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University of East London expert's tips on staying fit

PUBLISHED: 11:10 16 January 2013 | UPDATED: 11:10 16 January 2013

Many people turn to the gym after the festivities but not all manage to stick to their new exercise routines

Many people turn to the gym after the festivities but not all manage to stick to their new exercise routines

Archant

A sports psychology expert is offering his tips on how to keep New Year fitness plans going right through the year.

James Beale, a chartered sport and exercise psychologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of East London, has provided some insights into how people can maintain their New Year fitness resolutions.

He said: “For those of us who are regular gym buffs, we have become quite accustomed to the traditional onslaught of New Year fitness disciples taking over our treadmills and exercise bikes – not that we begrudge anyone trying to embark on a healthier lifestyle.”

However, research shows two in three people will have stopped their fitness plan within three months.

According to James, the stereotypical fitness recruit in January is someone who enters the gym ready to work out, is fully motivated, wants to learn the necessary exercise techniques quickly and see immediate results. Invariably, this approach is designed to fail, as it leads to the individual pushing themselves to the point of exhaustion in the initial sessions.

So what can people do to make sure their fitness programme isn’t just a flash in the pan?

James’ tips are:

Start slowly - research shows those who use exercise at a moderate intensity get similar fitness gains and are more likely to continue their exercise in the long term.

Exercise in natural environments – evidence suggests exercising in pleasant natural environments, such as a parks and wide open spaces, provides psychological benefits that exceed that of other environments.

Buddy up – some evidence exists that exercising with a partner or in groups can act as a motivating factor.

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