Time to shake off some weight? Here are some ideas for finding an enjoyable way to incorporate exercise into your day.
Exercise expert Kristen Mackenzie’s top tips for getting back into activity.
When the summer body beckons it’s often good incentive to get out of the house, into some exercise gear and get into shape!
While SPARC recommends we do 30 minutes of activity each day, the reality is that many of us don’t manage this, particularly over winter.
There are lots of reasons: less incentive to look and feel good as we can cover up our bodies under piles of clothes; conditions are less favourable as it’s cold and wet and dark early; and in some workplaces it may be a busy
time of the year with heavy work commitments taking preference.
If any of these have been a problem (or excuse!) for you, now’s the time to start a new exercise habit and to stick to it.
How to do it
It is important to take the time to set realistic goals. A great, easy way to boost our exercise is to become more active in our daily life. Walking down to the local shops in our lunch break, doing stretches or activities in front of the television, walking instead of emailing a work colleague, taking our kids to the park, and taking the stairs are all great ways to raise our daily activity.
Measuring our activity can be a great motivator. This is made easy with a pedometer (step counter). Once we know how many steps we do on a daily basis, we can aim to add a number of steps (say 500) per day or series of days; up to or surpassing the goal of 10,000 steps per day.
If you work in an office, you may be surprised how few steps you accumulate over the day.
A little healthy competition works well – try comparing your day’s steps to your partner, work mates or family members and you’ll be amazed how motivated you feel the next day to beat them! It’s important to find activities we enjoy and that suit our fitness level – injuries are no fun.
One of these activities may inspire you:
- Group fitness classes (with options like belly dancing or boxing out there, there is sure to be something to suit everyone)
- Dancing – rock ‘n roll, salsa, jazz, ballroom
- Fartlek running (stop-start running)
- Indoor sports – while squash, netball and basketball can get you moving, indoor cricket is less strenuous
- Golf, tramping, orienteering or other outdoor walking or running activities
- Skating, rock walls, laser strike, indoor rock climbing and bowling
- Water activities such as aqua jogging, surfing, water skiing, wakeboarding, swimming and kayaking
- Cycling, mountain biking, BMX or spin-cycle classes
- Exercise videos in the comfort of your own home
- Enrol in and try a community triathlon, or run/walk/cycle/swim event (these can also be charity or money-raising events so find a cause that appeals to you)
- Check out your local recreation or leisure centre, sports club, local paper or Sport NZ’s website for further ideas