It’s that time of year again where we are all hoping to beat the bulge and get back in shape. However maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not just for those of us hoping to lose an extra few pounds; it’s essential to keep our bodies healthy.Leading a good lifestyle is also about more than just changing our eating habits and going through diet fads. The best way to get into shape is through regular exercise. There is no substitute for what regular exercise will do for you and in the age that we live in now there has never been more ways in which it can be undertaken.Partaking in a sporting activity that you enjoy is a good way in which you can maintain your personal fitness. Whether this activity is football, rugby, swimming or cycling; any of these represent a great way for you to get in shape and maintain your fitness. It must be keep in mind however when undertaking these that you are aware of injury. Anything from a sprained ankle to a broken leg could occur whilst you are playing any number of games, which is why you always need to warm up and cool down before and after playing. By doing this your muscles and tissues move with more freedom and are less prone to wear and tear.Your warm up exercises should focus mainly on the group of muscles that you are going to be using the most throughout your sporting activity. It is advised that these warm up exercises include jogging for between five and 15 minutes followed by gentle stretching for each of your main muscle groups. Your cool down exercises will be focused on light aerobics and the same gentle stretching used in your warm up.If sporting activities are however daunting and not very appealing but you still want to maintain your health and fitness then why not try joining a gym? This will have all of the right equipment and classes for you to choose from, ensuring that you get the exact results that you want. Before deciding which one you want to join you should ‘shop around’ for a bit first; go and visit a few, preferably in your local area so that you find one that is perfect for your needs and your wallet.A gym will provide you with the motivation to get fit as you will be surrounded by people who are all hoping to achieve a good level of health and fitness. Highly trained professionals know that being psychologically motivated is important if you want success from your health and fitness plan. In a gym it is almost like you have people to compete against. This sort of atmosphere will be perfect to get you motivated to work out.By joining you will not only be gaining access to all of the equipment that you need, you will also have a trained professionals on hand who will be able to help and advise you on the best classes to take and the best equipment to use. They will be able to write a programme based on your needs and have a wide diversity of activities to improve flexibility, mobility, posture, strength and power. A gym is designed with the right atmosphere and the right help for you to get in shape and start leading the healthy lifestyle that you want today.