Feb 09, 2024
Getting fit in the New Year
The new year is a popular time to get fit with the food guzzling and drinking that is part and parcel of Christmas out of the way and a desire to shape a new improved you for the year ahead. But not everyone wants to hit the gym and some people want a more genteel fitness regime than hours on the treadmill offers. We wanted to have a look at some of the ways you can get fit whilst still feeling like you.
Getting out for a good walk in the countryside has been shown to have both physical and mental health benefits. It’s also an activity that’s easy to start gently with (a stroll round a local park or along a nice, flat canal towpath) and then build up to more strenuous options as you build fitness and confidence. It’s also one that you can do with friends and family so you can combine getting a bit fitter with a bit of socialising as well which means you’re more likely to actually stick to it.
The main enemy of walking in the UK in winter is the weather. Rain is the chief culprit with good soakings a regular British walk hazard. Choose a good quality waterproof jacket with a decent level of water resistance (look at the ratings in the features section, jackets tend to be 5k, 10k or 20k water resistant with the resistance getting better the higher the number). We’ve got a great section of men’s waterproof jackets and women’s waterproof jackets in a whole range of styles and colours. Lots of our waterproof jackets also have other features like our Craven women’s waterproof packaway jacket which can be easily put away and popped in a bag for when you next need it.
Once you’re fully waterproofed, you’ll need to consider keeping warm. A padded jacket is the ideal companion and like waterproof jackets these come with different levels of padding and warmth and again you’ll want to make a choice depending on the types of conditions you’ll likely be facing as well as choosing a men’s or women’s padded jacket based on personal taste and preference.
If you want a jacket that is both waterproof and warm then consider a 3-in-1 jacket, available for both women and men. These combine a waterproof top layer and an insulated underlayer keeping you warm and dry. Each layer can also be worn separately, giving you ultimate flexibility when you’re out and about.
Another great activity to start in the new year is running. Whilst this is a little bit more full on than walking, you can still very much go at your own pace. You can start out running as far and as fast as you can manage and then walk the rest of the course, slowly improving your time and how far you run each time you tackle it.
If you need other people to give you a little bit of motivation, then you can either try and persuade a friend to run with you or you could think about joining a running group. These can feel intimidating but there are running groups out there for all levels with organisations like Park Run supporting runners at lots of different ability levels. If it’s hard to meet up at set places at set times then an app like Strava can help you track challenges and compare your performance against friends virtually.
When it comes to gear, you don’t need loads to get started. Investing in a decent running top is a good idea as you’ll get lots of wear out of it and it will be a constant companion, and of course you want it to be comfy and not restrict you. A zip neck running top can be a great idea for an all-rounder as the allows you to open up when it’s colder and zip up against the cold when it’s cooler. Have a look at our Beet Men’s Tech Zip Neck in Pacific Blue for men or our Shire Zip Neck fleece for women that offers even more protection against the elements.
If you’re going to be running a lot in the evenings then it’s a good idea to get a brightly coloured top to make you a bit more visible, especially in winter when it gets dark early in the evening. Men should consider our Rookwith Men’s Long Sleeve Tech T-Shirt in bright Fire Red or for women our Langan Women’s Tech Vest in Vibrant Pink.
Swimming is great exercise as it uses a huge variety of muscles and is very good for cardiovascular exercise but unlike running, swimming doesn’t put as much strain on the body’s joints as running.
Much like running there’re a huge variety of groups and places you can go to start swimming. These including public swimming pools, but there are also lots of outdoor and wild swimming options as well if you fancy something a bit more wild and rugged. Of course, it’s worth saying that if you’re going to try natural bodies of water it’s vital to be safe and that someone knows where you are and is with you.
You don’t needs loads of gear to get swimming, just swimming shorts or for ladies a swimming costume (coming soon to TOG24).
Remember, whatever activity you go for, the most important thing is that you have fun and enjoy yourself. It’s much harder to stick with it and get fit if your chosen activity feels like a chore!