COLUMN – Fit for the road

Health Today-blockWith the annual Crop Over Festival currently in full swing, by now most revelers would have picked out their prized costume, booked a spot in a Grand Kadooment band of their choosing, in anticipation of hitting the road for the big climax on August 3.

That’s when thousands of mostly t-shirt clad and costumed revelers are expected to take to the street for the last lap celebrations, usually characterized by hours of all out fun, laughter and merriment, not to mention the “spontaneous” chipping, and the jumping and the marching through the streets to the sounds of Crop Over “hit after hit after hit”, blared from loud speakers.

Fitness Instructor Kenneth Griffith compares the parade route, from the National Stadium to Spring Garden to a 5K race.

So just as he would advise any want-to-be runner, Griffith says preparation is key for those looking to go the full distance on Grand Kadooment Day.

As the popular saying goes, ‘The race is not for the swift, but for those who can endure to the very end’ and so it is with those planning to jump in a band for Kadooment.

It may require you to borrow a leaf out of Vincentian long distance runner Pamenos Ballantyne’s book i.e. months of training, and frequent work outs at the gym, or at home, in preparation for the big “race”.

For many women, and some of the men as well, it’s all about fitting into that Kadooment costume and ensuring that when you hit the road, everything is neatly tucked in place.

However, this can prove to be exceedingly difficult, especially for those of us with hectic schedules, children and other family members to attend to — not to mention, our own personal needs.

And if you are like me and you are only now hitting the gym, maybe you are between two minds about playing an active part in Crop Over 2015. Right about now you might be thinking, it is simply too late to jump.

Well, Griffith says it is not.

When we visited him this week, he was full of encouraging words.

In fact, he said never mind there are only three more weeks to go, all that is needed by those who still want to make it all the way to Spring Garden, are a pair of tights, a good pair of running shoes and a strong dose of commitment.

That’s right, commitment spelt S-T-A-M-I-N-A.

Infact, as you set their sights on the August 3 “5K”, Griffith advises that fitness will help, but focus more on your on stamina.

By this, he means, you must be able to sustain all of that jumping and chipping behind the truck in the blistering heat that we expect to have on Kadooment Day.

“The jump from the Stadium to Spring Garden is pretty long, that’s more than a 5K run and so you should have a certain level of fitness to be able to complete it,” Griffith said.

“ Of course it has a lot to do with your stamina and your ability to sustain movement in the sun,”
he added.

So while, you might not be aboe to get in “superior” shape over the next three weeks, the owner of ABC Fitness Studio still wants you to get moving.

“You can run, you can walk, you can skip, you can jog, you can go on the beach and swim, you can play a sport for about three or five days a week, maybe 30 to 45 minutes,[and] build up to an hour.

“Just push yourself for a little bit because on that day you are going to be pushing yourself to music and fun and everything around you, so it’s going to be a lot of movement.”

He emphasized that good results could still be had in three weeks time, but revelers must get started with their exercise regiment immediately, rather than simply donning a costume and expecting to make it to the end.

So let’s get moving Barbados!

Here are some simple exercises, which Griffith suggests, can be done at home or even during your lunch break at the office.


“It’s a basic and simple leg exercise, which will help build some stamina and strengthen the legs.”

Squats for the triceps: Will get your arm tight and strong.

Leg raise exercise: Will strengthen the muscles at the front of your thighs.

Step-ups and Single leg step up: Builds your cardio respiratory endurance.

Push-ups: Strengthen the lower back, focusing on that all-important lower back muscle.

The modified plank: Focuses again on the legs, the glutes, the hamstring.

Griffith explains that it is always important to do a little bit of stretching for five or ten minutes, two or three times a day, at the end of a workout.

“Remember the cumulative effect is just as good as if you can do 30 or 45 minutes one time. Five or ten minutes a couple of times a day is good enough to help build up some stamina,” he advised.

*Disclaimer –– This article is for information purposes only. Consult a physician before performing this or any exercise regiment.

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