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New season, new plan

September is a great time to get serious about fitness, says Sandra Banks, a certified personal trainer in Vancouver.

Phew! Now that the kids are back at school and the end-of-summer chaos is over, it’s time for your fall routine to settle in. For optimal health, that routine should include outdoor exercise.

September is a great time to get serious about fitness, says Sandra Banks, a certified personal trainer in Vancouver.

“As the summer barbeques and patio parties wrap up, there are fewer distractions and fewer temptations. The cooler weather also makes outdoor exercise more pleasant.”

As a bootcamp instructor, Banks often gets new clients out to her class in the fall. It’s a time of great beginnings. If you are keen to start an exercise program, but are worried about motivation, here are some tips from Banks:

• Put it in writing: If you write it on your calendar and make it part of your regular schedule, you are less likely to skip out on a workout just because you’re feeling a little tired.

• Try something new: Take a chance and sign up for something you’ve never tried before. For example, you could join an ultimate frisbee league or take rollerblading lessons. You’ll be so busy learning new skills that you’ll forget that you’re doing exercise!

• Power in numbers: Sign up for a bootcamp or join a run/walk clinic. Or, better yet, recruit some friends and start your own outdoor exercise group. If you’re meeting friends, you’ll look forward to working out, and even if you’ve had a long day, you’ll show up because you won’t want to let them down.

The benefit of walking or running with friends is bolstered by doing some resistance training and stretching afterwards. The old standbys – push ups, sit ups and squats – are good. If you haven’t done these in a while, here are two beginner bootcamp exercises Banks suggests. No equipment is needed — just a park bench:

1) Bench Squat – Stand in front of the bench facing away from it and start to sit down. Just before your rear end touches the bench, stop and hold for a count of five, then stand up. Repeat 20 times.

2) Bench Push Up – Face the bench. Put your hands on the seat (difficult) or the back (easy) of the bench. Keeping your abs tight and your hips and back straight, bend your elbows to 90 degrees, hold for a count, and then straighten your arms. Your wrists should be in line with your shoulders throughout the movement. Repeat 10 times.

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