Health and Fitness: Spring into the new season

SET SOME GOALS: The Fernleigh 15 this year will be on October 15 and has individual and team entries if you are looking for a new challenge. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
SET SOME GOALS: The Fernleigh 15 this year will be on October 15 and has individual and team entries if you are looking for a new challenge. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Will you be ready for spring when it arrives this weekend? 

You might, like me, be cheering, as winter finishes because you loathe the cold. There  might also be a sense of panic, knowing that summer will soon follow.

My advice is take stock then take action. Where do you want your fitness to be come summer, which, incidentally, is just under 14 weeks away.

Set yourself achievable goals. It could be a 12-week challenge, an event to train for in the short or long term, to get some activity into your day or making your diet healthier.

There are plenty of options for activities:

Step it out. Steptember starts September 4 and requires you to take 10,000 steps a day for 28 days. There is a cost but that goes towards supporting people with cerebral palsy. You will get a pedometer to track your steps. There are a range of ways you can reach your daily targets, even gardening counts according to www.steptember.org.au

Gym it. If you are more motivated training in a gym environment with a trainer telling you what to do then now is the time to shop around. A lots of gyms and yoga studios offer introductory deals or free trial sessions. There is also the option of outdoor fitness. Groups and boot camps come at a cost but there are plenty of parks and reserves now where you can find equipment and work out for free. This includes Speers Point and Warners Bay foreshore as well as the new $15 million Pasterfield Sports Complex in Cameron Park.

Hit the trails. Trail running has been gathering momentum for a while now and there are a few events coming up in our area. It is a great way to immerse yourself in nature and can be less impact on your body than pounding the pavement. Tomaree Trail Run on September 23 has events for the whole family. The Thunderbolt Classic Trail Run at Barrington Tops is on October 28. For a long-term goal, entries open for Ultra Trail Australia towards the end of September. It is in May next year and has 22km, 50km and 100km courses.

Swim it. It might still be a little fresh to take the plunge in the ocean baths unless you are a seasoned campaigner but if swimming is more your style then the 2km Nobbys to Newcastle ocean swim is on January 27. If swimming is not your strength but you would like it to be, a few pools offer adult learn to swim classes. Registrations are also open for most local surf lifesaving clubs, who cater for social and competitive members and also offer Bronze Medallion training.

Ride it. The Variety Spin 4 Kids is on at Harbour Square on September 7 and entries are still open. The inaugural Mongrel Classic mountain biking ride is at Richmond Vale on October 20 and caters to all ages and abilities.

There are plenty of summer sports options as well, indoor and out. Other events coming up include the Fernleigh 15 on October 21 and the 35km Bloody Long Walk from Belmont to Newcastle on October 7. 

So find your motivation, set your goals and get into the swing of spring.

Upcoming Fitness Events

Wollombi Wild Ride, Wollombi, September 1: Celebrating its 10th year, this cross country mountain bike event features a 58-kilometre challenge for the diehards plus 30km and 13.5km courses.

Variety Spin 4 Kids, Harbour Square, September 7: A six-hour team or individual cycling charity event on stationary bikes to help disadvantaged children of the Hunter. 

Tomaree Trail Run Festival, Fingal Bay, September 23: Courses include a half marathon, 11.5km, 6km and kids event. The scenic trails are through Tomaree National Park, the Samurai Dunes and Fingal Bay beaches.

Winter Warmers Week #13

This is the five-day countdown until spring and it’s a big finish. Pick a daily challenge and go your hardest. Here are some examples:

Monday: Squats, push-ups, rows. One minute of each for 15 minutes.

Tuesday: Intervals. Run, ride, walk, swim or row.  20 minutes x 1min hard, 1min recovery.

Wednesday: Core work. Glute bridge, ab rotation, opposing arm and leg, crunches. 

Thursday: Stair challenge. Walk, run, crawl. 20 minutes. 

Friday: 2 squat jumps, 10 mountain climbers, 5 burpees, walk/run 200m, 2min recovery. Repeat four times.

Send your health and fitness news to r.valentine@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

OPTIONS: The outdoor fitness equipment at Cameron Park's new $15 million sporting complex. Picture: Marina Neil

OPTIONS: The outdoor fitness equipment at Cameron Park's new $15 million sporting complex. Picture: Marina Neil