Exercise is hard work. The effort it takes to make time for it, dress for it and then physically exert yourself doing it, make it all too easy to find excuses to put it off until tomorrow.
But doing exercise is vital for your physical health and mental well-being, and if you need some motivation, you only need to look at the recent statistics issued by the National Heart Foundation which show that the heart health of our nation is at risk.
The survey, which was taken from data collated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, revealed that being overweight and failing to take enough exercise is putting more than one million Australians at risk of a heart attack or stroke.
It’s a sobering thought and it’s not just those one million people at risk – it’s the families who will have to endure their loss or provide them with long term care.
No matter what shape you’re in, it’s time to set aside those excuses which say you can’t do it. Those niggling thoughts that say exercise is too hard, that you don’t have time, that gyms are too expensive or that you don’t need it – and get yourself moving.
Thirty minutes a day is all it takes to make a difference.
These five simple tips from Curves can help you kickstart a healthier routine and keep your heart healthy from the comfort of your own home.
Aerobic or cardio exercise basically means moving in a way that makes your heart – the most important muscle you have – work hard.
Try star jumps, skipping, jogging on the spot, running up and down the stairs, working that waistline with a hula hoop or dancing.
Dancing is perhaps one of the easiest ways to get your heart rate up at home. Turn on the radio or your favourite TV music channel and just go crazy!
You don’t need any equipment, just loose, comfortable clothing which doesn’t restrict your movements.
You’ll know you’re working hard enough when you can talk, but not sing along to the lyrics.
2. Strength Training
Building up your muscles helps you exercise more efficiently.
Squats, lunges, sit-ups and push-ups all help. If you’re just starting out, try doing 10-15 of each and set yourself realistic targets by gradually building up the amount you do as the days go by and your strength and flexibility increase.
Your muscles might feel a bit shocked by all this new movement! Help them get over it and recover from exercise quickly by stretching for at least five minutes after your workout.
4. Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is crucial when you exercise, and a scientific study into the benefits showed that “men who drank at least five glasses had a 54% reduced risk of fatal heart disease. Women cut their risk by 41%.”
Keep a jug in the chiller and if you need some variety, flavour it with lime juice and crushed mint for tasty refreshment.
5. Eat a healthy diet
Keep your heart healthy on the inside by reducing foods that contain cholesterol and saturated fats like processed or fatty cuts of meat, butter or whole-milk dairy products, biscuits and cakes.
Swap them for things like skimmed milk, olive oil and snack on nuts, seeds and of course, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
For more information or advice, just join Curves! Experienced, friendly coaches can give you exercise and meal plans that are tailored to suit your lifestyle and make looking after your heart, easy.