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How to Get Fit (Even for Couch Potatoes)

It’s not easy to leap from couch potato to being more active. The more sedentary your lifestyle, the bigger the challenge to get motivated is. However, don’t panic about having to buy expensive exercise equipment or signing up for torturous gym sessions. While you’re probably more than aware that a life without some form of exercise is unhealthy, having that motivation to get up and get moving can be extremely daunting.

So if there’s even a glimmer of a need to start taking more control over your health, here are some fitness tips you might be surprised by. Getting fitter could be more achievable than you think, and this time next year, you could be healthier and fitter than you ever thought possible.

Take It Easy

This might seem strange advice, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Nothing will make it harder to get up and get moving than unrealistic expectations. If you’ve spent a lifetime on the sofa, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by a new fitness goal, which leads to avoiding it. So don’t demand too much of your body or your mind.

Start Slowly

You’ll be delighted to hear you won’t have to go to the gym. There are some easy exercises that you can do at home, and they don’t need equipment. You can even squeeze these mini-workouts in whenever there’s an advert on or when the kettle is boiling. Start doing some of the following:

  • Sit to stand: Simply stand up from your sitting position on the sofa and then sit down again. Do this 10 times, then rest for 10 seconds and repeat until the ad break is over or the kettle has boiled.
  • Calf stretches: You don’t even have to stand up for this exercise! From your sitting position, put your feet as flat on the floor as you can. Then stretch one leg at a time, keeping your heel in contact with the floor and your toes pointing at the ceiling. This will stretch your calf muscle. Hold that stretch position for about 30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg. Try to squeeze in three attempts with each leg.
  • One-legged standing: Just stand on one leg (you can hold onto something if your balance is a bit off). With the leg that’s off the ground, try and get your heel to touch your buttocks. Once it’s as high as it can go, hold it for 30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg. This is great for stretching your muscles but can also help improve your balance (reducing the risk of a fall!).
  • Shoulder-blade squeezes: Sit up and pinch your shoulder blades closer to each other. Avoid lifting them (which results in more of a shrugging motion). Hold for 10 seconds, release for 5 seconds and repeat. This is a great way to improve posture, especially for those that spend their days and nights hunched over a computer.

These exercises won’t wear you out, and they won’t take too long. Of course, the health improvements will be slow to show. But they’re still getting you moving. If you’re looking for something a little more vigorous and life-changing, it’s time to move up a level.

Three Times a Week

If you’re determined to change your unhealthy life, your next goal is to start doing fuller workouts. Aim to get out of breath and a little worn out at least three times a week. Now, you don’t have to start going to the gym, because you can do a lot of different types of exercise at home or in your local park. You don’t even need any expensive equipment!

Start doing bodyweight exercises like push-ups, planks, arm circles, reverse lunges or high knees. Try to do five different bodyweight exercises and change up the parts of your body you exercise on your three days. If you start to feel that tightness in your muscles that can often ache, you know you’re doing your body some good. Once you’re used to this sensation, it’s time to take it up another notch.

Get a Personal Trainer

If you think of a personal trainer and imagine a perfectly sculpted 20-yr old screaming at you for another weightlifting rep, take a deep breath. While there certainly are some personal trainers like that, it’s not the norm. Personal trainers won’t push you too hard, will take the time to learn about your health goals and can help you in a wide variety of ways.

A good personal trainer with an accredited certification will help you exercise, but they can also help with meal plans and nutrition advice. If you’re thinking to yourself, I don’t need to diet because I’m doing exercises now, you’re not alone. It’s a common misconception. However, the fact is that developing better eating habits, reducing your calorie intake and doing some exercise is simply the best thing you can do for your health.

You’ll lose weight, strengthen your heart and lungs and may even start to see more defined muscles. That might not be enough to tempt you away from that second pack of biscuits, but even if you get a personal trainer who can encourage you to stick to one packet of biscuits, that’s a start.

Start Today!

Nothing on this short list should be overwhelming. From mini-workouts between ad breaks to getting advice from experts and starting slow, you can take your time and go at a comfortable pace. Even the smallest step forward is still a step forward.

So take your time, get some advice from your doctor about your health and don’t beat yourself up if you fall back into your old patterns. It’s easy to get disheartened if that second packet of biscuits does accidentally open and land in your mouth. But when you’re trying to break habits you’ve developed over a lifetime, setbacks will happen. Just don’t let those cheat days turn into cheat weeks. Learn from your mistakes, and start moving forward again.

You could be healthier sooner than you think!

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