Tuesday, 12 February 2013

My latest blog post for Tesco

Walk this Way

It’s that time of year when our New Year pledges of fitness can become challenged by our instinctive desire to just give up! Phoebe Doyle has some motivation tips to keep you on the right track with the walking challenge…

Weren’t we doing well? On January the 2nd we were back to work, boasting of yet-to-be-achieved goals, envisioning Olympic-esque fitness levels and pounding the pavements with our new BFF - our pedometer.

Now we’re not so sure. Walking’s OK, but cars were invented for a reason surely. And TVs. And sofas.

Feeling pessimistic about our best laid plan is totally understandable, logical even; our dreams of dropping weight in record time haven’t been realised as quickly as we’d hoped and we still feel just as exhausted all the time. Hold it right there! Stop being so predictable! Apparently over 3 quarters of us give up our new year’s resolutions at some point in January… you don’t want to follow the crowd now do you?

Here’s some tips to keep motivation high during this most testing of will-power time…

1.     Buddy up! Chances are you have a friend who was going to give up wine/cigarettes/men but has already given up on giving up… but don’t follow suit. Instead take such a friend under your wing and help spur each other along on the walking challenge. Walking with a friend has a twofold beneficial effect: Firstly you’re more likely to stick to it as you won’t want to let them down, secondly chatting whilst walking is about 77% more satisfying than walking alone.*

*Statistic based on No Research Whatsoever, but it’s true, right?

2.   Feel the rhythm. Whether music could help exercise had been argued by sports boffins for years and was scientifically found to be the case by researchers at Liverpool John Moore’s University in 2009. The scientists found that exercise endurance and performance improved by 10% when people listened to music. So plug yourself into your ipod and get into the beat of your favourite tunes; time will fly by.

3.  Reward yourself.  Our fitness goals can take so long to achieve; fitting into some ridiculous jeans, losing a stone, getting properly fit. Because such goals are far from instantly realised we can often find ourselves becoming despondent and asking what on earth we’re doing it all for. By giving yourself some rewards in the short term you can help to keep your motivation up constantly without having to always measure up against the long term aim.

Little note though, when we say “reward” it’s best to think more, say a beauty product than an enormous desert. Walking is a great calorie burner but you’ll put them all back on, and more, if you over-eat.

4. A change is as good as a rest. Well, maybe not quite, but almost. If you’ve been building up your step count by simply walking around your block or doing the same old circuit of the park it’s no wonder you’re beginning to flag. Change your route often, even if it means driving somewhere to start walking. Getting out of town and into the sticks has to be the biggest motivation-booster, with the fresh air being a mood-lifter in itself. But if you can’t do that visit another park… or even another block will be more interesting than your own!

5. Borrow a dog or a child. Not something I often advise, in fact this might be a first. And obviously I’m assuming you’ll ask first and be given full consent.

If you’re finding it hard to stick to your initial reasons for starting the challenge, why not make a new one; being helpful to a friend. You must have a friend who needs their dog walked whilst they’re out, or perhaps a young child that needs a sleep and will only succumb once they’ve been taken out in their buggy and marched sufficiently… well you can become said friend’s knight in shining armour! Offer to take their dog/child/partner/whatever out on a walk and you can polish your helpful halo as well as your fitness one.

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