Wednesday 11 January, 2017 0 Comments

At this time of year we know many of us set New Year’s Resolutions around fitness and health. Despite the best of intentions, after six weeks 9 out of 10 people have fallen back into old routines. Often this perceived “failure” results in beating ourselves up for being lazy, weak and undisciplined. The good news is that it’s not about character flaws, it’s just that their exercise program isn’t a good ‘fit’ for your needs, your stress levels and what you enjoy.

Exercise is very personal. Just as there is no perfect diet for everyone, finding what exercise works for you will be different to someone else.

Choosing the best workout to achieve vitality, rejuvenation and longevity, is more about understanding yourself, your lifestyle and your life responsibilities than about mastering a tricky yoga pose, running 10 km, competing in crossfit or taking a spin class.

When putting together an exercise plan it’s a good idea to include some strength based training, cardio and restorative movement as they all provide different benefits. The purpose of exercise is to help balance out your stress levels. So if you are well slept with low stress in your day-to-day life, putting your body under some positive physiological stress will reap huge benefits. But, if you are already under a lot of stress or suffering from adrenal fatigue choosing the lower intensity options listed below in each category will be hugely beneficial.

Strength-based movement

Incorporating strength training into your regime is important for metabolic health, maintaining muscle mass and supporting bone health as you age.

Many strength based exercise also utilise functional movement which help with day-to-day activities. Things like squats, pull ups and presses all replicate movements we do day-in, day-out such as getting up off the floor, or lifting things above our heads.

Strength training raises your metabolic rate which can be especially helpful for type two diabetics because regular strength training helps to reduce insulin resistance making it ideal for those with type 2 diabetes.

    Types of Strength training 

    For people with low levels of stress, good sleep and nutrition:

    • A weights program at the gym

    • Group fitness classes such as Body Pump or Circuit classes

    • Bootcamp style classes which mix cardio with strength - ensure adequate recovery between sessions

    • CrossFit - ensure you’re working with a good coach and have adequate recovery between sessions

    • Hiking in the bush with packs, gear or even children on your back

    For people with adrenal fatigue, high levels of stress, poor sleep or nutrition:

    • A yoga class using bodyweight as resistance walking while pushing a ram or carrying groceries

    • Body weight exercises based on functional movements such as squats, push ups, pull ups, lunges and core exercises

    • Paddle boarding

    • When starting to include strength training using weighted equipment. It’s a good idea to start out with a trainer or in a group fitness class to ensure you have the correct technique to prevent injury

      Cardio-based movement

      Cardio exercise is anything that increases your cardiac output, raising your heart rate and improving your cardiovascular fitness. Conventionally this means running, cross training, cycling, walking or cardio-based sports such as tennis.

      Cardiovascular fitness is important for managing blood pressure, as well as improving mood and energy.

      More recently many fitness classes and bootcamp style sessions include a mix of cardio and strength based movements. While a combination of the two is ideal in a person with low stress and appropriate sleep, it’s important to take into account the frequency of these activities.

      Types of cardio training

      For people with low levels of stress, good sleep and nutrition;

      • Running, Cross-training, rowing and cycling

      • Team based sports such as netball, touch rugby, ultimate frisbee, basketball or soccer

      • Surfing, swimming and water sports

      • High-Intensity Interval Training using exercises like burpees, squat jumps or box jumps

      For people with adrenal fatigue, high levels of stress, poor sleep or nutrition:

      • Walking, aim to walk to a brisk pace while still being able to hold a conversation

      • Gentle swimming or aqua aerobics

      • Surfing and watersports, simply shorten the duration

      • Golf

      • Hiking

      Note; many bootcamp style classes will now be a mixture of both cardio and strength training. This is ideal if stress is managed. If you have poor sleep or high levels of stress you can still do these styles of exercise you simply need to limit the time and frequency of the activity.

      Getting some form of cardio exercise is vital, so my advice is to find a sport or activity that raises your heartrate that you enjoy. I play tennis and I cycle to work several times a week. If your lifestyle is currently very stressed, a 30 minute brisk walk will suit you best.


      Restorative, Breath-based Movement

      With good reason popular exercise has now expanded to include restorative or breath-based styles of movement such as yoga, tai chi, walking, pilates and even foam rolling your muscles.

      This style of movement is critical for flexibility and mobility - that is keeping your body moving in the way it is supposed to functionally, not tight and sore from training.

      These types of exercises are great for helping to support your detoxification pathways, your lymphatic system and supporting your joints. Given we recommend everybody moves for 30 minutes a day, this is the category of movement everybody can do.

      Types of Restorative exercise

      For people with low levels of stress, good sleep and nutrition:

      • Bikram or hot yoga

      • Reformer pilates

      For everybody

      • Yoga

      • Pilates

      • Tai Chi

      • Body Balance

      • Walking in nature

      • Paddle boarding

      Another point to consider is that this is just the start of your exercise journey. If right now all you can manage is walking and yoga, you can add in more intense forms of movement later.

      Consistent exercise is only achievable when you consider your current energy levels, lifestyle and interests. Find a form of movement that you love and that nourishes your body and it will be easy to include 30 minutes of movement into your everyday life.


      Let’s get moving

      If you’re ready to make movement a regular part of your life this year, join us in our simple challenge this week which is to move in any way you like for at least 30 minutes each day.

      Be sure to check in to our BePure - Ben Warren Facebook page as we will be posting helpful tips and inspiration for this challenge as well as a weekly prize.

      We’d also love to see how you are bringing exercise into your day. Share your pics with us on Instagram using #bepurebenwarren.

      This blog is part of our 10 pillars of health series. Each week we will deliver content, recipes and challenges relevant to each pillar of health that we believe are the foundations for living a healthier, happier, more energised life. The idea being that if we focus on making progress in one area each week it will be easier, and more sustainable, over the long-term.


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