1. What are some good exercises to do on a tight budget that don’t involve jogging (because my knee is shot)?

When you’re looking for low-cost fitness options that give you a great muscular workout and protects and strengthens your knees, I suggest isometric body exercises, that is, exercises where you don’t physically move, yet you still get your muscles to work.

I am sure that my clients can vouch that these exercises, (knee problems or not), are worth adding into your fitness routine. By using only your body weight, you save money by avoiding the purchase of expensive equipment or a pricey gym membership. Here is a sample of a few wonderful isometric exercises.

Pli? Isometric Squat:
This exercise strengthens the inner part of your knee known as the vastus lateralis. Many individuals are weak in this area, which can be noticeable when the knees cave in towards your midline. Not only do pli? squats work your vastus lateralis, but they also firm your bottom.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Make sure your toes are pointing out slightly (approximately 45-60 degrees)
  • Squat down slightly until you can feel your heels trying to lift up.
  • If you’re new to exercise, hold it for two seconds and then come up. Repeat 10 times.
  • If you’ve been doing fitness for a while, hold the squat and time yourself. How long can you do this for? Use that as your time.
  • As the weeks progress increase your time. Always make it a challenge, but remember to stop if you feel knee pain.

If you’re suffering from knee problems, the next consequence could be back pain. The plank is a challenging exercise that protects your core, which reduces your chances of back injury. It also gives your stomach a toned and tight physique.

  • Lie face down on a mat resting on your forearms, palms flat on the floor
  • Curl your toes under and lift your knees off of the mat
  • Keep your back flat. And lift your collar bone up. Look one to two inches in front of you to keep your body in a straight line
  • Beginners should hold for 20 seconds and release
  • The more advanced option is 60 seconds or longer

Isometric Row
This exercise works your upper back muscles, creating great posture and also protects the back against any future damage.

  • Get a long towel
  • Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you
  • Wrap the towel once around your feet
  • Hold one end of the towel in each hand
  • Pull the towel towards you while keeping your back straight
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades back and hold with as much strength as you can muster. Hold this Position for 30 seconds. If you’re more advanced, find out how long you can hold it for and start there.

If you like the above options perform each exercise in sequence. Repeat 3-5 times.

Remember, if you’re suffering from knee pain, find out if your insurance covers a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath. They can assess your knee, help you fix it and make exercise recommendations that are fit for you.

2. What does SPF on my sunblock mean? I’ve heard it’s the number of minutes I can stay in the sun without reapplying. Is this true?

SPF numbers can get really confusing.

SPF refers to the sun’s protection factor. This number does not mean the amount of time you should wear the sunscreen, but instead it signifies the amount of sunscreen you should put on your skin.

The number rating is based on a one ounce ratio. That is, for every four ounces of sunscreen in your bottle, you must use one ounce of cream on your skin to receive protection. For example, with a four ounce bottle of sunscreen, people should apply one quarter of the bottle. Yet most of us are quite aware we are not lathering our skin with that much sunscreen now are we? Instead we apply a smaller amount which has been shown to give our skin an SPF protection level of 10 even if the cream is an SPF 30, simply because we are not adding enough.

Although both UVA and UVB rays can cause cancer, the SPF rating is specifically used to determine how much the sun blocks UVB rays only. So make sure you buy a cream that has an SPF rating and UVA protection.

3. My kids will be out of school for the summer. I want to spend as much family time as a I can with them. How can I incorporate fitness into my routine without taking away family quality time?

When you pair nice weather with energetic children you have the perfect scenario for outdoor family fitness. Forget about traditional exercise routines. Use this time to explore new fitness activities as a family.

Plan a weekend bike trip
A full or half-day bike trip around local parks can be a fun and affordable fitness activity for the whole family. Not only will you spend quality time with your children, you’ll be a great role model as you demonstrate how fitness can be enjoyable and fun.

Swimming lessons for the whole family
Swimming is a great way to keep cool. It’s also an amazing form of cardio for adults and children alike. Various water exercises include private family swim classes, a day pass to a local lake or pool or, if your children are older, take an aqua fit class to tone and define.

Family fun runs
Outdoor family races are geared towards adults and kids. If you’re new to fitness there’s no need to panic. Race distances begin at 1k and for most family races, you can walk. If you’ve already incorporated running into your routine, try a 5k distance, or better yet, a family obstacle challenge. Although family obstacle courses are geared towards children, you can still work up a sweat jumping over mini boards and child-sized fences.

Summer time makes fitness fun for the whole family. So have a healthy summer doing new activities that create loving memories while you get physically fit.

ALICIA JONES Alicia Jones is the owner of Destination Fit and can be reached via @mississaugalife!