Returning to work after the festive celebrations, the adverse weather conditions, and the financial burdens of paying off any outstanding Christmas debts mean that January can feel like a very long month for many of us. As well as these pressures, January is also a month where we are encouraged to work off our Christmas excesses by eating more healthily and taking regular exercise.

As February begins the temptation to give up the gym memberships will likely be in the minds of most people who started the new year on a quest to become more physically active, particularly for those of us who have struggled to maintain a fit and active lifestyle. There are many reasons, however, to stick to your physical exercise programme.

Benefits of Exercise

Physical exercise can greatly benefit us in several ways. It helps us to lose excess fat, tone muscles, gain more energy, and feel physically stronger and healthier. Physical exercise also reduces the risk of developing illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and strokes. Regular exercise can help us sleep better, improve our moods, and decrease our risk of suffering from mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Exercise can also be an enjoyable social activity. Whether it’s attending fitness classes with friends or meeting new people in a walking group, exercise can be an effective way to broaden our social lives.

Challenges of Exercise

It can be difficult to commit to ensuring we get our recommended levels of physical exercise. Demands on our time from work and family commitments and everything in between can make it challenging to dedicate any time to our own health and physical fitness. A lack of confidence and self-esteem can also be an obstacle to pursuing an active lifestyle. Gyms, fitness classes, and taking up new sports can be intimidating when we don’t quite feel at our best. Or perhaps we are simply unsure which type of exercise we should be doing, and how much we should be doing it.

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Tips to keep Exercise in your Life

So how do we adopt good exercise habits, and maintain these habits? Here are a few tips on how to make sure physical exercise has a place in your busy lifestyle:

Make exercise a part of your routine: By scheduling exercise as part of your normal daily and weekly routines, it will hopefully become a regular part of your schedule and something you won’t want to miss.

Set your personal goals: Everyone has their unique reasons for exercising. Figuring out your own goals will allow you to focus on what exercise suits you best, and produce results that will benefit you.

Use your time: Setting aside an hour to exercise when we seemingly have so many other things to prioritise can be difficult. Often, taking time for ourselves and prioritising our well-being can feel selfish when there is so much else to do. Embrace the time you have to exercise. You will be in a much better position to attend to all the other tasks and people in your life if you are in good health and looking after yourself.

Make exercise a social activity: Having a workout buddy can make exercise feel a bit less intimidating. The presence of another person in your workout routines may also make you more motivated to stick to your exercise plan.

Have fun: If you don’t enjoy your exercise plan, you are much less likely to stick with it. Try a variety of activities until you find what works for you. If there is a particular exercise or activity you don’t enjoy, find an alternative. Exercise doesn’t just have to be about achieving results, it can be a source of enjoyment as well!

At The Green Rooms, we provide a number of services that can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle alongside your exercise plan. Whether you wish to lose weight, curb your cravings, stop smoking, or feel less anxious or depressed, we can help you to achieve a healthier and happier 2015. Contact us for more information for a free confidential consultation or to book your first appointment.

Written by Jennifer McElroy, The Green Rooms Psychology Assistant