Middle-aged men are being urged by former world boxing champion Paul “Silky” Jones to use National Heart Month to get themselves fit through skipping – and reduce their risk of getting heart disease.
The 47-year-old former boxer, who is an ambassador for national heart charity Heart Research UK, is targeting middle aged men because he feels this group are more likely to have a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, poor diet, and obesity – factors that contribute to heart disease.
He says skipping for just 10 minutes a day can increase your heart rate and improve your fitness, and is a simple, low-cost exercise that anyone can do.
Paul “Silky” Jones (pictured), who is originally from Sheffield, won the world light heavyweight championship in 1995, and regularly speaks to groups about fitness and health.
Paul knows how beneficial skipping is to getting himself in shape. The former boxer said: “I want people to use National Heart Month to think more seriously about their health and fitness, and skipping is a good exercise to achieve this. It is very easy early in the New Year to slip back into a routine that doesn’t include exercise and healthy eating.
“Just small amounts of activity like walking and taking the stairs instead of the lift can improve your fitness and make a big difference to your heart health – but using a skipping rope will help too.”
Heart Research UK Lifestyle Manager, Barbara Dinsdale added: “It’s great that Paul is trying to get these important messages across to men to think about their heart health and get involved with exercises such as skipping.
"The risk factors for heart disease increase as you get older so it is essential that you make sure that you are being more active, eating a healthy diet and watching that waistline.”
Paul has now come up with some healthy tips for middle-aged men to focus on their heart-health during February – National Heart Month.
Paul’s healthy tips include:
• Know your baseline – how fit are you? How pumped up is that tyre around your middle looking? How’s your blood pressure? Being aware of where you’re starting from will not only help you start exercising at the right level, but also help you see how much you’ve progressed as you go along.
• Invest in a good quality skipping rope – and find a space in the garden, patio, garage, house or at the gym. Start with small sets, slowly increasing the number of skips you do, reducing your resting time in between sets. Skip forwards, backwards, on one leg then the other and then try the double skips and cross over ones as a bigger challenge. All great boxers rely on skipping, it’s a great way to get that heart pumping faster and burn calories while using many muscles in your body.
• Beginner steps – get some good shoes and all weather gear (nothing fancy or expensive needed). Build up your pace, distance, then add some steps or hills and change the terrain (eg a cross country trek); always go for that bit extra but without knocking yourself out. Walking a fit dog will ensure you exercise regularly whatever the weather.
• Ditch the couch – try brisk walking during your commute, at lunchtime, or as soon as you get home and at the weekends. Every little bit will help you kick your system into shape and start building up your fitness so you’re ready to go onto the bigger stuff. Ease yourself off that sofa by doing some DIY, decorating, housework, window cleaning, gardening or car washing – these won’t turn you into a triathlon runner overnight but they’re all part of being a “mover” rather than a “sitter” and will be much better for your heart health.
• Start jogging and running between lamp posts and then walking in between the next set. It’ll be tough at first but you’ll soon be able to run for longer and further. By doing short bursts flat out you’ll improve your fitness quicker too.
• Don’t be a heavyweight with your eating – a session burning calories doesn’t mean carte blanche to extra take-aways, pints at the pub or high calorie snacks. Match your fitness regime with a healthy balanced diet with lean sources of protein, healthy fats and plenty of fruit and vegetables and wholegrains – become a fit ‘featherweight’ that’s tuned into what’s best for you and your body.
• Set yourself a goal or reward. Think of a challenge that would show you how your fitness has progressed – how about the Yorkshire or National Three Peaks? A race like the Great North Run, a local 5K or 10K? Think big to a triathlon or marathon or big cycle ride. Then plan how you can reward yourself.
You can also follow Heart Research UK on Twitter: @heartresearchuk or become a fan of our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heart-Research-UK/10733061906
For further information contact Chris Child on 0113 297 6207