When spring is in the air, most of us are in the mood to do sports and want to get fit or lose weight. Many will try to start at the same level they were at last season. However, after a slow winter season, it can be hard to get up to speed! While enthusiasm is a good thing, too much can lead to injury. To increase your energy and keep it high, here are a few fitness and health tips.
Step 1: Detox
Spring is the perfect time to detox your body to get back into shape. A simple solution is using apple cider vinegar. Its natural acidity helps the body recharge and renew. Apple cider vinegar aids mineral absorption and is said to be energising, to calm anxiety and aid sleep, and burn fat in cells. And, it's safe to have every day: try taking one to two tablespoons either plain or diluted in water or juice with a little honey (optional). To make the most of its benefits, choose a non-pasteurised vinegar aged in oak barrels.
Step 2: Get a handle on your diet
To get back into top shape, there's no getting around it: you have to eat a balanced diet. For optimum health, remember these basic rules:
- Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day (fresh and seasonal!)
- Limit processed foods (ready-made meals, industrial products, etc.) and eat home cooked meals as often as possible
- Limit meat consumption (once a day max)
- Choose filling, mineral-rich wholegrain cereals (wholegrain rice or wheat, oats, quinoa, etc.) to help reduce snacking
- Eat fish two to three times a week (seafood counts too!)
Step 3: Get your zzz's
Sleep is a must to reduce stress and help your body recover so you feel great. Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night will help extra weight from creeping on. The less you sleep, the hungrier you'll be, the more fat cells your body will produce and the fewer calories you'll burn. There's no better time than spring to get back on track! Don't forget it's important to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.
Step 4: Chill out
Have you ever thought about recharging your batteries just by breathing? True deep breathing imparts a great sense of calm and awakens your mental abilities. Learning to breath from your belly can help you relax and calm your mind. Try the following exercise to revitalise and recharge each and every cell in your body with oxygen. Do it every day and any time you feel stressed to feel great.
- Sit or lie on your back on the floor
- Breathe in through your nose, slowly and deeply
- Place one hand on your stomach and exhale through your mouth while gently sucking in your stomach (you can gently push on your stomach with your hand)
- Then inhale through your nose by expanding your stomach only (your stomach should rise)
- Breathe out slowly through your mouth. Your exhale should be slower than your inhale
- Repeat the entire routine three times
Step 5: Time for sport
You knew this was coming: doing sport helps you stay in shape. That said, being a weekend warrior isn't going to cut it. You should try to keep up a stable rhythm. Start with two workouts a week, and when you feel up to it, increase to three sessions. Avoid overdoing it and stick to a moderate level you can maintain. Doing too much too fast without giving your body time to recover can increase your chances of injury.
Cardio and weight training
As a guideline, count on about six weeks of consistent training to get back into good shape, especially if you haven't keep up your routine over the winter. We recommend starting with 20 to 30 minutes of cardio (e.g.: exercise bike, cross trainer or walking/slow jogging on a treadmill). The important thing is to reach the training goal you've set for yourself. Being overzealous once in a while will do you no favours in achieving better fitness.
In addition to maintaining a balanced diet and doing cardio, weight training will help you tone up your figure and correct your posture. By combining cardio and specific weight training exercises, you'll slim down and define your muscles.
To boost your energy levels and find physical, emotional and spiritual balance, give yoga a try. It improves mental clarity, evacuates tension, improves breathing, strengthens the heart, deeply tones muscles, increases flexibility and purifies the body.
Increase your rhythm gradually
If you really want to get fit this spring, gradually increase your training time by about 5% or so every week. This will keep you injury free. You should also create a training plan - and follow it.
If you have any concerns or are over 45, visit your doctor before starting any plan!
These five tips will help you get back into shape this spring. One last thing to help you stay motivated: work out with friends who have a similar fitness level as you so you can set goals and reach them together. Happy training!