Life & Living

Chantel Pipe

INSTAGRAM: @chantelpipefitness

I’m a 41 year old mother of two girls and one French bulldog, and I’m a Personal Fitness Coach. I work one to one with clients aged 18-80, and have additional specialisms in pre and post natal training, GP exercise referral, cancer rehabilitation and pilates. I also run community fitness classes in the Suffolk coastal area.

Fitness… It’s not a huge word, but it infers a wide variety of meanings. As a Personal Coach I am contacted almost daily by people who want to ‘get fit’. My very first question to those people is ‘What does fitness mean to you?’. 

I take a holistic view when it comes to my own fitness, and that of my clients, working towards being fit for life. Whatever your overall fitness aim, be it aesthetic or performance based, it is really important to ensure that you build and maintain a basic level of fitness across the board (cardiovascular, strength, and mental health), to help you easily deal with the varying demands of day to day life.

The current guidelines for adults recommended by the NHS, is for:

  • 150 minutes of moderate activity per week (increases your breathing and heart rate, but you can still maintain a conversation), or;
  • 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week (Faster breathing and heart rate, difficult to talk).
  • Twice weekly do activities that build physical strength

Why is it so important to stay fit?

The physical and mental benefits of being moderately active for those 150 minutes are huge! So just being moderately active for just over 20 minutes per day can; reduce the chances of developing, and assist with management and recovery of the following health conditions: type 2 diabetes, cancers, cardiovascular disease including stroke, joint and lower back pain, it can reduce fall risk; Improve sleep; Maintain a healthy body weight; Manage stress and anxiety; Increase confidence; Increase energy levels; Boost your immune system.

If you are someone who is just starting out on your fitness journey, it can be massively daunting knowing where to start. People often think that getting fit has to be really hard work, and means you have to join the gym, go to exercise classes, start running, or basically anything that looks really hard and painful!  And you absolutely can and should do those things if they appeal to you. But my advice to anyone just starting out, who is maybe feeling a little overwhelmed is to just KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Don’t overthink things!

Moderate activity can include things like: taking the dog for a walk; playing at the park with the kids; going on a bike ride; going for a swim; housework and gardening; dancing!

For strength based exercise for beginners you don’t need to go out and buy yourself a whole gym! You can do loads at home using some really basic bits of equipment such as resistance bands. The online workout market has exploded over the last year so if you need someone to guide you through there are thousands of follow-along workouts available to download and stream to suit you according to what equipment you may have, your level, age, goals etc! 

If you are happy to do your own thing, my advice for beginners is to start with circuits. Choose 5 or 6 exercises, and complete each one for 45 seconds, followed by a 30 second rest before moving onto the next. Aim to complete the circuit 2-3 times depending on how much time you have. The sort of exercises could include: squats, press ups, lunges, tricep dips, weighted bag carries (think heavy shopping bags); deadbugs (you may need to google this one!).

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