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Budget exercise

Getting enough exercise into your life and enjoying the benefits of a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to break the bank

“It is that time of year again when all attention focuses on health and fitness,” says Carl Cautley of Health & Fitness Together, Ranelagh, Dublin 6. “It would be my recommendation to look long term. Don’t look for the quick fix, it doesn’t work and can be harmful as most solutions are not safe or sustainable.”

The problem for most of us is that it’s hard to make yourself exercise when it’s cold and dark. With this in mind, the first part of the body to work on is your mind. If you think you can change your body in a few short weeks then you are setting yourself up for failure.

“Think about it, if you have been putting on weight gradually for 10 years, even ½lb per month that is 60lbs,” says Carl Cautley. “You can’t expect to lose this in six weeks, three months or even six months. About 2lbs a week is realistic, but the key is to make lifestyle changes gradually over time that stick and will last forever. Exercise and nutrition are key. Build time into your schedule for both and make them a priority, as important as any business meeting.”

So your first step to a healthier body is to think about what you want to achieve then break this down into achievable goals. If a goal is too big you are more likely to fall at the first hurdle and revert back to back habits. If it helps you to focus on your goals, draw up a plan of what you want to do each day and stick it to your fridge. Smartphone apps can be very helpful with this too.

Plan your life

Trying to get your eating habits into a steady and healthy pattern is a great first step to take while adding some ‘invisible’ exercise into your day. So always have breakfast to avoid making bad food choices later in the morning, eat every three hours to keep your body’s sugar levels steady and choose healthy options where you can. Plan what you are going to eat, and healthy snacks too so that you are not forced to buy unhealthy food out of desperation. Vegetable soups, avoiding butter and mayonnaise on sandwiches and adding salad to sandwiches are ways to make your lunch choices that bit healthier. Keep your fruit bowl packed with healthy fruit.

Keep a pair of trainers at work and when the weather is dry get out for a 20 minute walk at lunchtime. Get off the bus a stop earlier or walk or cycle to work. Don’t jump into the lift, take the stairs. All exercise adds up and will help your cardiovascular health.

If you can resist the temptations of food or TV why not do some exercises at home? Many people find yoga is a portable exercise – you can do it anywhere as long as you have a mat. Changing into comfortable gear can help you make the transition from work to exercise. Running up and down the stairs, dancing to music while making dinner, anything you do can help to make you healthier.

When you have finished make sure to reward yourself with a non-edible treat – run a deep bath and add yummy essential oils. Write down what you have done in your diary or on a calendar – keeping a record can help you to track your progress and see how exercise is helping your body.

For some people the only way they can motivate themselves to exercise is to spend time with a trainer who will push them to do it. “Our private small group training targets clients who want personal training but can’t quite afford it,” says Carl Cautley. “We do circuit training to include resistance, cardio and flexibility. There’s one trainer to a maximum of six clients in the class. After personal training it’s the next best thing.”

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