Getting out of breath going up stairs? Clothes seem to be shrinking in the wash? Just after Christmas, it’s hard going to get back into the swing of things. it’s just easy to stay fit. But there are a few small changes you could make that’d help you make a little bit of progress, naturally, and that’s a much easier way to get fitter. They’re healthy changes that could last a lifetime.
Is there an easy way to get fit?
No. Sadly, there’s no magic wand for getting fitter. It does take some time and effort. Not as much as you might think though: the World Health Organisation says we should get at least 2 ½ hours of moderate exercise a week, and that’s just 20 minutes a day. So if you’re starting from nothing, that could make a big difference. Long term results are what matter. Start small, and stick to your guns.
Are there little things I can do to start with?
Yes. It sounds daft, but just walking more is a great way to up your fitness levels. Ten minutes before breakfast will soon become an easy habit to keep if you do it every day. Set off at a moderate pace – you’re not in a race. If you’re a little bit out of breath when you stop, that’s about right: you’ve made your body work a bit harder to keep you moving. Getting fitter easily. That’s what you want.
Once you’ve made it a habit, it’s easy to do 20 minutes a day. And if you’ve got children? Take them with you. Teach them habits that should last a lifetime. Remember, if you’re struggling to fit exercise around work, you could also make it part of your working day. We know, it’s a cliché – but if you use the stairs instead of the lift, it really can make a difference over time.
How will will I stay motivated?
Set goals – but if you don’t meet them, don’t give up. If you want to walk five miles a day by the end of the month but only manage four, it’s not the end of the world. Were you walking four miles a day last month? Give yourself a pat on the back. You’re making great progress.
If you can drag a friend along you’re more likely to keep it up. Think of it as a bit of friendly competition. Meet up for a walk, or sign up to a local fitness class together – always good for a giggle.
Okay, but when will I start feeling fitter?
You should start seeing results in a few weeks’ time. When your exercise feels easy, it’s time to try a little harder. Add an extra five minutes to your walk. If you’re feeling brave, try jogging gently. Keep going until you’re happy with your level of fitness.