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How to Get into a Healthy Exercise Routine

We should all be trying to move our bodies at every opportunity we get. It doesn’t matter for long for – the main thing is that you gradually build a little more activity into your day. Three 10-minute sessions of exercise produce the same results as one 30-minute one.

Choose an activity and do it as often as you can and for as long as feels comfortable. Then build it up gradually – an extra walk here, an extra swim with the kids there. It’ll challenge your body and you’ll soon get fitter.

How much exercise should we be doing?

Aim to do something active every day. Experts recommend spending 30 minutes doing some kind of activity that makes you breathe faster and your heart beat faster at least five days a week. However, if 10 minutes is all you can manage, that’s a great start too! This then enables you to gradually build up to your 30-minute target.

Getting started

Take it easy to begin with. Exercise should never feel painful or leave you completely puffed out. If you push yourself too hard you risk injuring yourself and you will want to give up. If you can have a leisurely conversation while you exercise, you probably aren’t working hard enough. If you can barely speak a word, slow down! Begin slowly for the first few minutes and build up gradually – this will help protect your muscles and joints from injury. Cool down gradually when you come to the end of your activity.

Choosing your activities

It’s important to choose activities that you enjoy and that fit with your lifestyle. It’s no good trying to jog if it leaves you bored senseless, and don’t join a club if it takes too much effort to get there regularly. Be realistic, start gently and build up gradually over a few months.

Walking off calories

If you walk for 30 minutes on the flat, at a moderate 5km/h, you’ll burn around 160 calories. If you walk a bit quicker, at a brisk 6.5km/h, you’ll burn 200 calories. Add some hills and you could burn an extra 100 calories.

The simplest way to get fit is to walk more. Whether it’s taking the kids to school or walking to work, the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other is a great way to build activity into your day.

Walk more

You can walk anytime, anywhere. It’s simple, it’s free and it’s one of the best ways to get fit. To turn every day walking into fitness walking, lengthen your stride, quicken your pace, keep going and do it regularly.

At home

If you don’t fancy going out running, you can still get fitter in your own home. There are dozens of ways to get active without leaving the house.

  • Put on some music and dance around the house – it’s a fantastic and fun way to get fit.
  • Get fit while you brush your teeth – stand on your right leg while you brush your teeth with your left hand for a minute. Then swap over. Easy!
  • Make housework into a workout. When you vacuum, dust, clean or scrub, do it a bit faster and work up a sweat.

Top tip

There is no ‘best way’ to get fit. Any movement is good and it doesn’t have to be a gym workout. You can fit lots of physical activity into your life by doing things you enjoy. Dance, ride a bike or take a brisk walk. It all counts. If you’re short of time, break down your daily exercise into ten-minute activities.

Everyone needs to spend more time being active and less time in front of the television. But that doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym. There are loads of activities to do around the house.

While watching TV

You don’t have to give up your favourite programme to exercise. Here are some ways to get fit during those advert breaks.

STEP TO IT

  • Once the adverts start, walk up and down the stairs once before returning to the TV.

PUSH ‘N’ CRUNCH

  • Try to do as many push-ups as you can during one advert. For the next advert try to do as many crunches, or sit-ups, as you can. Keep going until the end of the break.

HAPPY HEARTS

  • Try marching or jogging on the spot. Do some jumping jacks or knee-lifts.

IN THE GARDEN

  • Working in the garden, raking leaves, digging – these activities all burn around 350 calories in an hour. They’re also great for toning the muscles in your arms, legs, back and stomach. An hour of energetic digging and weeding can burn as many as 500 calories.

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