As we go hurtling into the new year after the festivities and over indulgences of the Christmas period, the press, social media, TV etc will all be full of reasons why we should keep fit. Running alongside this will be a myriad of ways we can keep fit, and adverts for all sorts of gym memberships, fitness classes (mine included), fitness apps and so on.
This of course is brilliant! There is no doubt that incorporating physical activity into your week will give you more energy, improved flexibility, generally make you feel good; improving your health both physically and mentally. What is there not to like about exercise? It can do all of this for us. It’s not just a cliche bandied about by annoyingly fit people – it is actually true!
Most of us know this deep down; the hard part is motivating ourselves to choose our physical activity and stick to it for the next twelve months. I absolutely love the feeling of being relatively fit; the way my muscles look and feel more toned after a workout. That little feeling of an aching muscle after a particularly hard exercise or working a muscle group you haven’t worked that hard for a while. The feeling of satisfaction after a run or long walk – the smugness perhaps! But, like most people, I am not always that keen to actually get up and ‘do’ that workout or go on that long run. In order to get myself out of bed half an hour earlier on that cold January morning so that I have enough time to workout or run, I really have to focus on how I will feel both physically and mentally afterwards, or to be honest, even five minutes in.
For me, the key thing is to do something you enjoy or wish you could do. For example, I love doing my Strengthen and Stretch Weekly Workouts. The feeling of a lovely stretch, the challenge of holding that plank a little bit longer than last week, loosening up through various joints and maintaining an overall toned look. I feel passionately about what I do and therefore enjoy filming and doing the workouts – I can feel the benefits every day. Other members of my family are runners and I always wondered if I could run as far as they often do. I could run a slowish 5km, but had never taken it any further. Against my better judgement I signed up (or was press ganged into signing up) for the Great South Run. With this challenge looming, if I didn’t want to fail, I had to get out there and train to run further. It was a real love/hate relationship! Loved the feeling from about 10 minutes into the run; especially loved the feeling after the run – gradually clocking up the mileage; absolutely hated (and still do) the actual getting going, the pre-thinking!
So, why not set yourself a goal, sign up with a friend and get your fitness levels up in 2020. Motivate each other. Find an activity you love or you’ve always wanted to try and you have more chance of making yourself get up and do it. If you can incorporate some strength training, some cardio vascular exercise and core and posture training, you’ll be doing your body a lot of favours. Then make this physical activity become a habit – keep it going through January and February. By then if you give up in March you will really feel the difference and want to keep it going and not stop. We are not talking about becoming body builders or marathon runners here; just being more physically active than we might be now!
Signing up to something is one of the best ways to keep your new habit going. If you’ve paid for it, you are more likely to carry on. Agree to do it with a friend. When one of you is feeling unenthusiastic, the other will be knocking on the door, trainers on, or waiting at the fitness class, saving a mat/space.
So as you reach for another chocolate or that extra glass of red wine this Christmas-time, enjoy it, but spare just a little thought on how you will look after your body more in 2020. As we all get older our priority should always be doing more physical activity not less!
Do contact me if you’d like to learn more about Strengthen and Stretch Weekly Workouts. A small, friendly online group of people, getting fitter in the comfort of their own homes; with exercises designed to be doable, although sometimes challenging, (with variations for different abilities) in a small space, at a time that suits you. All you have to find is 30 minutes at a time. Perfect for adding into an existing exercise regime; great for sports people who want to even out their physical activities, have a stretch, strengthen, loosen and tone; or ideal if you just want to get into exercise and have a go at home where no-one else can see. Just push back the sofa and enjoy!