14 Nov How to get fit and stick with it
The Dubai Fitness Challenge is a great way to inspire us all to get fit, especially for those of us who do not exercise at all. A lack of exercise is as bad for you as eating junk food and smoking so get involved, get moving and get sweating. Starting out can be daunting but the biggest problem is maintaining regular exercise. It’s easy to talk yourself out of exercising. Even when you have the best intentions to work out, excuses are so easy to find — “I’m too tired,” or “I’m busy,” or “The weather is bad.”
The right attitude and a few tricks can keep your fitness routine on track. Use these tips to stay in the game:
Take baby steps.
You would never try to run 10 miles on day one, right? When you do too much too soon, you’ll end up sore, injured, and discouraged. Take it easy as you get started. Depending on your fitness level, this may mean starting off with a daily 30 minute walk and increasing the pace gradually.
Mix it up.
Do different types of workouts to keep things interesting and to exercise different muscle groups. If the elliptical machine is usually your thing, hop on the stair climber for some cardio instead. Also, switch between machines and free weights when you’re strength-train. Try out a boxing classes or yoga on the beach. Add in fun activities like hiking with friends, stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. You don’t have to reinvent your entire routine every week, but you do want to shift it around a little.
Bring a friend
When your inner demons order you to hit the couch instead of the treadmill, a workout partner can steer you back in the right direction. It’s easier to bail out on the gym than on the friend who waits for you there. Make it part of your social calendar, instead of meeting up for a coffee and cake, meet your friends for a walk on the beach, a Pilates class or a game of tennis or football. Studies show you’ll also work out longer when you have a pal along.
Show the clock who’s boss.
Health experts say you should aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise a week (30 minutes a day, five times a week, for example), plus weight training at least twice a week. Can’t find room in your crazy schedule? Take a closer look. If you work too late to get to a gym, keep a set of weights at home. If you can’t do 30 minutes at once, break exercise sessions up into 10- or 15-minute bursts. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk to drop your kids off at school if you can. Make exercise part of your normal daily routine and you are more likely to keep to it.
Live in the present.
So what if you missed a week at the gym and polished off a pint of ice cream over the weekend? Leave the guilt in the past. You have a chance to get back into your routine today.
Listen to your body
If your body is telling you to rest then take some time out of high impact exercise, take it easy until you feel better. Treat any injuries and don’t push through the pain. Speak to a doctor at Health at Hand and we can help get you back to your normal routine as quickly as possible so you do not lose your motivation.
Keep a fitness journal or use an app to record your progress — for example, how much you run, walk, or lift and the calories you burn. Also track what you are eating. Eat healthy balanced meals and control portions, try not to restrict yourself too much and enjoy cheat days or cheat meals, just not too often.
It takes weeks to see real changes. Even a pound of weight loss or a pound of muscle gain is reason to reward yourself. Go out with friends, or spring for a new pair of jeans.
If you have any questions about your health, our doctors are available for you everyday as usual.
Ask your Health at Hand doctor for advice through our app that can be easily downloaded from the App Store.
Dr Rami Said