Despite being quite fit – I play tennis all year round and do spinning classes – I’m having slight trouble with knee pain. Could you advise me on appropriate warm-ups that might help? I am 72.
Staying fit and healthy can help us avoid some of the problems that age presents, but not all of them.
There are some common areas of wear and tear that cause trouble: shoulders, ankles, hips and of course knees.
What is certain is that a longer period of warm-up is needed before intense exercise or sport.
Tennis is of such dynamism and intensity that the whole body will need to be prepared
As we lose elasticity in our tendons and have shorter, stiffer muscles, the need to gradually warm them up increases.
Tennis is of such dynamism and intensity that the whole body will need to be prepared.
Leg swings, in which you stand on one leg, supported against a wall, and swing your leg side to side, or forwards and backwards, will mobilise the hips and stretch hamstrings and hip flexors. Do 15 to 20 swings for each leg.
Walking lunges, and adding a rotation of your upper body to that movement, will engage the muscles around your hips, knees and back and will increase the release of the fluids that lubricate the joints, while also increasing your blood flow and temperature.
Stretching the quads, calves, Achilles and hamstrings will all increase the range of motion around each joint and reduce your risk of injury reduce, as will cat-cow stretches for your spine.
Choose two to three mobility exercises for the upper body, lower body and spine, and spend ten minutes on your routine.
I’m in my 50s, female, and haven’t done much exercise in the past five years due to illness, deaths in the family, losing my job, depression, the menopause: it sounds like I’m making excuses but life has thrown a lot of the unexpected my way. But I am now ready to get back into the real world and start looking after myself. I need to lose weight but my main focus is on getting to a level of fitness. What do you recommend?
Sometimes in life we have to put ourselves last – we just need to exist and focus on the other things that require our attention.
But at some point we need to start to put ourselves first again, and doing so will boost self-confidence and energy. There needs to be a mindset that you will be vigorously active every other day, so three to four days per week. On the other days, focus on being mildly active – say, going for a reasonable walk.
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On the four days you exercise, use two of them to do one sustained- pace, moderate- to high- intensity cardio exercise for 30 minutes, such as a fast walk, jog, swim, cycle or row.
On the other two days you need to do interval training, in which you work at a higher intensity for 30 to 60 seconds and then recover for 60 to 90 seconds, at least three times.
Think of running and walking, or using a hill to jog or walk up and down, or using hills on your bike.
This approach will increase the fitness of your heart rapidly and raise metabolism significantly.
On each of these four days, you could also do two upper-body and two lower-body exercises, alternating between, say, squats, lunges, press-ups and chair dips.
Aim for 15 to 20 reps for each exercise, with 20 seconds’ rest between sets, and two minutes’ rest between each circuit.
Repeat three to five times.
This should be done following the cardio exercise, so that your body is fully warmed up.
More than half of the UK population is overweight, with a third of us recognised as obese, according to NHS statistics. Too many of us consume vastly more food than we need. Simple.
A Public Health England report last week showed that the average Briton munches 1,000 calories per day more than they think.
I always feel it’s ironic that foods sold to us as ‘treats’ are probably, making us ill and I wonder whether an approach similar to the one taken with cigarette packaging might be the thing: no more fun or tempting-looking packaging for cakes, biscuits and other junk, just plain boxes stamped with the nutritional truth about the contents.
It would certainly make you think twice before grabbing that packet of chocolates dangling at the checkout.
On your bike to steer clear of dementia
Daily walking or riding a bike can stave off dementia, according to research published last week. The study of older people found that those with poor fitness levels had faster mental deterioration, putting them at greater risk of cognitive decline.
The ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ mantra is something we should listen to: the body is designed and evolved to be active and by doing so, we are giving ALL of our internal organs, including the brain, the greatest chance of functioning. We should all be active in some moderate way every day for at least 30 to 40 minutes.
Daily walking or riding a bike can stave off dementia, according to new research
Not only does the mind benefit from this, but also the heart, lungs, circulation, internal organ function, hormone balance, sleep patterns – the list goes on – all benefit in an enormous way.
If we are to have the best chance possible of staving off serious illness, we need to be active. It can’t stop everything, of course, but it can give you a better chance.
It’s easy to HIIT it hard like Emma
Lady Weymouth, pictured, wowed social media followers with photographs of her incredible high-intensity training (HIIT)
Aristocratic beauty Lady Weymouth wowed her social-media followers this week with an intimate snap of her weekly Tabata workout.
Emma, the 31-year-old wife of Viscount Weymouth, revealed that this type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) – lasting 20 minutes – is particularly easy to squeeze into her life as a ‘businesswoman and mum of two little people’. And the good news is it’s quite simple to do at home.
The workouts involve short bursts of, high-intensity exercises, followed by short rests, in order to get the heart pumping quickly and burn an increased amount of fat.
Tabata HIIT routines are typically made up of four or five different exercises, lasting three to four minutes each. With each exercise, you work as hard as you possibly can for 20 seconds; rest for ten and then go hard for 20 again. Try using two upper- and two lower-body exercises, plus one cardio exercise.
For example, use a combination of jump squats, glute bridge, press-ups, skipping and seated rowing movements, interspersed with ten-second breaks.
Repeat the whole sequence three to five times, for 20 minutes.
It will be over so quickly that you won’t even notice the burn… much.
Tabata HIIT routines are typically made up of four or five different exercises, lasting three to four minutes each