GOAL: Walking 10,000 steps a day
WHY: Walking is a great way to improve your heart health, reduce body fat and strengthen your bones. Best of all, it’s easy to get started.
HOW: Get a pedometer and break your goal into smaller steps (pun intended). “Start with 2000 steps a day and build from there, adding about 10 per cent per week to the goal,” recommends Amy.
To get the most heart-health benefits, walk at a brisk pace where you can talk but not sing.
As your fitness improves, boost your steps further by taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off the train earlier so you have to walk further, or offering to walk a friend’s dog. Maybe enlist a friend to walk with you, which will help keep you accountable.
GOAL: Resistance training twice a week
WHY: Resistance training, or weight training, is important for building your muscle strength so your metabolism is burning fat efficiently (during and after your exercise session). It also does wonders for heart, bone and joint health, as well as boosting balance and flexibility.
HOW: If the idea of showing up to a yoga or Pilates class is too daunting, set a goal to do resistance training at home twice a week. Begin with 10 minutes a day, and build from there, suggests Amy.
“Start with three to four different exercises that target the big muscles, such as squats, deadlifts, pulldowns and rows,” says Amy. “YouTube has some great workout videos, or there are apps you can download with workouts. Once you have successfully completed those exercises in your goal time, add a couple more and increase the time, in five-minute increments.”
Mix up your exercise choices regularly to keep challenging your body. As your confidence increases, you might like to start weight training at the gym, or sign up for yoga classes.
GOAL: Running 8km
WHY: Running regularly burns calories, keeps your heart healthy and strengthens your muscles. And all it requires is a decent pair of shoes!
HOW: Having a goal to work towards can help you stay focused, so search online for running events in your area of around 8km – less demanding than a half-marathon, but still challenging enough to build your fitness.
If you’re new to running, or haven’t done it for a long time, start training about 12 weeks before the event.
“To start running, break that goal down into small increments of running while you are out walking,” suggests Amy. “One minute running, 1.5 minutes walking and build up until you are running for 10 minutes straight, then increase by 10 per cent each week,” she says.
GOAL: Swim 30 minutes a day
WHY: Summer is the perfect time to commit to swimming – a form of fitness that challenges your heart without putting impact on your joints. It’s also a great way to tone muscles while building strength and endurance.
HOW: Start with two or three laps a day at your local aquatic centre. “Then every one to two weeks, add another lap until you are happy with your distance to maintain,” says Amy.
Build up to 30 minutes a day, two or three times a week .
If you don’t know how to swim, or feel like you need a refresher, most public swimming pools offer swimming lessons.
If you haven’t exercised for a while, or you have any health conditions, talk to your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.