Rest Days

Rest Days

For me, today is everybody’s favourite day of the week… rest day. However, not everybody treats rest day correctly, or does the right things to compliment a hard week of workouts in the gym.

Firstly, it is important know why rest days are important. Of course most of us cannot make it to the gym seven days a week for various reasons, but lots of people make the effort to go as often as they can. Rest days considerably lower your risk of overtraining, defined as: ‘exceeding the body’s recovery capacity, indicated by excessive fatigue both physically and mentally and resulting in impaired performance.’

Overtraining is often known as staleness and can severely impede performance and your rate of improvement, as well as put you at risk of injury. A lack of rest days can also lead to burnout, physical or mental exhaustion cause by long-term stress, or in case of the gym, exercise without a break.

Rest day should be carried out at least once a week, if not twice, but this doesn’t mean you should pig out on any food you can find and sit in front of the TV on the sofa refusing to move all day.

  1. Keep mobile
    As much as sitting around on the sofa is the easiest thing to do on a rest day, it’s a rest, not a day off. Keep mobile and include some dynamic stretching. This will improve your flexibility to do acute exercises and increasing mobility will put you at a lower risk of injury for quick, snapping movements during exercise.
  2. Do some cardio or a leisure activity
    Not heavy cardio, of course, but a light jog or some interval training will keep you up and about without putting stresses and strains on your body. Alternatively, go and play a game of football or go on a bike ride with your family or a swim, something active but also enjoyable, you might not even realise you’re exercising!
  3. Continue to eat well
    Rest day should include extra protein for muscle growth and repair. You can also drop your carbs as you don’t need as much energy as you would for a day at the gym. Excess protein may lead to excess fat, but that’s not a problem, neither is a little chocolate bar or pack of sweets. Who’s going to know?!
  4. Add extra nutrients
    Apart from your macronutrients, excess fruit and vegetables can reduce inflammation around the muscles and speed up recovery, reducing soreness. Try out some new recipes on rest day too, it is meant to be a one off after all, have fun!
Older People In The Gym

Older People In The Gym

From 1987 to 2003, there was a meteoric rise in older people going to the gym. The jump was measured at 343% more people aged 55 or over joining the gym. That number is still rising as people look to keep fit as they get older. After all, it does become a much tougher proposition and something all the more harder to keep on top of as we start to age. Yet still, 44% of adults over the age of 70 years enjoy a 20-minute walk less than once a year, or never.

So why is it more important for older people to go to the gym?

A whole range of reasons are medical. Men who burn 2,000 calories a week have a life expectancy two-and-a-half years longer than a bloke who doesn’t. Without exercise, aches and pains you’ve never experiences will be sure to creep in as your muscles and joints become less active. The gym will keep these moving and also keep them stronger. Exercising regularly will slow down the decline in function your body goes through as you get older.

Older people who exercise are less likely to be at risk of illnesses such as type two diabetes, depression, dementia and some forms of cancers. That’s if you aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week. As you get older your metabolism also slows down, which means chemical reactions happen slower in the body and in addition to that, the lower your muscle mass the slower your metabolism is likely to be. Therefore, it becomes much easier to put on weight as you get older and getting in the gym and eating the right things as a result won’t only make you lose or maintain your weight, but speed up your metabolism.

Exercising is also a great way to socialise. With the leap in number of elder gym goers over the years, you’re bound to meet someone a similar age as you with the same motivation for going to the gym, adding to your social life and you may even become gym partners to push each other that step further to become more active in later life.

Older people should aim for a slightly cardio-based workout to maintain and lose weight, but don’t underestimate the value of strength exercises. A study on 90-year-old women in a nursing home found that a 12-week strength training programme took the equivalent of 20 years off their thigh muscle age, leading to improved mobility. Strength workouts can keep the brain more active and also allow you to do more during the day. Older people who don’t exercise regularly may find walking into town or standing at the bus stop a lot more difficult than those who find themselves on a treadmill frequently.

There are hundreds of gyms around aimed at older people, some of which even offer classes aimed at older people and their needs, make sure you make use of these and they’re also another great chance to socialise with a large group who all have the same aim, to stay fit.

Weight Loss & Exercise

Weight Loss & Exercise

60% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese. The UK is the ‘fat man’ of Europe, there is more obese people in England than anywhere else on the continent. Scary fact, right? Slightly behind that unnerving figure are our Irish neighbours, followed by Spain, Portugal and Germany rounding off the top five.

So it’s safe to say there’s probably a large amount of people who caught a glimpse of themselves int the mirror and decided that it was time to go on a diet. There are hundreds of diets available for weight loss, whether it be simply buying and cooking better food and taking more time over it, joining a weight-loss club or tougher, stricter diets such as the Atkins diet, the Blood Type diet or the Caveman diet.

It’s all well and good dieting, but without going to the gym or regular exercise, all your time and effort in the kitchen can go completely to waste. A study in the US found reducing your calorie intake by 30% without exercising will likely lead to no weight loss at all, as the body deploys its natural compensatory mechanism, reducing physical activity in response to the reduction in calories.

Joining a sports team or club is also a popular option. Sports teams may offer more social benefits as well as a more active lifestyle, but a couple of pints here and there after a football or cricket match all add up. By joining a gym, you can target certain areas of your body and give yourself a more rounded workout as opposed to pure cardio during a football game or going for a run every now and again. There’s no point dieting and attempting to lose weight if you don’t then tone your muscles, which an 80 minute rugby game once a week or the odd hockey training session certainly won’t do.

The best, most effective and quickest way to lose weight and look better is to exercise and eat well. They go hand in hand; you wouldn’t go to the gym but maintain bad eating habits, so why improve your eating habits but not increase your frequency of exercise? Food and exercise complement each other providing you do it right, so as well as dropping the donuts and finding the fruit, make sure that a solid and regular gym workout is also part of your weight loss programme.

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