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New Year's Resolutions - Revisited After the Festive Revelry

Last updated: 2.21pm, Wednesday 21st December 2022 by

With the Christmas Bailey's bottles in the recycle bin and all turkey eaten, and with the preparations for Hogmanay under way there is nothing else to do but enjoy the last of the festivities before the harsh reality of returning to work. So now with a New Year about to begin there is only one thing left to do make our New Year resolutions! Is 2023 going to be the year when you quit smoking, lose weight and get fit?

Did you know that on average we put on 5 pounds in weight over Christmas, eating 6,000 calories on Christmas day alone – that’s around 3 times as much as we need! It’s no wonder then that we crash out in front of the TV, feeling sluggish, overweight and unhealthy.

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We are all aware that being active is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, yet few of us get enough. So what better time that a new year to try to become a bit more active? For many, the words “fitness” and “sport” evoke memories – not always pleasant - of cross-country runs on cold winter mornings during PE at school.

We now recognise the difference between fitness for sport and activity for health. Fitness is more about how much the body can do and includes concepts like strength, power and endurance. It is an essential component of our top sportsmen and women. Activity for health is much more about keeping free from disease and also includes a general feeling of well being, physically, socially and mentally. The good news for all of us is that health does not require the same intensity of training as becoming fit. It is best if we can become generally more active in our daily life.

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The key message is that “it does not have to be hell to be healthy!” If you ask the average man or woman in the street, we know about the benefits of being active but despite this, we are not very good at putting this knowledge into practice. So what are some of the multitude of reasons to get fit and keep fit?

  • More energy – get rid of that sluggish feeling and feel better about yourself. It’s strange but being active can actually make you feel more energetic.

  • Reduced stress and improved sleep. Check out our recent sleep hygiene resoruces and blogs 'SLEEP WELL' FROM THE TEAM AT HAMPDEN SPORTS CLINIC & HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP...

  • Activity is fun and can give you a sense of achievement or give you some time “just for you”.

  • Improved body shape and stable weight – looking and feeling good about yourself.

  • Health benefits – active people have lower rates of heart disease, smoke less, eat more sensibly, and have lower blood pressure and better circulation. Keeping active will maintain strong muscles and bones, assisting mobility and balance, as we get older.

So that’s it then. We have made the decision to get a bit fitter but what should we do? How much, how often and how hard?

How much? The aim is to build activity into our daily life so that being active is not seen as something special, separate from our day-to –day lives but an integral part of it.

How often? Initially try to build 20 minutes of low intensity activity into your day. As you improve increase both the intensity and duration to try and fit in 30 minutes on most days of the week. This may take several weeks – don’t get discouraged and give up.

How hard? The old saying of “no pain – no gain” is rubbish. Mild to moderate levels of activity have been shown to be of benefit for overall health and fitness, so do what you can. The easiest way to judge the intensity is to still be able to chat while you are exercising. Brisk walking is a rough guide.

So that all there is to it! Remember a little goes along way – the key message is that any level of physical activity, no matter how small, is a start and better that none. Modern living is full of convenient ways to avoid activity, with cars to limit our walking, more sedentary occupations and TVs and computers to sit and watch. In this less active world any physical activity is a major plus for our health and well being...

There is also some great online apps and resources out there for 2023 including:

  • Couch to 5K
  • Joe Wicks Body Coach
  • Mind Body & EverFit