There is no magic fruit that will help you meet your five-a-day goal, and no single activity that will give you a shredded physique in minutes. Getting and staying in shape requires time and work. However, if you follow these suggestions, you’ll be able to reap the benefits (which are numerous) with less effort.
1. Prepare to Succeed
Using your weekends wisely is the fastest way to a healthier diet. Make huge batches of healthy dishes that you can portion up to cover at least a couple of midweek lunches and dinners, avoiding the dietary risks of takeaways and eating out.
2. Vary Your Exercises
Variety is the spice of life (cliche alert! ), and many sports and hobbies complement one another in ways you won’t realise unless you try them. Strength training for your legs and core, for example, will help you run faster, but those addicted to dumbbells will find Pilates works muscles they didn’t realise they had.
3. Change the tracker’s targets
If you get a fitness tracker, don’t expect to achieve greatness by simply following the pre-set goals. Adjust your step, active minute, and calorie goals on a regular basis to maintain your progress, or make them more realistic if you never seem to get close to them and have begun to disregard them. You’ll quickly discard your fitness technology if you don’t engage with it.
4. Include brief bursts of activity
It’s the age-old easy workout fix: take the stairs rather than the escalator, or get off the bus a stop early and walk. Any action is beneficial and will motivate you to do more. If you really want to boost the ante, try sprinting up the stairs each time you take them (safely, of course) – a recent research indicated that short bursts of high-intensity stair-climbing can improve your cardiorespiratory fitness significantly.
5. Pay Attention to Your Visceral Fat
On the outside (at least your arms and legs), you can be slim, but on the inside, you can be overweight. The type of fat that builds up around your organs and causes a pot belly is known as visceral fat. Heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes are all linked to it. To see if you’re at risk, look at your waist-to-height ratio (WtHR). Take a piece of string and measure your height, then cut it in half. If it doesn’t fit around your waist, start exercising; visceral fat is the first to disappear when you begin to exercise.
6. Make the Most of Your Downtime
It’s tempting to exercise every day when you’re on a fitness kick since your motivation is high. This is a foolish strategy that will quickly deplete your enthusiasm because you’ll be exhausted and won’t see the enormous changes you expect from your Herculean efforts. Why? Your muscles aren’t getting the rest and growth they require.