How To Get Fit - Even if You've Never Stuck With A Fitness Program Before
By Isobel Whytock
Are you frustrated with the struggle to sustain a healthy fitness program? It seems like every time you turn your head you're told to take regular exercise for our own good health.
But how many of us actually do? Who's got the time? The motivation? Or the discipline?
Here's a really simple way to get fit...
A fit-into-your-lifestyle walking program.
It's based on the latest research coming out of universities around the world.
To do this you'll need a pedometer. They only cost a few bucks from fitness equipment stores. The idea is to wear this as you go about your daily business and it counts the number of steps you take.
All steps count.
The best place to wear the pedometer is on your waist at the side of your body.
Do wear a comfortable pair of "sensible" shoes for every day activity. If you're going on a walk, then a good pair of walking shoes is best. If you're going on a hiking trail, then you need hiking boots.
To get fit and stay healthy, experts recommend we take 10,000 steps every day. A sedentary person may have a step count of around 4000. So you then find ways to fit in the extra steps needed.
Easy ways to increase the step count:
- Park the car further from the door when going to the supermarket or office
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
- Stop using the television remote. Get up to change channels
- At work, deliver messages in person rather than phone
- If you commute by bus or train, get off one or two stops early
- Walk instead of short car journeys
It all adds up.
Before getting started...
It's best to wear the pedometer for a couple of weeks without changing your exercise level. Write down the step count at the end of every day. After two weeks, you can assess how many additional steps you need.
If you increase your daily activity, but still fall short of the 10,000 steps a day then add in some walking. As a rough guide, one mile takes around 2,000 steps.
Say you need to walk daily for 30 minutes. It's o.k. to split it up into three walks of ten minutes each. It actually gets the body attuned to regular activity and reinforces the habit. It may also be more beneficial to your metabolism.
Of course if you'd rather do a single walk, then go right ahead. It'll burn more calories.
Experts on motivation tell us if we do a new activity (like the 10,000 steps program) for 21 consecutive days, we will form a new habit. In other words, it is highly likely that we will continue the activity.
So it's easy to do. Most people are capable of walking. You don't need any expensive equipment.
So why bother?
Well how about the following benefits to a long term exercise program:-
- halve your risk of diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's
- boost your immune system and reduce the numbers of colds and flus you catch
- reduce the risk of certain cancers such as bowel and breast
- Strengthen muscles and bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis
- Boost your mental wellbeing and reduce stress
- Lose weight if you're overweight.
After four weeks on this program, you'll notice your fitness and stamina improving. It's a good idea at this stage to add in some variety to the type of exercise. Include some flexibility and strength training.
It's easy to figure out the equivalent number of steps for any exercise.
Find out the amount of calories your chosen exercise burns. For every 100 calories, that's the equivalent of 2000 steps. So if you do a 45 minute Yoga session, that burns 180 calories, which gives you the equivalent of 3600 steps.
Your next step? To take what you've just learned and get organised to start your new fitness program. It's easier than you think and you'll reap the benefits for years to come.
Isobel Whytock is passionate about health and fitness issues. You can read her reviews of treadmills.
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