Upping Your Activity Levels: How To Hit Your Fitness Targets

We all know that moving more is good for us, but how do you go about hitting fitness targets when
you’re a novice or a busy parent trying to find a moment of free time? If you’re keen to get back into
the swing of training, or you’re on a mission to get in shape, here is a handy guide to help you increase
activity levels and embrace regular exercise. 


Getting into exercise
If you’ve never trained before, and you’ve always led a sedentary lifestyle, the prospect of
getting into exercise can be daunting. Many of us conjure up images of gyms packed with lycra-clad
athletes when we think about working out, and this can put us off. The reality is that not everyone you
see at the gym will look like they have been sculpted by Greek gods and going to the gym is not the
only way to get fit. Everyone has to start somewhere, and there are myriad activities you can try if you
don’t fancy signing up for the gym at the moment. One activity you might wish to try if you feel
uncomfortable training around others is a home workout. Exercising at home is brilliant for parents on
the go, as you can fit it in around school runs, extra-curricular activities, naps and bedtime routines.
If you do fancy giving home workouts a whirl, you can use fitness DVDs, download workouts to your
TV planner, follow sessions online or even take part in virtual classes to make new friends. 


Another option for newbies is signing up for beginner’s classes. You can choose from spinning, Pilates,
yoga, circuits, toning sessions or boxing, for example. Take a friend along for moral support if you
don’t want to go alone. Exercise classes are a great way to take time out, to meet new people and to
catch up with friends. Other activities like cycling, jogging and walking are also accessible and affordable
and they give you the flexibility to work out when you have time.


 

Making lifestyle changes
You often hear health experts extolling the virtues of exercise, and this is because being active benefits
every aspect of your health. Exercise improves your circulation, lowers blood pressure and increases
stamina, endurance and strength, but it also helps to reduce stress, enhance sleep quality, lower the risk
of anxiety and depression and lift your mood. If you’re keen to become more active, making long-term
lifestyle changes will have an incredibly positive impact on your health and wellbeing. Try and incorporate
daily exercise into your routine and make small changes, for example, leaving the car at home when you
can walk or cycle, taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator and taking a walk during your lunch hour
or in the evenings after work. Devote more time to active pursuits in your free time, and get your friends
and family involved. Play in the garden, meet friends in the park and go for bike rides or hikes at the
weekend. 



Building your fitness levels and getting more from your workouts
If you already try to exercise on a regular basis and you’re ready to step up your training, there are
several ways you can build your fitness levels and get more from your workouts. These include:


Motivation
Motivation is key when you have targets in mind or you’re eager to make changes that will benefit you
for years to come. It’s very common to start a new fitness regime or try a new activity bursting with
energy and enthusiasm and then experience a loss of motivation. Many people find that this happens at
the start of the year when their commitment to resolutions starts to wane after a few weeks. To keep
motivation levels high, remember why you started training in the first place, and keep setting realistic,
achievable goals. Reward yourself when you reach milestones and think about how you feel after a
workout, rather than dwelling on the fact that you can’t really be bothered to go out for a jog. Exercise
produces a natural high, and if you can push through and find the energy to get your body moving, you
won’t regret it. Everyone has days when they don’t feel 100% or they can’t find the enthusiasm to get up
off the couch. It’s fine to have a day off, but don’t let one day of inactivity become a week that turns into
a month or a year. 




Variety
Variety is the spice of life, they say, and this is certainly true when it comes to working out. Even the
most dedicated individuals can get bored if they do the same session over and over again. To keep
boredom at bay and inject a bit of fun into your regime, try different activities, switch between indoor
and outdoor sports and get your friends involved. If you don’t fancy doing another weights session, or
it’s warm and sunny outside, why not go for a jog, do circuits in the garden or take your bike out? You
could alternate gym sessions with classes, for example, spinning and Pilates, or try something completely
different like Latin or street dance classes, Zumba or trampolining. 




Diet and supplements
If you have ambitions to improve your fitness and you want to get the most out of every training session,
your diet is crucial. Your body needs fuel to keep it moving. Keep an eye on your calorie intake and make
sure your diet is balanced. Focus on nutrition, ensuring you consume foods from every food group and
take in all the vitamins and minerals you need. If you’re trying to lose weight, and you’re aiming to burn
more calories than you consume, it’s critical to get the numbers right. You don’t want to be running on
empty or to lose weight very quickly and then put it back on. Adjust your diet to create a healthy eating
plan that provides your body with the fuel it needs to respond to the demands of your workouts. If you
are thinking about using supplements such as fat burners, it’s beneficial to do some research first and
make sure that you understand how they work and what kinds of effects they will have on your body. If
you need advice about getting your diet right when you’re training, your doctor or a personal trainer will
be able to help.




Competition
Even the least competitive people react and respond to others catching them up in a race. We are
naturally competitive beings, and in sport, having an opponent can spur us on to achieve greater things.
If you want to get more from your workouts, it’s a good idea to train with a buddy or to join classes that
involve working out with others, for example, spin sessions. If you’ve got times in front of you on a screen,
or your friend has done more sit-ups or held a plank for longer, you’ll probably find that you try and up
your game and push harder. Having a competitor can eke out that extra 5-10% that you might struggle
to find when you’re on your own. 


Rest and recovery
You might assume that the more you train, the better the results. To some extent, this is true, but you do
need to take time to relax and recover. There is such a thing as overtraining, and it can affect performance
levels and increase the risk of injuries. Take a couple of rest days each week and mix more frenetic and
fast-paced workouts with low-intensity activities to recharge your batteries. If you do a heavy weights
session or an intensive cardio workout one day, for example, go swimming, play golf, take a hike or go
to a yoga class the next. Exercise can take its toll on your muscles and joints, and you need to ensure
you recover before you train again. 


Working with a personal trainer
Some people find it difficult to motivate themselves, or they struggle to believe that they can actually
complete physical tasks or challenges. If you lack confidence, or you tend to take the easy way out,
working with a personal trainer is an excellent idea. Your trainer can design a plan that is suited to your
individual requirements and preferences, they can cheer you on and support and reassure you and they
can push you far enough out of your comfort zone to get the best results. A personal trainer can also
help you develop your fitness regime to keep building on your achievements and help you reach new
goals. 





Exercise is a magical natural tonic that improves physical and mental health. If you’re keen to be more
active, or you’re looking for ways to achieve new fitness goals, there are several steps you can take.
Start slowly if you’re a novice, make lifestyle changes and think carefully about what you want to achieve
and how you’re going to hit those targets. Have fun, try different activities, look after your body, get friends
and family involved and consider hiring a personal trainer. Whether you’re aiming to increase your steps
by 5,000 per day or you’re working towards a triathlon, these tips will help you get there. 

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