Some people find exercise a right pain in the butt and find any excuse to not do it! For these people it can be a matter of finding the right motivation and the right type of activity to make it work. There are so many different types of exercise out there and unless you commit to something, you’ll end up doing nothing! Why exercise at all? Weight loss, fitness, competitiveness, endorphins, strength, all of the above? Or is it just because you’ve been told you have to do 30 minutes a day? Do you skip a day and use the excuse that you’ve already been 3 times this week? It’s always been known that we don’t exercise enough for good health in the short and long term. I was a bit that way until I discovered the Tabata Training method. It’s quick, costs nothing and it’s super effective. You really feel like you’ve done some work and research shows it’s a great way to build strength and fitness. If you are like me and use any excuse not to exercise, or love it but struggle to find time, then this is the baby for you! Trust me, Tabata training can change all that for you.
The Tabata started in 1996 when Dr Izumi Tabata, a world-renowned sport scientist from Japan, compared two groups of elite athletes. One group was doing 60 minutes of steady paced, medium intensity stationary cycling. The other group was completing 4 minutes of flat out exercise for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, 8 times. Both groups did this 5 times a week. The result was that the interval training group had a much better increase in anaerobic capacity (the stuff you need to sprint) than the cycling group. This means you get fitter, faster and burn more calories all in 4 minutes. Yippee right? You do need to warm up beforehand and stretch at the end but you get the picture. Plus, I will add that correct form and building yourself up in intensity is of course very important here. Some people who have never exercised may be best to get advice or guidance for a while as the risk of injury is just as prevalent.
My favourite all-round routine is:
- Squats – 20 seconds
- 10 seconds rest
- Push-ups – 20 seconds (man-style until my form drops, then lady-style) let’s be real here!
- 10 seconds rest
- Sit-ups (or any core exercise) – 20 seconds (I do bike legs on my back keeping my spine flat to the ground)
- 10 seconds rest
- Tricep dips – 20 seconds
REPEAT = 4 minutes.
I then work myself up to doing that twice, so 8 minutes. You can keep working yourself up to doing more, but if you’re performing over 100% effort then your form may start to drop. But hey, if you can do it and keep good form then keep going! Functional movements act to strengthen the muscles you need for everyday activities so that keeps you safe particularly as you age. Squats – lifting heavy things like the groceries, push ups – getting up off the ground safely or pushing a pram, dips – lifting yourself up from awkward positions, pull-ups – getting into a boat you just fell out of!! There are so many different exercises you can do that suit your needs so chose ones that are suitable for your daily activities. Other examples are, high knees, jogging on the spot, star jumps, jump squats, donkey kicks and on and on! There are apps available that give you ideas for routines and a beeping timer so you don’t have to watch the clock! The best thing is it can be done in your lounge room, in your pyjamas, with just the floor and a coffee table for props, all while the kids eat breakfast!! Win-win!!
I challenge you to try it for a week, 4 times in the week, and see how you feel.