Nine experts on the most underrated aspect of keeping fit.

As we’re bombarded with so much conflicting information on what to do, and how often, exercising “the right way” can seem like an impossible task.

So what’s really the most important part of being fit and healthy?

On a recent Reddit thread, experts shared what they thought the most undderrated thing about exercise was — and it’s a great reality check for those who need a little more motivation right now.

1. Consistency

It doesn’t really matter what you do — just do it often.

“Consistency is the single biggest factor in achieving any fitness goal. Maybe you can start getting up at six am and run five miles every day – but will you still be doing that six months from now? Maybe you can cut out all sugar from your diet this week, but will your diet still look like that in six months?” wrote dannyxopher.

Sam Wood walks us through a simple exercise circuit you can do just about anywhere you please. (Post continues after video.)

2. Small changes.

Every little bit helps.

“I have tried several times to go balls out and lose weight. I made it a week, if that, before I fell back into old habits. You cannot do that unless you have the willpower of a monk. Start small, cut out soda, then cut out a day of fast food a week, then two, then three. Then make fast food only once a week, twice a month, once a month, etc,” wrote another user.

“Same goes for exercise. You don’t want to start out running a marathon every day. Simply start walking and once you’re in the habit throw in a light jog. You don’t want to start with huge weights on your first week of lifting, you will never go back. You don’t build a pyramid with one big block. You put it together with several small ones.”


3. Good sleep.

So. Much. Difference.

Rest up. (iStock)

4. Be open-minded.

Fitness and being 'in shape' means different things to different people, depending on what they do to keep fit. Think of the difference between a weightlifter and a yoga enthusiast, for example — very different values and goals right there.

"Everyone has their own definition of fitness, and it's often very narrow. A truly fit person balances many different things. If you're elite in any one aspect of fitness, it very often comes at the detriment of other aspects," wrote one Redditor.

"Whether you choose to focus on weights and/or cardio and/or stretching, recognise that other forms of exercise are legitimate, and don't discourage people from achieving their own health goals just because it differs from your own." (Post continues after gallery.)

5. The power of 'one more'.

This, right here, is my new life motto.

"There are days when you don't want to work out or do anything, and you tell yourself you'll be no good going to the gym or working out at all (not rest days which are very important, just lazy days). Getting exercise, even a little, makes you a little better than you'd be without it — a little more healthy, a little closer to your goals. Moving is better than nothing," wrote gorge2012.

"Similarly, doing one more rep or doing one more pound than you did before proves that you have not maxed out. There is a mental game to fitness. You need to learn to beat yourself. There is always a 'one more'."

6. Eating well.

"You can't outrun a bad diet. Eat more veggies!" suggested one user.


Image: Getty

7. Taking enjoyment in it.

"Having fun while becoming fit is so underrated," wrote one user.

Remember it doesn't have to be torture. The best way to stick to something long term is to enjoy it.

8. Resting.

Yes, there's a difference between resting and being lazy.

"Recovery from training is so important. Newbies just don't know that fitness is gained during sleep — after training, not during," wrote one user.

Watch: A simple yoga routine, demonstrated by Paper Tiger. (Post continues after video.)

9. Patience.

Great things aren't built overnight.

"Patience. Plan around maximising your lifetime health and well-being. Not next week, not next month. When you take the long view, it clarifies a lot of your strategy," wrote one user.

"It makes it obvious that you can't achieve fitness by doing things you hate to do, because you need to plan on doing them for the rest of your life."

What do you think is the most underrated aspect of keeping fit?