It’s easy to be lazy at times. In this modern age a lot of stuff just gets done for us. We can travel for miles in quick time just sitting down, and you can go shopping without going anywhere. All this convenience, however, can come at a cost: our fitness. Sedentary lifestyles – to which many us are now exposed and increasingly susceptible – are a problem, and as such we are more conscious than ever about our fitness.
With the pressures and demands of modern life finding the time to exercise isn’t easy
The fact that too many Brits are not physically active is well documented, but some of the detail still shocks. A fifth of Scottish people say they have not walked for more than 20 minutes even once over the past year. The toll this sort of inactivity takes on the public health is significant.
When New Year comes around many of us make resolutions and commitments to getting fit, but often they simply fail to materialise or quickly fall away. Time and the pressures of modern life make delivering on those promises difficult – there is no shame in that. But as we hurtle towards spring and summertime, it’s not too late to arrest the slide. So how can we get fit quick?
Getting fit quick
High-intensity interval training (or HIIT) is the most effective way to work out and get fit quickly. It essentially involves short and intense bursts of exercise with short recovery segments. The unique selling point of high intensity interval training is that it keeps your body burning fat even after you’ve finished your session. During a HIIT workout, your body is unable to transfer enough oxygen to your muscles during the periods of hard work. Your muscles then accrue a ‘debt’ of oxygen that must be repaid post-workout in order to get back to normal. The result: your metabolism is charged for hours after you’ve finished working out. You can broadly adopt any type of exercise that gets your heart pumping – burpees, high knees, star jumps and mountain climbers are all popular. For more info check out this excellent guide to HIIT.
Whether on an actual bicycle or an exercise bike, cycling is an excellent way to burn calories and get fit. As with HIIT, the key to effective cycling is intervals – those bursts of extra effort that do wonders for your fitness. Steady, one-paced bike rides will not really suffice, particularly if you repeat them. Change your pace – try cycling flat out for one minute, then take three or four minutes at normal cruising speed to recover. Then go again four or five times. You will find these bursts become easier – so keep challenging yourself with hill climbs or other stiffer tests. Take a look at this guide for a more detailed look.
Not all of us have the time – or inclination – to go to a gym, and so the idea of exercising and getting fit in the comfort of your own home is appealing to many. Burpees, squat thrusts, tummy crunches, planks and other forms of exercise are all easy to carry out at home, and represent quick and intense routines to get your heart pumping, endorphins flowing and fitness levels increasing. Check out these five, ten and fifteen minute workouts appropriate for women or men.
You can’t cheat your way to fitness, and if you want to get fit quick it is going to hurt – but the post-exercise buzz sometimes known as ‘the runner’s high’ will likely ensure will keep you coming back for more, and you will be rewarded as the pounds drop off and the tummy flattens. Good luck!
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