5 ways to get into shape if gym's aren't your thing

It’s time – summer is just around the corner. You need motivation to get more active, and fast! The good news is that it doesn’t take many weeks of increased physical activity to notice results to how you look and feel. For a beach-ready body find activities that you’ll enjoy and stick to. The key is consistency; finding something you’ll want to do more often. You’ll feel your energy and vitality returning and the more you do, the more you’ll want to do. Here are some ideas to get you started:


1. Walk, up!

As we know there are many health benefits from walking moderately for at least 30 minutes a day (managing weight, lower risk for diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer).1 But if you add some variety to the terrain where you walk and add hills or stairs to work up a sweat, you’ll burn more calories and start to notice results almost immediately.2 Hill walking is a great way to get your body into shape; your lower half will gain more tone and definition.2 


2. Boot camp with friends and a trainer

Join a local boot camp, or rally a group of your friends and hire a trainer between you to bring the cost down. Exercising with friends is very social and great for motivation – letting your group down when you’re a no-show is a no-go.

Boot camps cover a variety of exercises providing full-body strength and cardiovascular workouts in a single hour. Typically you’ll do running, ab exercises, push-ups and resistance training. These types of exercises improve all aspects of fitness and increases your lean muscle mass within a short period of time.2 This is a proven way to tone up, get lean and feel amazing.


3. Hit the water

Drag out your swimming goggles, wetsuit, surfboard, or even kite surfing gear and hit the water. Swimming is a great way for anyone of any fitness level to get moving, whether it’s a challenge for you to do 2 or 20 lengths! It keeps your heart rate up with no impact, builds muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness so is great for toning all over your body.3

If you’d prefer to hit the surf but don’t have the gear (or skills!), make it a goal this summer to learn by renting gear and having some lessons. There are always deals online for stand-up paddle boarding lessons if surfing is too hard core for you.  Or if you want an extra challenge with a lot of intensity join your local surf lifesaving club and get qualified to become a lifeguard. This will give your weekends real purpose and think of the kudos you’ll get!


4. Have a swing at tennis

It’s a fun and social spring/summer activity. Playing outside with exposure to daylight will give you a dose of vitamin D which improves resistance to certain diseases and helps with your mood.4 Buddy up with a friend of similar ability and book in 2-3 hits a week, or join a local club. It's the ultimate workout – providing cardiovascular conditioning, plus strength and toning for your muscles. It’s also fun and brilliant for stress busting after busy work days!


5. Join a team sport

They’re great for motivation because it feels more like fun than hard work! You could join a local team for touch  or tag rugby, summer soccer, softball, or volleyball. Playing outside in the fresh air with some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), you’ll get a work out without it feeling like a drag. Additional running or cycling each week would be helpful for your fitness.  


Other ways to be more active

Don't forget the benefits you’ll get from the small surprising ways to get more activity into your life such as taking the stairs instead of lift, parking a little further away from where you need to go, dancing on a night out, pacing the malls while shopping - or the best one - walking or biking to work.

Aim to get your body moving enough to sweat three or more times a week – and you’ll soon be feeling summer-ready, more energetic and healthier. And when you’re healthy you look and feel better. It’s important to support your health with proactive maintenance through GP visits, physio, dental checks and more. Southern Cross has the perfect plan to keep your body in good form that includes day-to-day healthcare, check out HealthEssentials.  
Over 800,000 Kiwis trust Southern Cross with their health. Being not-for-profit they put your health first, so you can focus on feeling great and rocking life. Find out more and get a quote.


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1 How Much Weight Can You Lose Walking an Hour a Day? http://www.livestrong.com/article/392234-how-much-weight-can-you-lose-walking-an-hour-a-day/
2 The Benefits of Hill Walking: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/cardio/the-benefits-to-hill-walking.html
3 Boot Camp Fitness & Weight Loss Program, www.fitnesshealth101.com/fitness/weight-loss/programs/boot-camp
4 Swimming health benefits, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/swimming-health-benefits
5 The benefits of Vitamin D: http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d#Overview1