It’s official. The Olympics are officially over and no longer can we sit on our couches screaming bloody murder at the TV wanting Team GB to go for Gold.
Whilst we might have the delights of the Great British Bake Off and X Factor back on our screens, ITV took the unprecedented step of switching of all of its seven channels for an hour this last weekend to encourage people to take part in sport following the success of the Great Britain team in the Rio Olympics.
The move, which also saw thousands of sports clubs up and down the country open their doors for free over the Bank Holiday weekend, was part of an initiative by the National Lottery to encourage people to get up off their sofas and start motivating themselves to get fit.
But if you’ve missed the free initiative, fear not because we’re on hand to give you a few tips on how to get from couch potato to fitness fan in a few easy steps.
Get Fit For Free
There are lots of free ways you can get up off the settee and start making steps to becoming a healthier you. What’s more they’re absolutely free as well so you don’t need to worry about your bank balance!
Firstly, start by walking. Walking is a super effective way to get healthy and it’s the perfect way to gently ease you in building up your activity throughout the day. Walk everywhere you can – from the shops to your workplace. You can even incorporate longer walks at weekends around local beauty spots, parks or even places of cultural interest.
The Couch to 5K is a free running plan that you can download as a podcast and will help you build up your stamina and activity. Simply download the audio guide and get going. The plan begins with three runs a week and a different plan of action for each week as you go along.
Check out recycling websites such as Freecycle to pick up a freebie. Whether it’s a pair of free weights or some exercise balls, Freecycle is a website where people often give away what they no longer use. That way, you can exercise in the comfort of your own home with an item that you got for free! Perfect.
Change Your Diet
Once you’re beginning to feel healthier and a little more active, it’s time to change up your diet. You don’t have to make huge changes but you’ll be surprised at how a few simple swaps can make a huge impact on your feeling of well-being.
Firstly, cut back on unhealthy snacks. Everyone loves a Mars bar or two (or five), or a packet of crisps but if you swap these with fruits and vegetables, your body will be nourished naturally and you’ll actually feel fuller for longer. Carrot sticks, celery sticks and apples are great for snacking as are nuts which are high in fibre.
Next, cut out fatty foods where possible. Stick to lean, protein rich foods which have a lower fat content and eat seafood regularly as a balanced diet is a healthy one!
Join your local gym to keep you motivated. Many gyms now offer memberships where you can take advantage of the pool, sauna, fitness classes and the gym itself so you by joining, not only will you have the motivation to go (because, after all, you are paying for it!) but you can also enjoy a wide range of activities to keep you going.
If you’re still a little apprehensive, begin with swimming at quieter times to get a feel for the pool and the exercise, then move on to doing fitness classes. You can usually pay as you go with these and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people who have the same goals and interests as you. You never know – you might meet your gym partner there and then you’ll be on your way to becoming a hardcore fitness fanatic in no time!