I'm sure all of us, at least once in our lives, have made a New Years resolution to become fitter, healthier, lose weight and so on. In my opinion, its definitely a worthwhile resolution to make but instead of following the latest crash diet craze (been there..), hitting the gym relentlessly (done that...) and then finding that by the end of January you've spent a fortune and you've lost all enthusiasm (got the T-shirt!) why not try something different this year?
1) Couch to 5K - I am always recommending this free app to people who mention that they want to become a bit fitter. Most of the people that I know have completed it had never run in their lives before starting the 9 week programme (and really needed persuading that running might be for them!), but after successfully completing it, love running so much they end up carrying on. The programme starts off very gently by alternating walking with short bursts of jogging and gradually builds on this over the weeks until you find you are suddenly running a full 5k. The app with all the podcasts can be downloaded for free here . There are also Beginners to Runners groups that meet locally if you'd prefer the support of others. Once you have completed the 5k, Parkrun UK is an amazing, free, organised run held every Saturday morning in various local parks.
2) Walking groups - Our local councils run free walking groups that meet weekly from various locations. The walks range from 30 minutes to 1 hr 30 minutes. It is well documented that walking has numerous health benefits including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, aiding weight loss, increasing bone density and keeping joints and muscles strong. These groups also provide company and support from like minded people. To find out more about our local walks, times etc click here.
3) Exercise referral schemes - As health professionals, osteopaths are able to refer their patients onto exercise schemes at local gyms and sports centres. Working with the gym instructors, a program is designed to fit your individual needs including gym, studio and pool workouts. You can then visit the gym/pool as many times as you wish over a 10 week period for a small charge of £2.50 a visit. For more information regarding the scheme click here.
4) Join a club - I have always found the best way to stay motivated is to be part of a group or team. Whatever sport or activity you may be interested in, there is almost always a local club. Clubs are always looking for new members and are very friendly and welcoming. Once you've made lots of new friends, exercise becomes a form of socialising that you won't want to give up.
5) Set realistic goals - Whatever your current fitness levels, setting realistic goals is the perfect way to keep you motivated. The sense of achievement once you have completed a specific goal (whatever that may be!) will make you want to set the next, and the next...
I know I said top 5 but I had to include this one..
6) Stay off the 'sad step' - I'm borrowing the term 'sad step' from The Body Coach (aka Joe Wicks) but it definitely sums up what the scales are. To me, the numbers are not the most important thing. Every one of us will 'weigh differently' and it is very easy to become disheartened when the scales aren't telling you what you had hoped. Our emphasis should be more about how we feel..more energetic, happier and healthier.
I hope you have gathered some inspiration from this and it has given you an insight into just a few of the wonderful, often free, opportunities that are available to us. I would love to know how you get on if you try any of the above (or if you have done in the past!).