Text by Ann Rempel

Simply put fitness means being able to get through your day without undue fatigue and still have enough energy left to enjoy leisure activities. We can all get more fit by making active living part of our daily lives whether it’s at home, work, school or play. Ideally the experts would like us to be active for 60 minutes a day which for most people seems like an overwhelming task to achieve when first embarking on their fitness plan. The good news is you can break that down and begin by doing up to 10 minutes three or more times a day, then gradually increasing the frequency and or duration until you reach your goals. Always focus first on what you can do then build on the intensity of your activities and add a variety of exercise. Remember that just 20 minutes of activity a day will dramatically increase energy levels, help decrease stress, improve posture, increase flexibility and even lower blood pressure.

Activity literally pumps energy around the body, your pulse rises while blood and oxygen are supplied to your muscles. Exercise for a steady pace and your body will start to burn fat. Aerobic exercise conditions your heart and lungs while exercises like weight training will increase overall strength and endurance. Strength training combined with aerobic activity can actually change your body composition by building lean muscle making your body an efficient fat burning machine. This gets increasingly more important as we age and lose muscle mass. We also need to remember the importance of eating well and its role in achieving our weight loss and or fitness goals.

To get started decide which forms of exercise will give you the most pleasure, choose those that can fit into your schedule and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. For inspiration or motivation use music, videos, exercise classes, make a fitness commitment with a friend or ask a fitness professional to help get you started.

The need for an active healthy lifestyle is increasingly being recognized and appreciated for all its benefits to achieve a happy healthier you. Remember to start simple. Walk wherever possible, take the stairs, walk at lunch, dance while doing house work and put a little zip in all you do throughout your day. Take time to yourself, get enough sleep, eat well, de-stress and enjoy life.

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