The Cardiovascular system is a critical system of your body because it is the system that is accountable for the functioning of your heart, veins and the arteries.
Arteries: they carry the blood from the heart to the entire body.
Veins: they return the blood to the body.
Heart: its function is to pump blood throughout the whole body.
It is important to do cardio exercises before you start your workout because this enables for your body to be able to have the blood flowing swiftly and effectively, it can also be done as a cool down exercise to regulate your body temperature and prevent any stiffness in your muscles.
Types of cardio exercises:
Rowing: by you doing this exercise not only will it help you with your cardio, but it will assist you in your arms especially when you are doing your arms on that day.
Treadmill: this exercise helps in terms of your legs and your cardio and it tests your endurance levels as a person. It can also aid in your weight loss program.
Stationary Bike: this exercise is based on working on your endurance levels and at the same it is able to work on your lower body (calves, quads and hamstrings).
The back is an important part of the body, however many people tend to focus on the abdominal muscles and the other anterior muscle groups, completely forgetting about the back. Today 4 excellent exercises for your back and their function/ region of back they work will be given to you and the best part is…you can do them in the comfort of your own home.
1. The Dumbbell Exercise:
a. Firmly place your left knee and left hand anchored on a flat bench. Your left hand should serve as support for your body.
b. Holding the dumbbell in the right hand, slowly row the dumbbell upwards until it’s above your torso, then slowly lower the dumbbell to a full extension. Repeat no less than 30 times.
NB: Maintain a tight core and flat back, contract your lats and biceps. You should feel a stretch throughout your upper back.
What Part Of The Back Is Being Worked?
Target the upper and lower lats as well as the lower back muscles.
2. Quadruped Exercise:
a. Sit on your hands and knees on an exercise mat.
b. The hands are directly beneath the shoulders. The knees are directly beneath the hips.
c. Extend one leg and lift the opposite arm until they are in line with the body.
d. Return to the starting position. Repeat no less than 30 times
e. Switch sides.
NB: The core is tight and the spine is neutrally aligned. Function:
Increases stability of core muscles and balance and thus improves posture
It is generally good for looking after the whole back with an emphasis on spine and upper, middle and lower back.
Improves strength and endurance of the muscles in your lower back and stomach.
Helps treat and reduce risk of injury to the back
3. Plank Exercise
a. Assume raised plank position
b. Keeping body in straight line, raise left leg as high as possible off floor
c. Lower left leg; raise right leg. Repeat no less than 6 times on each leg
Function In Back:
Builds strength in upper back muscles e.g. around shoulders even giving attention (which is seldom given) to shoulder blade muscles
Reduce back pain
Improves balance and posture in working the necessary muscles needed to maintain proper posture e.g. the back, shoulders and neck.
*Doing planks regularly facilitates ability to sit or stand up straighter with ease. 4. Superman Exercise:
a. Lie face down on your stomach with arms and legs extended and keep your neck in a neutral position.
b. Keeping your arms and legs straight and relaxed with the torso stationary, simultaneously lift your arms and legs up toward the ceiling— back arches and arms and legs lift several inches off the floor.
c. Hold for two to five seconds and lower back down to complete one. Repeat 12 times
NB: make an elongated “u” shape with your body when lifting off the ground What Part Of The Back Is Being Worked?
Lower back region is being stretched and strengthened
Glutes and hamstring indirectly are also worked
A strong lower body is crucial to performance.Leg routine needs to be centered around multijoint. Leg exercises are not just for hamstrings, quads. They will also work your core muscles, glutes, and improve balance.
Glutes are one of the biggest muscle groups in the body. Performing exercises like burpees, lunges, squats, leg-presses, leg extensions and calf raises which are some of the exercises one can do to exercise legs.
How to perform kettlebell swings:
1. Stand over the kettlebell with feet hip-width apart, chest up, shoulders back and down.
2. Squatting down, grip the kettlebell with palms facing you and thumps wrapped loosely around the handle.
3. Stand tall, still gripping the k’bell. Keep your arms long and loose while retracting your shoulder blades and engaging your core. Soften your knees, shift your bodyweight into your heels and lower your rear end back and down toward the wall behind you.
4. Driving through your heel, explode through the hops to send that weight swinging upward from your quads. Aim for chest height, with arms extended. Achieving this position requires you to snap your hips through, contracting core while squeezing your cheeks
5. As the kettlebell begins to descend, let the weight do the work as you ready your body for the next rep.
When exercising the body naturally as a person you analyse which parts you want more focus to be based on. This then leads me to a topic which is rather quite interesting and many have their own views on it. Arm exercises are important if you are looking to have those nice cuts and that curved bicep. Essentially for both to occur you have to perform the right exercises and in turn execute them in the right way to avoid having improper muscles and one bicep looking bigger than the other.
This will lead to added strength in the arms that can be an advantage for people like cricketers, tennis players, boxer, sprinters, athletes who are involved in some filed events.
(Exercise demonstrated by Lungile Sibeko)
Firstly we look at Bicep/Tricep curls which work both the bicep and tricep.
• You need to sit on the chair and lay you arms on the slanted bench thing.
• Grab hold of the cable and lift it in an up and down motion
• Then again it up to you and how much weight you want to lift but it is advisable to start off small especially for those who:
o Your first time at the gym or working out
o Recovering from injury in you arm or shoulder. Advantages • Specific focus on the muscles being worked.
• Less chance of injury than when using individual weights
• You can alter or change the resistance/ weight place on the arms
The next exercise you can do is called Tricep push-downs.
Get into a standing position with the legs slightly apart form each other.
Grab hold to the cable attached to the top of the machine.
Push the cable down as low as you can then push up again
Then again you can adjust the weight put on your arms
You must remember to not add too much weight on to your arms as to avoid injury
Lastly make sure you are only moving your arms and not you whole body for the added focus you want on your triceps.
This machine will help you acquire those cuts in the right areas of the arm.
This in turn works your shoulders.
From my experience when doing the exercise you need to be completely still with only your arms in motion. Obviously be absolutely forced. All I want you to know is that you should know what you want achieve so it’s all on you to hard heavy or how low you will go everybody is different.
Commitment is the only thing that will help you achieve your bicep or tricep goals
The 14th and 15th of October witnessed The Humanitarians host, for the very first time, The Biokinetic Humanitarian Project (BHP) at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology ( Sport Management Department, Human Performance Laboratory) Highbury Road, Mowbray where Sport Management (NDSPMNT) students from various tiers gathered to experience the great initiative. Not only did the anxious NDSPMNT students from Mowbray partake in the event, it was great to discover that lecturer’s and staff from the Department of Sport Management were also involved in the project.
This is how the day (14th October) unfolded:
At first, participants had to fill out two forms, 1) a form consisting of your personal details and a general health and fitness questionnaire 2) a consent form
The project consisted of six stations however, the process all began in Station 2 where the Director and Founder of The Humanitarians as well as Department of Sport Management, Sport Physical and Recreational Studies (SPRS) lecturer, Mr Habib Noorbhai ran through a few basic health and fitness questions with the participants.
The second part of Station 2featured another of the Dept. of NDSPMNT administrator’s, Ms. Thabisile Goba who took measurements of participant’s blood pressure and glucose levels
A very busy Station 2 pictured below…
Dept. of NDSPMNT, Public Relations lecturer, Mr Z. Ndlwana welcomed us to Station 3 where he took measurements of participant’s weight, height and flexibility.
Unfortunately Station 4 couldn’t be documented as it was deemed private however (a little insight on what happened) body fat was measured in Station 5 by another SPRS, Dept. of NDSPMNT lecturer, Ms. N. Augustyn, using the skin fold test (Skin fold analysis/test involves taking measurements of subcutaneous fat at different areas of the body using skinfold calipers (Cucher, n.d) )🙂
OUR favourite!! 😀 Station 5 introduced us to two exercises:
Push-ups for 60 seconds
Sit-ups for 60 seconds
It’s great to mention that members of the Commit To Be Fit family scored a good 30+ reps for both categories, after all, we do have to REPRESENT!!! 😉 😛 . This station was handled by Dept. of NDSPMNT staff member, Mr R. Gamieldien
The final station, Station 6 was a one-to-one engagement with Dr S. West (Dept. of NDSPMNT staff member) as she questioned the physical activity in the participant’s daily lives, outlining the importance of certain factors regarding exercising i.e. warming up, stretching, etc. then later giving us exercise and nutritional guidelines and suggesting types of exercises based on the participants goal regarding exercise, health and fitness.
The day ended off with the participants handing in feedback forms based on their experience and then receiving a petite souvenir, from the hosts – a notebook/notepad – to take home! 🙂
On behalf of the CPUT NDSPMNT students and Commit To Be Fit, we’d like to thank Mr Noorbhai together with The Humanitarians and the NDSPMNT staff team for the great, insightful experience! 🙂
For some interesting, spare-time activity, try out this interesting BHP quiz below 🙂
For more information on The Humanitarians and the project, visit:
To continue the sculpting of your core into a fine piece of art whilst enhancing your balance and stability(we don’t want you falling all over the place, now do we 😉 ), we’ve included another Core (Ab) Workout:
The strength trainer, the Ab Wheel Roll-out:
Starting Position: Kneel down on the floor with your knees bent maintaining an arm’s space between them and also place the hands on the ground with the Ab roller wheel placed in front of you
Now, hold either ends of the Ab roller wheel with your hands.
Push the roller in the forward direction and let your body be stretched in a straight line position.
Final Position: Stretch out your body as much as you can over the Ab roller wheel. But make sure the body does not touch the floor of the workout place. You got to be inhaling your breath when you roll out. Now, rollback but maintain the tightening of the abs and exhale when rolling back
Great focus on the abs and obliques
An additional focus includes the shoulders
From experience, this workout needs a great amount of focus – feel and listen to your body, maintain your posture and focus all the energy onto your abdominals to prevent using others areas i.e. your back during the exercise.
Once again, we’re not going to sit here and dictate a number of sets and reps, that’s all up to you! 🙂 Enjoy 😀
Before you decide to skip this article because you think we’re going to give a 500-paged guide about when, how, where, with whom, how many reps and sets, and on which days you should do the exercise, accompanied with the funniest diet you’ve ever seen… no, no, no, we’re “not about that life”
Think of your core muscles as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. Whether you’re hitting a tennis ball or mopping the floor, the necessary motions either originate in your core, or move through it.
No matter where motion starts, it ripples upward and downward to adjoining links of the chain. Thus, weak or inflexible core muscles can impair how well your arms and legs function. And that saps power from many of the moves you make. Properly building up your core cranks up the power. A strong core also enhances balance and stability. Thus, it can help prevent falls and injuries during sports or other activities. In fact, a strong, flexible core underpins almost everything you do (Anon. 2012)
Therefore, we decided to include a great Pilates-based exercise known as the Stability Ball V-Pass or simply also known as the Hand-to-Feet Ball Pass With a Swiss/Stability Ball, as our first core workout.
Below, our very own administrator, Lungile Sibeko, carefully demonstrates the exercise
Lie face-up on the floor(supine), holding a stability ball overhead with both hands, your legs together and extended straight on the floor (a). In one motion, brace your core and lift your arms and legs off the ground, placing the ball between your feet (b). Squeeze the ball with your legs and lower your arms and legs back to the floor (c). Repeat, passing the ball back to your hands. That’s one rep (The trick: don’t let the ball, your legs, or arms/hands touch the floor 😉 )
Improved flexibility of the upper and lower back
Stronger abdominal muscles
To prevent strain, you should keep your lower back pressed to the floor throughout the exercise. For the beginner exercise, the head and shoulders should also rest on the ground during the ball pass. Keep your trunk contracted at all times. If you have any health issues relating to your abdominal area, such as surgery for a hernia, talk to your doctor before attempting this exercise. Clear the floor of any sharp objects that can puncture the ball before you begin the exercise. Also keep the ball away from any source of intense heat.
Just by the way, this is a great way to get toned, core muscles so go on, get toning away!!!
As time goes by everything becomes simpler and more convenient. For example one does not need to go to the gym to exercise, but simply purchase the equipment required and have their own miniature home gym. There are aerobics DVD’s that allow people to enjoy a good work out at the comfort of their own home, there are also community health projects which develop outdoor gyms in parks e.g. in Green Point, Cape Town and various township areas around the country and with relevantly safe running and cycling trails one can even do freestyle exercising, so when it comes to the availability of exercise methods, the world is everyone’s oyster.
Nevertheless majority of people lead sedentary lives. These days most people drive whether by own car or use public transportation to get to their desired destinations, whole families gather around methodically for TV time evening after evening and children spend countless hours playing computer games or social networking on their phones. This results in a rapid and continuous decrease in health which was reflected in the health statistics taken during the 1994-2010 period.
Our past counter parts, on the other hand, put us to shame because their daily activities were pro-exercise. In the past people walked everywhere as cars were a luxury afforded only to the very wealthy, others even cycled from A to B. Children nationally spent a major part of their free time playing active games (skipping, tag, climbing trees, 3-sisters, etc) coming back reluctantly at sunset and still others played traditional sports either as part of the local club, school team or on the streets e.g football. Even our grandmothers and grandfathers would either go for refreshing walks- be it up the mountain, along the beach or to and from the park- viewing the beautiful scenery in the suburb areas or whilst fetching the herd of cattle, visiting family in the village or they would put in some gardening time. Hence everyone got continuous exercise naturally from their daily activities or chores.
It can definitely be concluded that when it comes to exercise, it is not too much to refer to the past as truly the good days!
You’re probably wondering why our previous articles have dealt around the topic of food instead of ‘fitness (hence the fit in Commit to be Fit)’ Well, yes ladies and gentlemen, ‘you are what you eat’ after all.
We at Commit to be Fit believe that health and fitness is mainly based on what you consume and less of exercise or any other physical activity, opposed to what the general public believes. Through the years, we have been taught that in order to get fit, one has to train or exercise whilst we totally isolated the crucial act of eating well, which evidently plays a significant role – in ones general health and fitness – if you compare those who eat well and those who don’t.
Another reason that led us to tackling the food element of health and fitness, is the constantly changing ‘food guides’ introduced to us(in particular South African’s) throughout the years. Many of us were introduced to the well-known ‘*American food pyramid/triangle’ in the early years of primary school and since then, it is the guide we believe we need to abide by.
However, the very same food pyramid has seen to take change, in South Africa, throughout the years. Therefore we at Commit to Be Fit wanted to introduce a food pyramid which best suits our fellow South African’s.
van Heerden(2013) extends her appreciation as the Department of Health and a team of dedicated experts in the fields of nutrition and dietetics have produced our(SA) own food guide which will hopefully bring clarity to the field of public nutrition education in this country.
Worry not, we were not referring to the difference in the illustration, allow us to clarify: Launched during National Nutrition Week 2012, the new SA Food Guide consists of 7 circles of different sizes filled with examples of the food/beverage groups that we eat/drink in South Africa. The different sizes of the circles indicate how important each one of the food groups is and give a rough idea of what percentage that food group should occupy in our diets.
The food groups in the SA Food Guide are listed in the table below in descending order of size and thus of importance, together with typical examples of the beverages/foods, and the Guideline for Healthy Eating each food group illustrates::
Although many members of the public will at first glance be up in arms about the inclusion or exclusion of certain foods, and the emphasis that has been placed on one group and not on another, you may find that if you think carefully in terms of the entire South African population, the economic constraints our people have to face every day, and the pattern of diseases of lifestyle (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc) that characterise South Africans in the nutrition transition, as well as the need to boost immunity to combat HIV and TB, and to prevent malnutrition, then you will understand why the new South African Food Guide looks the way it does!
With that said, we hope that more and more people become aware of this particular food guide as much as we are aware of the old, traditional food pyramid.
So #CommitToWhatYouEat #CommittoBeProudlySouthAfrican #CommitToBeHealthy #CommitToBeFit
Take a look at our very own, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Department of Sport Management staff member, Mr Gamieldien (far left) at the SA Health and Fitness Expo, currently on at the CTICC, Cape Town.
This is what he had to share:
“So much knowledge from the legendary Mr Proportion Francis Benfatto. Catch him at the South African Health & Fitness Expo’s @benfattonutrition stand.
#FrancisBenfatto #Health #Fitness #Expo #BodyBuilding #Nutrition #MrProportion #MrSymmetry #SAHFE #CapeTown #WesternCape #SouthAfrica