Lose the Pounds not the Pennies
As we head towards summer, a lot of us start thinking about losing weight or boosting our fitness. Along with eating a balanced diet, keeping active is one of the key ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
“Even a little bit of exercise makes you feel a lot better about yourself, boosts your energy levels, helps you cope better with every day ups and downs and cuts the risk of you developing a serious illness,” says Frances Cunning, North Lincolnshire’s Director of Public Health.
Some people think getting fit is all about joining gyms or buying exercise equipment and in this day and age, every penny counts for many of us. However, armed with a bit of get-up-and-go and good planning, you can be fitter than you’ve ever been without having to even open your wallet.
The secret to getting fit without breaking the bank is to use every opportunity to be active. NHS North Lincolnshire has put together some top tips that will help you shed the “pounds” while keeping hold of your hard earned pennies.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get more activity into your day, lose weight and become healthier. Research shows that people who fit moderate activity, such as walking, into their daily life burn more energy than those who make weekly visits to the gym.
Try ditching the car for short journeys, walking all or part of your journey to work, getting off the bus or train one stop early and planning longer walks at the weekends. To reap the health benefits, aim to walk 10,000 steps a day. To keep track of your walking, use a pedometer. If you want some company, why not join one of the local authority’s Health Walks? For more information visit http://www.healthwalks.co.uk/.
If you’ve not used a skipping rope since your school days then rediscover how fun and beneficial skipping can be. An excellent way to keep fit, skipping can be done anywhere at any time. Just a few minutes' skipping brings a whole range of health benefits, including heart and lung fitness, strong bones, balance and flexibility. The average person will burn up to 200 calories during 15 minutes of skipping. Skipping is a strenuous exercise, so start slowly. As your fitness improves you can increase the time you skip for. Once you have perfected the basic move, you can make your workout more interesting by trying different jumps.
Fun and Games
Playing ball games or hide and seek with your kids in the garden or local park involves short sharpbursts of activity and periods of rest (like the interval training an athlete does!), which are very effective for improving fitness, especially if you’re not usually very active. Games are an ideal way for all the family to get active together, have fun and reap the health benefits in the process.
Get on Your Bike !
Figures show that about 42% of us own a bike. Whether you’re cycling to work, to school, to the shops or just for fun, the humble bicycle is an easy way to get more active.
If you have an old bike that’s been gathering dust, consider having it serviced at a specialist bike shop to ensure it’s roadworthy before taking it out for a spin and don’t forget to wear a helmet!
A home workout is free – with a bit of planning and imagination you can work every muscle group and really whittle away your waistline without leaving the house. Think about how you can use familiar objects around the house, such as the stairs and chairs instead of fitness equipment and soup cans and water bottles as alternatives to weights to exercise with. You could also borrow fitness DVDs (dancing, yoga or aerobics) and books from the library or swap workout material with workmates or friends. Also, browse iTunes where there are thousands of free applications such as training planners and podcasts to help you stay in shape. (If you’ve got an ipad/iphone)
There are lots more tips on ways to get fit for free online by visiting: http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/Fitness/Pages/Fitnesshome.aspx
And, of course, you don’t have to do it alone. NHS North Lincolnshire Health Trainers are available to support you whatever health and fitness outcomes you want to achieve, providing one-to-one support to anyone who wants to make a difference whether it is eating healthily, getting more exercise or stopping smoking. You can contact a Health Trainer by calling 0845 450 6712, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or texting 07797 805 731.
Healthy eating on a budget coming up soon !
- News Added: 05 May 2011