A New Year, A New Start!

For many people the past 22 months have been an opportunity to reflect and invest in their health and wellbeing. Whether this has been running, walking, cycling, or taking part in virtual fitness sessions, we have seen a real increase in people wanting to take control of their health and wellbeing.

However, during this time, anxieties have understandably been heightened, and sticking to a new fitness regime hasn’t been the first thing on everyone’s minds. Many people will have found the past year or so difficult to adjust to, and any intended hopes of improving both physical and mental health may have been confronted with barriers.

For those that fall into this camp, try not to be too hard on yourself. The past year only represents a small fraction of time in your life and the chance to focus on yourself and build healthier habits is well within your grasp.

Here are some points to consider:

Goals are fundamental to any achievement. Whether in life, work, business or health, setting realistic and achievable goals can provide you with endless win-win situations that help improve confidence, motivation and drive long-term behavior change.

Keep GOALS as simple and achievable as you can. For example, this could be as little as to take a longer route home or taking the stairs instead of a lift each day.

Keep track of what you do, log it down on paper or your phone. This helps you focus on what you have already achieved and helps keep you motivated and encouraged as you continue.

Keep your targets fluid. Setting targets such as running a total of 5km per week is better than running 3 x per week. As everyone has ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days, having a set weekly target means you can adjust what you do in the week to help you achieve this.

Exercising with someone has proven to help you adhere to a regular pattern of exercising that just doing it on your own.

Find a friend or family member who is similar in nature and keen to commit to some plan. Be accountable to each other and ensure that you motivate each other along the way.

Avoid weighing yourself and setting weight-loss targets. This is the biggest reason why people fail as weight loss is extremely difficult to achieve and unique to each of us. What may work for one person does not necessarily work for another.

Instead, recognise how you feel after you have done any activity or exercise. Does it leave you feeling awakened, uplifted, with more energy, or are you feeling less stressed?

Recognizing these positive emotions is a stronger bond and encourages you to reach your goals again and again.

Find activities that you enjoy. You are more likely to continue with an activity if you enjoy doing it. If high-intensity cardio isn’t your thing, try incorporating a walk or light jog through nature into your weekly routine.

Not only is this great for your cardio fitness, but it will also benefit your mental health by reducing feelings of anxiety, depression and generally help you clear your mind.

Win-win! Look for activities you genuinely enjoy. Whether it’s cycling, yoga, pilates or dancing. You’re far more likely to stick to it if you have fun doing it!

Recognising that the mind and body are so interconnected is important. Whilst exercise is proven to prevent so many health diseases and conditions, it has positive effects on your mental health and wellbeing.

If work has been particularly stressful or you are having issues in a relationship, getting away and exercising can help you destress and may help in making your thought process seem clearer after.

Even just a ten-minute walk around the block can help to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety, so next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, grab your jacket and head out.

We all know exercise is essential to our overall health and wellbeing, but it can be really hard to find the motivation to get started. The main thing to remember is that we all work at a different pace and should take our time and be kind to ourselves. Everyone has the capacity to improve how they feel and look about themselves. Enjoy and have fun on your journey.