Six January health kicks: which is right for you?

It's the perfect time of year to have a bash at getting fitter and healthier - but with an abundance of different diet and exercise trends about, it's hard to know where to start. Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried and tested methods. 

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Eating low-carb 


What's it all about?

The amount and type of carbohydrates in your average Western diet typically exceed what our body needs to convert into energy - so the excess ends up being stored as fat. A low-carb diet aims to rebalance the proportion of different food groups by boosting the amount of protein and healthy fats you eat.

What do Mumsnetters say?

"I started low carbing to lose weight and found that I felt a lot better. My fasting blood glucose went from borderline pre-diabetic to perfect, and my blood pressure dropped by 30/20."

Good if… Your daily diet is full of carbs that may give you an initial boost of energy, but leave you feeling sluggish soon after. Bear in mind, though, that eating low-carb involves a complete diet overhaul, and ought to be a long-term change rather than a quick weight loss fix: you need to be in it for the long-run.

 

Couch to 5k


What's it all about? 

The Couch to 5k programme is designed to help reluctant runners and absolute beginners to dust off their trainers and get out on the pavement. The beauty of C25K is that it starts very gently, making it a relatively pain-free experience. For example, in week one you start with a brisk five-minute walk, then alternate 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of brisk walking, for 20 minutes, three times a week.

What do Mumsnetters say?

"It was really great - I couldn't believe how quickly I progressed from wanting to die as a beginner to running a fair distance."

Good if… You're looking for a cheap, straightforward way to get in shape.

 


Intermittent fasting or the 5:2 diet 


What's it all about? 

Unless you've been living in a cave for the last two years, you will have likely come into contact with someone taking part in intermittent fasting - otherwise known as the 5:2 diet. The regime involves a calorie-restricted diet (500 calories for women and 600 for men) on two days of the week, combined with a normal, healthy food intake on the other five days.

What do Mumsnetters say?

"It's so easy! All the energy and concentration is limited to two days per week - so simple." 

Good if…. You're looking for a simple and flexible overhaul of your eating habits, and have a bit of willpower over the short term.

 

High intensity interval training (HIIT)


What is it?

The basic idea of HIIT is to condense hours of tedious exercise into short, hardcore bursts. An average session is 20 minutes long, and involves a combination of intense exercise and rests, at ratios of 1:2, 1:3, 2:1, or 1:1. The method can be combined with most types of cardio, so doesn't necessarily need to involve expensive training sessions.

What do Mumsnetters say?

"I did interval training twice a week, and it had a great effect on my body, particularly my legs. I lost weight, and toned up quite quickly. It also stopped me from getting bored - and because the high intensity bursts are so short, it's achievable!"

Good if… You want to commit to getting fit, but don't have a whole load of time. But be warned: you must be ready to get very, very sweaty.

 

Cutting down on sugar


What is it?

In recent years, there have been several studies that suggest sugar might be addictive, with detrimental health effects. The difficulty lies in knowing exactly how to avoid the stuff - it crops up in so many everyday staples.

What do Mumsnetters say?

"I went no sugar for three weeks and I've lost half a stone - feel so much better."

Good if…. You're worried about how much sugar you consume, and would like to cut down.

 


At-home exercise videos

Lower body

Lower-body workout

upper body

Upper-body workout

bingo wings

Bingo wing blast!

plank

Mid-section (how to plank safely)

What is it?

Mumsnet's specially-created home exercise series. Shape and strengthen the body from head to toe with these four easy-to-follow routines. 

Good if...You want to work at your own pace to build up your strength, and need a routine that is flexible to fit your schedule.


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Disclaimer: All the advice here is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.. Always consult your GP if you are in any way concerned about your health.

Last updated: 8 months ago