No Gym, No Problem – Hit Your Summer Body Goals Without Hitting the Gym
It happens the same way every year. Seemingly out of nowhere, it starts getting light earlier and dark later, the days start getting hotter, the evenings aren’t quite as cool, and then suddenly it’s summer. You haven’t even signed up at the gym yet, never mind a workout, and now you have to go to the beach. Sound familiar?
Before you rush off to get a new membership, consider the alternative – using the city as your gym! You’ll save money, and chances are you’ll discover a whole new side of the city.
The easiest way to exercise in the Mother City – and almost any city for that matter – is running. But, it’s not what you’d call the most alluring option until you frame it differently. Don’t think of running as exercise, think of it as discovery. Cape Town is covered in roads and routes that hug the coast, weave around mountains, cross colourful neighbourhoods, and so much more. The Promenade is a great place to start, and you can begin with a distance you’re comfortable with and extend it from there. The best part is that once you’re getting fit and into it, you can run all the to Camps Bay, and even further if you’re up for it, without ever having to cross a single road!
If running’s not quite your thing, but you still want to work up a decent sweat, look no further than the city’s most famous attraction – Table Mountain. Hiking is an excellent workout, and at the end, you’re rewarded not only with a sense of accomplishment but breath-taking views! Lion’s Head is the perfect place to ease into it; you don’t even have to complete it in the beginning if you don’t want to. It’s got an amazing perimeter route which is relatively flat but will still get your blood pumping. As you get more comfortable with climbing a whole new world will unfold in front of you that extends all along the peninsula!
So far it’s only really been about cardio, so what if you need to tone those newly uncovered muscles? Sea Point’s open-air gym! Located on the prime real estate on The Promenade, the open-air gym offers a variety of workout equipment that only uses body weight to get you in top shape. But, if you’re not quite ready to flex with the best as passers-by sneak a peek, head to the Green Point Urban Park. It has similar facilities and not nearly as much foot traffic, although you might have to contend with some plucky 6-year olds.
Whether it’s running, hiking, or good old-fashioned callisthenics, the city’s got you covered, and your only expense is sweat and time – seems like a pretty good deal to us!
Till next time,
The Point Team x
The reality of Exercise – Know when to have an off day
The reality of exercise is that you don’t make progress when you work out – you actually make progress when you recover from the workout. Whilst we all love the endorphin rush after a good workout and can’t wait for the next session, it’s important to note that our rest days are as significant, if not the most significant days of our exercise programme.
Exercise is a stimulus, recovery is the physical response
The simple explanation is that your workout is the stimulus and your off day or recovery day is bringing about the physical response. Exercise creates a physical stimulus for the body to get better at whatever challenge we present to it, be it running, cycling or a brisk walk.
This stimulus occurs when there is blood flow which is what happens when we exert ourselves. The circulation of blood brings nutrients to the tissues, and nutrients provide the material to facilitate the improvement. The circulation is enhanced by movement and so the cycle continues.
However, one cannot continually stimulate the circulation without giving the body a chance to recover, build muscle and become stronger.
What is a rest day and why do we need it?
Whilst some people may interpret a rest day as a day on the couch, one should still move – but without the challenge of an intense workout. Each day of the week should contain decent amounts of moderate movement, interspersed with days of challenging workouts – as with most things, a balance needs to be achieved.
Tobias Basson, General Manager at Concept Studio, a simulated high altitude cycling studio at The Point Mall, suggests a focus on “nutrition, mobility, meditation and relaxation techniques to assist the body in recovering post-exercise and to promote optimal performance during the next training session.
He reiterated that there are many recovery day options such as stretching, massage, contrast baths, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, compression garments, yoga, meditation, nutrition, hydration and of course, enough sleep.
How much recovery is enough?
Although this depends on each individual’s physical ability, sleep and dietary habits, and lifestyle activity, it’s basically when the soreness is gone from the muscle.
After a workout session one should feel the muscles have worked but the pain should not be debilitating. If the muscles are extremely sore and take five or more days to recover, your workouts are too strenuous. This is why it is important to train just above, but not too far above, one’s current abilities.
A rule of thumb is that a challenging workout should require only one to two recovery days.
The Point Mall offers a complete range of health and wellness facilities:
Concept Studio – an indoor altitude training gym for athletes at all fitness levels.
BUC – offering specialized equipment for losing weight, building muscle, increasing stamina or simply to keep fit.