New year, new life. The guilt for the excesses of the Christmas holidays, the desire to improve and the stroke of a new year often make people more than just want to get back in shape. As if the regeneration of the body could take advantage of the natural renewal of the seasons. If you have to start somewhere and the holidays are certainly a good time to do so, it is also true that physical activity gives benefits if practiced constantly. Here are some simple tricks to not frustrate in a few weeks the good intentions to get back in shape. We talked about this with Professor Daniela Lucini, Head of Sports Medicine at Humanitas.
The “to do list” and how to really achieve it
Get up half an hour early in the morning to run or leave the house three nights a week to go to the gym, eat less, meditate, not get too angry at work. The “to do list” of the morning of January 1st is always quite long. However, the list of good New Year’s intentions actually achieved doesn’t end up being as long.
According to a survey conducted last year in the United States, about 35 percent of the things that people expect to start in the new year relate in a broad sense to the recovery of physical fitness: six months later, however, only 44 percent of people had managed to keep to the commitments made to themselves.
Considering how much exercise can be decisive in preventing dozens of diseases and illnesses, here are a few suggestions that we can put into practice so that we do not give up and complete what we have proposed to get back into shape.
Respect your own inclinations
There is no perfect exercise for getting back into shape. Everyone has their own tastes and inclinations and in order to achieve the goal of getting back into shape you need to keep in mind what we really like and what we are realistically willing to do to recover the right weight and body tone.
For those who start from scratch, then, ban crazy and unrealizable programs, such as switching from the couch to the gym 5 days a week. A plan like this, in addition to disregarding the rule of “little by little”, is in serious danger of remaining on paper. Nothing prevents us, then, to increase the number of workouts in the future. The first thing to do, however, is to stabilize a routine that gives us the certainty of being carried out consistently throughout the year, remembering that doing something that amuses us helps a lot to find the motivation to be consistent over time, as well as helping us to do it better.
It’s good to keep in mind, however, that a recent study by the American College of Sports Medicine has shown that the maximum medical benefits of physical activity are obtained by doing 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of very intense exercise (the famous short workouts).
Better accompanied than alone
Exercising with other people and not alone increases the chances of being able to keep a constant schedule. In this way, in fact, it is not only our will that is at stake, but also the motivation that can be given by seeing friends sharing with them a recreational activity.
So the idea of making arrangements with friends, colleagues, girlfriends and boyfriends to do physical activity together regularly every week is a good one. There is nothing to prevent the exercise from being carried out in the respective homes, if you want to save money on the gym: three or four times a week is ideal and there are many simple exercises that you can do without special tools.
Exploiting the mechanisms of reward
According to experts, the brain of human beings in some ways does not work so much differently from that of laboratory mice: our mind works with very simple mechanisms such as those of reward. A winning idea could be to buy lessons in advance with a personal trainer (which is more difficult to ignore than a gym membership) and to schedule a series of rewards to be given for each goal achieved. Already the achievement of a goal can function as a kind of reward for the brain, which perceives the effectiveness of its willpower and feels gratified. Whether it’s a 5-kilometre race or a dance competition, knowing that there’s a deadline to meet can help. The best thing to do is not to think too much about it.