We’ve all put it on our resolutions lists, year after year: get fit, stay fit and keep healthy. It’s a mantra we’d do well to follow, but one consistently waylaid by sedentary jobs, ugly weather that keeps us indoors on the couch and a myriad other reasons that encourage minimal activity.
It could be that your expectations of yourself are too high, particularly if you’re mostly inactive.
Chad Morris, owner of the Bellingham crossfit gym ProFitness, says one thing you can do to start making small, daily changes is to get up every hour.
“Stand up and go get some water,” he said. “Consider turning your desk into a stand-up desk, or one with a sit down and stand up option, because a lot of fitness professionals today are saying that sitting is toxic.”
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Getting fit doesn’t necessarily mean joining a gym.
Morris suggests people start taking walks of 10 to 20 minutes a day.
“It doesn’t have to be a big activity that will take an hour – because it’s easy to make an excuse not to do that,” he says. “If you think of it as 10 to 15 minutes of walking, that’s an easier bite to chew.”
Finding a buddy to walk with can be a powerful motivator, adding great conversation to the outing and ensuring you stick to your walking regime.
Once you’ve created the space and time for regular walks, increase the intensity by walking faster, lengthening the duration or choosing resistance on a walk, such as a hill. And setting a goal, such as committing to a certain distance by a specific date, can keep you engaged and active even when the weather is bad.
Monitoring your workout intensity or duration is a great motivator to keep you at it. Your smartphone is an excellent tool for this, with tons of free apps that make it easy to track your progress. Endomondo is one that times your activity and logs your location. MyFitnessPal is another, able to track the number of steps you take per day (the goal should be 10,000, experts say) and track the calories of the foods you eat.
And for the fit ambitious, the app C25K promises that with persistence and eight weeks of effort you’ll be running five kilometers a day. It coaches users day by day and delivers audio cues so you know what to do next.