Diet and exercise – the 2 pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Some of us really struggle with eating the best foods for us, the call of the cookie being too seductive to resist, while others find the ‘getting active’ part of equation much harder to stick to.
It just seems like so much work. Spending an hour every day in a windowless room, which smells faintly of body odour, running on a treadmill like a hamster or lifting weights while some muscly guys is flexing in the mirror next to you just doesn’t sound very appealing. Not to mention the fact that you have to pay for the privilege. Gym membership is expensive and comes with the ‘guilt surcharge’ when you inevitably don’t go as often as you’d like, meaning that you not only feel bad about not exercising but also about wasting money on a gym membership.
If you are one of those people who loves the gym and has no trouble making time for regular visits, I applaud you! You keep that up! But if, like me, you just don’t know how else to get yourself to exercise, here are a few alternative ways to get your heartrate up. No complicated equipment or costs of any kind in sight!
1. Get your groove on! Dancing raises your heart rate, can be done anywhere and, best of all, it’s fun! Put your favourite music on and just start moving. Set yourself a time or song limit (15 minutes, 6 songs etc.) and don’t stop shakin’ it until it’s up. This is a good one to do with kids as it keeps them entertained and engaged while you get your workout done. If you like to be challenged, you could also pick a routine to learn and work on it every day – there are plenty to choose from on YouTube. Speaking of YouTube…
2. Get out of your rut. There are literally millions of exercise videos online. From calming yoga to powerful aerobic routines, from quick 10-minute workouts to hour-long full classes – there is something for everyone and it’s all completely free. Find some videos you might like to try and break out of your exercise rut by trying something new.
3. Break it up. We all have busy lives with multiple, competing demands on our time. Finding an entire hour long block every day to exercise can seem overwhelming. But who says you have to get all your exercise done in one go? Why not break it into several small bursts throughout the day? You could do 15 minutes of cardio in the morning to get going, then go for a walk at lunch and take some time to stretch and wind down in the evening. Whatever works for you!
4. The workout game. Have you ever played that drinking game where you watch a TV show and every time someone says a particular phrase you have to take a shot? This is a fun and easy way to incorporate exercise into your everyday life. Pick a show you love, The Bachelor for example, and every time someone says they’re ‘on a journey’ you do 10 sit ups. Make up your own rules that suit your body and level of fitness. Speaking of TV…
5. Use TV time wisely. It’s probably safe to say that most of us spend some time in front of the TV every day – usually in the evening when we’re winding down. It can be so tempting to just flop on the couch and tune out, and we all certainly need down time, but this is one perfect chunk of time that you can use to your advantage. Multitask and do some light exercise or stretching. Just don’t do anything that requires your full attention as you could injure yourself.
6. Make it social. For some of us, the biggest hurdle to getting more active is that it’s just boring! One way around this is to organise an exercise group with friends. You can take turns planning workouts and you will have the added bonus of extra support from your besties.
7. Take the focus off the exercise. Being active doesn’t have to mean planned targeted workouts with charts and timers. Any movement is good movement – so what if it’s not in a gym? One option is to make it about nature. If you love beaches, forests, birdwatching or even just fresh air, this is a great way to get exercise without it feeling like ‘working out’. Make a list of local walking trails, beaches or anything that interests you and work on exploring them all on a regular basis.
Nothing beats personalised, expert knowledge when it comes to health. For me, ph360 provides all the advice I need about all the aspects of my health, and a personal coach or trainer can do wonders. But if you just need something to help you get going, the above suggestions are a great place to start.