ANOTHER DECEMBER FULL of parties and fun and excesses has come to an end and a bit like the lights going on in the pub at the end of the night January is here, glaring and unwanted but here nonetheless!
Most of us make new year’s resolutions, many of us do hope to keep them but the vast majority of us have fallen off the proverbial wagon by the time the much needed January pay cheque hits the bank accounts.
Health and fitness tops many lists of resolutions and 2016 will be no different, but how do we stick to it and come to think of it, why the hell should we?
We all know that we should eat well and exercise but here are some reminders as to why:
- Exercise increases your metabolism this means that it burns off the body’s fat even after you’ve finished a session. In fact, your body can continue burning fat for up to 48 hours after exercise.
- But you can’t out exercise a bad diet so don’t undo your good work with unhealthy ‘treats’.
- Exercise can help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease. If you don’t suffer with these exercising will help to make sure that you never do.
- Small changes make a big difference. Be realistic, make small manageable changes and stick to them.
- Exercise makes you happy. Fact. When you exercise the body releases endorphins and serotonin (the happy hormones) into the body. You may not feel ecstatic as you’re pounding the pavements or on another set of burpees, but you should notice a lift in your mood when you’re done, especially when combined with that smug satisfaction that you get when you’ve actually gone out and done something!
So, how do you actually get started? Well, first of all decide that you are going to, then set yourself three tasks for the next week including one exercise and one diet related one.
Keep them simple and manageable. Some suggestions are:
- Drink eight glasses (two litres) of water every day. Start now. Add some hot water, lemon or mint to keep it varied, but steer clear of cordials as they contain sugars and sweeteners.
- Assign three days where you go for a half hour walk or jog. No matter what the weather is like.
- Incorporate it into your current routine by going for a walk during your lunch break or get off the bus, luas or dart a stop early and walk home. If you drive to work then why not leave a pair of trainers in the car and as soon as you get home lace them up and get going?
- Eat more fruit and vegetables, but especially vegetables. Vegetables should make up about half of each meal; if you’re not a big vegetable eater then start small and work your way up.
- Set yourself the task of having two veg with every meal. Plenty of supermarkets run weekly specials on fruit and vegetables and the internet is awash with recipes so there’s no excuse for not trying them. Frozen vegetables are also useful to have as a back up when stocks have run low.
- Exercise or dance classes are a super and often sneaky way to get fitter while trying something new. Community halls and local gyms tend to have a good selection on offer and many classes will let you have a free trial before you hand over your money.
- Eat breakfast. Yes, we know you’ve heard it all before and for good reason. We’ve also heard all the excuses before and we’re not buying it! Eating breakfast gets your body ready for the day ahead, mentally and physically, and helps to reduce the cravings that many people experience during the day. It also helps prevent the sugar highs and slumps that are caused by consuming ‘quick energy’ food and drinks.
- Keep a diary, make note of what you eat and drink during the day, what exercise you did and how your mood was. This acts as a ‘conscience’ as you’re reaching for the biscuit tin but it also reminds you of how you’ve been doing especially on the days where you’re struggling.
We all have bad days, but don’t let this put you off accept that it happened and probably will again, but don’t use it as an excuse to slip back into your old ways. Remember you’re making changes for life, not just for January.