More of this, less of that and cut that out altogether.
Carbs are bad, sugar is worse and as for fats, well don’t even go there.
It is little wonder many of us feel overwhelmed by information and contradicting ideas.
What we can be sure of, is that everything in moderation is a good starting place.
A diet based on fruit and vegetables, grains, protein and plenty of water are the fundamentals of a balanced diet.
Exercise is also an important of keeping healthy and is beneficial for both your waistline and your mental health.
While is it still cold outside, the mornings are getting lighter, as are the evenings, which means it is the perfect time to ramp up your activity and start to feel the benefits when spring arrives.
For many people running is an option that is easy to fit into their schedule, free (other than trainers and shorts) and you can start today.
So, let’s begin with those trainers. A basic but decent pair can start from around £30 and from that, the sky is the limit. Find a shop with helpful staff with technical knowledge and as well as the shoes, get some good socks too as they can prevent blisters. When you start out, you don’t need flash clothing, but you will want to be comfortable so go for breathable items and layer them, as you will go hot even if it is chilly.
Set a day and time when you are going to run, and stick to it. Running to work, jogging with a buggy or sprinting with the dog are all ideas. Running with a friend can also be a good idea, as it not only means you are committed but also safe.
Before you start to run, it is vital that you warm up in order to ensure your muscles are ready to be used, especially if they have been resting for a while.
Don’t just go out the front door and start running, make sure you go through the preparatory brisk walking stage. As for stretching before a run, opinion is divided on whether this is necessary or even helpful.
A good running technique will reduce the risk of injury and make things more enjoyable. Some basic thoughts are to avoid striking the ground with your heel or forefoot first. It is safest to land on the middle of your foot and your foot should land below your hips rather than in front of you. As you run, look straight ahead with your shoulders back and down. Keep your hands relaxed and your arms bent at a 90-degree angle. Don’t stick your bottom out, your hips should remain stable and forward-facing and don’t lift your knees too high.
Post-run you those happy hormones will be pumping around your body but don’t forget to cool down. Don’t just stop running, instead keep walking, slowing down gently and then add in some stretches before you finish your session altogether.
A simple calf stretch can really help a beginner prevent muscle strain. Simply step your right leg forward, keeping it bent, and lean forwards a little. Keep your left leg straight and lower your left heel to the ground. Repeat with your other leg and feel the release.
Thigh stretches are also a good idea. Let’s start with your right side. Take your left foot and pull your heel towards your left buttock so you stretch the front of the thigh. Keeping knees touch and then repeat on the other side. Take your time and go at your own pace.
You may also want to put some of the layers of clothes you removed to keep warm.
Aim to run three times a week, with breaks, and build up your distance gradually.
If you suffer pain or injury, do check with your GP and rest up.
The main thing is to enjoy it and have fun.