When the new year arrives, lots of us make resolutions for the months ahead – and often at least one of them involves exercising more.
Unfortunately, from now until the beginning of February almost half of those resolutions will get broken, and only 14 per cent of them will make it all the way through to the end of the year.
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So, what’s the key to making an exercise resolution last? I think it’s all about taking a deeper look at your resolutions to find something that works for you.
The first thing to decide is what kind of exercise you actually like to do – not what you think you should do. Do you want to lift weights, or get sweaty in a HIIT workout? Is dance or yoga your jam?
Be honest; there’s no point signing up for a marathon if you hate running! Negative feelings around your chosen activity can soon escalate into avoidance, and from there it won’t be long before it drops to the bottom of your to-do list.
If you’re not sure what you like, January is a great time to find out.
Lots of gyms, classes and instructors have new year offers that you can take advantage of, so get out there and experiment with different types of exercise to learn what makes you want to lace up those trainers.
Make sure you try more than just one class – different workout styles, trainers and times may work better for you than others, so it’s good to really get a feel for each workout space and their offering before you decide.
The next point to consider is where you want to get moving. Finding a gym, class or yoga space near to either your work or home is a great idea, as it’ll be easy for you to fit your session into your current schedule without too much effort.
If you’re thinking about gym-based forms of exercise, there are a few extra options as well: you can go on your own, join an instructor-led class or invest in a personal trainer.
Going it alone can be great, but having someone there to encourage you might be helpful if you’re worried about making the resolution stick.
If you’re new to exercise, a personal trainer can be a great way to start, as they’ll give you one-on-one instruction to help you learn all the moves – and how to do them in a way that looks after your body.
Exercise classes, as well, can offer a lot of motivation, allowing you to sweat it out with a group of like-minded people, although usually they offer less personal attention from the instructor so it’s good to know what you’re doing before you sign up for a class.
Some gyms, like us, offer a combination of the two, with smaller group fitness classes led by a number of PTs, which allows them to give you individualised form cues, advice and help with your goals while you enjoy that team training mindset.
Once you’ve found the right kind of exercise for you, start to create a consistent routine.
Going too hard, too fast is a recipe for injury and exhaustion, so seek advice from a PT or instructor to make sure that you’re training at the right frequency and intensity for you.
Make sure that the routine is suitable for your schedule, too. Research suggests that it takes 66 days to turn a routine into a habit, so being realistic about your time commitment will help you to keep coming back for more.
Once those 66 days are up, you’ll be reaping the rewards of your resolution and be ready to stick to it all the way though until 2021.
Jess Brown is head coach at F45 Bristol Central
Main photo from F45 Bristol Central / JMP
Read more: Getting results with the F45 Challenge