This is not the time of year to be thinking about new fitness plans. I know you're busy with parties, shopping, wrapping and pantos but save this post because in a few weeks you'll want to get back to it.
We need variety to maintain our general fitness. If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got. So if you fancy mixing up your movement this year, here are my top 10 routes to fitness (in reverse order). They're not fancy, costly or cutting edge, just a few thoughts to keep you motivated. Let all these great ideas sink into your subconscious now and they'll drift back to inspire you when you're ready in January.
10. Active hobbies. This is anything that gets you moving to achieve it. Gardening, dancing and learning new skills like circus performing all come under this heading. It doesn't have to be expensive to get you fit and if you're having fun at the same time, well, that's a bonus that'll keep you coming back.
9. Mobile Apps. We use our smartphones for everything nowadays and there are some great apps for exercising. Try "Zombies, Run!" which immerses you in your very own horror story to keep you moving or "Sweatcoin" which pays you in digital currency to get fit.
8. Competitions. Applying early for a race or event can inspire you to stick to your exercise plan; choose something just outside your comfort zone. For example, if you can run for 30 minutes, go for a 10km race. If you like to swim and bike, try a swim duathlon where you complete both in one race.
7. Daily activities. There's no reason why your normal life shouldn't be enough to keep you fit. Cycling or walking to work are great methods to add fitness without the fuss. Walking a dog (even if you have to borrow one) is a great incentive to get outside. According to new research, dog owners are 34% more likely to hit exercise targets as they walk their pets regularly.
6. Sports clubs. Does a bit of competition inspire you? Try a club. You can make new friends, compete individually or in teams and enjoy all the social aspects that come with a large group activity. How about squash, running, sailing, netball, diving, triathlon, obstacle course race or skiing clubs to pep up your fitness routines?
5. Online Subscriptions. Now the exercise can come to you. Much like the workout DVD's you did in the living room 10 years ago, nowadays you can pay a monthly subscription to a yoga, Pilates, cardio or toning website and access your fitness whenever you're available. The choice is huge and all levels of fitness are catered for. If you're confident about moving safely then try something new from your own home and without an audience.
4. The Gym. Good old gym. For a quick once round whilst hitting all the major muscles or for a beef building, body changing routine, the gym is great. It's inside where the weather isn't, there's a loo and usually somewhere to change, people help you make sense of the machines and there's always a Personal Trainer about to give advice. If you've never set foot in a gym you may be convinced it's like every stereotype on the TV but most gyms are full of people just like us doing their best to stay healthy and fit. Get a program, take all the advice and help and give it a go.
3. Small Group Training. This is where a Personal Trainer will work with 4-6 people at once. This type of class allows you to work with a Trainer without the price tag of a one to one session. You'll receive all the encouragement, feedback and advice you would from a private session along with the camaraderie of a group environment. Small Group Training takes on a few formats and the best will be backed up with access to the Trainer outside of the sessions and programs for you to complete at home. Of course, prices can differ depending on the extent and range of service provided.
2. Group Classes. Aerobics, Pilates, Kettlebells, Zumba, Yoga, Circuits, the list goes on! A proven way to reach your fitness goal is to exercise with a friend and there's no easier way than meeting at your weekly step class. Classes are affordable, fun and varied. Check out your local sports centres and town halls for their list of classes and give some a go. Just remember to choose appropriately for your ability and health; if it says it's high impact and your knees don't like stairs then don't go.
1. Personal Trainer. Well of course I was going to say that! How luxurious it is to have a professional creating and adapting a regime for you, for your lifestyle, for your work diary, tastes and preferences. To guide you through each exercise, triumph with you over each success and support you through each hiccup. What could be better?
So, bookmark this post and when the Christmas chocolate is finished and you're ready to lose the excess, have another read. The best exercise isn't fancy, it's frequent.
Enjoy Good Health!