A gym is not the Mecca of health. Truth to be said – good health and living starts at home, and starts with the individual. With slight enhancements or detours from a sedentary lifestyle, a person can become fit without risking muscle injuries, bone injuries and boredom from persistent visits to the health club. Modifications to the lifestyle include diet and sleep, making slight adjustments to one’s daily routine, and last but not the least – a lot of laughter. This is all that is required to have a toned body and become fit as a fiddle! Here are some simple and often underestimated tips to become fit and stay that way.
Making the legs the perfect mode of transportation
Make a trip to the grocery store but not in a car or on a bike. Rather, walk to the grocery store if it is within 2-3 km. Doctors suggest that for a person to stay fit, they need to take an average of 10,000 steps daily. Walking at a moderate speed yields better results than walking too fast; that could cause injury. Walking too slow could make the destination seem like a pilgrimage tour! Avoid taking the lift, and use the stairs instead – every single time. This single activity burns calories and if repeated many times a day is equivalent to 45 minutes on the treadmill. Make the activity of climbing up and down the stairs the replacement for the walking on the treadmill.
Sitting in a static position for more than 30 minutes leads to conditions such as stiff muscles and joints. It could also decrease the metabolic activity of the body and lead to a gain in calories. Try to take a brisk walk every hour for about 5 minutes. Stretch all the muscle groups every hour – this is often an overlooked activity but is very effective in burning calories. Stretching increases the elasticity of muscle groups, repairs torn tissues, promotes muscle growth, which leads to calorie burning processes.
Deep breathing if consciously done becomes a habit that one does subconsciously as well. Apart from doing deep breathing exercises, if deep breathing is done consciously all the time, transforms the body and repairs it holistically. This simple yet powerful activity and lifestyle modification is shown to have powerful benefits – one of them namely detoxification. Blood purification is amongst the foremost and notable benefits of increasing the oxygen levels in the body. It also promotes several other physiological benefits such as weight loss, increase in cognitive levels, metabolic regulation, cardiovascular health and more.
Household chores – ask the maid to go on a vacation!
A survey in Britain revealed that women spent an average two and a half hours a day in household activities. This means that activities such as scrubbing the floor, washing clothes, washing the car, cleaning the window sills, sweeping, dusting, mowing the lawn, cleaning the attic – are all different forms of exercises. Plan two to three household activities a day to keep it interesting. For example, Mondays could be for washing clothes, watering and preening the garden, and mowing the lawn. Tuesdays could be for sweeping the floor and cleaning the house in general. Wednesdays could be for something else and so on. Don’t take a break on Sundays.
If such activities become cumbersome or monotonous, try new activities such as playing Frisbee with dogs, basketball with friends in the local park. Such activities also help to build social skills and are all the more engaging. If owning a dog is not a possibility offer to walk someone else’s! But beware – don’t become everyone’s dog walker!
Remember that there is a world outside of the gym and people are using their time to go cycling, hiking, swimming, dancing and taking nature walks. Join a trekking club is a good idea. Check the credentials of the club; ask for references and read the reviews for the club. Take a test tour to a nearby place and if satisfied go to better and more intriguing places. A trek a month provides exponential benefits. It keeps the body fit and buzzing with energy throughout the month. Importantly, it improves the body’s resistance levels, flexibility and endurance levels – nature has something that a gym cannot provide!
Eat healthy – love thy self more than the food!
A sugary drink or a can full of processed food could seem innocuous at the outset. After all it’s just a bit of food that will eventually digest and burn off. But human psychology is such that it is difficult to shed off a habit overnight. Even if it is done, there is a relapse in the habit. A habit such as eating junk food needs to be controlled and resisted strictly – regardless of the size of the food – it could be 1 gm or 1000 gm. If done methodologically, the good habit turns into a permanent habit and becomes a lifestyle routine. Trying to stay fit on one side and eating junk food on the other side gives zero returns. So say no to sugar; rather eat fruit to satiate cravings for sugar.
It is common to feel extremely hungry and restless when on a diet control regimen. Eating fiber-rich food is a way to control such food cravings. Eat lean protein and whole grains as a staple with every meal. Try to break down three meals a day into 6 meals a day. Don’t eat full-blown meals – eat just a little to keep the rest for the next meal around the corner. Try including raw or semi-cooked vegetables always. Exercising portion control is difficult at the outset, but very effective in the long run. Eventually, the mind adjusts to the quantity of food. It’s all about training the mind!
Kinect fitness game
Kinect is a new-age technology that was originally developed for Microsoft’s Xbox console video games. Being a motion sensing technology, its potential has transformed from being something that’s used by people for playing video games to something that is used for fitness. There are many Kinect fitness games in the market. Some popular ones come with a heart rate monitor that helps the person to stay within optimum heart rate conditions. There are games that incorporate dance-fitness-aerobic techniques such as Zumba for example. With a combination of music and the fun factor of being a game, it becomes a fun way to become fit in the comfort of the living room.
If aerobics is not enough, and the need of the hour is peak fitness such as that of an MMA artist, then there are Kinect video games based on MMA themes. There are plenty of MMA inspired games featuring prominent or renowned MMA personalities as video game characters. They have all the right moves and make sure to stay in sync! And don’t be too close to the TV when making those moves!
Volunteering for causes
Fitness is often holistic – many activities of different reasons and different mechanisms lead to a fit mind, body and soul. Volunteering is one such activity that can keep a person in shape. Volunteers are required to offer bodily or physical help during their volunteering sessions. It could be fixing a roof, to cleaning a piece of land, building houses for the deprived, painting schools, going on charity runs to raise funds and so on. There are different types of activities and all of them are engaging to say the least. Volunteering also provides a personal sense of fulfillment – which is critical to keep volunteering. This is unlike going to the gym for 6 months and stopping the routine when the results don’t show or are not up to the mark!
Becoming a volunteer is easy. Just go the Internet and do a search for volunteering organizations. There are hundreds of them offering services in different categories. There are the ones that even take people to famine-stricken or war-ravaged countries to help the people there help themselves. Volunteering if done for fitness provides phenomenal results. Apart from fitness, it also expands one’s horizons and gives a person a better perspective of the world. Because there is a difference between time that is spent at the gym versus time spent outdoors. If the goal is only fitness, there are several alternatives worth considering. If the goal is muscle development, bodybuilding and bulking up, then a health club is a better option under the guidance of a trained and certified gym instructor.