Take up something new for Lent

It’s the start of Lent today. Traditionally this is a time where we give things up for 40 days and 40 nights. Alcohol, chocolate, ice cream, wearing women’s underwear (not me, obviously!!!). One of my lovely clients, made the suggestion that maybe we should take something up instead. What a great idea! Having a reason to make a healthier life choice with a definite end date makes it easier to stick to.

To give us a better chance of success we need to be SMART. Now I’m not a great fan of management speak but this can help. We need to be specific, able to measure our success, it has to be achievable, relevant to you and time bound. So saying “I’m going to go to the gym more” doesn’t cut it. More than what? In what time frame? When? What are you going to do there? Here are a few options to get you thinking.

1. Drink a pint of water before breakfast every morning.

This one I am going to do. Being busy, flitting between places I forget to drink enough and get to the end of the day living of a couple of cups of coffee and sips from a water fountain inbetween clients. This fits all the criteria. It’s specific (pint of water), definitely achievable (I’m going to put a reminder in my calender so I don’t forget!), it’s relevant because I don’t drink enough water and hydration is mega important, and I’m going to do it for 40 days. Boom! Great goal with definite health benefits.

2. Accumulate 100 squats per day.

We all know the benefits of squats. It’s working the biggest muscles in your body. Muscles get weak if we don’t use them. This is especially the case the the glutes. When we sit down too much these start to turn off. Without a powerful bum, any squatting movement is going to put stress on the body elsewhere. This can lead to back pain and really tight muscles around the hips. You could do all 100 in one go, do 10 an hour, 2 sets of 50, it doesn’t matter. Keep a tally though and if you climb into bed and realise you haven’t completed your full 100 reps, jump straight out and get them done! No arguments!

3. Walk briskly for 30 minutes every day.

You don’t have to go mad in the gym with burpess, box jumps and ball slams to reap the benefits of exercise. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking per day can make a real difference to your health. This time of year many of us don’t get enough vitamin D. We get loads of this in the summer as we’re outside more. Even when it’s a dreary day we can still get a dose from being outside. Research published in 2002 found that participants who did 30 minutes or more had a 30% lower risk of cardivascular disease. You’ll also burn more calories during the day aiding weight loss and working your lower body more will keep your legs looking awesome.

4. Eat an apple a day.

We all know we need to eat loads of fruit and veg. In diet terms, the nearer we are to chicken and veg and further away from sweets and pizza the better! So it doesn’t have to be an apple. Maybe choose something you don’t usually include in your diet. Try to make your new food a different colour to any other veg you eat. By making your daily intake resemebling a rainbow, you’ll give yourself a figthing chance of getting all your essential vitamins and nutrients.

There you go peeps, you’re new Lent masterplan. See you at Easter!