Sunderland fitness guru’s guide to getting fit for 2018

Sports and Exercise lecturer at The University of Sunderland, Morc Coulson.
Sports and Exercise lecturer at The University of Sunderland, Morc Coulson.

A Sunderland fitness expert says small changes are one of the best ways to a healthier life.

As many people are already wavering with their health and fitness New Year’s resolutions, the University of Sunderland’s Sports and Exercise lecturer, Morc Coulson, is offering his advice on how to say on track.

He said having realistic goals and making small changes is effective in keeping on track to a healthier lifestyle.

Morc said: “A dual approach of changing exercise and eating habits is the key to success.”

He said many experts admit that for many people the current advice on the amount and type of exercise they should have is unrealistic and could be setting people up to fail.

And, he added: “For ‘sofa surfers’ the emphasis is shifting from encouraging them to exercise a specific amount to increasing their everyday activity levels.

“The reason for this is that people can achieve the recommended amount of physical activity, but they can be sedentary for the rest of day and many of us are at risk from its lethal effects.

“The risk of death increases significantly when adults sit for more than seven hours a day. Being sedentary causes twice as many deaths as being overweight.”

But, he said even modest increases in the time spent standing or walking rather than sitting can reduce the risks of an early death.

Morc said: “Just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits for people who are physically inactive. Moderation is the key. By making small changes in activity habits people are much more likely to continue with the change for longer periods until the change becomes permanent.

“Even though our busy lifestyles are designed to save time and reduce physical effort there are many ways in which we can combat the effect of a sedentary lifestyle by making small changes with a view to those changes becoming permanent habits.”

Top tips on getting healthy:

*Walk around while talking on the phone.

*Get up during TV advertising breaks and do some activity: Walk up and down stairs /run on the spot.

*Spend some of your lunch hour walking.

*Walk over to see a colleague rather than emailing.

*Don’t look for the nearest parking space – park further away.

*Wash the car yourself.

*Get off the bus or Metro a stop or two earlier.

*Avoid online shopping.

*Use stairs rather than the lift.

*Don’t use the kids as gophers to fetch items for you.

*Find a walking buddy (research shows that people are more motivated to keep fit if they team up with a friend or colleague).

Morc went on to say: “As with exercise, small changes to diet have a much better chance of long-term behaviour change than many of the diets promoted by so-called celebs who are of course, not compensated in any way for sharing their miraculous ‘never tried before body changing beats all other’ fad diet.”

Some simple changes could include:

*Try to grill rather than fry and trim the meat.

*Avoid snacks such as biscuits, cakes and pastries which are high in fat.

*Vegetable oil rather than solid fat (lard).

*Try to include veg in every meal.

*Snack on a variety of fruits.

*Chose multi-grain type breads and cereals.

*Avoid sugary drinks. Choose water.

*Reduce the amount of red meat.

*Include oily fish.

*Do not add table salt to any food.

*Try to avoid processed foods.

*Dried fruits can be used as snacks.