Remember the moment when the clock struck twelve and you made all these New Year’s resolutions? Eating healthier, moving more? It has been more than seven months now. How is it going? Surveys show that less than 50% of the people are able to keep their promises for more than a couple of months. But do not feel unsuccessful, it is never too late to start a new habit. My tip is not to promise, set goals instead. Then you can have intermediate goals, rewarding yourself. If you miss an intermediate goal, well it is not a disaster, you have a new chance for the next intermediate goal. This feels much better than breaking a promise.
Personally, I have trained quite a lot over the years. I usually go all in when it comes to training. It started with ball sports in middle school and went via group training to gym. To challenge myself, I competed in Athletic fitness when I was in my 20s. I know what it takes to get the desired six-pack when it comes to both diet and exercise. But I also know what you have to sacrifice to keep it. I have to admit that the six-pack is long gone and I have no plans to get it back. Now it's more about exercising to feel good, so diets, bulk and cuts are long gone. For me, exercise has always been a natural part of everyday life. But I know it's not so easy for everyone else, so here are some tips.
If your goal is to start moving more, then my best tip is to find a friend or two. To train is sooo much easier when you have company. I have a training buddy who comes and picks me up 2 days a week for a jogging trip. To be honest when it is -10 degrees or raining, I am not always motivated and I would have missed more than one training without him. At the moment he is on holiday 700 km away but we run together anyway, we are just a call apart. The other days it is usually Tabata on the lunchbreak. And it´s not a dish, as one of my colleagues thought, but a form of interval training that everyone can participate in - no matter your form. We have a small but persistent group here at Garantell, we even go out in the rain and fighting together against lactic acid.
I do not mean that everyone should go out and run at 5h30 in the morning before going to work or getting sweaty at lunch (I realize myself how crazy it sounds). It is important to find your way, what works for you. A good start can be a walk at lunch. Just start walking at a leisurely pace with nice company. It fires up the body that has been sitting still for several hours and you get fresh air as a bonus. I promise that the afternoon will feel much better in both body and mind. If you combine this with standing at your desk now and then, you have come a good way on the right path. The most important thing is not WHAT you do, but THAT you do something.
Moving and getting your pulse up is something that is really good for your brain and it has a lot of other positive health effects:- You become happier and more alert, this is because, among other things, dopamine and endorphins are released in the brain
- You get a better memory and learning ability, the hippocampus which is the brain's memory centers, grows or retains its size instead of shrinking
- You become a better problem solver
- You improve your ability to concentrate
- The muscle cells produce proteins that are analgesic, stimulate and counteract stress and depression
- Exercise also strengthens your immune system and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Movement is positive for your blood sugar, blood pressure and blood fats.
I can go on with the list forever…
After movement, comes the topic healthy food… HERE we have a problem, why is unhealthy food = tasty? Personally, I'm really a “Swedish fika” addict, right now I'm dreaming of a piece of chocolate cake with fluffy cream and raspberries .. mmm…. People who are saying that cake without sugar and butter tastes the same, they are (in my opinion) lying ... My advice is simply not to forbid all these comfort foods. Why should you stop eating tasty things? You only live once! The important thing is that you do not eat it too often. So instead of banning, try adding something that is healthy. If you decide to eat two fruits a day, you are not that focused on (in my case) “fika”. It is better with many small changes than something drastic that you cannot keep up with in the long run. We have the privilege of getting breakfast at Garantell. So replacing the white sandwiches with the dark bread is a good start. And yes, you can keep the jam to begin with. Change takes time.
By starting to exercise and eat a little healthier, you become more alert and have more stamina. You feel and perform better, so why wait? I am not saying it will be easy, you have to fool the brain and be a little stubborn. In the beginning, it can be a bit daunting; you are used to your old routines. But training is addictive due to the endorphins, so after a while you will be as stuck in it as I am.