Tips for improving your fitness without running

Maintaining fitness isn’t just about pounding the pavement. Vlad Shatrov, Runlab founder and trainer suggests a few small lifestyle changes that will give your wellness levels a boost.

Tip #1: Find more ways to move

Introduce incidental exercise to your day: get off the bus early, walk to the shops and carry your bags home, do calf raises while waiting in a queue, take the stairs instead of the lift and walk across the office to talk to colleagues rather than emailing. Introducing TV "fitness challenges" can also liven up a lazy evening. If you’re watching AFL, for instance, do 10 push-ups every time your team scores a goal and five squats every time they are behind. Double that when the opposition scores!

Tip #2: Get enough sleep

Good sleep has been proven to improve athletic performance, help your mind, repair muscles, and even aid weight loss. Aim for at least seven-and-a-half hours sleep a night. To aid restful sleep, keep the room dark and cool, wear loose, comfy nightwear and calm mind-chatter with relaxation or breathing exercises.

Tip #3: Adjust your diet

Losing weight can help you run faster and train harder for longer. However, a diet can also cause loss of muscle mass and that’s not so helpful. Cut out processed food, eat plenty of fresh vegetables, two or three serves of whole fruit each day and check you’re getting the best nutritional benefit from your choices. Swapping rice for quinoa, for instance, can increase protein intake while still providing fibre and carbohydrates. It’s good to eat within 30 minutes of exercise if possible to enhance recovery.

Tip #4: Watch what you drink

Alcohol reduces blood flow to the muscles. Keep drinking for special occasions and focus on improving hydration with water and sugar-free electrolyte drinks. "Unlike food, alcohol is not digested it is absorbed directly in the blood stream so that it can be eliminated from the body as fast as possible," explains  the Alcohol and Drug Support Line. "The liver is responsible for breaking down the alcohol and removing it from the bloodstream."