Getting fit and healthy isn't as complicated as you think

It feels like health and fitness is thrust upon us even more than ever before, of course we're all aware of the importance of leading an active and balanced lifestyle but with so many messages, knowing where to start is half the problem.

From social media fitness stars to health professionals advising that our 5 a day isn't enough and sugar is the devil. It's a mine-field that even fitness lovers struggle to decipher at times. Luckily, we've put together a guide of the fitness and health trends you need to know about for 2016, with help from some fitness professionals too.

Gymnasium (PD)

Clean Eating

When it comes to our health, deep down we all know that good portion control and moving more is the key to success and eating clean is a trend which has been at the forefront of social media and cookbooks alike.
Eating foods in their most natural state, clean eating is designed to help you cut out processed and refined nasties and eat wholesome foods which nourish the your body. Fruit and vegetables are the obvious foods to eat here, but complex carbs such as sweet potato and quinoa, eggs and nuts are also perfect too.

Improve your Running Technique

Take it back to basics, pop on your trainers and look to the great outdoors for your fitness fix. Whether you want to simply keep fit, reduce stress or improve your mental health, going for a run is one of the simplest solutions out there. With apps such as Couch to 5k even running novices can get fit in a matter of weeks.

Marc Robinson from Cardiff Sports Nutrition offers his advice on how to become a more powerful runner, "In order to become a faster, stronger and more powerful runner it is essential to build the strength and explosive power of the primary muscle groups responsible for powering this action.

"Quadriceps, hamstrings and particularly glute (butt) muscles play major roles in determining your running or sprinting performance, and so must be targeted directly with heavy weighted exercises designed to build strength and explosive power. Other exercises to add to your routine that can provide similar results are weighted walking lunges, box jumps, and even sprinting with parachutes."

Crossfit

Crossfit isn't an exercise routine to attempt if you're fitness levels aren't that great (although nothing is stopping you), as it takes a lot of energy and hard work to become a cross fitter but the full body work out it provides is an excellent way to keep active and get that all important endorphin rush.

The best thing about Crossfit is that no routine is the same, an example routine includes a spring, burpees, pullup and deadlifts all one after the other – yikes! With a combination of strength, high intensity interval training and weights, you can be vulnerable to injury especially if you're new to the sport so listen to your body and know when to stop.

Even how you cook food affects the goodness they offer you, so consider switching to steaming food where you can as it's a great way to preserve natural nutrients.

Yoga – The Mindfulness Approach

Mindfulness was a hot topic in 2015 and keeping our mental health in check is just as important as our physical health. Yoga is one of the best ways to channel this feeling and leave us feeling refreshed and zen. Uncluttering the mind, building core strength, improving posture and focusing on your breathing, yoga certainly ticks a lot of fitness boxes.

It also seems our furry friends are also keen to get in on the action, with dogs and now rabbits participating in yoga classes. Whilst they aren't quite able to master the downward dog pose, the original class in Canada aimed to raise awareness of abandoned rabbits in the area. So next time you're at your yoga class, you never know who might hop in!

Create Healthy Habits

It's rumored it takes around a month for something to become a habit so the only way you'll stick to your healthy habits is by completing them regularly. Create a plan of when to work out and always plan your meals in advance, especially when you're doing your food shop to avoid any sugar snack sneaking in.

Dan Smullen, personal trainer at Dartry Health Club offers his advice on how to create better habits, "We are constantly driven by habits and understanding this is the formula for fitness success in 2016. I know the saying "commit to something" has been thrown around before but once you change your old habits and make new ones, no matter what you start you will finish it.

Start by exercising 3 times a week, and always eat a healthy breakfast to help influence healthier choices later on in the day.  Our subconscious recognises patterns, and once these patterns become a habit, it almost feels impossible to break."

Remember that above all a prolonged healthy attitude will pay off in the long term, and you should always keep a balanced lifestyle.

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