Why crash-EXERCISING this January is bad for your health – and how to get fit the right way

If so, you might want to calm down – because crash-exercising really won't help.

Crash-exercising is when you try to cram a load of exercise into a small pocket of time in the hope of making big gains.

Loads of us do it when we're at the start of a fitness regime or we're trying to get in shape for something in particular.

But slow and steady really does win the race, when it comes to long-lasting health and fitness.

Why? Because crash-anything is unsustainable.

When we go really hard on the dieting and exercising, we tend to carry on for a little while before realising that we haven't been able to meet our massive goal as quickly as we'd hoped.

That then leads to us giving up.

You need at least eight weeks to start feeling healthier and more toned

When we see these incredible body transformations that take place over an eight week period, they're successful because we're talking about a very specific period of time.

People might change their attitude towards healthy living after they've finished the initial crash course but the results ultimately slow down after that initial bit of hard work – and if you don't see those changes immediately, you probably won't bother to carry on with the intensity or commitment you started out with.

And you need at least twelve weeks to start looking slimmer

Progress takes time. If it took you five years of overeating and sedentary behaviour to gain 5st, what makes you think that you can lose it in a tenth of that time?

For most people, it takes at least three months before you start to look noticeably different – although just two months can make you feel totally different.

Although getting fit is about you feeling healthier and more confident, there's really nothing like getting a bit of reassurance from other people noticing your efforts. Three months might seem a  long time, but it'll be worth it when that time comes.

You're not creating a mental change

What's the point in starting a fitness regime if it's not going to stick once you've reached your goal?

Fitness should be a lifetime achievement because it can help you to stay healthy even in old age.

Binging on exercise stops you from seeing it as just part of your daily routine. It reinforces that fact that you're doing it for a short period of time, when in fact, you want to start thinking that exercise is just something you do.

It can lead to injury

There's nothing like overdoing it to put you at risk of injury. And getting injured is a sure-fire way of putting a halt on your progress.

By taking it steadily, you can increase your exercise load slowly as you get fitter and stronger.

Listen to your body. Rest when you feel like you need to rest (make sure you have at least two rest days a week) and push yourself only as far as you feel comfortable.

And you can feel burned out

Getting up every day at 5am to smash a workout before work is amazing…if you can commit to it. But if you're not a morning person, then why put yourself through hell just for the sake of it?

Set a time that suits you – be that first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, or in the evening and stick to it. If you've got too much on on certain weeks to commit to going to the gym, just try to walk as much as possible instead – be that to the station, to work, or to the supermarket.

To really create sustainable change, you need to give yourself time

2019 could be the year you get into shape and live a healthier life – and you've got an entire year to make that change.

Getting healthy is really simple; all you have to do is move more and eat nourishing foods.

That doesn't mean that you have to spend a fortune on food or gym memberships. Simply reduce the amount of sugar you eat and make sure you're eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day.

Try to walk as much as possible and if you want to challenge yourself, why not start taking part in Parkrun?

That's a free 5k run, jog or walk that's held in parks up and down the country on Saturday mornings. Parkruns are great for meeting new people, setting fitness goals and staying accountable. It could be your one aerobic exercise of the week, or it could be your fifth – it doesn't matter.

2019 really can be the year that you get stuck into fitness, but remember to be kind to yourself.

You've only got one body and it deserves to be treated well with healthy food and plenty of movement.

But if you want to make sure that you're still able to do that many years in the future, then take it steady and don't try to do everything all at once.

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