Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year, New You - Dealing with Resolutions

New Year approaches and everyone will soon be thinking of their resolutions. Often this involves 'getting in shape' - I have some advice:

Be realistic.

If you haven't managed regular exercise for the last year due to time constraint, do not promise yourself to get to the gym every day. If you have one hour a week to spare then do 2 half hour sessions, do them well and enjoy them. You'll feel good about keeping it up, you will get results and you will be able to maintain the commitment - success all round. Promising to do too much ultimately leads to underachievement and a sense of failure, you'll give up and it is a negative experience.

Choose something fun.

If you are not a gym bob, do not punish yourself by choosing to go there. If you don't enjoy jogging then don't! There are a lot of exercise and healthy movement options. There are lots of classes available in martial arts, dance, parkour. All of which offer a good quick overall workout. If you want try something different - how about circus skills? Why not learn to handstand or juggle? You can get a super workout doing an aerial class. There are local walking groups and social running groups or if you don't fancy that you can just take yourself up a nearby hill, learn to climb. Perhaps borrow a dog once week (check out www.borrowmydoggy.com) and get to the woods or a park. If you stick to what you enjoy, you are more likely to stick it out!

Variety is best.

The body likes a challenge. It very quickly adapts and becomes efficient at any one activity. Therefore to maximise the benefit choose a variety of different skills or something that has many movement skills involved. Here, I am again thinking of dance and parkour and martial arts, circus performance, climbing rather than something like cycling or swimming. Having said that, refer back to the last instruction - if you enjoy cycling or playing football, and new things make you uncomfortable - stick to what you like to ensure you keep it up.

Don't do it all in January.

if you plan to make lifestyle changes get the hang of one before you start another. So if you intend to give up coca cola and reduce alcohol intake you might find yourself in a bit of a social pickle. So reduce the alcohol while experimenting with other drink options. Give up the coke when you have found a healthier substitute that you enjoy. Be patient with yourself without procrastinating and enjoy experimenting with new healthier food and drink options.

Give up giving up

If you take something out of your life that you have enjoyed then you will feel a loss. This makes it hard, so ensure that you have a list of of other treats instead. For example if your vices are crisps and chocolate and you wish to stop or meaningfully reduce your intake. Then actually put the cash you would normally spend on these items into a clear jar, watch it mount up and use that money for another treat. A handbag, a meal out at the weekend, a haircut at the expensive place that you've never afforded before. Give yourself a reward for your efforts. Everyone loves to have their efforts recognised and rewarded, even by themselves.

A little of what you fancy does you good!

A wise lady once told me,' Everything in moderation, including moderation'. Do allow yourself a little treat. One lovely chocolate or a bag of salt 'n vinegar as a Friday treat. If you've had a hard day or an exhausting week, if you've accomplished something or if you've been very good at keeping to your resolutions, then give yourself a reward (ie book a massage treatment - www.dynamic-balance.co.uk).

Below is a list of local groups that I know well and recommend. There are of course lots more to choose from: http://www.accessparkour.com/about/ http://jogscotland.org.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/freedomofflightaerial/?pnref=lhc http://www.theclubedinburgh.co.uk/WP/our-classes/ https://www.facebook.com/Roomtomoveedinburgh/?fref=ts.