Countdown to summer: 10 tips for getting active
What’s your goal this summer? To fit comfortably into your jeans? To feel confident in your summer clothes? To feel fab in swimwear on a staycation or holiday abroad?
Fitness First expert, personal trainer and world kickboxing champion Natalie Bee explains how setting a goal and having the desire to reach it will keep you motivated.
“It’s all about positive thinking,” says Natalie. “You have to imagine how great you'll feel - not only when you have the body you have always dreamed of, but when you realise you’ve seen the training programme through. Wouldn’t it be satisfying to know you've kept the promise to yourself to meet that goal?”
Here are Natalie’s top 10 tips for getting active and working towards your summer goal:
1. Start slowly
Rule number one! Make sure you don’t over exert yourself too quickly as you may end up abandoning your fitness routine altogether. Take small steps to start with, until you feel you can push yourself.
2. Set goals
Challenge yourself by creating a series of milestones, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Start slowly by setting a short term goal, for example if you only run for 20 minutes once a week, bring that up to 20 minutes twice a week. Or, if you currently only go for walks, then aim to start incorporating short bursts of jogging into your walks. Build up slowly, 30 seconds at a time.
Once you've achieved that goal, then set the next logical goal. If you’re now running twice a week then aim to increase to three, and perhaps increase the time too. If you’re incorporating jogging into your walking sessions, then up the frequency and also increase the length.
A long term goal could be to compete in a charity 5km or 10km run. Look for a date now and book it!
3. Track your progress
4. Be flexible
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you really don't feel like exercising one day, take a day's rest and then get back into it. You should enjoy fitness and not treat it as a chore!
5. Keep it varied
If you have a mundane exercise routine, spice it up by taking a class or try some new equipment. Variety keeps things interesting, and you may be more likely to stick to your fitness routine. Join live virtual workouts and classes via the Healthy Body Healthy Mind group in Connect. From walking to meditation, there's something for everyone!
6. Have fun
Enjoy yourself! If you’re having a bad week, invite a friend to be your gym or outdoor workout buddy. You can challenge each other and motivate each other to carry on. You could also try a class - like dance fitness or boxing - where you'll find like-minded people.
7. Fit activity into your daily routine
Carving out time for a workout each day is a great way to earn FitPoints, but you could also try adding more activity into your current lifestyle. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk instead of driving, get off at a bus stop a few stops before your destination. Every little helps!
8. Put it on paper
Make a note of the milestones you’ve accomplished - seeing how far you've come will spur you on and give you a sense of pride! Why not keep a fitness diary and write what exercise(s) you've done that day and for how long? Or, buy a wall planner and give yourself a green tick every day that you exercise.
9. Seek support
If you’re unsure that you’re doing an exercise correctly, speak to an expert. If you’re bored of your current routine and need a new focus, try a new activity, join a class, or check out Healthy Body Healthy Mind for plenty of inspiration.
10. Consider your mood
If you’re having a particularly bad day, you may find it helps to put your headphones on and run for 30 minutes to de-stress. You could also go to the pool for a calming swim, or join a boxing class to work out any stress or anger. Immerse yourself in your workout and leave everything else behind.