So you’ve booked your vacation down south for Reading Week, or March Break, and you can’t wait to go running on the beach, or windsurfing, or just playing with the kids in the pool.

But are you really ready?

Many of us do a lot more activity while on vacation than when we’re home.  The demands of work, kids’ hockey practise, making dinner, cleaning the house — all the usual excuses not to exercise are there to prevent us from doing physical activity.  And nowadays, with many of us spending our time sitting in front of computer screens all day, there isn’t much activity in the workplace either.

So what makes us think that without even stretching once a week we’ll be ready to play beach volleyball with a bunch of 20-somethings? Any athlete readying themselves for the competition will start training for their sport in the off-season so that when they’re expected to perform, their bodies are ready to take on that level of activity.  They’ve worked their way up from simple exercises to more complex movements, to sport-specific skills that are needed to perform at their best.

This is your off-season

You need to get working on the muscle strength, flexibility and coordination you’ll need to do all that great beach activity you’re planning.  This is especially important if you spent the holidays in sloth mode, and your resolution to get to the gym to work out is petering out.

If you’ve been really sedentary, here’s a basic routine you can do 3 times per week:

  • 20 minutes of light cardiovascular exercise, like brisk walking
  • 5 minutes of light bodyweight resistance exercise, like squats, lunges, pushups and crunches
  • 3 minutes of core strengthening, like planks, side planks and “clams”
  • 5 minutes of cool-down stretching of your major muscle groups, like the quads, hamstrings, and calves

Before starting any exercise program, please check with your physician or another health professional, and consider talking to a fitness professional, physiotherapist, or another specialist who knows about body mechanics and exercise, to put a proper program together for you.

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