Slow and steady: how to create an exercise plan you’ll actually stick to
Most of us want to look and feel better in January. Go into any gym in London at this time of year and it will be full of eager new joiners working out.
Gym memberships spike in January, but 80 per cent will stop within five months, with 14 per cent not even making it past February. A common reason that I often hear for not attending the gym is feeling self-conscious, especially if you’re not really sure what to do when you’re at tehe gym. A study by Sport England found that 75 per cent of women are put off exercise for fear of what others think.
Don’t let that put you off, here are my top tips for getting started and, crucially, sticking to a workout routine.
Increase your step count
Begin by finding out what your average step count was for last year. If you have a Smartwatch or Fitbit it will have a log of your total, if not check your phone, although this may not be as accurate. Once you have your total, aim to increase your daily average by 1000 steps. Around 10000 steps equates to about 7.5 kilometres, depending on your stride length. This is a good target to aim for.
Add moderate intensity cardio
One of the best ways to increase your step count is to go for a brisk walk or gentle jog. Alternatively, jump on a bike. Depending on your starting point, 15-20 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise will improve your fitness. As you progress, aim to increase the frequency and duration until you achieve a minimum of 3 x 30 minutes of cardiovascular training each week.
Master resistance training
Resistance training is shown to increase strength, improve bone density, boost your immune system and help increase lean muscle. Adding one or two sessions into your weekly schedule will make a massive difference to how you look and feel.