How many times have you set yourself a big new year’s resolution — like losing 10kg, or fitting into a pair of size 10 jeans — only to give up on your goal within a week when it proved too hard?! It can take a huge amount of willpower, drive and commitment to significantly transform your lifestyle, but with these small steps, you can inch your way towards a healthier you.
Walk, don’t drive
One hundred years ago, the average person walked an average of 10,000 steps per day in the course of going to work and managing the household. These days, we’re lucky to crack the 1,000 mark. So whenever you have the opportunity, walk to your destination instead of taking the car or public transport.
If this isn’t possible, then look at getting off the bus one stop back from your usual stop, or park your car a couple of streets away from your workplace. This way you can build an extra 10-20 minutes of walking into your daily routine, without drastically changing your routine.
Hit the dance floor
Dancing is a super-charged calorie burner and cardio workout, and it’s fun to boot — that’s why fitness programs like Zumba have become so popular! According to the Mayo Clinic, a woman who weighs around 65kg will burn 300 calories in one hour of dancing. You don’t need to hit up a nightclub to get your fix: instead, you could pop in a dance fitness video, or take a dance/fitness class at a local gym or health club. Alternatively, just turn on the stereo and dance along as you’re doing your housework.
Monitor your meals
In order to shape up, you need to follow a simple strategy: the amount of calories you eat needs to be less than the amount of calories you burn. It sounds easy enough, but if it were that simple, we’d all be fit, healthy Gisele-types! It can be tough to stick to a healthy eating plan, so try and trick your brain by eating meals off of smaller plates, and finishing eating — including snacks and after-dinner beverages — at least two hours before you go to bed.
Swimming is not only a great way to cool down during these warmer months, but it’s also a fun way to shape up. If you’re not lucky enough to have a swimming pool in your own backyard, you could hit the beach or visit your local public swimming pool. Keep in mind that if you want to get some serious exercise by doing laps at the pool, you’ll need to time your visit for the least-busy periods, which is generally the early afternoon each weekday. Weekends and after work during the week will usually be busier, meaning you’ll be fighting the crowds for space in the pool.
Look for hidden opportunities
There are loads of hidden opportunities to get moving and thus burn a few extra calories when you’re doing your every-day tasks:
- Do sit ups or star jumps during the TV commercials
- Wander your hallway for five minutes doing lunges
- Do a series of squats while you wait for the jug to boil when you’re making a cup of tea or coffee
- Take the dog for a stroll