Following on from my article 10 golden rules for healthy eating, I thought it would be a good idea to list my favourite 6 easy exercises to get you more active.
Many people compartmentalise losing weight and getting fitter in different boxes. If you want to lose weight, you go on a diet…and if you want to get fit you go to a gym or start running. Dieting won’t help your fitness and exercise won’t help you lose weight (unless you start training for the marathon).
This point of view is, of course, totally wrong!
Weight, food intake, exercise and activity are all inextricably entwined and you have to get the right balance in order to be healthy and fit for the long term. That’s why I always tell people to think in terms of “getting fit and healthy” rather than “lose weight”.
So, if you want to lose some weight and get a bit healthier, then it makes real sense to combine a sensible eating regime (NOT a diet though) with a more active lifestyle…and that doesn’t mean having to go to the gym or start pounding the roads.
However, many of us just can’t get exercising for a multitude of reasons…lack of time, motivation and a real belief that “exercise” means hours of sweaty workouts alongside other people with beautiful toned bodies!
Thankfully, that’s not the case. The key to starting is to adapt your existing lifestyle and insert simple but achievable “mini-exercises” into your daily routines…and the great thing about this approach is that once you start, you will quickly start to see benefits, both in terms of how you feel but also how you look. This will give you huge motivation to do more and get even more effective results!
So here’s my list of 6 easy exercises to get you more active and kickstart this whole process…and remember, the sooner you start, the quicker you will be on your way to a healthier and happier lifestyle.
1. Stand up straight, shoulders back with your tummy in and hold for a count of 10. Repeat this at least 5 times today…and more if you can. Getting a good posture is a must for everyone and the muscles you use to do this simple exercise are central to your body’s core strength – particularly when it comes to protecting your back.
Doing this will also make you look and feel better immediately so use any spare time you have (waiting for the kids to come out of school, waiting for a bus or even when you are watching TV) to stand tall. The more often you do it, the quicker your body will start doing it naturally for itself without you having to think about it!
2. Find some stairs (make sure it is a reasonable flight) and go up and down at least 4 times. If there’s none available, then use just one step (make sure it’s stable first) and spend a minimum of 5 minutes stepping up and down, changing the lead leg regularly. Do it slowly, feeling the leg muscles working – the aim is to get the heart pumping a bit quicker and the legs to work a bit harder than just walking.
Remember to always use the stairs instead of the lift if you can and always walk up escalators, never just stand still on them.
3. Try and do at least 3 sets of 5 squats each day. They will only take a minute or so to do, so noone can say they don’t have the time. Keep your tummy in and never bend lower than your knees.
Squats are a fantastic multi-muscle exercise. Doing them regularly will bring lots of benefits including toned legs, a firm butt and strong back. They will also strengthen the big muscles in your legs and make mobility and all activities easier to perform.
4. Stand up facing a wall with your hands out in front of you placed on the wall, a shoulder width apart. Do up to 8 wall press ups if you can. Do them slowly, keep your back straight, your tummy tensed and remember to breathe normally. Try and repeat this whole routine 3 times each day.
This mini-routine will work the muscles of your chest and the backs of your arms – often problem areas as we gain weight or get older. Keep them toned by regularly performing this exercise and move to the floor (box press ups and then full press ups) as your arms and chest strengthen. Keep your tummy tucked in throughout but don’t hold your breath!
5. Do the tummy tuck – on all fours pull your tummy in and up towards your back. Hold for 10 secs and repeat 4 times. Try and repeat this twice each day.
Pulling your tummy up in this position uses gravity to make it a bit harder. This will increase the strength of your core abdominal muscles making it easier for you to hold your tummy in flatter all of the time. Remember, achieving a “flat” tummy is just as much about toning your muscles as losing fat in that area.
6. Stand on one leg, tighten all your stabilising muscles (tummy, butt etc.), take the other leg out to the side, and bring it back 5 times without touching the floor or falling over. Hold your arms out for balance or lightly rest one hand on the back of a chair. Tighten your tummy to keep yourself stable. Now do the other leg. Try and repeat 3 times each day. Remember to take each leg out as slowly as you can up and down. Don’t jerk it and don’t let the leg fall back down. Control the movement and breathe normally throughout.
For maximum benefit, learn how to do the routine without holding on to anything. This may take a few attempts but you will quickly get the hang of it. Try to use your tummy muscles as much as possible to help you balance.
This list, although simple, may look a little daunting at first. The key thing is to START doing as many as you can and working out how you can fit them into your day. Each one only takes literally minutes so you may do the first one while you’re waiting for the train, the second at work in lunch hour and the rest before you sit down to watch some TV. You can even do some whilst you are checking your Facebook status!
The KEY thing to remember is that none of these exercises by themselves will make you lose lots of weight and get superfit. However, once you start doing them regularly you will find your whole approach to activity changing and you WILL want to do more. This sets off a whole chain reaction which will result in a fitter, slimmer and healthier you and that’s the goal you should have in your mind!
All the above exercises were taken directly from the New In 90 Plan. Over a period of 90 days New In 90 will show you exactly how to change your lifestyle so you can achieve both the weight and fitness you are looking for.