Doing more exercise and losing weight regularly ranks amongst the UK’s most popular New Year’s Resolutions. Sarah Haskins, Fitness Instructor at the Copper Box Arena and London Aquatics Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has come up with ten top tips on how to kick start an achievable New Year’s fitness regime and ensure you stick to it.
Better’s Top Ten Tips to Kick Starting a Fitness Regime in 2017
- Set goals
Start with simple goals and then progress to longer-term goals. Remember to make these realistic and achievable. It's easy to get frustrated and give up if you are too ambitious in the early days.
For example, if you haven't exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to walk 10 minutes a day five days a week. An intermediate goal might be to walk or swim for 30 minutes five days a week. A long-term goal could be to complete a 5K walk or a 1k swim.
- Make it fun
Find sports or activities that you enjoy, then vary the routine to keep you on your toes. If you're not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Join sports club or take FloatFit or circuits class. Try something new and you might discover your hidden athletic talent.
- Make it part of your daily routine
If it's hard to find time for exercise, don't fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity.
You can also slip in physical activity throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Walk to the shops rather than taking the car. Take a walk during your lunch break. Pedal a stationary bike or do strength training exercises while you watch TV at night.
- Create a playlist
Working out to music can be a great motivator. So create a new playlist that you can work out to. Upload songs to your iPod or phone that increase in speed. Work out to a high-tempo beat to give yourself maximum motivation and slow down the beat for stretching and cooling off.
- Put it on paper
Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Or manage a chronic health condition? Whatever your primary aim write down your goals. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise and writing your goals down on paper can help you stay motivated and monitor your achievements.
- Support a good cause
Signing up to do a charity swim or taking on a marathon that will raise money for a good cause is a great way to ensure that you don’t give up at the first sign of your motivation disappearing. You will also feel that you’ve accomplished two goals in one and once you’ve sent off the application form there’s no going back.
- Join forces with friends
You're not in this alone. Invite friends or colleagues to join you when you exercise. Work out with your partner, friends or family. Play football with your kids. Organise a group of colleagues to take fitness classes. Research shows that exercising in company can help you stay motivated and maintain a fitness regime over the longer term.
- Say no to sports drinks
Unless you are a professional athlete, they are not necessary and sports drinks are loaded with extra sugar and unnecessary calories. Drinking plenty of water is the best way to stay hydrated when working out.
- Reward yourself
After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savour the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise.
External rewards can help, too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to something fun but healthy, for example a new pair of trainers or some new iTunes to work out too.
- Be flexible
If you're too busy to work out or simply don't feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.
Sarah Haskins, Fitness Instructor at the Copper Box Arena adds: “The road to fitness is paved with good intentions, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to take the first steps. Sticking to these simple ten tips will help you get your New Year’s fitness programme moving.
“It’s also important to remember that everyone suffers setbacks and loss of motivation. The crucial thing is to get back on track if things go wrong, or if you miss a few sessions. It’s the long-term goals that are the important ones.”
The Copper Box Arena and London Aquatics Centre, operated by Better, offer a range of sports facilities, clubs and group exercise classes to suit all age groups and abilities including Total Body Conditioning at the Copper Box Arena and FloatFit at the London Aquatics Centre. Whether you’ve never exercised before, want to focus on a particular problem area, get your heart pumping or stretch out tight muscles.
In January Better have no joining fees and all lessons and courses will be starting up again along with Aqua Splash and Extreme Aqua Splash sessions for the kids. For more information on what’s on offer visit www.better.org.uk or www.londonaquaticscentre.org and http://copperboxarena.org.uk.