The long, dreary and dark days of winter — when many of us stay indoors and hibernate like bears — are finally over and temperatures are rising, leaves are starting to grow and we’re finally getting out of the house and spending more time outdoors and enjoying ourselves. What about getting fit and healthy too?
It’s certainly not a stretch to say many of us will have been gleefully piling on the pounds over the winter and now that spring is here we’ve got a far larger girth to show for it. All those plans made months ago, as the clock was ticking down to the new year and when lots of us resolved to lose weight and be healthy in the coming 12 months, now seem so distant and, well — yesterday. Who has time for a health and fitness regime when it’s freezing outside?
But it’s never too late in the year to kickstart dormant health and weight-loss programmes, and as we’re all making plans for summer beach and other getaways, what better time than now to give yourself a big health and fitness spring clean and get in shape for the holiday of a lifetime? Here’s a simple, and effective guide.
Work out, Anywhere
It’s a common misperception that you need a pricey gym membership to work out and get in the best shape of your life. The truth is you can work out no matter where you are: at home, on the way to the office — even in a plane. Let’s face it: after the initial rush of joining a gym and paying out lots of cash for the privilege, after a while, the lure fades away as many of us become swamped in work, family and other responsibilities.
In fact, a mammoth more than half a billion pounds is wasted in the UK on people who shell out large sums for annual gym memberships and give up shortly after that and don’t go back, according to a survey. One man said his gym was often too busy to use. “When I went a third time I just peeked in, saw all the machines were being used and walked out and went to the pub,” he said.
It’s no wonder we give up. Instead, the key to a lasting and effective fitness plan is often to incorporate home workouts into your routine — anything from brisk walking, jogging, cycling, planks, crunches and so much more will have you in great shape in no time — and no gym membership required.
When people hear the word “diet”, they automatically assume some severe caloric restriction that will leave them starving and miserable. We’re just talking about the stuff you put in your mouth, and most diets — the “quick-fix” variety usually — don’t work anyway. If you’re already working out and wondering why you’re not losing any weight, the secret that many people don’t know is that exercise does not generally result in weight-loss. It will help to tone and shape you, and perhaps aid in a small amount of fat-burning, but the real answer is the food — energy, in the form of calories — you put into your body.
You don’t necessarily have to cut back on the amount of food you eat — although indulging in large portions is not going to help — but if you want to be healthy and get to your ideal body size, you need to be mindful of what you’re eating. Cutting most processed food out is a good start, and returning to a more wholesome diet. That means food in or as near to its natural state as possible, and eliminating sugary and other high-calorie drinks that really don’t do you any health favours at all. So-called “clean eating” is not only the way forward; it’s also filling, delicious and will give you way more energy to power your mighty workouts.
Stubbing out, for Good
If you’re a smoker and planning on a health and fitness spring clean, you’re going to have a bit of a challenge. Smoking robs the body of vital oxygen and leads to an array of serious health difficulties. It’s likely you won’t have the energy or stamina for that walk or run. Most probably you’ve tried to quit many times and failed, and nicotine gums and patches haven’t done anything much to help. So what can you do? Vape.
Health authorities like Britain’s renowned National Health Service are now encouraging people who smoke to start using e-cigarettes instead. Why? Because they get the nicotine they want but not the many toxic chemicals that can cause cancer and other diseases in the human body. Nicotine is not particularly harmful — a fact that few people are aware of.
Something like vape pens can be a great way for a smoker to start vaping, as they’re simple to use, don’t cost all that much and have a similar, tactile feel to using cigarettes — the sort of “crutch” smokers trying to quit often find hard to do without. Plus, you can get your vape gear without even leaving the house, at a reputable online vape store that may even deliver for free.
Then you’ll have bundles of energy to embark on your amazing health and fitness plan this spring.