Building Up Your Fitness, One Day At A Time
Weekly Featured Contributor
Being fit is an important part of being healthy, but it’s not always easy. Many people think that to be fit, you need to show that you could run a marathon or lift a 200 lb weight above your head. This isn’t true. Being fit means having an effective body and cardiovascular system that can give the body what it needs to survive. Building up your fitness doesn’t have to involve a grueling workout session each day to reach your goals, and the best way to tackle your fitness is to take it one day at a time. Read more about building up your fitness below to start living a healthier life today.
Face up to your issues
It can be difficult to face up to the reality of our bodies, but taking a long hard look in the mirror can spark you into making a positive lifestyle change. Not all reasons for lack of fitness start with laziness - an injury lawyer will tell you about many clients whose lives have been affected by an injury that wasn’t their fault. Start by writing down your weight, your measurements and assessing which parts of yourself you’d like to improve. If your weight is an issue, then embarking on a fitter lifestyle will be one way to change that. Write down your goals and keep them somewhere safe so that you can remind yourself of them when you need some motivation.
Take a fitness test
A fitness test will give you a good indication of where your fitness level currently is. You can do a fitness test easily at home or in the gym by performing different exercises within a certain amount of time and seeing how many times you can repeat the exercise. Write down your scores. You should repeat your fitness test every couple of weeks to help you track improvements in your fitness. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your repetitions go up, and it is a great way to measure improvements in your fitness if you’re disappointed with what you see on the scale.
Work out a fitness plan
A fitness plan will give you something to work towards, helping you stick to a schedule and ensuring that you workout at times and places that suit the rest of your week. If you’re just getting into fitness, you should aim to exercise around three times a week at first while you improve your cardiovascular stamina. Any cardio-based exercise will improve your fitness, so whether you choose to run or join a gym, any exercise that gets your heart going will help. Don’t feel like you’re not going to get anywhere with low-impact exercise, as these types of exercises are effective calorie burners that offer much better results than if you were to do nothing at all.
Make some other lifestyle changes
While fitting in some workout sessions will help you to develop better fitness, you should also look at making some other lifestyle changes to help you improve your overall fitness and wellbeing. Walking is a highly-effective cardio exercise that can be done by people of all fitness ability and should form a normal part of your day. Different sources recommend walking 10,000 steps a day to help you get fitter, but there is other research that shows that you should aim higher and work towards walking 15,000 steps a day.
10,000-15,000 steps a day is the equivalent of 8-11km a day, which might seem like quite a distance if you put it on a map. Reaching this target is much more achievable than you think, it just means you’ll have to make some changes to the way you currently live. Walking to work instead of driving or using public transport is one way to get your steps up, as is taking a walk at lunch or getting up from your desk every hour and walking around the office. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator will help increase your step count, while also helping you to work on your cardio. If you can, get into the habit of taking a walk before dinner. This will help you work up an appetite and stop that sluggish feeling that can make us lazier in the evenings. Finding ways of fitting exercise into your day will help you improve your overall fitness, without having to resort to a drastic new regime.
If you’re starting to get used to your new routine, or finding that you do not see results as quick as you thought you would - it’s time to challenge yourself. Embracing more challenging exercise will test your body and help it work harder, which will boost your fitness. A routine involving high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is one way you can get the maximum results from your workout and is great if you’ve only got limited time for a workout that day.
If you’re boosting your fitness through running, increase your speed or your distance to start to challenge your body more. If you’re using machines at the gym, increase the intensity or incline and push yourself through it. You’ll find that as exercises become less challenging, you’ll want to push yourself even more and that’s how you will continue to see results.
Measure your progress
It’s important that you measure your progress to fuel your motivation and keep at it, even when you’re feeling like it’s not getting you anywhere. An activity tracker is a great way to measure your results, especially to see your resting heart rate coming down - an indication that your body is getting fitter. Redo your fitness test - if your repetitions are increasing, then you’ve got clear evidence that your body is getting fitter and that you’re making progress. Progress doesn’t always come in an obvious form (like weight loss on a scale), and you should measure various elements to get a clearer picture of your progress. Take photos of your journey if you can as these will help you have a more visual measure of your progress, that you may not notice if you’re looking at yourself every day.
Getting fit is a challenge, but it’s one you should take for your health and your future. As a key lifestyle goal, improving your fitness will benefit you in many ways. It’s never too late to start, so what’s stopping you from making a change today?