Easy Ways To Get Fit
We’ve all heard the annual mantra: New Year, New You. But really, how many of us have really set fitness goals and seen them through for the next 12 months? Not many! Come January, the gyms and health clubs are packed full of people with fresh motivation and a spring in their step. Come March, those costly gym memberships are abandoned and burning a hole in our pockets. The good news is, you don’t need to fork out a fortune to get fit and create new habits that will actually stick .
When thinking about fitness, it’s important to get the balance right and finding activities that you genuinely enjoy doing. Why would you continue doing something you don’t like?! Small, easy changes that don’t alter your current lifestyle too drastically could bring about huge changes to your mind, body and soul.
We should think about exercise in terms of three main outcomes: cardiovascular health, strength & conditioning, and flexibility. We need to ensure we’re getting a good balance of all three – so mixing it up is important and helps to keep exercising fun and interesting. If you get bored of something, you’ll most likely stop doing it! Here are some easy ideas to get the balance right:
This is the easiest (and cheapest!) form of cardio and you can do it basically anywhere! It’s also a great way to get back into exercise if you’re just getting back into the swing of things. Start out small, a few times a week and build your way up. Find places you love walking (e.g. parks or wetlands) and you’ll be more motivated to stick to it. Then integrate it into your daily life – get off the bus a few stops early and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Once you’ve mastered power walking, you might like to step it up a bit and pound the pavement. Again, start small and work your way up. Find places you love running and recruit a running buddy. This will keep you motivated, you can spur each other on and may even bring out your competitive side!
STRENGTH & CONDITIONING
Again, this is an easy, cheap and very effective form of exercise. You can do it almost anywhere, using practically anything with a bit of weights (bicep curls with cartons of milk in the kitchen, anyone?) As a general guide, do 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each exercise, allowing 30 seconds to 1 minute in between each set. Resistance training not only helps to build long, lean muscle, it can improve bone density too!
Your core if the most important of your body. It helps us have a good posture, it helps us to breath and it keeps our organs in the best position to work properly… So it’s important to keep it strong and active. Sit ups are easy and can be done anywhere there’s a bit of space to lay down. Make sure you place both feet firmly on the ground and gently hold your hands at the base of the neck to keep it supported (but don’t us your arms to lift you up, use your core muscles). Breathe in on the way up and breathe out on the way down. Start out doing 10 and build your way up until you can do 50 at a time!
It’s vitally important to stretch after doing any form of exercise. Try to avoid stretching large muscles before you exercise as stretching muscles that haven’t been warmed up can cause injury. Stretching helps to get rid of toxins from muscles that have just been worked and pumps fresh oxygen into them. The other benefit of stretching muscles that have just been worked it that they repair themselves to be longer, leaner and stronger.
Having good flexibility can also prevent injury from doing everyday tasks like pulling your back while bending down to pick something off the floor.
You can stretch anywhere – in your bedroom when you wake up, at your desk before morning tea, in the kitchen while the kettle boils. Make sure you hold each stretch for 20 – 30 seconds or as long as it’s comfortable.
Yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercise on the planet… and you don’t have to be an experienced yogi to get amongst it! Start out with a beginners’ class or routine and work your way up (they’re free on YouTube!) Yoga not only helps with flexibility, but it’s also a great resistance workout so helps build nice toned muscles too… not to mention, it’s very relaxing and peaceful!