The prospect of entering a gym or arriving at a track may seem a little more than daunting to those who have neglected their health and bodies for too long. While going to the gym has numerous benefits to your health and weight loss, exercising at home is preferable to no exertion at all. And there are many tools and options that exist right in the house or in your neighborhood.
The most important first ‘step’ is to start walking! You will be surprised at how many opportunities to increase our daily number of steps we manage to avoid. Some suggestions:
Park the car in a bay that is as far away from the shop’s entrance as possible. This will force you to walk (while possibly pushing a laden trolley / cart back).
Instead of driving to a friend’s house, school or work, try to walk the distance if it is safe.
Relieve the kids of one of their chores and walk the pooches yourself. If you are able, it would be even better to jog with them.
Herd a few friends together and form a ‘walking club’ – it’s always more fun when you have support. Walk around the block, explore the neighborhood, or find a nature trail in the vicinity. Reward yourselves with fruit smoothies or foot rubs.
Be the first to jump off the couch to replenish refreshments, even if it’s just for the family in the TV room.
ALWAYS take the stairs. Let the elevator become your enemy. If you face too many floors to climb, take the elevator up to a certain floor and then climb the last 5 or 10 stories.
The point is GET MOVING. Of course, bursts of activity are not quite as effective as a regular vigorous 1-hour walk (for example) but, by increasing the amount of physical activity in your daily life, you will eventually reach a point where a jog around the block is not quite as terrifying.
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Sports clubs are plentiful, and fulfilling an obligation to a team is a fantastic motivator. Call your local recreation department or ask your friends if they know of any local sports teams that you may enjoy joining. And then do it. Once you have decided on a sport and signed up, purchase all the gear to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible, giving you little excuse to quit.
Play with your children. Kids have considerably more energy than adults do. Running around the garden, swimming, riding bicycles, rollerblading, or playing sports with your children is sure to tire you out long before they peter out. Of course, apart from the health benefits, your children will enjoy their extra time with you.
Dancing is not only fun, it is also excellent for boosting your metabolism and burning calories. Close the curtains, don your best party outfit and pump your favourite station / CD. Best of all, the lack of an audience allows you to let go and jump around as much as you feel inspired to do.
Being outside is another fantastic way to lose weight – even washing your car or watering the garden helps you to burn calories and to attune your body into getting active. Of course, as you get used to an activity, you will need to intensify it. This could mean going from watering the garden to mowing the lawn to digging holes for trees.
There are certain exercises that do not require special equipment, and there are many props within the home and office that can be used. Be innovative. Lift tinned beans in bicep curls, sit on the edge of your desk and lift your legs to strengthen stomach muscles, or run up and down your stairs. If you are a mother, make a game out of lifting your baby or child into the air, or lay them on the floor and do push-ups over them, kissing them on the nose with every dip. Just be creative.
Exercise has, for too long, carried the reputation of being an arduous task, far too difficult for the average overweight person to carry out on a daily basis. For this reason, people have resigned themselves to a fate of inactivity, leading to one of the more tragic vicious circles of our overweight society today. By finding fun, innovative ways to get moving, you are taking the first step to leading a healthier and skinnier life.