We all know how it goes: the start of the year we have serious talks with ourselves about how “this year is going to be our year.” We throw away unhealthy food in the cupboards and fill it up with a rainbow of fresh produce. We buy a new gym kit and sign up for a gym membership with grand plans of going five times a week. And then… life happens. It’s cold, rainy and dark in January and spending an hour after work in a crowded gym when you’re already tired seems like the worst idea in the world. You miss one session a week and then it’s two and before you know it it’s May and you’ve not been inside that gym for months.
And now with September just weeks away you realize you’ve not achieved any of the fitness goals you set out. Seriously, you’re not alone! If any of this sounds familiar it’s because you’re in good company. The reality of it is that giving up everything you enjoy and putting yourself on a strict workout plan in the most miserable month of the year probably isn’t the best of ideas. Instead of waiting until the new year rolls around again (and repeating the same cycle) why not do things a little differently? Exercise shouldn’t feel like a punishment, and if you go about it the right way, believe it or not, it can actually be enjoyable.
If you’re wanting to get fit, lose some weight or just tone up then now is a great time of year to start. The end-of-summer weather means it’s easy to get outside, and the bright days give us a natural boost. When it’s warm outside you’re naturally inclined to eat less too, so cutting down on portion sizes and choosing fresh and healthy foods to complement your exercising is easy. Here are some of the ways you could start up an exercise routine.
1. Give the gym another go! If you’ve only ever been in a gym in the first few weeks in January then you might assume it’s always like this. Crowded, noisy and a struggle to use your favorite pieces of equipment- which is no fun at all. However, once the post-Christmas rush has passed, gyms really do settle down (showing that it’s not just you that’s guilty of giving up after a few weeks!) If you go throughout the rest of the year you’ll find it’s far less cramped and much more enjoyable. If you’re able to avoid peak times (these are before and after work so 7 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.) then it will be even quieter. Maybe you could go every Saturday, Sunday and at lunchtime one day during the week?
2. Try a class. If you’re signed up with the gym, most will offer a variety of free classes with your membership that are worth looking into. Check that the intensity is suited to your fitness levels, perhaps starting with a beginner class if you’re not sure. Otherwise, you could take up yoga or pilates, Zumba, a dance class, a martial arts class or whatever interests you. Rope in a friend to come with you if you’re feeling a bit daunted, or use it as an opportunity to meet new, like-minded people. Complete Total Body is an amazing gym in New York City that offers a ton of class and over-all healthy vibes.
3. Consider a team sport. Team sports are fun as they allow you to meet new people and you also have that competitive element there. It could be anything from football to tennis, have a think about team sports you enjoyed in your youth and see if there are any local clubs that offer it for adults.
4. Think about solo activities. Solo activities can be great for both mental and physical health. Long walks or hikes give you the chance to breathe fresh air and clear your mind. If you have a dog you could take them with you. Cycling to and from work could save you money and reduce your carbon footprint, as well as boost your fitness levels. Just be careful of injury, if you’re new to cycling on the road, make sure you’re well equipped- you’ll need a helmet and a light on your bike if you’ll be cycling in the evenings. Hopefully, you’re never hurt, but if you are, be sure to get the quality legal representation you deserve. If you go to a yoga class and learn the basics then again this is something you could practice yourself from home, you could incorporate it into your morning routine as a way to improve your overall wellness.
5. Just Do It. Sometimes, all it takes is a pair of sneakers and the open sidewalk. Yes, it’s free to get outside and walk or run around the block of your neighborhood. You’ll burn calories and may discover things you’ve never noticed when you’re always driving around in your car. Need some inspiration? The new movie Brittany Runs A Marathon, inspired by a true story, will have you lacing up your running shoes in no time.