So many of us set ourselves fitness-related resolutions in a bid to kick-start the New Year. Incorporating exercise into our lives is an excellent way to stay healthy, reducing our risk of developing major illness such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Current recommendations for adults state that we should aim for;
- 150 minutes of moderate (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise) per week
- Strength exercise which work all the major muscle groups 2 or more days a week
Moderate exercise includes;
- Fast walking
- Riding a bike on level ground
- Pushing a lawn mower (once it’s warm enough for the grass to grow again!)
It should make you feel warm and increase your breathing rate a little, but you should still be able to talk to somebody whilst doing it.
Vigorous exercise includes;
- Jogging or running
- Fast swimming
- Skipping rope
It makes you breath hard and fast, so that you won’t be able to say much without pausing to catch your breath.
Strength exercises include;
- Lifting weights – always get a gym instructor or personal trainer to check your technique the first time so that you don’t injure yourself
- Working with resistance bands
- Body weight exercises such as squats, press-ups and sit-ups
Incorporating this into your life
Adding moderate exercise into your daily routine could be walking or cycling to work (or part of the route) or getting out of the office during your lunch break (if possible) and going for a brisk walk.
You could also try some more active hobbies at the weekend like cycling, playing football in the park or trying out some exercise classes in your local area.
The NHS Choices website has a good page to help you find fitness activities in your local area: http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Fitness%20activities%20and%20classes/LocationSearch/671
Finding your favourite
I’m a firm believer that there is a form of exercise out there for everyone! I had to try quite a few different sports and activities before I found my favourites. At school I swam and played netball and golf, I tried numerous aerobics classes whilst working at a sports club, and tried volleyball out at university. At the moment, I love circuit training as it incorporates a mixture of aerobic exercise and strength training and I do it at a high intensity to really get a sweat on! However, I have also learnt to listen to my body. Sometimes I can tell that it wouldn’t benefit me to do such an intense workout, so instead I might go for a gentle swim or book into a yoga class. (I should probably do this more often as my flexibility could be improved!)
See what trial offers there are at gyms and sports clubs near you and try out a lot of different types of exercise and classes – maybe take a friend and turn it into a social activity as well!
Just remember to find something that you enjoy as you are far more likely to continue doing it!
I’d love to hear about your current favourite fitness activities – comment below to give others a little inspiration!
P.S. This pic of me cycling along Venice Beach on my trip to California last summer makes me seriously wish for warmer weather again!