Getting in shape for summer

Alyssa Gordon says Pilates will complement any exercise programme.

OK, what did you see when you last looked at yourself naked in a full-length mirror? Did you see the slim, athletic-looking you of your dreams, or chubby cheeks, chunky love handles and a distressingly pronounced spare tyre? As summer approaches, now is the time to shed those excess pounds and get back into shape. Physiotherapist Alyssa Gordon, owner of Active+ in Warkworth and Snells Beach, shared her top eight exercise tips.

1. Do exercises you enjoy
It’s pointless to try and go with an exercise type that you don’t like because you won’t stick with it. Find out what you enjoy doing and then see how that can be tailored into an exercise programme. There’s no point telling someone to do swimming if they don’t enjoy swimming or go buy a bike if they don’t enjoy cycling.

2. Start gradually
Always start gradually and build up with steady progressions rather than just jump into things.  
Where people often go wrong is they will go from not doing any regular exercise at all to a full-on programme involving sprints and lifting really heavy weights. It’s too much for the body to cope with, and they end up getting an injury.
That’s really disheartening for an individual because it sets back their whole plan.

3. Abandon fancy equipment
I like to devise programmes that people can easily do at home and don’t require a lot of equipment. That way they can make use of things they can find around the house and use their own body weight rather than weights for resistance. It means you don’t have to join a gym or an exercise class if that’s not your thing.

4. Aim for 30 minutes a day
Gradually work your way up to doing 30 minutes of exercise a day. Get your heart rate up to the point where you can still have a chat to someone, but you are a little bit short of breath and would struggle to talk in full sentences.

5. Walking is great
I think just walking is a really good form of exercise and there’s a lot you can do around Mahurangi. We have got some beautiful walks and beaches. Plus, you can incorporate exercises during your walk, like squats and lunges. Or use a park bench to do some tricep dips.

6. Pilates works
Consider taking a Pilates class. You can do it at any age, at any level of fitness and you don’t need any previous experience. It really helps strengthen your core, increase your general body strength and tone those muscles. It will complement any type of exercise that you are already doing.

7. Maintain balance
If you’re hoping to play some tennis or some other sporting activity this summer incorporate some balance work into your exercise programme. For example, performing exercises while balancing on one leg. This teaches the body how to correct itself when it becomes unbalanced and bring itself back into balance.

 8. Sleep well   
Getting your eight hours a day of good quality sleep is important. Often people find when they start an exercise programme that they sleep better because they are physically more fatigued, and they are more ready for bed.


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