In an ideal world we would all be setting our alarm clocks for 6:30am, drinking a smoothie made of 7 vegetables for breakfast before heading to the gym for a gruelling 3 hour workout.
Life just isn’t like that is it? No matter how good our intentions, life has a knack of throwing things at us. How is it possible to keep fit whilst dealing with all the hassles of every day life?
The Answer: Work Smart Not Hard
I was going to join my local gym the other week but decided against it as I wasn’t impressed with it. So instead I’ve been using a “little and often” technique which can be done from your own home without the need for any expensive equipment.
Basically you do a few exercises at regular intervals spread throughout the day. You might only have time to do 30 seconds at a time or you might be able to manage 5 minutes. It’s better to do a little bit often than nothing at all.
(I’ve included a number of quality links in this post, I suggest you bookmark this page so you can refer to it later.)
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Warm Up
It’s important to get the blood warmed up and pumping round your body so that your muscles can stretch easier. Swing your arms around your head, do star jumps or have a dance to your favourite tune.
To prevent possible injuries you need to make sure your muscles are nicely stretched and supple. A lot of people don’t spend enough time stretching or even miss it out altogether. If you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle you’ll probably want to concentrate on stretching for a couple of weeks before doing any strength exercises to prevent injury.
If you are looking for a comprehensive book on stretching I personally recommend Sport Stretch as this is what was recommended by my mum’s personal trainer. He used to be a trainer in the Army, so he should know what he’s talking about!
When it comes to increasing strength there’s two main types of exercise you can do. You can either work each muscle individually (isolated) or you can exercise a number of muscles all at the same time (compound).
Ideally you should do a mixture of both isolated and compound exercises but because you have a life you should concentrate on compound exercises. You don’t need expensive gym equipment to do these exercises however you might later on want to buy a Dumbell Set and an Exercise Ball.
Here are some links on how to do the main compound exercises:
- Lunges – Workout all the muscles in you legs and bum (great for us girls!). If you’re new to exercising then you can start of doing lunges without dumbbells.
- Press-ups – This is an excellent video on how to do a press-up correctly. I learnt a lot from it.
- Tricep Dips – If you find your wrists get sore, try doing Dumbbell Kickbacks instead.
Some more exercises to try out here: Total Body Strength for Beginners
Doing cardio is important for increasing lung capacity, reducing your chance of coronary artery disease plus generally gives you more energy. It might be a bit more difficult to do a cardio workout in your own home without a treadmill or exercise bike but here are some tips for you:
- Walk instead of taking the car
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator
- Run up the stairs instead of walking
- Play with your kids in the garden
It might seem a lot to do everyday but you only need to do a few exercises at a time. Remember: little and often. I’ve been on this regime for about 2 weeks now and am amazed at how much strength and flexibility I’ve gained.
Why not challenge yourself to do this for the next 21 days? Why 21? Well, it seems that’s how long it takes to form a habit.
Disclaimer: I’m not a trained fitness expert; the above tips are what I follow personally and may not be suitable for every one. Please check with a doctor before starting any exercise regime.