10 life hacks that increase the chances of sticking to your health and fitness resolutions in 2019
When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, the best laid plans and the most honourable intentions usually lie in tatters by early February. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Specialist outdoor activity website timeoutdoors asked 1000s of its members about the obstacles they faced when getting more active and has come up with some sure-fire ways to help live your best life.
Set a goal
Don’t just tell yourself you’re going to start running/run more/run faster, pick an event and sign up! That way, you’ve got a specific goal to focus on – not just a vague aim of ‘getting fitter’ or ‘being more active’. timeoutdoors have 1000’s of events and challenges on their website – find an event near you or browse the site for inspiration.
Make a plan
Once you’ve set a goal, plan how you’re going to achieve it by breaking it down into milestones. If you’re taking on a half marathon, sign up for a 10K run as part of your training. If you’re planning to summit Kilimanjaro, take on Snowdon or a challenge walk. And if you’re fundraising, break it into chunks and work out how to raise each chunk rather than the entire amount.
If you’re a regular 10K runner, committing to a half marathon sounds doable but maybe leave that Ironman for later. If you’ve just completed couch to 5K, maybe look at your first 10K. And if you’re still slumped on the couch, get out walking or head down to your local parkrun – there are hundreds across the country at 9am on Saturday mornings and they’re free! It’s a great way to make a start in a positive and supportive environment.
Don’t overdo it
Ignore the ‘no-pain, no-gain’ regimes. Recognise that it’s going to take time to get fitter. timeoutdoors are big fans of low intensity training – it’s easier to keep up, causes far fewer injuries and is much better for your overall health and wellbeing. Avoid overdoing it – one of the most common reasons for quitting fitness resolutions – as it’s more fun and sustainable!
Alongside low intensity training, timeoutdoors also believe in burning fat for fuel by cutting down carbs – such as cereal, bread, pasta & rice – and eating healthy fats as part of a natural diet. Try eggs for breakfast; swap the lunchtime sarnies for a salad; and cut out junk/processed food and sugar altogether – you’ll be amazed at how much more energy you have.
Use peer pressure
Training with friends makes it more likely that you’ll get out rather than crashing out on the couch. Ideally persuade your friends to sign up as well and train together – or at least tell them about your goal and then you’ll have to do it! Ideally persuade your friends to sign up as well and train together – or at least tell them about your goal and then you’ll have to do it!
Find an activity you enjoy
Some people aren’t built for running, some feel vulnerable on a bike and not everyone takes to water like a duck. But there are lots of ways to get more active – the key is to find an activity that you love as training then stops being a chore. Mixing it up is also a great way to keep it fun.
Keep kit simple
Don’t fall into the shiny, new gear trap. Unless you’re taking on an ultra marathon in the Sahara or an Ironman in South Africa, expensive kit doesn’t make a huge amount of difference – there’s really no point spending thousands on a new bike if you’re still carrying around a pot belly!
parkrun is brilliant for this. Each time you complete a run they’ll email your results and whether you got a new personal best – and you can track progress on their website. Don’t get bogged down with complicated fitness trackers – focus on getting active and not faffing with gadgets on the couch.
Give yourself a break
Putting your body under relentless pressure is a sure-fire way to get dejected, demotivated, injured or all three. Take at least a few days a week off and enjoy the relaxation. Believe it or not, it’s even OK to have the odd beer or glass of wine on a ‘recovery day’. Cheers!
For inspiration on getting active outdoors in 2019 visit www.timeoutdoors.com.