Small steps to take toward good health

Don’t stress about making big changes – it’s the little things that count.

By Now to Love with AIA
Congratulations if you've decided to do your very best to live a healthier life, including exercising regularly. You're not alone if you're finding it a struggle.
It can be tricky to find the time or the motivation to exercise. Remember, being physically active doesn't have to mean working up a sweat at the gym or training for a marathon. Don't beat yourself up if that's not your cup of tea.
Instead, focus on planning ahead and introducing small, easy changes that will get you moving more and contribute to a larger goal of being the healthiest you can be.
Along with insurer AIA – who are all about encouraging Kiwis to live healthier, longer, better lives – we've come up with some ideas on how to make small changes to a healthier you.

Get motivated to move more with these simple steps…

Set realistic goals
Start with small targets appropriate for your current level of fitness. For example, if you've taken up swimming, start by doing a few lengths non-stop and then gradually build that up. Don't put too much pressure on yourself or compare your efforts with others.
Put aside 20-30 minutes a day to do something physical that's also fun
Whether it's dancing around your living room to your disco playlist, going for a bike ride with the kids or joining your mates for a friendly game of netball or a walk, choose enjoyable activities that don't feel like a chore.
Find an exercise buddy
According to researchers at Kansas State University, if you exercise with someone else you'll increase their workout time and intensity by as much as 200%. You're also more likely to have fun and less likely to skip a session.
Use your lunchtime and coffee breaks to get moving
A brief, brisk walk around the car park or up a couple of flights of stairs will get your heart pumping and muscles working, as well as boosting your mood.

To get moving, plan ahead with these top tips

1. Organise your day the night before so you can factor in time to exercise
2. Leave workout clothes and shoes out ready for your morning walk
3. Set an alarm to remind yourself to go for a quick walk at lunchtime
4. Get off the bus early or park further away so you get some extra physical activity

Healthy habits for you and your family

Editing a women's magazine is a joy, but it's a fairly sedentary occupation. Last year I got a Fitbit which proved that the busier I am in the office, the more deskbound I get and the less steps I take – and my kids were quick to monitor me and tut-tut after a deadline day.
This quandary called for drastic action. We now have our first family dog! Little Tui means daily walks are essential – and it's been wonderful for my fitness, family time and mental wellbeing. I'm now getting outside way more.
The lack of steps in my day also prompted me to make sure my gym membership wasn't just a local charity. I now go to a personal trainer at 6am two mornings before work. I chose Mondays and Wednesdays so I get two decent workouts done early in the week – and then weekend yoga and cardio sessions balance out the week. Getting up at 5.30am never gets easy – but the energy and focus I feel when I've exercised before work is the best.
Sido Kitchin, Editor-in-Chief, Woman's Day
Take a small step to a healthier you. For more information go to
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