New research by Superdrug has found that you are more likely to achieve your fitness goals if you commit to them as a pair. 71% of people would apparently exercise more if they had an exercise buddy who encouraged and supported them along the way.
We spoke to Dr Pixie McKenna about why this is the winning formula to sticking to and achieving fitness goals in 2017.
Why do you think a third of brits didn’t achieve their fitness goals in 2016?
Most people don't set realistic goals and rather than engaging with others to help they try to go it alone, which is a recipe for disaster. Whatever you are giving up or starting, a partner in crime is a must! They are with you for the duration, through the good the bad and the ugly!
Do you think, on the whole, fitness is something we are getting worse at not better?
Yes. I think the universe is divided into fitness fanatics, fair weather fit folk and fitness phobics. Whilst we are seeing more and more people don the Lycra, what they do and how they do it is integral to their success. Strolling round the block gossiping with your friend whilst wearing your trackies and trainers isn't going to have as much of an impact as a focussed gym session. That said, sitting on the couch saying you can't exercise is no excuse either. We can all do something and whilst the excuse of our age is that we don't have time, were we all to trade screen time for exercise time the nation would be transformed.
Why does having a friend to exercise with help people to persist with their exercise?
As I mentioned above they motivate you and pick you up when you are down. You support each other and set goals and targets together. Plus, you can share amazing treats when you reach your targets!
Why is there often a self-defeatist attitude before many have even started on their fitness journey?
People have often tried and failed in the past because they have not set realistic goals. I see every obstacle as an opportunity and am genuinely of the belief that "with a plan you can".
How can Superdrug’s new equipment prototypes help?
Tracking your exercise and weight loss and monitoring your vitals is a great way of getting motivated. Rather than saying you walked for an hour or cycled for 10 minutes, you can work out not only what you did but how hard you did it. Slowly you will see your fitness go up and your weight go down. These devices are excellent tools to start conversations about reaching your goals. Equipment like exercise bikes etc. are ideal for those who can't or won't leave home. You can burn calories in the comfort of your living room, so it’s the ultimate wet weather plan!
There is so much confusion about how much we should be moving, so how much exercise should we ideally be taking in every day as a minimum?
Your goal should be 10,000 steps per day - not as easy as it sounds. If you don't want to count steps then aim to do 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. You can divide this up into 10 minute blocks so there is really no excuse!
How can our health be affected if we don’t keep our fitness levels up?
People who don't have a background level of fitness often feel lethargic and flat. Being fit can boost your self-esteem and sense of wellbeing. It can also help reduce your chances of a whole host of diseases ranging from type 2 Diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even dementia. Looking better and feeling better is the added bonus.
What exercise do you rely on to keep yourself in shape?
I cycle everywhere rather than drive and run almost every other day. I’m no Bolt but I do like to get out and pound the pavements. It enables me to clear my head and burn calories so it's a win-win.
What are your top tips from goal setting to goal completion when it comes to exercise and health?
Set realistic goals. Reward yourself along the way. Have a buddy to join you and encourage you. If you fall off the wagon, rise above it and get back on again. Enlist the help of friends and family to support you and not distract you back to your old ways.
What is next for you?
I'm on my own fitness campaign at the moment so I've upped the cycling and the running and have banned bread, meat and alcohol. Talk to me next time about how it went!
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