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A healthy body isn’t just made in expensive gyms and gourmet kitchens. Whether you prefer to work in the comfort of your room or would rather not spend on a membership, it’s totally possible to get into shape while at home. Plus, with most of us indoors and self-isolating, it has never been more important to keep our health in check — no matter how tempting it is to sink into the couch for most of the day. Most of all, The New York Times notes that maintaining an exercise routine is an integral part of self-care and mental health during these trying times.

Don’t know where to start? We’ve got some tips for you below.

Determine Your Fitness Goals

Before you decide to break a sweat, it’s important to know what you want to get out of your workouts. Do you want to build more muscle strength? Or improve your flexibility? Knowing what you’re striving towards is a great source of motivation to keep you moving even in the comforts of your home. For instance, if you want to exercise to release tension and stress, then sports correspondent Kevin Mitchell claims that boxing is ideal, since it’s a healthy outlet to release anxiety. On the other hand, if you’re looking to calm down and get into the right headspace, then yoga can do the job for that. Once you’re set on what your fitness goals are, it’s best to build a weekly routine around it. This way, you’ll complete your exercises at a more consistent rate, thus helping you achieve your goals.

Always Warm Up and Stretch Before Exercising

The key to getting in shape is to perform a proper warm-up and stretch beforehand. As podiatrist Clare Johnson previously shared, warming up and stretching before engaging in physical activity helps prepare the body, while reducing the risk of injury. On top of this, the HuffPost points out that warming up your body makes your exercises more efficient because it helps activate the connection between your nerves and muscles. Meanwhile, stretching helps your muscles become more flexible to carry out any movement with more ease. All in all, these can do a world of good for your workouts, especially if you’ve been lounging on your sofa much longer than usual lately.

Rely on Strength Training

If you’re worried that your body isn’t up for the challenge, relying on strength and conditioning training will help make your muscles and joints stronger, while upping your endurance. If you’re someone who’s used to jogging outdoors or running marathons, it doesn’t mean your progress has to stop. NURVV coach James Poole emphasises that strength training is equally important, because it helps you build a bullet-proof base. Focusing on strength and body conditioning will not only provide your muscles and joints with the support they need, but it also improves your speed. What’s more is that these exercises — like squats, jumping jacks, and push-ups — can be done at home with no equipment needed. True enough, fitness writer Daniel Davies reveals that bodyweight exercises can definitely stimulate muscle growth. Just be sure they’re performed at their full range of motion.

Stick to a Healthy Diet

It goes without saying that munching on crisps or chocolate is always tempting after completing a tough workout. Despite this, it’s essential that your workouts are partnered with the right eating habits. From fruits and veggies, to whole grains and lean meats, sticking to a healthy diet goes hand-in-hand with getting in shape. On that note, try to figure out what kind of food will complement your fitness goals. Strength trainers will usually need to up their protein, while those who do a lot of cardio must refuel with enough carbohydrates. At the end of the day, eating right is one of the best ways to boost your overall health and ensure your effort doesn’t go to waste.

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