Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Are you sticking to your New Year’s resolutions?

More to the point, where did January go?!

We’re now 4 weeks into 2012, and some of us are going strong with those New Year’s promises to ourselves: eating healthily, staying off the demon drink and fitting those gym sessions in. However, the rest of us might just be in need of a wee bit of help – be it motivation, time-management skills or just a change of activity to something more interesting.

And because we’re so kind, our First Class Physiotherapists have had a brain-storming session to help you out!


It can’t have escaped many people’s notice that the west of Scotland has a poor health record, with almost 65% of Scots overweight or obese. People who are obese have a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, strokes and cancer – in other words, they are likely to die earlier than people who are not obese.

For those of us who like a diagram of sorts:
                                                                                    High blood pressure
↓ Exercise                                 Increase in weight         Type II Diabetes
Too much junk food  ▬►       and BMI =          ▬► Heart disease          ▬► Death
Too much alcohol                     obesity                        Arthritis

That’s very doom and gloom isn’t it?!

People who are obese have a one in 2 chance of developing diabetes mellitus. Now we’ve all heard of diabetes, but did you know that type II diabetes (diabetes mellitus), like obesity, is avoidable if you lead a healthy lifestyle? This means eating less fat, keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level and exercising regularly.

Hurray! Some good news at last.

There is a real life-saving reason you decided to cut down on alcohol/fish suppers this New Year/walk the dog every day for half an hour!!

Managing your time

Yes, yes, all very well and good. We should exercise more, but "I’m so busy at work (read: my boss is a nightmare), there are the kids to look after (and all their extra-curricular activities), I must visit my parents twice a week, the dog needs to go to the vet, it’s my brother’s birthday this week, the house needs cleaned…"

Regular exercise for an adult is doing something that makes you moderately breathless for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. You can split this into 10 minute sessions (in other words walking quickly, taking the stairs, playing tig with the kids, running for the bus, digging in the garden, swimming, cycling to work/the shops, roller skating (yes, some people still do this!), dancing to a few of your favourite tunes, vacuuming the curtains…)

So if you break down your day and think of the in-between-activities moments, like when you’re between places – from home to work for example – you can work in a little bit more physical activity by simply getting off the bus a stop earlier and walking, or taking the stairs every time instead of the lift. While you’re waiting to pick up little Chloe at the Brownies, why not go 10 minutes early and have a brisk walk round the block? That flop into the armchair will feel so much more satisfying if you’ve spent the last 15 minutes giving the house a quick vacuum.

Or maybe the next time a mate asks you to join them at 5-a-sides or Zumba, say yes?

But what if I find the gym boring?

You’re not alone. Not only can the gym make you feel bored and isolated, it can cost a small fortune to keep up that membership when you’re not taking full advantage.

Here are a few alternatives to pounding the treadmill…

Pole dancing: there are huge advantages to pole dancing, namely: it’s a cardiovascular work out (that covers at least 30 minutes), your upper body will become toned and strong (no more bingo wings!), your posture will improve and so will your confidence! (This one’s in
Washington St
, G3 http://www.twirlntonepoledance.co.uk/)

Hula-aerobics: a fantastic work out and a great way to tighten flabby waistlines, slim hips and improve your Elvis-pelvis dance moves

Skipping: not just for little girls and boxers, 10 minutes a day for a few weeks will have your upper body toned and your heart and lungs on full workout mode – a lot harder a workout than you used to think! But it’s fantastic fun, cheap, compact and do-able anywhere

Ultimate Frisbee: while we’re on the playground games, this will really get the blood pumping and it’s a great laugh too!

Tennis: not just a summer sport. We can all pick up a racket at the most basic level and join a local club, or just hire a court with a few friends. This counts for badminton too http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/YoungGlasgow/12to18/YoungScotCard/outdoorfunfacilities.htm

Running: or jogging, or even brisk walking, we’re not looking for the next Paula Radcliffe here. Find a buddy who lives nearby and can motivate you when you can’t be chuffed – and you’ll be able to give them a gee up in turn! That half hour will fly in with some banter along the way. Alternatively, it can be the perfect way to have 30 minutes to yourself (go on, everyone loves “me time).

All of these will boost your energy (sounds backwards but it’s true!), improve your health and help you sleep better which is a whoooooole other advantage that will make you feel fabulous for 2012.

And if all else has failed with the New Year’s resolutions you made in January, you can always start again in February!

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