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New Year’s Resolution Goal Setting

SMART New Year’s Resolution Goal Setting

Many people start the New Year with grand plans of drastically changing their lifestyle to improve their health and fitness with outlandish New Year’s resolution goal setting. However these resolutions often last no longer than a week as they are goals which are unrealistic, difficult to manage or simply unachievable. Here we will discuss the SMART strategy for successful goal setting which you can apply for this years New Year resolution or to any goal setting task any time of year.

S = Specific

Make your goal specific in nature, rather than a general overall goal. To do this you need to outline specific targets to achieve within your goal. For example a general goal may be to “start running regularly” which does not outline any specific details or targets to achieve. A more specific goal would be “go jogging 3 times per week and run 10km by April”.

M = Measurable

When setting your goal, you need to set objective, measurable targets to check your progress along the way. An example of this would be to set some milestone progressions towards your overall goal. If your goal is to be able to swim 2km twice per week by March, you could keep a diary recording how often you have gone swimming each week and how far you swam each time. You can also set targets such as swimming 500m twice per week for the first two weeks, then slowly increasing this amount every two weeks.

A = Attainable

Identifying the steps towards achieving a goal makes it far more attainable. To do this you need to make a list of the process you need to go through to achieve the overall goal. For example a goal such as “going to the gym three times per week” would involve identifying the things you need to have in place to achieve this such as purchasing a gym membership, creating time in your schedule to get to the gym and committing yourself to completing the task on a regular basis.

R = Realistic

A realistic goal is one which you know you are willing and able to achieve. By no means does this does not mean you need to set the bar low, but you must first work out whether the goal is attainable and then ensure you have the motivation to make it realistic.

T = Timely

No matter what sort of goal you set, it should have a time frame attached to it so there is at least some sense of urgency to achieve it. Simply saying that you want to lose 3kg as a goal does not identify when you want to achieve this by. Following the SMART goals strategy the goal of “losing 3kg by September” ensures that there is a commitment to achieving this goal in a set time period.

Written By Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates

Exercise Tips While Travelling

Exercise Tips While Travelling

Regular exercise and physical activity is something that often gets neglected when people go travelling on holiday. Here are a few tips to ensure you can maintain and improve your health and fitness the next time you go on a holiday.

1. Go Walkabout!

When travelling to a new destination walking is not only an excellent way to check out your new surroundings but it will also help to increase your level of physical activity when on a holiday. If you are at the beach this summer what better way to start the day than with a nice walk along the beach. For the budget traveler, walking is a brilliant way to get around a new city without having to pay for taxis or buses and you also get to see the sights whilst you get some valuable daily exercise.

2. Use The Hotel Gym

The majority of hotels these days have a gym set up as part of their facilities. Whilst it may not be at the forefront of your mind when on a holiday, making use of this facility, even if it just once or twice per week when on a holiday, will at least help to maintain all the hard work you have been putting in during the rest of the year at home.

3. No Equipment? No Excuse!

If you are staying somewhere that you don’t have access to gym equipment you can always perform exercises that require no equipment at all. Body weight exercises such as squats, bridges, push ups and lunges can be performed anywhere anytime with your own body being the only required piece of equipment!

4. Pack Exercise Gear!

When packing your suitcase or backpack for your next holiday or adventure, always ensure you take some clothing and footwear which you can exercise in. This will provide you with a timely reminder every time you open up your bag that you have everything with you necessary to perform some exercise.

5. Exercise Checklist

Before leaving on your holiday, write yourself a brief checklist of exercises that you will perform while your away. Whether that be a routine of strength exercises to perform twice per week, or setting yourself the goal of going for a jog 3 times per week whilst on holidays, this will give you a good plan as to what you can do whilst away.

6. HAVE FUN!

Most importantly when you are on your next holiday, make sure you take time to relax and enjoy yourself! You can incorporate exercise as a part of your holiday in a fun and enjoyable way without turning your trip into a biggest loser style boot camp!

Christmas Health and Fitness Tips

Christmas Health and Fitness Tips

With the holiday season fast approaching many people neglect their regular exercise and eating habits which are a part of their daily routine throughout the rest of the calendar year. So here are some Christmas Health and Fitness tips to help you maintain and improve your health and fitness this festive season.

1. Festive Exercise

When getting together for your family Christmas lunch or work Christmas party, why not make exercise a part of festivities? After you have finished Christmas lunch with your family you could all go for a nice walk around a local park to burn off some of the calories you have just devoured at the table. A game of backyard cricket is also a great way to have fun with your family and friends as well as expend some energy at your next Christmas barbecue. Even when you are planning your next work Christmas party you can make the occasion more physical by including an activity such as rock climbing , ten pin bowling or even paint balling to blow of some steam at the end of the working year.

2. Healthy Eating

Having Christmas in summer here in Australia means we have access to a fantastic variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to make part of your festive season meals. Try to include healthier options such as watermelon, strawberries and mangoes as an alternative chocolates and lollies on the desert menu.

3. Keep Exercise Routine

Many people say they don’t exercise during this time because they are too busy, when they actually have more free time due to not working. Often the main reason for stopping exercise is that they are not in their normal routine of going to work, so exercise is also neglected as this is often performed on the way to or home from the office. To get around this set yourself some exercise goals or reminders and plan when you are going to go for a run or get to the gym so you can get in your regular exercise over the festive season.

4. Limit Alcohol Intake

Eating too much food is often blamed for stacking on extra kilos over Christmas, but more often than not it is the amount of alcohol we drink which really does the damage. Alcohol is very high in calories and is easy to take in large amounts without feeling like you are getting full. Try to limit your alcohol intake this festive season by only having one or two alcoholic drinks at a Christmas function. Due to the large amount of functions people attend over the holidays, try to avoid drinking any alcohol at some of these events to help keep your calorie intake down.

5. Celebration In Moderation

Over Christmas there is nothing wrong with enjoying a beer and some pork crackling, but these festive season treats should always be enjoyed in moderation. You are also more likely to enjoy the occasional piece of chocolate or glass of champagne if you only have a small amount during your celebrations.

Plyometric Exercise

Plyometric Exercise

Plyometric Exercise

What Is It?

Originally the word “plyometric” comes from two Greek words, plio, meaning “more” and metric, meaning “to measure”, or more accurately “measurable increase.”

The Eastern Europeans first used Plyometrics in the 1970s to develop greater strength and power in their Olympic athletes. They based their programs on scientific evidence that stretching muscles prior to contracting them recruits the “myotactic” or stretch reflex of muscle (stretching the muscle before it contracts so that it contracts with greater force)to enhance the power of contraction. This pre-stretching of muscles occurs when you perform jumps one after the other.

Plyometric exercises are specialized, high intensity training techniques used to develop power, strength and speed. In other words, it’s an exercise that allows muscles to exert maximum force in the shortest amount of time possible.

Plyometric training is not merely doing a movement fast, but also at max effort. An increase in power can come one of three ways

1) Increase movement speed while maintaining strength.

2) Increase strength while maintaining movement speed, or

3) Increase speed and strength simultaneously.

The most common plyometric exercises include hops, jumps and bounding movements.

Why Is Plyometric Excercise Good For Me?

Plyometric Exercise has been shown to have benefits for reducing lower-extremity injuries in team sports while combined with improvements in other neuromuscular training areas i.e. strength training, balance training, and stretching.

Is Plyometric Exercise Safe?

Plyometric Exercise is not inherently dangerous, but the highly focused, intense movements used in repetition increase the potential level of stress on joints and musculo-tendonous units. Therefore safety precautions are a strong prerequisite to this particular method of exercise and should only be performed by well-conditioned individuals (that is you) who are under supervision (that is us). Good levels of of physical strength, flexibility, and proprioception should be achieved before commencement of plyometric training.

Low-intensity variations of Plyometric Exercises are frequently utilized in various stages of injury rehabilitation, indicating that the application of proper technique and appropriate safety precautions can make Plyometric Exercise safe and effective for most people.

Plyo 1

Plyo 2

Post-Natal Exercise

Post-Natal Exercise

Studies have shown that only 10% of women exercise during pregnancy, therefore many women have not exercised regularly for quite some time. However definite gains have been found from beginning a gentle exercise program early in the post natal period. Time for exercising is not neglecting your baby but making you more able to care for your baby.
This article is designed to give you advice on returning to exercise in the postnatal period. If you have any queries regarding this information feel free to contact any of our staff at MD Health.

Exercise Guidelines

• Allow recovery, pace yourself
• Pelvic Floor and deep abdominals must come first
• Gradual progression: core, low load, low impact
• Increase slowly and gradually
• It is safe to start walking at about 2 weeks. Begin with a short walk and slowly increase distance over the following weeks. Keep the walks to maximum of 15 to 30 minutes during the first 4 weeks.
• The safe time frame for return to impact exercise or weight training is around 12 weeks postnatally but individual assessment is imperative
• The general guidelines for return to normal exercise, would be to gradually progress from light walking (distance and speed) at approximately 6 weeks and recommence weight training at very low levels
• Swimming may be commenced at approximately 6 weeks post delivery

Exercise Modifications

• Breast Support
• Feed prior to exercise if possible
• Attention to calories and hydration
• Avoid high impact or heavily resisted exercise for 12 weeks or longer
• Avoid stressing or straining the pelvic floor or deep abdominal muscles
• Avoid prolonged standing
• Avoid overloading the spine or abdominal exercises that are overly intense
• If a separation (diastisis) of the abdominal’s is present, avoid curls until the diastisis is reduced

Include

• Pelvic floor contractions
• Do not progress to weight work or impact if unable to control bladder or bowel. Seek advice where necessary
• Train to contract pelvic floor with deep abdominal prior to lifting
• Commence with simple transverse abdominal (TA) in drawing. Only progress to abdominal curl when diastisis has reduced (closed) and when you are able to maintain deep contraction throughout whole curl