With new year just around the corner, fitness resolutions are set to be high on the list again.
Whether it’s going to the gym more regularly to lifting your bodyweight by this time next year, fitness goals are personal and are down to what you want to get out of them.
However, if you’ve decided to improve your general fitness levels then incorporating regular cardio into your life is a good place to start.
The best thing about this is that you don’t need to buy a gym membership to get involved – you can start with running or even walking.
‘Cardio is important for various reasons – such as for having a healthy heart and lungs,’ Anthony Mayatt, owner and personal trainer at Breath Fitness, tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Having a healthy heart and lungs means that you’ll likely have a lower resting heart rate and breathing rate.’
In addition to this, you’ll have lower blood pressure, better blood flow throughout the body and have stronger muscles and joints – which aid your day-to-day mobility.
It’s clear cardio is great for us, so Anthony has shared some excellent tips for including it in our daily lives in the new year.
Don’t underestimate the power of walking
‘The simplest way to maintain cardiovascular health is to walk on a regular basis,’ Anthony explains.
‘If you work in an office, try to get off your bus (or train) one stop early and walk the remainder – or, just find time to actually get out and move.’
Walking has numerous benefits – so really is an underrated form of exercise.
For example, experts say it prevents and manages a host of medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
As well as this, it can improve your mood, general cognition and sleep – especially if you walk outdoors.
The NHS recommends healthy adults to do 150 minutes of exercise a week – if you walked just 20 minutes a day you’ll get close to that figure.
Try the cardio machines at the gym to see what you like best
If you have a gym membership, then make the most of the array of cardio machines before you.
People often find one they like and stick to it, but it takes some experimenting to find that one, perfect machine for you.
‘I’d say go with a machine(s) that you get the most motivation and enjoyment from – whether that’s the treadmill, rowing machine, bike or even a class such as spinning,’ Anthony continues.
You may not realise it, but weight training at the gym is also good for the heart.
‘Don’t think that cardio only comes from aerobic work – weight training also works your cardiovascular system,’ says Anthony.
If you’re outside the gym, then running, cycling or even walking is your best bet.
Just get yourself moving.
Don’t let nerves hold you back
It’s perfectly normal to be nervous at first, especially if you’re joining a new gym or class.
‘My advice if you go is to immediately speak to the fitness professional that works there and let them know this and ask for guidance,’ Anthony adds.
‘They will show you how to correctly use the equipment and guide you how to build things up slowly – it also gives you a face and a name at the gym you always know when you go which will help your confidence.’
Anthony also advises to go with a friend to boost your confidence, and make your workout a social event.
Thirdly, if running outside makes you want to run back home, try to follow some sort of guide to aid you.
‘I’d recommend downloading Couch to 5K – that will tell you all you need to do each day,’ says Anthony.
‘It starts very slowly and gradually builds up.’
Want to stick to your fitness resolution? Start small and slow
‘The best way to stick to a fitness resolution is to make goals that are as small as possible,’ Anthony says.
This way, you don’t feel overwhelmed with what you have to do – and every small goal accomplished motivates you to work harder.
‘Cutting it to small achievable goals will keep your motivation high for sticking to your resolutions,’ he adds.
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