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Now is the accepted time to make your annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving the road to hell with them as usual.   Mark Twain

New Year Resolutions

All NY resolutions seem to demand self-denial. Not many people resolve to smoke more cigarettes or to drink even more alcohol in the New Year. But after the Covid-driven restrictions of 2020/21 we do need a really positive resolution to help us face the New Year, omicron and all.

So how about “I will become more active!”? Even better, how about “I will find a physical activity which I will enjoy”?  Exercise can and should be fun and life-enhancing. The key is to find an activity that is enjoyable for you – and it does not need to be called exercise. The opportunities are great – Clubs, organisations and sports grounds have re-opened and now is the time to take full advantage of what is available.

If you live in North Hampshire, I have an answer for you – “Active Alton”.

Active Alton

The Active Alton Working Group was formed in the summer of 2019 to develop and promote a comprehensive listing of all the exercise opportunities, clubs and facilities in the GU34 area. We were generously funded by the Alton Society and several EHDC District Councillors. The idea was to produce an online version and, for those who prefer not to get their information from the internet, a printed Directory. We were due to launch the project in April 2020 but you all know why that plan went up the spout.

Nevertheless the Working Group beavered away, investigated all the facilities and the Town Council produced a fantastic Directory on its website. This went live in the autumn of 2020 at https://altonevents.co.uk/activealton/ Or you can find it by Googling Active Alton.

And what a wide range of opportunities is on offer – everything from Archery to Zumba with lots in between. -walking, fitness training, dancing, singing, even football golf.  Click onto whatever interests you for full information with contact and joining details.

For those who don’t wish to get their information form the Internet, the printed version of the Directory was launched at Alton Library on 13th December and has been distributed widely around the town to public places like the Library, doctors’ surgeries, the Community Centre, the Allen Gallery etc.

Why make becoming more physically active a NY Resolution?

Regular physical activity is the most important measure anyone can take to prevent disease and maintain good health throughout life and into old age. It is easily more effective than anything else your doctor can prescribe to keep you well – better quality of life, less obesity, lower blood pressure, less likelihood of a variety of diseases such as heart disease, strokes,diabetes, cancers, Parkinson’s disease, mental illness and frailty of old age. It also means a longer life – and the period of frailty and dependence at the end of life is very much less in those who have maintained a regular exercise habit.Everyone needs to know what is available out there to encourage them to get active and stay active.

Choosing your physical activity.

Use the Active Alton website or the printed Directory to choose something you think you; can enjoy – or at least tolerate. If you don’t live locally find out from your local District Council what is available in your area.

And don’t be afraid to try out several alternatives before you settle on what you what to do.

How much exercise?

The official advice is to take 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. And don’t forget the muscle-strengthening exercise on two days a week. If you think that you meet this target you are probably deceiving yourself. When exercise taking is measured and compared to questionnaire responses, a big disparity is revealed – people take about one-third to one-half as much exercise as they claim.

One more point. The less you do, the more you have to gain from increasing your activity levels. The biggest relative gain comes from increasing from doing nothing to doing something.

Your New Year Resolution

So for your New Year resolution:  If you take no exercise just make a start. If you are an exerciser, increase by perhaps 10%? – unless you really do a lot already, in which case resolve not to be too smug about it.

PS The Book

I am delighted to say that “Get off the Couch before it’s too late” can now be bought through either Amazon or Waterstone’s at £14.99, the Alton Cardiac Rehab Centre for £12.00 or by emailing me at hjnbethell@gmail.com at £12.50 which includes p&p.

Happy New Year