Sunderland University lecturer's tips to get in shape in the New Year

Morc Coulson, senior lecturer in health related exercise at the University of Sunderland.
Morc Coulson, senior lecturer in health related exercise at the University of Sunderland.

A Sunderland University lecturer is making it his New Year's mission to get people exercising

Eating healthier, getting more exercise and saving money are the resolutions many will be making this coming New Year.

However, one resolution both health experts and the Government is keen for people to stick at is leading a more active and healthy lifestyle.

Morc Coulson, senior lecturer in health related exercise at the University of Sunderland, believes there are ways to stick to exercise goals, but success comes in small changes.

He said: "It’s a no brainer as far as the ‘experts’ are concerned. They say we all need to get off our backsides and do a lot more exercise to stay fit and healthy. But if that is the case, why are so few people doing it?

"Only one person in three follows the government’s advice on exercise. And that’s assuming that those who say they do are actually telling the truth.

"The Chief Medical Officer for the UK advises that we should exercise for about 30 minutes, five times a week (150 minutes).

"Trying to do 150 minutes a week when you normally do nothing at all is too ambitious. You are setting yourself up for failure. What happens is that people will join a class which is much too vigorous, don’t enjoy it, and ache terribly the next day. So they don’t go back."

Morc suggests that even the smallest of changes could have a big impact on a person's fitness long-term

These include:

* Increase the time you spend on your feet….try some new habits.

* Walking around while talking on the phone – better to wear out the carpet than your heart

* Get up during TV advertising breaks and do some stretches/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 tube a stop or two earlier

* Shop in real time rather than on line (carrying bags helps muscle strength)

* Use stairs rather than the lift – don’t send the kids upstairs to fetch items for you

* Walk rather than drive whenever possible – and make a point of walking for at least half an hour a day. Find a walking buddy and go out whatever the weather.

Morc added: "For sofa surfers the emphasis is shifting from encouraging them to exercise to increasing their everyday activity levels. Even modest increases in the time spent standing or walking rather than sitting can reduce the risks of an early death.

"Try these simple strategies and enjoy your mince pie!"