With the arrival of 2024, Poles are ever more willing to lead an active lifestyle. The MultiSport Index 2023 survey sheds light on this trend, showing an increased interest in various forms of exercise: 56% of active Poles would like to intensify their activity. The most frequently chosen forms of exercise include gym training and fitness classes as well as cycling and walking. Sports trainer and well-being expert Agata Brama provides valuable tips on how to develop and maintain healthy habits throughout the year.
The New Year is a time when many people set ambitious goals, often related to improving their health and implementing good habits. Developing a healthy routine is a task that requires not only determination, but also time and dedication. According to researchers from University Collage in London, the average number of days needed to develop a habit is 66 days. This is an average number, as extremes ranged from 18 to 254 days, depending on the type of habit, personality factors and circumstances that influence the consolidation of a given activity. So how can we effectively introduce and maintain an active lifestyle in 2024? Here are 5 effective tips.
1. Define your goal and motivation
Think about why you want to be active and what you want to achieve. Do you want to improve your fitness, health, well-being, body shape, or just have fun? Set yourself a realistic and specific goal, e.g. I want to exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes, I want to lose 5 kg by the end of the year, I want to run 5 km without stopping. Remember that the goal should be adapted to your level and capabilities, as well as be measurable and verifiable.
– Achieving goals in the context of physical activity plays a key role in building healthy habits and maintaining regular training. Realistic goals allow you to achieve success gradually, which generates positive experiences and increases self-confidence. At the beginning of your journey with physical activity, it is worth considering whether the decision to train five times a week will be easy to achieve. Setting goals that are too ambitious and unrealistic can lead to frustration and loss of motivation. The key to lasting involvement in physical activity is to skilfully adapt it to your abilities, which in turn promotes long-term motivation and satisfaction with your own achievements. In this way, every small success (and this can also be a 20-minute workout) becomes a step towards maintaining an active lifestyle – says Agata Brama, Benefit Systems well-being expert and sports trainer.
2. Find your favourite form of activity
You don’t have to force yourself to exercise if you don’t enjoy it. Try different types of activities and choose the ones that suit you best. It could be running, cycling, swimming, dancing, yoga, Pilates, gym, fitness, team sports, winter sports, water sports, extreme sports, or anything else. It’s important to get satisfaction and joy from it.
– Physical activity doesn’t have to be boring or tiring. On the contrary, it can be a source of fun, relaxation, excitement, and adventure. According to the MultiSport Index 2023 report, 95% of physically active Poles claim that regular physical activity has a positive effect on well-being. Therefore, it is worth discovering various forms of exercise and choosing those that best suit our character, mood, and needs – adds Agata Brama.
3. Plan your time and space for activity
Don’t leave your activity to the last minute. Set aside a regular time and space for exercise, just as you do with other important things. Put it in your calendar, set a reminder, organise your equipment and clothes. Don’t let anything discourage or stop you.
– Planning and regularity are key to maintaining an active lifestyle. Choose a specific time of day that will be reserved exclusively for physical activity. Take this commitment as seriously as you take other important matters in your life. This approach will help you avoid postponing your training. Second, add your workouts to your calendar and set a reminder. This will create a clear plan that you can easily adapt to your week. This way you will also avoid conflicts with other responsibilities. Third, organise your equipment and clothes in advance: prepare for training by placing your all the necessary items in an easily accessible place. This eliminates additional resistance associated with lack of preparation. And fourth: be determined. Don’t let temporary obstacles discourage you from regular activity. Understand that maintaining healthy habits takes determination. Look at training as an investment in your health and well-being – emphasises the sports trainer.
4. Find support and company
You don’t have to be alone in your pursuit of an active lifestyle. Find someone who will accompany, support, and motivate you. It may be your partner, friend, colleague, family member, coach, or a group of people with similar interests. You can exercise together, exchange experiences, advice, opinions, encourage each other, compete, cooperate, or just have fun.
– According to the MultiSport Index 2023 report, 39% of active Poles exercise in company. This has many advantages: training together increases the sense of responsibility – just making an appointment for training makes us less likely to give up on it. Secondly, exercising together builds strong social bonds, creating an atmosphere of healthy competition, inspiration, and mutual support. Observing the progress of others stimulates greater involvement, and integration with another person or group contributes to shaping a positive attitude towards physical activity – says Agata Brama.
5. Reward yourself and appreciate your progress
Don’t forget that an active lifestyle is not only about effort and sacrifice, but also about benefits and rewards. Don’t be too hard on yourself, don’t criticise yourself, don’t compare yourself with others. Appreciate every step you take towards your goal. Reward yourself for your achievements, for example by buying something you like, going to the cinema, reading a book, resting, or doing something enjoyable.
– Reward and appreciation are important elements of the change process. They not only increase motivation and satisfaction, but also strengthen self-confidence and self-esteem. That’s why it’s worth celebrating your successes, even the small and everyday ones. It is worth remembering that apart from effort and dedication, physical activity should bring joy and satisfaction. Let's avoid self-criticism and appreciate even the smallest progress. Write them down, for example, in a special activity diary, which in moments of doubt will motivate you to continue – sums up Agata Brama.
Senior PR Specialist Benefit Systems