One of the comments we dread hearing this time of year is: “I am going to be more active outside.” It means we will see some of our clients less often.
I never really know what this outdoor activity actually entails, but my image is someone sitting in the backyard, floating in the pool and socializing with friends. I don’t imagine clients keeping up with their moderate intensity exercise programs. It is rare for a client to return in September in better shape after taking some time off.
With this in mind, there are some really easy ways to stay active outside the gym. A female client in her 60s recently asked for a program to do while she was away during the summer months. She had not been exercising regularly. Her goals were to feel better, lose a few pounds, and tone and shape her muscles. I only had one session to teach her some basic movements that are easy to remember, low risk and effective.
The client had a budget, so I suggested she purchase pairs of five-and 10-pound dumbbells, two exercise bands (one medium and one medium-heavy resistance) and a TRX Suspension Trainer.
The TRX Suspension Trainer (trxtraining.com) is the single best piece of equipment that has come out in the past 10 years. Unless you belong to a gym you have probably never seen this apparatus, although it is available for anyone to purchase at most sports and fitness equipment retailers.
Below is the program I recommended to my client.
Take brisk walks on the trails for 30 minutes at least four days per week. I asked her to do this portion of her workout prior to her strength training so that she was fully warmed up.
I gave her strength training exercises to be done three days per week, preferably outside. I advise being aware of the risks of exercising in the heat or other extreme conditions.
Exercises are done in circuit style: she must complete one set of each exercise and then repeat the entire circuit two or three times, depending on how she’s feeling. The following exercises are to be done 12-15 times at a slow, smooth pace:
. TRX rows;
. Lying dumbbell chest press;
. Front and side shoulder raises with a band; and
. Standing band rows.
She should finish with three sets of planks, holding them for 45 seconds.
Once the workout is complete, she does 10 stretches with an emphasis on the neck and shoulders, an area she identified has been tight.