Ask Away...: 4 ways to get fitter in the New Year

Friday, December 11, 2015

4 ways to get fitter in the New Year

Do you make New Year’s resolutions about fitness? How long does your resolution last, up to June? Perhaps only up to February? Perhaps it only makes it to the 2nd of January. It’s just possible that New Year’s resolutions are not for you, but you can still get fit in the New Year. It’s better to think about small changes to your lifestyle rather than big resolutions which can feel like a psychological barrier. Here are four suggestions to help you get fitter.

Ditch the car

Compared to many countries, we have good public transport in the US. Before you were 18 you used it all the time, remember? You’d walk down to the tube, train, or bus station, ride for a while and then walk on to school or your friend’s house. But then, what happened? You celebrated your 18th and talked Mum or Dad into letting you get your first car. In the beginning, you probably didn’t drive everywhere because petrol is expensive and parking is a pain. But, slowly, the car crept in to take over your life and you began to rely on it for even the shortest journeys. It’s just become all too easy, especially when it’s raining. You might even be snacking while you drive! Unfortunately, this may have taken a toll on your fitness.

It’s time to get some distance in your relationship with your car. Depending on where you live and how brave you are you could sell your car. Imagine all the fitness friendly things you could use that money for, a yoga studio membership, some hiking gear, a trekking holiday in the Himalayas… But you don’t really need to sell your car to use it less. Just look for a few times in your week that you could leave your car at home. Maybe you could walk to work or college three times a week. Or, leave it parked up at the weekends. Whatever you decide, make your rules and write them down somewhere just to cement them in your mind. Next to those you could write down all the benefits you are receiving in return, fresh air for a clear mind, the social aspects, and those all important fitness elements.

Take up a Fitness Class

Another way to get fit in the New Year to is take up a fitness class. If you’ve tried before and stopped, try something new. It stimulates both the mind and the body to learn something you haven’t done before. Think broadly, too. There are the usual gym-type classes aimed at burning fat quickly such as spinning and kick fit, not to mention stand alone entities such as Crossfit, that will really get your heart pumping. But there are also classes aimed at stretching and relaxing. Yoga is one thing that is often combined with other classes at gyms to give it more of an aerobic element. It might have names such as “yogafit” or “yogakick”. but, the truth is there are many forms of yoga and some are very aerobic based, such as astanga. The important thing is to find something you like so you can stick with it.

Buy a Treadmill

So, here you are facing a new year and you are ready to get running! There is just one tiny excuse you are using, the weather. If there is one thing that deters a good fitness intention at this time of year, it is the idea of going out in the cold, windy, rain day after day. But there is no reason for the weather to put you off. You just need to stay out of it, and having a treadmill right in your house is the way to do that.

You might be thinking, “Yes, but I’ll get bored because you don’t actually go anywhere”. Of course it’s true you will not be running through the park, but you needn’t get bored. Modern treadmills have variable speeds and inclines to keep your muscles (and mind) stimulated so you don’t feel you are stuck in a rut. Also, you can do things on a treadmill that you can’t do while running outdoors, such as watching chat shows or a good film on your television. Don’t forget you can also listen to some pumping music, to get you in the mood, or a podcast or even an audio book. Perhaps you could even learn some French while you jog along. You can also record all your stats on your treadmill. Having a treadmill will keep your fitness goals on track.

Get (or borrow) a dog

Pets give no end of benefit to humans in terms of mental and physical health, but dogs are the best. Another way to get fitter in the New Year is to get a dog. As with humans, dogs are active animals but the difference is that dogs make no excuses. They are always up for a walk or a run with their loving owner. You’ll find that having a dog gets you out of the house for a walk two or three times a day. Rain or shine, you’ll be dressing appropriately and getting your trainers on. Beyond the usual “walkies”, some dogs can also be trained to run alongside you while you run or cycle so son’t assume your pup will slow you down. You just need to choose the right breed.

Your local animal shelter is a great resource for information about the various breeds and their temperaments. Some dogs tend to be on the relaxed side, or perhaps have too short of legs to run alongside you, and others might be a bit too highly strung. So get to know what is best for the activity you will be doing if it is something beyond the normal walks. Mixed breeds are known to be friendlier and more easy-going than pure breeds but ask the staff at your shelter about what they’ve observed in the dogs they have available. Plus, what a great way to give a dog a home who might not get one. Whatever your final decision, the commitment of getting a dog will stay with you long after the usual New Year’s resolutions fade away.

There are a lot of possibilities for improving your fitness in the New Year, so choose one or two and get started. Good luck!

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1 comment:

  1. I walk to work and most nights walk home from work. Have a great weekend.


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