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RYAN CAIRNS: Small steps make a big difference

It’s important to drink plenty of water as hydration is important for so many bodily functions.
It’s important to drink plenty of water as hydration is important for so many bodily functions. - 123RF Stock Photo

More sleep, more water and a well-rounded exercise program can pay off

When it comes to living a healthier lifestyle, there are a few things you should take into account.

Some are simple.

Get more sleep. I am sure we can all go to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier if we tried, maybe even more. Sleep is so important for recovery and the reduction of cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that can hinder muscle gain and increase fat loss.

Drink more water. Hydration is important for so many bodily functions. It is important for the absorption of vitamins. If you exercise, you want to be hydrated for your muscles work at their best. Aim for two litres a day if you aren't active. Try to drink three litres if you are. If you can drink 3-5 cups of coffee a day and 6-8 glasses of wine on a Friday night, you can achieve two litres a day.

If you do those two things right, you can look at your training. This advice is for the everyday person. If you exercise regularly and know what works for you, keep going. You may want to introduce this information into your current program.

So, how do you create a well-rounded exercise program for yourself?

Squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull and carry. These are great movements to master. You may need to hire a professional to teach you the movements If you are confident in doing them correctly.

Squatting is like sitting into a low chair.

A hinge is a hip-dominant movement like a deadlift where you push your hips back. I like to tell clients it is like you are at a dinner table and you have your hands full. You need to push a chair into the table with your butt. The pushing motion would be similar to a hinge.

A lunge is a stepping motion than drops a knee towards the ground. Think stepping forward or back to tie your shoe.

The push motion involves the chest, shoulders and triceps. A bench press, shoulder press or dip would be a good start, but they aren't the only ones.

A pull motion would involve the back, biceps and forearms. Examples would be rowing, chin-ups and biceps curls to name a few. Pulling is probably more important than pushing because it can help improve posture. We are a very rounded shoulder society at the moment.

A carry is a movement many people neglect. It is just like carry grocery bags or suitcases. Pick up one or two weights that you find challenging and walk with them. There are other styles of carries, but that is a simple version. It has a lot of carry-over to everyday life.

If you wanted to make a workout with these exercises you could do the following.


Monday
1. Deadlift 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps rest 45-60 seconds between sets.
2. Bench press 3-4 sets. 8-12 reps. Rest 45 - 60 seconds rest.
3. Lunge 3-4 sets 8-12 reps/ leg rest 30 seconds after second leg and repeat.
4. Cable row 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Rest 45-60 seconds.
5. Tricep push downs 2 sets of 10-15 reps. 45 seconds rest.
6. Bicep curls 2 sets of 10-15 reps. Rest 45 seconds.
7. Loaded carry. Pick a distance or a time and try to hold on. Rest 45-60 seconds. Repeat 2-3 more times.

Wednesday you could do the same workout but replace deadlift with a squat.

Write down your reps, rest and weights lifted. Once you can do more than 12, try adding weights.

Give it a shot for six to eight weeks.

Good luck.


Ryan Cairns is a certified PT from Charlottetown. He currently resides in Sydney, Australia. His article Fit Happens is published monthly. You can reach him at ryancairnspt@gmail.com or on Instagram @tattooed_pt.

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