Our experts tell you why you shouldn’t be overzealous with the workouts if you want to see results. By Mavis Teo.
Why you don’t need to get fit fast. (Photo: Igor Mojzes / www.123rf.com)
2016 is fast approaching, and you realise you haven’t fulfilled your fitness resolutions. Instead of plunging headfirst into pumping iron, read what our experts have to say.
1. Starting Slow is Perfectly Fine
A research paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology last year noted that even running slowly is beneficial to the heart. So, there’s really no need to get fit fast: starting slow is perfectly all right and beneficial.
Dr Lim Baoying, a resident physician at Changi Sports Medicine Centre, recommends starting your workout with a friend and increasing the duration and frequency as you progress. That’s definitely a better way to have a Christmas get-together than pigging out on turkey or log cake!
2. You Get to Reap Maximum Benefits
Muhammed Ismail, head coach and certified personal trainer at Ritual, a boutique gym, specialises in 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HITT). Rather than push beginners into HITT though, he says he will simply get them to start moving.
“I make sure a beginner is able to hold a plank before she progresses to lowering herself towards the floor and finally completes a push-up. She can reap maximum benefits when she is able to do a full set of an exercise properly,” says Ismail. (Here’s how to do a perfect plank!)
3. 20 to 60 Minutes of Exercise is Enough
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends starting with just 20 to 60 minutes of exercise no more than five times a week for someone with a sedentary lifestyle embarking on an exercise routine. You can always amp up your workouts or runs after you have built up your fitness.
4. You Don’t Want to Get Injured
“Even pulls and pushes, if done repeatedly, are a cardio workout. I am more concerned that someone who has not exercised for a long time might have joint issues she doesn’t know about,” explains Ismail, who adds that he can tell a lot about a person’s physical condition from a squat.
Having prolonged pain in the muscles or joints when you are working out may signify injuries, warns Dr Lim. People attempting new levels or exercises also run the risk of heart attacks, she adds. This is another reason to start slow if you’ve been mostly sedentary. So don’t be overenthusiastic with your workouts or too focused on getting fit fast, or you might risk getting one of these common sports injuries.