Many people will have made a resolution for 2021 to get more exercise. Health and Wellbeing expert Trevor Smith helps to keep it simple

Obviously, taking more exercise is a great idea and has many long-lasting benefits, no matter what age and stage you start from. The sad news is that even in normal circumstances, more than 80 per cent of people will have completely given up by mid-February, after only six weeks.

There are usually several influencing factors, and they are different for everyone, but it is vital to understand your blockers if you are going to be successful.

If you add in the complications of a third national lockdown and the wintery weather across the region, it is extremely easy to slip into bad habits. An easy example for me, is that I find myself staying up later than usual to binge watch some TV series that I would never normally get to see. Although I find this quite relaxing and think it is a little bit of “me” time, it has quite a serious knock-on effect. The lack of sleep makes me feel demotivated when it comes to exercise. I know that if I do not get a good eight-and-a-half hours of sleep at night, then I generally will not have the appetite to get myself moving the next morning.

The Northern Echo: Get the whole family involvedGet the whole family involved

If you are looking to start exercising, you need a proper structure in place that suits you and will give you the best possible opportunity to stay motivated to exercising regularly, feel the benefits and achieve your goals.

Research suggests that it can take as little as 18 days to form a new habit, so you can make small changes now that will lead to a healthier you in 2021.

Choose roughly the same time each day that you will exercise. This allows you to schedule other tasks around that time and gives you a focus to get you in the right mind set.

Positive mindset is incredibly important as it means you will not find an easy excuse to duck out of your exercise if the conditions are not perfect (ie it looks like it might rain, so I will give it a miss today).

A common mistake when starting to exercise means people try to do too much to begin with. If you have not exercised in a while, build up slowly for the first two or three weeks ( remember it is just 18 days to form a new habit) and just get into the routine of getting your body moving again. If you do try to do too much, this will inevitably lead you to not enjoy the experience and feeling demotivated when you finish. Following too much exercise, you will also more than likely have sore muscles, which is called Delayed Onset Muscle Syndrome (DOMS) and could bring a stop to your exercising for the next two or three days.

The Northern Echo: . Keep it simple and find what is right for you and you can enjoy the major benefits exercise brings. Keep it simple and find what is right for you and you can enjoy the major benefits exercise brings

Something that is often overlooked, or missed altogether, is stretching. It is important to do some stretching before and after you exercise to protect your muscles from minor, preventable injuries.

Do not over complicate things. Do what you feel is right for you. If you want to stay in and do a workout in your front room then that is great. Equally, if you want to go outside for a walk, run or cycle, that is great as well.

If you want to keep things simple, then pick a local landmark to aim for from your starting point at home. Time yourself to the landmark, as you improve and feel more able, can you beat your previous time to get to the landmark or can you gradually increase the distance, so maybe you go to the landmark twice or choose a new landmark slightly further away.

The current guidance on exercise mean you can exercise in a public outdoor place:
By yourself;
With the people you live with;
With support bubble;
In a childcare bubble where providing childcare or, when on your own, with one person from another household (maintaining social distancing).
Public outdoor places include:
Parks, beaches, forests and countryside accessible to the public;
Public gardens;
The grounds of a heritage site;

The Northern Echo: It takes as few as 18 days to create a habitIt takes as few as 18 days to create a habit

There is so much information and ideas available online, so if you do want to make it a bit more technical, you can search on YouTube or Google for home workouts. There are also free home workouts through Sky TV, just do a voice search with your handset. Alternatively, there are so many brilliant, easy to use free apps for walking, running and cycling that record your route, distance, calories burned and duration. Finally, there is some excellent information on both the Sport England and County Durham Sport websites.

For further information on activities, follow me on Twitter @TSmith_PE or email Trevor works at Premier Education supporting primary schools to improve health and wellbeing through active learning.