In these busy times, it’s often difficult to find a window in your day for staying fit. And with the UK’s estimated obesity figures being as high as they are (click on this Guardian report if you dare!) it’s definitely becoming more and more important to keep an eye on what we eat, our amount of physical activity, and also general wellbeing. In some ways, there seems to be a vicious circle happening – when we’re stressed we’re more likely to seek comfort in food. Add in a lack of exercise and the problem is exacerbated – since exercise can reduce stress levels.
So if you’re looking for inspiration for getting more exercise, try our top 10 easy ways to increase fitness.
Get app happy.
There are loads of great apps to help motivate your fitness – from running to workouts and more. You can even download an app that measures your amount and quality of sleep – very handy for finding out how all that exercise can have a positive effect on restfulness.
Despite the slightly silly-sounding name, deskercise has real benefits. For one thing, it helps you to remember that despite being at your desk, your posture and your muscles still matter. There are some good suggestions for desk exercises here. It might not be enough to make you super-fit, but every little bit of physical activity you get still adds towards the whole.
Yes, we’ve all heard the advice to ‘use the stairs instead of the elevator’ but that’s only part of the story. Walking is great exercise if you walk briskly and maintain good posture. And despite the world’s ever-increasing reliance on high technology, it’s also one of the things the human body was designed for – so apart from comfortable shoes, you’ll need no special equipment. You can even aim for 10,000 steps a day – it’s not as big a target as it might seem – check out this 10k steps infographic for more information.
Buy fitness equipment.
We can’t all afford a treadmill or a rowing machine. But even simple things like weights can help you towards your fitness goal. We’re not talking bodybuilding apparatus here. Just mini hand weights that weigh a couple of pounds can be used in a variety of ways that will help with core muscle strength.
Take a hike.
Ok, so you’ve incorporated more walking during your working day. Now try planning longer walks in the country at weekends and holidays. So much more fun than doing housework or watching television. Plus, you’re also getting some cardiovascular exercise too.
Set yourself a challenge.
If you’re just starting out, it doesn’t need to be anything too ambitious – something like a 5k race is a good thing to work towards. 5k can be run at an easy pace in around 35 to 45 minutes, so if you give yourself plenty of time to train, you’ll be fit for the race – and also have achieved a very good milestone.
Find a new activity hobby.
Whether it’s taking up dancing, or going for a weekly swim, a new interest can open up the imagination. Couple that with physical activity and you may find yourself feeling happier from the combined results of the exercise and the novelty of trying something new.
Get supple. While a lot of emphasis is placed on exertion, it’s important to stretch too, and to get in touch with your body. Yoga can even help with balance, as it is good for lower body strength.
A lot of emphasis is also placed on physical fitness, but it’s important to keep your mind and spirit in good shape too. This won’t just help you to feel more cheerful and calm, it will also mean you may feel more able to take things on generally in your daily life. Mindfulness meditation isn’t complicated, and there are plenty of books and websites about it that explain the basics. Check out bemindful.co.uk for more!
Put it all together.
It’s easy to lose track of progress – and in doing so we can become apt to let new habits slide and just go back to our old ways. So why not keep a simple journal that details your progress. This can be massively motivating – for instance if you’re having a down day, you can look back at all the days and weeks of healthy activity, and suddenly it’s hard to ignore the fact that fitness is the new you. Plus, you will get a lot of satisfaction seeing what you’ve achieved already.