Mix and match to get fit
In the fitness industry, it is no secret that different people are suited to different sports and activities, largely because muscle and bone strength and structure vary from person to person.
Some body types are suited to long-distance running while other people are natural-born swimmers.
Experts agree that with practice and time spent learning correct techniques, everyone has the ability to learn different skills, but there is no harm in playing to your strengths and focusing on activities that come more naturally.
It is also worth bearing in mind that different types of activities deliver different benefits. People with breathing difficulties, for example, are likely to benefit from activities such as swimming which help greatly to build lung capacity.
Personal Trainer Tom Shiyoya, who owns Plus Fitness Subiaco and Joondalup, said it was a good idea for anyone looking to get specific benefits from their chosen activity to consult an expert because working to a properly devised fitness program would help ensure all-round fitness.
“For example, someone who plays a team sport who wants to improve their performance should not just be focusing on their game plan but they should also be doing other activities such as running and weight-bearing exercises to improve their speed and agility, ” he said.
“Someone who wants to excel in cycling might look for some other form of activity to help them improve endurance. It makes a lot of sense but sometimes you need an expert to point out where you can improve and how you might be able to achieve that improvement.”
Making sure strength and endurance training was being done properly was also important because simple mistakes in the mechanics of the activity could lead to injury or reduce the total benefit to be gained.
“Often an expert like a personal trainer can help people tweak the exercises they are doing so they get more from them and to ensure they are being done safely. In the long term, that can be very important, ” he said.
“It can be very frustrating if you have to stop your regular routine because you’re injured or if you put a lot of effort into something and you are not doing it correctly and there is little pay-off, so it is a good idea to just check in with someone to make sure you are doing all the right things and that you are doing everything you can to improve.
“Sometimes there are little tricks and tips that can make the world of difference.”
There was no question that the pursuit of certain popular sports and activities delivered amazing long-term health benefits not just for the body but also for the mind.
“Where there is room to improve and get better is where people tend to find the motivation to continue with those activities perhaps across a lifetime, ” he said.
“And that should be a major goal for people, even if they are not elite, because at the end of the day, we know that being fit and active is what helps people to live a longer and happier life.”
He said Perth’s growing population meant people were spoilt for choice when it came to sporting clubs and fitness facilities.
HBF’s health services consultant Max Tamatoa said there was usually an exercise or activity to suit everyone, regardless of health concerns or issues.
The key to success was researching or consulting an expert and trying different things until something felt comfortable.
Working out what a person wanted to gain from exercise was also a good way to plan the type of activity that would work best.
Great if you want to: maintain or lose weight.
There’s little wonder running has been a perennial favourite with anyone keen on developing and maintaining fitness.
“Running gives your cardiovascular system and the entire musculoskeletal system one of the best workouts it can get, ” Max Tamatoa said.
“It’s amazing the difference running regularly (starting with one run per week) can have on your overall fitness. 1km of continuous running might feel impossible at the beginning but in no time that might just become your warm-up jog and you’ll reach distances you never thought were possible.”
- Improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness
- Strengthens bones
- Strengthens muscles
- Improves body composition (body fat: lean muscle ratio)
Great if you want to: get fit, even if you have sore knees.
“Cycling regularly will take your fitness to new heights, ” Mr Tamatoa said.
“It targets large muscle groups and challenges the cardiovascular system. The great thing about cycling, especially for those of us with dodgy knees, is it’s low impact, which will help protect and preserve joints, while improving overall mobility.”
- Increase cardiovascular fitness
- Strengthen bones
- Improve body composition (body fat: lean muscle ratio)
- Increase strength and flexibility
- Improve joint mobility
Great if you want to: de-stress and strengthen your core muscles.
Having a strong sense of balance in life allows us to get the most out of every day, while feeling great and on top of things.
Max Tamatoa said yoga was great for normalising stress levels that might build up at home or at work.
“If you’re feeling good mentally and emotionally, that’s likely to have a positive impact on all other aspects of your fitness regime as well, ” he said.
- Develops isometric strength
- Improves flexibility
- Improves joint mobility
- Strengthens bones
Great if you want to: get fit and stay motivated.
Team sports, such as soccer, are one of the best ways to build confidence, self-esteem and a sense of belonging.
“The skills required for soccer will see your overall fitness and agility reach new heights, but turning up each week to play alongside your teammates is also one of the best forms of motivation you can get to help you stick to a regular form of exercise, ” Max Tamatoa said.
- Increase aerobic capacity
- Strengthens bones
- Improves muscle strength
- Improves joint function
- Improve flexibility and joint mobility
- Maintains motivation
Great if you want to: get fit or maintain your fitness, with healthy competition spurring you on.
Anyone who is results driven and competitively motivated will find instant appeal in this activity which is enjoying a rapid rise in popularity.
“CrossFit is highly social, and competitive too — in a good way, ” Max Tamatoa said. “You can’t help but be motivated by the people around you to push your strength and fitness to new levels. Small improvements each session will, over time, have an impact on your strength, power and endurance.”
- Increases aerobic and anaerobic fitness
- Improves strength, especially power and endurance
- Improves body composition
© The West Australian
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