Dec 2016 31

Resolute in the New Year

By: Dave Wheeler

Did you see the article on the BBC News website this last week about the "Middle Age Health Crisis"? It notes that, according to Public Health England, 80% of  40 to 60 year-olds are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise.

Great timing on the publication of that bit of research, eh? Just in time for New Year's resolutions.

Since at least Babylonian times (roughly 3,900 years ago), human beings have seen in a New Year by making promises for a fresh start. So if you're making a resolution this year to take you out of that group of 8 out of 10 cats that are unhealthy, then you're in good company.

If resolutions are your thing, then here are a couple of hints to help you succeed in your healthy goals.


1. Food

If you're looking to start eating more healthily, then just do it. Don't go for the latest fad diet, book or clique. Go to someone who's been around the block and has a reputation to worry about. If you're after 1-on-1 help with nutrition, then Troy Martin of Body Type Nutrition has a great no-nonsense approach. If you prefer groups to 1-on-1, then Weighwatchers is  still the best.

Just a quick word about the Hobson's choice I've given you there - private coach or group support. In our highly individualised web-connected world, the chances are that you'll think you can do it by yourself. Honestly, you can't. You need a bit of support. Take a look in the mirror  - if you could change without a bit of backing, you would have done it already.


2. Drink

There are 2 things to think about when it comes to drinking.

a. Drink less

So many of us are stressed for so much of the day, that a drink when we get home can really help to relax us. There's nothing wrong with that of course, but it's worth comparing your weekly consumption with the recommended limit, which is:

  • 8 glasses of wine a week, OR
  • 6 pints of beer or  lager, OR
  • 5 pints of cider

And yeah, sorry, there was an "or" in the middle of each of those, not an "and"!

b. Drink more

If we could do with cutting down on booze a bit, most of us could do with upping our intake of water. If you're wee is clear, then you're drinking enough water during the day; if it's not then you're dehydrated and your body need more. There's more info on hydration in the blog.


3. Exercise

If you poke around the previous articles in the blog, you'll find plenty to keep you going on the subject of exercise. But here are the really important points:

  • Act your age not your shoe size. If you're 40 and haven't run for a decade, don't be an idiot and think you can do a 10K run. You can't. You'll end up spending a fortune with me as I try to repair your body. So start slow. The NHS Couch to 5K programme is a fantastic way to get back into exercise.
  • Stretch. You won't want to. You won't know if you're doing it right. You won't know if you're doing it right. But just do it. Always stretch after exercise; don't stretch before.  Again, there's much more here.
  • Think. No, seriously, I mean, think about what you're doing to your body when you exercise.
    • Build your fitness up slowly
    • Take a break from exercise a couple of days a week
    • Make sure you've got the appropriate kit (trust me on this one - I tried running on 10 year old shoes during 2016 and ended up with a foot injury that took 4 months to clear)
    • Be kind to yourself.
    • Stretch (yes, I know I've mentioned that before, but it's important, so it's worth putting in twice!)


4. Maintenance

Like other complex systems, the human body needs maintenance: especially when it's under strain.

Strain could be the stress of work, or the novelty of an exercise programme. Either way, you're likely to need your muscles attending to at some point.

When you do, let me know.


Oh, and Happy New Year.