23 steps to getting fitter and healthier in 2023 - that you can actually maintain

23 steps to getting fitter and healthier in 2023 – that you can actually maintain

Ready for better health? (Photo: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Seven weeks. No, this is not the mandate provided for the current Prime Minister; that’s the average length of a New Year’s resolution.

However, to help you set new goals since last March, we have 23 steps you can take in 2023 to make yourself ever fitter, happier and healthier.

Long-term change is difficult. It takes commitment and effort. Therefore, for change to be successful and sustainable, it must be gradual and achievable.

Mandy Wong Oultram, award-winning personal trainer and nutrition coach at FlexFit, told Metro.co.uk: “My main goal is to help people fall in love with working out by showing them how fitness can be integrate into their hectic lifestyle.”

“I want you to be motivated to exercise and eat healthy well beyond March when everyone’s resolutions have been dropped!”

“So much so that this is the last year that ‘fitness’ is a New Year’s resolution for you!

Ahead, we break down 23 hacks you can start doing now to be healthier next year.

Find your why

Motivation can be hard to muster, but even more so if you don’t really know why you’re doing something.

Wong Oultram agrees: “Dig deep into your mind to figure out why you want to exercise more. Write it down and come back to it when you feel demotivated (because, yes, we all have days off!).

Be realistic and stay consistent

It is reported that it takes an average of 66 days to change a habit. Therefore, you are not going to change overnight and it is unlikely to happen in January.

However, it may be more achievable if you are realistic about seeking change and stay consistent in your approach.

“If you’re having trouble maintaining momentum in the first month, try to stick with it, and you should find that the lifestyle change becomes much easier by the end of the second month,” Mandy advises.

Comp of a woman on a walk

Try new things (Photo: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Set SMART goals

To stay focused and remember

To stay focused and remind yourself of what you want to accomplish, set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Without goals, there is little accountability and it is difficult to measure progress.

Create manageable goals

Mandy says you should aim for goals that you have an eight out of ten chance of achieving.

“If your average daily step count is 5,000, rather than having your goal at 10,000 and not hitting it, set a goal of 6,000 and figure out how easily you will take your extra steps,” she suggests.

List the benefits of being fit and healthy

Listing the benefits of being fit will create personal reasons to keep going. You’ll also have a reminder if you have low moments, and you can stick it somewhere you’ll see it.

Wong Outram says, “The benefits of exercise are well documented, but it’s your listing. Write down what is important to you.

woman doing yoga

Be realistic with your goals (Photo: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

List the consequences of not to do things

By listing the risks or consequences of not changing your lifestyle, you reiterate your Why. It is not there to scare you but can encourage you when motivation is low.

Schedule your workouts

While some of us might like to get by when it comes to fitness, the reality is that it’s easy for life to keep us from working out. If you have a weekly schedule, it’s harder to avoid it.

“Put exercise into your schedule around your other commitments,” recommends Mandy. “Plan for when you’re least likely to drop the idea, like first thing in the morning.”

Don’t compare yourself

Don’t panic if this is your first exercise class or workout in a while and others seem fitter than you. Work against your targets and goals, not someone else’s.

Healthy competition is one thing, but unrealistic goals are sure to invoke demotivation.

Seize small windows of opportunity

Just because you don’t have a full hour to train doesn’t mean you can’t exercise; something is better than nothing.

Wong Oultram agrees: you don’t need an hour a day to train. 20 minutes of exercise three or four days a week is always important and helpful.

“To see change, you just have to do more than you are doing now.”

Warm up before training (Photo: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Warm up before training (Photo: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Celebrate the small victories

Sometimes small accomplishments matter and can motivate you to keep going.

“Don’t underestimate the power of praising yourself for the small steps you’ve taken toward your goals,” Mandy says. “All progress, no matter how small, should be noted.”

Plan your training

The gym can be intimidating, and for some, it’s boring.

However, if you go armed with a workout (with sets and reps), it will provide you with structure and motivation. Otherwise, join a class to give you instructions.

Hire a personal trainer

Sometimes we all need a nudge or someone to encourage us to keep going. The right personal trainer will vary your workouts, improve your technique, and encourage you to work at your optimum ability.

Start strength training

Regardless of your age, strength training will benefit you if you do it correctly.

A recent study shows that strength training can help you live longer. It also reduces the risk of osteoporosis, can improve your mood and confidence, increase your metabolism, and improve heart health.

Drink water

You know the benefits of drinking plenty of water, so make it as easy as possible.

Wong Oultram suggests taking your bottle with you everywhere and adding chunks of orange or lemon to add flavor.

trx workout

Strength training is key (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Make healthy eating more convenient

You can incorporate healthy foods into your daily life by cooking and freezing portions or buying ready-made vegetables, such as carrot sticks, which are quick and easy to use. Frozen berries and fruits are also handy for making a quick and healthy smoothie.

Reduce your alcohol consumption

Alcohol can be fun at this time, but alcohol has adverse effects on your workouts. This can cause dehydration as our kidneys produce more urine and energy levels are affected which produces less glucose making us more tired.

“If you’re tired, you’re more likely to make poor food choices and give up training the next day,” says Wong Oultram.

Eat energy-dense foods

Carbohydrates, including pasta, potatoes and rice, are essential for fueling exercise and you need them if you exercise regularly.

Get enough, good quality sleep

Wong Oultram says we should: “Sleep just to exercise and eat better the next day”.

She adds that it’s important to wind down an hour before bed by reading a book, listening to a podcast and limiting phone use..

woman waking up and stretching from bed

Good rest is key (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Do a warm up

It’s easy to skip this part and get on with your workout, but a warm-up literally warms up your exercise-ready muscles, increases circulation and body temperature, and gradually raises your heart rate.

If you’re out of ideas, Wong Oultram suggests: A good idea is to warm up with lower-intensity versions of the same moves you’ll do during your workout.

Stretch after your training

A recovery stretch is important.

“Stretch when your muscles are warm and mobile,” advises Mandy. “It will help your muscles recover and reduce soreness the next day.”

Train with friends

If you join a class or train with others, you can hold each other accountable.

Create a playlist

IIf you exercise alone, a playlist of your favorite music can help motivate you to workout, boost your mood, and keep you going for longer.

As Wong Oultram says, “Get your mind to associate exercise with the good times!”

try new things

You don’t have to run just because your friends swear by it; Decide what you like and try new types of exercises.

There are so many options, and you never know, aerial hoop, indoor climbing or pole fit might be what you need.

Do you have a story to share?

Contact us by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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