New year, new start, new you. Gemma Harrison finds ways to get your body moving and shedding those kilos in time for summer.
I’ve always thought the tradition of making New Year resolutions should be banned.
While we all like to bask in the glow of an untarnished new year and a fresh new start, chances are our best intentions will peter out by the end of January.
Any gym manager will tell you it’s his peak time for attracting new members, as we all try to make up for over-indulging during the festive period.
But finding the motivation to straddle the ski trainer and exercise bike after being handed execrable exercise sheets from unctuous but earnest young instructors can be a struggle.
Yet most of us must follow them if we want to look as good as we can both now and for our later years.
The only way to fight off the festive flab is to adopt a regime that’s going to fit in with you and your needs.
There is no one size fits all. And are you looking to drop the pounds and/or build up strength and resistance?
You don’t have to hit the gym to do it. Most contestants on the BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ show end up shedding the pounds by the truckload – so there’s ballroom dancing, pilates, cycling, martial arts, boxing, and swimming; to name but a few.
Now, first of all, don’t go throwing good money after bad by going out and buying the latest celebrity “I lost 30 pounds in three months” book/DVD. Most of these ‘C’-listers only end up putting the weight back on.
Numerous videos are available online. If you can’t make it to a class just log on, look on, and join in. To keep your motivation going, cut out a photo of a well-preserved and fit celebrity on your fridge next to a selfie of yourself in a swimsuit. That should do the trick.
According to the British National Health Service website, adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, even if it’s just walking briskly. We should all also be doing some exercises on two or more days a week to work all the major muscles in our legs, hips, back, shoulders, chest, stomach, and arms.
Try and do half an hour daily, the NHS says, and break up long periods of sitting with light activity.
But we need to keep ourselves supple too. And if you don’t fancy lifting weights, why not take up yoga, pilates, working with resistance bands, or get out and dig the garden?
The doyenne of celebrity fitness trainers, Jane Fonda, once told women: “If I’ve got time, you’ve got time.” I have to admit Miss Fonda, now 81, does look good. However, most of us don’t have her wealth or army of personal assistants.
To make the most of your time, your gym trainer might recommend a regime that combines aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening. This could include aerobics, rugby, football, hockey, and netball.
But it will all be for nothing if you don’t alter your eating habits. The trouble with expending masses of energy down the gym is that you end up coming home ravenous and devouring the first thing you can find in the fridge, which is not always the healthiest option.
So this means actually following all those nutrition tips you’ve heard so many times: smaller portion sizes, eating smaller meals more regularly, more fruit, veg and wholegrain products; less dairy, sugar, and salt. Your cuts of meat, poultry, and fish can be leaner, too.
And don’t forget the water. Drink lots of it. Good luck!
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please seek the advice of a medical expert if you have any questions regarding a health issue.
(Sources: NHS, UK)