McDermott: Fun challenges you can do to help you keep fit

Scott McDermott’s weekly column about health and wellness

I just did a fun game this past week with a bunch of our clients at the gym where I challenged them to follow the old Penny Story. We all agreed to do one burpee on Monday. Then two on Tuesday, four on Wednesday, then eight, 16, 32 and finally 64 burpees on Sunday. Yup – full push up burpees.

There is another one going around – which is 50 burpees a day, for 30 days. Obviously, a bigger challenge, with bigger rewards!

Stuff like this can be fun (and not all the challenges involve burpees).

Another fun one I’m trying out is running ten kilometres each Sunday, beating my time each week, and doing this for six weeks otherwise I have to do a 30 burpee penalty. Oops… there are those burpees again! In case you do not know what a burpee is, allow me to explain: From a standing position, you squat down, hands on the floor, feet out and do a push up. Then you tuck your legs back under into a squat and jump up so your feet leave the ground in a little jump. It’s a brilliant exercise you can do anywhere. If you think you cannot get a workout in while you are away from home try fifty push up burpees in 10 to 15 minutes and you will get a full body workout that is everything you need!

What else can you do?

Turn of a Friendly Card is another challenge you can try. We play this one in class at the gym and it’s a blast! You will need a deck of cards. Each day of the week, deal yourself seven cards. The four suits create the game as follows: if the card is a heart, you do body weight squats. A diamond is stand return lunges. Clubs is crunches and spades are push ups. The number on the card is the number of reps you have to do. Ace is 1, Jack is 10, Queen is 11 and Kings are 12. So let’s say you deal yourself the following: A 3, 6 and Queen of hearts, 5 of diamonds, Jack of clubs, ace and ten of spades. Then you would do: 20 squats, 5 lunges (left and right lunge together count as 1), 10 crunches and 11 push ups. Each day will be different, and by the end, you will have three unused cards.

Another challenge involves playing the ‘Sally Up’ song by Moby (actually called ‘Flowers’). It’s easy to find on Google or YouTube. Then pick an exercise like a squat or a plank. For the squat: ‘down’ is when your knees are bent, ‘up’ is standing. For the plank: ‘down’ is elbows and toes on the floor, ‘up’ is when you are hands and toes on the floor.

The song goes: “Bring Sally up, Bring Sally down, lift and squat, Gotta tear the ground” There are a few parts with other lyrics – where you just hang on for dear life. It’s three and a half minutes, and awesome! Plus it’s a great song. You could have a Sally Up challenge and alternate squats and planks every day for a month. You can also add in shoulder presses, or push ups, or dips. It goes on and on. So fun!

If you want to get outside you can do things like walk 20 minutes and try to get farther each day for a week. Or look at a plan of Sylvan Lake and map out all the trails. Plan to walk every single one of them in a week. As our town grows, our amazing council makes sure those trails get better and better for us.

It doesn’t have to be physical either. You could challenge yourself or a friend to drink two litres of water a day, with a bonus for getting in one more litre (max three). A group of our gym folk have taken on a ’30 day sugar free’ challenge and as much as they are finding it tough, the changes are amazing!

For any of these challenges, it is easy to build a Facebook group or texting group to help support you through it.

As Hal and Jo-Ann used to say on our Canadian Participaction commercials: Keep fit and have fun!!!

Happy Training!

Scott

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