This year for Halloween, we wanted to get into the spirit (pun intended) of festivities by producing our own exercise- and health-themed versions of seven famous horror movie posters.

As well as being a bit of fun, we hope that the following will help those who might be new to exercise to become familiar with some of the associated health benefits and terminology; and show that exercise doesn’t have to be scary (sorry - Ed).

1. Get Outdoors

 

  • Spending time outdoors provides a range of health benefits
  • Increases levels of physical exertion
  • Good for mental wellbeing

Get Outdoors, the poster for our country-walking, lake-rowing themed blockbuster, is a twist on horror hit Get Out (2017).

It goes without saying that the more time we spend outdoors, the less likely we are to be sedentary. As well as increasing physical activity levels, spending time outdoors is also thought to improve mood and be good for mental wellbeing. It’s also been linked with improved sleep health too; one recent study suggested that people camping outdoors will tend to go to sleep earlier and sleep more soundly.

In the summer months, spending time outdoors also increases vitamin D exposure, which benefits our immune system, and facilitates the absorption of calcium in our diets and helps us to maintain strong bones.

This isn’t generally a concern for us in the UK at the tail end of October, but when spending time outdoors on sunnier, warmer days, it is important to take precautions against sunburn by applying sun protection, and taking regular breaks in the shade.

2. Physical Activity


  • Improves cardiovascular conditioning
  • Boosts muscle and bone health and improves mobility
  • Beneficial for mental health too

Our Physical Activity poster is an exercise-themed spoof of Paranormal Activity (2007).

The general guidelines for adults is to aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, and try to supplement this with strength training on two days per week. Doing so will help to improve physical health (bone and muscle strength, cardiovascular health and organ function), as well as mental wellbeing.

3.[REPS]

 

  • Term used in strength training, short for ‘repetitions’
  • Usually around 5-10 reps make up a ‘set’
  • Aim to do between 2 and 4 sets of a particular lift

Our [REPS] poster is a strength-training themed pastiche of [REC] (2007).

Those lifting heavy will tend to do fewer reps (perhaps 5 per set), whereas those lifting lighter weights will tend to do more (10 or more per set).

It’s usually better to perform more reps at lower weights when first starting out, or returning to lifting after extended time off. This helps you to achieve good form and perfect your range of motion, which will both reduce the risk of injury and provide a solid foundation if you eventually want to lift heavier weights.

If you’re looking to increase the weight you lift, you should do this gradually, and make sure you maintain as perfect a form as you can. Start out with a weight you know you’re more than capable of lifting for the number of reps and sets you want to do, while also keeping good form.

When you can comfortably do this, you might try increasing the weight by a small amount but also reducing the number of reps you do (for instance from 10 reps at 6kg, to 6 reps at 8kg), before gradually increasing your rep count by one until you get back up to 10 again (and eventually moving onto the next weight).

4. The Stretching

 

  • Vital component of any workout
  • Dynamic stretching aids flexibility and range of motion
  • Reduces risk of injuries and strains
  • Ideally you should do it before and after exercise

A movie which would be all about the benefits of warming up, this poster for The Stretching is our exercise-themed take on The Shining (1980).

Even if you’re only going to be using or focusing on one area during your workout, it’s still a good idea to warm up by performing a range of stretches which include the whole body.

For example, if you’re going for a 30 minute run or bike ride, you might focus in particular on calf, hamstring and thigh stretches. But you should also warm up your upper body with some stretches which warm up arm, back and core areas, as you’ll still likely use these muscles to some extent.

Try to set aside a good 5-10 minutes either side of your workout for stretching.

5. I Watched What I Ate Last Summer

 

  • But really, you should keep track of your diet all year round
  • Reading nutrition labels can help you to stick within your RI
  • Diet tracker apps can also be useful in counting calories

As you can see from the poster, I Watched What I Ate Last Summer would be a diet-centric pastiche of I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997).

We’ve written several times previously that a balanced diet containing a range of nutrients is key to healthy lifestyle; as is keeping track of your calorie, sugar and saturated fat intake.

Reading nutrition labels on packaging can seem like information overload at first, but knowing your reference intakes (RI) can help to put these into perspective. The more you read nutrition labels, the more accustomed you’ll become to identifying the contents of foods fairly quickly.

There are a wealth of diet tracker apps available for iOS and Android, and you don’t typically have to pay very much to get a decent, reliable one. As well as helping you to track calories, sugar and saturated fat, they can also help you to identify which nutrients and vitamins you might be missing out on.

One of the drawbacks of these apps is that, particularly at first, it can be quite time consuming to enter all your data into one. But the more you get into the practice of using them, the less time they generally take up.

If you’re unsure that you’re getting all the right nutrients in your diet, or are looking to lose weight and want a diet plan to suit, a good place to start is with your GP. They’ll be able to set you in the right direction, or refer you to a dietitian who can help.

6. The Exercisist

 

  • Getting help from someone with experience can be beneficial when starting out
  • This might be through exercise classes
  • Or through a personal training programme

The Exercisist (featuring a personal trainer and exercise expert) is our spoof poster of The Exorcist (1973).

When embarking on a new exercise regime, not everyone needs a personal trainer. Some people are perfectly fine putting together their own exercise plan through their own research.

But for those who need help sticking to a plan or need extra motivation, a personal trainer can be a worthwhile investment. They can help to tailor a plan to your specific needs, and push you to go a little bit further during a workout session.

If you’re unsure whether you need a personal trainer, speak to some friends who have used one before and ask them how it went.

Many trainers run exercise classes in commercial gyms; attending these on an occasional basis can give you an insight into how they work, and whether or not their style would benefit you.

Even if you aren’t looking for a personal trainer, exercise classes can also be a useful way to learn new routines, and to push you to work harder. Many gyms will offer classes as part of their membership, and they generally cater to a range of ability levels.

7. HIIT

 

  • HIIT stands for High intensity interval training
  • Involves short bursts of intense activity followed by low-intensity periods
  • A HIIT workout takes up less time than a ‘steady state’ cardio session
  • Can help to burn calories and improve cardiovascular fitness
  • However it may not suitable for everyone

HIIT is our interval-training themed movie poster spin on the Stephen King’s IT (1990) miniseries, and the movie remake IT (2017).

Someone performing HIIT will exercise at a very high intensity for a number of seconds, before returning to lower intensity exercise for a number of seconds, and repeating in a cyclical process for a number of minutes.

There are several different types of HIIT. Some are performed on an exercise bike, whereas others might involve running on a track, using a rowing machine or performing various bodyweight exercises (like situps or crunches).

HIIT workouts have become more popular in recent years as an alternative to ‘steady state’ cardio routines. The shorter, more intense periods of activity are thought to burn the same number of calories as longer, more moderate periods of activity. This means that they can be completed in less time and, in theory, achieve the same end result.

However, HIIT isn’t suitable for everyone; such as those with certain health conditions, or who are only just starting out. And a recent article by NHS Choices concluded that more research was needed to determine how effective HIIT is when compared to other types of exercise (such as more moderate, steady state forms of cardio).

In general, it’s better to start with more manageable forms of moderate exercise, and gradually build up intensity once you’re comfortable doing so.

Once more, if you’re embarking on a new programme of exercise, you should speak to your GP; particularly if you haven’t exercised for a long time or have any existing medical conditions. They will be able to help you decide which type of exercise is best suited to you.