How often do you incorporate agility exercises into your training sessions? In truth, we often overlook this vital fitness factor.
What is agility?
Defined as the ability to move quickly and change direction with ease, this can be applied to both physical and mental fitness. As we get older, or just set in our ways, both mental and physical agility suffers. What is needed is a regular agility work out to keep us up on our toes and sharp in our thinking.
Mental exercises include things such as crosswords, sudoko and other quiz-type activities. All things that can be slotted into 10 minute session within your day. Physical agility is equally easy to build into a busy life. You can incorporate a range of exercises into a fitness routine, or just spend a little time each day working on your physical agility.
Here are some simple exercises to improve agility, supplied by the American Council on Fitness.
Using an agility ladder, select a method of moving through the ladder. For example, you might start with a high-knee march forward through each box. Progress to a lateral scissor if you’re more advanced. To target your upper body, move through the ladder with your hands while maintaining a push-up position. Once you have this move mastered, speed it up. You could recite the words to your favourite song as you move through the ladder. It might seem simple, but this move will get your heart rate up and your brain working.
Using 5-10 hurdles (these can be cones or yoga blocks), set the hurdles up in a row, parallel to each other. Moving laterally, start by going over the first hurdle with a high step. Pause in a stork stance before moving back to the starting position. Then move over the first two hurdles, pause and go back to the start. Continue this until all five to 10 hurdles have been travelled (1, 1 2, 1 2 3, 1 2 3 4, etc). Count your hurdles out loud and remember to pause on one leg before moving back to the beginning. Also, don’t forget to switch directions. When you become more advanced, speed up the hurdle steps and take out the pause.
Set seven cones up in a ‘H’ shape, with about two metres between each cone. Using the letters M, N, I, T, Y, select an order bin which you will create those letters by moving through the cones. Touch each cone that creates the letter as you move through each pattern at a pace that is appropriate to you. Depending on your fitness level, you may choose to walk, skip, jog, sprint or shuffle. After you have completed each letter with your movement pattern, change the order of letters and try again.
Medicine ball offers remedy
Using an appropriately sized medicine ball face a strong, stable wall 2 to 5 feet away, depending on the length of your arms. Throw the medicine ball in a chest pass toward the wall as you move laterally 10 to 20 feet. Reverse directions and move laterally back to the start as you do medicine ball chest passes against the wall. Make sure to do one chest pass for each sideways step. For added difficulty, move quickly in a shuffle and squat down to an athletic stance. Quickly change direction at the end and return to the starting position. Keeping your feet from crossing each other as you concentrate on catching an object will increase your cognitive activity as well as improve your cardiovascular health.
For further advice on improving your agility or for help in choosing and using the correct equipment, speak to one of our knowledgeable staff in Outlooks Gym.