Summer is here. Some people think about summer bodies, holidays, fewer layers and feel the need to hit the gym. However, a healthy lifestyle, all year round, is more beneficial to you and a side-effect is you’ll feel more confident in those summer clothes.
If you’d like to boost your health and get fit, but can’t afford to join a gym, or struggle to get out of the house, here’s a few cheap and easy ideas.
Many people shy away from exercise. They may feel that they don’t have the time or energy or they may not feel confident doing it. They may just think it’s boring. Whatever your thoughts on exercise there are a few simple ways to fit it into your life in a fun way. There are so many ways you can try to get active. There is even a wide range of social and fun-filled activities for the whole family.
Benefits of exercise
Exercise can have a great effect on your health and wellbeing. It can make you feel better about yourself and your world. It can give you a bit more ‘bounce’ to tackle difficult issues. Exercise helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. It can have a beneficial effect on your emotional wellbeing too. It can even help you to feel happier and may improve your sleep and stress levels.
According to NHS Choices, the Government has activity guidelines for adults to help you stay healthy.
Adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active every day. You should:
- aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, such as cycling or fast walking, and
- undertake strength exercises that work all your major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms), two or more days a week.
Alternatively, you should:
- aim for 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week. This could be running or a game of singles tennis, and
- try to do strength exercise on two or more days a week. Again, these should work all major muscle.
It may sound simple but walking at a fast pace can be great exercise. Meet up with friends and have a chat, take the family or walk your dog. If you’re walking on your own, take your MP3 player loaded with your favourite songs, podcasts or audiobooks to help you while away the time.
The 10,000 steps challenge encourages everyone to take 10,000 steps every day. A pedometer can help you to track how many steps you take on a daily basis and then you can build up to 10,000. Alternatively, most smart phones now have apps that can track your steps or the distances you’ve covered.
There are many ways to incorporate walking into your day, for example getting off the bus a stop early and walking home, to work or the shops and walking your children to school. If you have to drive to get somewhere try parking at the furthest point from your destination and walk in.
If you can’t get out to exercise, there are a number of things you can do in the comfort of your own home. The NHS Choices website has details of a number of different workouts with accompanying photographs to show you how to complete each one safely. Head to www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness and have a look at some of the workouts. There are plenty of other ideas on there too.
We’re all big fans of Fitness Blender (www.fitnessblender.com) here at MFON towers. It is run by American husband and wife duo, Daniel and Kelli, and sometimes feature their lovely dog Loki. Fitness Blender provides free full length workout videos, workout routines, healthy recipes and more. You can search for the type of workout you’d like to do there’s everything form Pilates style stretching to high intensity cardio and strength training. You can do their workouts with them via the website or YouTube and the best thing is, they get tired too! We always find comfort in that.
A skipping rope can offer you the benefits of a cardio workout as well as improving stamina, flexibility and balance for minimal investment. You can buy one from as little as £2 and can pick it up whenever you have the time. It is advisable to skip outside to avoid breakages in the house!
A workout DVD is a good way to fit a few simple workouts into your week. You can choose to workout at a time that suits you. A quick trawl of the internet will find thousands of DVDs. Everyone seems to have released one from celebrities to nightclubs to TV show dancers. There are DVDs for every aim and type of exercise, the choice is yours.
Before taking up an exercise programme you should consult your doctor. Take care not to injure yourself and always warm up and cool down properly to avoid injuries. Stop exercising if you feel unwell, light-headed, dizzy or experience any pain. Workout DVDs and games will come with their own disclaimers, warnings and advice. Make sure you take note of these.
With thanks to NHS Choices. The information here is offered as guidance only. Please do take professional medical advice and the proper precautions before embarking on a new health or fitness regime. My Family Our Needs is here to offer you suggestions, we cannot be held responsible if you injure yourself, another person or damage property whilst undertaking one of the activities mentioned here.