So you paid for a six-month gym membership but quit going after a month of battling with the alarm clock and the monotony. You found it difficult to stick to your gym schedule because of the lack of variation. Exercising at a gym with a bunch of intimidating people seemed like a tedious effort that you couldn’t bring yourself to make.
“Just like we do not eat the same kind of food every day, similarly, we should provide our bodies with the benefit of cross-training by mixing up our routine,” said Kiran Sawhney, the founder of Fitnesolution. “Break the monotony by indulging in different kinds of exercises on different days. Do not let your body reach a plateau,” she further remarked.
If the sight of treadmills, cross trainers and already ‘fit’ people looking forward to ‘bulk up’ filled you with dread, maybe the gymnasium wasn’t the right place for you to be.
However, don’t lose heart just yet. An expensive gym membership isn’t the only way to achieve your fitness goals.
“People need to be told that exercising is not just about burning calories and having a body that looks great – it’s about inculcating a discipline in your life. There are two perspectives to exercising that include both physical as well as mental well being. A great way to achieve that is to mix active and passive exercises, which will help you to ground and centre yourself,” explains Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh, lifestyle expert and psychologist, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon.
We have compiled a list of alternative means of exercising that you can subsume in your daily life and cheat on your gym schedule, or skip going altogether, without feeling guilty about it. Check them out:
1. DVD workouts
If going to the gym doesn’t feature on your radar, but you still wish to incorporate 30-45 minutes of active workout in your daily routine, pop in a fitness DVD at home and get going.
“Something is definitely better than nothing. If you are sitting at home, with nothing to do, you can make an effort to put on a workout DVD or some music and move to it. Of course if you have any injuries that need to be tended, you should workout under the guidance of trainers. But if you are healthy and looking to incorporate a good workout in your routine, fitness DVDs is a good way to go,” advises Kiran Sawhney, founder of Fitnesolution.
“Whereas working out to DVDs at home is a very good idea, the only flipside is that you need to be highly motivated to adopt it in your lifestyle,” Singh adds. The fitness market is inundated with DVDs covering every type of workout available from aerobics to yoga. Furthermore, in this age of technology you can access free workout videos online. Certainly better than spending a fortune on a gym membership, right? It has the added benefit of working out in the comfort of your home. You can also encourage other members in your family to join you and make a ‘fitness hour’ out of it.
2. Do different forms of exercises on different days
Going to the gym and sticking to a schedule can seem drab and mundane to many. Making fitness fun might be the answer to the constant dilemma between being fit and sleeping for a half more hour. If you choose to engage yourself in activities that you enjoy and switch between them regularly, chances are high that you will stick to your fitness routine instead of ditching it four times a week.
“You cannot go on doing a particular kind of exercise forever. Mixing up your routine lets you reap the benefits of both active and passive exercises, leading to a healthier you. Incorporate breathing schedules in your daily routine. Intersperse activities like yoga and meditation with your cardio routine. Enrol for a group class, to provide the necessary human touch, and where everybody is motivating each other. Choose a game that was once your hobby and play it on the weekends - apart from providing you with fitness benefits, it will give you access to fresh air, which again, is very important,” Singh suggests, chronicling ways to spice up your routine, in a way that lets you achieve both physical and mental fitness.
Fill your fitness itinerary with activities that you are fond of and see yourself soar up the health ladder.
3. Workout during the commercials
“The best space to keep your workout equipment is in the room where the TV is. That way you end up exercising while watching something you greatly enjoy, helping you transcend the barrier of boredom and giving you a great workout,” Singh says.
If the idea of setting aside time especially to work out doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, but you’d still like to squeeze in some callisthenic in your daily routine, you could make good on your TV time and do different sets of exercises during the commercial breaks. A one hour show runs commercials for approximately 18 minutes. If you spend two hours of your day watching television, you can easily integrate 30 minutes of light cardio in your routine.
4. Be more active at home
“Being more active at home can help you a great deal. Do a little dusting; iron clothes while standing and the like. If you are into gardening, that’s an added plus, because gardening is fantastic, both for your mental and physical well-being,” says Sawhney.
Working out comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, you burn calories doing routine things without even realizing it. A great way to get in some exercise without it seeming like you are making an effort to exercise, hence, is to choose to be more active at home. Choose to de-clutter different parts of your home on different days. Take your pet for a walk: not only will it keep your pet healthy and happy, it’s a positive step in the direction of a healthier mind and body for you. Take some time out for gardening, as Sawhney suggested. Find daily chores that you enjoy doing and burn calories while doing them!
5. Couch to 5k
You have often dreamt of running as a means to achieve your fitness goals but running a 500 meter stretch leaves you breathless and gasping for breath? Fear running no more, though. If you have been toying with the idea of taking up running as a routine activity but fear that you won’t be able to make it past the 500 meter mark and ultimately give up on the idea altogether, the Couch to 5k training program will come to your rescue.
Designed by Josh Clark, the wildly popular training program attempts to take a non-runner from a sedentary lifestyle to running a 5k in 30 minutes over the course of nine weeks. The training plan includes only three days of training sessions in a week, for nine weeks, wherein you go from each session consisting of walking and running intervals to running a full 5k without any walking intervals. The program is available online, free of cost, and is also available in app form across the leading operating systems.
6. Incorporate small activities in your life
“Whether you are in office or at home, make sure that you get up after every hour and move a little. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk about while you are talking on the phone and integrate small activities like these in your daily routine,” Sawhney concludes.
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