Shape up or ship out

Our guest fitness instructor Dominic Mahaga emphasises on the importance of sustaining exercise regime during the hot summer months

By Joyce Njeri (Staff Writer)

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Published: Mon 14 Apr 2008, 11:57 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:43 PM

shAS WE gear up for the hot summer months, many people tend to go sedentary, or what is popularly known as the coach potato lifestyle.

This is characterised by indoor food bingeing, lack of exercise and a general feel of laziness or fatigue. Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an alert that living a sedentary lifestyle had overtaken other risks as the major cause of ill health.

"Inactivity is linked to the four big killers of our times - these are, heart disease, cancer, stroke and falls," says Dominic Mahaga, our guest fitness instructor, who trains at the Natural Elements Body and Spa, Le Méridien Dubai Hotel. "It's extremely important to find ways to keep in shape with the many indoor exercise options that are available, and high temperatures should not be an excuse for not working out," he adds.

Maintaining an active lifestyle that includes some regular physical activity is like free health insurance - it helps prevent costly doctors bills. Dominic takes us through the many work out regime programmes that one can take up during summer.

How can I make my summer indoor workouts as effective as my normal outdoor workouts in winter?

shq1Indoor workouts can be interesting if we vary them; for instance cycling, treadmills run, stepper, cross trainer or simply attending an aerobics class. And for those who don't necessarily like to get it in gear in front of others, especially women, working out at home is always an option, with affordable home exercise equipment including DVDs, available for a variety of workouts.

What is the best way to exercise to get a lean and toned body?

If you are looking for a lean and toned body, nutrition will play a vital role towards improving your appearance, you need to workout regularly performing good proportions of strength and cardio preferably every other day.

What time of the day should I exercise?

It really does not matter, however many fitness enthusiasts prefer to train in the morning as they can concentrate and they still possess good energy levels. Some researches indicate that you lose more body fat in the morning on an empty stomach.

What are some ways that I can maintain my fitness after working hard to get in shape or lose weight?

Once enslaved to a fitness programme you are bound to lead a fit or an active life. If you get too lazy you risk having a lousy metabolism. The idea is to keep your metabolism up by abiding by your fitness programme and eating healthy.

Will I lose weight or get in shape more quickly with a personal trainer?

With a personal trainer you set targets and work towards them jointly. Personal trainers have been known to inspire, encourage and this element sometimes will miss out when one trains alone.

How can I have more fun when I am working out?

You can make your workouts more interesting by varying them. Alternately you may consider working out with a friend and set target (mini challenges; who can complete kilometre run faster than the other, or who can swim faster)

What are some of the benefits of spa?

Spas help in counteracting stress and its effects relaxes tense muscles. Visiting a spa or having a treatment would alleviate body tension while relaxing muscles and stimulating the release of endorphins, (the body's natural pain killers), increases blood flow and circulation that in turn leads to balance of the mind, relaxation of the body and gives the spirit serenity.

How do I keep myself from going back to my old habits?

As soon as you are started you can have a role model, or simply have a training partner or a personal trainer for that matter to inspire and watch over you. You need to be disciplined.

How do I stick to my exercise routine?

You need to allocate at least three hours of fitness/aerobic activity in a week. When you have done this, you have to be disciplined and let nothing come your way. If you miss a workout day and cannot attend gym due to extra work or traffic, make it a point of compensating and fill in the missed gap either by sit-ups at home or having a small set up of gym in the apartment where you can sweat out.

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