Get fit for summer
From healthy eating tips and advice on running to the best fitness gadgets - read our get fit for summer guide
Heading away on a last-minute late-summer break? Here we'll compile the best gadgets to help you get fit, and also offer some tips on getting your beach body ready - from running tips to healthy eating.
The first thing to consider if you want to get fit for the beach is your current diet. What are you eating? Are you getting your 5-a-day? Are takeaways more than a weekly occurrence?
Here are a few tips for improving your diet, courtesy of the NHS.
- Eat lots of fruit and veg: This one goes without saying, but try to make sure you eat 5 portions of fruit and veg per day. A 100ml glass of unsweetened fruit juice counts as 1 portion.
- Eat more fish: try to eat 2 portions of fish per week - one of which should be oily such as salmon, tuna or mackerel. Oily fish is also rich in heart-protecting Omega 3.
- Cut down on saturated fat: there are good fats and bad fats, and saturated fat is bad. You'll find it in hard cheese, sausages and pies. Instead opt for foods that contain unsaturated fats such as oily fish.
Check out The NHS' 8 tips for healthy eating
A gadget for getting your 5 a day - Nutribullet juicer
A 100ml glass of fresh fruit juice counts as 1 of your 5 a day - make your own at home with the Nutribullet juicer. When making fresh juices it also retains the pulp, a healthy bit often discarded by other juicers.
Veg juicing is the epitome of a healthy lifestyle, and the Nutribullet's blades are powerful enough to transform vegetables into a smooth superfood drink at home.
Exercise - get running
You need to combine healthy eating with an exercise regime. Running is hugely popular, with more than 2 million Brits doing it at least once per week.
What's so great about running?
- It's cheap - well, free (once you've bought your trainers)
- You can burn around 1,000 calories an hour once you've got the hang of it
- It makes you happy - running releases natural endorphins. Just wait to see how elated you feel as you end a long run
- It will help you sleep - studies have shown it can help people sleep
- Can help reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
How to get started?
Getting started with running can be intimidating. But one of the main reasons people quit is by setting unrealistic targets and giving up before they've even had a chance to get going.
Couch to 5K is a great programme from the NHS, designed to take you from having never run before to running 5K in just 9 weeks.
The running plan for beginners gives you a tailored nine-week workout, starting from running for just 1 minute at a time.
Everything you need to know about Couch to 5K.
Essential gadgets for running and fitness
- Sports headphones
- Fitness tracking wristband
The music - iPod nano and Philips Action Fit sports headphones
Running without music is like strawberries without cream. Humans and songbirds are the only creatures that automatically feel the beat of a song, according to a professor at Northwestern University in the US.
When running, music can take your mind off the fatigue to a certain extent, while it can also motivate.
With the iPod nano you can hold 4,000 songs - create playlists stuffed with songs you know will leave you feeling inspired. And put them together so the most motivational tracks - something like I am the Resurrection by the Stone Roses - come on when you need it most, in the gruelling final slog.
Its large touchscreen means it's easy to skip a track if you're not feeling it.
It syncs with Nike + too. This means you can track your steps, distance and pace. Then if you want to compare with previous performances, use iTunes to sync to the Nike + site.
Of course, you need some earphones to listen to your iPod.
These ActionFit headphones from Philips are designed specifically for sport. They have ear loops to keep secure as you get into your stride - the loops can be adjusted too for the perfect fit.
They're also sweat and rain resistant, meaning you can carry on with your run even in a downpour.
- Wearable technology that counts the steps you take, calories you burn and distance you cover while you're out running - all from your wrist
- Sync them with an app on your smartphone to compare latest performance against previous ones
The Jawbone UP24 is a fitness band that will record your run but also look pretty cool on your wrist when you're at work or college.
Stuff called it the "best-looking fitness band out there right now" in its 5-star review.
It has a built-in pedometer to track your steps throughout the day and record your runs after work or at the weekend. You can even set yourself challenges and reminders - such as setting targets for the number of steps you take or a reminder to go for that run you've been putting off.
If you're way off hitting your target and the deadline is approaching, it can send a reminder to your phone.
There's nothing like quantifiable progress for motivating you to keep running. Sync it with your phone or tablet over Bluetooth to compare your latest run to your last.
You can't exercise properly without having a good night's sleep - and the Jawbone helps here too, with sleep-tracking features.
At a glance you can see how many steps you've taken and how much sleep you had over 24 hours.
The Garmin Vivofit is a separate fitness tracker that's housed in a wristband - unlike the Jawbone where the technology is built into the band.
The two-inch long tracker has a digital display that's always on, like a digital watch.
The screen will tell you how many steps you've covered, how many steps you have remaining (if you've set a goal), the distance you have travelled, calories you have burned. It'll also tell you the time and the date.
It also offers calorie guidance, giving you a target to aim for per day. Also, if you've eaten something naughty of a specific calorie number, you can watch those calories burn one by one as you run.
Training sessions can be logged easily when you've finished a run thanks to the tracker syncing with your smartphone app over Bluetooth.
You can then compare with previous runs on the app.
It sets you a daily exercise goal and then gradually increases it in line with whether you're achieving your goals or not.