Urban Fitness… It’s A (Concrete) Jungle Out There
Have you thought about getting fit but don’t know where to start? Sometimes the most effective way to start is with small changes to your daily life. The good news is that you need neither more time nor money to increase your general sense of wellbeing. Yes, you can bluff your way to overall fitness… Here’s a cheat sheet to make an ordinary working day a day of health, vitality and smug self-satisfaction.
You’ve probably read countless times to drink two litres of water a day. Take a bottle of water with you everywhere – to work, to the shops, to the cinema (and avoid those colossal cups of fizzy stuff). I can guarantee you’ll get so sick of carrying the full bottle that you’ll drink it to lighten your load. Easy.
Your metabolism is how effectively your body turns food into energy. A fast metabolism means you burn calories more quickly. Kick start your metabolism every morning by eating breakfast. Even if all you can manage is a piece of toast as you walk to the bus, you’ll give your stomach something to work on. Try to look for slow burning fuel (i.e. whole grains and cereals) at this point of the day.
When you get to work, the vending machine may try to lure you into it’s evil grips. Be strong! Save money! Take some chopped vegetables to work and have something yummy, colourful and guilt-free to nibble on. A fruit bowl is also a fab idea – five bananas, five apples and five tangerines at the beginning of the week will mean that you’ll have to eat one piece of each fruit each day to empty the bowl by the end of the week. Otherwise let the lot go mouldy. Well, we’ve all been there, haven’t we?
On the subject of food, for a change, try going for simple foods. One way to do this is to eat food with fewer ingredients on the label (i.e. less processed food). Even better, aim for foods with no labels – raw fruit and vegetables can make you feel revitalised. Your stomach will thank you for giving it less chemicals to digest. Try new foods! Not only will you be a culinary adventurer, but you may also be giving your body different nutrients to your normal diet.
Lunch should be time to yourself, so escape from your desk. If you’re lucky enough to work near a gym that you frequent (or perhaps infrequently frequent), think positively and enjoy the time to yourself whilst you’re sweating it out. It’s amazing how many niggling problems can be solved whilst working out (it must be something to do with the increased blood flow). Think of the endorphins! If you’re not a gym bunny, go for a walk, get some fresh air into your lungs and come back to work glowing with the cobwebs blown fresh away.
Back at your desk have a posture check. Maintaining good posture with your stomach tucked in and your back straight is amazingly one of easiest ways to reduce your waistline. Have a peek at a Pilates book or mat class and come to terms with the philosophy behind Joseph Pilates exercise regime. In brief, his philosophy involves the developing of the ‘girdle of strength’. In plain English this means that strengthening your abdominal muscles will assist your posture and general well-being. A must for anyone who sits at a desk all day!
About mid-afternoon many of us feel that familiar dip and head for the coffee machine for a cure. Don’t be fooled! Try replacing your afternoon coffee with a herbal tea or juice and notice the difference. It’s guaranteed that you’ll not feel overwhelming lethargy an hour or so after as happens with caffeine… Peppermint tea is refreshing and won’t leave you with stinky coffee breath.
So you’ve not had you’re caffeine hit? Don’t worry, stretch! A good stretch will revitalise those tired/ bored/ stressed muscles. Stretch randomly throughout the day to encourage blood flow to your muscles, and to refocus your concentration on the job at hand.
Most importantly, keep a positive outlook on looking after your body. You’re not punishing yourself by denying yourself junk food and lazing around, rather you’re helping your body to be all that you can be! Let’s drink (water) to that!