8 ways to get fitter

Perhaps it’s a long time since you’ve done any exercise?  Perhaps you keep saying to yourself  ‘I’ll start tomorrow’.  Perhaps you just don’t think you’ve got the time?  Whether it is one or all of these things, there are a few easy ways to begin to get yourself fitter.  You just need to start!

My advice is ignore all those articles and charts that have day-by-day or week-by-week schedules of squats, planks, push-ups etc.  If you are someone who doesn’t exercise at the moment, you need to think small steps and set realistic goals you can achieve.

Here are eight easy steps you can take today to start your fitness journey.

1.     Set a goal

Think about what you want to achieve?  Is it to be more active?  Is it to cut down on something, for example sugar or alcohol.  Write down your goal or goals for the next month.  If it is to be more active, for example to walk more, set some parameters so week one might be - 10 minutes per day, week two - 20 minutes per day etc.  Put your goals up on a wall or desk where you will see them frequently. 

2.     Invest in you

Getting fitter is as much about your state of mind as it is about exercising or eating more nutritious food.  Think about how you are investing in yourself.  Perhaps you can carve out 15 minutes a day just for you – do something you enjoy that makes you happy, for example reading a book or relaxing in the bath. See this time as investing in your own mental health and aiding your stamina.

3.     Breathe and be mindful

When you think about your breathing you will also consider your posture.  Sitting and standing up straight, relaxing your shoulders and breathing in a mindful way all help add to a feeling of wellness.  There are many free resources on mindfulness.  Try to apply some of these techniques when doing everyday tasks like eating and drinking.  Breathing well and being mindful help reduce stress and will help you stick to your goals

4.     Walk

Walking is the easiest exercise to start and is one of the most healthy activities you can do. Using a step counter on your phone or watch is a great way to motivate yourself to increase your number of steps day-by-day.  10,000 steps equates to 5 miles, but start with half a mile if you are new to exercising in this way and build up gradually.

5.     Work on flexibility and balance

As we age, our flexibility decreases and balance becomes more important.  These are both things we can do something about through daily practice.  Consider a Pilates or Yoga class.  Again there are many on-line videos and guides if you want to start off at home.

6.     Measure your progress

This one is really important.  In addition to counting your steps what else can you add to your ‘progress chart’?.  Think creatively about how you will measure your progress, whilst we all seem to do everything on our phones these days sometimes it’s nice to go back to pen and paper and make a colourful chart you can put on a wall that documents your progress on a day-to-day basis.  You could write something each day against these eight steps

7.     Keep hydrated

Most of us do not drink enough water.  If you are starting to be more active you must ensure you are well hydrated.  Using a specific bottle or glass that you refill every couple of hours is a good way of ensuring you drink enough.  This has an added advantage of making you feel less hungry!

8.     Reward yourself

I would say this element of a fitness programme at the beginning is one of the most important.  Think about how you will reward yourself, perhaps at the end of every week, it could be something you will buy yourself like a bunch of flowers, or maybe taking time out to go for a haircut or massage.  Put the rewards up on your progress chart and remember you can reward yourself for effort or for perseverance.  If you don’t meet your goal for one day, don’t berate yourself for failing -  concentrate your mind on how you will meet it the next day!

If you like these ideas, give them a try and tell us about how you get on.  If you are interested in joining up with other women to help keep you motivated why not consider the Fit over Fifty Women’s Challenge Club, you can read more about it here.