A Guide to Keeping Fit
Keeping fit and healthy is extremely important, you don’t need me to tell you that, this information is all over the place. All you need to do is switch on the TV and you will see reports on the news about how important it is to stay healthy. You only need to stroll into town and a bus will go past with Jamie Oliver’s face on it and you will again be reminded of eating healthy and keeping fit.
Well, there are plenty of ways that you can improve your fitness, without having to join a gym.
The benefits of getting fit
By keeping physically active, you're making sure that your joints and body organs are kept in good working order. Exercise can also help maintain your weight at a healthy level and can protect you against catching coughs and colds on a regular basis. You’ll also feel an increase in your energy level and brain activity. Knowing that you're looking and feeling good can also give your self-confidence a real boost.
How much exercise do you need?
If you're under 18, you should try to do a total of 60 minutes of physical activity every day. You don't have to do it all in one go, but in chunks of at least 10-15 minutes throughout the day. This includes everything from pumping iron in the gym to walking up stairs instead of taking the lift. The key thing is that the activity should increase your heart rate and make you feel warmer.
If you're over 18, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.
A good idea is to try out a whole range of physical activities to see which ones you enjoy the most. Once you've decided the sorts of exercise you enjoy, you can plan what type of exercise you're going to do and when.
Before you start
If you've decided to start an exercise routine, it's important to go and see your doctor for an examination. Your doctor will be able to let you know how much exercise you should be doing to improve your health and fitness. They'll also let you know if you have any medical conditions like back pain that can limit the type of exercise you do.
Fitness for free
Getting fit isn't all about gyms. Some forms of exercise won't cost you a penny and most types can easily be slotted into a busy lifestyle. Think about: cycling or walking to school, college or work instead of driving or taking the bus. Running around the block a few times a week can also improve your fitness level and you’ll soon find yourself running quicker and further.
You should also check out the leisure facilities provided by your local authority; many have basketball hoops, tennis courts and football pitches that you can use free of charge.
Getting fit isn't just something you have to do by yourself. Playing team sports like football, hockey or netball is great exercise, but is often more enjoyable because you're with a group of friends.
Your school, college or university may run sessions in the evening, or you might want to get involved with a local team. You can find details of local clubs on the internet, in the phone book or at your nearest leisure centre. Your local authority can also give you information of sporting activities in your area.
For more help visit our Fitness, Diets & Slimming section.