With January in full swing, it’s that time of year when motivation for New Year’s resolutions fade and old habits begin to creep back in.
So, we sat down with an Olympian, a nutritionist and a fitness and pilates expert, to get their five top tips on not only how to get off your sofa, but how to make resolutions and lifestyle changes stick.
Paola Di Lanzo, Pilates studio owner and instructor
With three lockdowns and the festive season behind us, 2022 is our year to get off the sofa. Hanging out all day in comfy clothes and sitting on the sofa for work and leisure has made us all “couch potatoes.”
Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sitting on your lovely comfortable sofa. However, the hours spent on it do matter. In a nutshell, sitting for long periods of time can lead to chronic health problems; those who do this, are more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, osteoporosis, weight issues and anxiety.
In addition, sitting improperly for any length of time causes poor posture, poor flexibility, and poor mobility, all of which leads to back pain and muscle imbalances. What’s more, it can also cause “brain fog” as not enough blood and oxygen gets to the brain.
So, with all of this in mind, here are my top five tips to get you off your beloved sofa:
Join a fitness studio that runs classes you love – make your “me time” in the studio fun rather than a chore. There are many amazing studios that not only get you fit, healthy, and aligned physically and mentally, but also make you feel part of a community, which makes you want to go back for more.
Preparation and planning are critical for forming new habits. Make sure you schedule your fitness class, jog, or walk in the park. We are more likely to stick to our schedules if it’s planned. Treat it as a business meeting with yourself….to show you mean business.
Keep accountable with a friend; go to a class or walk together. Or, track with an activity tracker on your smartphone; there are a number of apps out there and ones that you can share your data with your friends and followers. Put the “healthy” into a “healthy competition”.
Surround yourself with positivity not toxicity. When you feel negative thoughts replace it with something positive. Try and make this your habit. We become what we think or who we surround ourselves with, so surround yourself with positive people who share the same healthy habits.
- Can’t get out of the house as you have commitments or work from home? No problem, there are an enormous amount of on-line fitness, Pilates and yoga classes to choose from.
Madeleine Shaw, nutritionist and yoga teacher
For the new year, I like to set intentions and things I want to experience, rather than set unrealistic goals.
Take out your journal or a piece of paper and jot down five things you want to experience for the year, whether they be big or small, and those are the intentions you can hope to achieve for the year.
1. Start the day with 10 minutes of movement
I always find if I start my morning right, it sets me up for the rest of the day. I want to keep consistent and try and do either some yoga to stretch my body or a quick exercise class to help me feel energised and refreshed. I have many yoga videos on my YouTube channel that I constantly go back to.
2. Get fresh air every day
While it can be less appealing stepping outside in the frosty weather, it is so important to get fresh air every day and top up on your Vitamin D. I am excited to walk to new places or take different routes to mix it up.
3. Try something new
I know at the end of the year, I always get a feeling that I should set myself more goals next year. It's so important not to write too many big life-changing goals, but rather set small intentions that you are more likely to achieve and find rewarding.
I recently created a fantastic course to help people find their Purpose – Leading a More Purposeful Life.
4. My favourite recipes I always go back to in January
As we may have consumed a few too many cocktails and a lot of delicious sweet treats (which is absolutely fine!), I always like to try and increase my vegetable intake in January and fuel my body with lots of goodness.
Josie Knight, Olympic cyclist
Josie Knight is a British cyclist and Olympic silver medalist. So if anyone knows how to kick bad habits and stick to resolutions, it's Josie. Here’s her top five:
- Make a plan and set small, achievable goals. If you usually don't exercise in the morning, for example, don’t create a plan to exercise for an hour pre-breakfast everyday. If you set yourself unrealistic goals, you'll feel like you've failed when you don't manage it – and motivation will soon fade.
- Start your day with a small stretch or yoga. I find there is a great collection of short yoga videos on YouTube.
- Seek out fresh air. Get outside, get active. Be it a short walk or cycle, I find getting out into the fresh air and daylight helps hugely.
- Try out some healthy recipes. I've attached my recipe to super simple, fruity flapjacks that are great for when you're exercising, or just on the sofa with a cup of tea.
- Lastly, try to be disciplined and stick to a routine, even if it's a very small routine. Consistency is key.