Whether you are a fitness freak or phobic new year is the perfect time to review your exercise regime and set yourself new goals. You might think that Fussy Foodie is just about getting your diet right but I am absolutely convinced that exercise is just as important for physical health, energy levels and psychological well being.
If you need some motivation to get moving here are my top tips for building up an exercise plan that you will want to stick to – and more importantly that you will enjoy!!
- Keep it varied. I think it’s really important to choose at least 2 different activities and decide which days you will do them on. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, if you just take up one form of exercise (e.g. swimming or a set gym routine) and aim to do it several times a week you are soon likely to get bored and the routine will slip. Also if you only take up one activity (e.g. walking) it might be good exercise but for all-round fitness you should mix it up with something else like weight training, pilates or body conditioning.
- Do it with others. Unless you are very self-motivated you are far more likely to stick to exercise and have fun if you do it with others. Arrange to meet a friend for a jog/powerwalk on a set day or join a keep fit class at a gym or in a local park – British Military Fitness are offering free taster classes in parks throughout the UK and they cater for all levels.
- Build activity into your weekends and holidays. You might choose to do your proper exercise sessions during the week but this doesn’t mean you have to become a lazy couch potato at the weekend! Go for a long walk to a country pub or into town – you can always get the bus back! When you are on holiday hire bikes and explore the local area or stick to off road trails, such as those at Clumber Park, where you can hire bikes and tandems.
- Set specific goals and monitor what you do. Use a pedometer or a stopwatch and keep a record of how far or fast you have walked, cycled, ran or swam. As you get fitter you will knock minutes of your time and seeing how much progress you have made will keep your motivation going. Entering a race or event gives you something to work towards and a real sense of achievement at the end. A 5k Race for Life is a great place to start – register your interest for the 2010 dates here.
Don’t give up at the first hurdle.
I reckon it takes at least a month to get into a new routine and for it to become a regular habit but if you really hate the activities you are doing or cannot get into a pattern then have a re-think of the types of exercise and times that you work out. Switching from after-work to before-work exercise means you can be up and off before having chance to think of a million excuses why not to go to the gym, pool or out jogging!
Just make sure you get your kit ready the night before so you don’t have to do anything in the morning.
Good luck and if you need some fitness ideas or inspiration get in touch!