Make - and keep - a resolution to be healthier

With a new year often comes New Year’s Resolutions to get healthier, but how many of us actually stick to them?

Ryan Gray, owner of Feel Good Gym in Louth.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46 percent of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful.

For those who’ve made them, we’ve spoken to a number of experts relating to the most common health-related resolutions people make, with their best advice on how to see them through this year.

Top of the list for New Year’s Resolutions year after year is to lose weight, and with many of us gaining a few extra pounds during lockdown and over Christmas, this may well be top of your priorities this January too.

Annabelle Stemp, of Market Rasen.

Personal trainer Ryan Gray is the owner of Feel Good Studio and Gym in Louth, and has worked in the fitness industry for 15 years.

He said: ''A study conducted by sundried found that 43 percent of people give up their fitness goals within one month,r which I assume will be much higher this year given the circumstances.

''With fitness centres having to close since March and advice to stay indoors unless deemed essential, it may feel like many things are getting in our way to distract us from our fitness goals, but with modern technology, fitness is just at our fingertips.

"The best form of exercise is the exercises you enjoy the most. Some of the best calorie burns come from sprinting or a rowing machine, but if someone tries the rowing machine and they don’t really like it, more than likely they will stop rowing.

"However, if they go for a walk and listen to an audio book or jog on a treadmill and watch TV, they may stick this out and over the longer term the latter is the better option."

Ryan has shared his top exercise tips for keeping in shape:

- Couch to 5k is one of the most popular running programmes, I know many who use it and sing its praises.

- Use a fitness app which allows you to follow an instructor.

- Try yoga - it’s steady, does wonders for your mobility and it’s a great calorie burn.

- Go out for a long walk, a power walk if possible.

- Set up a small circuit with squats, step-ups and planks for one minute each, with one minute rest and complete the circuit three times.

- Set yourself a target, if you want to lose one stone, break it down into weeks, aim to lose 1lb per week for the next 14 weeks.

- Make a routine, try to write it down and factor in when you can exercise around schoolwork and your job.

As well as getting fit, losing weight is another top resolution people make in January, but how many people are guilty of taking out gym membership and purchasing new workout gear, only to lose interest within a few months?

But how do you not only shift those excess pounds, but also successfully keep them off?

Slimming World research revealed that the more weight a member loses in their first week, the more likely they are to be successful in the longer term.

Dr Sarah-Elizabeth Bennett, Slimming World’s senior research associate, said: “This data shows us that one of the biggest predictors of success is a strong weight loss in the first week, as those who lost 5lbs or more in their first seven days were four times more likely to go on to lose 10 percent of their body weight within three months.

“Significant weight losses are often associated with ‘quick fix’ diets or restrictive, faddy plans; however we can see from our research that it is possible to see big results on the scales by following a healthy, balanced eating plan.”

Slimming World spokesman Annabelle Stemp, from Market Rasen, said: “Personally for me, I would advise plenty of fresh air, even if just a walk around the block, and meal planning and then a shopping list for your meal planning, then you have everything in to help you stay on track.

“Get in your recipe books and try new things - this stops everything becoming boring and a chore!”

One of the most important things one can do to be healthier is to quit smoking, and with cutting out cigarettes still listed as one of the most popular New Year's Resolutions made each year, why not let 2021 be the year you kick the habit for good?

The smoking cessation team at new healthy living service OneYou Lincolnshire has put together the following tips to help you quit smoking for good:

- Seek support from a professional – Support from a Stop Smoking practitioner improves your chances of quitting by up to four times.

- Delay and distract – If you feel like you’re going to give in to your craving, tell yourself that you must first wait 10 more minutes and then do something to distract yourself.

- Avoid triggers – Urges to smoke are likely to be strongest in the situations where you smoked most often, such as in the car or watching television. Identify your trigger situations and have a plan in place.

- Get physical – Physical activity can help distract you from cravings and reduce their intensity. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity can make a craving go away. If physical activity doesn’t interest you, try needlework, woodwork, colouring or journalling or chores for distraction, such as vacuuming or filing paperwork.

- Remember the benefits of quitting – Write down or say out loud the reasons you want to stop smoking.