Lately, or rather, for the past few years, looking at my acquaintances in the 25 to 30 year old age group, and even those in the 30 to 34 year old bracket, working out has become a norm.
The reasons vary – some are doing it to ease off the pressure of their demanding jobs, others to cut away the fat accumulated from our consumerism based lifestyle, others to strengthen their bodies and others to carve out their figure.
Most people, are unaware, that if you are underweight, or slimmer than a stick, exercising is a path to bulking up.
The results arenâ€™t bad, we have all been gawking at Lupita Nyongâ€™o, and envying at those biceps and shoulder blades that make many men ashamed to take off their shirts (I’m not alone here, right, guys?).
Forget slim. Everyone is coming to the long drawn conclusion that a muscle toned body is stunning.
So, what would you do if you wanted to exercise?
Thereâ€™s the option of joining a gym, if your workplace is not among the lucky few that offer the same. You can do gym practice before work or after work, depending on what kind of a worm you are.
However, if you are looking to avoid gym charges, or feel you do not have the time, you can factor in exercising into your office commute.
As an example, I do walk from work on weekdays to the Railway Station, which comes to about 5 kilometres of walking every day, and 25 kilometres in a good week. For this to count as successful exercising, you have to do it quite fast, and aim to cover 5 kilometres in less than an hour. Your walking pace should be so fast that if you walked any faster, you would be running. A few minutes into your walk, you should feel it in sweat.
This is especially good to try if you work outside town, such as in Parklands, Westlands and Riverside. The same might also work for Ngong Road if you leave at around 5 PM. Do note that walking along a number of Nairobi roads is not safe as it gets dark, especially from 6:30 pm onwards.
If you work in the CBD, or on the same road as your way home, you can also commute some distance and then walk home for the rest of the distance. I do know of a guy who leaves his car at Wilson Airport, where he works, every Friday and walks home. He walks back and collects the car on Sunday. You can therefore take a matatu and alight before your normal stop, then walk the rest of the way, or even run.
Practice your walking starting with a short distance and keep increasing this till you find a fitting routine, and a safe one (Keep security in mind, and road safety too).
Alternatively, you can also exercise in the comfort of your home. This can be in the bedroom, or even sitting, as long as you have enough space. Enough space should be able to accommodate your body lengthwise, with enough allowance, and also leave enough space side ways. Also note that your exercise area should be ideally free of objects that can can hit or stab you.
The possibility of losing your balance and hitting your head on a bed or something is much higher than you think. So, perhaps, it would also be a good idea to keep your phone close, and have an ambulance number on speed dial.
Exercises that can be carried out in a confined space include duck walks, press ups, sit ups, squats, burpees, and even star jumps.
Do note that other than press ups and sit ups, the rest predominantly focus on your legs. So, you might want to alternate and balance between the push ups (arms, chest), sit ups (abdomen) and the leg exercises.
For sets, start by doing about 12 sets per activity, and gradually work to between 24 and 36, or even more. If you are quite unfit, you can start with at least 6 sets.
To improve on your sit ups, you can use a low bed to hold your legs in place (under the bed), or have someone hold them down.