How to get started on your health-kick NOW!

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The secret of getting ahead is started. Mark Twain

Getting into a workout routine can be such a challenge, particularly when we’re out of shape from the winter months! It’s time to shed the winter coat, get motivated and get back into your fitness routine! This week Happiness Weekly looks at some simple steps to getting started on a sustainable workout routine.

STEP 1 – Be consistent
– Make a time to workout and commit to it as you would a team sport
– Always stretch before you workout – avoid injures so you can work out regularly and enjoy it
– Learn to love exercising – committing to a fitness routine begins in your mind
– Don’t let anything interfere with your workout routine – it is your appointment with yourself: set reminders on your phone to stick to the schedule
– Choose your workout, keep it easy and get started on a mini routine. For example your goal may be a 5km walk, a 10km bike ride and 3km rowing – you would start with 2.5km walk, 5km bike ride and 1.5km rowing machine for the first four to six weeks
– Routine is the key – after two weeks, you will find it less of a chore.

STEP 2 – Challenge yourself
– Keep moving: maintain continuity in your workout by walking on the spot or doing star-jumps. Pace on the phone, take long strides to the station or work or do crunches while you watch television
– Time yourself, it’s the easiest way to stay motivated and set goals – keep trying to improve for next time
– Get a workout buddy, and work to outdo them – even if it means training when away from them as well
– Increase difficulty: run up hills or stairs, or add a steeper incline on the treadmill
– Take longer strides when you’re walking – it gives you a better workout
– Increase the weights to improve strength, complete challenging reps
– Try using new gym equipment every now and then to prevent your routine from becoming stale.

STEP 3 – Do something you enjoy
– Going to the gym isn’t for everyone, find something you enjoy that involves exercising and participate in that as often as possible
– Suggestions for social workouts may include: Zumba, team sports (netball, tennis, soccer, touch-football), cycling, fitness classes at your gym, indoor rock climbing… Even playing Nintendo Wii with a friend is entertaining and physical! You will probably be laughing so much your tummy gets an extra workout as well!

STEP 4 – Be accountable
– Start keeping a workout journal: record your weight, measurements, how long you exercised for and what activity you were doing. The more information you can record, the more specific your goals will be and the less likely you will be to stray from your routine
– Don’t start too big, in fact start small if you haven’t exercised in a while – go easy on yourself, at least you are now doing something! If you’re working full time, it’s recommended to start with 30 minutes, three times a week and work up to an hour three times a week before introducing another day
– Don’t overdo it – associating your workout with pain will prevent you from wanting to go back
– Remember to bring the following items to your workout session: gym towel, water, iPod, phone (for recording/tracking and keeping time)
– Reward yourself for good behaviour – when you reach your goals, give yourself a treat (not necessarily food – a nice perfume, new sneakers, a massage etc.).

STEP 5 – Review your diet
– No takeaway! Prepare to sacrifice a few things to gain the gorgeous summer body you seek. Cut down on bread, rice and pasta for a little while. Replace it with crisp breads instead (Cruskits or Vita Wheat)
– Drink plenty of water (2 to 3 litres of unflavoured water a day will trim you down and help flatten your tummy)
– Eat plenty of fish (NO batter)
– Before starting a diet consider: your budget, if you have any health conditions, whether your schedule allows for food preparation, if you have social support and what you have tried in the past that has failed and why (avoid them this time around – you want something you will stick to!).

Simple ideas to get STARTED!
– Leave the car at home where ever possible and walk, avoid elevators and take the stairs
– Channel your successes – exercise will only make you feel great! Remember that and the feeling it gives you before skipping a workout
– Cut out the alcohol! Alcohol only provides lots of unwanted calories
– Be patient with your results – it won’t happen overnight. Weigh yourself weekly to see a difference on the scales or measure monthly to see it in clothing
– Go to bed early and get plenty of rest you burn approximately 552 calories with eight hours sleep
– Keep yourself self-motivated with up-beat music that you enjoy. I always make a new playlist every time I’m trying to get into a new routine.

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About happinessweekly

Happiness Weekly encourages readers to proactively work towards a successful, happy and secure existence. Just like happiness – Happiness Weekly is for everyone.

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