Not active? Out of shape? Hate exercise? Then the Strength and Flex workout plan is for you!
Find out how this five-week plan will help you get up and moving and improve your health and wellbeing.
What is the plan?
The Strength and Flex plan is a five-week exercise programme delivered through five podcasts. As its name suggests, the plan is a fun way of improving your strength and flexibility and to get you motivated to exercise regularly.
What’s in the podcasts?
Each podcast consists of an easy-to-follow workout, lasting between 35 and 45 minutes, narrated by Laura, who also lent her voice to the Couch to 5K and 5K+ running podcasts. There are video clips available of all the exercises in this series, so you can check you’re doing each move safely and effectively.
Who is Strength and Flex for?
If you’re not very active, don’t enjoy exercise, need a bit of a push or you simply want a way to get fit again, then the Strength and Flex plan is for you! Strength and Flex is an easy way of getting fitter and more healthy. If you have any health concerns about exercising, see your GP before starting.
Why do Strength and Flex?
Probably the biggest challenge of getting active is not knowing how or where to start. Often when trying to get into exercise, we can overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we’re just getting started. Strength and Flex works because it starts gently and builds up your fitness gradually, making the challenge feel achievable from day one.
Can I do Strength and Flex with Couch to 5K?
What equipment do I need?
No technical gear is necessary. Wear something loose and comfortable in a breathable material, such as cotton, and pick shoes that offer support and cushioning. To exercise with the podcasts you’ll obviously need an MP3 player, such as an iPod and most mobile phones.
Where can I do the workouts?
You can do Strength and Flex anywhere, for instance a park or a garden. The exercises don’t require any equipment. All you need is enough space to walk about freely, a fixed bench, a wall or tree and either some shoulder-height railings or a shoulder-height horizontal bar.
What are the health benefits of Strength and Flex?
The aim is to gradually build up your fitness levels so that by the end of the five-week plan, you’ll be feeling stronger, more flexible and full of energy to go about your daily life. Improving your flexibility can improve your posture, reduce aches and pains and lower your risk of injury. Seeing your fitness improve can also help boost your self-confidence and relieve stress.
Can I do Strength and Flex with a friend?
Yes! You can do the Strength and Flex workouts on your own or with one or more exercise buddies. Exercising with a friend is a good way to stay motivated for exercise and, by adding a social element, can also make it more fun.
How do I get the podcasts?
Download the NHS Choices Strength and Flex podcasts from here for free. Instructions will be given to you, and once downloaded you will be able to listen to them on your iPod or even just your mobile phone if it has MP3 capabilities.
How often should I do the podcasts?
Starting with podcast 1, your goal is to work your way up to podcast 5 in five weeks. To achieve this, you need to do each podcast at least three times in a week. Podcast 5 is designed to be used on a regular basis after completing the plan. You can download a no-intro version of podcast 5.
What happens when I finish Strength and Flex?
Podcast 5 is designed to be used beyond the programme. It provides a regular 30-minute workout to de-stress and feel good. For example, you could do podcast 5 twice a week and one of the 5K+ runs three times a week.