Dec 15 2014

Winter and fitness 2014

Mince pies, mulled wine, Christmas pudding, turkey with all the trimming, Yule logs… Christmas is coming and that means one thing – It’s time to indulge. But where does fitness come into all of this? Does it even come into it at all?  Keeping fit through winter is a challenge…

Mince pies, mulled wine, Christmas pudding, turkey with all the trimming, Yule logs… Christmas is coming and that means one thing – It’s time to indulge. But where does fitness come into all of this? Does it even come into it at all? 

Keeping fit through winter is a challenge in itself. The dark nights and drop in temperature makes sitting by a fire just a little more tempting than going to the gym. It’s funny how many of us spend the first half of the year desperate to get ourselves beach ready, but the first sign of a woolly jumper and it all goes out the window.

The summer months are clearly much more likely to give us that all-important ‘get up and go’ (for those who admit they don’t exercise all year round) – as we discovered after conducting a survey of people’s attitude towards fitness.

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But wait – that survey accounts for the people who said they do exercise to stay fit. Out of a population of 500, a staggering 46% said they don’t exercise to stay fit. Maybe they exercise for a different reason. But surely the MAIN reason why anyone should want to exercise is to stay fit? Especially coming from a country that’s gone quite frankly health mad.

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No longer can we go to a fast food restaurant and eat a burger without feeling immensely guilty with the amount of calories we’re about to eat (as we are rudely reminded on the packaging)… “Do you want to make that a large?” “Umm, no thanks.”

And to add to that even our mobile phones now give us that all important reminder that those calories we’ve just devoured are slowly turning into “love handles” unless we get off our ass and put our Stepometer into action. Surely with these gentle reminders that just so happen to be EVERYWHERE, we would be more encouraged to stay fit?

What’s maybe more surprising is that of the 46% who admitted they don’t exercise to stay fit, it was mainly from people aged between 35-64. Now don’t get me wrong – people of all ages, shapes and sizes benefit from exercising but doesn’t everyone know that exercise becomes more important with age? The benefits of exercising as you get older are endless. Not only will it improve your strength and stamina, it also lowers the chances of developing diseases associated with ageing, like hear disease and strokes.

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So we’ve discovered that we prefer exercising when the warmer weather is upon us (and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out why that is) but in the survey nearly everyone said that they always (or sometimes) eat more during the holiday season. That’s not surprising either – what with all the festivities that take place in the build up to Christmas. It’s probably more surprising that 12% said they didn’t eat more during the holidays! But doesn’t that means we should exercise more at this time of year to counter balance all those mince pies we are likely to scoff.

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It’s little wonder then, that after Christmas, and after the realisation that we might have more in common with Father Christmas than we think (i.e. pot belly), nearly half of us will think about making a New Years resolution about improving our fitness. Considering research suggests that on average people will gain 6lbs between Christmas and New Year, it makes sense to set ourselves some goals (and we’ll soon have that bikini body to be thinking about!)

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But for all those good intentions of wanting to loose a bit of weight or eat a bit healthier, only a tiny fraction (8.5%) said they are successful at keeping to their New Years resolution.

My advice to those who are planning on making a New Years resolution about improving their fitness would be to:

Make it tangible – Setting ambitious resolutions can be fun but the success rate is likely to be slim to none and you’ll just end up beating yourself up over it if you fail. Don’t just say, “I want to loose weight in 2015”, pick a day to start the gym or decide on something you want to cut down/ avoid eating.

Make it measurable – If you can’t measure it, it’s not a very good resolution – it will just end in a vague goal. Be sure of what it is you want to achieve.

Keep believing in yourself– Simply setting a goal does raise the chances of it becoming more achievable but within weeks or maybe months, you’re likely to come across obstacles that will throw you off your stride. You just have to remember that thing called will power – it goes a long way.

But my ultimate advice would be to scrap the New Year’s resolution. Keeping fit is a way of life. Look after your body all year round and enjoy feeling healthy whilst still enjoying the finer things in life.

Merry Christmas and a Happy (and healthy) New Year 🙂

Survey Findings

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