Many of us feel a bit stuck in a rut at the beginning of the year, and it can have a bad effect on our personal life, our productivity at work and our health and fitness.
The good news is you don't have to drastically remodel your life in order to shake things up and to get your mojo back.
One area you might want to concentrate on is work. Most of us spend around eight hours each day at work, so it makes sense to try to build healthy habits into these hours and to try to bring a little fun and a renewed sense of vigour into the office.
It isn't as difficult as you might think – particularly if your colleagues are open to a little friendly competition. And making a habit of exercising during the working day is something your boss should be receptive to – it has been shown to improve concentration, cut sickness days and create better team spirit in the workplace.
Here are some ideas to help you fit in some exercise during office hours and to help encourage a healthy attitude to fitness and wellbeing at work.
- Find some allies. If you have a colleague who bemoans the number of cakes and sweets that float around the office every time someone has a birthday, why not suggest the two of you set up a Wednesday Walking Club? Bring in your kit and go for a brisk 30 minute walk outside or on the treadmill at the gym.
- Make a habit of tracking your daily steps using a fitness app. Encourage your colleagues to do the same and set up a leader board to inject a little healthy competition into the challenge, with the first to reach 1,000 steps getting a small prize.
- If you have two or three social events throughout the year as a company make one of them activity based. This doesn't have to mean entering a marathon together but you could arrange a watersports day, a canoeing trip, take some dancing lessons, or spend an afternoon on the LC’s Boardrider.
- Subtly change your language and your thinking when it comes to exercise. Instead of telling yourself: “I need to spend three lunch hours a week at the gym to tone up.” Tell yourself: “I’m going to master upper body exercises using the gym’s resistance machines.” Or “I’m going to master the spin class techniques this week.” By using positive language and by changing how you refer to your goals you are setting yourself up for success, psychologically.
Regulars to the LC Gold fitness classes are used to striking a pose in order to strengthen those muscles, but they have been striking poses for arts sake recently too.
Swansea artist Jane Jones, a long-standing member of Swansea Print Workshop, has been finding inspiration for a new artwork with some impromptu life drawing sessions at our regular fitness classes.
Jane is a regular at some of Mandy’s LC Gold sessions herself – LC Gold is a programme of fitness classes tailored to the over 50s. And as a printmaker she specialises in figurative and abstract works, using intaglio and block relief methods, often executed on a large scale.
One of her best known works, which featured in a number of local exhibitions, showed an arresting portrait of Dylan Thomas rendered in hot tar.
Jane, from West Cross, said: “I am always looking for interesting new projects and new sources of inspiration and I was pleased to be invited along to sketch some of the LC regulars exercising.
“These were quite challenging sketching sessions because many of the LC classes naturally involve fast movement, which can be tricky to capture successfully on paper.
“But it was fascinating to work with a fairly large group of people, rather than the tradition single sitter at a life drawing session.
“And of course these ‘sitters’ were making many different shapes and poses throughout the class – it certainly gave me some interesting material to work with and I look forward to showing the completed work to some of my LC Gold classmates.”
Chris Jones, our Health and Fitness Manager said: “We were delighted to invite Jane along to work in this unusual environment and I look forward to seeing the finished results.
“I know Jane is an LC Gold member herself and one of the things we hear time and again from our LC Gold members is how much they value the social side of the classes and the friendships they have made during their time with us, so it is great to see the LC Gold classes inspire activities other than health and fitness – as vital as health and fitness are.”
We are delighted to welcome our new Health and Fitness Manager, Chris Jones, to the LC, as we look ahead to 2017.
With an enviable background in both fitness teaching and as a combat sports practitioner at pro Welsh level, Chris’ appointment sees us bring even more specialist skill and knowledge to our gym team.
Chris says: “I am really pleased to be leading the highly-regarded health and fitness team at the LC.
“For me, the joy of fitness is two-fold – it offers an instant, life-enhancing buzz since it makes you feel great as soon as you begin, but also it offers you the opportunity to work towards valuable long-term gains as well.”
“I am very well acquainted with the LC and with Bay Leisure as a group and I very much respect their ethos of fitness and wellbeing for everyone.
“The LC is, I think, unique in many ways in that it has a very strong team of specialists, many of whom have solid experience in professional sports, and who are passionate about their specialisms, but who are great communicators and are very good at unlocking the joy of exercise to people of all fitness levels.
Chris, who is also a professional boxing referee, will be known to many for his career in Welsh Combat Sports, both as a fighter, and latterly as a referee and judge with the British Boxing Board of Control.
But he has, in recent years, focussed hard on his studies – he comes to the LC from Gower College Swansea where he was the Leisure, Sport and Fitness Assessor and Tutor, helping other instructors and students achieve their qualifications.
At the moment he is studying for a MSc Masters in Sports Management and Leadership at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Chris is also a Board member for CIMSPA Wales (Chartered Institute For The Management of Sport and Physical Activity), with the remit of Health and Fitness and Rising Talent, with the purpose to lead, support and empower professionals working in the sport and physical activity industry.
Nic Beggs, LC General Manager said: “We are delighted to welcome Chris to the LC fold.
“He brings a wealth of practical and professional experience with him and he has dedicated himself, over the past decade, to enhancing his sports and fitness education in a very meaningful way.
“His enthusiasm for fitness is infectious and I know he will be a real asset to the LC. His appointment is part of our continued commitment to providing the best quality service we can to the people of Swansea Bay and South West Wales.”
Join us this Tuesday (17th January) in the Quadrant Shopping Centre and take part in some exciting FREE class demos with the LC Fitness team. We will be there from 10:30am-4:30pm offering a range of FREE classes, from Pilates to Bokwa, Rock Pound Out to Kettlebells, check out our full schedule here.
Come and see us and bring your kit for a range of FREE classes in this unique setting - there is a class for everyone.
We will also be giving you the chance to grab a FREE 3 day trial to the LC Fitness facilities and you can enter a competition to be in with a chance to win the new FitBit Charge 2.
See you all there...
We were interested to hear the findings of a landmark study this month into the sources of lasting happiness – and of course maintaining physical and mental health, and good relationships, rather than wealth have been found to be the keys.
The findings don't come a surprise to us at the LC. We have been in the fitness and well-being business for long enough to see first-hand the very real links between fitness, health and happiness.
The results will make sense to those of us who found that the gathering of friends and family over Christmas for a brisk Boxing Day walk brought us more in-the-moment joy than our presents did.
If you are toying with the idea of making a new year’s resolution, is there a better achievement to aim for than resolving ‘to do something each week in 2017 that makes me happier’?
Setting achievable goals is the key to success in just about everything, and this goes for fitness and well-being too. So here are some simple LC top tips to help you make a success of your New Year’s Resolutions:
- Plan your healthy breakfast the night before. This will help make sure you don't skip the most important meal of the day, it will help keep cravings at bay and it will keep your energy levels up until lunchtime.
- Join a new fitness class with a friend. Trying something new will challenge you, and exercising with a friend will help to keep you motivated.
- Make the most of your lunch breaks. Set aside at least two lunch breaks each week for brisk exercise – whether this is a gym session or a brisk walk.
- Many of us fall into the trap of ‘playing’ negative messages about our body shape and our perceived flaws throughout the day. This can be a hard habit to break, but resolve to replace those negative messages with one positive one each week. For instance, ahead of any exercise session, congratulate yourself on making the time for your fitness regime. When you are planning a healthy evening meal, congratulate yourself on making healthy choices for you an your family. Gradually, this will help you ‘turn down the volume’ on any negative thoughts.