A new regime

· general ·

I have to face facts; when it comes to exercise, I'm fundamentally bone idle. The only reason I got any exercise when I lived in Oxford was that I cycled to work, so I had to pedal. Since I've moved to Birmingham, I can only get public transport to work, so apart from a walk of about 30 minutes back from the station, I get practically no exercise at all.

I decided that this had to change. The University has a very nice sports centre, and membership for students and staff is much cheaper than it would be to join a commercial gym, so I've signed up. My goal is to go to the gym or swim at least four days a week. Ideally, I want to do gym sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, with a swim on the intervening days. It's ambitious given my previous lack of significant activity, but I want to get into a routine. Even if I initially only swim for a short while, or do a fairly easy weights session, I want to get into a habit.

Which brings me on to my second point; why does anybody try to start a new routine (exercise or anything else) in the New Year? It's probably the very worst time try and change habits, particularly if they involve going out into the cold very early in the day. In contrast, mid-summer seems to me the perfect time to start something new. You have long days encouraging you to be active, and even getting changed for a workout is less of a hassle when you're just wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

My plan is to get myself into enough of a routine now that when my enthusiasm becomes paper-thin in the the early winter, sheer habit — and a reluctance to lose all the fitness and muscle tone I hope to have built up by then — will get me through it.