Let’s not forget our words: exercise can be tough. Whether you’re just getting yourself out of bed for a walk in the cold, or you’re an extreme athlete with miles under your belt, the temptation to take a day off when things get tiresome is often difficult to shake.
But what if your exercise regime didn’t put you through the wringer? As part of TechRadar’s Get Fit for ’23 movement, we’re sharing advice on how to maintain sustainable wellbeing goals that don’t come undone at the first sign of trouble – and we’ve roped in a handful of experts to help us do so.
While promoting new Disney Plus show Limitless with Chris Hemsworth, series guest star Ross Edgley – an extreme adventurer, ultra-marathon swimmer, and chart-topping author – revealed his three top tips for improving and maintaining your body health and fitness goals throughout the year .
The first piece of advice is simple. “Strength training, in any form,” Edgley tells us. Whether you’re doing a YouTube workout with small dumbbells or you’re interested in Olympic lifting, “it does not matter,” Edgley says. “Just do some strength training.”
“When looking at all modalities – atrophy, sarcopenia, everything – strength training [will help your body]however you do it,” he adds. Atrophy refers to the degeneration of cells in your muscles, while sarcopenia refers to the loss of skeletal muscle mass as you get older. According to Edgley, strength training will help reduce the effects of aging on your body, literally keeping you younger and fitter for longer.
If you don’t want to start lifting heavy weights, resistance bands can do the trick. They’re cheaper, lighter and safer than weights, and you can replicate almost any kind of movement you would do in the gym. For example, by sitting on the floor with one end of the band around your feet, you can pull the band towards you in a rowing motion, which exercises your back and biceps. You can see Edgley and Hemsworth below practicing with the real thing.
Edgley’s second piece of advice is a little more unconventional. “Think outside of the gym,” he says. Get hot and cold [in the shower] 30 seconds on or off. You don’t have to swim in an arctic fjord wearing nothing but swim trunks [to feel the benefits of the cold]. I talk about this in the show – we atrophy these ancient, age-old mechanisms that exist in our body. Our ancestors wouldn’t have called a cold shower a cold shower: it would have just been a shower.
“People are in the gym saying, ‘I’m training my legs. I’m training my arms.’ But nobody gets in the gym and goes, ‘I’m training the vasoconstriction of my capillaries. I’m training my immune system.’ And those things can be really valuable.
“And then three,” Edgley continues, “don’t underestimate the power of Zone 2 aerobic training. Really slow, low-paced exercise. It’s trendy at the moment to do a lot of interval training, because it’s over in 15 minutes and you can burn fat in five minutes – nobody wants to hear, ‘get fit in 45 minutes!’ It’s not a catchy title. But that’s actually what’s going to make the difference – just doing 45 minutes, three times a week with your heart rate at about 120 beats per minute.”
Taking things slow is so important, especially if you’re just starting out. Doing some light exercise, whether it’s a walk around the block or a low-intensity 30 minutes on an under-desk treadmill or exercise bike, is easy and enjoyable. Research says (opens in new tab) People who enjoy exercise, whether they’re grinding hard in the gym or just doing some gentle cycling, are less likely to spend time on the sofa and more likely to exercise again. You have Edgley’s permission to take it easy this year!
So there you have it, folks. The three biggest fitness tips you should heed in 2023, according to Edgley – who, by the way, was the first man in history to swim the entire circumference of Great Britain (2,860 km) in just 157 days – are as follows: do plenty of strength training, have cold showers and complete regular low-paced exercise.
Sounds easy enough, right? For more of Edgley’s expert fitness insights, check out his advice on how to get the best out of your heart rate monitor, as well as our report on Chris Hemsworth’s utterly ridiculous training regime for Extraction 2. Alternatively, stay tuned to TechRadar for more health and wellness advice throughout January.