Health behaviours remain the most common New Year’s resolutions, however, recent research suggests people typically “give up” pursuing their New Year resolutions within the first month. Longer nights and shorter days could be contributing to a drop in New Year’s goals. In a recent survey we found that almost half (48%) of UK residents find it difficult to find time to exercise during daylight hours when the days are shorter and half (50%) of those surveyed stated they feel unsafe exercising outside when it is dark.
While maintaining a fitness regime during the dark cold days of winter can be challenging, we understand looking after your fitness is a crucial part in improving and maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. Our wellbeing personal trainer, Michaela Afford, provides five top tips to help you keep on top of your fitness goals:
1. Set realistic goals
Make sure your goals aren’t just measurable, but also realistic. Identify both short and long-term goals to help keep you motivated. Setting some short-term targets, which could be achieved in one, two or three months, will provide a sense of achievement as you work towards your longer-term goals.
Often making goals realistic is the first obstacle. If you are someone who has never run before, don’t set a target to run a marathon in eight weeks. Habits need to be built over time. Setting targets and not achieving them is more likely to discourage you and lead you back to bad habits.
2. Mix it up
Avoid doing activities you find boring, try a new exercise class or train with a friend to provide that added social aspect to your routine. Seek professional advice; personal trainers have the knowledge and expertise to guide you to achieve your goals quicker and more efficiently, you don’t have to commit to weekly sessions, but ask for help in setting up a training programme.
3. Exercise doesn’t end at the gym
There are many things you can go in your day-to-day life that will increase your fitness levels, small changes can make a big difference. An easy rule to follow is to get up every 90 minutes and stretch your body by heading to the kitchen to make a cuppa or nip outside to get some fresh air. Your body will thank you.
4. Gradually build up the volume of training
It can be easy to throw yourself into training five days a week when you’re motivated and everything is new. However, this can lead to burning out and more often than not, injury. Start with twice a week and build up from there. To go from nothing to everything is not advised or sustainable for the future.
5. Reward yourself
Celebrate your achievements. When you have done something you didn’t think you could, or reached one of your targets, make sure you acknowledge it. You have been working hard to reach that point, whatever level you are at and you should be proud!
We are dedicated to building a healthier nation. With 114 fitness and wellbeing centres across the UK, we are uniquely placed to provide connected care, spanning from personal training and health MOTs to supporting people on their fitness journeys.
To help people keep on track with their fitness goals and feel fit for the rest of the year, we will be running a series of events from Wednesday 2nd until Sunday 6th February, across all of our 114 fitness and wellbeing centres.
Open to both members and non-members, the ‘Feel Fit in February’ events will provide a number of opportunities to try out the facilities, group exercise classes, swimming and spa areas*, and learn more about how to keep your fitness goals on track. There will also be the opportunity to win some fantastic fitness prizes, including a year’s free gym membership, MyZone Switch Belt, personal training sessions, and Optimum Nutrition bundles.