Christmas has been and gone and now New Years is coming towards us full steam ahead. It’s about this time of year that many of us start to think about New Years resolutions with fitness, health and weight loss being a common theme.
If this is you, Congratulations! You've taken the first step on your way to a new and improved body and mind.
Exercise is so beneficial. It can help combat illnesses like some forms of heart disease, some cancers, arthritis and combat depression. There's also no arguing that exercise is essential for losing weight and subsequently combats conditions related to being overweight.
Of course, there's a catch. You need to get moving and keep moving if you want to cash in on the benefits and we can offer you some tips to help get you started and assist you in achieving even more.
1) It doesn’t have to be tortuous!
Getting moving and keeping moving doesn't necessarily mean following a strict, time-consuming regimen at the gym. Although that might work and be enjoyable for some, it might not be for you and the truth is you can get rewards from many different types and levels of exercise. So, if buying a discounted gym membership with an added block of PT sessions in the January sales sounds hell-ish to you, don’t despair! Any little increment of extra physical activity is going to be a great boost to weight loss and feeling better. Your exercise options are numerous so pick something you’ll enjoy. That could be walking, dancing, biking, even Hula hooping if that’s what you fancy! The important thing is to choose activities you enjoy as this will increase your chances of making it a habit.
2) It doesn’t have to be time consuming!
And how much exercise should you do? For heart health at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity such as walking, on most days of the week. Although if you can only manage less than that in the beginning you’ll still see benefits. Often it might feel like if you can't do a set amount of time, then you might as well not bother. That couldn’t be further form the truth. You’ll still definitely see benefits even if you can only manage a 10 minute jog to start with, for example. Don’t allow yourself to be demotivated by thinking that you should be doing hours and hours, something is better than nothing and something is still more of an achievement than nothing. Be kind to yourself, your health and fitness goals are about doing something good for yourself so don’t make yourself miserable.
3) Create habits that will last the year!
The first step to any workout routine is to evaluate how fit you are for your chosen physical activity and also if you need to speak to your doctor about any medical conditions you might have that could be affected by certain types of exercise.
But no matter your medical condition or your starting level of fitness, you will be able to work out in some way so there will be no feasible excuses.
After assessing your fitness, it helps to set workout goals. For example, do you want to prepare to run a 5K? Hit the gym five times a week? Or just walk around the block without getting winded?
Make sure your goals are clear, realistic, and concise in order for them to be most achievable.
When setting your goals it is also important to start low and go slow. Many make the mistake of starting out too aggressively, only to give up when they end up tired, sore, or injured. Some get discouraged because they think an aggressive workout will produce instant results. Generally speaking, when people go about it too aggressively early in the program, they tend not to stick with it over the long haul. What you really want to do is to develop some new habits that you can stick with for the rest of the year and onwards.
With that said here are some initial tips to get you started on what might be right for you:
-It’s important to remember before beginning any fitness routine, it's important to warm up, then do some light stretching but save the bulk of the stretching for after the workout.
These are exercises that are strenuous enough to temporarily speed up your breathing and heart rate. Running, cycling, walking, swimming, and dancing fall in this category.
Flexibility training or stretching.
This type of workout enhances the range of motion of joints. Age and inactivity tend to cause muscles, tendons, and ligaments to shorten over time. Contrary to popular belief, however, stretching and warming up are not synonymous. In fact, stretching cold muscles and joints can make them prone to injury.
Strength, weight, or resistance training.
This type of exercise is aimed at improving the strength and function of muscles. Specific exercises are done to strengthen each muscle group. Weight lifting and exercising with stretchy resistance bands are examples of resistance training activities, as are exercises like pushups in which you work against the weight of your own body.