Would you like to get into shape & improve your fitness but don't know where to begin.
Is your life so busy that you find yourself snatching meals on the go? Your diet will have a significant impact on your energy levels and enthusiasm for exercise. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself, a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle could help give you the energy you need to get the most out of life.
Physical activity does not have to be strenuous, competitive or time consuming to be good for you. Even short sessions of activity can be effective. Aim to achieve at least 30 minutes of exercise most days.
Go for a quick walk during your lunch break.
Clear out the shed, cut the grass, walk the dog.
Establish a new tradition of a family walk at weekends.
Take up a new hobby such as yoga, dancing, water aerobics, pitch and putt, golf or swimming.
The Importance of good nutrition
Carbohydrate is an essential fuel for the body. Half your daily energy intake should come from carbohydrate foods such as breads, breakfast cereals (try wholegrain varieties), rice, pasta, potatoes, peas, beans, fruit and fruit juices. Include one or more servings of carbohydrate in each meal or snack.
Protein provides the building blocks for muscles and is required daily to repair the general wear and tear in your body. Ensure you get enough protein by having two servings a day from the following foods: lean red meat (e.g. beef, lamb, pork), chicken, fish, cheese, eggs, pulses.
Prepare meals with minimal added fat (especially saturated fat e.g. butter, cream). Try fat free methods of cooking such as grilling, roasting, steaming, micro-waving or boiling. Cut down on your intake of fried foods, take aways and high fat, sweet or savoury snacks.
Eat at least four servings of fruit and vegetables a day to ensure you get all the vitamins you need.
Iron is vital for healthy blood and normal growth and development. A recent survey has found that almost half of Irish women aged between 18 and 50 have inadequate iron intakes.* This could lead to the development of iron deficiency anaemia which can make you feel tired and lethargic. Lean red meat (e.g. beef, lamb, pork) is one of the best dietary sources of iron. The iron found in red meat is up to seven times more easily absorbed than the iron found in cereals, nuts, fruit and vegetables. Try to include lean red meat in your diet three to four times a week.
Calcium rich foods such as cheese, yoghurt and milk promote healthy bones.
An adequate fluid intake is vital for good health and you need more when you exercise. In order to stay well hydrated, drink water or diluted fruit drinks before, during and after exercise.
*North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey, 2001.www.iuna.net
- Exercise with a friend.
- Choose activities you enjoy.
- Vary your activities as much as possible.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Don't lose enthusiasm if you break your routine, just start again!
Levels of Activity
|Dusting & Cleaning
||Walking 3-4 km/hr
|General office work
||Painting & Decorating