Keeping your body in shape requires commitment and motivation, but the rewards are well worth it. If there is a secret, it is to look upon keeping fit as something which is enjoyable, and not something which is a necessary chore. The effects of not staying fit are well known. Unfit people are sometimes overweight, and being seriously overweight increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, diabetes type II and even some cancers. Keeping in shape improves self-esteem and in a sort of virtuous circle, actually improves your motivation to continue.
Create a timetable of exercise, as this helps to incorporate it into your day-to-day life. Try new forms of exercise; variety helps to maintain motivation. Take a 30-minute brisk walk three times a week. Try running or cycling. Begin by going very short distances and set yourself slightly longer targets each time you go out. Aim to exercise at least thrice each week.
Target your muscles. Lie on your back with dumbbells or weights in the range of 1lb to 5lb (0.5 to 2kg) in each hand. Stretch your arms out to the sides. Bend your arms at the elbow, and bring your arms together, over your body until they are almost touching. Next, put both arms over your head, touching the floor, still holding the weights. Bring both arms down, in a semi-circle until they are by your legs, take them back again, over your head. This exercises the arms and chest. Begin with the lowest weight and build up gradually as your muscles slowly warm up and get used to the weights.
Lie on your back, with your knees bent. Put a hand on each shoulder. Slowly raise the top of your body off the floor, exhaling as you come up. Inhale as you lie back down. Do this 20 times. Rest and repeat two more times. Lie on the floor, with your hands behind your head. Do not pull on your neck with your hands to lift your body. Instead, use your abdominal muscles to raise both legs into the air. Cross your ankles. Slowly, bring your legs down, bending your knees, while simultaneously raising your upper body. Again, do two sets of 20 repetitions each. This exercise helps to tone the abdominal muscles, and it should be combined with cardiovascular execises and a balanced diet.
If you have access to a gym, use the abductor machine to tone thigh muscles. At home, do a series of squats, taking your time. Do 10, rest and repeat twice. Sit on the floor with your back staight. Bend your knees. Push your knees out to the sides, bringing the soles of your feet together. Hold the pose for a few seconds. Repeat four times. Stand up straight, raise your right leg, point your toes, and in a sweeping movement, cross your right foot across your left ankle and up across your shin. Repeat several times on each side.
Avoid processed foods and too much alcohol. Try to have a good night's sleep. Go to bed at regular times; rituals before bed such as reading or a bath with lavender essence, help to induce sleep. Keep regular check-up appointments with the doctor, optician and dentist. Try to incorporate relaxation time and laughter into your life.
Tips & Warnings
- Try to execise at least some of the time with a friend as this helps to motivate you.
- Avoid attempting too much all at once, particularly if you take up running. Get fitted for the good shoes for running.
- Photo Credit woman exercising image by xymm from Fotolia.com running image by Byron Moore from Fotolia.com