Think carefully before setting any unrealistic weight-loss goals. Being motivated by the bathroom scales isn’t such a healthy strategy. Wanting to get fitter and lose weight so you can keep up with your kids, however, will keep you going stronger for longer.
2 Up the ante!
We’re all for a leisurely stroll to relax and unwind, but if you want to get fit fast, long and slow exercise is not always the best. Short, sharp efforts increase your metabolic rate and promote muscle tone and weight loss. Star jumps, skipping, stair runs and squat jumps are the exercises to do. If you’re busy, just 20–30 minutes of heart-pumping movement every day is enough.
3 Plan an active adventure
Get together with friends and commit to an event, a hike or a fun outdoor adventure. Lock in a date early on and encourage everyone to turn up. Studies show that exercising outside boosts your mood and increases your levels of feel-good hormones, and it’s also a great way to catch up with friends and loved ones. Another option: join a walking or exercise group in your area where you’ll meet new people.
4 Add strength training
Don’t shy away from lifting weights or trying out body weight-resistance exercises. Many women often worry weights will make them look bulky, but weight training is key to having lean and toned muscles. Plus, the more muscle you have, the more kilojoules your body burns — even when it’s doing nothing. You don’t need a gym either: use your own body weight for squats, lunges and push-ups, or grab a couple of heavy cans of baked beans to lift while you're watching TV.
5 Keep your gear near
Have a spare pair of shoes in your car or at work so you can maximise any ‘exercise window’. Walk up the stairs instead of the lift, and hop off the bus a stop or two early to get in some extra steps. Wear a pedometer or fitness band, or download a free step-tracking app. Challenge yourself to move a little more each day.
6 Hold work meetings outside
Can you substitute a sit-down meeting for one where you walk and talk? Or can you talk your boss into it? Being outside in fresh surroundings can trigger new ideas. You’ll need to be prepared ahead of time, but this is a great option if you’re desk-bound.
7 Take that 10-minute break
Finding 10 minutes for a short walk outside can really boost your energy levels and restore vital balance to a hectic daily schedule. A stretching break is also a great choice.
8 Mix up your workouts
Do both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Combine a bike ride (aerobic exercise) with shorter, high-intensity anaerobic intervals on the bike, such as hill sprints. As part of your training circuit routine at home, think push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, star jumps, and maybe even dumbbells and resistance bands.
9 Exercise outside the box
There are loads of different options to try — and even if it’s just once, you’ll expand your comfort zone. It could be a martial art, Zumba class, water aerobics, swimming, taking up tennis or learning how to play golf. You’ll never know until you try, so be open to new ideas!
10 Keep it fun!
You’re far more likely to do something regularly if you like doing it. Torturing yourself with exercise you don’t enjoy will make it almost impossible to stick to. Remember, even a game of beach cricket with the kids counts!