If you want this to be the year you finally get fit and healthy, here's the column for you. The third step is moving more...

By personal trainer Mareike Bout

Welcome to my ultimate healthy living guide. 

If you didn't read the first step, here it is: Step #1: taking stock

Step #2 was: addressing problems

So let's move on to Healthy Living Step No. 3: Moving more!

Here are my top tips for increasing your levels of physical activity:

  • Make it fun. Go on a hike, walk with friends, take a belly dancing or karate class, or whatever you enjoy. There's no need to only use the cardio equipment in the gym if you're dreading it and you don't like it. Find something that's fun to do which will make it easier to stick to for the long term.
  • Keep track of it. Make a note of your physical activity in your diary. Put big Xs on the days that you exercise. Keep a visual record that you look at frequently as a reminder and motivator.
  • Set a weekly goal for activity. To build your confidence, make the first goal so easy that you say: "I know I can do that." Set weekly goals because if you set a daily goal and miss a day, you might get discouraged. Weekly goals give you more day-to-day flexibility. And at the end of the week, reward yourself with a visual reminder of your accomplishment, such as buying flowers for yourself or a new top to exercise in.
  • Work activity into your day. Ten per cent of something is better than 100 per cent of nothing. So even if you have 10 minutes, it's better than zero minutes. Take a 10-minute walk before lunch or walk up and down the stairs when you're feeling drained and tired.

Oher ideas include wearing a pedometer to track how many steps you take per day (I recommend aiming for 10,000 steps per day) and working with a personal trainer (you can double up with a friend to lower the cost) to create an exercise routine.

Whether you're trying to lose weight, get fit and strong, or trying to improve your overall health, exercise is a critical factor in helping you achieve it. Get out there and get some! 

Next time we'll tackle Step #4: upgrading your diet.

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