Get in shape for summer
It is that time of year when many of us start to think about getting in shape for summer, so here are some top tips to help you achieve your fitness goals.
A healthy diet
Lots of people pack on a few pounds over the winter as they eat more stodgy comfort foods and less fresh fruit. So if you’re looking to lose a little weight in time for summer, now is the perfect time to switch to a healthier diet. “Going on a diet” can be a daunting challenge, so the secret is to make it practical, convenient and achievable. It often comes down to making sensible choices – like if you’re grabbing a quick lunch, avoid the 1,000-calorie meatball sandwich and go for the tuna salad instead. Even swap that bag of crisps for an apple.
Portion control is important too, and if you occasionally treat yourself to a second helping at dinner, consider the British Heart Foundation’s “20 minute rule” – if you still feel hungry and you’re about to reach for an extra portion, wait 20 minutes – because it can take that long for your mind to realize your stomach is full!
Making exercise fun
According to the NHS, adults aged between 19 and 64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. And for many of us, the easiest way to follow these guidelines is to walk, run, cycle or swim - because you don’t have to join a gym or buy any specialist equipment. These aerobic activities burn lots of calories and help regulate blood pressure, plus they improve cardiovascular fitness and boost energy levels.
Activities like 5-a-side football, martial arts and racquet sports are also great for overall fitness and muscle toning. Plus they’re brilliant fun too, which means you’re less likely to get bored and quit. And that’s the secret to getting fit and staying fit – it’s about finding an activity that you enjoy, so it becomes an integral part of your lifestyle.
The next level
If you’re already in great shape, maybe it’s time to take your fitness to the next level. So if you like to run, what about taking part in an organized event? There are loads of great races taking place across the UK in 2018, from 5-mile fun runs to full marathons.
If you ride a bike, download a digital tracking app that will allow you to connect with other cyclists. Then you can share routes and workouts, explore new tracks and trails, record and analyse your own performance, and time yourself against other athletes who train on the same roads as you. It all adds a competitive edge to your training, which is bound to push you a little harder.