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Many of us have the desire to improve our health and fitness. The motivation to make a change to a healthier lifestyle differs for everyone; from feeling stuck in a body you don’t feel comfortable in to a desire to have the energy to keep up with family and friends, to wanting to feel more confident in your clothing and with your reflection in the mirror, whatever your motivation is to improve your fitness and health, here are 9 ways to feel fitter and healthier:
1. Boost Motivation
Endorphins are a chemical in the brain that make us feel good. Exercising regularly boosts the release of endorphins which can make us feel more positive and motivated.
2. Strength Training
Cardiovascular exercise helps to keep your heart and lungs strong and is effective at burning fat while strength training exercises help retain and increase lean muscle tissue.
There are a number of benefits that come from including strength training as part of your exercise programme.
As we age, hormonal changes result in muscular atrophy (a decrease in muscle mass). This loss of muscle is one of the main causes of age-related weight gain. Muscle is important for our metabolism and for functional movements used in daily living, such as bending, lifting, and standing. Our muscles also play an important role in supporting our joints.
3. Listen to your body
Your body has many ways of communicating what it needs. These vary from subtle clues; like a rash or a niggle to huge signs; like a panic attack or migraine. Learning to listen to your body can help you address problems before they become chronic or more serious.
Other signs that your body is sending signals that it needs some TLC include:
· Low mood
· Aching joints
· Digestive issues
· Trouble sleeping
· Lowered immune function
· Weight gain
· High cholesterol
· High blood pressure
4. Warm up before exercising
Warming up properly before participating in an exercise session can help avoid illness and injury. A short 5 -10 minute stretch can benefit joint mobility and can release tension and pain building up in your body.
5. Consistency is key
Consistent routines and habits are important for long term improvements in health and fitness. Start with small changes then slowly build on the habits as they become part of your routine. The more you prioritise your health and fitness, the easier it will be to make it an enjoyable part of your routine. Consistency truly is the key to seeing long term benefits in your health and fitness.
6. Set goals
Many of us have a vision of our dream body or fitness level. Common targets that we see:
· Weight on a scale
· Fitting in to a favourite pair of jeans
· Running a personal best time in a running race
· Exercising a specific number of days each week
· Building up to running a specific distance (such as 5 Kilometres)
To help keep you motivated and focused on your health and fitness journey, sweat the small stuff! Shorter term goals can help keep you on track and give you reason to celebrate your progress on your journey.
Download Hutton Health’s free GOAL SETTING WORKBOOK
7. Get off the scales
Focusing too much on the numbers on the scale can have a negative impact on your health and fitness journey. Scales can be demoralising and discouraging if the numbers aren’t moving in the way that you are hoping. Sustainable weight loss is a long process. Focusing too much on your weight can cause you to make changes that aren’t feasible to maintain long term.
To find out other ways to track your health and fitness journey, visit Non-Scale Ways to Track Weight Loss Progress.
8. Commit to YOU
At the beginning of the week or month, schedule time in your calendar when taking care of YOU is non-negotiable. Book the time as if it is an important meeting at work that cannot be missed. Whether this is a 20 minute movement break, time to properly prepare and enjoy a nutritious meal or 10 quiet minutes away from a screen, decide what YOU need for YOU. Refuse to stand yourself up for the commitments you have made in your calendar.
9. Make your journey FUN!
There is no one-size fits all recipe for health and fitness. The best routine is the one that works for YOU and is one that you can maintain long term.
Healthy eating doesn’t need to be boring and repetitive. Try new recipes, use a variety of ingredients, and cook things that you enjoy!
Exercise doesn’t need to be an hour long boot camp style exercise session that leaves you exhausted and aching for days. There are numerous ways to exercise. Find the activities that you enjoy. Consider exercising with a friend for added motivation and entertainment!
Transforming your health and fitness routine can be a positive and rewarding experience, leading to long term gains in confidence and body positivity as well as improvements in your mental health and all-round feelings of wellbeing. Prioritising daily activity can be difficult, but remember; Your efforts will be worth it when you see and feel the long-term results.
Most people cannot change their routines overnight, but consistent action will lead to the formation of healthy habits and a positive lifestyle change. Unrealistic expectations will only lead to disappointment and failures, so rather than trying to do everything at once, consider your fitness and health a lifelong journey.