Our guide to healthy habits and fab fitness

Let’s get physical! Produced in partnership with the UK Government. This UK Government advice for

Let’s get physical!

Produced in partnership with the UK Government. This UK Government advice for England only.

England has locked down again to help protect each other and the NHS, which means now is the perfect time to get into some healthy new habits that will benefit you and your whole family.

We’ve got all the ideas you’ll need to help you change your unhealthy habits and, together with friends and family, make this lockdown a healthy one. And there’s even more information available online – just go to nhs.uk/better-health. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get moving!

Fitness trainer and Strictly star Karen Hauer runs through her five top tips for keeping trim over lockdown

Work exercise into your day

Exercise sometimes frightens people – if they’ve never done it before, they might think they could injure themselves. But there are lots of ways you can stay active during lockdown, from playing your favourite music and dancing around for 15 minutes in your PJs to playing with your kids or your dog. It’s not all about push-ups and Lycra.

Make it a habit

Taking time for fitness is a form of self-care and lockdown is the perfect time to add new habits to your routine. Sometimes you might wake up and not want to work out – listen to your body and wait until you do feel energised. As long as you exercise regularly, it doesn’t really matter when you do it.

Get your heart pumping

Cardio is a great way to lose weight – anything that gets your heart rate up, think star jumps, jumping jacks or running on the spot. It doesn’t have to go on for hours, it just has to get you sweaty. With regular cardio, you’ll find that you’ve got more energy, and your mental wellbeing will improve too.

Become part of an online community

During the first lockdown, Strictly’s Oti and I got an online community together to exercise twice a day, just to get sweating. It was important for us to do things that would keep us positive. This time around I’m busy training for the show but I still put daily stretches on Instagram for people to try at home.

Eat well

As well as moving your body, you have to be conscious about what you’re putting into it. I’m not a diet kind of girl – I love to eat – but at the same time I try to be practical. Because I don’t have a lot of time, I tend to go for simple, healthy dishes like roasted salmon with veg and plenty of water.

Puppy power

When Joe Nutkins was looking for a way to stay healthy over the first lockdown, she turned to her furry friends for inspiration.

The dog trainer, from Clacton in Essex, suffers from ME. When daily woodland walks with her terriers Merlin and Ripley were off the table, she needed something gentle to that would help her stay fit and healthy.

The answer was Wag and Tone – a workout plan that you can do with your dogs, even when you’re spending time indoors.

Joe, 41, says: “If you’re a dog owner and can only get outside once a day, it can be hard to do enough exercise for you and your pets during lockdown. Wag and Tone is a bit like aerobics and it engages different muscle groups. For example, you might sit on a yoga ball to engage your core while your dog offers you alternate paws, or take it in turns to do step-ups.”

Combining Wag and Tone with the moves she teaches at her Certified Canine Fitness sessions at Dog Training for Essex and Suffolk, Joe started exercising with her wet-nosed chums two weeks into the first lockdown.

She says: “We did Wag and Tone at least three or four times a week, alongside daily walks around the block. And although the exercises aren’t too strenuous, they keep me moving and I feel refreshed after each session.”

Joe says that working out regularly with her four-legged friends gives her something to look forward to, not to mention an excuse to spend extra time with her pets. She adds: “Merlin and Ripley love it too. Especially when I reward their workout with a few treats.”

Download the Wag and Tone ebook at vivebooks.com

How can the NHS help?

Eat Healthy

The NHS weight loss plan is a free 12‑week programme to help you eat and exercise well. Sticking to a daily calorie allowance of around 1,900 for men and 1,400 for women, you could lose 1-2lb a week and keep it off. The NHS app and nhs.uk/weightloss have all the tools you need.

Up in smoke

Giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do to protect your health. Visit nhs.uk/smokefree for tips and advice on kicking the habit for good.

Banish the booze

If you’d like to cut down your intake, the NHS and Public Health England has lots of tips. Try using the Drink Free Days app to track your alcohol units.

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