can, with or without your knees on the ground, or a combination. Repeat the exercise again after one-minute break. How many fewer did you

manage in round 2?

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That’s it – hard but fantastic work out – and lo and behold, you’re back home where a hot shower or bath awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you’re on the path to improved fitness and younger fitness age! Give you self an hour or two and check the fantastic feeling that will last a couple of days!

Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Invite friends, choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes at an intensity that keeps it possible to hold a conversation.

It is now well documented that physical activity has a positive effect when it comes to preventing mental health problems and promoting the health of those who are already struggling with their “psyche”. Why physical activity helps is not crystal clear yet, but part of the reason may be that it leads to “happiness-chemical-production” that makes you bubble over with energy and fitness joy. Some of these happiness chemicals are substances that have a composition reminiscent of morphine, and mimic the action of drugs against pain and depression. The body produces, so to speak, its own medicine that is completely free and without negative side effects. Amongst other neurotransmitters, the amount of serotonin increases during physical activity, and it has great importance for mood. Many so-called happiness pills work just by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Friday: Endurance program: 2×4 minutes health boost

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating lightly
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  5. 5 minutes of calm walking – to get ready for a few core-strength exercises

Core strength training:

Strength training today is identical to that described on Monday this week – 2 rounds.

Weekend assignment:

Do your favourite activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

Week 9:

Monday: Endurance program: 2×4 minutes interval

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running (uphill) so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-90% of your maximum heart rate.
  3. 2 minutes active rest – move around.
  4. Repeat #2.
  5. 5 minutes cool-down.

Core strength training:

Perform 2-3 Series of the entire program. Take 2 minutes rest between the series and 30 seconds between the different exercises.

  1. Calf Rise. 10 repetitions. Lower your heels as much as possible and rise up on your toes.
  2. Deadlift with use of elastic band as illustrated below. Several health magazines have named this

the world’s best strength training exercise. An exercise that trains your hamstrings, bottom and back. Stand on the strap and adjust so that it provides resistance when you stand leaning forward (back straight) with knees slightly bent and arms at knee. Push your bottom forward, and straighten up the body so you end upright with hands in front of your thighs. Adequate

tightness of the elastic band is when you can manage 12 repetitions.
3. Shoulder exercises – 10 repetitions of all exercises A-D. Shoulder and neck exercises with an elastic band.

A: Side-Lift. Stand on the elastic band and have straight-arms so your hands rest on the outside of your thighs. Find the right elastic resistance for you so that you can correctly complete 12 repetitions of the exercise. Lift straight out and up to shoulder height with your elbows slightly bent, hold for 2 seconds and slowly return. Be careful not to bend the torso neither forward nor

backward, and stop movement when you reach shoulder height.

B: Elbow-Lift. Stand on the strap (and cross so that the end of the strap that comes from the left foot is held in the right hand – and vice versa – see picture). Hold the handles on the elastic band with arms straight in front of your thighs. Lift up slowly so that your fists come under the chin and your elbows are approximately straight out from your shoulders. Hold for 2 seconds

and slowly return – tighten the elastic band so you can do 12 repetitions.

C: Shoulder-Press. Stand on the strap and hold the handles at shoulder height. Press your arms straight up. The wider your stance, the heavier it becomes. Adjust elastic resistance so you can do 12 repetitions.

D: Seated shoulder rotation. Secure the elastic strap at floor height on a suitable object. Have your arm raised and bent at about 90 degrees at the elbow as shown. Rotate the shoulder joint and move the handle towards you while keeping the upper arm in the same position during the

entire movement. Tighten the band so you can withstand 12 repetitions on each arm.

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4. Split-Squat. Keep your hands behind your neck. Take a big step forward with one foot so that your knee comes in contact with or close to the ground – slide quickly back to the starting position – repeat on the opposite leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg without a break.

5. Back-Extension. Lie down on the floor and pull your heels as far towards your bottom as you can. Use your back and lift your hips up toward the ceiling, and hold this raised position for 5 seconds before going down again. If you find this easy, you can

alternately lift and stretch out your right and left leg while keeping the raised position for 5-10 seconds. 10 repetitions on each foot.

6. Triceps dips or triceps exercises with elastic bands. Lean against a chair or something similar as shown in the picture. Lower yourself down slowly and push up. If you haven’t used these muscles for a long time, the exercise will be challenging the first

time. Perform as many repetitions as you can manage, and do three sets with a 30 second pause between each.

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If that exercise is too difficult at first, use the elastic band again and perform the exercise as in the picture below instead. Hold the elastic band with one hand behind your lower back, just above your backside, and lead the other hand up and behind so can hold the elastic band. Next, extend that hand straight up. Adjust the band so you can do approximately 12 repetitions three times with 30 second pause between each set.

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7. Abdominal-Planking as described in week 8. 1 minute.

8. Back-Planking as described in week 8. 30 seconds in raised position.

9. Biceps – the muscles on the front of the upper arm. Find a suitable fence, a tree branch or similar. Lie as shown with your body straight and face up. Start with your arms as straight as possible and lift your torso so that your chin comes over the rod. You can vary the load

by moving your legs closer or futher away from you – find a position that allows you to perform 10 repetitions. After the first set, take a one minute break before repeating the exercise.

An alternative exercise to train the biceps is to use an elastic band (see picture below). Stand on the strap, and adjust the resistance so you can manage 10 repetitions for two sets. Keep your elbows close to your body and don’t bend your torso back or forward during the exercise.

10. The-Lift. “Elbow-Standing-Leg-Work” – trains your shoulders, abdominal muscles, legs and back. Kneel on all fours while supporting yourself on your forearms as illustrated. Keep your back straight. Avoid swaying. Alternately move the right and left leg up and out to the side. Perform 5 reps per leg, hold for 5 seconds in the raised position.

11. Standing rotation with elastic bands to exercise the oblique abdominal muscles. Secure the strap overhead-height on a suitable object. Stand sideways with straight arms and rotate down toward the opposite side. Try it out to find correct resistance of the elastic band so that you can perform 10 repetitions on each side.

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12. Alternatively perform “oblique sit-ups”. Lie on your back with one knee bent and theother foot resting on the knee. Keep one hand behind your head and the other arm stretched out. Move the elbow from the hand behind your head toward the opposite knee

and see how far you can go, hold for 2-3 seconds. 10 repetitions to each side. 13. Side-Planking as described in week 8. 10 repetitions per side.

14. Push-ups as described in week 8. 10 repetitions.

15. Back-Diagonal. Stand on “all fours”. Raise your right arm up high and forward

(see picture) while leading left foot high up and behind. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds, then rest 1-2 seconds. Elbow and knee should meet during the rest, and

bow so your chin goes towards the knee (see picture). Perform 10 repetitions on each side. If you managed this we are impressed! A shower and a great feeling are waiting for you!

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Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

Friday: Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up –without stopping.

Core strength program

1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or kneeling with handholds.

2. 15 squats. Exercise the front of your thighs (quadriceps), buttocks and lots of stabilizer muscles. Keep your hands behind your neck and keep your legs a shoulder width apart. Keep your back upright (look up and forward, and tighten your abdominal muscles somewhat), bend your legs and go down as far as you can without losing your balance. Go down slowly and upwards relatively

quickly.

3. 10 squat jumps – same movements as for squats described above, but move so quickly up that you jump in the air.

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Weekend assignment:

Join friends and find a new crazy activity involving large muscle groups – be active for more than 60 minutes.

Week 10:

Monday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #2

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 5-minutes of ”17:13-intervals”. This interval-variant is simple, but hard to do. In your chosen activity keep high intensity (not all-out, but close to) for 17 seconds, thereafter you have 13 seconds active rest (move around, do not stop) and repeat 10 times. After about 6 of the intervals your heart rate should be close to 85-90% of your maximum.
  3. 3 minutes active rest (move around to quicker get rid of the lactic acid).
  4. Repeat #2.

5. 5-minutes cool down to get ready for a short strength training session.

Core strength training

Perform 2-3 series of the entire program. Take 2 minutes rest between the series and 30 seconds between the different

exercises.

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1. Sit-ups, 10 repetitions.

2. Deadlift as described Monday week 9, 15 repetitions.

3. Super-Woman. “Fly” like Super-Woman – lie on the ground and lift your torso as much as you can while lifting your legs up behind. Make alternating movements with arms sideways and

use a freestyle swim kicking motion for the legs. “Fly” for 5 seconds before taking a break for 5 seconds – repeat 7 times.

4. The Lift as described Monday in week-9, 10 reps on each foot.

5. Back-Extension as described Monday in week-9, 10 reps on each foot.

6. Shoulder exercises (A-D) as described Monday in week-9, 10 repetitions on each

A: Side-Lift. Stand on the elastic band and have straight-arms so your hands rest on the outside of your thighs. Find the right elastic resistance for you so that you can correctly complete 12 repetitions of the exercise. Lift straight out and up to shoulder height with your elbows slightly bent, hold for 2 seconds and slowly return. Be careful not to bend the torso neither forward nor

backward, and stop movement when you reach shoulder height.

B: Elbow-Lift. Stand on the strap (and cross so that the end of the strap that comes from the left foot is held in the right hand – and vice versa – see picture). Hold the handles on the elastic band with arms straight in front of your thighs. Lift up slowly so that your fists come under the chin and your elbows are approximately straight out from your shoulders. Hold for 2 seconds

and slowly return – tighten the elastic band so you can do 12 repetitions.

C: Shoulder-Press. Stand on the strap and hold the handles at shoulder height. Press your arms straight up. The wider your stance, the heavier it becomes. Adjust elastic resistance so you can do 12 repetitions.

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D: Seated shoulder rotation. Secure the elastic strap at floor height on a suitable object. Have your arm raised and bent at about 90 degrees at the elbow as shown. Rotate the shoulder joint and move the handle towards you while keeping the upper arm in the same position during the

entire movement. Tighten the band so you can withstand 12 repetitions on each arm.

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What a feeling – and what a wonderful start of the week!

Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

Friday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done

Check the feeling after a warm/cold shower – amazing – the weekend is here – enjoy!

Weekend assignment

Your favourite activity – or a completely new one at low intensity for more than 60 minutes – enjoy life.

Week 11:

Monday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #3

  1. 10-minutes warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 1-minute as quick as you can – but don’t stop before 1-minute – adjust the intensity if required so you manage the whole minute.
  3. 1-minute active break – move around.
  4. Repeat #2 and #3 until you have completed 10 repetitions of #2
  5. 5-minute cool-down.

Give you self a shower/bath, and one hour later…. What a feeling!

Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

Perhaps you knew that red wine has some great health benefits that reduce the risk of cardiovasculardisease… But did you know that this only applies for those that are physically active? In a study called “In vino veritas” (in wines are the truth) researchers compared the effects of red and white wine on risk markers for cardiovascular disease. The study showed that drinking wine according to WHO definition of moderate consumption (0.2 L and 0.3 L for women and men, respectively, a maximum of five days a week) only gave protective effect if you were physically active more than twice per week. They found no differences between red and white wine. So if you like to obtain the health benefits of drinking wine, you must exercise at least twice every week. Red or white – follow your heart.

Friday: Endurance program: 30 minutes Fun-Run

  1. 10-minutes warm-up to get you sweating
  2. 30-minutes walk/run or your favourite activity at an intensity a bit higher than the warm-up but not harder thanyou can do the whole 30-minutes period without stopping.

Core strength training

Perform 2 series of the entire program. Take 2 minutes rest between the series and 30 seconds between the different

exercises.

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1. Sit-ups, 10 repetitions.

2. Back-Diagonal, 10 repetitions each “side”.

3. Stand-up-Rowing with elastic band. Secure the strap straight out from the body as shown. Start with straight arms and pull backwards without leaning backward. Adjust the band tension so that you can manage 15 repetitions.

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4. Shoulder exercises – 10 repetitions of all exercises A-D. Shoulder and neck exercises with an elastic band.

A: Side-Lift. Stand on the elastic band and have straight-arms where the hands rest on the outside of your thighs. Find the right elastic resistance for you so that you can correctly complete 12 repetitions. Lift straight out and up to shoulder height with your elbows slightly bent, hold for 2 seconds and slowly return. Be careful not to bend the torso neither forward nor

backward, and stop movement when you reach shoulder height.

B: Elbow-Lift. Stand on the strap (and cross so that the end of the strap that comes from the left foot is held in the right hand – and vice versa – see picture). Hold the handles on the elastic band

with arms straight in front of your thighs. Lift up slowly so that your fists come under the chin and your elbows are approximately straight out from your shoulders. Hold for 2 seconds and

slowly return – tighten the elastic band so you can manage 12 repetitions.

C: Shoulder-Press. Stand on the strap and hold the handles at shoulder height. Press your arms straight up. The wider your stance, the heavier it becomes. Adjust elastic resistance so you can do 12 repetitions.

D: Seated shoulder rotation. Secure the elastic band at floor height on a suitable object. Have your arm raised and bent at about 90 degrees at the elbow as shown. Rotate the shoulder joint and move the handle towards you while keeping the upper arm in the same position during the entire movement. Tighten the band so you can withstand 12 repetitions on each arm.

5. Deadlift with use of elastic band as illustrated. Stand on the strap and adjust so that it provides resistance when you stand leaning forward (back straight) with knees slightly bent and arms at knee height. Push your bottom forward, and straighten up the body so you end upright with hands in front of your thighs. Adequate tightening of the elastic band is when you can manage

12 repetitions.

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Week 12:

Monday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #1

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running (uphill) so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-90% of your maximum heart rate. See how to define this here.
  3. Three minutes active rest (to get rid of lactic acid) – walk or move slowly – do not stand still!
  4. 1-minute as quick as you can – but don’t stop before 1-minute – if required, adjust the intensity so you manage thewhole minute.
  5. 1-minute active break – move around.

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  1. 1-minute as quick as you can.
  2. 1-minute active break – move around.
  3. 1-minute as quick as you can.
  4. 3 minutes active break.
  5. Repeat #2 (4-min interval).
  6. 3 minute active break.
  7. 1-minute as quick as you can.
  8. 1-minute active break.
  9. 1-minute as quick as you can.
  10. 5-minute cool-down to become ready for strength training that you may think that is too much for today… but it isnot!

Core strength training:

1. Abdominal-planking – alternate between standing on the elbows and havingstraight arms. Alternate between moving “opposite” foot and hand

forward/backward. Try to do it for 1 minute, 20 sec rest and repeat once more.

2. Side-Planking (on your elbows or straight arms). Do as many as you can, twice on each side with 30 seconds rest between each round. Remember to focus on having

the right technique so that you form a “straight out” both front, side and top. For each repetition, hold the position for 2-3 seconds, followed by a similar break. If you are

really fit start out on you hands or elbow and “make a star” and hold the upper position for 3- 5 seconds – repeat as many times as you can (with focus on technique).

3. Back-planking. Keep a raised position for 30-45 seconds, 15 seconds rest, repeat 2-3 times.

4. Calf-Rise 10 repetitions, 30 sec rest, repeat.

5. Deadlift with use of elastic band as illustrated. 12 repetitions, two series.

6. Standing rotation with elastic bands. Exercise the oblique abdominal muscles. Secure the strap over head-height on a suitable object. Stand sideways with straight arms and rotate down toward the opposite side. Try to find the correct resistance of the elastic band so that you can perform 10 repetitions on each side. Repeat.

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Alternatively perform “oblique sit-ups”. Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other

foot resting on the knee. Keep one hand behind your head and the other arm stretched out. Move the elbow from the hand behind your head toward the opposite knee and see how far you

can go, hold for 2-3 seconds. 10 repetitions to each side. Repeat.

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Super start of the week – get ready for more!

Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The

intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

Sitting is a deadly activity. A study on healthy adults 60 years of age indicated that if you sit more than six hours per day, you are 40% more likely to die over the next 14 years compared with those who sit less than three hours per day. Another study (women and men over 35 years) showed that those who sat in front of the TV more than four hours daily were 50% more likely to die and had a more than doubled risk of angina (heart cramp) and heart attack than those who only sat two hours in front of the TV (over a period of four years). Other similar studies conclude likewise, and it is shown that every hour you sit in front the TV after the age of 25 causes you to shorten your life by 22 minutes. For comparison it has been shown that the lifespan is reduced by 11 minutes per cigarette smoked….

Friday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #3

  1. 10-minutes warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 1-minute as quick as you can – but don’t stop before 1-minute – adjust the intensity as required so you manage the whole minute.
  1. 1-minute active break – move around.
  2. Repeat #2 and #3 so until you have performed 10 repetitions of #2.
  3. 5-minute cool-down.

Give you self a shower/bath, and one hour later…. What a feeling – the weekend is here – Enjoy!

Week 13:

Monday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath

9. 5-minute cool-down – well done – get ready for a tough strength program today

Core strength training

Perform 1-2 Series of the entire program. Take 2 minutes rest between the series and 30 seconds between the different exercises.

1. Calf Rise. 10 repetitions. Lower your heels as much as possible and rise up on your toes.

2. Deadlift with use of elastic band as illustrated. Adequately tighten the elastic band so you can manage 12 repetitions.

3. Shoulder exercises – 10 repetitions of all exercises A-D. Shoulder and neck exercises with an elastic band.

A: Side-Lift. Stand on the elastic band and have straight-arms so your hands rest on the outside of your thighs. Find the right elastic resistance for you so that you can correctly complete 12 repetitions. Lift straight out and up to shoulder height with your elbows slightly bent, hold for 2 seconds and slowly return. Be careful not to bend the torso forward nor backward, and stop

movement when you reach shoulder height.

B: Elbow-Lift. Stand on the strap (and cross so that the end of the strap that comes from the left

foot is held in the right hand – and vice versa – see picture). Hold the handles on the elastic band with arms straight in front of your thighs. Lift up slowly so that your fists come under the chin and your elbows are approximately straight out from your shoulders. Hold for 2 seconds and

slowly return – tighten the elastic band so you can do 12 repetitions.

C: Shoulder-Press. Stand on the strap and hold the handles at shoulder height. Press your arms straight up. The wider your stance, the heavier it becomes. Adjust the elastic resistance so you can do 12 repetitions.

D: Seated shoulder rotation. Secure the elastic strap at floor height on a suitable object. Have your arm raised and bent at about 90 degrees at the elbow as shown. Rotate the shoulder joint and move the handle towards you while keeping the upper arm in the same position during the entire movement. Tighten the band so you can withstand 12 repetitions on each arm.

4. Split-Squat. Keep your hands behind your neck. Take a big step forward with one foot so that your knee comes in contact with or close to the ground – slide quickly back to the starting

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position – repeat on the opposite leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg without a break.

5. Back-Extension. Lie down on the floor and pull your heels as far towards your bottom as you can. Use your back and lift your hips up toward the ceiling, hold the raised position for 5 seconds before going down again. If you think this is easy, you can alternately lift and

stretch out right and left leg while keeping the raised position for 5-10 seconds. 10 repetitions on each foot.

6. Triceps dips or triceps exercises with elastic bands. Lean against a chair or something similar as shown in the picture. Lower yourself down slowly and push up. If you haven’t used these muscles for a long time, the exercise will be challenging the first time. Perform as many repetitions as you can manage, and do three sets with a 30 second pause

between each.

If that exercise is too difficult at first, use the elastic band again and perform the exercise as in the picture below instead. Hold the elastic band with one hand behind your lower back, just above your backside, and lead the other hand up and behind so can hold the elastic band. Next, extend that hand straight up. Adjust the band so you can do approximately 12 repetitions three times with 30 second pause between each set.

7. Biceps – the muscles on the front of the upper arm. Find a suitable fence, a tree branch or similar. Lie as shown with your body straight and face up. Start with your arms as straight as possible and lift your torso so that your chin comes over the rod. You can vary the load by moving your legs closer or futher away from you – find a

position that allows you to perform 10 repetitions. After the first set, take a one minute break before repeating the exercise.

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An alternative exercise to train the biceps is to use an elastic band (see picture below). Stand on the strap, and adjust the resistance so you can manage 10 repetitions for two sets. Keep your elbows close to your body and don’t bend your torso back or forward during the exercise.

8. The-Lift. “Elbow-Standing-Leg-Work” – trains your shoulders, abdominal muscles, legs and back. Kneel on all fours while supporting yourself on your forearms as illustrated. Keep your

back straight. Avoid swaying. Alternately move the right and left leg up and out to the side. Perform 5 reps per leg, hold for 5 seconds in the raised position.

9. Standing rotation with elastic bands. Exercising the oblique abdominal muscles. Secure the strap over-head-height in a suitable object. Stand sideways with straight arms and rotate down toward the opposite side. Try to find the correct resistance of the elastic band so that you can perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Alternatively perform “oblique sit-ups”. Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other footresting on the knee. Keep one hand behind your head and the other arm stretched out. Move the elbow from the hand behind your head toward the opposite knee and see how far you can go, hold for 2-3 seconds. 10 repetitions on each side.

10. Stand-up-Rowing with elastic band. Secure the strap straight out from the body as shown. Start with straight arms and pull backwards without leaning backward. Adjust the elastic band tension so that you can manage 15 repetitions.

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11. Standing-Arm-Press-Forward, as shown in the picture. This exercise is good for the chest muscles. Keep your arms straight out with your elbows slightly bent. Press your arms forward until your hands meet, slowly back to start. The appropriate resistance of the elastic band is when it is possible to perform 12 repetitions.

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If you managed this we are impressed! A shower and a great feeling are waiting for you!

Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The

intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

Every day your heart beats about 100,000 times, approximately 36 million times a year. The heart is our engine! The body of an adult contains about 5.6 liters of blood circulating through the body about three times per minute. During a single day your heart pumps around 7,500 liters of oxygen-rich blood, and during a lifetime the heart pumps about 159 million liters of blood around the body. It is enough to fill three super tankers with blood. Not bad for a muscle the size of two fists.

Friday: Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up –without stopping.

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Core strength program

Perform 2 series of the program, 30 seconds between exercises, 2 minutes between series.

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1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or kneeling with handholds.

2. 15 squats. Exercise the front of your thighs (quadriceps), buttocks and lots of stabilizer muscles. Keep your hands behind your neck and keep your legs a shoulder width. Keep your back upright (look up and forward, and tighten your abdominal muscles somewhat), bend your legs and go down as far as you can without losing your balance. Go down slowly and upwards relatively quickly.

3. 10 squat jumps – same movements as for squats described above, but move so quickly up that you jumping in the air.

4. Super-Woman. “Fly” like Super-Woman – lie on the ground and lift your torso as much as you can while lifting your legs up behind. Make alternating movements with arms sideways and use a freestyle swimming kick motion with your legs. “Fly” for 5

seconds before taking a break for 5 seconds – repeat 7 times.

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5. Stand-up-Rowing with elastic band. Secure the band straight out from the body as shown. Start with straight arms and pull backwards without leaning backward. Adjust the band tension so that you can manage 15 repetitions.

6. Standing-Arm-Press-Forward, as shown in the picture. This exercise is good for the chest muscles. Keep your arms straight out with your elbows slightly bent. Press your arms forward until your hands meet, slowly back to start. The appropriate resistance of the elastic band is when it is possible to perform 12 repetitions.

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Weekend assignment

Join friends and find a crazy activity involving large muscle groups – be active more than 60 minutes. Share your activity with us at our Facebook Page.

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Week 14:

Monday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #2

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 5-minutes of ”17:13-intervals”. This interval-variant is simple, but hard to do. In your chosen activity keep a high intensity (not all-out, but close to) for 17 seconds, thereafter you have 13 seconds active rest (move around, do not stop) and repeat 10 times. After about 6 of the intervals your heart rate should be close to 85-90% of your maximum.
  3. 3 minutes active rest (move around to quickly get rid of the lactic acid).
  1. Repeat #2.
  2. 5-minutes cool down to get ready for a short strength training session.

Core strength training:

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1. Abdominal-planking – alternate between standing on the elbows andhaving straight arms. Alternate between moving “opposite” foot and hand

forward/backward. Try to do it for 1 minute, 20 sec rest and repeat once more.

2. Side-Planking (on your elbows or straight arms). Do as many as you can, twice on each side with 30 seconds rest between each round. Remember to focus on having the right technique so that you form a “straight out” both front, side and top. For each repetition, hold the position for 2-3 seconds, followed by a similar

break. If you are really fit start out on you hands or elbow and “make a star” and hold the upper position for 3-5

seconds – repeat as many times as you can (with focus on technique).

3. Back-planking. Keep a raised position for 30-45 seconds, 15 seconds rest, repeat 2-3 times.

4. Push-ups. Perform as many repetitions as you can, with or without your knees on the ground, or a combination. Repeat the exercise again after one-minute break.

5. Deadlift with use of elastic band as illustrated. The elastic band is adequately tight when you can manage 12 repetitions.

6. Back-Diagonal. Stand on “all fours”. Raise your right arm up high and forward (see picture) while raising your left foot high up and behind. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds, then rest for 1-2 seconds. Elbow and knee should meet during the rest, and

bow so your chin goes towards the knee (see picture). Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

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Excellent start of the week!

Wednesday: Endurance program, Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

The blood that the heart pumps, flushes through more than 96,500 km of blood vessels, the connection betweens the body various organs. During a single day blood is “transported” approximately 19 000 km, equivalent to four times the distance from coast to coast in the US. Physical activity can partially prevent arteries hardening with increasing age. This is possible because the increased blood flow during physical exertion regularly stretches blood vessels and keeps them elastic longer compared with blood vessels of inactive people. Elastic vessels indicate a good

blood vessel function that ensures ample supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Stiffer arteries may contribute to the mental changes that may occur at increased age. For example, it is known that a type of dementia, vascular dementia, is caused by poor blood circulation in the brain. So make sure that your arteries get a “flush” several times a week by being physically active.

Friday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done!

10.

Congratulations – you are at the end of this training program. Make sure you continue to make the time you have found for your exercise training, and make sure you continue with your new healthy habits. It may be that we come up with a follow-up program to the two you have been through, and we will also give you tips for smart and healthy food. However, until then, be your own coach and design your own exercises. A myriad of strength exercises exist that you can do, but do not forget the ones you have learned in this program as they involve muscle groups you and absolutely everyone else need every day.

Pictures of strenght training: Lasse Berre

AUG 17

HOW TO START WORKING OUT AGAIN WHEN YOU’RE OUT OF SHAPE

While we all have the best of intentions to exercise regularly and stick with it, sometimes life gets in the way. Whether you take some time off due to injury, a hectic schedule, a long vacation, or just go through periods of not feeling it, you can get back into a good exercise groove. You just need to approach it the right way.

Diving into a complicated routine or high-intensity training is usually not the best route to take – especially if you were sidelined due to injury. If your time off was medically related (i.e. injury, illness, having a baby, etc.), it is critical that you get the green light from your doctor to begin participating in physical activity again.

Once you feel ready to get back into it, here are some helpful tips to help you start working out after taking time off.

Know Your Starting Point

In addition to being ready physically, it is also important to be ready mentally. Getting back into exercise after taking time off can create anxious feelings for some.

Thoughts such as “What if I can’t do what I used to do?” or “What if I look silly?” can be discouraging, but it is important to remember that getting fit is not a linear journey. Just because you could perform at a certain level at one point and no longer can, it does not mean the exercise no longer “counts.” Your body wants to move and will benefit from any movement – it’s just important to give it the type of movement it needs, and to give yourself grace in the meantime.

If you are going to begin working out again safely and effectively, you have to be honest with yourself about where you are at. Trying to jump back into high-intensity exercise after taking a long period of time off can feel discouraging, and can be dangerous. Try not to get bogged down by what you used to be able to do. Your body changes every single day, and it is important to honor where you’re at in this point in time.

Begin Incorporating Low-Impact Movement

If you’re unsure what exercises you should start with, I recommend putting one foot in front of the other. That’s right, I’m talking about walking.

Walking is by far one of the most beneficial, highly functional exercises you can do, yet it is incredibly underrated. While walking doesn’t provide the intense calorie burn that sexier, high-intensity workouts do, walking is an approachable way to help your body get re-acclimated to movement. In addition to being a great source of cardio, regular walking may help .

Here is a simple five-day routine you could follow to get back in the swing of things:

Day 1 – Moderate/Brisk Walk for 30 Minutes

Day 2 – Perform the following:

Two Sets of 10 Bodyweight Squats to a bench or chair

Two sets of 10 Modified Push-ups (on knees or against a wall)

15 seconds of Plank (or modified plank) followed by three seconds of rest for three total rounds

Follow this routine up with a 15 minute moderate or brisk walk.

Day 3 – Rest

Day 4 – Moderate/Brisk Walk for 20 Minutes Followed by 10 Minutes of Stretching

Day 5 – Perform the following:

Two Sets of 10 Bodyweight Squats to a bench or chair

Two sets of 10 Modified Push-ups (on knees or against a wall)

15 seconds of Plank (or modified plank) followed by three seconds of rest for three total rounds

Follow this routine up with a 15 minute moderate or brisk walk.

Gradually Keep Building

Once you have been able to incorporate low-impact movement into your day for two or more weeks and are feeling good, it might be time to gradually keep building and performing movement that feels good to your body. Maybe that means you start attempting push-ups with one knee on the ground instead of both. Maybe that means you start incorporating a yoga class or lifting light weights. Continue assessing how your mind and body are feeling and take things one day at a time.

Aug 6

Strength Training Guidelines

1. People need to learn a correct range of motion for each exercise that is within their capability and practice that range of motion with lighter resistance.

2. There is not a lot of convincing data on repetition duration, but what there is including work we have done, suggests for each exercise taking about three seconds for the concentric, positive part of the rep, and three seconds for the eccentric, negative part. The reps are done smoothly as are the “turn arounds” from positive to negative and negative to positive.

3. Train to the point where the last repetition in good form is performed that will usually represent a high degree of effort which is the goal. This is often called “training to failure” but a better point is saying that this is “successful training.”

4. The stimulus comes from the degree of effort and not a specific weight per se. There is no need to ever use heavy resistance. This isn’t based on 1 RM [the heaviest weight you can lift for one repetition], an unnecessary concept from weight lifting. Simply after a number of sessions of learning good form, pick a resistance for each exercise that is challenging, anywhere from eight to 20 repetitions at the 3, 3 rep format. Train to the last good rep and stop. And, keep track of your workouts. Use any means (e.g., a written log, phone app) that suits you. Plan each workout based on your prior workout so you know exactly what to do. Try also to record your workout in ‘real time’, rather than trying to remember at some later point what you did in the workout.

5. When people pay attention and train in this way, performing one set per exercise provides about the same benefits as any number of multiple sets. A whole body protocol can include about 12 exercises and overall take about 30-40 minutes. Generally perform for major muscle groups one compound movement and one isolation movement. For example, for the quadriceps (thighs), perform the leg press and the leg extension. For small muscle groups perform one isolation movement. For example, for the biceps, perform a curl.  Besides a short general warm-up, warming up for the first exercise of the day is a good idea. Starting with lower-body also is a good idea, though any order can be effective. Take about a minute between sets. Pay attention to the exercise, your ROM [range of motion], and the effects of the exercise. No talking while doing a set. Resistance training, similar to yoga, should be a focused attention activity.

6. The process of adding strength and muscle hypertrophy is really not based on “repairing damage.” It is learning to train in ways that do not create a lot of damage so the body can focus on muscle protein synthesis, a growth process, and not on damage repair. This means sticking to exercises and performing them in correct form and not constantly changing a routine. Extreme muscle soreness the day after training is not a sign of a ‘good workout’. It often means the resistance used on one or more exercise was too heavy; or the range of motion was too large; or you changed some exercises, or your sleep or nutrition was inadequate. Think about what likely caused the extreme soreness and make a correction including, perhaps, taking an extra rest day. See how this literally ‘works out’.

7. Progress is made by small increments in repetitions and resistance over many workouts, but there is only real progress if form does not change. Do not try to ‘rush’ your progress. ‘Slow and steady’ wins the race. At some point, although this may take a year or more, your strength gains and body composition improvements will plateau. If you keep training consistently, you can maintain your gains. This has to be considered a form of progress. As people get older, strength and muscle mass are lost. If you are maintaining, relative to your age peer group, you are progressing.

8. One does not train the same muscle group on consecutive days. So, if on a Wednesday, eight good repetitions were performed in the chest press with 100 pounds, on Thursday, you would NOT do the chest press for eight repetitions with 50 pounds. Rather you would take a walk or do some other kind of exercise. But resistance training is a powerful stimulus providing numerous cardiometabolic benefits, and in order to improve in resistance training while you can effectively also do endurance or interval training, you can’t overdo the latter two kinds of training and expect to see gains in resistance training. This is called ‘concurrent training’. It was believed for many years that endurance training inevitably ‘interfered’ with and undermined gains from strength training. What has been found is that this effect was primarily caused by overtraining, i.e., too much exercise. Effective concurrent training is possible but it also can help to decide what type of exercise is your priority. That way you can still perform both types of exercise but put more time and effort into the type of exercise that is your priority. There also are disparate outcomes from studies assessing the effects of same day, or alternate day strength and endurance training. The benefit of same day training is that the next day can be a complete recovery day. The disadvantage of same day training is that the training session is very long. Experiment and find what works for you. The advent of very brief high intensity interval training and sprint interval training protocols tends to make same day training more feasible.

9. The commercial marketing of strength training protocols mostly depends upon the idea that specific protocols produce specific outcomes. For example, for larger, ‘shapelier’ muscles, perform protocol XYZ. But, how we respond to any reasonable strength training protocol is largely based on genetic factors. For example, some people have a good propensity to increase strength, and others have a good propensity to increase muscle mass in response to the same protocol. And, research shows that these two propensities are not highly related. Nor, is it possible to change the shape of different muscle groups. The best approach is to be consistent with your training, nutrition, and sleep and in that way you will make the most out of your individual characteristics.

10. Nutritional support for strength training is important, but, this does not mean relying on supplements. The best evidence points to having meals distributed throughout the day with about 25 to 30 grams of protein in each meal, and within a healthful nutrition pattern such as DASH or the Mediterranean pattern.

AUG 2

Ten-Minute Workouts for Fitness

Three minutes of intense exercise can give you the same level of fitness as 45 minutes of more casual exercise (PLoS One, April 26, 2016;11(4):e0154075). Two groups of out-of-shape men exercised three times a week for 12 weeks. One group pedaled stationary bicycles for 45 minutes. The other group did the following 10-minute workout:
• warm up for two minutes on a stationary bicycle
• pedal as hard as possible for 20 seconds followed by very slow pedaling for two minutes (recovery)
• repeat the 20-second all-out pedaling followed by two minutes of slow recovery
• pedal all-out for the last 20-second sprint and then cool down for three minutes.

Both groups made the same improvements in fitness as measured by:
• Maximal amount of oxygen uptake (Vo2max) – 20 percent increase in both groups
• Insulin sensitivity index (to prevent diabetes) – more than 50 percent increase in both groups
• Skeletal muscle mitochondrial content also increased by the same amount, even though the intense exercise group worked out for only 10 minutes per session while the casual-exercise group’s workout took 45 minutes, or 4.5 times as long.

Benefits of Exercise
• Your fitness level determines, in part, your susceptibility for suffering heart attacks (Prog Cardiovasc Dis, 2014;56:382–90), diabetes, certain cancers and premature death (Ex and Spts Sci Reviews, 2017;45(1):7-15).
• Regular exercise helps to prevent many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes (Can Med Assoc J, 2006;174: 801–809).
• High levels of fitness predict a long lifespan (Arch Int Med, 2012;172:1333-1340), and low levels of fitness predict a shortened lifespan (Circulation, 2008;117:614-622).
• Not exercising is the most common modifiable cause of chronic disease (Can Med Assoc J, 2006;174: 801–809).
• The most common excuse for not exercising is lack of time (Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2002;34: 1996–2001). This new study shows that ONE minute of intense exercise, in a regular program of ten-minute workouts, is enough to gain significant fitness benefits.

My Recommendations
• Everyone should try to exercise every day because a high level of fitness helps to prevent disease and to prolong life.
• Intense exercise takes far less time than more casual exercise for the same health benefits.
Caution: Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or making a sudden change in the intensity of your existing exercise program.

july 24

DO NOT STOP

Muscle Loss from Inactivity: 34 Percent in Just Two weeks

A study from the University of Copenhagen shows that wearing an immobilizing knee brace for just two weeks caused men in their 20s to lose 22 to 34 percent of their leg muscle strength, while men in their 60s lost 20 to 26 percent (Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, June 26, 2015).

It took them six weeks of exercising on a bicycle 3-4 times a week to restore the leg muscle size and ability to exercise, but even that did not fully restore the leg muscle strength. This study shows that:
• When muscles of young men are immobilized for two weeks, they lose strength equivalent to aging 40 or 50 years.
• As soon as you stop moving, your muscles start to weaken.
• The larger your muscles, the more muscle you have to lose.
• Younger and stronger people lose strength even faster than older people.
Other studies show that it takes three times the amount of time you were inactive to regain the muscle size that you have lost, probably because you were immobilized 24 hours a day and you exercise for only a short time each day.

Aging Weakens Muscles Even if You Exercise
Inactivity at any age causes muscles to weaken, and you are likely to lose muscle strength with aging no matter how much you exercise. Every muscle in your body is made up of thousands of muscle fibers just as a rope is made up of many strands. Every muscle fiber is innervated by a single nerve fiber. With aging you lose nerves, and when you lose a nerve attached to a muscle fiber, that muscle fiber is lost also. A 20-year-old person may have 800,000 muscle fibers in the vastus lateralis muscle in the front of his upper leg, but by age 60, that muscle would have only about 250,000 fibers. For a 60-year-old to have the same strength as a 20-year-old, the average muscle fiber needs to be three times as strong as the 20-year-old’s muscle fibers. You cannot stop this loss of the number of muscle fibers with aging, but you certainly can enlarge each muscle fiber and slow down the loss of strength by exercising muscles against progressive resistance using strength-training machines or by lifting weights (Experimental Gerontology, August 13, 2013).

How to Strengthen Muscles
To enlarge and strengthen muscles, you need to exercise them against resistance forceful enough to damage the muscle fibers. You will know that you have done this because you will feel a burning in the stressed muscle during the later lifts and on the next day, your muscles will feel sore. Then you lift lighter weights, or engage in other sports, for as many days as it takes for your muscles to heal. You can tell this has happened when the soreness goes away.

My Recommendations
We are all likely to have some enforced periods of inactivity, but if you realize how quickly you lose muscle strength and how much longer it takes to gain it back, you will avoid voluntary inactivity as much as possible. For example, when you plan a vacation, make sure it involves physical activity that is at least equal to your regular exercise program.

As you age, expect to become weaker and more likely to fall and break your bones. To enlarge muscles and slow the natural loss of strength with aging, you should lift weights a few times in a row or lighter weight many times in a row. You can become quite strong by using 10 to 15 strength-training machines (for different muscle groups) three times a week. Do two or three sets of 10 repetitions on each machine. Always stop immediately if you feel any pain, tearing or excessive burning. See Making Muscles Stronger.

Caution: Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or changing the intensity of your existing program.

How to Start Exercising and Stick to It

Making Exercise an Enjoyable Part of Your Everyday Life

You already know there are many great reasons to exercise—from improving energy, mood, sleep, and health to reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. And detailed exercise instructions and workout plans are just a click away. But if knowing how and why to exercise was enough, we’d all be in shape. Making exercise a habit takes more—you need the right mindset and a smart approach. Whatever your age or fitness level—even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life before—there are steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating and painful and more fun and instinctive.

What’s keeping you from exercising?

If you’re having trouble beginning an exercise plan or following through, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle getting out of the sedentary rut, despite our best intentions.

While practical concerns like a busy schedule or poor health can make exercise more challenging, for most of us, the biggest barriers are mental. Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence that keeps you from taking positive steps, or your motivation quickly flames out, or you get easily discouraged and give up. We’ve all been there at some point. Here’s what you can do to break through mental barriers:

Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. A little exercise is better than nothing. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health.

Be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any given endeavor. So, don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current fitness level, or your supposed lack of willpower. All that will do is demotivate you. Instead, look at your past mistakes and unhealthy choices as opportunities to learn and grow.

Check your expectations. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t do or how far you have to go to reach your fitness goals. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While the improvements in mood and energy levels may happen quickly, the physical payoff will come in time.

Busting the biggest exercise excuses

Making excuses for not exercising? Whether it’s lack of time, energy, or fear of the gym, there are solutions.

“I hate exercising.” 

Many of us feel the same. If sweating in a gym or pounding a treadmill isn’t your idea of a great time, try to find an activity that you do enjoy—such as dancing—or pair physical activity with something more enjoyable. Take a walk at lunchtime through a scenic park, for example, walk laps of an air-conditioned mall while window shopping, walk, run, or bike with a friend, or listen to your favorite music while you move.

“I’m too busy.”  

Even the busiest of us can find free time in our day for things that are important. It’s your decision to make exercise a priority. And don’t think you need a full hour for a good workout. Short 5-, 10-, or 15-minute bursts of activity can be very effective—so, too, can be squeezing all your exercise into a couple of sessions at the weekend. If you’re too busy during the week, get up and get moving at the weekends when you have more time.

“I’m too tired.”  

It may sound counterintuitive, but physical activity is a powerful pick-me-up that actually reduces fatigue and boosts energy levels in the long run. With regular exercise, you’ll feel much more energized, refreshed, and alert at all times.

“I’m too fat,” “I’m too old,” or “My health isn’t good enough.”  

It’s never too late to start building your strength and physical fitness, even if you’re a senior or a self-confessed couch potato who has never exercised before. Very few health or weight problems make exercise out of the question, so talk to your doctor about a safe routine for you.

“Exercise is too difficult and painful.”  

“No pain, no gain” is an outdated way of thinking about exercise. Exercise shouldn’t hurt. And you don’t have to push yourself until you’re soaked in sweat or every muscle aches to get results. You can build your strength and fitness by walking, swimming, even playing golf, gardening, or cleaning the house.

“I’m not athletic.”  

Still have nightmares from PE? You don’t have to be sporty or ultra-coordinated to get fit. Focus on easy ways to be more active, like walking, swimming, or even working more around the house. Anything that gets you moving will work.

How much exercise do you need?

The key thing to remember about starting an exercise program is that something is always better than nothing. Going for a quick walk is better than sitting on the couch; one minute of activity will help you lose more weight than no activity at all. That said, the current recommendations for most adults is to reach at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You’ll get there by exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Can’t find 30 minutes in your busy schedule? It’s okay to break things up. Two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective. And a recent study in the UK found that squeezing a week’s worth of activity into one or two sessions at the weekend can be almost as beneficial for your health as spreading it out over the week.

How hard do I need to exercise?

Whether an activity is low, moderate, or high intensity varies according to your personal fitness level. A brisk jog, for example, may be low intensity for an athlete but high intensity for someone who’s never exercised before. As a general guideline:

Low intensity activity: You can easily talk in full sentences.

Moderate intensity: You can speak in full sentences, but not sing.

High intensity: You are too breathless to speak in full sentences.

For most people, aiming for moderate intensity exercise is sufficient to improve your overall health. You should breathe a little heavier than normal, but not be out of breath and your body should feel warmer as you move, but not overheated or sweating profusely. While everyone is different, don’t assume that training for a marathon is better than training for a 5K or 10K. There’s no need to overdo things.

Vary the intensity for faster results

Boosting your fitness while spending less time working out is the Holy Grail for everyone who exercises. But while most proposed short cuts are simply too good to be true, “interval training”—alternating low- and high-intensity activity—can actually deliver results.

Once you’ve warmed up, instead of walking at a moderate-intensity pace for 30 minutes, for example, try interval training for 20 minutes. Walk at a low-intensity pace for one minute followed by jogging at a high-intensity pace for one minute, then back to low-intensity walking for a minute, and so on.

Alternating intensity in this way will help you to squeeze a better workout into a shorter period of time. And as long as your doctor has cleared you to safely exercise in this way, it can also help you to lower your blood pressure, lose weight (especially around your middle), and maintain muscle mass.

Getting started safely

If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a significant amount of time since you’ve attempted any strenuous physical activity, keep the following health precautions in mind:

Health issues? Get medical clearance first. If you have health concerns such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before you start to exercise.

Warm up. Warm up with dynamic stretches—active movements that warm and flex the muscles you’ll be using, such as leg kicks, walking lunges, or arm swings—and by doing a slower, easier version of the upcoming exercise. For example, if you’re going to run, warm up with walking. Or if you’re lifting weights, begin with a few light reps.

Cool down. After your workout, it’s important to take a few minutes to cool down and allow your heart rate to return to its resting rate. A light jog or walk after a run, for example, or some gentle stretches after strength exercises can also help prevent soreness and injuries.

Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. Failing to drink enough water when you are exerting yourself over a prolonged period of time, especially in hot conditions, can be dangerous.

Listen to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort while working out, stop! If you feel better after a brief rest, you can slowly and gently resume your workout. But don’t try to power through pain. That’s a surefire recipe for injury.

How to make exercise a habit that sticks

There’s a reason so many New Year’s resolutions to get in shape crash and burn before February rolls around. And it’s not that you simply don’t have what it takes. Science shows us that there’s a right way to build habits that last. Follow these steps to make exercise one of them.

Start small and build momentum

A goal of exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week may sound good. But how likely are you to follow through? The more ambitious your goal, the more likely you are to fail, feel bad about it, and give up. It’s better to start with easy exercise goals you know you can achieve. As you meet them, you’ll build self-confidence and momentum. Then you can move on to more challenging goals.

Make it automatic with triggers

Triggers are one of the secrets to success when it comes to forming an exercise habit. In fact, research shows that the most consistent exercisers rely on them. Triggers are simply reminders—a time of day, place, or cue—that kick off an automatic reaction. They put your routine on autopilot, so there’s nothing to think about or decide on. The alarm clock goes off and you’re out the door for your walk. You leave work for the day and head straight to the gym. You spot your sneakers right by the bed and you’re up and running. Find ways to build them into your day to make exercise a no-brainer.

Reward yourself

People who exercise regularly tend to do so because of the rewards it brings to their lives, such as more energy, better sleep, and a greater sense of well-being. However, these tend to be long-term rewards. When you’re starting an exercise program, it’s important to give yourself immediate rewards when you successfully complete a workout or reach a new fitness goal. Choose something you look forward to, but don’t allow yourself to do until after exercise. It can be something as simple as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.

Choose activities that make you feel happy and confident

 Take the “Work” Out of Workouts

If your workout is unpleasant or makes you feel clumsy or inept, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Don’t choose activities like running or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.

Set yourself up for success

Schedule it. You don’t attend meetings and appointments spontaneously, you schedule them. If you’re having trouble fitting exercise into your schedule, consider it an important appointment with yourself and mark it on your daily agenda.

Make it easy on yourself. Plan your workouts for the time of day when you’re most awake and energetic. If you’re not a morning person, for example, don’t undermine yourself by planning to exercise before work.

Remove obstacles. Plan ahead for anything that might get in the way of exercising. Do you tend to run out of time in the morning? Get your workout clothes out the night before so you’re ready to go as soon as you get up. Do you skip your evening workout if you go home first? Keep a gym bag in the car, so you can head out straight from work.

Hold yourself accountable. Commit to another person. If you’ve got a workout partner waiting, you’re less likely to skip out. Or ask a friend or family member to check in on your progress. Announcing your goals to your social group (either online or in person) can also help keep you on track.

Tips for making exercise more enjoyable

As previously noted, you are much more likely to stick with an exercise program that’s fun and rewarding. No amount of willpower is going to keep you going long-term with a workout you hate.

Think outside the gym

Does the thought of going to the gym fill you with dread? If you find the gym inconvenient, expensive, intimidating, or simply boring, that’s okay. There are many exercise alternatives to weight rooms and cardio equipment.

For many, simply getting outside makes all the difference. You may enjoy running outdoors, where you can enjoy alone time and nature, even if you hate treadmills.

Just about everyone can find a physical activity they enjoy. But you may need to think beyond the standard running, swimming, and biking options. Here are a few activities you may find fun:

horseback riding

ballroom dancing

rollerblading

hiking

paddle boarding

kayaking

gymnastics

martial arts

rock climbing

Zumba

Ultimate Frisbee

fencing

Make it a game

Activity-based video games such as those from Wii and Kinect can be a fun way to start moving. So-called “exergames” that are played standing up and moving around—simulating dancing, skateboarding, soccer, bowling, or tennis, for example—can burn at least as many calories as walking on a treadmill; some substantially more. Once you build up your confidence, try getting away from the TV screen and playing the real thing outside. Or use a smartphone app to keep your workouts fun and interesting—some immerse you in interactive stories to keep you motivated, such as running from hordes of zombies!

Pair it with something you enjoy

Think about activities that you enjoy and how you can incorporate them into an exercise routine. Watch TV as you ride a stationary bike, chat with a friend as you walk, take photographs on a scenic hike, walk the golf course instead of using a cart, or dance to music as you do household chores.

Make it social

Exercise can be a fun time to socialize with friends and working out with others can help keep you motivated. For those who enjoy company but dislike competition, a running club, water aerobics, or dance class may be the perfect thing. Others may find that a little healthy competition keeps the workout fun and exciting. You might seek out tennis partners, join an adult soccer league, find a regular pickup basketball game, or join a volleyball team.

Getting the whole family involved

If you have a family, there are many ways to exercise together. What’s more, kids learn by example, and if you exercise as a family you are setting a great example for their future. Family activities might include:

Family walks in the evening if weather permits. Infants or young children can ride in a stroller.

Blast upbeat music to boogie to while doing chores as a family.

Seasonal activities, like skiing or ice skating in the winter and hiking, swimming, or cycling in the summer can both make fun family memories and provide healthy exercise.

Try a mindfulness approach

Instead of zoning out or distracting yourself when you exercise, try to pay attention to your body. By really focusing on how your body feels as you exercise—the rhythm of your breathing, the way your feet strike the ground, your muscles flexing as you move, even the way you feel on the inside—you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster but also interrupt the flow of worries or negative thoughts running through your head, easing stress and anxiety. Exercising in this way can also help your nervous system become “unstuck” and begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD and trauma. Activities that engage both your arms and legs—such as walking (especially in sand), running, swimming, weight training, rock climbing, skiing, or dancing—are great choices for practicing mindfulness.

Easy ways to “sneak” more movement into your daily life

If you’re not the kind of person who embraces a structured exercise program, try to think about physical activity as a lifestyle choice rather than a task to check off your to-do list. Look at your daily routine and consider ways to sneak in activity here and there. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day.

Make chores count. House and yard work can be quite a workout, especially when done at a brisk pace. Scrub, vacuum, sweep, dust, mow, and weed—it all counts.

Look for ways to add extra steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Park farther from a building entrance, rather than right out front. Get off your train or bus one stop early. The extra walking adds up.

Ditch the car whenever possible. Instead of driving everywhere, walk or bike instead when the distance is doable.

Move at work. Get up to talk to co-workers, rather than phoning or sending an email or IM. Take a walk during your coffee and lunch breaks. Use the bathroom on another floor. Walk while you’re talking on the phone.

Exercise during commercial breaks. Make your TV less sedentary by exercising every time commercials come on or during the credits. Options include jumping jacks, sit-ups, or arm exercises using weights.

How getting a dog can boost fitness

Owning a dog leads to a more active lifestyle. Playing with a dog and taking him for a walk, hike, or run are fun and rewarding ways to fit exercise into your schedule. Studies have shown that dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements than non-owners. One year-long study found that walking an overweight dog helped both the animals and their owners lose weight (11 to 15 pounds). Researchers found that the dogs provided support in similar ways to a human exercise buddy, but with greater consistency and without any negative influence.

 How Caring for a Dog Helps You

In another study, public housing residents who walked therapy dogs for up to 20 minutes, five days a week, lost an average of 14.4 pounds in a year, without changing their diets. If you’re not in a position to own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. You’ll not only be helping yourself but also being helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.

How to stay motivated to exercise

No matter how much you enjoy an exercise routine, you may find that you eventually lose interest in it. That’s the time to shake things up and try something new or alter the way you pursue the exercises that have worked so far.

Pair your workout with a treat. For example, you can listen to an audiobook or watch your favorite TV show while on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Log your activity. Keep a record of your workouts and fitness progress. Writing things down increases commitment and holds you accountable to your routine. Later on, it will also be encouraging to look back at where you began.

Harness the power of the community. Having others rooting for us and supporting us through exercise ups and downs helps to keep motivation strong. There are numerous online fitness communities you can join. You can also try working out with friends either in person or remotely using fitness apps that let you track and compare your progress with each other.

Get inspired. Read a health and fitness magazine or visit an exercise website and get inspired with photos of people being active. Sometimes reading about and looking at images of people who are healthy and fit can motivate you to move your body.

Getting back on track

Even the most dedicated exercisers sometimes go astray. Almost anything can knock you off track: a bad cold, an out of town trip, or a stretch of bad weather. That’s why it’s important to learn how to reclaim your routine. When you’ve missed workout sessions, evaluate your current level of fitness and goals accordingly. If you’ve been away from your routine for two weeks or more, don’t expect to start where you left off. Cut your workout in half for the first few days to give your body time to readjust.

The bigger challenge may come in getting yourself back in an exercise frame of mind. Try to keep confidence in yourself when you relapse. Instead of expending energy on feeling guilty and defeated, focus on what it’ll take to get started again. Once you resume your program, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it will begin to feel natural. Here are a few tricks you might try to rekindle your motivation:

Imagine yourself exercising. Recall the aspects of exercise you enjoy most.

Come up with a tantalizing reward to give yourself when you meet your first goal after resuming your program.

Line up walking partners for your next few outings.

If completing your whole exercise routine seems overwhelming, mentally divide it into smaller chunks, and give yourself the option of stopping at the end of each one. However, when you reach a checkpoint, encourage yourself to move on to the next one instead of quitting.

Rather than focus on why you don’t want to exercise, concentrate on how good you feel when you’ve finished a workout.