Getting in shape is no light matter. Roughly 25% of adults do not meet the recommended levels of physical activity. A person who is insufficiently active has a 20%-30% higher risk for death than a sufficiently active person.
You need to get off the couch, trim the fat down, and bulk up your muscles. Your life depends on it. Thankfully, learning how to get in better shape requires only a few minutes.
How should you prepare to get in shape? What foods should you eat, and what exercises should you perform? How can you avoid getting stressed out or exhausted?
Answer these questions and you can make getting in shape a cinch. Here are 11 tips you should follow.
- Set Fitness Goals
Many people start exercising because they want to get in shape, generally speaking. That’s an okay goal for yourself, but it’s hard to track how you are doing.
Try to pick a specific goal that you can hit during a particular period of time. You may want to reduce your body fat percentage by 10% or make your waistline six inches smaller. You can achieve either of these goals in a year without pushing yourself too hard.
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Most doctors recommend that people eat four servings of fruit and at least five servings of vegetables a day. Talk to your doctor about how many fruits and vegetables you should eat and if there is anything you should avoid.
In general, you should try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Leafy greens contain numerous essential nutrients, including dietary fiber. You can buy kale, spinach, and microgreens from most grocery stores, and you can eat them raw or roasted.
Citrus fruits have high amounts of fiber and vitamin C. If you think they are too sweet or sour, you should try berries and apples instead.
However, not all fruits and vegetables are good to eat in large amounts. Potatoes, corn, and squash have some essential nutrients, but they are high in calories and carbohydrates. You should eat them in moderation.
- Increase Your Consumption of Non-animal Proteins
Protein helps you build muscle before, during, and after exercise. Yet you should not eat every source of protein you have in your fridge. Red meat has high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat, which can offset the benefits of exercising.
It is okay to eat small amounts of white meat and seafood. Seafood contains omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation. Try to eat oily fish such as salmon and trout.
But non-animal sources of protein are even better for you. They have low amounts of unhealthy fat and high amounts of healthy fat. They can contain just as much protein as meat, and you can use them in many recipes.
Legumes include beans, peas, and lentils. Try to have at least one serving of legumes a day. You can also eat nuts and seeds, including peanuts and walnuts.
- Drink More Water
Water lets nutrients flow through your bloodstream and flushes toxins out of your system. You should drink a glass of water every time you eat, which will help you digest your food better.
You should also drink water whenever you are feeling thirsty or tired. Dehydration can cause fatigue, even if you had a glass of water a couple of hours ago. Drink a glass of water before you exercise and keep sipping water while you are exercising.
Avoid drinking alcohol, which can inflame your tissues and dehydrate you. It is okay to drink caffeinated beverages, but limit your consumption to one or two a day. Do not add milk or sugar to your coffee and tea.
- Sleep Eight Hours a Night
Sleep lets your body repair itself and fight off infections. You should get at least eight hours of sleep every night. You may need more if you are feeling tired or if you have a sleep disorder like insomnia.
To cue your mind that it is time to sleep, you should go to bed at the same time every day. You can perform a winddown activity to calm your mind and body down. Journaling, reading, and meditating tend to work, but you can also try light stretches and short walks.
If you don’t get eight hours of sleep, go easy on your body during the day. Exercising while you are sleep-deprived can tear your muscles or strain your heart. Try to nap so your body can relax and avoid strain.
- Relax Your Mind
It is extremely difficult to exercise if you are not in a good mental place. Getting eight hours of sleep is one way to improve your mental health.
You should also do something to decompress at the end of each day of work. You can play video games, listen to music, and read a book.
Try to do a mindfulness activity so you improve your mental focus. Meditating lets you focus on your breath while you are sitting down. If you want to combine mindfulness with exercise, you can try yoga or walking meditation.
- Get the Perfect Sneakers
Sneakers give you flexibility and protect your feet from debris and collisions with the ground. There are many types of sneakers, so you need to spend time doing your research.
The Nike Air Max 96 has cushioned rubber soles, making it a good shoe for runners. You can shop for Air Max 96 shoes through online retailers, and you can find shoes in many different colors.
If you’re interested in other ways to exercise, you should consider buying sneakers elsewhere. You can find tennis, basketball, and hiking shoes from sports stores and thrift shops.
- Try Playing Sports
Running on a treadmill or bicycling on an elliptical machine can be fun. But playing sports is even more fun because you are competing with others to win games.
Take a look at community centers near you and see if they run any sports leagues. Join a team for people around your age and compete against other teams in your area. If you can’t find a local league or team, you can start your own.
Consider playing a few different sports, including ones you haven’t played before. Ultimate frisbee is similar to football, but it is not a contact sport, which makes it easier on your body.
- Focus On Compound Exercises
Compound movements engage multiple muscle groups at once. Performing these exercises saves you time and helps you mimic real-life movements like picking objects off the floor.
You can start with squats, which strengthen your leg and core muscles. Stand up straight and then lower your hips as though you are trying to sit down in a chair. Hold your position for a few seconds and then stand up and repeat the process.
If you want to strengthen your arms, you can hold dumbbells or barbells as you squat. Adding weight will also flex your leg and core muscles more, which can add definition to those muscles.
- Change Things Up
You should exercise several times a week. However, doing the same exercises and playing the same sports can get boring, especially if your goal requires you to work out for a year.
Try to perform at least one new exercise a month. You can also try exercising in a new gym or location you haven’t been to before, which can give you new visual stimuli.
As you build muscle, you should increase how heavy your weights are. They should always be a little hard for you to lift, though you should be able to hold them with a firm grip.
- Get Help When You Need It
17.1% of American adults are on special diets. Many of them are trying to lose weight and get in shape. You can find someone who has the same fitness goal as you and work together to reach your goal.
You can also join a gym, fitness club, or another organization that helps people get in shape. You can find a group online or you can get a recommendation from a friend about one.
You should talk to your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan. Get advice on how you can hit your goal and check in with them to see if your vital signs are good.
Figure Out How to Get in Better Shape
Understanding how to get in better shape means figuring out a few things. You should pick a goal you want to meet, and you should eat less meat.
You can start exercising once you have tools like sneakers that help you work out. You should try many different exercises, including cardiovascular and muscle-building ones.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep so your body repairs itself. If you need help, you can get it from your doctor, a psychiatrist, and a personal trainer.
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