How to Build Exercise Into Your Life

How to build exercise into your life

Regular, energetic exercise will make you stronger, leaner, fitter and healthier. Not only that, it can boost your self-confidence and even help to stave off depression. These tips will help you build exercise into your regular routine.

How to Build Exercise Into Your Life

1. 30-minute workout

Always allow at least two hours after a heavy meal before exercise, and start and finish with five to 10 minutes of gentle stretching to prepare your muscles and joints. Wear appropriate clothing and invest in a pair of sneakers with good tread and cushioning. A park or other public space with steps or a slope is the ideal location for a simple workout divided into five minute segments.

Start and finish

  • Stretch gently, focusing on your leg muscles to avoid injury.
  • Stretch gently and progressively, leaning into the stretch as you find it more comfortable: don't bounce.
  • Stretch more deeply after your workout than at the start.
  1. Walk briskly, gradually increasing the pace and starting to use your arms.
  2. Power-walk at a fast pace, pumping your arms like pistons.
  3. On the spot, do star jumps or skip with a rope.
  4. Jog or power-walk, remembering to breathe deeply and evenly.
  5. Run or jog up a flight of steps or up a slope.
  6. Walk at leisure to cool down, shaking out your arms and shoulders.

2. Find your routine

You don't need to join a gym to take up aerobics. Any brisk exercise will do the job, provided it demands extra work from your heart and lungs. Aerobic training exercises the body's large muscles in the limbs, buttocks and chest. You should feel warm, perspire and breathe heavily, but still be able to hold a conversation on the move.

3. Choose exercises you enjoy

Swim, cycle, even dance to get the blood pumping. Badminton, tennis, squash, rowing, hiking with a backpack — all are aerobic. Vary your routine, walking one day and swimming the next, for example, to focus alternately on the lower and upper body. Just 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise three times a week, or a moderate 30 minute workout five times a week, can make a real difference to your fitness. Or try interval training — alternating short bursts of intense exercise with long, more gentle periods — for example, walk or jog for 90 seconds, sprint for 30. It's super-effective and fun.

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