Quick-fix fitness in a week
Christmas is over and once again we’ve overindulged. As January begins to settle, it’s time to detox and get fit. Diets aside, there are lots of small ways to step up and get into a workout regime without doing anything too strenuous. Here’s our daily guide to get you in the swing of things
New year, new week, new you. Monday is the day you rise from a weekend of excess and tell ourselves that this week, you’re going to be the health and fitness fanatic you always dreamed you could be. Seize this feeling of early-week optimism by planning your most rigorous fitness routine for Monday – you’ll get it out of the way and be able to spend the rest of your week feeling appropriately smug. Consider trying out a new class – spinning has amble cardio benefits, Zumba is a great workout and social option, or something like yoga can really help with stress. If you’re yet to find the sport for you, try out classpass – a programme where you can access hundreds of fitness classes local to you, plus there is an entire month of workouts on offer for free.
The first run of the year can be somewhat intimidating, but don’t feel you need to kick-start 2019 with a 10 miler. Start off slow with a run around the block and you’ll be thoroughly deserving of a pat on the back. If you need a little encouragement to get you shunning the box of celebrations and off the sofa, NHS Couch to 5K is a scheme that helps you gradually work up to 5K in just nine weeks. It’s suitable for absolute beginners and the plan involves three easy runs a week with a day of rest in between. Start off by downloading the Couch to 5K app onto your phone and schedule your runs at a time to suit you. As well as guiding through the nine weeks, the app also helps you track your progress and includes music to motivate you while you run. Running has many obvious physical health benefits, but introducing regular running into your life can also help combat depression and reduce stress.
Hump day is a real hurdle. It’s that time of the week where you either continue on that positive health and fitness trajectory, or it’s the point at which, with the weekend in sight, you embark on a downward spiral. An easy way to introduce a little extra fitness into your day is to get your whole body moving and go for a lunchtime swim at your local leisure centre. Swimming has numerous health and fitness benefits, keeping your heart rate up, building muscles, and reducing stress and anxiety with its repetitive and relaxing momentum. Swimming is also an effective way to burn calories. Just one half-hour of gentle swimming will burn around 200 calories – ideal for a lunch break. Don your goggles and check out local pools Pools on the Park, Wimbledon Leisure Centre or the Tooting Bec Lido.
By this point in the working week you start to set your sights on weekend and it’s likely that enthusiasm for this ‘new year, new you’ may be waning. With January payday always that extra bit more of a stretch, chances are you’ll also be feeling the financial pinch. Why not stay in and workout in the comfort of your own home? There are a number of exercises you can do indoors and it won’t cost a pretty penny. Running up and down the stairs counts as exercise and over time it will help you burn calories, lose weight and strengthen your muscles. What’s more, cleaning and household chores also counts as exercise and will blast those calories. Activities like washing your car by hand, weeding your garden and vacuuming the whole house can help you strengthen your muscles and help you lose weight over time – with vacuuming alone burning around 190 calories in one hour – pass the hoover!
Friday in the office is the ultimate test. There are doubtless a couple of buns floating around the workplace and colleagues are keen for a post-work drink. Don’t beat yourself up, you deserve to be in good spirits, but if you’re keen to slip in a little pre-office drinks body blitz, why not think about taking a brisk lunchtime walk. Walking is sometimes overlooked as an exercise, but subbing part of your commute for a daily walk or taking a walking lunch break can do wondrous things for your health. Taking a brisk 10-minute walk will burn on average 50 calories depending on your weight and will help to lower your blood pressure. What’s more, there is no need to go full-on with the gym gear, just swap those office shoes for a pair of light trainers. Get online and visit the Transport for London website where you’ll find a walking map which tells you how long it will take you to walk between stations.
You’ve reached the weekend, well done you. Now make sure you carpe the diem by getting outside and seizing the great British outdoors in all its glory. Parks are a great place to get active and it does plenty of good to be out in a wide open space and close to nature. Cycling is a fantastic way to explore London and Surrey’s wonderful Royal Parks, so why not keep fit with a half-hour ride, an activity which can burn around 200-500 calories. It’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, your posture and decrease your body fat levels. Cycling is also a low-impact form of exercise so there’s less pressure on your joints compared to running. Another weekend plan to get you breathing in that fresh air is to take to one of your local green spaces and having a kick around on the football pitches or a go on the tennis courts. Competitive games can be a great bonding activity and make for a fun-filled family weekend.