Many experts agree that it is at the end of the year – and not as a New Year’s resolution – when we should do exercise to start good habits and improve health and well-being as of January. But it’s not so easy. With colder and darker weather and calendars full of festive events, motivation to exercise (or practicing any type of self-care) is often more complicated.
This sentiment doesn’t just apply to winter: post-pandemic research by Nuffield Health showed that almost half of the female population does not exercise regularly, and one in three women said their physical health had deteriorated in the past 12 months. Taking into account the numerous exercise benefits – not only for physical health, but also for mental well-being – how can we get back on track?
Next, Vogue talks to George Veness, fitness expert and founder of Jab Box, about his top tips.
Visualize where you want to be
As the saying goes, you can’t be what you can’t see, so taking time to visualize your goals is key to achieving them: ‘Whether it’s five, ten or twenty years from now, you must have an image or goal in your head , and then make the lifestyle changes to achieve that result,’ says Veness. “I want to be 70 or 80 and still do what I do now, whether it’s training, running or playing soccer with my kids.” Write down your goals, always keep them in mind and think about what you have to do to achieve them, which will help you make decisions and daily behaviors.
Action precipitates motivation
Sometimes it is enough to show up for training, and the motivation will come with time, when you start to see positive results. “Most days I don’t even feel like training – I always find other things to do – but I start to warm up, keep going and end up feeling amazing,” says Veness. ‘Set the bar low on purpose and start with a short workout twice a week. Make sure you hit those goals and I guarantee you’ll feel better and want to do exercise more often’, that’s how you build good habits over time.
Make it easy to exercise
Often one of the hardest parts of exercising is the lead up: getting out of bed, getting ready, and leaving the house. To remove this roadblock, be sure to create an environment that positively influences your behavior: “Prepare yourself by taking out your workout clothes the night before so all you have to do is put them on when you get up in the morning,” says Veness, as an example. He also recommends preparing yourself mentally: How long are you going to train? What kind of exercise are you going to do? What kind of music or podcast are you going to listen to? Make up your mind and do it.
Find the right people to exercise
Several studies have shown that we are more likely to exercise if there’s a social element, then finding a workout partner or a gym that prioritizes your community may yield better results: “I think community is the most important and undervalued part,” says Veness. ‘It is a connection point in our daily lives and adds value to people’s lives; one of the most important things I have noticed is that before we just went to a bar or someone’s house for a cup of tea, but now we can go to the gym together. And this is good’.
Try to be consistent, even if it’s just a little each day.
Make your health a priority it’s essential to feel good day after day, so try to exercise every day, even if it’s only 15 minutes. More and more studies show that do exercise for more than a minute is still beneficial for both physical and mental health: “It’s a daily goal: if you want to feel good every day, have a clear head and optimal headspace, exercise,” says Veness.
Article originally published by UK, vogue.co.uk.