It may still officially be summer, but the evenings are beginning to draw in and the hot weather has already become a distant memory. As we approach autumn and winter it’s important that we are proactive about our health, building in regular exercise, healthy food and plenty of rest. Here are some tips to keep you excellent shape in the coming months.
- Get the right gear. Let’s face it, exercise is ten times less appealing in the wind, rain and snow, but if you live in the UK it’s likely that inclement weather will pop up from time to time. You could sign up for a gym membership so your exercise takes place in a temperature-controlled environment. If so, it may be worth investing in a decent pair of trainers and some comfortable workout gear. If not, you’ll probably need to invest in some warm, waterproof clothing and footwear to keep the wet weather at bay. If you’re exercising after dark, don’t forget to wear bright, reflective gear, and get some decent lights for that bike!
- Walk every day. According to the European Society of Cardiology, you can add seven years to your life just by taking a brisk 25-minute walk each day. For many of us that’s achievable during our daily commute or lunch hour, but if not come up with creative ways to build a decent walk into each day. Hit the park or the beach, or get a friend involved and walk to that coffee shop on the other side of town. By setting aside less than half an hour a day you can halve your chances of having a heart attack. If it’s really bucketing down, head to your nearest shopping centre and start your Christmas shopping early…
- Pick a good time. You’ll probably find a lot of people will be heading back to the gym, pool and park in September as the kids return to school and the need to burn off those holiday pounds becomes more pressing. You may find that early mornings or late evenings are better for beating the crowds. Just make sure that you choose a time that works with your natural rhythm. If you’re not a morning person you may find that a crack-of-dawn yoga session is more downward dog than warrior pose.
- Set yourself a goal. Maybe you’re training for a triathlon, or perhaps you want to get fitter so you can play with your grandchildren. Whatever your goal is, write it down and think about the steps you need to take to get there. You may need to get back into a tried and tested routine, or perhaps you’d like to try something completely new. It might be that you could benefit from talking to a personal trainer or nutritionist. If you lack motivation, why not ask a friend to play badminton or attend a dance class with you? Or perhaps you prefer to exercise alone and could benefit from an exercise DVD or fitness app. Track your progress and give yourself mini rewards as you move towards your goal. Plan a special treat for when you finally hit the jackpot!
- Be consistent. It’s no good throwing everything at your new fitness regime for a week and then retiring those brand new trainers. Set realistic targets and stick to them! If you can stick at your exercise programme for two months you will be well on the way to making it a natural part of a healthier lifestyle. Your progress may be less instant, but it will be longer-lasting and more beneficial to your body. If your original plan isn’t working, make the necessary tweaks that will allow you to stick at it for the long haul.
- Take a holistic approach. Remember that exercise is only part of a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you get plenty of rest and quality sleep. Early nights are best if you can get them, but the odd lie-in may help with recuperation after a long week. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables can help to keep energy levels high and the sniffles away. There are plenty of seasonal options out there, so try something new! Soups and stews are really comforting in colder weather and batch cooking can save time. Finally, don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.