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The New Year is traditionally a time for new beginnings. And whilst getting active to improve health and fitness levels is often at the top of many people’s wishlist for the year ahead, we understand that putting that goal into action can be easier said than done.
So read on for some tips and advice on how to get motivated, get active, and get results. Trust us, you’ll be glad you powered through when the health benefits of regular exercise start to become apparent!
Taking that first step towards a healthier lifestyle is always the hardest part, and there is often a plethora of excuses to give up before you’ve even started:
So, first things first – change your mindset. Think about WHY you want to start exercising and focus on the positive changes that will bring to your life.
If you’re starting exercise for the first time, or after a long break, it’s important not to push yourself too far. Set yourself small, manageable, realistic goals – such as a brisk walk around the block, building up to a longer walk, then a jog. And make sure you warm up and cool down with gentle muscle stretches to reduce the risk of muscle strain and injury.
Whether you prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, during a lunch break, or after work – find a time that suits you and stick to it. Finding motivation to get active is easier when it becomes a natural part of your regular routine.
For an extra motivational boost, consider exercising with a friend. You’ll be less likely to miss a planned session to avoid letting down a friend, plus they’ll be there to spur you on if you find the exercise particularly tough.
It can take a while to find an exercise that you enjoy, but keep challenging yourself with new forms of exercise, workout routines, and jogging routes for example, to maintain your interest.
Try to view exercise as a form of self-care, rather than a punishment! Embrace the endorphin rush after each session and feel good about what you’re achieving.
Once you’ve got a regular routine, it’s just a matter of time before the benefits start to become obvious. Aside from the changes to physical appearance such as weight loss and more toned muscles, you may also start to notice a boost to your mental health, self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy levels.
There will also be a range of positive changes happening internally that you might not be aware of. For example, long-term, people who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing:
If you would like further help or advice about making positive, healthy lifestyle changes, speak to a healthcare professional at YourGP. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 225 5656.
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