New Years and all that…. Guest Blog by Gina Hopkins M.Sc

How many of us swear that over the Christmas season we will keep up our exercise regime and then we swear that in the New Year we will throw ourselves into the routine we had before? Did you go to your first session with vigour and then the last of holiday TV and food become an easy excuse to allow yourself to be lax?  Are the decorations still up that you really need to take down instead of going to the gym on a cold, dark night?
It’s okay.
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Personally, one thing I don’t like about the Christmas period is that gyms shut or go to reduced operations. Being a chronic pain patient, routine is key to keeping myself in minimal pain and to maintain my health.  I’m immediately forced out of my routine and my self care whether I like it or not.  I also indulge in festivities, its a boozy, food filled season and I like that part! However, now it’s over we all struggle with getting into our routine, that’s okay. Your body has had a break, it won’t like being slammed into a hard core routine and that you had when you knew that the indulgent season is upon us.
If you have heath complications like myself, it’s vital to establish that routine, steadily. As much as I want to throw myself into the routine I want for myself, my decorations are still up and I still have plenty of cake left over!  My body has somewhat gotten used to the reduced exercise routine and if I threw myself back into training as intensely as I want, I’d do myself a mischief!
My diet isn’t yet conducive to giving me the quick energy I would need, my joints aren’t as conditioned or prepared to take the strain and most importantly my mindset isn’t there yet. I need to relearn the joys of a good exercise routine. We all know when we walk out a class we will feel better than when we walked in, however the key to a good routine is consistency, consistency is a habit that has been learnt and enjoyed. Enjoyment is crucial to habit forming and nothing happens consistently overnight.
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Whatever your goal, my advice is to enjoy the journey. Allow yourself to enjoy the process of achieving the routine. Unless your career and income is reliant on your exercise routine, which very few professional athlete’s need to maintain routines over the Christmas and new year season, to maintain consistency your routine has to be enjoyed.
Be kind to yourself and realise that it is a whole other psychological process to get into and maintain that new year routine.  Enjoy the journey and don’t do yourself a mischief!
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