A survey from Sportsshoes.com has found that the most popular New Year’s resolutions are focused on improving your fitness, health and wellbeing with 63 percent of people making health-conscious resolutions last year.

However, with nearly a third of people quitting their New Year’s resolutions before the end of January, it’s important to make sure your health goals are achievable and that you can stick them out. Here are some top tips on how to make the right resolutions to improve your health this year:

WHAT EXERCISE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
The Sportsshoes.com survey found that the majority of people consider running to be the best way to lose weight and increase fitness. When you look at the amount of calories burned per hour in the comparison table below, running is indeed the most effective, burning on average 600 calories an hour. 

5 tips to improve your health RUNNING

However, swimming and cycling aren’t far behind and have their benefits too; cycling is a low impact exercise, perfect if you’re new to working-out, whereas swimming gives all of your muscles a balanced workout.

Type of exercise

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The World Cancer Research Fund

Harvard Health Publications

Nutri-Strategy

Running

590

600

744

563

Swimming

510

550

744

493 – 704

Cycling

590

550

596

563

Fitness class/boot camp

480

480

596

563

Yoga/Pilates

360

180

300

Walking

460

250

372

443

When you’re choosing a new exercise regime, choose an activity that matches your personality. If you know you need a bit of encouragement, choose a fitness class with a teacher and classmates to keep you on track. If you prefer to exercise by yourself, running and swimming will provide you with some healthy solitude. Your local area will have a big impact on which exercise is right for you; research what classes are on at your nearest gym, find out where the closest swimming pool is, look out for where the best parks for running are and investigate what cycle routes are nearby.

2. HAVE A MEASURABLE GOAL
Have an achievable goal in mind when starting your new fitness regime. Tracking your progress and seeing yourself hit the benchmarks that lead to your goal is a great way to stay focused on the end result.  There are plenty of apps for smartphones, as well as other health technology like GPS watches and monitors, which will keep a record of all your exercise and targets.  Common goals include reaching certain distances, reaching a certain time record, losing a specific amount of weight or burning calories. Any goals that can have a numerical figure put against them are ideal for measuring your progress and will help you stay focused on your exercise throughout the year.

5 tips to improve your health FRUIT

3. EAT RIGHT
Food is our principle source of energy and it’s important to have a good understanding of the three main food groups that provide our bodies with the fuel to exercise.

  • Carbohydrates are our primary and most readily available energy source. Carbohydrate rich foods can be divided into simple and complex varieties. Simple carbohydrates are easily absorbed into your body and give you a rush of energy; simple carbohydrates include fruit, milk and sugary refined food like cake, sweets and candy.
  • Complex carbohydrates take much longer for your body to break down and this means they give you a steady, slow energy release which is better for endurance exercise. Complex carbohydrate foods include green vegetables, whole grains and starchy vegetables.
  • Fat is nutrient dense but is more complicated for our metabolism to process, so is more useful for low intensity exercise. Healthier, unsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts, olives, avocados, sunflower seeds, soy milk and tofu.
  • Protein can be broken down into amino acids to help create glucose for energy, but more importantly proteins are very important for rebuilding and repairing muscle after exercise. Proteins are found in foods including, fish, cheese, tofu, beans, lentils, yoghurt, nuts, and seeds.

4. STAY MOTIVATED
According to the Sportsshoes.com survey, the most popular way for people to stay focused during their work out is by listening to music. Numerous studies have shown that people enjoy a 30 minute cardio exercise much more when they listen to their favourite songs, and a study from McMaster University has showed that listening to music can even improve your performance without you feeling like you’ve worked any harder! One of the biggest inspirations people find for exercise and fitness is by looking to friends and family. Having a solid support group of people around you, who are also looking to improve their health, will significantly increase your chances of doing the same.

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5. HAVE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Apparently 44 per cent of British people who regularly exercise believe that the right footwear is the most important piece of exercise kit. Having the right footwear was deemed more important than having the right gym clothes, a water bottle or even home equipment. Over half of those surveyed (51 percent) also owned two or more pairs of trainers. Running shoes should be replaced every 400 miles and for runners looking to find the right footwear for their individual style, Sportsshoes.com wet-footprint video shows you if you’re an underpronator, moderate overpronator or
severe overpronator.

For more information about choosing the right shoes for you, go to www.sportsshoes.com/running_shoes_advice.