Started getting fit in lockdown and want to stay fit? Here are five tips in how to keep at it from Fiona Bugler, a lifetime fitness professional.
First of all check with your GP or practice nurse that it’s okay to exercise (in almost all cases it is) and then set out to make some gradual changes that will still bring you some results within weeks.
1. Create a vision
If you were out of your routine and got fit in the spring, it’s easy when you’re back at work and in your old ways to forget what you may have achieved. Create a clear vision in your mind of where you want fitness to take you and what will help you achieve your goals. Writing down what you want to achieve, i.e. to say fit, as if you’ve already achieved it, and creating ‘mood boards’ with pictures of how you want to look and feel, have been proven to increase your chances of success.
2. Exercise in the morning
Google ‘habits of successful people’ and you will find exercising in the morning listed as one of the top habits. Read more about setting good habits here. But when it comes to the physiological effects of exercise, many studies have found that late afternoon is actually the best time as this is when your body temperature is optimum. However, the case for morning workouts enabling you to say fit includes the power of getting it done, and other research shows the morning as the most effective workout time for our body clock (circadian rhythm). According to the American College of Sports Medicine, working out in the morning will also help you sleep better at night.
3. Join a group
Scientists at Oxford University studying a group of rowers found that group exercise can release the happy hormones, endorphins, making you not just happier, but more effective as you exercise. Group exercise, such as aerobic and studio classes, is a great way to get started in fitness, distracting you from discomfort and making you accountable. Of course, in recent times, this moved online which, for newbies, has a lot of advantages such as getting you used to working out and giving you confidence. Both on- and offline qualified instructors are very good at motivating you to work hard and adapting classes for different levels of fitness. But do check they are qualified so you can learn, adapt and progress at the right pace for you.
4. Stick to the old-school exercises
Old-school, circuits and military exercises, such as sit-ups, press-ups and burpees, have stood the test of time. One, because they’re effective; two, because there are only so many ways we can move our body and; three, they are easy to do. The current buzz is around high-intensity interval training (HIIT) where you work as hard as you can (around 95 per cent of maximum heart rate) for very short bursts. This is an effective way to get fit and you’ll only need to commit 10 to 20 minutes, three to five days a week, for results.
Need more motivation to stay fit and healthy, read our article on the 3 big whys to keep at it.
Started running and want to get faster? Check out how to gain speed as a runner.