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Get Active: 5 Tips to get you moving

After the Christmas festivities it's easy to end up doing an impression of this guy! The cold weather isn't particularly inspiring to get you out and active either, so what can you do to motivate yourself? Here are five tips to help you get moving.

1. Don't set yourself unrealistic goals. People often use New Year's resolutions to throw themselves in at the deep end. They change their diet, stop drinking and start exercising but within a few weeks have struggled and lost motivation because it's such a big challenge. You don't need to do everything in one go, instead try and build up gradually. Exercising every day isn't realistic or necessary, make sure you give yourself enough recovery time. Make sensible changes to your diet but allow yourself the occasional off day. If you're really focussed on cutting down on the booze why not have a dry January and raise some money for charity while you do it. Cancer Research have their Dryathlon each year which will give you a reason to stick with it.

2. Find something you enjoy. The more you enjoy it the more likely you are to stick to it. Exercise doesn't have to mean dragging yourself to the gym, there are loads of other ways to get active. There are many schemes now to try and get people back into exercise. For example, Womentime offers opportunities for women to be more active or try a new sport in a friendly, non-competitive environment. If you like music then something like Fightklub or Clubbercise might get you moving. Or, you could join a sports club if you're looking for a social element too, there are many in the local area.

3. Give yourself a purpose. Anything that allows you to exercise while ticking off other goals is much easier to stick to. If you've always wanted to run a marathon then training with that goal in mind will help motivate you. If you want to give back to your community then why not try something like Goodgym? If the aim is to get the family doing more together then why not try Parkrun? Chelmsford has one of the largest Parkruns in the country and anyone can take part, whether you walk, jog or run. There are also several others across Essex you can try to get you out and about.

4. Mix it up. Try to do a variety of activities, not only does it make it more interesting but it can help you avoid missing out on a work out. For example, if the weather is terrible and you can't face going out for your usual run, rather than talk yourself out of exercising altogether take an indoor class, or do an exercise session at home instead. It's good to combine aerobic exercise with resistance training and activities that focus on balance, particularly as you get older, so the more varied your activities the better.

5. Give yourself a break. If you miss a session, or feel like you're struggling, don't despair. Something is better than nothing so even if you just manage a walk at lunch time rather than a gym session you've still achieved something. Don't beat yourself up for the things you haven't done, focus on what you have done instead. If you feel like you're doing lots and not getting anywhere then don't give up, try changing what you're doing. Different people respond better to different types of exercise, it's just finding what works for you.

You might not enjoy every minute of it but if you start to feel the benefits this is incredibly rewarding. Feeling stronger and fitter, or mastering a sport you've always wanted to play is a great feeling. Sometimes it might hurt (see my other blog post on DOMS!) but this generally means the body is getting stronger. Be sensible if you think you might be injured though, and remember Sports Massage can help deal with any niggles you might have so you can get back to it as quickly as possible!

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