Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Play your fitness cards right

Will you try the playing cards workout?
Will you try the playing cards workout?
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As we approach the half-way point of the school summer holidays, for many people, routine is out of the window between balancing entertaining the kids, juggling work and trying to squeeze in a holiday or few days away.

For many, that lack of routine means that the first thing to go out of the window is any form of exercise regime or healthy food choices, with many people grabbing and eating on the hop.

In addition, changes in childcare arrangements often mean that it’s harder to get to the gym or attend your favourite fitness class.

As a result, by the time September comes around, everyone is hitting the gym in a bid to shift the ‘summer holiday half-a-stone’, and generally feeling less fit and more sluggish.

The reality is that the summer holidays don’t mean that you can’t maintain and even progress your health and fitness results, in fact you don’t even need to go to the gym in order to stay in shape over the summer…and you can get the kids involved too.

My favourite workout for the summer holidays is my playing cards workout. It takes around 30 minutes, maybe a little more, maybe a little less, depending on your starting fitness levels and the exercises you choose.

Start by shuffling a pack of playing cards, then split the pack in half.

At random get the kids to draw one card at a time from the pack and call out what is on the card, for example the five of hearts.

Each suit in the pack corresponds to a different exercise, for example, hearts is squats, spades is press ups, diamonds is press ups and clubs is tricep dips…so choose four exercises, one for each suit.

The number on the card relates to how many repetitions of the exercise you do, so for example, nine of spades would be nine press ups.

Aces are one and picture cards are 11.

Then of course there is the joker. For this card choose a challenge such as a two-minute plank, then cross your fingers and hope that there is only one in the pack and not two.

Work your way through the pack, taking a rest at the half way point, and if you’ve got the energy, go through the pack twice, choosing a second set of four exercises for the second time through.

It’s a super easy way to squeeze your workout into a hectic time of year and get the kids involved at the same time.

I’m a big believer in getting children involved in physical activity and exercise from a young age, and seeing parents, grandparents and other family members workout, and have fun exercise experiences is an excellent way to create positive exercise associations.

The playing cards workout just goes to show that you really don’t have to shelf your fitness routine for the summer.

So go and dig your cards out of the ‘man-draw’ as Michael McIntyre would say, give them a shuffle and get the whole family moving this summer, ensuring you hit September without the dreaded half a stone to shift!