Ways to get more active
Tips from the field.
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"Find something you enjoy, that you know will maintain your interest and that you are likely to keep up"
Low energy, tiredness, lack of enthusiasm, time constraints and wavering interest are all common barriers to taking part in regular physical activity. With many people's lives overrun with errands, chores and tasks reaching up to the ceiling, fitting in time for exercise (let alone having the energy to start) can seem almost impossible. For many, exercise is seen as boring.
It's viewed as another mundane activity that is about as exciting as watching grass grow. The thought of doing any type of exercise beyond stretching to reach the remote can seem like work. However, there are many simple and effective ways to squeeze some physical activity into your daily routine without having to lift weights in the gym or pound the treadmill for hours on end. You don't have to be super fit to be healthy.
Walking is one of the most cost-effective ways to get some exercise and to keep fit. Brisk walking can be done almost anywhere; it raises the heart rate, which is essential for any type of workout; it is an effective cardiovascular exercise; and it's free. All you need is a decent pair of shoes or runners and a place to walk. The limits of this exercise are practically endless.
Walking around the block in the evening after dinner can be a useful way to get some fresh air and to work your lungs, heart and muscles, all while getting some physical activity into your day. If time constraints present a challenge, try fitting in more walking when you can. Choose the stairs rather than the lift, get off a stop or two earlier on the bus home and put some pace into how you move rather than just sitting around. There are plenty of ways to fit in walking into your routine.
For many, the gym or leisure centre can seem to be too far a step to take in the battle to keep fit and stay healthy. Costs can be too high and travel times can deter some from getting out the front door. Others may feel uncomfortable in leisure centres and find that the act of getting there, getting the equipment ready, going through the motions of hopping onto a treadmill for half an hour or so and working out repetitively on a machine doesn't appeal to them. There are alternatives though. Exercise routines like yoga or Pilates can be a useful way to integrate exercise into your routine.
Whether that involves learning some stretching exercises typically used in yoga routines, trying out core exercises commonly used by people who take part in Pilates or doing flexibility training and bodyweight exercises is up to you.
There are a number of different type of exercises you can perform in the comfort of your own home without having to spend additional money on expensive leisure centre fees. Choose a time that suits you, perhaps the morning time. Exercising first thing can be a great way to start the day if you can manage it. Other people prefer to exercise at the end of the day.
They find that exercise can be a great way to unwind after a stressful day at work/school/college. Whatever you decide to do, there are a wide range of exercises that can be done within half an hour or so. All these exercises require is the ability to learn the correct technique, some free time, the motivation to start and the desire to keep it up.
It's important to find an activity that appeals to you. If you have the time, taking part in a leisure activity such as swimming, cycling, running or weight training is an excellent way to keep fit and stay healthy. An exercise that appeals to one person may not appeal to you. Find something you enjoy, that you know will maintain your interest and that you are likely to keep up when the going gets tough. If you want to try something new and find that the repetitive nature of some forms of exercise likely leads to boredom, leisure centres often provide a wide range of fitness classes catering for a wide variety of interests.
Fitness centres tend to hold a variety of classes: yoga classes, Pilates, Boxercise (classes that involve boxing movements accompanied to music) and spinning classes (classes that involve stationary cycling to music while following an instructor's directions). Circuit training classes also offers an invaluable form of exercise. In these classes, participants lift weights at one station, perform jumping jacks at another and do step ups at another.
These classes provide participants with the opportunity to fit in a good work out, get physically active to music, train with others and exercise using a variety of different methods to avoid the possibility of boredom. The suggestions above are just some of the ways you can become more physically active. There is a wide range of ways to get fit - everything from walking to cycling, from running to aerobics fits the bill.
Exercise can seem like a daunting prospect at first. For many, it can seem like an unconquerable mountain, a perilous task that only the fit and healthy can take part in. Start off slowly. The beginning can often be the most difficult stage as your body adapts to the additional strain of physical activity. Remember why you began in the first place: to get fit and stay healthy. If you can, exercise with a partner. Having someone to train with can often help with motivation if you are struggling to keep up an exercise plan.
Take exercise one step at a time. Nobody became fit, healthy and trim in a single session. If your first experience of exercise wasn't to your liking, choose another activity or find something easier until your fitness levels improve. Start with walking, rather than going out and sprinting around the block and use exercises that only use bodyweight rather than trying to lift the top weight on the machines. Be sensible. Know your limits. If in doubt, ask for help. Exercise can be a great way to keep fit and healthy. There is more than one way to get fit.