Recharge! Low intensity exercises for summer
As the temperature outside starts to increase for summer here in the Middle East, many people use July to take holidays and recover. For this month’s edition, we will look at how your body can recharge. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can have the month off from exercise, no no no…but it does mean you can do a series of low intensity exercises that will still burn calories and help your fitness, without exerting too much energy.
If you like to train hard and give 100 percent all the time, it is important that you give your body enough recovery time. The muscles need time to grow so you can focus on other elements of your training such as balance, core strength, back strength and flexibility.
1) Single leg stork test
This exercise will work the proprioceptors in the ankle and the knee. Balancing on one leg is harder than it looks. First, start by standing on the ground, lifting one leg off and balancing on your standing leg. Once you can do this, the next stage is to close your eyes. Suddenly the exercise becomes more challenging as you rely on what you can feel, rather than what you can see. The progression from this is to go from a stable surface to an unstable surface. Using the BOSU, attempt the same exercise one leg at a time. Aim to complete 3 sets of 30 seconds on each leg.
2) Walking plank
Core strength can be improved in many ways. For the walking plank, start in the plank position on your elbows, with your back flat and knees off the floor. From here, push your hands from a bent to an extended position, one arm at a time, so that your chest moves up and away from the floor. Then lower your body, one arm at a time, back down. The key here is to not rock the hips and to brace the core so that the back remains straight throughout the movement. Aim to do 3 sets of 10 reps with a short rest in between.
3) Back extension leg lift
Imagine you are a mermaid and both of your legs are stuck together. Lie face down, and using your lower back muscles, try to lift both legs off the floor. You should feel this working your lower back along with your glutes. This is a great exercise for the postural chain and the back of the body. It’s imperative that the movement is slow and controlled. Try to complete 3 sets of 10 reps.
4) Hamstring / Glute flexibility
At the end of a workout, many people forget to stretch. Stretching will help with muscle soreness, tightness and fatigue. From a seated position, with both legs out straight, bend one leg into the other thigh and ease down slowly to touch your toes. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds then change legs. The second stretch is a great one for the back of the leg and the gluteus maximus. Lying on your back, bend both legs. Cross one leg over the other and reach both hands behind the bent leg. Gently pull in towards your chest. You should feel a nice stretch on the back of the body. Hold for 20 seconds then change sides.
For all of the exercises above, think about the intensity. Try to keep the intensity low, which will keep your heart rate low. This will help your body recover from all the hard sessions you have put yourself through. Relax, recharge and enjoy the summer!
Fitness Manager, Fitness First Uptown Mirdif
Words by: Nicky Holland
Photos by: Jung Francisco