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Fitness for all the family

Between school, work, and playtime it can be hard to fit in some much-needed family time and physical activity into your family’s busy schedule – even more so around the Christmas period. Did you know, active play helps strengthen family bonds? Plus, you all get the daily exercise you need at the same time! Building healthy habits in your child by getting active with them at a young age will encourage them to continue to lead a heathy and active lifestyle as they get older. So how can we solve the issue of time restraints? Well, unfortunately we can’t create more hours in the day, but we can provide you with a few ideas for family exercise that may slot more easily into your routine.

Putting fitness myths to the test

There’s so much informaiton out there about fitness and some things we see can contradict other things we may have heard. So how do we know what to believe?! Whether you’re looking for nutrition informaiton, correct form tips or ideas for exercises to target specific muscles, it’s important to ensure your source is reliable. We asked Dan, Head of Health and Fitness at Life Leisure, to straighten out 3 well-known myths in the fitness industry for us and we’re here to share the lowdown with you.

Back to school: A day in the life of an Active Communities coach

We’ve all had to learn to adapt and make changes to the way we live and work during the last year. We asked Active Communities Coaches Luke and Leahanna how they found the experience of returning to the school setting after Covid as well as gaining an interesting insight into a day in their life delivering sports sessions to children in Stockport.

Get Online Week 2021

Monday 18th October – Sunday 24th October 2021 is Get Online Week. Get Online Week is a digital inclusion campaign organised by Good Things Foundation.  According to research, around 13 million people in the UK lack the digital skills they need for work and a staggering 3.7 billion people worldwide are digitally excluded. A lack of digital skills can have a huge negative impact on a person’s life, leading to poorer health outcomes, increased loneliness, and social isolation. If this past 18 months has taught us anything, it’s the importance of being connected to one another.

Simple steps to staying motivated

We’ve arrived at that time of year when the weather gets colder, days get darker and all we want to do is curl up under a blanket and hibernate until Summer. But that’s not going to happen this year – we’re here to help! We’ve put together a simple 3 step plan to help reignite your motivation and keep yourself active during the gloomy months. After all – Fitness is for life, not just for Summer.

National Fitness Day 2021

Being able to be active and move our bodies is something we often take for granted. National Fitness Day is a chance to celebrate physical activity as well as highlighting the role it plays in helping us lead healthier lifestyles. This year, National Fitness Day will take place on Wednesday 22nd September and we want to take this time to shout about the importance of being active.

Life after lockdown

As life is continuing to take gradual steps back towards the ‘normality’ we have craved for so long, you may be wondering.. “why do I feel so anxious at such positive news?!” Well, you may be comforted to know that you’re not alone and it’s completely normal to feel this way. So, take a deep breath and have a read of the following 5 tips on returning to the gym after a long break.

5 Tips to Improve your Workout!

People can take different approaches when going to the gym. For example, some people would rather to go alone and figure out what each machine does for themselves, whilst others prefer to go online and research everything before they even set foot into the gym or have guidance from a Personal Trainer from the get-go.

Have you ever stopped to think about your workout routine? It’s very easy to fall into poor habits that you pick up over time, even if you have been taught the proper methods before (driving and writing are key examples of this!).

So, here’s some key things to look out for…

01 Skipping your Warm-Up!

A warmup is essential to any good workout. Without properly warming up and raising your pulse, it makes you more likely to feel light headed and dizzy, meaning you’ll have to finish your workout sooner. A light jog on the treadmill, a few minutes on a bike or a cross trainer, or even a quick circuit involving a variety of different exercises (ie star jumps, mountain climbers, burpees, etc) are all good for steadily bringing up the heart rate and preparing your body for exercise. As well as bringing the heart rate up, it’s also important to do some dynamic stretching to ensure the joints are ready for the start of exercise. If you don’t warm up the joints properly, you’re more likely to injure yourself, meaning you’ll have to spend more time out of the gym recovering! Finally, if you’re planning to do some resistance or strength-based training, it’s always important to do warm up reps at a lower weight, to ensure the muscles are prepared for the increase in weight, especially if you’re trying to go up in weight.

02 Cutting your Cool Down!

As annoying as it is for some, staying in the gym for an extra few minutes to cool down once you’ve finished your workout is very important. If you don’t bring your heart rate back down to the level it was pre-exercise, you become at risk of blood pooling in your lower limbs. At the end of your workout, spend 5 – 10 minutes on the treadmill, walking at a slow, rhythmical pace to allow your heart to catch up with what you’re doing. Post-exercise stretching is also an important part of cooling down. When we exercise, our muscles are contracting to support the weight they are lifting, so the muscles gradually get tighter and tighter throughout the workout. Static stretching when you are finished helps to lengthen the muscles again, reducing post-exercise stiffness and also helping to improve your flexibility.

03 Half Repetitions!

You’re part way through your workout, and you’re feeling the burn in your arms as you bring the dumbbells up for your final set of side raises. You bring them up with control, but as soon as your arms reach the top of the workout, you let them drop immediately without controlling it. We’ve all been there, we’ve all felt the exhaustion that comes when you’re getting close to the end of a set, but it is so important to maintain the control in your arms and bring the weights down slowly. By letting them drop without having any tension in your arms, you’re only performing half of the movement. The end of an exercise, or the eccentric contraction of the muscle, is just as important as the contraction phase (the beginning), as they help to develop your muscles differently. Next time you feel like you’re going to drop the weight on that last rep, take a pause, breathe in, and control it on the way back down. Your muscles will thank you!

04 Get Hydrated!

On average, adults should drink 2000ml-2500ml of water per day. When we are exercising, we should be drinking a minimum of 500ml of water up to two hours before starting, plus an extra litre of water for every hour spent exercising. That’s ¾ of what we’re mean to have in a day! Without appropriate levels of hydration in the body, exercise can be greatly impaired, as it could cause headaches, which can result in a loss of concentration, which can lead to injury. After we have finished exercising, we are meant to have 1 litre of fluid for every kilogram lost during exercise.

05 Technique.

A e you doing the exercises properly to achieve what you want? With resistance and free weights training, something as small as a change in hand position while picking up the barbell can change which muscles the exercise you are doing will activate more. For example, if you are doing a bench press, having your hands closer to the middle of the bar activates the triceps more than a traditional or wider grip will. Don’t be afraid to ask a fitness instructor in the gym if you believe you are not doing things in a way that will help you achieve your goals in the gym.

Now that you know some more some of the bad habits you may have developed in the gym, and how important it is to change them… It’s time to get back into the gym and give yourself the best possible chance to reach that new personal best!