Fitness training is basically science. As long as you get proper training and medical clearance, regular strength training does far more for strong bones than drinking milk (which can acidify the blood, and then the bones lose calcium to neutralise it). If you think that’s bunkum – ask why countries that drink little dairy but get lots of exercise in the east have little brittle bone disease, but countries that guzzle down dairy but do little exercise, do (UK, US, Scandinavia). To take up fitness training can be done in a gym. But far more affordable and more likely to result in consistency is to use dumbells or exercise resistance bands.
Read 24 Ways to Move More. This super book adds 2 new activities each month, so you have tried lots of different fitness activities in one year, to pick and choose your favourites. The exercises include hiking, swimming, dance, yoga, tennis, biking, Tai Chi, Pilates and skiing, plus tips on healing and massage. Keep weights away from pets and children.
Yoga instructor and fitness expert Nicole Tsong shares the most fun, accessible and body-beneficial exercises. Discover two new activites for each month of the year, with a road map from beginner level up to ‘Reach’ and ‘Adventure’ goals. For example, readers can choose to walk 35 to 40 minutes twice a week for a month, then slowly increase mileage each week, working up to a 10, 15 or 20 mile challenge. You’ll also find tips for basic gear needs and costs.
The world is better when you feel strong. The world is better when you can love and cherish your body. The world is better when you trust your body and ultimately trust yourself. Why? Because when all of those things happen, you are a better human, more balanced and grounded. And everyone around you benefits. Nicole Tsong
Outdoor Fitness in Nature
You can always use nature’s gym, as an alternative. There are lots of parks that have installed hydraulic equipment to use for free. But far better is to use nature trails and take part in park exercise with trainers like British Military Fitness (from beginner onwards) and Buggy Fit (post-natal workouts, bring baby with you).
Another great idea are Green Gyms. Run by The Conservation Charity, to get free warm-ups and cool-downs, good exercise with training to help the planet (plant trees etc), new friends and cups of tea!
Good Simple Fitness Books
Calisthenics for Beginners is a book of simple workouts for all fitness levels. Power your way through three workouts and explore recovery techniques. The 35 exercises include progressions & modifications. These workouts are ideal for weekend walks to professional athletes.
Using the power of your own body, you can endlessly adjust and customise calisthenics workouts, to meet you where you are, and serve your unique fitness goals. This book proves that you don’t need a gym, personal trainer or even weights to physically condition your body.
Resistance Band Workouts is a book on how to get fit using 3 types of resistance bands. Fitness coach Karina Inkster explains how to safely use them at home, and shows how to put together a ‘mini gym’ that fits in your bag. You’ll find 50 exercises to work all major muscle groups whether that’s at home, outdoors or while travelling. You’ll also learn how to put together your own routine.
This book is ideal to improve your strength, without a gym. Learn how to choose and use resistance bands then work all the major muscle groups with a regular strength training practice. This can improve body composition, prevent injuries, increase bone density and rev up your metabolism.
The Pocket PT is a fabulous exercise book. Normally ‘celebrity fitness books’ are rubbish. But Courtney is a trained fitness teacher, super-fit and this book is wonderfully laid out for a gradual 4-week sensible program that works. From East London, she’s really down-to-earth and the photos and instructions are exceptional. She also has tips on weights to choose, it covers the lot.
Ideas for Fitness Options for Seniors
There was an experiment once in Florida, where fitness professionals took over a nursing home, where many people sat in chairs all day, and some were in wheelchairs, due to loss of muscle. The powers-that-be said that to have them exercise with weights could kill them. In fact, the opposite happened. Most got back muscle in several weeks, some returned home to live independently, and at least one threw away their crutches!
Resistance Band Workouts for Seniors shows how to choose and use resistance bands (at home with a door anchor) and how to use them safely. Create your own mini-gym to fit into a small bag. The 50 exercises work all major muscle groups to create a regular practice, from beginner to advanced.
Move or Lose It is a website packed with info on local classes, or you can buy DVDs and resistance bands, along with workouts for chair plans, if needed. The site also sells exercise equipment including simple weights and exercise bands, and a handy ‘cuppa tea towel’ that you can use to work out, while you wait for the kettle to boil.