I have never particularly enjoyed cardio/aerobic exercise. I hate running, I’m no good at swimming. I do a self defence class once a week which is great for keeping my heart rate up but I need to do more, so I started skipping.
I can honestly say I am the fittest I have ever been since having started. I no longer get out of breath after just a couple of minutes and I can notice the changes in all aspects of my life.
Here are some great reasons as to why I think everyone should give it a try.
- It is play! Like when you were a child and play is essential in life even for us adults
- It is excellent cardiovascular exercise which means that it will keep your heart healthy and make you fitter
- It is simple and convenient – you can do it in your own home.
- It is cheap – you can buy a rope for less than a fiver
- It can be high or low intensity – you go at your own pace which means that it suits all fitness levels
- It burns lots of calories so it’s great for weight loss
- It works your legs and arms so will have them looking leaner in no time
- It improves balance an coordination
- It is a great core workout as you have to stabilise yourself throughout
- You can jump in lots of different ways which will keep it interesting!
Why not give it a go?
One of the greatest benefits to lifting weights is that weight lifting aids weight loss.
When you lift weight you build muscle on your body.
Muscle is more ‘metabolically active’ than fat which, in English, means that it is constantly moving (whereas fat just stays still). Your muscles are constantly contracting.
And what happens when you move?
You burn calories!
So by building more muscle onto your body you will increase the amount of calories you are able to burn even when resting. Because once the muscle is there it will be constantly contracting even if you are not doing anything. So you will continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout!
Needless to say I am a bit of a weight lifting fan. I have been training for 2 years with heavy weights and I love it. I think more women should get into weight lifting as there are many benefits to it, weight loss isn’t the only one, so watch this space for more reasons why you should hit the weights!
- If you make too much – freeze it.
- Have leftovers for lunch the next day. Most foods last longer than you’d think.
- Don’t throw out foods that have passed their best before date – This only tells you that it isn’t as fresh as it could be but there is nothing actually wrong with it.
- Weigh foods so you only use the amount you really need.
- Walk to and from the supermarket – If you have to physically carry it home you won’t want to buy so much.
Number 5 is my favourite. I started doing my food shop on the way home from the gym (which I walk to) as it was just convenient. I don’t buy half as much as when I’ve got the car because I’m consciously thinking of how heavy it will be to carry. It is also extra exercise, and good exercise at that. The walk is great, low impact aerobic exercise and the carrying is resistance training at its very basic. If you consider how heavy bags of potatoes and tins of beans can be, it is a very simple yet effective way of increasing your daily/weekly activity level!
200g Butter beans (soaked over night)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Half pint of vegetable stock
1 Tin plum tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and let it brown
- Add the garlic
- Add the plum tomatoes and break up into smaller chunks
- Add the vegetable stock and the beans and boil for 10 minutes
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about an hour
Serve with chunky bread. Follow the packet instructions for the beans, I like to use dried beans so you have to soak them overnight but you could also use canned beans which would be a lot quicker. I added mushrooms to this as well, (just after the onion and I let them brown before adding the tomatoes), but I’m not entirely sure they really work. You can also add as much or as little garlic as you fancy.
100g Black eyed beans
100g Pinto beans
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 litre vegetable stock
100g tomato puree
- Heat oil in large saucepan
- Add leeks and stir until soften
- Add cumin and 3 chillies (chopped)
- Add vegetable stock and beans (soaked overnight and then washed)
- Add tomato puree and leave to cook for about an hour
Serve with rice. Add Greek style yogurt if too hot (obviously would not be vegan if you use yogurt). I usually use 3 chillies because it’s just enough for a bit of heat without blowing my head off. As you leave it to cook the water will reduce so keep an eye on it and add more if necessary.