8 Ways To Get Fit(ter) Without Really Trying
Exercise is one of those things that sounds great when you plan it, but when it comes to the moment of truth, it’s an entirely different story.
No matter how motivated we may be, jogging on a bitterly cold morning or making a trip to the gym after a long day’s work doesn’t exactly have the same appeal as enjoying those precious extra 15 minutes in bed or putting your feet up and binging on your favourite show, does it?
Even if you’re among the most determined and inspired of us, you still need to overcome the biggest barrier of all, time; more often than not, life’s busy, and carving out time to exercise when there are 1001 other things going on can feel like an impossible feat.
But let’s face it, what’s more important than your wellbeing?
It’s a well-known fact that a healthy lifestyle can improve both our physical and mental health; and, believe it or not, it doesn’t necessary have to be challenging and time-consuming. In fact, there are plenty of ways to keep fit without having to hit the gym or invest in expensive work-out gear – the ‘small changes can make a big difference’ cliché certainly holds true when it comes to health.
To help you get in shape without too much effort, we got in touch with some personal trainers for their top tips on how to get fit, the easy way.
1. Commute your way to fitness
How often do you find yourself stuck in traffic on your way to work? Or struggling to find space on a busy train? Who are we kidding, we’ve all experienced the wonders of the commuting life at one point or another. So why not switch it up and ditch the cramped spaces for some fresh air.
If you use public transport to get to work, Matt Swierzynski, Personal Trainer and Online Trainer, suggests getting off a stop early and walking the rest of the way. Sure, it may take a little longer, but it’ll help you clear your mind and prepare you for the day ahead. You can also use this tactic if you drive; why not park further from work and walk in?
If, on the other hand, you’re lucky enough to live closer to work, why not walk, run or cycle in?
According to Ramblers, regularly going for brisk walks will improve your circulation, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes.
And if the health benefits aren’t motivation enough, think of all the money you would save!
2. Take the stairs
Not the most ground-breaking of tricks, but it’s simple, and effective. While taking the lift or escalator is definitely easier, especially if you’re hauling a suitcase or heavy bag, it’s also a missed opportunity for a quick win.
“Walking the stairs is brilliant for working and toning lower body and leg muscles,” says Matt. Additionally, it “raises your heart rate, engages the core, and works your arms.”
3. Office fitness
Between being sedentary for the majority of our waking hours and indulging in one too many ‘al desko’ lunches, it can safely be said that office life doesn’t always represent the pinnacle of wellbeing.
But working in an office doesn’t mean you have to be chained to your desk nine to five. Trips to the toilet and coffee breaks provide the perfect opportunity to break up your day, and studies indicate that you’re actually more productive when you take regular breaks; so, if you needed an excuse, you’re welcome.
Another great way of clocking up valuable steps is by getting up and walking to a colleagues desk, rather than simply messaging or calling them, says Matt.
Lastly, while there’s nothing wrong with the occasional office delivery from your favourite takeaway, Matt suggests that going for a walk during your lunch break can boost your focus and help you work more efficiently.
4. Skip the ads
If you love watching TV, but hate the ads, why not skip them, quite literally!
“Skipping is a great form of exercise and all you need is a piece of rope,” suggests Personal Trainer Claire. “There’s no need to buy any fancy kit, and you can do it anywhere, at any time.” Time your workout to take just as long as the average ad break, which nowadays lasts around three to four minutes.
“Skipping works your cardiovascular system and well as your legs, arms, and shoulders,” and, if you think a quick workout won’t do much, think again. Skipping burns around 800 calories an hour, so even a speedy three to four minute workout will burn around 53 calories! You know what they say, look after the calories, and the pounds look after themselves.
5. Keep it simple
Some people find exercise daunting, but purely because it’s been tarnished as overly-complicated and demanding. When it boils down to it, however, exercise can be increadibly simple.
Throughout your day, when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil for example, try and do 10 squats or 10 lunges, says Claire. “Squats and lunges work your quads, hamstrings, hips, and glutes; and, if you add some weights, they work your upper body too!”
6. Walk and talk
Ever watched a film where someone needs to talk to the main character and, either because they’re busy, or just to look swave, they just say, ‘walk with me.’ Well, consider taking a leaf from their book, because not only do they sound cool, they’re also getting fit.
Whether it’s at work, home, or out and about, if someone rings or wants to have a quick catch-up, go for a walk while you talk. Plus, because you’re concentrating on the conversation, you’ll barely even notice that you’re exercising as well.
Who actually likes doing house chores? Without having to do a survey, we’re pretty sure the answer to that question is not very many people. Yet regardless of how time-consuming and tedious, they’re just one of those things we have to occasionally grin and bear.
So, if you’re going to have to do chores anyway, you may as well turn them into a workout session.
According to Stormclad, a half hour spent hoovering burns around 180 calories, or the equivalent of the same time spent on a brisk walk. If you prefer ‘working out’ in the great outdoors, on the other hand, power walking the lawnmower up and down your garden for half an hour (being careful not to injure yourself) will burn as many as 185 calories!
Exercise isn’t the be all and end all, sleep can also play a major role on our overall health and wellbeing. While the amount of sleep we need varies person to person, one thing’s shared, we all need the right quality sleep to wake up feeling refreshed; it’s certainly as much about quality as it is quantity.
The hectic pace of day-to-day life really does take its toll and, between checking social media into the early hours of the morning and watching ‘just one more’ episode, technology is increasingly behind why so many of us get poor quality sleep. So one way to get a better night’s sleep is to switch off all blue light emitting devices around an hour before bed. You’ll soon find that you’ll have much better sleep.
Sleep affects much more than just the way we feel. In fact, a recent study by King’s College London highlights a link between short sleep and poorer diets, and suggests that spending around an hour more in bed a night may lead to healthier food choices. Turn out, sleep really can help keep you fit!