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Little Steps to Make Those New Year Resolutions Easier



January will often mean turning over a new leaf with the hope of becoming a healthier person in the coming months.

We share some tips to help you exercise more easily, more rewarding and even more fun...

1.  Find an exercise you will love. This will make it more likely that you will stick at it.  Think about what you will enjoy doing whether it is running, walking, being part of an organized group, cycling with a friend or gardening and then go for that.

2.  Include resistance training in that exercise.  It is recommended that every adult over the age of thirty should do resistance training regularly to maintain overall health.  The problem is that as we age, we lose muscle mass so that our metabolism and bone density decreases causing weakness.  Push ups, tricep dips and squats are suggestions for such resistance training.

3.  Activity should be including in every aspect of daily life.  Everything that we do on a daily basis that is not sleeping, eating or sports related increases our metabolic rate.  So walking as much as possible, keeping moving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting out at the previous stop on your bus route or parking further away than you would normally do will all contribute and increase your activity levels.

4.  How is your flexibility?  Being sedentary leads to shortened muscles, postural issues and back pain.  In addition, as we age collagen levels will decline meaning our tendons and ligaments get tighter.  A great way to increase flexibility is through regular stretching.  What could be easier?

5.  Variety is the spice of life!  And variety on movement is key: vertical and horizontal pulling; pressing overhead and in front; knee-dominant movements such as squats and lunges.  In addition, run on different surfaces at different paces.

6.  Do something different!  It is highly worthwhile not to get stuck in a rut with your exercise regime.  Step out of your comfort zone, try new ways and new methods. Learning new things fires new neural pathways which ultimately help to slow down aging of the brain.

7.  The great outdoors. We have said before that as little as fifteen minutes walking or exercising in a natural setting is enough to lower cortisol - our stress hormone.  During the summer, strip down to minimal clothing and your vitamin D levels will benefit from sunlight too!  Your eyes will thank you too when they get a rest from screen time and the chance to focus on different distances in natural light.

8.  Remember to rest and recover.  When you exercise vigorously, you apply stress to your body so you must give it time to recover and it will become stronger and more resilient.  Don't be tempted to overdo it because this stresses the central nervous system, raises cortisol which can also mean our bodies can hold onto fat.

9.  Get up and get going.  Will power is key for this.  Getting up and getting going with your exercise before you can talk yourself out of it is a really good discipline.

10. Join a group.  This will help with consistency, keep you accountable and socially important.  Walking with others could stop you obsessing about the numbers on your fitness tracker.

The World Health Organization has recently pointed out that one in four adults do not meet the recommended levels for physical activity.  Time to make sure you are not part of their statistics.




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