If you’re feeling like the past few months have resulted in a lot more ‘lounging around’, then you’re probably not the only one. For a lot of us, ‘staying at home’ has meant exactly that – a lot of ‘couch and PJ time’, often at the expense of our fitness, general health and wellbeing. For some of us, it has also been challenging to resist the temptation to over-indulge with easy access to unhealthy snacks and beverages.
In our defence, cold rainy days have made getting outside less appealing – but have no fear, warm sunshine will be upon us again; sooner than we think. As spring is just around the corner, there is no better time than now to break the cycle and make the most of what’s left of winter hibernation to get your body back in time for summer! So, let’s take a look at some top tips to get back in shape.
Living room cardio
‘Living Room Cardio’ is growing in popularity, and it’s easy to get into. Roll out a mat, research what you can apply in a 30-45-minute session and then do it on the regular! When you realise that all expert workouts require just 5 steps to be effective, it suddenly becomes a whole lot easier to devise your own at home. Best of all, you’ll save money in the process if you put your mind to it. Just ensure you include a warmup, a cardio workout, resistance/strength building exercises, flexibility moves and a cooldown. Feeling ambitious? You can turn your own loungeroom into a Venice Beach workout by following the steps here.
Take it outside
If you need more structure and find yourself to be a little more competitive, and with hitting your local gym potentially not being an immediate option, depending on where you live – why not try a boot camp. Boot camps in open space, and 1:1 trainer session can achieve great fitness outcomes, and it’s simple to find sessions in your local area with a quick Google search. Alternatively, explore your options via your local council or via a local fitness business. You can even create a personalised bootcamp of your own by setting goals and competing with friends using fitness Apps to share your activity and progress. There’s lots of options available, including Map My Fitness by Under Armour and for a small investment you can try Fitbit. Also don’t forget, you can still sign up for upcoming Marathons later in the year. If they happen to be cancelled – nothing is lost. You’ll still gain the results working toward your fitness goals during training sessions.
Hit the trail
Take the time to explore your local walking and bike paths, parklands, creeks, lakes, mountain-bike options, and bushland spaces – particularly where they’re open and available. Do make sure before to check what’s open and safe in your state before you go. You’ll not only get to take in some incredible views and get back to nature, but if approached in the right way; you will get the opportunity to raise that heart-rate, and enjoy some relaxing downtime with those you care about most. Google Maps can provide an abundance of information and inspiration in planning your next active outing, and you may be surprised at what’s available just around the corner.
Cycling, like many forms of exercise has physical, mental, and social benefits. It’s also a sport that is suitable for young and old due to the lower impact of the activity on joints when compared to things like running. For those that aren’t feeling excited by rolling through foggy valleys first thing on a chilly winter’s morning, virtual biking is the answer. There’s now a range of Apps that connect to cycling training devices at home, (where you place your own bike on a machine and pedal it) through to actual exercise bikes. You can even integrate many with a TV screen in your workout space (or wear a Samsung Gear VR or Oculus Rift headset if you’re feeling adventurous). The technology and options out there are quite incredible (from sophisticated to simple) when finding an app that’s right for you. These can be a lot of fun, and give you a real sense of satisfaction and general wellbeing.
Yoga meaning yoke or union, is an ancient practice that brings together the mind and body. It incorporates breathing exercises, meditation and poses designed to encourage relaxation and reduce stress. Practising yoga is said to come with many benefits for both mental and physical health, including relaxing the nervous system, which is the part of your body responsible for a restful sleep. Aside from the physical benefits, one of the key benefits of yoga is how it helps us manage stress through breathing and balance. Incorporating yoga into your routine can help enhance your health and even reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Finding the time to practice yoga just a few times per week may be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health. Online you will find many resources to get you started on your yoga journey, here are 10 yoga poses you need to know.
Nibble on nutrition
Right now is the perfect time to assess what you’ve been eating recently and re-calibrate. Explore healthy items you can add to your fridge, pantry, and meals, focus on ingredients that are natural and unprocessed. If you can cut back on fat, sugar and salt you’re off to a great start. Explore snacking on nuts, adding fresh fish (particularly if you’re normally a big red meat eater), and take a break from sugar-heavy soft drinks, flavoured milks, and other sweet liquids. Even if you don’t want to do a drastic diet overhaul, the smallest steps you put in place can help improve how your body feels and works. This includes drinking more water over the course of each day and staying hydrated.
It sounds simple but sleeping soundly and without interruption is one of the best ways to help your body. Research has shown that a good night’s sleep reduces stress, improves memory function, and lowers blood pressure. It also assists your mood balance and makes you happier and more content. Sleep has also been shown to be of value in allowing the body to heal and fight back against ailments and disease by producing more protein as you rest. We’ll be honest here, it won’t lower your weight directly, but getting a good ‘snooze session’ in has been shown to assist in regulating the hormones that impact your appetite and reduce cravings for high calorie foods. If you’ve ever opened the refrigerator late at night looking for treats, you’ll know exactly what we mean!
You can easily combine one or even a few of the health and fitness tips above to get your summer body back or simply to make the steps towards a new routine for good health and wellbeing. Getting healthy, fit, and active doesn’t need to be hard, but it can be fun. When it comes to nutrition and fitness, it’s always important to have a plan before you dive in and implement it safely. If you’re ever in any doubt about what’s right for your body, get expert advice from a Nutrition or Fitness professional first. We all like to push limits, but it’s also important to know where those limits are. Good luck with your Winter Program and achieving your Summer body goals. See you on the beach!
The above tips are general in nature; please consult with your general practitioner for a specific health, wellbeing and fitness plan that suits your individual health and circumstances.