Ease yourself into a new winter regime

Many of us will have raced into 2018 with a bagful of good intentions – getting fit being top of the list. But before you dive into a regime that would make an Olympian catch their breath, consider these top tips… 

Visit your GP
If it’s been a LONG time since you’ve exercised and you live quite a sedentary life, it may well be worth giving your doctor a visit to have your general health checked over before you throw yourself into exercise. 

Prep your muscles
If possible, lead in with a month or so of something gentle like yoga or Pilates – this hugely reduces the risk of injury by stretching and conditioning your muscles and easing your transition into a full-on programme. 

Consult a professional
If you really are a total exercise novice, it might be worth investing in a session or two at local gym – securing a professionally drawn-up programme and gaining heaps of good advice. 

Warm up and cool down
No matter how experienced you are, fail to warm up before exercising and cool down afterwards, and you’re asking for aches, pains and strains. 

Do what you enjoy
Haven’t got a clue what you really want to do? Try out a few taster sessions (lots of leisure centres host them); they’re typically low-cost and low-impact and ensure you don’t invest too much in a sport or activity before realising it’s not your bag.

Grab a partner
Studies have shown that working out with a partner boosts motivation and performance levels, so recruit a buddy to join you on your new journey toward health and fitness.

Be ambitious but realistic…
Yes, absolutely, set yourself a goal (‘I will run a marathon next year’), but don’t sign yourself up for one next month. Equally, tell yourself ‘I will exercise for 20 minutes a day’ rather than two hours. Realistic targets = victory and increased self-esteem.

Invest in some tech
Don’t break the bank, but invest in a nice little tracker that ticks the basic boxes. It will help you keep track of your achievements and will act as a colourful hi-tech incentive.