‘New Year, New You’ by Kusal Goonewardena published in Great Health Guide (January 2017). Let’s face it. New Year’s resolutions fail for many reasons. Make your New Year’s health and fitness goals last with these six tips to achieve your resolutions this year.
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Fitness: New Year, New You
written by Kusal Goonewardena
Wearable fitness devices may be popular, but did you know that most people only wear them for an average of 30 days? There is a similarity between New Year’s health and fitness resolutions. Many people will currently have both – the wearable fitness tech from Christmas and the New Year’s resolution to go with it. What a missed opportunity if the device lies among other knick-knacks at the back of a drawer and the health goal a distant memory after just 30 days.
NEW YEAR’S HEALTH AND FITNESS RESOLUTIONS FAIL FOR MANY REASONS.
New Year’s health and fitness resolutions fail for many reasons such as setting unrealistic goals or going too hard too early, resulting in injury and giving up. The other main reason is lack of preparation. Being properly prepared for a change is the common link among people who successfully reach their New Year’s health and fitness goals. It’s the same with getting the most out of your wearable tech. If you want to make a change for the better in 2017, consider the following tips:
SIX KEYS TO KEEP THE RESOLUTION GOING ALL YEAR:
1. The wearable tech is just part of a bigger picture: Owning a wearable fitness device is probably not enough to keep you motivated, but being part of an overall program is. Some wearable devices offer apps which allow you to set goals and track your progress as part of a bigger fitness program. Signing up to the app dramatically increases your potential to get the most from your device. Rather than something which quickly loses its novelty, the device becomes an important tool in your big picture health journey.
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2. Consider ‘exercise tolerance’: So many New Year’s resolutions fail because people aim too high, setting goals way beyond their exercise tolerance. Understanding your fitness levels and exercise tolerance is the key.
A good rule of thumb is to only increase your exercise levels by 20% at a time, across six weekly intervals. It may sound modest, but increasing by this level allows your body to adjust slowly and lowers your injury risk. Once your body has adjusted to that increase over a period of six weeks, you may then increase the exercise by another 20%.
The key is knowing your baseline: for example, how long can you walk for and how often? How far can you run and how often? How many laps can you swim? Our bodies are designed to move and everybody can do something. Once you have your baseline you can make improvements 20% at a time and you will be amazed at the difference over a 12-month period.
3. Do something that you like: Too many people force themselves into activities they despise, so they quit. Even if you’re not in love with the idea of exercise, you will surely have a preference – for example given a choice between walking, the gym, cycling, tennis, netball, running and swimming, there is bound to be one activity you prefer and that is the one you are most likely to stick with.
4. Drop the comparisons: It’s so tempting to compare yourself to your peers, family or celebrities but comparison is destructive and de-motivating. People quickly lose confidence because somebody is always going to be fitter/stronger/better than you.
Making a positive change needs to be about you. So concentrate on yourself. Understand your base fitness and aim for steady improvement. Do what you’re doing as well as you can. The change will come and you’ll feel better for it, but only if you compare you with yourself.
5. Push beyond your comfort zone occasionally: It’s positive to settle into a health and fitness routine but it is good to increase it a little too. Try not to be locked into the exact same routine every time – consider adding a bit more to your routine every now and then. If you are doing moderate exercise twice a week, try three or four times a week. Shake it up a bit and your body will love you.
6. Develop your mindset: Mindset is most important. Anyone can emulate the way elite athletes develop mindset by using affirmations: simple, short, positive phrases, which they say to themselves either early in the morning and/or late at night. Research shows that the brain is more receptive to affirmations at these times of day.
Affirmations may be ‘today I am fitter than I was last week/last month’ or ‘each and every day I am getting better’. Affirmations combat the inevitable doubt and negative emotion people experience. They may also be necessary if you are not surrounded by supportive people – sometimes family and friends mock or are hostile to a new fitness regime.
New Year’s resolutions can become reality with preparation.
Aim to get more from your wearable tech.
Consider your exercise tolerance, choose something you like, break out of your comfort zone and work on your mindset.