Top tips for sticking to your New Year's fitness resolutions
by Our Correspondent, South Wales Echo
health and fitness
We challenge you to avoid slipping back into your old routine and keep the promises you make to yourself on January 1. Yes, its time to tackle your excuses head-on, dig out those trainers and set off on your quest to attain the new you in the new year.
Here are the most popular resolution excuses along with the all important ways to combat them.
I don't have time to exercise
We've heard it all before. Although it can be difficult fitting in the recommended 30 minutes a day of gentle exercise, don't think that you have to exercise all at once. Break your workout into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions and do them throughout the day.
If time's your enemy, build it into the natural rhythm of your day. If you work, consider cycling there; if you have children, join in when you take them swimming or to the local park; if you're based at home, use the stairs to your advantage.
Limit your number of promises. You'll spread yourself too thin trying to make multiple changes in your life. This will just lead to failure of all of the resolutions. Be focussed.
I'm too old
It's never too late to get started, even for those who have been lifelong couch potatoes. The rewards can be great for your health and your social life. An active lifestyle at any age, particularly as people grow older, can help halve the risk of developing coronary heart disease, reduce the risk of having a stroke, improve chances of surviving a heart attack and lower blood pressure and the risk of diabetes. It can also boost energy levels, help relieve stress and depression and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Over 40s or those with a family history of heart disease should see a GP if they haven't exercised for a while before taking up a programme.
Just be sure to start at your own pace and build up steadily. Sir Jimmy Savile might have run the London Marathon aged 80 but it took years of small steps to reach that milestone.
I don't want to exercise on my own
Ask a friend to join you. The chances are that they'll feel the same about exercising alone. Having an exercise buddy certainly increases your motivation and can lead to better results. If you arrange a weekly date, youre less likely to back out if you know youll be letting someone else down. If no-one wants to join you, don't let it keep you from achieving your goal. Be a trail blazer. You never know, your friends and family might be inspired to take up exercise themselves by following your example.
Break it down and make it less intimidating. Rather than one big end goal, dissect it into smaller pieces. Set several smaller goals to achieve throughout the year that will help you to reach the ultimate goal.
I don't have the money to spend on a club or gym membership
It's not necessary to join a club or gym to be physically active. There are many activities you can do without having to splash the cash, like walking, jogging, dancing, swimming or running up and down the stairs. Look around you and you'll be amazed at what you can find to get your heart pumping.
Many private and leisure centre gyms have discounted offers and zero joining fees to entice members and you might find that they're more open to negotiate a deal at the moment. Look out for free trial periods, free memberships and discounts.
Why not start your own home gym - read our tips and advice on getting it right, here.
I can't exercise because of health problems
If you have health problems talk to your GP and see what kind of exercise programme they recommend.
Exercise has been shown to aid in the recovery and prevention of many health problems, including heart disease.
You just need to find the right exercise for you.
Don't go it alone. Get professional assistance. Research studies have shown that assistance from a fitness professional greatly improves peoples success rate.
Always make sure that you consult your GP before undertaking any new form of exercise and remember, best results will always be achieved alongside a balanced diet.
I've tried exercising and I don't lose any weight so why bother?
Your scales are not that intelligent.
You give them far too much power over dictating how you feel about yourself. They can't tell the difference between fat and lean body mass. It is in fact possible to lose fat and weigh more due to muscle increase.
That's actually supportive of long-term fat loss. Even worse, the scales may suggest youre doing great on your diet by revealing that you're losing pounds, but muscle loss will result in a slowing of metabolism. Judge progress by the way your clothing fits and by your reflection in the mirror. Now, throw away those scales.
Choose an attainable goal. Resolving to look like a model is not realistic for most of us, but promising to include daily physical activity in our lives is very possible.
I can't get motivated
Motivation comes from within. As long as you get that determination, almost anything is possible. A top tip is to keep an exercise log or diary to keep you accountable. Youll be able to track your progress and see how far you've come. Soon enough, you will be able to see and feel the difference with clearer skin, glossy hair and a body the envy of all your friends. What more motivation do you need?
Reward yourself with each milestone. If you've stuck with your resolution for two months, treat yourself to something special. If you've lost five pounds though don't give yourself a piece of cake as a reward. Instead, treat yourself to something non-food related, like a massage or manicure. Good luck.