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5 steps to getting yourself onto the path to fitness
Summer is fast approaching and with it comes the usual mad rush to shed some pounds in order to look good on that beach vacation. Desperate attempts to exercise, crash diets and even starvation are the lengths that people will go to in a last-ditch effort for that summer holiday.
That makes it the perfect time of year to think about sustainable, long-term exercise that lasts all year round rather than just when you’re planning on jetting off to warmer climates for a couple of weeks.
By making an effort to become fitter, you’ll be able to look good on a beach no matter what time of year it is. You’ll also be improving your health, extending your life expectancy, and becoming an all-round happier person.
The thought of getting fit can seem daunting at first, but the payoff is worth it. To get you started, here are the steps you need to take to get yourself onto the path to fitness.
Have the right attitude
You might think that getting fit requires the muscles and moving parts of the body to be working at their strongest, but it is actually the brain, which is the critical component. Your mind can be the difference between succeeding and failing at your goal.
Like any significant changes, getting fit takes time, and success may not come straight away. Despite the inevitable setbacks that will happen, such as when you don’t lose as much weight as you expected you would, you need to maintain a positive attitude. Believe you can do it and chances are you will – the most important thing is never to give up.
Take part in physical activity
The best way to improve your fitness levels is to take part in strenuous physical activity. The good news is that there is such a variety that there is going to be something out there to suit everyone, no matter what their budget or time restraints may be.
Take Parkrun, for example. This free event takes place every Saturday and is a timed and organized 5k run around a park. All that you need to take part is a set of trainers and a Parkrun barcode, which you can print from the internet for free and which gives you your time at the end. Anyone can take part, and it’s a great way to get you into running.
If running isn’t your thing, then you could join a gym. Or if the idea of working out in front of other people scares you as it does large numbers of Americans, then why not pay for some gym equipment for your home?
There are two positives to this approach. One is that you can then exercise in the comfort of your own home, no matter what the weather is doing nor what time it is. The second is that if you’ve paid to install gym equipment, chances are you’ll want to get your money’s worth and so you will feel duty-bound to use it.
Secondhand gym equipment can be bought for a fairly reasonable price.If you want to kit your home out with brand new equipment but can’t afford it, then why not take out a loan from Bonsai Finance to pay for it? You can read this for more information on the services they offer.
While the likes of running and going to the gym are the most effective ways to get fit; you can also take up sports as a means of improving your fitness levels. Playing tennis or squash against your friends will get your heart pumping, and the competitiveness will spur you on to push yourself harder than you might if you were just exercising alone.
You could even join a sports club to meet likeminded people. Not only will signing up for the local soccer or track team improve your fitness levels, but you’ll also be opening yourself up to a whole new social circle of individuals who all share your passion for sport and getting fit. That can only be a good thing in terms of keeping you on track to achieve your goals.
Keep a fitness diary
The best way to convince your mind that your new fitness regime is taking effect is to keep a fitness diary in which you record virtually everything that you do that pertains to your physical wellbeing.
Write down how much exercise you did and how long for each day. If you ran 3k or swam 20 lengths at the local pool, make a note of it. Then, when you look back through in a week’s time after running 5k or swimming 25 lengths, you’ve got tangible evidence of improvement.
There are all kinds of fitness apps available now, which allow you to input your exercise for that day or even track your run by GPS. Apps like Strava which attracts a million new users every 40 days even allow your friends to give you ‘kudos’ for the exercise you’ve done, encouraging you to do more and allowing them to share in the excitement of your progress.
Start eating right
Exercise will only get you so far – it has to go hand in hand with healthy eating as well if you want to truly increase your fitness levels. After all, there is little point burning lots of calories only to spend the next two days living off fast food. Switch to wholegrain foods, replace unhealthy snacks like potato chips and candy with fruit and vegetables, and drink lots of water – up to 2 liters a day.
That may not sound like much fun, but there is good news; because of all the exercise you’ll be doing, you need to eat lean foods as well to keep your protein levels topped up. That’s lean meat, eggs and at least one meal a week which consists of fresh seafood. The point is, you can still have a tasty diet even when you are trying to get fit.