Do your legs feel like lead when it is time for yoga class? Does your head punctually get a splitting headache before a workout session? Do you dread the prospect of sweating it out with the same old boring regime? It is time to spice things up and include some fun in your workout. Whether you are a beginner or a full-time regime-hopper or simply lazy, there is a regime for everyone. From the usual outdoor games of basketball and badminton to swimming and cycling, there are many ways to motivate you with a dash of fun. After all, sweating it out and enjoying it is a better way to shed calories than sweating it out and being unhappy!
Fitness in small doses
For people who lead a hectic life and stay on their toes round the clock, joining a fitness club becomes another appointment that is hard to keep and taking stress over fitness defeats the purpose. “Fitness is made up of four things,” says Sumati, trainer at Talwalkars Hifi gym, “Stamina, flexibility, endurance and vascular strength. Fitness means that you can go through your daily 24 hours of work without fatigue.”
You don’t have to invest in expensive workouts; there are a variety of exercises that can be done even at your desk at your workplace. “If you are spending a major part of 8 hours on your chair, make sure that the top one-third of the monitor is above eyelevel, not too low or too high. Your sitting position should such that your knees and hips should be all at 90 degrees and keep your spine erect without hunching,” advises Sumati. For sedentary jobs, stretching the neck from side to side and taking frequent breaks is also recommended. Taking the stairs instead of the lift and eating lunch without multitasking also go a long way in making the day less exhaustive. After long hours of staring closely at the computer, it is useful to go out into a hallway or to step outside and to look at something far so that your vision can adjust to near as well as far objects. Minor tweaks in lifestyle and small exercises throughout the day can contribute to health in unexpected ways.
Assessing your fitness
If fitness is a regular part of your day and you have the drive to mechanically follow a regime, it is equally important to know how your body has progressed. Mohana Priya, Slimming Head Dietician at VLCC says, “One of the biggest ways to motivate people is to assess their fitness. Every fitness centre should conduct a thorough informative session to explain the various activities and how they are beneficial for the body. For example, there is no use taking a break after 15 minutes of exercising as the fat cycle starts only from the 20th minute.”
Exercising with a goal in mind and having a clear picture of how various exercises affect different parts of your body can be a major drive to continue. Once into the fray for sweating it out, the slow and gradual taste of success can be enough to keep the treadmill running.
In fit company
The expression ‘the more the merrier’ is true not just for parties and hangouts, but for fitness as well. Why sweat it out alone when you can feel better seeing your friends do the same? Fix a couple of workout buddies so that once you have given them a time you cannot back out. The guilt of leaving them in the lurch will goad you into keeping your word. Also, working out together ensures that you don’t stop midway as there is always scope for encouragement. There is also that friendly pressure which makes you try harder.
Comparing yourself with others can be destructive if overdone but a limited amount can help you push your limits. If it is difficult to coordinate with friends, you can choose to work out real-time with fitness programmes available online. With the trainer and his trainees working out with you for 45 minutes to an hour, the experience can be like a real workout session. Furthermore, you can also choose the programs according to your level and stamina.
Variety, the spice of life
“I motivate myself by buying clothes one size smaller,” says Jaysree, a student, “I feel motivated to fit into those clothes as I have bought them.” Another fitness enthusiast Ashamani believes in keeping benefits at the end of every achievement. “It pushes me to realistically attain targets and I feel rewarded to continue.” While everyone has their own ways to know what keeps them going, you can learn what works for you by trying out various regimes. For example, if you are into dance, you can try dance fitness forms like the Zumba which combines aerobic movements with traditional dance forms like the salsa and the merengue. Other dance fitness programs include Pilates, an intense workout to tone, shape and strengthen the body and also Jazzercise, which combines Jazz music elements with dance movements. Whatever be the regime you choose, factor in parameters like the time of the day when you will exercise, the milieu, whether at home in a room or outdoors on a terrace, and the ambience.
Breathe your way to fitness
A hassle free way to achieve overall wellbeing is the Pranayama (breathing techniques) which does not require fitness gear or equipment. Prana refers to the vital energy that sustains us and flows through us through energy channels called ‘nadis’ and energy centres called ‘chakras’. The Art of Living foundation suggests that “the quantity and the quality of prana and the way it flows through the nadis and the chakras determine the state of one’s mind”. While the state of your mind is known to influence the body, breathing techniques ensure that you stay energised both mentally and physically. They can help to relieve stress and leave you with new reserves of energy. The Nadi Shodhan pranayama is known to purify 72,000 nerves in the body and to improve memory and concentration. While breathing techniques seem fairly simple, it is important to consult an instructor on proper techniques as experimentation by yourself can lead to negative effects on the body.
Changing your workout routine every month will keep you inspired and help you stay fit. Take a small sabbatical of two to three days between regimes to rejuvenate and recoup your energies and you will soon be raring to go again.