10 easy ways to get fit in 2016 — without going to the gym

Brush your teeth on one leg, squeeze your tea cup and walking up the stairs are just a few cheap and effective ways to get fit, says Trust Me I'm a Doctor presenter Michael Mosley

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It’s January and across the nation we are looking down at the extra inches that have appeared on our waistlines and wondering if our credit card can stretch to a gym membership. Somehow we got fat and we’re determined to do something about it.

Good for us, says Michael Mosley, doctor, renowned TV health investigator and co-author of the Fast Diet books based on the 5:2 fasting/not fasting regime. But we don’t need to go to a gym.

“Don’t spend a load of money if you’re not going to use the gym,” says Mosley. “I knew I wouldn’t, so I looked for ways to stay aware of my calorie intake and to introduce exercise into my life. Little tricks and cheats that can help you live a healthier and longer life.”

This can be as simple as leaving your trainers by the front door. “You are much more likely to go for a run in the morning.” Or you might try weight- lifting with a bag of sugar – though don’t put it in your tea. “Actually, it’s best not to open the sugar,” he says. “It will go everywhere.” Here, then, are Mosley’s ten ways to cheat your way through January – and onwards towards good heath. 

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1. EAT HEARTILY – AND EARLY

Research with rats suggests that eating your daily meals within a 12-hour window – from breakfast to dinner – will see you gain less weight than having the same amount, but more spread out. Other studies have found that people on a diet who eat their daily calories as just two meals – say a hearty breakfast and late lunch – gain less weight than people who spread out the same amount of calories as six meals a day. The two-meal group also said they felt less hungry. So, the old advice of eating lots of small meals is probably nonsense. 

2. STAY OUT OF THE FRIDGE AT NIGHT

However you group your meals, it’s always best to resist the temptation of late-night snacking. We tested my blood fat levels and found they are raised late at night, even if I’m not eating anything – it’s just my body preparing itself for sleep. So eating a meal with fat and sugar before you go to bed is pouring fat onto fat. A really bad idea. 

3. BRUSH YOUR TEETH ON ONE LEG

When I’m brushing my teeth I stand on one leg for 30 seconds and then the other one and back and forth. That way I get to brush my teeth for about two minutes, increase the strength in my legs and improve my balance. Your sense of balance deteriorates as you get older. In fact, one of the tests of how well you are ageing is to try to stand on your weak leg with your eyes closed and see how long you can keep that up for. A study found that those in their 50s who could only manage a few seconds were far more likely to die before the age of 66 than those who could manage ten seconds.

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4. GO TO SLEEP

If you’re tired you probably compensate for the stress by eating more. Sleep deprivation is undoubtedly adding to our national girth so make getting a decent night’s sleep a priority. 

5. EAT LOTS OF SPROUTS

I used to tell people to eat vegetables and didn’t really do it myself, I much preferred bad things like chocolate. So, you’ve got to learn to love vegetables and probably the best time to learn to love them is by letting yourself get hungry then satisfying your hunger with veg. Now, although
I still crave chocolate, I also crave vegetables. Even if you’re not fasting you should load up on winter greens such as sprouts and cabbage. 

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