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Friday, 1 February 2013

Fitness Friday - New Year, New You?

It's that time of year again. Christmas is well and truly over, and the January blues are at an all time high. If you're anything like me (and pretty much everyone else on the planet) then your new years resolutions are probably already a big fat fail. Goodbye motivated & eager personality, hello lazy pajama days spent scoffing your face with chocolate. 

Unfortunately over the years I've realized it's pretty much impossible to keep any fitness resolutions, especially with it still being too cold to do anything that involves stepping outside. Year after year I've vowed to go running every evening, drop down two dress sizes, eat only healthy...and year after year I've always failed. It's not easy changing your lifestyle to be more healthy but it is easy to fall into the routine of being too drastic and trying too hard in so little time. It can be dangerous to throw yourself into exercise and dieting, and it can be especially dangerous to expect results right away. There are many small changes you can make in your daily lifestyle to help yourself become overall more healthy, most of which you wouldn't even think of. Here are just 10 small steps I've made over the past few months that have made me feel more positive and overall more healthy.

1. Drink more water. Drinking up to eight glasses a day can make a huge difference to your life - you'll have clearer skin and will feel more energized, and will probably eat less as well. However I don't know anyone that can manage to drink eight full glasses of water a day! What I find most helpful is to fill up a water bottle and carry it round with me throughout the day. By the end of the day I've drunk three or four bottles without even realizing it.

2. Cut down on sugar. Don't feel like you have to give it up completely but small steps make all the difference. If you normally have two or three cups of sugar in your tea, why not swap them for a single sweetener instead?

3. Exercise earlier on in the day. It's so easy to put exercise off throughout the day and soon it'll end up late at night, too late to go for a run or otherwise. Try setting your alarm an hour early, going for a run or working out and then treating yourself to a long, extra relaxing bath or shower. You'll feel positive for the rest of the day and more awake and active.

4. Think about alternative ways to keep in shape. You don't have to slave away in a gym for hours. Do you know what else burns calories? Sex. Walking. Dancing. Trying out a new sport. Spend a sexy night in with your other half or plan a night out clubbing with your bestie - it beats an hour on the treadmill, right?

5. Rather then dieting, try eating your meals in proportion. I've found this to personally be most helpful - when I snack throughout the day I hardly eat my dinner and end up snacking more throughout the night - eating junk food. I've found it helpful to give up snacking and eat three full meals a day - even if the meals aren't particularly healthy and are large portions, it's still been more helpful overall to eat properly and not snack. If you really can't stop snacking, try eating something healthy. ASDA do really yummy tiny salad pots usually for £1.00 only, and for someone who doesn't even like salad, when I'm feeling peckish between meals, I feel much better eating one of these rather than a packet of crisps.

6. Walk to places more. If you drive to somewhere that is close by, try walking instead. It's tough when it's so cold outside, so this tip might be better for summer, but it's still doable in winter. You get warmer by moving, so you'll have warmed up in no time.

7. Take pets for long walks. Even though my dad takes Jasper out every day, some evenings I just fancy getting out of the house so I take him for a long walk, and usually end up benefiting from it as well.

8. Too cold to leave the house? If you've got a Wii or any other games console, you could easily pick up a fitness or dance game for cheap on Ebay. Just Dance is especially ideal for a quick work out in the evening because really it doesn't even feel like working out and is a lot of fun, especially when you invite your friends around to join in. It really baffles me how people will happily pay loads of money for a gym subscription when it's so much easier and more fun to hop on Just Dance for even just half an hour a few times a week.

9. Listen to music. Some songs I honestly cannot listen to without having to have a boogie to in my room - and this is rock music we're talking about here. If you love your music like me, you'll burn a few calories just by dancing around and listening to music whilst you get ready in the mornings. You can also do a quick search on Google for the best songs to run/work out to, and can listen to these whilst you're out on a walk or just working out in the house. You'd be surprised at how much more motivated you feel just by listening to an upbeat song.

10. Keep a note of any exercise you actually do. Although I don't think it's a good idea to set challenges and force yourself to do a certain amount, sometimes it helps to note down throughout the week the little differences you have done. Looking back at it all at the end of the week will help you feel so much more positive and you'll probably find you've done a lot more than you think.

Just because Christmas is over and the weather is horrible, doesn't mean you have to feel bad about settling into your old routine yet again. With TEN different ideas of small steps you can take - as many or as little as you want as often as you want - there are really no excuses to let yourself feel guilty. If you really want to make a big change and be more healthy, you need to start thinking of ways that will last throughout the year, and not unrealistic challenges that you won't be able to achieve as soon as it starts snowing or when you're too skint to attend the gym. Instead this year forget about the need to lose weight or drop down a dress size - instead just concentrate on small changes that will hopefully make you feel more positive about yourself :)

P.S  Have a look at the Fitness tag for more posts about being more fit and healthy!

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