“Exercise doesn't have to be 'all or nothing'. Regular, short episodes of exercise are beneficial especially when you are busy.”
Dr. Deena El-Shirbiny
There are so many ways to increase your fitness in little ways. Here are the best ways to change your routine for the fitter:
1. Do it for you
Be sure that your motivations are coming from you. Forget what the magazines tell you, don’t worry about the body shape or fitness level of your friends and don’t feel you have to get fit to please anyone else or meet their standards. Do it for you, your own self-esteem, your own positive body image, and your own long-term health.
You can set yourself goals and track your progress by monitoring your health on your mobile with babyon. By monitoring your health you can visualise your fitness journey, helping you to stay on track long term.
2. Join a gym or class
Having a set time and place for exercise can be a great motivator. A gym will have top-notch equipment, advice on how to train safely, and professionals who can tailor the best routine for you personally. Many gyms offer activity classes, and these are a great place to meet and socialise with others who are also keeping up a fitness routine. Classes maximise fun and fitness. You can motivate each other and celebrate together, and often people find it easier to keep their fitness up this way. If a gym is not your scene try a Boot Camp for a serious start to your healthier life.
3. “While you’re up…”
Utilise opportunities for exercise. Don’t wait for a colleague to make tea for you, if you’re on the same tea-schedule head to the kitchen together, but always use the opportunity to stretch your legs. If you’re at home, be the person to get up and do things. Change your attitude to optimise your moments of activity; if you’re already getting up to put the kettle on, why not squeeze in some stretches? Taking the stairs or walking instead of taking that short bus journey or taking the escalator can help add more to your daily exercise.
4. Set aside 3 times a week for 30 minutes of activity
Scheduling specific times in your week to have a quick burst of activity is a good way of making fitness more manageable and less daunting. By having three 30 minute sessions in your week, you have options to mix up the exercises or activities you do. As long as you’re getting your heart pumping and your muscles working, any safe routine is good. This will also help your body adjust easily to the new routine and give your muscles time to recover and build between sessions.
5. Find a way to exercise while watching TV
You can combine watching your favourite programmes in the evening with your daily exercise routine. Many pieces of equipment such as step machines or hula hoops are great for multitasking. While your mind is distracted by the TV you may surprise yourself with how much you can achieve by not focusing so hard on each squat or bicep curl.
6. Stand-up at your desk
If you work at a desk, it is essential to remember to get up and stretch. Moving your muscles and especially keeping your neck and spine from getting stiff is important for your overall health and essential for keeping fit. Standing up at your desk and moving around will burn more calories than sitting hunched over a computer screen and can be a wonderful opportunity to do some subtle exercises such as ankle rolls or glute squeezes.
Laughing makes you feel good by releasing endorphins and squeezing your tummy muscles. These simple movements can add up to the best workout ever. During fits of laughter, the blood vessels in the heart dilate, increasing blood flow. Not only that, but laughing decreases stress and tension. Activities such as laughter yoga are becoming increasingly popular, so why not combine a feel good giggle with some stretching and toning?
8. Give yourself a break
Staying on top of a fitness routine can be difficult at the best of times. Your routine will change, things will get in the way, and you won’t always feel like exercising. By setting realistic goals with plenty of structure, support and rewards, you can give yourself the best possible chance of keeping fit. Remember to celebrate your achievements and be proud of yourself, but also be sure to give yourself a break and not push yourself too far. Pain is a warning sign from your body, so listen to it and remember your abilities will fluctuate depending on how your day or week is going. If you give yourself time to recover, you’ll be more likely to achieve a goal next time. Recuperation is an equally important part of your exercise routine.
What changes with exercise?
Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good. Keeping fit can also improve your quality of sleep, boost self-esteem and reduce stress levels. As well as this, there are palpable health benefits such as reducing the risk of depression and dementia, as well as physical benefits such as reducing the risk of certain types of cancers and osteoarthritis. Regular exercise will increase your chances of living longer, reduce future health problems and improve your overall happiness.
The tipping point comes when exercise becomes a habit rather than a chore, and once the scales tip in that direction you’re well on your way to a healthier future. Getting to that stage takes motivation, get motivated now by setting yourself a reasonable fitness goal and start tracking your progress with monitor.
By Katalina Watt and Dr. Deena El-Shirbiny