Left image: Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash. Right image: Supplied by Cassey Maynard
In an increasingly health-obsessed world, we’re constantly bombarded with advice from all angles on how to optimise health, fitness and wellbeing. But for those of us who are bound to an office desk from 9-5, setting specific health goals can sometimes lead to disappointed through unrealistic expectations on what you can achieve during your work week. Here, fitness expert, Cassey Maynard takes us through the real fitness goals we should be aiming for daily if 10,000 is just not working for you.
Is the 10,000 steps per day goal all it’s cracked up to be?
Look, my belief is that 10,000 steps is better than less than 10,000 steps! Let’s be real about this, we sit on our butts A LOT these days, so this is better than doing nothing. Should it be all we focus on? Hell no! But it is an achievable goal that most people can hit so I think it’s a good base to stay healthy.
Standing vs. sitting
We’ve all heard the adage that “sitting is the new smoking”, and while everything functions better when standing up frequently, it’s mostly about movement. Our energy flows more freely when we are standing tall with good posture, so I believe it’s vital to stand up as much as possible throughout the day, but moving more is the most important thing of all. Scheduling in ‘energy snacks’ will get the blood pumping and energise your body and mind. Simple ideas are a standing stretch at your desk, 10 squats (up and down off your office chair), 50 skips, a walk in the sunshine during your lunch break or even a walking meeting with your team. Just try and MOVE more!
Every body is different so it’s hard to give a cookie cutter answer for this but as a rule, women should be combining strength, cardio and stretch to their weekly routines.
Get in tune
Everyone needs to get more in tune with their bodies and what the body is asking for on that day. For example, if you’ve had a shocker, you’re stressed out and absolutely exhausted, then it’s probably not a great idea to go smash out an intense cardio session at the gym. This is because your cortisol levels will already be in overdrive, so you don’t need to add any more stress. Yoga, Pilates or a walk in the sunshine could be better options when you’re in this state.
Mix up strength and cardio
A few strength workouts each week are advised to increase muscle tone and shape, improve joint function, bone density and ensure strong ligament and tendons. If heavy weights are not your jam. then opt for body weight or just reach for those lightweights. All of these options will keep you strong!
Cardio is also necessary a few times per week to help cardiovascular health and it’s the quickest way to feel tighter, lighter and leaner. The key is to mix up your movement daily depending on your mood. You need to move your body in a way that makes you feel good and brings you joy. Do something you love so you crave more of it and stay consistent.
I believe that it’s important to stretch the body every day for flexible and injury free bodies. I recommend incorporating a stretch sequence first thing in the morning. This will not only wake up the body but you’ll feel energised and ready for any challenge.
How can someone best support their fitness goals in other areas?
Slowing down and focusing on nutrition are even more important than the actual fitness part of health. If you’re not fuelling the body with the correct foods then it’s not going to be performing at its best and if you’re not resting and allowing your body to recover then it’s not going to be able to rejuvenate, repair, restore and re-energise.
I’m also all about #rainbowvibing when it comes to food and I believe that a diet rich in coloured wholefoods leads to loads of energy and more motivated humans. If you have a diet full of beige high processed foods, then you’ll most likely feel beige, unhappy and unmotivated—it really is that simple.