a little of what you fancy

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It’s oft repeated that, in terms of sporting achievement, trophies are won in winter and collected in summer. With the ‘feel-good’ new year initiatives now well & truly in the past, and having dragged my lardy a*se round this weekend’s Wokingham half marathon thirteen minutes over my ‘pb’, the hard work to get fit, or keep fit, now kicks in.

The good news is that if it’s the latter you’re looking to ‘maintain’ then daily activities do indeed go some way to helping you achieve this. Walking to the shops, taking the stairs as opposed to the lift, getting a wiggle-on with the hoover, carrying the shopping home as opposed to letting Alexa call Ocado, will all do their bit for you. Do it for a couple or three hours a week and you’ll be reducing the risk of pegging-it early by almost a third.

However, getting fit from a lower base is going to require you to probably hit the road at the weekend, both literally and metaphorically. Dedicating some quality time to significantly raising your heart-rate in your sport(s) of choice is the order of the day. Swimming’s ace, cycling’s great and running will do just fine. Throw in a gym session and you’ll have all bases covered. All have their pros and cons and you need to pick which one suits you and your life the best. My only advice is to pick the ones you either already enjoy, or could see yourself growing to tolerate as anything else is destined for could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.

Alternatively, if time’s tight, another option, which does appear to work, is to undertake four or five minutes of very high intensity exercise just four times a week: twenty seconds going like the absolute clappers, with ten seconds rest, then twenty full-on, then ten, and so on. Not for everyone I grant you, and far too much like ‘spinning’ for my liking, but some level of high intensity exercise is a great idea in everyone’s get-fit regime. And the bad news for all us shirkers is that the belief that if you run slower for longer you’ll burn more calories than in a shorter, more strenuous run is a red herring. No, getting your skates on is the nature of the fitness beast. Sorry!