Spring fitness

Are You Ready To Kick Start Your Spring Fitness Regime?

As the weather starts to warm up, it’s no surprise that our thoughts turn to getting fit. The days are longer, we’re spending more time outside, and of course – there are holidays to think about. Rather than spend time trying faddy diets and fruitless short-term solutions, it’s time to make a more permanent change. By kick starting your fitness regime now when they days are longer and we’re already more energised, by the time winter rolls around again, you’ll have formed some excellent new habits to ensure a healthy change for life. With the introduction of new fitness guidelines for adults, it is now even easier to ensure you get the recommended levels of fitness for your age.

 

Why fitness is important

Obesity is a growing concern in the UK, and in 2014, the Health Survey for England revealed that a huge 61.7% of adults were classed as being overweight or obese, with men being more likely to be overweight. The numbers have been growing increasingly rapidly, especially amongst children and if no action is taking, obesity can lead to a number of other health concerns including heart disease, diabetes as well as increasing the risk factor for numerous cancers.

As well as the threat to personal health, obesity also has consequences for our health service and economy. Whilst costs are only estimates, the direct cost to the NHS for treating obesity and those who are overweight were last estimated by the National Obesity Observatory to be in the region of £479.3 million in 1998 and £4.2 billion in 2007. Whilst current figures are unknown, it is thought the cost was likely to have risen to as much as £27 billion by last year. Even at the lower end, the costs are significant and emphasise the need to take preventative obesity measures and lower what is largely an avoidable figure.

 

Fitness guidelines for adults

If you’re not sure how much you should be exercising, then you’ll welcome the news that the NHS has announced new fitness guidelines for both adults and children, which should give you a better indication of what you should be doing to stay fit. It is recommended that adults undertake two forms of exercise a week: aerobic and strength, which is what you’ll also find is recommended by many health and fitness experts. According to the guidelines, adults aged between 19 and 64 should aim to do some sort of activity daily, which could include:

  • A minimum of 150 minutes of ‘moderate aerobic activity’ along the level of cycling or walking at a fast pace plus
  • Completing strength exercises on at least two occasions where major muscle groups such as legs, core, hips, chest, shoulders and arms are worked.

Or

  • 75 minutes of ‘vigorous aerobic activity’ including running, tennis or similar sports, plus
  • Completing strength exercises on at least two occasions where major muscle groups such as legs, core, hips, chest, shoulders and arms are worked.

Or

  • A mix of both of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity – such as two 30-minute running sessions, then fast walking – which is the equivalent of 150 minutes of aerobic activity plus
  • Completing strength exercises on at least two occasions where major muscle groups such as legs, core, hips, chest, shoulders and arms are worked.

One way to work it out is that one minute of vigorous activity is the equivalent of two minutes of moderate activity. Whilst the numbers look large, they can actually be broken down into 30 minute sessions, 5 days a week.

 

Start the NHS’ 12 week weight loss plan

As well as providing the fitness guidelines, the NHS has also provided a free diet and exercise plan which is a great place to start your new health regime. The plan will help you lose weight steadily and safely, and help you form habits which you can continue after the 12 weeks. It’s easy to follow and contains tasty recipes and good workout ideas to help you get started. Once you’re familiar with the efforts needed, you can then go on to design your own plan, based around the activities you enjoy and the foods you eat. Like many things, eating healthily and maintaining your weight is a learning process, and this plan will help you learn these skills. You will learn more about portion size and about what foods are considered healthy and unhealthy – helping you form better habits for not only you, but your family as well.

Fitting in exercise is important but by taking steps to get up earlier or exercising at lunch, you will get there. It may be a struggle at first but it will soon become a part of your normal routine. Why not enlist friends or family to join you for extra motivation? Start now and by summer you could be looking at a fitter, healthier you.