A brand new year is here and with it comes that energised feeling of high expectations, goals and resolutions, especially with regards to our health and fitness. But health resolutions don’t have to be hard at all. Here are some easy-peasy ones for you to get started:
I will set myself up for a win
Earnest as our intentions may be, as January health and fitness resolutions go, they don’t last beyond the first few weeks for most of us. Change is not easy; it’s just so much easier to find our way back into our comfort zones. A change in approach would help. For instance, set up a reward system where you can treat yourself upon reaching time-specific goals. So, make a list of things that you would like to get or do — an outfit, a phone, an accessory, a mini-holiday — a tangible treat to enjoy for the time put in so far, with another treat waiting upon completion of the next time-goal.
I will be consistent
Why don’t you focus on time-frame goals to reward yourself rather than number-driven goals such as inches or kilos lost? That’s because consistency is key to realising health and fitness goals. To see any results, you need to first find a way or a goal to want to stay the course. The truth is that it’s not possible to predict or even dictate to our bodies how much weight to lose or where to lose it from.
Many times, we start an eating and exercise programme with the goal of losing a specific number of inches or kilos within a certain number of weeks. When that doesn’t quite happen, given the fact that you cannot really predict such outcomes, we get frustrated and stop. Remember, stopping is going to take you nowhere in terms of realising those goals. Therefore, focus on time goals: if you are able to stay consistent in your efforts for a long term, the results will follow naturally.
I will maintain balance
So, we’ve got ourselves a way to stay consistent with our time-goal reward approach, now for the programme itself. To be ‘healthy’ can have different definitions for different people. Simply put, being healthy refers to one feeling strong and fit on a physical, emotional and mental level — a state where one is able to enjoy and participate in life to their maximum. Becoming and then staying healthy requires a concerted effort by eating healthy, exercising and developing a fit lifestyle — it is not possible to overlook or exclude any.
I will make the right choices
It’s easy to state: eat clean and healthy, get regular exercise, sleep well, and manage stress to be healthy. However, with the number of ‘successful and tried and tested’ diets, workouts and lifestyle-coaching programmes available, the choice can be daunting.
To make effective choices for yourself, follow a simple rule of thumb. The eating habits that you want to incorporate and the workouts that you want to do need to be suitable for you, specifically in terms of having a positive impact rather than creating stress. It does not matter how highly recommended a diet plan or workout is, or what terrific results were achieved by another person — if it is not something that you will be able to make a habit of within your lifestyle for the long term, then it’s not the right choice for you.
I am going to keep my fitness regime integrated & functional
Increasingly, our expectations in terms of how and what we want to do has led to lifestyles where we handle multiple roles and responsibilities, along with more activity-oriented social lives. Running, bicycling, playing a sport are excellent forms of exercise incorporating varied elements such as the outdoors, de-stressing, team energy and competitiveness.
To keep the body healthy, fit and stress-free, it is important to balance these activities with integrated full-body strengthening workouts. The benefits are multiple: such workouts focus on functional training and strengthening for daily living, plus they also lead to better performance in your sport/activity.
Repetitive movements in running, bicycling, golf, tennis and other sports and activities result in muscular imbalances and repetitive stress-related injuries. Such concerns should be addressed with functional workouts that target core-strengthening, multi-joints and multi-plane movements —aimed at injury prevention and decreased stress on the body to enable us to lead functional, optimum lives.
In 2019, make a resolution to become strong, healthy and fit: celebrate yourself and your abilities.
(The author is co-founder, The Zone, Mind & Body Studio, Bengaluru)