You asked- here it is. A day-by-day guide to getting you moving, and creating a long-term lifestyle change. Get in touch, let us know how you are going with it.
DAY 1: Accidental Incidental Movement.
Today focus on finding ways to MOVE MORE! It is simple when you put your mind to it.
- Park on the other side of the carpark
- Get off the bus one stop early
- Take the stairs
- On the phone? Walk around!
- Waiting for the kettle? Squat! Do calf raises, circle your shoulders, or stretch
- Hang out the washing but put the basket at the back door
Pick 3 accidental incidentals today, and keep them up this week. Act on it.
DAY 2: Write it down.
Goals are great to have, they are motivating and make you accountable but make them effective. Answer these questions TODAY and you are on your way…
- What is it that you want to achieve? Is it that you want to be healthier? fitter? participate in a fun run? Write it down.
- Make it specific. I want to eat 3 balanced meals a day for 6 days of the week with only 2 snacks between each meal. I want to run the 5km Park run. Write it (or them) down.
- Measure it. Do you want to lift a 20kg bench press? Do you want to walk the 1km to the train station without needing to catch your breath? Write it down.
- Is your goal attainable? No point deciding you are going to do an ultramarathon next weekend if you have never ever run before! Write it down and make it real.
- Is your goal realistic? Want to run the 100m in under 10seconds? Are you Hussein Bolt? Make it real & write it down.
- Time your goal. Put a date on it. Write it down.
There you go. Now you have a goal that is achievable and you are on your way. Now, put it somewhere you will see it. You want to be reminded of this goal when you least feel like moving. Its all helping to make a lasting change to your lifestyle. Congratulations!
DAY 3: Stretch.
There really is nothing as easy as stretching to make you feel great. Its the first thing most of us do in the morning when getting out of bed, without even realising it so why not implement it throughout the day. Use a cue to remind you, when you save a document on the computer at work or when you hang up a phone call use that as your reminder. Start with these basic ones:
- Stand tall and reach your hands well above your head, holding this position gently bend from left to right and back again. Continue to take deep breaths while you go and keep the range of motion comfortable, stretching should never be painful.
- Now bend from your hips, keeping your knees soft and allow your arms to hang in front of you. From this position sweep your arms out to the side and up and over your head again all while taking a deep breath. Repeat 3 times.
- Lying down, sitting or even standing bring one knee at a time towards your chest holding it up there scoop it out to the side in a circular direction, repeat with both hips in both directions.
- Sitting at your desk? Point your toes and hold for 5-10 seconds, bring them back to your nose and hold again for 5-10 seconds. Simple. Effective.
In two quick minutes you have improved your circulation, allowed a flushing effect of any toxins sitting in your blood stream and released some feel good endorphins. Today aim to stretch at least three times and lets make this a daily habit. Look out for our post on our top 4 stretches when you are ready to progress.
DAY 4: Make time.
It is the reason we hear most commonly for not moving. No one has time, and yes, while life does get busy, if moving is a priority in your 24 hours, you will make time. This week we are aiming at breaking old habits and laying down new ones so start simple.
- Set the alarm 5 minutes earlier to do your new stretching regime
- Multi-task! Don’t just sit and watch telly, move. Squat, crunch, shrug your shoulders… anything to move.
- Don’t waste time. Get out there and get it done, no one is ever regretful of doing exercise, only of not doing it.
- Have an hour for lunch? Why not decide you only need 30minutes and devote the remaining 30minutes to a walk or a stretch? Your afternoon will be much happier for it.
Incorporating movement into each day will soon become the norm with your new ‘love your life’ attitude, but for now schedule it in. Plan it out for the week ahead and don’t use the excuse you don’t have time, we all have 24 hours in a day, its just how we choose to spend it!
DAY 5: Find your happy place.
Mine is on the beach, early in the morning, preferably in spring but I’m not too picky! My happy place is not in a gym or a dark spin class, but yours might be. Find what works for you. If a walk outside isn’t your thing, find a treadmill. Nervous about bike riding, find a spin class. Don’t like to swim? Walk in the water. There are always alternatives.
Today commit to trying something new. Do a trial at a local gym (most are free or relatively cheap), do a yoga class or an outdoor boot camp and if it isn’t your thing that’s okay but don’t give up finding what is.
DAY 6: Start with the core.
It is a term that is thrown around a lot in the fitness industry and rightly so. Your core musculature sits in deep and acts like your body’s foundation. It is the basis from which all strength and movement comes from. Without a strong and active core you are at risk of injury and poor posture.
Today take note of your posture. Have you got a little tummy poking out, especially by the end of the day? Are you rounded in your shoulders and hunched toward your computer screen? There is no point just attempting to sit up straighter, you need muscle endurance to maintain it; that is where the core comes in. Try these simple starter exercises and remember practice makes a habit.
- Simply stand tall. Imagine you are a puppet and you have a string from the very top of your head. By pulling that string you correct and alignment concerns and your tummy automatically tucks in, your core muscles engage and your spine is in neutral. Hold this position as long as you remember to, then repeat it throughout the day. You might need a reminder!
- Belly button in. This is a pure core contraction and if done correctly a great place to start. GENTLY draw your belly button towards your spine. Imagine you are trying to fit into a pair of pants that are just a size too small. Hold this position and continue to breathe normally. If you are holding your breath you are overdoing the contraction and need to back off.
- Stand on one leg. Easy. Today while brushing your teeth or waiting for the kettle attempt to stand up tall and stand on one leg. The trick? You aren’t allowed to sway to the side when you lift your leg. Attempt to maintain a very upright position and hold for at least 6 seconds. You may need to only very slightly lift your leg from the ground.
Easy yet effective. Good place to start!
DAY 7: Treat yourself.
Yes, you read correctly. Don’t make this change in lifestyle unattainable or unrealistic, if you do it won’t last. One of the best ways to approach a new change is the 80:20 rule. Be good 80% of the time but every few days allow yourself some chocolate if that is your weakness, plan a sleep in every Saturday if that makes you happy. Then the rest of the time remember when the alarm goes off that you had that sleep in and now its time to commit to your new lifestyle.
Today, decide what your treat will be and write it in your schedule. Again, when it is on paper it will remind you that you had it or are working towards it.
Another great treat is to plan something for when you have reached your goal, or maintained your new lifestyle plan for a month or a week even! It may be a dinner or a nice glass of red but try to make it lifestyle related. Try shopping for some new workout gear to add some extra motivation. Why not look good while you work on feeling good!
You made it. 7 days. Great job. You are loving your life and working toward a lasting change.