Spending Christmas with the family. What’s a good exercise to do at home?

Article by Ernie Boxall 14.12.15
  How can you build an exercise programme at home, with basic equipment and a minimum of time?

As an experienced Personal Trainer it often falls to me to offer suggestions to my clients over Christmas when spending time with the family takes precedence over the gym. 

A favourite method I’ve used for many years needs just a pack of cards and an exercise mat. Each exercise is being represented by a suit of cards. 

Hearts = Sit Ups: Diamonds = Press Ups: Spades = Squats: Clubs = Step Ups.

Turn up the top card and complete the required number of repetitions (ie) 10 of Hearts=10 Sit Ups etc. You can decide whether the Ace equals 1 or 14 and whether you want to include the Jokers (not to begin with I suggest)

Make sure that you are comfortable with your technique throughout the session and then just work your way through the pack. 

This method has many advantages amongst which are:

1. Cheap. A pack of cards and exercise mat; The studio can be the carpet in your front room. 

2. Controlled. You determine the speed at which you complete the exercises. 

3. Psychologically beneficial. You do not know which exercise comes next, so you cannot settle into a routine.

This last point is vital to the session’s outcome. Imagine that you have just turned over the 10 of Diamonds: 10 Press Ups, it’s halfway through the session and you’re getting tired. You complete the 10 reps and then turn up the King of Diamonds=13 Press Ups. Psychologically this is very demanding and who knows whether the next card couldn’t be the Queen of Diamonds=another 12.

The next factor to be considered is the simple requirement of standing up and lying down. Again we are looking at both physical and psychological factors here: Let’s take the example of 10 of Hearts=10 Sit ups; followed by 8 of Diamonds= 8 Press Ups; 9 of Spades= Standing up for 9 squats then 8 of Hearts= getting down on the floor again for the Sit Ups. Very demanding for the average fitness member.

Finally, we look at the ways we can make the session more testing as fitness improves:

1. Increase the intensity of the exercises performed by (a) changing the body position of the exercise (b) adding weights to the exercises. 

2. Decrease the rest periods between the exercises. 

3. Increase the tempo of the exercises.

This is one of the methods we use at Balance Health and Fitness to increase the physical and psychological fitness of our members, no matter what level of ability they have joined us with.
Ernie Boxall is CEO of Balance Health and Fitness,supporting personal,group and corporate wellbeing through Tai Chi,Shiatsu and Circuit Training.Find out more from http://balancehealth-fitness.co.uk
This article first appeared in ezinearticles.com on December 10th 2011 by Ernie Boxall