Getting into shape after summer By Johan Muller If you slipped into fitness hibernation during the holiday months, summer is the perfect time to rise, shine and get back in shape with a host of fun fitness activities. But before you venture outdoors for your workout, remember; slow and steady is the best way to get back into your routine. Before starting to work out make sure you get a full physical from your doctor and a letter stating it is ok for you to do physical activity. Many gym and aerobic centers will require this before letting you start. Depending on how long it has been since you last did regular exercise it is recommended that you start off slow and gradually build up your workout to harder levels. It is generally recommended to start off at the gym with just the treadmill and the lifecycle for the first week or 2. This is to wake the muscles up and to slowly get you prepared for a harder workout. You will generally want to find a speed on the treadmill that is a pace you can keep up with little discomfort and do it for 15 minutes. After this take a 5 minute break, stretch a little and have a drink of water, then go back and increase the speed just a bit then do another 15. Remember that pushing yourself too far is taking a gamble that you may not be able to live with. In a casino you can put everything you have on the roulette table and maybe you win and maybe you lose, but in the gym if you push too hard you can die, so take things slowly. Many people make the mistake of getting back into an exercise program and going all gun ho and trying to get back in shape in just one hour, well let me tell you this will not work. The only thing this will do is make you very sore the next day and you will not be able to workout that day, and it will make you lose interest fast in the gym. Discomfort in ok pain is not. Depending on how long it has been since you last worked out, I recommend working out 4 or 5 days a week. This may seem like a lot but if you were trying to win a poker tournament you would go to a casino or an online casino and poker room to practice almost every day right? So you will have to do the same with the gym. Working out 5 days a week does not necessarily mean you have to go to the gym every day. I recommend the gym 3 times a week and the other day or 2 you can just go for a long fast paced walk around your neighborhood. Try to vary the things you do so that you do not work out the same parts of your body 2 days in a row. Most professionals will tell you that if you work out your arms and chest on a Monday do not exercise those muscles again for at least 48 hours. This is to give the muscles time to heal and grow. It is this straining and resting of the muscle that makes it grow not just the working it out. If all you did every day was work the same muscle group in a few days the muscle would be more likely to tear in a painful experience and the only thing you will be able to do for several months will be playing in an online casino from your laptop in bed. "Most people make the mistake of doing too much too fast," says Dr. Gary Wadler, a sports medicine doctor and associate professor at the New York University School of Medicine, reports Sheila Anne Feeney of the New York Daily News. "They think they can pick up where they left off last season." If you want to avoid injury or burnout, fitness experts say start off at no more than 50 percent of what you did before you stopped exercising, and gradually increase. With that said, take full advantage of the nice weather by exploring different avenues of fitness. Try any of the following: · Roller-blading and skating. Why walk your way to fitness when you can roll? Skating is good exercise for people at nearly every fitness level and gives your lower body a real workout. If you've never balanced yourself on four wheels or two, take a class and wear a helmet, wrist and knee guards to protect yourself. · Running. Get your body and heart pumping with a healthy run or jog. Beginning runners should start off with a slow jog-walk program--walk one block, jog one block. "As you begin to get in shape, reduce the walking portion," says Gregory Florez, president and CEO of First Fitness, Inc., a sports education and training company in Salt Lake City, to the Daily News. He also advises wearing proper shoes and running on soft surfaces like grass to prevent stress to back and joints. · Biking. Park your car and bike it where you need to go this summer. Because cycling is a nonimpact activity, you're less likely to sprain your ankles or wrench your knees. If you haven't been biking in a while, go short distances until the muscles in your legs and buttocks get accustomed to the work. · Softball and baseball. Round up the gang for a friendly ball game. If you're an amateur ball player, start practicing sprinting, beginning at half speed for 20 to 40 meters, to prime yourself for the field. It also helps to work out your lower body with lunges and squats so that you'll be ready for that home-run stretch. Having said all of that remember, you are what you eat! Think about it, next time you overdue it on fast foods; imagine what you are actually doing to your own body! As I always say; “A healthy body is a healthy mind and a healthy mind is a healthy body.” Cytotech - P.O. Box 5458 Tygervalley 7536 Western Cape South Africa Telephone: +27 21 910 3600 Fax: +27 21 910 3613 E-mail: info@Cytotech.co.za.