Guest Post: Becoming Fit to Lose Weight

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So, you’ve decided you want to get fit to help with your weight loss, but you don’t know where to start. There is an almost terrifying amount of information out there about what you should do to gain muscle or achieve definition but when it comes to the other end of the scale, starting off, there isn’t much in the way of guidance.

The good news is you’ve already made the decision to become fit. Fitness is an important part of losing weight in a healthy manner, and alongside a balanced, healthy diet, will help you maintain your weight. You might find the gym intimidating just yet, but there are plenty of ways to get a good basis for fitness and to lose a little weight without even leaving your house. This will give you the starting point you need if you wish to take you fitness further!

Here are 10 simple exercises to start off that you can do from the comfort of your own home.

1. Knee Lifts March

Walk forward ten steps while holding you hands at your hips and raising your knees to hip height as you move. Repeat this ten times, or as many as you’re able to. This is a great way to increase mobility in your legs and warm up.

2. Jumping Jacks

Begin by standing in place with your arms by your sides and leg together. Jump up bringing your arms out to the side and your legs apart as far as you can comfortably. Repeat 10 times, rest and repeat again.

3. Dancing

This one is simple. Put on your favourite song, dance around to your hearts content. Dance like no one is watching.

4. Stair Step

Using the bottom step of your stairs or something of similar size, step up and down with a good pace. Alternate what foot you step up with and step back down with. Aim for ten steps, rest and repeat two more times.

5. Cleaning

While not as glamourous as some other excercises, cleaning your house does involve energy which results in burning calories. There’s nothing like mopping the floors to build up a sweat, plus its two birds with one stone.

6. Skipping

Skipping is a great way to build a mulitude of muscles, coordination and rhythm. It is also surprisingly difficult and tiring. Push yourself for a minute to start, and rather than trying to go longer, try to do more skips per minute.

7. Front lunges

Stand with your feet slightly spread and your hands on your hips. Take a large step forward with your right foot, until your right knee is bent and your left knee is close to the ground. Push yourself back to standing and repeat for your left leg. Do ten lunges in total, take a thirty second break and repeat again.

8. Push-Ups

A simple way to do push-ups is to stand at arms-length from the wall with your palms flat against it, shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower yourself towards the surface, keeping your elbows close to your side. Now extend your arms back to their original position. Do 15 of these at a time, rest and repeat. As your strength improves, you can move to the floor, first on your knees, working up to doing them on your toes.

9. Squats

Standing with your legs spread apart, past the width of your hips. Keeping your back as straight as possible, lower into a sitting position and slowly rise back up. You should feel this in your thighs and glutes, not in your back or feet.

10. Water Weights

Fill two large water bottles and hold one in each hand like a dumbbell. A great workout to do with these bottles is to stand straight, with your arms at shoulder height. With alternating arms, lift the bottle above your head and slowly back down. Repeat this 10 times and rest. These bottles can also be used while doing lunges or squats for added effect.

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Running for mental health

Mens sana in corpore sano – If your latin is a little rusty, that means “A healthy mind in a healthy body”. This ideal has been around since the Victorian era and has gone through phases of popularity, but what does it actually mean?

For most of your life, you’ve been told that this phrase relates to the academic mind, and that physical fitness is tied to mental agility. That may be true but the deeper meaning behind this phrase relates to the state of the mind. When first used by the Roman poet Juvenal, it was in relation to having a strong mind.

This is where we bring the idea around to that of mental health and using the medium of running, or simply jogging, to help improve your mental health. Mindfulness has become a buzz word of sort in recent years, but the benefit of it has been shown. As most experts in that field proclaim the usefulness of mindful walking or other slow activities, the same concept can be applied to running.

While running, you’re just thinking of running. You’re thinking of how your feet hit the ground, how you’re breathing, what you’re doing at that moment. There have been many initiatives to use running or jogging as a mental health awareness device, the most famous of which is #RunAndTalk in the UK, led by athletic ambassadors. These ambassadors extol the benefits of jogging for mental heatlh purposes. Ronnie Haydon, also known as the Marathon Gran, is one of these ambassadors and believes that running can be more effective than antidepressants.

For those looking to make a change in their lifestyles to lose weight, jogging and running is a great starting place. As you begin to exercise more, it will act as motivation to make dietary changes to increase your performance and fitness. However, if you are trying to lose weight, bear in mind that diet has a stronger impact than exercise, but a healthy balance is most effective.

So, next time you’re lacing up your running shoes, think about how you can beat your blues as well as shed a few pounds. Healthy body, healthy mind.

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