Keeping the wheels on, and turning


WHAT DO YOU NEED An energetic exercise-to-music classes like Zumba can help sedentary workers introduce mobility and movement into their days.


Paul O'Brien

Struggling with your exercise regime for 2018? The statistics show that many of you are already tiring of your regime as we near the end of January. You might have begun by getting back to the same type of exercise that you did in fits and spurts last year. Maybe you tried something new only to find that it isn’t for you? You may simply be struggling to find the motivation to get going again this year.
The Law of Opposites
One strategy I encourage to help you through the struggle is to apply the law of opposites. This means choosing a form of exercise that provides something vastly different from your normal, day-to-day activities. A few examples may help.
If you work in an office and spend a large part of your day sitting, working on a laptop or in meetings, then your body will be craving the opposite of that on a cellular level by the end of your day. Some suggestions here would be an exercise-to-music class, boxing or martial arts training. These require plenty of mobility and movement to help counteract the lack of movement in your day.
If most of your day is spent indoors, then choosing exercise that gets you outside, such as running, walking or cycling, are good options. For those who have physically demanding jobs, including a couple of more relaxing alternatives like swimming or certain types of yoga would be of great benefit. If you consider your job to be stressful, you might consider a meditation or yoga class.

Go with the flow
Another strategy is to plug into some of the latest trends in the fitness industry. Exercise-to-music classes such as Bodypump and Strong by Zumba are experiencing a renaissance the past couple of years. Boxing training is also popular amongst the general population. The surge in popularity of triathlon and adventure racing seems set to continue in Ireland through 2018. There has also been a significant increase in participation in dance classes, riding the wave of hot TV shows such as ‘Celebrity Come Dancing’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

Tried and Trusted
I’m also a great believer in getting back to basics every now and then. Sometimes, there’s no better feeling than running or walking in nature. Find a nearby wood or beach and get the physical and mental benefits in one hit.
You carry your own gym around, in the form of your amazing body. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment and the latest regime to have an effective and enjoyable workout. Calisthenics, from the Greek kalos (perfect) and sthenos (strength), are exercises that use only your own bodyweight. These days we call them bodyweight exercises.
As the original Greek suggests, perfect, balanced strength can be attained by performing such simple basics as push-ups, squats, lunges and pull-ups, to name but a few.

The right mindset
As I’ve written so often in the past, all the above tools, which represent the HOW of exercise, don’t really matter unless you have a clear WHY. Be clear about what benefits you will accrue by adding exercise to your life.
It amazes me that research shows that low adherence rates to exercise are strongly linked to a lack of clear goals. Knowledge about the power of goal-setting has been around for decades, yet there continues to be a lack of application in this key area of people’s lives.
So, get clear about why you want to exercise by writing out a list of all the benefits. Then write out a clearly defined goal with a deadline and a set of daily actions you can take to break your goal into manageable chunks.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to make exercise stick in your life. You do need to grease the wheels every now and then though, or watch them come off.

Paul O’Brien is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise since 2007 and a qualified Life, Health & Nutrition Coach. He is co-owner of Republic of Fitness in Westport. He can be contacted on 086 1674515 or