We all need a little bit of resistance in our lives. Resistance exercise that is. Twice a week at least seeing as you asked.
If you don’t believe me then take a look at what the World Health Organization has to say on the matter:
“Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.”
A lot of people are aware of the recommended aerobic guidelines: 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week (minimum). This is often broken out as 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day on at least 5 days of the week (again, this is the minimum).
How come the strength / resistance exercise recommendations (that are included in the very same guideline document) aren’t as widely known? The majority of people I speak with aren’t aware there’s a separate recommendation for resistance exercise.
I’m on mission to change that.
parkHIIT is a free outdoor interval training session based around bodyweight resistance exercises that I started in January 2018.
park because it takes place in a park and HIIT is an acronym for High Intensity Interval Training.
Strength / resistance exercise doesn’t have to involve lifting heavy weights in the gym. Bodyweight exercises are a great starting point for resistance training. Include the resistance exercises as part of a high intensity circuit and you can develop fantastic full body workouts to accommodate different fitness levels. Don’t let the “high intensity” part scare you off by the way. Participants push themselves as much (or as little) as they choose.
The parkHIIT Vision:
To educate and promote the importance of strength / resistance training for adults of all fitness levels in a fun outdoor group setting.
To bring people together in the outdoors around exercise and to motivate local communities to exercise more in their local parks.
To remove financial barriers to resistance training exercise.
To provide local personal trainers with a platform to show off their skills and knowledge, to meet new people in their neighbourhood and to build relationships.
To encourage more people in to local parks, to discourage antisocial behaviour in the parks and to utilise the excellent outdoor exercise stations that are popping up all over the country.
Resistance Training - Why Bother?
Lean muscle mass sadly diminishes with age for everyone. If you don't do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose you'll increase the percentage of fat in your body over time. Resistance training can help preserve and enhance muscle mass at any age.
It can also help you with the following:
Weight Management: Resistance exercise can help you to manage or lose weight and it can increase your metabolism to help burn more calories
Stronger Bones: By stressing your bones, resistance exercise can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
Chronic Conditions: Resistance exercise can reduce the impact of chronic conditions such as heart disease, back pain, arthritis, diabetes, obesity and depression.
Enhance Quality of Life: Resistance training can improve your ability to do everyday activities. It can lead to better flexibility, mobility and balance, which can help you remain independent as you age
We had our very first parkHIIT session in my local park in Ashtown, Dublin 15 on the first Saturday morning of the year. It was cold, wet and miserable but it was a brilliant workout and an amazing way to shake off the cobwebs and kickstart the weekend (and the year!). Sometimes we use the outdoor exercise stations and a park bench and sometimes we just get out on the grass. The equipment is nice to have but it’s not mandatory for parkHIIT.
We’ve been exercising in the great outdoors every Saturday morning since then (well we took a week off during the really bad snow!) and the community is growing all the time.
What Do I Want?
I want other coaches and personal trainers around Ireland to take up the mantle and start a free weekly parkHIIT session in their local park.
Use it as a way to show off your skills. Most trainers I know offer a free introductory session to new clients anyway, make this free trial an official weekly event….and call it parkHIIT!
It should be accessible to all. For beginners it’s an introduction to bodyweight training and for those more physically active it’s a light workout to start the weekend.
My parkHIIT Ashtown sessions last 30 minutes:
5 minute warm up
20 minutes of (reasonably) high intensity
5 minute warm down
Of course a healthy adult will need more than this per week but this is a great starting point. As the local parkHIIT trainer you provide the education and motivation. If any of the weekly parkHIITers are looking for more than just this one session with a trainer per week, who are they going to ask???
Can you bring parkHIIT to your neighbourhood?
We Are Growing
I’m excited to say that we launched our second location in August in Ballsbridge. A really great coach, Ronan Mahon of 3XB, has brought parkHIIT to the southside of Dublin. The first Ballsbridge session was a huge success with a great turnout plus representatives from Ireland Active and Healthy Ireland in attendance.
parkHIIT Ballsbridge will take the form of a monthly pop up. Sign up to the mailing list below to find out when the next Dublin 4 session is taking place. We are also coming to the Phoenix Park in early 2019 so watch this space. parkHIIT sessions are open to anyone that wants to take part in the workout and to fitness professionals that want to learn more and ask any questions. Remember, parkHIIT Saturday morning workouts are FREE.
We Love parkrun!
I should point out we do not want to take punters away from parkrun. I’m a big fan of any initiative that gets people exercising regularly. As I said at the top though, we all need a bit of resistance training in our lives, even the parkrunners, marathon runners and long distance cyclists. Unlike parkrun I’m not advocating a set time for parkHIIT each week, I think each locality should decide. So by all means pick a time that doesn’t clash with the local parkrun and start advertising your neighbourhood parkHIIT (we can help you with that by the way – join the mailing list below and we will support you getting started).
My three-word rebellion for parkHIIT is “Resistance is Worthwhile” which is of course a hilarious word play on a famous Borg quote from Star Trek. Still with me?
My big hairy audacious goal for parkHIIT is to be the resistance training equivalent of parkrun by providing free outdoor resistance exercise to every county and community in Ireland.
I Need You
I need your help to get there. Share this article, tell your friends about parkHIIT and ask your local trainer to sign up!
Come along to the weekly Ashtown parkHIIT session on Saturdays or the next pop up parkHIIT Ballsbridge if you live anywhere close by (join the parkHIIT Facebook group for all the details).
Sign up to the parkHIIT mailing list below to stay updated on our expansion plans. Sign up too if you are a coach or trainer to find out how you can bring parkHIIT to your local community.
Resistance is Worthwhile!!!
World Health Organization
Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health: Recommended levels of physical activity for adults aged 18-64 years.
Yours in health,
P.S If you'd like to chat more about the above then please reach out.
Contact me directly with any questions you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org