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You can do it! - West Essex Life

I was delighted to be asked to write a feature about fitness motivation for the February issue of West Essex Life. You can read the article in full below or view it on the West Essex Life website...


You can do it!

Keeping motivated to exercise can be tough at this time of year, but Woodford-based Pilates expert Sonia Noy has some tips and tricks to help you to stick with it

We started the year with bold resolutions and fitness goals. It's now February and the whole 'New Year, new you' mantra is wearing thin. Over 80 per cent of us have already broken our New Year's resolutions. Don't waste time beating yourself up, keep moving! Exercise is important, not only for physical but also mental health. So how do you motivate yourself to move and get those endorphins flowing?


When it feels like a chore, it's hard to make yourself exercise. Find sports or activities that you enjoy, whether it's an online Pilates class, a walk in the forest or hula hooping in your living room. Remember playing games is exercise too; grab a household member and have a pillow fight, have a dance party around your home, play tag. Don't forget to change it up or add to your activities to keep it interesting.


Make physical activity part of your day. Routine helps us to stay grounded mentally and regular exercise will help you to feel strong and in control of your body. Fix a time for exercise to maintain it. If it's hard to carve out time for a full workout then just do a short one or bits throughout the day. I often do a few exercises along with my daily routine e.g. stretches while I brush my teeth, a short standing workout while I make a cuppa. Need inspiration? Head to my Sonia Noy Pilates YouTube channel for 'PilaTeas with Sonia', a 5-minute workout while you stick the kettle on. We all need to drink during the day!


Put it on paper. Seeing your fitness goals on paper helps you to realise them. Make sure you set achievable goals and give yourself a target to work towards. Writing down goals rather than just having them in your head gives you a concrete plan, takes away ambiguity and increases accountability. Set goals for the day, week or month and tick them off as you go. You'll be able to see immediately how much you've achieved and it will inspire you to keep going.


Join forces with friends and neighbours. Working out with others can help you stay motivated, so why not arrange a regular walk with someone as your daily exercise and a chance to catch up (keeping within government guidelines). Join an online exercise class at the same time as friends or family so you're working out and staying motivated together. Before each class, my clients and I have a quick hello and catch up. It's a chance for me to reach out to my wonderful Pilates community and for us to feel connected, even if we can't be in the same space.


Managed a workout, a walk, maybe even just going up and down the stairs a few extra times today? Great job! Create a reward system for yourself. It will help you stay motivated and encourage you to do it again. Why not save a Netflix series and only watch an episode once you've exercised. Light your favourite candles, read a book, have an at-home spa day, put on your favourite tunes. Pick what makes you feel good and say well done to yourself.


Your workout plan for the day hasn't happened? Find another way to keep moving. Can you do a short workout, run or walk instead? Perhaps you set yourself a fitness goal that was too ambitious. If so, take another look and change your goal to something more achievable that will help keep you on track. Don't let a slip up knock your fitness spirits. Start the next day afresh and keep moving.

So yes, you can do it! You'll feel better, stronger, more relaxed, have more energy and sleep better. What more motivation do you need?

Sonia Noy


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