Firstly, I would like to wish all the readers a Happy New Year. I don’t know if it’s still acceptable to say but this is the first time I’m speaking to you all in 2019, so I’m gonna roll with it. Many people will be speaking about New Year’s Resolutions and if I was given a pound every time someone said “New year, new me” I would be rich and not need to work all year.

During my time in the fitness industry, every year, the same trends occur. January and February comes along and everyone wants to get fit. Over the festive season, we get caught into a trap where we eat and drink more than we should. We know at the time this is bad for us but we continue to do it “because it’s Christmas” and say to ourselves “I’ll burn it off in the new year” but we tend to “bite off more than we can chew” literally! The thing about living in Dubai, is that, by the time we get back into a routine, with work, sleep and getting the social balance, it is actually the middle of January. Then we tend to wait until February to commit to our goals properly because it’s the start of a new month.

Getting the perfect body takes time. I admire everyone wanting to get fitter or improve their body shape because that requires a lot of motivation, discipline, hard work and commitment. But we have to be smart in what we want to achieve and what we actually can achieve.

The key is to start off gradual. Little changes to your day to day routine to help you become more active will have a positive impact on your overall health. This also helps make fitness become more sustainable.

So, what can you do? Below are some tips which have proven to be successful and are easier to maintain. Remember its consistency and doing the little things right, that add up to make the bigger impact.

1. Exercise daily – this doesn’t mean go to the gym or on a 5km run every day, but start by doing basic exercises. I would advise 10-20 minutes of gentle exercises which could mean walking up and down stairs, carrying shopping, getting the bus at the next stop, walk before you have a coffee so you feel you have earned it. There are many ways to be active so try to do this each day, the benefits are endless.

2. Stretch in the morning – when we are sleeping, our muscles fascia (which is a sheet of connective tissue) will become tight, causing us to feel stiff when we wake. Doing some stretches can help release the muscle fascia tension and help with range of movement and blood circulation. Upper body and lower body stretches are good to do. Try this each morning and you’ll feel better and more energised.

3. Challenge yourself – by doing something different. Something you haven’t done before or something that is going to test your fitness level. This could be to learn a new activity, play a sport, play with your children or grandchildren, do a new exercise or something that you haven’t done in a while. Any of these will give you a sense of fulfilment or enjoyment which at the same time is getting you more active.

The last tip is nutrition. I will speak about nutrition more in next edition but be mindful of the calories you are consuming. Our bodies are very good at managing food. We break it down and utilise it for energy, for growth and repair and for insulation. Don’t eat more than you need and if you think a particular food isn’t very good for you, then it most probably it isn’t. More vegetables are important especially to support our immune system during “flu season” where everyone seems to be getting sick or having a virus.

New year doesn’t mean new you. It means you’re the same you but have a fresh start to be positive and make changes to build on the person you were last year. See this as an opportunity to be better. The little changes you make will give you confidence and as you start to see change, you will be more likely to continue and sustain being active.

I’ll be writing more fitness related content this year, which you can see on my Instagram page @nicky__fitness and my website ■

Best wishes! Nicky Fitness, Personal Trainer

Written by: Nicky Holland
Photos: Nicky Holland

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this article was published in OutdoorUAE printed magazine issue #93 february – march 2019

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