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Home / How to get fit

How to get fit   How to get fit

How to get fit - the body4life
no-nonsense guide

With hectic 21st century lifestyles, finding the time for exercise has never been more challenging, yet because of our modern, car orientated and labour-saving way of living, it’s never been more important either. Many modern lifestyles offer minimal opportunities for exercise with increased computer usage, and personal transport contributory factors; resulting in problems that include:

  • Stress
  • Bad posture
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Lower fitness levels
  • Lower energy levels
  • Difficult weight management

Hence for all round health and fitness, it is vital to be actively involved in regular exercise that is suitable for you, your lifestyle and your personal health and fitness goals.

For optimum health and fitness benefits, your exercise routine should always be completely balanced, including a blend of the following key components of fitness:

  • Core training
  • Resistance training
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Co-ordination exercises

This body4life no-nonsense guide explains each component of fitness, why it's important and the benefits that you will enjoy as you build your fitness.


The key components of fitness

1. Core Training

Core training brings results – fast! Core training is both fun and motivating, because if the exercises are carried out correctly, your gains are rapid. You’ll walk tall, automatically pull in your stomach and your overall posture will significantly improve.

Building core exercises into your sessions is extremely important. Your core muscles wrap 360 degrees right around your abdomen like a corset and they are responsible for holding you in, keeping you upright and providing all-round strength. Core training gives you:

  • Improved posture. Think of your core muscles as your body's chassis; a strong chassis gives you a solid framework for all your body's movements.
  • Improved balance. Greater body awareness results in better coordination and balance; important for both everyday activities and any sport.
  • Reduced risk of injury. If you have good core strength, you will be more in control of your body and hence your risk of injury is reduced.
  • Increased core strength. By improving your core strength, your entire body is stronger.
  • Improved sporting performance. Whatever sport or exercise you enjoy, core stability is a key performance factor, from running to racquet sports.
Stability ball shoulder press
Side plank

Looking to improve your core strength?


2. Resistance Training

There are numerous myths surrounding working out with weights but without exception, everyone benefits from regular weight-training. Regular resistance training brings a whole host of essential health and fitness benefits including:

  • Increased strength. By following a correctly structured training programme, your strength can improve in every skeletal muscle, making every task easier.
  • Increased calorie burn. Toned, strong muscles elevate your metabolic rate, not only when you are exercising but 24 hours per day and every additional pound of muscle burns an extra 50 calories per day - every day.
  • Improved posture. When you strengthen your body correctly, you can address muscle imbalances and realign common postural problems such as tight lower backs, rounded shoulders and weak abdominal muscles so that you walk tall, feel better and look good.
  • Reduced risk of illness. Regular weight training increases your body's production of the cells that attack tumours and viruses, enhancing your immune system.
  • Reduced risk of injury. Stronger muscles = a stronger body = less chance of picking up a strain or muscle injury because your muscles are better conditioned and used to work.
  • Looking good. Everyone wants to look their best and toned muscles go a long way to achieving that goal.
Dumbbell chest press

Looking to improve your all round strength?


3. Flexibility Exercises

It's often thought that unless you're getting hot, sweaty and breathless, you're not getting any benefit from your exercise session. However there's one element of your training that is slow and relaxing and brings just as many benefits as that lung-busting session and that's flexibility training - the forgotten component of fitness.

Including flexibility training in your workouts is extremely important to counteract the three primary contributory factors that are responsible for tight, inflexible muscles:

1. The aging process. As we age, the body tends to dehydrate and also the structure of tissues changes, making them less supple.

2. The very act of training itself. When a muscle is exercised and develops, over time it becomes tighter - and hence flexibility decreases.

3. Lifestyle postural problems. Sedentary lifestyles, including long hours spent seated, working at computers and driving, all contribute to poor posture, with some muscles overstretched and some becoming less flexible.

However, regular flexibility training provides a whole range of long-term fitness benefits, including:

  • Improved mobility
  • Relaxed movements
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Improved performance
  • Reduced post exercise discomfort
Hamstring stretch
Chest stretch

Looking to improve your flexibility?


4. Cardiovascular Training

When you complete a CV session, in addition to any other muscle groups that you use, you're giving your heart, lungs and circulatory system a workout. CV exercise is extremely important because your CV system is effectively your body's engine and it doesn't matter how good your bodywork is because without a strong engine, you're going nowhere.

In addition to keeping your heart and lungs in good shape, CV training burns calories and is your primary tool for weight management. For example, walking, jogging and running all burn approximately 100 calories for every mile that you cover and your calorie burn is also enhanced after your session finishes. Additionally you will tone up all the muscles employed and CV exercise releases endorphins; the 'feel-good' hormones that give you that buzz after a workout.

The most effective forms of CV exercise are those which utilise the largest muscle groups in your body and require you to support your own bodyweight whilst exercising. Hence walking, jogging and running are excellent because they fulfil both criteria; whereas a hand cycling machine in the gym is far less effective because you are using the smaller muscles of the arms and are seated throughout your workout.

Cardiovascular Training
Run with client

Looking for CV training?

Training for a race?


5. Co-ordination Exercises

We need good co-ordination for our bodies to move efficiently and to carry out everyday tasks easily. Unless co-ordination training is included as part of your exercise schedule, as we age, our movements become stiffer and less fluid.

Many people follow the same exercise routine week in, week out which results in their bodies initially adapting to this training stimuli but then hitting a plateau. However if you constantly mix up your activities then you continually challenge your body to regroup and adapt.

For example: resistance training using fixed machines can be effective - but only up to a point because the machine only allows your muscles to work in a single plane of movement. However, free weight exercises using dumbbells and barbells are multi-planar and force your body to both recruit more muscle groups but also to train your neuromuscular system and improve your coordination to control and stabilise the moving weights. Hence free weight training is key to maintaining your overall coordination.

Additionally, speed based activities such as outdoor training, short sprints, hurdles, etc are both fun and also an extremely effective way of improving your coordination fitness whilst enjoying CV training benefits as well.

Run with client

Looking to improve your co-ordination?

Like the idea of training 'al fresco'?


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