7 Small Steps To Big Changes
Get started and take your first steps forward
If you’ve got out of the habit of exercising (or never really had it!), don’t make the mistake of trying to change overnight. At HER SPIRIT we understand that we are taking small steps to big changes.
**First of all check with your GP or practice nurse that it’s okay to exercise (in almost all cases it is) and then set out to make some gradual changes that will still bring you some results within weeks.**
- Set your 12 month goals by using your Reflect Diary and following up on your coach call. Writing down what you want to achieve as if you’ve already achieved it, creating ‘mood boards’ with pictures of how you want to look and importantly how you want to feel have been proven to increase your chances of success.
- Change one thing a week Try to change one habit a week. For example, in week one you can try to stick to the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a day. In week two you could add in eight lunges when you’re walking. A lunge is a great exercise for the legs where you step forward, literally lunge down and return to starting position – this will tone the legs and bum. Or for flat abs try doing the plank every other day, from week three onwards. Support your body weight on your elbows and toes and as you lie like a ‘plank’ with your back long and straight, neck in line with the spine, and your belly button drawn in towards your back, contracting those deep core abdominal muscles. Hold for up to one minute. By week four why not add in walking to work? The choice is yours. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s new.
- Walk don’t run Bodies such as the British Heart Foundation recommend walking 10,000 steps a day measured using a pedometer. Most of us walk between 3,000 and 4,000 steps a day anyway, so reaching 10,000, or around five miles, is a realistic and achievable goal. If you weigh in at 11st (70kg) you’ll burn 440 calories by walking 10,000 steps briskly (3.5mph). If walking to work isn’t an option, take note, one study has found that the train is best, with train users walking an average of 30 per cent more steps a day, and four times more likely to walk 10,000 steps per day than car commuters.
- Exercise in the morning When it comes to when’s the best time of day to exercise the jury’s out. In terms of physiological effectiveness, many studies have found that late afternoon is best as this is when your body temperature is optimum. When it comes to sticking at it, other research has found getting up and getting it done in the morning is most effective, and that our body clock (circadian rhythms) adapt best to morning training. And according to the American College Of Sports Medicine, working out in the morning, will also help you sleep better.
- Get Support from a Group As we’ve seen studies show women are motivated by working together and classes such as Zumba, are a great way to get started in fitness. As well as offering a variety of exercises (aerobic, muscular strength and endurance and stretching), working out in a group is fun and makes you accountable. Studio instructors, such as Her Spirit’s Charmaine and Caroline, are very good at motivating you to work hard and adapting classes for different levels of fitness. Scientists at Oxford University studying a group of rowers found that group exercise can release the happy hormones endorphins, making you not just happier but more effective as you workout.
- Stick to the old school exercises Old school military exercises such as sit ups, press ups and burpees have stood the test of time; one because they’re effective and two, because there are only so many ways we can move our body. The old school PE lesson style exercises still work. The current buzz is around high intensity interval training (HIIT), where you work as hard as you can (around 95 per cent of max heart rate) for very short bursts, but that’s not new. It’s how Roger Bannister trained to break the four-minute mile.
- Do weights If you want to burn fat, pump iron. The biggest misconception is that cardio is the only way to burn calories and lose fat. But when you train at a lower intensity, for example, marathon running, your body learns to store fat as fuel, the fuel it needs to use on longer runs. The quickest and most effective way to change your body shape is through weight training, which teaches your body to store glycogen as fuel in the muscles. You create more lean muscle, which not looks aesthetically pleasing, but it also means that your body becomes more efficient at burning calories, after you’ve worked out, the ‘after burn’ effect.
Her Spirit is an all in one app for your Mind, Body and Fuel. Her Spirit is for women of all ages, shapes and sizes and here to help EVERY woman discover their real potential, their happiest self and their true spirit. Her Spirit harnesses the collective power of real women to help each other take small steps towards achieving your own personal health and wellness goals.
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