Dec 23, 2015

New Year = New Health?

It’s the number one New Year’s resolution, in all its various forms: ‘lose weight’, ‘get in shape’, ‘make healthy choices’, ‘eat well’. But it can become so automatic that we don’t ever stop to consider what we really want or need.
Don’t wait until you have genuine health issues before you think about working on your fitness levels. Everyone can benefit from increasing strength and fitness and today is a fantastic time to start making changes to your daily routine. Always seek a doctor’s advice prior to starting a new diet or fitness plan, but start making plans towards wellness right now, don’t delay it.
However, even if you are already a fit, healthy person with no immediate health concerns, planning to work out twice a day, seven days a week is excessive, unless you have elite sporting or athletic goals that require this sort of training, and can lead to illness and injury.
There’s no need to approach your new fitness goals in a strict, military style. Schedule a realistic and achievable amount of exercise; if you have a busy schedule, perhaps a lunchtime cardio class every day is unrealistic. Planning a super-strict and full schedule may be setting yourself up for feelings of guilt if a meeting runs over time or you need to run other errands on your lunch break instead. Know that you can make up your exercise at other times, and relax. Remember that missing a session doesn’t make you less of a person – lazy, uncommitted or ‘instantly overweight’. This sort of thinking leads to feelings of anxiety toward exercise, meaning that it will get harder and harder to get started or keep going. Be reasonable, balanced and positive.
Exercise doesn’t have to cost the Earth. You don’t need to spend large sums of money on something if you’re unlikely to use it for more than a month. Think carefully about how suitable your new plan actually is to your lifestyle and other commitments, or whether you think you will enjoy what you’re about to sign up for; in some circumstances you’ll be locked in for a certain amount of time so don’t let your hard earned cash go to waste. This doesn’t mean you have to resort to running alone every day to save dollars. If you want an ‘environment’ (to be surrounded by fit, healthy people so as to be motivated by those around you), think outside the box. Some boot camps offer free sessions to try before you sign up, free yoga classes are readily available, sporting squads and dance classes are also available without a 12 month commitment. Community groups will often be no cost at all, so check local notice boards, social media pages or Meetup for mothers groups, walking groups or free yoga in the park.
Remember that a weight loss goal should only be set so you can enhance your quality of life. If you are already a healthy person, don’t get hung up on trimming down to a ‘magic number’ (mainly because this can be an inaccurate reflection of your body composition), and instead focus on having a strong, healthy body so you can enjoy your life to the fullest. Be the voice of reason in a body focussed society, especially where children are concerned, and promote a happy, healthy relationship with your body.