Commitment is key to any health and fitness goal or program.
Setting the goals themselves is the easy part; it is finding ways to ensure you stay motivated to them that can be hard.
Committing to a community event or a charity challenge are ways that might help you stay on track with your own health and fitness goals. The latter has the added benefit of helping others in need through fundraising.
Whether you are a keen swimmer or a social one, the Starlight Super Swim Challenge could be the kickstart you are looking for.
It is being held for the second time with Speedo and Starlight Children's Foundation encouraging Australians around the country to make a positive splash to give back to sick kids.
Held from January 26 until February 24, it involves setting a 30-day swimming goal.
The first challenge raised more than $400,000 and in the second year they are aiming to raise more funds to support Starlight's hospital services.
To take part, you sign up then track your distance, either manually or by using a fitness app, and get others to show their support through donating to every kilometre or lap swum either in the pool or in the ocean in 30 days.
Participants are supported throughout the challenge with training plans and tips. You can find out more at superswim.org.au/about/the-challenge.
Swimming challenges coming up in Newcastle include the Across the Harbour Swim on Australia Day - there are 700 metre and 1.4 kilometre distances - and the Nobbys to Newcastle Ocean Swim of two kilometres the day before.
Getting a team together and doing the swim leg in a Sparke Helmore City Triathlon race on February 23 might also be an option.
Lake Macquarie City Council have improved a number of their swim centres in an attempt to encourage more people to use the facilities to connect with others in the community and for health and fitness benefits.
Shade structures, seating and barbecues were some of the improvement works completed at Charlestown, Morisset, Speers Point, Swansea and West Wallsend swim centres.
Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser said the additions across the swim centres "will create a more family-friendly environment for visitors to our centres, and will also allow us to expand our learn to swim program".
To celebrate the completion of the works, council will host sun smart celebration 'A Splash of Orange' this Friday. The event will feature live music, free skin checks, free Aqua Stretch classes and fun and games in and around Speers Point Swim Centre. Entry is $4 per person or $16 per family. Find out more about the event and also about Learn to Swim programs at lakemac.com.au.
Benefits of swimming, according to betterhealth.vic.org.au, include being low impact, providing an all-over body workout, improving flexibility, and building endurance, strength and cardiovascular fitness. It is also a cooler way to exercise on a hot day.
Upcoming Fitness Events
Nobbys To Newcastle Ocean Swim, January 25: A two-kilometre ocean swim from under Nobbys Lighthouse to Newcastle Beach.
Across the Harbour Swim, Newcastle harbour, January 26: Choose between the 700-metre single crossing or 1.4km double crossing of the harbour.
Coastal Ascent, Dixon Park, February 16: A trail running event that is six weeks away. There is still time to prepare for the 5km, 11km or 25km courses.
Sparke Helmore Newcastle City Triathlon, Newcastle Foreshore, February 23: For the novice to the experienced there are three courses of varying distances to choose from.
Summer Sessions Week #7
You do not need to get too complicated with your fitness to get results. Consistency is the key. Try this strength session three times a week on every other day. Aim for 20-30 minutes of cardio (walking, running, cycling, swimming, rowing) on the other days.
Workout: 10 squats, 10 dead lifts, 10 push-ups, 20 lunges (10 on each leg), 10 pull-ups/bent-over or horizontal rows, 20 ab rotation, 10 glute bridge. Either repeat each set of exercises once or twice with a 30-60 second rest before moving on to the next or perform each set of exercises in succession then repeat once or twice through again.
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Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.