The success of any fitness resolution is dependent on whether they are suited to your daily routine. But these five tried-and-tested pledges could be a starting point for you to draft your own.
Get enough sleep
Research has shown that a good night’s sleep results in the right mix of hormones in the body that allow you to make good eating choices. Sleep badly, and you’ll find yourself eating lots of sugar and fat to get your energy up temporarily.
Do what it takes to secure the right amount of shut-eye. Try no TV or screens of any kind for an hour before bed to ensure you get seven-and-a-half hours of sleep a night and wake up refreshed.
Vow to make 80% of your diet choices nutritious
Many weight loss experts recommend the 80% rule as it makes changing your eating habits more manageable. By cutting out all of your favourite foods at one go, you may feel deprived and wind up binging on them later. But if you eat well most of the time, a few treats won’t hurt your overall weight loss efforts.
Try and get as many nutrients as possible per calorie. Pick veggies and fruit, and avoid sugar and dairy. Nutrition from prepared meals, snacks and eating out is always inferior — spend 10 minutes every weekend bagging nuts and washing/cutting fruit and vegetables to snack on for the week ahead. Raw nuts have fewer calories than roasted — about 20% fewer in the case of almonds. These high-fibre foods will fill you up and leave you with better control over your appetite.
Make sure you stay on the move
Instead of worrying about getting to the gym every day, incorporate more movement into your daily life. An easy way to do this is by walking — invest in a pedometer, or sign up for the Healthifyme and get the fitness tracker RIST, to monitor how many steps you take on an average daily. Then challenge yourself to increase the steps each day.
Commit to cardio every week
The goal of a workout is to get your heart rate up, strengthen your cardiovascular system, improve your stamina and burn more calories. Skipping can give you a great cardio workout; jump rope for 10 minutes every morning and evening. Interval training is another option – after power walking or running for two minutes, do the same activity at a slower pace for three. Repeat this cycle for 20-30 minutes.
Strength train twice a week
Strength-training builds bone density, improves posture, strengthens core muscles to prevent back pain and allows you to stay fit as you age. Aim to do a minimum of 30 minutes of strength-training, twice a week. You don’t have to go to the gym for this; there are ways to incorporate strength moves into your daily routine. For example, standing on one leg while brushing your teeth will challenge your core muscles and balance. Do push-ups, planks, bridges and dips while watching TV.