New year, new fit and fabulous you. Sound impossible? It’s not – provided you make the right vows to yourself.
When it comes to losing weight and getting fit, people generally start the new year with the best intentions. Unfortunately, they often give up a few weeks later.
Find out how you can make 4 easy goals and stick to them.
“Women often fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions because they set impossible goals for themselves, or because they’re not honest with themselves about their fitness routine,” says Weight Watchers fitness adviser, Martha Lourey-Bird. “It’s important to start small and make gradual changes. Also, have some motivational support and plan some little rewards for yourself along the way.”
To help you get started, we’ve put together four fitness resolutions that can help to make this your best year ever.
1. Make exercise a habit
Wish as you might, working out twice a week won’t give you a toned butt or thinner thighs. To see results, exercise has to be a daily activity – one that is as much a part of your schedule as brushing your teeth.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean that you need to spend an hour at the gym every day. When you can’t bear the thought of hopping on the treadmill, get creative. Take a brisk walk with your dog or play a game of tennis instead.
2. Don’t be too tough on yourself
“One of the main reasons women ditch their fitness routines is because they expect perfection from themselves – and when they don’t achieve it, they give up. This year, don’t give up just because you’ve had a bad day or even if your whole week has been a disaster. Just put it behind you and start a fresh,” says Lourey-Bird.
Acknowledge that you’ve fallen off the fitness wagon and get back on as soon as possible – even if that means doing a few sets of push-ups and crunches before bed. And take heart: even going a whole week or two without working out won’t cause you to put on five kilos or lose your hard-earned definition.
3. Step it up!
A few extra steps a day can make a world of difference for your body and your health. Studies have shown that when combined with a healthy diet, walking half an hour over the course of a day can help women lose weight and lower their risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
If you’re already walking, slowly increase your efforts until you’re logging an hour daily. If you’re pushed for time, break it up into 10-15 minute intervals before work, at lunch, while shopping or going to and from your car. To keep an accurate count, invest in a pedometer. Studies have shown that women who wear pedometers walk more (and lose more weight) than those who don’t.
4. Strive for balance
“Variety is the key,” says Lourey-Bird. “This will help by preventing boredom and injuries so it’s good for you mentally and physically”. Adding weights and yoga, Pilates or stretching to your cardio routine will stave off boredom, assist with weight loss, and encourage stronger, more pliable muscles.
Intimidated by the weight room or group classes? Opt for an at-home DVD workout, enlist the help of a trainer (many gyms will provide some free professional guidance to help you get the basics of resistance training down) or have a friend join you for moral support.