MoveMe exercise trial – Week 1

They’ve survived the first week! Find out how our four Star journos are doing with their fitness goals…

Samantha McPherson 

My first week consisted of running up and down Jacob’s Ladder twice. I am not too sure what inspired me to do that but I did it anyway and was rather stiff the next day. I have also been trying to use the stairs instead of the lift at work, which I have also found beneficial. I am also getting back into playing social indoor netball at least once a week. While this doesn’t really count toward high intensity exercise, it is always good to get out there and play a sport, even if it is social. Indoor netball is so fast and it certainly gives you a run for your money.

I also went to the gym at Moana Pool with Laura, as we are both doing the high intensity challenge, and completed a circuit that gym instructor Dan worked out for us. The circuit, which consisted of squats, cycling, abdominal work and push ups – that left my arms shaking like crazy afterwards, rowing and jogging on the spot. While it doesn’t sound like a very hard timed circuit, we did 30secs of squats while lifting a 2kg medicine ball, the rested for 20secs. We repeated this three times and followed a similar suit with the remaining circuit. I felt great afterwards, even though my thighs felt like jelly and I was puffing like mad. Keeping well hydrated while you are working out is so important, so make sure you remember that the next time you are at the gym.

This week, my aim is to increase the intensity of my exercise regime and to concentrate on making time to exercise. I want to try to do the circuit we were given at least twice because I don’t want to over do it and cause an injury. Surprisingly, I am looking forward to getting back to the gym.

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Laura Hewson

Moderation has not always been my strong suit and this week it’s been all about the exercise. And then it was all about the limping and the making of physio appointments. Too much, too soon. Too bad because it all started so well.

Day one saw fellow high-intensity guinea pig Samantha and I head to Moana Pool Gym for some professional help. All the gym instructors there will show you how to use the machines and make sure you’re not going to fall off a treadmill but we were lucky enough to have instructors Jonathan and Daniel create a special beginner’s plan for us that included ten minutes of high intensity exercises with rest periods added in.

After warming up properly, we started with squats – which are actually much harder to do properly than we thought – then moved on to medicine ball swings, press ups and crunches, the rowing machine, stationary bike then high-knee running on the spot. It was intense but completely doable and having someone to do it with made it much easier. And much funnier. And just a little bit more competitive.

I planned to continue this routine at home, replacing the rowing and cycling components with another set of squats and high-knee running. Sadly, it didn’t quite work out that way as three days in a row of hockey, Futsal and then hockey practice left me with C-3PO robot legs and an appointment with a physio.

I still made an effort to take the stairs at work (three flights a few times a day adds up and it beats being in the smallest and slowest and creakiest elevator in Dunedin) but I mostly took it easy for the rest of the week to give myself a chance to recover.

I’m trying to view this programme as a long-term thing beyond the four weeks so I’m going to pace myself and not get discouraged if things don’t happen immediately. Though something better happen soon or I may get distracted and divert my lack of moderation in an entirely different direction – language classes are looking quite appealing at the moment.

Next week I’ll be investigating lounge-lizard fitness to find out what I can and can’t do from the privacy of my own living room.

Jonathan Chilton-Towle

Having survived the first week on  the MoveMe Fitness trial I think I’m already beginning to see some improvements in my fitness, albeit small ones. I have walked to work instead of driving every day since we started and I went cycling in the weekend. Previously, laziness dictated I would do everything possible to avoid the dreaded trudge up three flights of stairs to our office each day. Since the trial started I have been trying to use the stairs as much as possible. Two weeks ago the climb would leave me red-faced and wheezing like an old man but having done it several times per day for a week and bit I now get to the top with only minimal huffing.

For the rest of the week, I hope to take another cycle, maybe try out a yoga course with my workmates, and hopefully use some of the free gym and pool passes I was given at the start of the trial. Normally I have trouble getting motivated to do exercise, but I have found that working more activity into my everyday life works. I walk to work because I need to get to work and I climb the stairs because I need to get to the office. Hopefully participating in group exercise activities will help my motivation to get off the couch outside work hours too.

Dan Hutchinson

It was 1988 last time I went to a gym – a scrawny teenager desperate to hasten the onset of man muscles – lean as a whippet and not a bit happy about it. The whippet problem has since been solved through a strict diet of hops and fermented barley however my abdominal region is now rippling, and not in a good way. Some serious equipment is needed to reverse this evolution and I am told a gymnasium is a good place to start.

Initial fears of being the odd one out were misplaced – the instructors are great, there is no pressure and plenty of other ordinary people there just trying to improve their fitness. Sessions on the rowing machine and exercycle will be familiar to many people so I won’t get into all that but I feel it is my journalistic duty to warn readers of a thing called the cross trainer. This machine looks quite harmless but climbing aboard is a bit like joining the army – it literally controls your life and legs for a few moments. After a few minutes of that, I did start to get the hang of it and have no doubt it was good for me, based on the number of introductions I got from parts of my body I had never met before.

The usual evening walks are still going well and I am clocking up about 10,000 steps a day, according to my trusty pedometer, just by walking the hill circuit around home. Without the walk my activity is often only around 6000 steps. On a more frightening note, a reader emailed me last week to warn me of the dangers of walking after dark. Apparently, this person is a regular cross-town commuter and often nearly runs people over because they are wearing dark clothes. I don’t need to be told twice and I am now actively searching for a fluorescent head band – thank God some things never go out of style!

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