20 expert fitness tips
1. Strengthen every muscle
Finding it hard to remember to do your pelvic-floor exercises? Do them when you’re driving or sitting on the train or bus. The key to Kegel exercises is contracting the muscles quickly and slowly.
2. Reverse your exercise routine
Rather than always walking or running forwards, challenge your opposing muscles by turning around in a safe, open space and walking or running backwards. Try 20 steps forwards, then 20 steps backwards and repeat for a minute or more.
3. Cardio split
When it comes to cardio exercise, you don’t have to stick to one thing for the whole session. Instead of a 45-minute run, break it up into 15 minutes each of walking, cycling and running – just don’t stop in between.
4. TV tone up
Use your TV viewing time to be active. If you spend two hours each day in front of the box, replace 10 to 15 minutes doing something active during the ad breaks – try housework, jogging on the spot or doing push-ups on the floor.
5. Track time
Yes, it’s important to do regular exercise and increase your incidental activity but you also need to reduce sedentary time as well. Tally up all the time you spend sitting each day and replace 10 per cent of that with physical activity.
6. Office tactics
Make your workspace as inconvenient as possible so it creates opportunities to move regularly throughout your day. For example, try moving your rubbish bin and printer so you have to walk to use them.
7. Go green
The active option is usually the more environmentally friendly one. Try hand washing the car instead of using an automated car wash; walking instead of driving; hanging clothes out rather than using a dryer; sweeping the driveway instead of hosing it down.
8. Beat weekend weight gain
Instead of doing sedentary things like going to the movies or a café on weekends, opt for active outings such as ice-skating, cycling, bowling, walking or swimming.
9. Phone habits
Pace around while you talk on the phone, don’t just sit down and chat. Create an active habit that switches on as soon as the phone rings. If you’re a real chatterbox, this activity could really add up!
10. Earn your tucker
Think about how far you travel to get your food. Do you always drive, or do you walk to the closest possible place? Try and walk somewhere further afield or leave the car at home altogether.
11. Walk and talk
Instead of catching up with friends for coffee and cake, suggest a walk and talk instead. You’ll still get to catch up on what’s going on but without the extra cost or added kilojoules.
12. Stop, rise and energise
Get up from your desk every hour to stretch your legs and go for a walk around your home or office for a couple of minutes. Do this every hour for seven hours and you’ll add almost 15 minutes of activity to your day.
13. Book an active break
When planning your next holiday, plan something more than just lying by the pool each day. Book a destination where you can try fun activities that you don’t have the chance to do back home.
14. The 2km rule
When you’re at home, set a rule that you can’t drive anywhere unless it’s further than 2km from your house. Instead, walk or cycle to local parks, cafés, and shops without the hassle of having to park.
15. The long cut
Our time-poor life means that we constantly take shortcuts instead of using our legs. Create opportunities within your day to park a few blocks away, take the stairs instead of the lift or use the bathroom that’s furthest away.
16. Stretch your mind
Cramming for an exam or trying to master a new language? Hit the pavement while you learn – carry cue cards as prompts or listen to podcasts on your iPod or smartphone.
17. Every little bit helps
One of the best things about exercise? Doing something, no matter how small, is better than doing nothing at all. So, even if all you have is five minutes – don’t just sit there, go for a walk around the block. Every step counts!
18. The buddy system
Think outside the box when choosing an exercise partner. It can be a dog, the kids, a friend, personal trainer or a new iPod. Anything that provides company makes exercise more enjoyable and boosts your chances of success.
19. Challenge your feelings
Don’t let how you feel emotionally stop you from doing something physically active. Make a deal with yourself: even if you don’t feel like exercise on the day you’d planned it, you’ll at least start the session and see how you feel. Chances are you’ll finish it.
20. Move on
Don’t give up on your exercise plans if you miss a session or even if your whole week gets disrupted. Put this behind you, move on and just be active again as soon as you possibly can.