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Lock-down your year 2022

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Glad to see the back of 2021? Join the club! I don’t think it’s one we will ever forget. 

In a year when lots of us turned to exercise to keep our mental and physical health in check, working from home became the new ‘normal’, 2020-2021 was the year of adapting. Making changes to get ourselves through another zoom meeting or family quiz, ‘be kind’ became a way of life, Captain Sir Tom became a legend, we clapped in unison for our NHS heroes and self care was the new going out. It has never been more important to start investing in our health and mental health. 

2022 is your year. The New Year is always the perfect time to start afresh, try something new however small. How about a walk or even a hike if you’re feeling challenged. No resolutions – just targets. Feeling up for it?

My challenge for you is to make this your year to get healthy and active. The key is to set yourself a New year objective. Resolutions are too much pressure and we don’t need that! Bought the new fitness gear? Got rid of all the treats left over from Christmas? You have already taken the first steps to a healthy 2022. 

An idea for you to try would be to start with one minute walking for a mile and then one minute running at a pace that suits you for another mile. Gradually increase this over time and ideally try this for 7 days. You will then find that over the course of the week, it gets easier. Before you know it, you’re ready to increase your running capacity and you won’t feel like you need to add the walking. However, do what suits you. If you prefer the walking break, go for it. Exercise is indivual. There is no right or wrong. Don’t be disheartened if you take time to be more active. We all have to start somewhere, right? Be proud of yourself. Self care is key in achieving goals. Recognise your achievements. 

Movement does just as much for your mind as it does for your body. Walking is good for the mind and soul, it makes you feel calmer. Breathe in that fresh air, take in your surroundings.  

We’ve all struggled with the “stay at home” advice and in particular not being able to see family and friends – those that would usually keep you motivated and happy. Struggling to find motivation to work out? Juggling life? Find 5 minutes where you can to make the changes you want to happen. Are the kids homeschooling? Use this time to educate yourself as much as the kids. Are you working from home? Some time away from the laptop will bring serenity. Try getting some fresh air.  Whether you are blessed with a house with outdoor space and a garden or a small flat with limited space or even no space at all, we all cater our workouts to what we can work with.  Life can really get in the way of what we actually want to achieve. But with the pandemic, it meant people could take stock and and value putting what is important first. 

However if time is not on your side, there are other alternatives. During Covid-19/lockdown 3.0 anything goes!  There are all sorts of other forms of exercise that you and your mind will benefit from. Try walking, yoga in the living room, or a walk in the park with your dog. Any movement is good movement. Don’t forget to increase your water intake whilst embarking on your new exercise regime 🙂 

Remember that feeling you get after doing a workout? It’s good isn’t it? Those endorphins will make you feel great. You will find that stress reduces, anxiety minimises after each workout or every time you are active. Bad habits and patterns can be hard to break, and finding the strength to be motivated can be hard. But trust me, once you’ve done it and you don’t lose confidence in yourself, it won’t stop you achieving your 2022 goal. Eventually a lifetime goal.

Reward yourself with something nourishing like a homemade meal or a smoothie packed out with fruit or even a healthy flapjack made from scratch. My favourite is a hearty stew full of vegatables and lean meat. If you want to try a smoothie, my favourite is mango, pineapple, spinach and lots of crushed ice. Also if you want to try a healthy flapjack, it’s really easy and you don’t need many ingredients! 

A handful of porridge oats,  a mashed up really ripe banana and a splash of milk (or any milk you prefer for those with allergies) and a handful of blueberries or raspberries. Mix it all together with a fork in a bowl and then put in a muffin tin and bake at 180 degrees for 10 mins till golden. They are delicious and really healthy (and great for kids too!). These are great for when you need a sweet treat.

Now you’ve smashed your workout and you can stick to a routine that suits you, make small conscious changes each day. Why not try a new recipe, cycle/walk on a route you’ve never taken before and stop to take pictures. Acknowledging your workout with a photographic memory will keep you focused. How about doing something active at the start of the day? Get your day off to a good start. ‘You’ time =solitude and peace and calm for the rest of the day. Mentally keep yourself busy. I find a journal or even a food diary help me get some structure to each day. We are more resilient that we know. That’s why we should remind ourselves that the things we overthink are just small drops in the ocean. 

January is all about moving forward and new-ness. Focus on the feeling of new – see where it takes you.

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