Sometimes we all need a little push to get active. It’s easier to sit on the sofa and watch TV rather than getting yourself to the gym, this we know. But I have compiled 5 ways that might get you motivated to pick up a pair of trainers this summer. Whether your reasons to get active are to lose weight, gain muscle or pick up a new skill, it doesn’t matter! Any reason is a good reason.
1. Download fitness apps
There are thousands of apps that will help you in reaching your fitness goals, most of them being free! A personal favourite of mine is MyFitnessPal. It tracks your calorie intake and the amount of exercise you do. It has a feature that allows you to scan the barcode of your food, or search for it on the database that has millions of options. This makes it easier for you to track your diet. For every type of exercise you do, there will be a fitness app to go with it. Whether it’s running, cycling, dancing, anything! There will be a free, or minimal cost, app out there for you.
2. Get walking
Walking is often an underestimated form of exercise. There are many health benefits and also it is free and accessible for everyone. With money being tight, and those jeans getting even tighter - summer is the perfect time to start walking. You could make some great memories and keep active at the same time. Walking lowers levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol; it's also a great way to burn calories too. If you walk at 2mph for 30 minutes, you will burn around 75 calories. You could invest in a pedometer or sports watch, such as a Fitbit – to make walking a competition. Set yourself a certain number of steps per day and see if you can reach your goal, or even exceed it!
3. Enlist a friend
Exercise often requires a lot of motivation, especially if you’re a first timer. There is no better form of motivation than exercising with a friend. There will be many people you know, that will be wanting to get active and improve their fitness. You could ask your friends, post an ad on Facebook, or even buddy up with a family member. There are also benefits of having your workout buddy with you whilst you train. You don't have to try out new things by yourself, as it can be a daunting prospect. I was terrified of trying out the free weights at the gym alone, but I went with my workout buddy it was far less intimidating. We started some new classes too! If someone is counting on you, you are more likely to drag yourself out – those often being the best workouts. What are friends for?
4. Join a sports club
There are thousands of different sports clubs available for people of all abilities. Classic clubs such as: football, netball and rugby; or more adventurous ones like boxing, pole fitness and aerial fitness. Once a week, you can go out, learn a new skill, make new friends and get active! With there being so many societies at uni I’m sure you will be able to find a fun and exciting one. Sports clubs build confidence whilst building relationships. I have taken up Zumba and it has increased my cardiovascular fitness and I have made so many new friends. To begin, I felt like an idiot. I didn't know any of the moves and almost passed out after every song. Luckily I wasn’t the only person there that was feeling like that. There were so many people willing to help me learn the moves and soon enough I felt like a pro! I can make it to the end of a class now without needing an oxygen tank, and I can already feel the results.
I am a massive fan of swimming! Being a swimmer myself I am aware of the amount of the health benefits that come with it. Swimming works every muscle in the body no matter what stroke you are doing. An amazing attribute of swimming is that you are exercising without even sweating! If you have exam or work worries, swimming works as an amazing exercise for de-stressing. To feel the mental benefits of swimming you only need a light swim, not 20 lanes of rigorous front crawl. There are swimming pools everywhere, it’s cheap so won’t break the bank and it’s a useful skill – so there are no excuses.
I've listed 5 ways to get active this summer, but there are so many more that you can explore! Being active doesn’t have to cost a fortune and it’s often more fun than expected. Give yourself a challenge of losing a couple of pounds, squatting 60kg, running a 10k race etc! You might surprise yourself.
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