Did you know that January is believed to be named after the Roman god Janus, who symbolises new beginnings? This makes sense, considering it’s the month when people decide to make a fresh start with a raft of New Year’s resolutions. But often you spend so much time working out the best way to get healthy – or shift any extra weight gained at Christmas – that before you know it, February has arrived and you haven’t made use of the new gym membership or taken part in any fitness classes or sessions you meant to.
If you don’t quite know where to begin, the best thing to do is ask yourself the most important question – what exactly are your aims for the year? Maybe you want to attend an exercise class or try a sport where you’ll meet new people. Perhaps there’s a life-changing goal (like climbing Mount Everest or taking part in a local event, such as one of the region’s desert challenges) that interests you, or it could be something as small as finding some time in your busy schedule to go for a quick walk or a short run.
Whatever it is, remember that if you do nothing, you’ll achieve nothing. That sludgy, post-festive season feeling won’t magically disappear. The first few steps – an outdoor fitness session, an exercise class with others in the same situation as you – will be tough and you’ll probably feel as if you’re heading nowhere. It’s going to hurt.
But don’t give up. Every little thing you do will make a difference and then, soon enough, you’ll start to see and feel the change.
IDEA OF THE MONTH: BREATHE AND BALANCE
Alternate nostril breathing is an ancient practice that can encourage optimal functioning of the
brain, balance hormones, calm the nervous system and improve sleep.
1. Cover the right nostril with your thumb, then inhale through the left nostril to the count of four. Cover both nostrils and hold your breath to the count of 10. Free the right nostril and exhale to the count of eight.
2. Cover the left nostril with your thumb, then inhale through the right nostril to the count of four. Cover both nostrils and hold your breath to the count of 10. Free the left nostril and exhale to the count of eight.
3. Repeat steps one and two at your own pace six to 10 times a day.
words by Catherine Williams, qualified fitness professional and nutrition consultant. She is also the co-founder of Pure Fitness.