Lecturer Tania Mehra is not an "exercise freak" but wishes she could be fit and in good shape without doing much. "It’s really an effort to make myself get up and go to the gym every day or even every alternate day," she sighs. So what’s the solution? According to fitness experts, just a few steps can help you stay on the right side of the fitness treadmill. "Unless you aspire to have a great body, just doing the basics will help you to keep fit and stay in shape," says fitness expert Rahul Awasthi. He adds, "Walk, skip or cycle - these are some of the easiest ways to keep fit, can be done at one’s own pace and are forms of great cardiovascular exercises that help in keeping the heart and lungs in good condition, apart from toning various body parts."
Take a walk
This suits almost everybody. Experts feel that a daily 45 to 60 minute regular walk at a good pace is ideal for most people.
“Walking comes naturally to all of us and is the easiest thing to do,” says Reebok master trainer Nisha Varma. “It tones the arms, lower body, shoulders, abs and calf muscles and makes feet muscles stronger.”
An average speed of nine minutes to a kilometre, suggest experts, is a good speed to maintain. “But for those who like to go a little slow, even 11 minutes to a kilometre works well. Only those very unhealthy will go above that,” says Varma.
How to do it
Wear good walking shoes.
Keep a bottle of water handy.
Keep your posture straight, shoulders in line, abs sucked in.
It’s okay to be a little out of breath.
According to experts, cycling is a perfect alternative for people who don’t like walking or jogging or who have limitations with regard to weight-bearing exercises, because is easy on the joints.
“It helps in promoting cardio-respiratory health, decreasing body fat, strengthening lower back muscles, and increasing the stability quotient of the upper body,” explains fitness expert Rahul Awasthi.
How to do it
Adjust the height of the seat so that the leg that is on the bottom pedal is almost but not quite completely extended.
Sit with your back straight, either upright or leaning slightly forward. Relax your shoulders.
A 50 / 70 revolution per minute (rpms) usually provides a good workout for beginners; then advance to between 70 / 90 at a higher level.
Skip to it
“Skipping requires minimal equipment and is a great form of exercise,” explains Nisha Varma. “It helps to exercise the calf, abs, back and arms very well. It also increases coordination, agility and power of the body.” Being a high impact exercise, experts recommend a 40 to 45 minute regimen once or twice a week. “For those who aren’t regular skippers, about 100 skips at a comfortable pace is good enough,” says Varma. If you want to make your skipping sessions more entertaining, skip to your favourite music.
How to do it
Keep your elbows tucked into your sides, using your wrists to keep the rope turning smoothly.
Stand up straight.
Keep a good pace going.
Begin with small two-footed jumps.