By definition, exercise is any movement produced by your skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure – this sounds technical – well yes and no! Exercise includes any structured exercise, like going to the gym, but also lifestyle activities such as walking, shopping and gardening and the good news is that it doesn’t have to leave you exhausted to do you good! Exercise is what your body instinctively wants to do especially under stress: fight or flight, and it works. It burns off some of the stress chemicals which tension produces. Therefore, a tired muscle is a relaxed muscle. Regular exercise builds stamina that can help anyone battle stress. But even something as casual as a walk around the block can help you burn off some of the tension that you carrying around. Stretching  is a great tension reducer. Stretch your chest for better breathing. The tense musculature of a person under stress can make breathing difficult and impaired breathing can aggravate the anxiety you already feel. To relax your breathing, roll your shoulders up and back, then relax. The first time, inhale deeply as they go back, exhale as they relax. Repeat four or five more times, then inhale deeply again. Repeat the entire sequence four times. People under pressure have a tendency to clench their teeth. Dropping the jaw and rolling it helps make those muscles relax, and if you relax the muscles, you reduce the sensation of tension. Stretching helps relieve this tension. Resistance is essential for making a muscle stronger. When a muscle has to work against a load placed on it, it adapts to the stress by creating new muscle fibres and making neurological changes that ultimately make it stronger. Muscles respond to virtually anything that offers resistance. You need only to remember a few do-anywhere exercises: *sit-ups for abdominal muscles *push-ups for the arms, chest, and shoulders *dips for the back of the arms *squats for the muscles in the rear and front of the thighs *calf raises for the lower portion of the leg. You also might work some simple equipment into your regime. Both rubber bands and rubber tubing can add resistance, as can simple household items. To increase the resistance when you’re doing squats, for example, you can do something as simple as hold soup cans or milk jugs filled with water. Yoga and Pilates are also great and can be done at home. Many of the poses in yoga require using one’s own body weight to load the muscles. Take the “warrior” pose, for example. It’s essentially a lunge, one that works the muscle in the front of the thigh. Pilates is a series of exercises that involve slow, precise moves — either using your body weight or specially designed machines — to work your muscles. You might work your abdominal and leg muscles, for example, by pushing against a bar on springs or by raising your legs when they’re attached (by straps) to a pulley. Exercise has many more benefits than the obvious one of increasing fitness.  Regular exercise can aid in weight loss, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, improve your joint function and help maintain your bone health.  For it to be beneficial you need to OVERLOAD your body using a combination of INTESNSITY, FREQUENCY & DURATION, these combined equal the overall VOLUME of training which are essential when improving fitness. If you want to lose weight and feel fitter and more toned you will have to set yourself a programme or book a Personal Trainer to help you “make that appointment”.

Training Cardiovascular Resistance Flexibility
Frequency 3-5 days/week 2-3 days/week 203 days/week
Intensity 1-10 Rating of Perceived Exertion or at least 55-65% HR 8-16 reps Comfortable but noticeable
Duration 2—60 minutes Intensity 1-3 sets of compound exercises 10-30s x 3-4 per muscle group

Health benefits can be achieved without any measurable improvements in fitness but through just a little exercise. In terms of improving fitness it seems that 3 cardiovascular (CV) sessions per week is ideal,  and you do not need to complete it all in one block, performing 2 x 15 minutes a day will result in virtually the same benefit as doing a 30 minute session. So if you are a busy mum/dad, have young children or work long hours, it’s comforting to know that performing 1 set of your resistance exercises in the morning and the other in the evening is just as beneficial. So get  motivated and start thinking about how you can make positive lifestyle changes today!!!!!