New Year’s resolutions are always made with the best intentions. Many vow to spend less and save more, others promise to indulge less in sugary treats, and there’s always one who has convinced themselves they’ll give up coffee. But one of the most common resolutions is a pledge to join the gym (and actually go).
We’ve all been there – the monthly fee comes out of your account, and it seems worth it – at least for the first few weeks. But once you properly settle into the year, the same time pressures that seemingly prevented you from leading an active lifestyle last year quickly return, and that daily trip to the gym just doesn’t eventuate. An expensive waste of money – and you feel no better for it.
But you know what? Being active doesn’t have to cost money – it doesn’t have to take up all of your spare time, and it certainly doesn’t have to seem like a chore. ‘The outdoors’ is always there – it’s fresh, fun and free for the taking – you’ve just got to step outside. So, let’s rewrite the resolutions and prove that they can be fulfilled right in our own backyards – without spending a cent. Outside, there are no restrictions and no fees – make it your playground, your gym and a place where you disconnect so you can reconnect.
Bike to work. Or anywhere else.
Ok – we know this one won’t work for everyone. Long commuters may not fancy a 45km+ ride every morning (although we know a few who do!), but biking to work is a great way to start your day – and finish it. It’s refreshing, energising and de-stressing – perfect for those busy days at the office when you feel you can barely catch a breath! If you can’t bike to work – bike anywhere else – the options are endless!
Compete in your first race (or second? Or third?)
Be it a fun run or a full marathon – giving yourself a goal to work towards is incredibly motivating. Rope a friend into competing too – then you can encourage each other. Try trail running – it beats pounding the pavement or the treadmill any day. Not only is it more challenging – but it’s just better for the soul!
Work out with a view
Hiking is an intense cardio workout – it lowers your risk of heart disease, burns calories, builds muscle and can even improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Plus, it’s immeasurably valuable in terms of boosting your sense of well-being. You don’t have to go far – find a nearby park, forest or hill and plan out your route. Make sure you set off on the right foot by being sun smart and keeping hydrated.
Use your breaks wisely
It’s lunch time – you’re hungry, you’re tired – and some days, you may even be stressed. All you want to do is sit down, relax, check your social media and have some food. One way to really boost your mood, and your energy, is to just get outside. Grab a work buddy and go for a walk – even if it’s just around the block. Lunchtime walks will give you a much needed midday endorphin-boost which is sure to have you returning to the afternoon shift in much higher spirits.
Pack up and go
Who needs five star accommodation when you can have five billion stars? Grab your tent, grab your friends or family, and hit the road. Sometimes you just need to get out of the city and experience a change in scenery. You don’t have to go far – but it is fun to discover places you haven’t been before, all in the comfort of your home away from home. There really is just something about sleeping in the open air which is so energising.
Wander where the wifi is weak
It’s the age of social media, and we’re all totally connected, all of the time. It often seems as if there’s no escape – but there can be, you just need to switch off. Immerse yourself in nature and re-energise yourself – not just at the start of the year, but several times throughout the year.
Plan your next (or first) big adventure.
Lock in your leave from work, book your tickets and get packing. Taking your adventures further afield – be it on the other side of the country, or the other side of the world – is bound to give you a new perspective.