We’re through it now, the season of excess and relaxation. The season seems to be stretching out year after year, but with the dark dreary days on Bowen in full effect who can be blamed for wanting a good, long month of festive cheer? The lights, chocolates, brandy and all the other treats not found on the food pyramid (there are a few, but these foods are found on NONE) are all meant to brighten our spirits. Unfortunately, when the days start getting longer and we are done ringing in the new year, we are forced to face up to our slightly bigger waist lines and that feeling of “darn, I should have split that two for one burger deal at the pub.” The post-holiday season can also bring about some guilt and all those irritating Facebook posts from friends and family dolling out New Year’s resolutions, none of them tend to be too fun or as inviting as the lure of the holiday excesses. Don’t despair though, those irritating posts usually disappear mid-February when most are back to their old routine.
Having worked in the fitness industry for upwards of 25 years I have seen it all, those who successfully incorporate fitness into their lives and those who ride the up and down roller coaster. Here are my top 5 suggestions to get off the roller coaster and joining those who successfully implement New Year’s resolutions. First off, don’t post your successes on Facebook as it will usually irritate most around you, the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside and your success will be as welcome as giving your neighbour’s kid a pet roosters for Christmas.
Keep the changes small, make small adjustments to your current routine. Add a walk around Killarney lake once a week, leave the car in the garage and walk into the cove on Fridays, making small changes will make it easier to incorporate the change into your already busy schedule.
Replace sedentary activities with active ones. Actively commuting is a great example, it will save you money, get you outside and it replaces sedentary time with active time. Many people are surprised by how little extra time it takes to cycle vs drive to work. A 20 minute drive to work replaced by a 30 minute bike to work adds 30 minutes of exercise to your day, double if you do it both ways and it only took an extra 20 minutes. You may want to look into an electric bike if you live out by the golf course.
Solicit the support of your family and friends. Let them know how important your goal is and how you are worried you will fall out of the routine, most do. Ask your support network to give you a gentle reminder when you begin to stray from your path.
If you are thinking of starting a regular exercise routine, set your session dates and stick to them like glue. We don’t think daily about going to work or not, we know we need to be there and routinize it, I recommend doing this with your exercise routine as well. An added bonus is that when you are not booked to work out you don’t have to think about it, remove the guilt.
Get some advice from the experts. There are lots of knowledgeable fitness experts working on Bowen. Take advantage of this, seek out some expert advice, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Many know what works and what doesn’t and can help you with some exercise options and ensure your resolution is realistic and will lead to success.
Changing our behavior is tough, take some time to plan for your change, keep the changes manageable, consistent and small and set up your support network.
All the best in 2018.
Rob Wynen is a Health and Lifestyle consultant with a passion for policy issues relating to population and environmental health.