I share 6 tips to keep active during January and throughout the year.

After the festive break it can be difficult to get back to activity in January. Whether it is cycling, running, walking or the gym. It seems that anything that involves leaving the house is a bit more of an effort or challenging than usual. The reasons being the weather not being ideal with it being cold and dark and often times raining. Even the dry and somewhat warm gym seems to be further away than usual. On top of that January seems to be a busy for most at work so time can be an issue. Believe it or not as a coach there are times that I have had to dig deep for inspiration.

1. Challenges

There always seems to be workout challenges online which generally fall into two categories, coach led online and app based. The coach led challenges generally run from 14 to 28 days and involve a workout plan consisting of 5 days weekly activity. There is generally a Facebook group to provide community support and the coach may provide a weekly check in and limited live workouts. Coach led challenges can also be app based and include meal plans, check ins and coach support. App based challenges are provided by Strava, ASICS Runkeeper, Map My Run and others.

2. Park Run

Parkruns are free weekly organised 5km community runs all around the world. They take place Saturday mornings in parks and open spaces. There are also 2km junior Parkruns for children aged four to 14 which is great for families. Registration is free and requires the completion of a registration form. A digital barcode will be generated which you will need to Parkrun to register your times. Parkruns are welcoming and attended by diverse range of people from club runners to beginners and walkers. You can find out more about Parkrun here Parkrun.

3. Red January

Red January is a supportive community motivating people to keep active during the month of January. It is easy to sign up and get involved and it only takes 6 steps to get started. It is free to sign up and then (1) sign up free (2) download the calendar and set your activity goals (3) set a fundraising target (4) join the supportive social media community (5) download your social image and share (6) kick off your fundraising efforts with a personal donation. You can find out more about Red January here Red January

4. Training Buddy

Training buddy is the umbrella term I use for someone that you can run, cycle, gym, walk with. It is not limited to training for a particular goal and can include any activity. The objective is that you commit to doing a particular activity with a person and motivate each other. It is important that you are of similar ability so that you can relate to each other. You can set individuals goals but there should be some cross over and training together help you achieve your own. It is easy to press snooze or ignore an alarm but much more difficult to disappoint your training buddy. Find your buddy, commit to an activity, plan your schedule, motivate each other and keep going.

5. Get Techy

I am a huge fan of technology, especially when it can be used to improve our lives. Maybe you have a fitness watch or an all signing and dancing multisport or running watch. I don’t know about you but I am guilty of not using all of the functions of my watches. I would suggest dusting off the user manual if you still have it or searching YouTube for tips on how to use advanced functions. Useful functions to keep you motivated could include reminders, training modes, training plans and coaching. Set vibrating / audible reminders (harder to ignore) on your phone to prompt you to train. Set vibrating mode on your watch or device to keep you motivated and focused.

6. Mix it up

A new year is a great opportunity to try new activities and revisit some which you haven’t tried for a while. The benefits of mixing things up include meeting new people, trying new things keeps it interesting and is engaging and building confidence. You could search to see if local gyms offer day passes which you may be able to use to attend classes. You can also do an online search to find activities and classes in your area. A lot of first classes are offered free as tasters so you can attend and find out whether you like them. I find that Eventbrite is a good resource for free fitness classes. My free classes at the ASICS London Studio are listed on Eventbrite. Hopefully you will find something during January that you can pursue during 2023.

I hope that these help you to keep motivated and power through the winter and bounce into Spring. Let's go!

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Rey Smart

Personal Trainer from London



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