Most people make New Year’s resolutions about getting fit, yet most of those resolutions fall by the wayside by February.
To help you stick to those resolutions for the long term, here are 10 tips to make the task easier for you.
1. Set achievable goals
Just as we set goals at work, it is important to do the same with exercise and diet. Setting both long and short-term goals can help achieve your objectives. For example, exercising for fun runs or events is a good short-term means of sticking to your goals over time. For the long-term, you could aim for a half-marathon… or even more.
2. Ensure there’s balance in your life
Score yourself on life balance across family, relationships, health, money and soul. A common excuse by people for not exercising or taking care of their health is because “I don’t have time.” There are 168 hours in one week, so even the busiest of people should try to manage their time to devote at least a couple of those hours to getting themselves healthy. We have only one body and one heart – it’s important to prioritise them. You will feel better; you will be more productive at work; and you’ll have considerably more energy to maintain your relationships with family and friends.
3. Keep stress in check
Stress places pressure on the heart, your ability to sleep and just about every aspect of your life. As with many things, exercise and a good diet will help you here. It balances out your moods, releases feel-good hormones and helps you sleep better.
4. Make fitness fun
Mix your exercise up with different activities to help keep you interested and engaged. One week of exercise activities could include a gentle yoga session on one day, a trip to the climbing gym with a friend on another, or an intensive workout to really push yourself on the final day.
5. Keep moving
Aside from time set aside for exercise, try to keep moving all day by walking to the local shops, taking the stairs instead of elevator, doing sit-ups at home, moving around the office rather than emailing your workmates and walking your children to school when you can.
6. Eat fruit and veggies
Get these into your diet, with as close to five serves a day combining the two if you can. Fruit and veg with richer colours typically have greater nutritional value, eg, ‘super foods’ like blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. Check out some healthy recipes here.
7. Drink lots of water
Make a concerted effort to get water consumption into your daily routine and stay well hydrated – as close to eight glasses per day as possible. If you find yourself snacking a lot, try drinking some water to help fill your stomach and ease those hunger pangs.
8. Reduce alcohol consumption
While it may give you a temporary buzz, alcohol affects the heart and body in negative ways, and excessive consumption can lead to weight gain and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s recommended that healthy men and women drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than four standard drinks on any one day.
9. Make sleep a priority
Sleep helps your productivity, memory and metabolism, while long-term lack of sleep can be associated with an increased risk of diabetes and obesity. Make sleep a priority to give your body and mind time to rest and recover. If you suffer from sleep problems, here are some tips to get a good night’s sleep.
10. Stop smoking
Smoking is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease as well as other diseases, so take care of your heart and health and if you smoke – make a resolution to stop.