New Year’s resolutions that relate to health and fitness are usually the most popular – people use January as an attempt to make a new start.
However, this means they are the ones that fail most frequently, too – usually because people have set overly ambitious targets, or started exercising or dieting without a clear plan. Maybe you’ve been put off because ‘peak season’ means it’s impossible to get a place in a class or find a free machine at the gym. Or perhaps the horrendous weather has put you off.
We also see people picking up injuries when taking on new activities, especially if it’s a new sport or fitness class, or if they’ve been away for a while.
By the time we reach the four-week mark in the new year, there’s a chance that injuries, aches and pains have contributed to most resolutions having been ditched already!
Here are our top tips to maintaining fitness momentum.
Get your injuries treated
Nothing kills momentum like an injury: the body can be particularly injury-prone in winter, and when you’ve been inactive for a while.
While you shouldn’t ignore an injury altogether, they don’t always mean you have to stop taking part in activities. At Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic, we work with our patients – who range from elite athletes, to fitness enthusiasts, to the totally non-sporting – to make sure they lose as little training time and momentum as possible.
Make a plan and set realistic targets
Work out what you want to achieve and set reasonable targets to help you track your progress along the way. Don’t aim too high – it’s dispiriting – and don’t pluck figures out the air!
For example, if you want to lose weight, work out how much based on your size, and existing weight, and bear in mind that muscle weighs more than fat, so weight alone can be a flawed measurement.
Or, if you want to achieve a specific sporting goal (for example running a 5k in a certain amount of time) then find out what would a reasonable time based on your age, height, weight and previous experience.
Consider working with a personal trainer or, at the very least, do lots of research online, using reputable sites, to work out responsible and achievable targets.
Find a friend!
If you can find company for your exercise sessions, it will help loads. Not just to keep you company, but you’re more likely to turn up if you know someone is counting on you.
Make it fun and keep it varied
Variety is the spice of life – make your exercise as varied as possible. Even if you’re ‘just’ running, there are loads of ways to vary your training. (You might want to consider our Track, Trail and Tarmac classes, aimed at runners of all levels, to help take your performance to the next level!)
Mix up your sessions, do different drills, do circuits, join classes, even try different sports – swimming, cycling and running all complement other sports really nicely.
If your brain isn’t being stimulated by what you’re doing you’ll find reasons to stop.
Warm up properly
Warming up carefully, and including a proper cool-down afterwards, might not seem like much fun, but it will help avoid injury and you’ll much more out of your session. You’ll also recover faster, feel better in the time between sessions, and be raring to go next time out.