Perhaps you started 2022 with good intentions and a flurry of enthusiasm and activity, but in recent weeks, it’s all got a bit excuse-driven - no time, no energy, no decent weather, no places to go?
The right gear can help reboot your mindset, in performance clothing and footwear that can help you set off and step up to the exercise challenge, whatever your goals. Here are some tips from Yorkshire experts:
Emma Worthington is a content creator and stylist based near Halifax @swoon_love www.swoonlove.love
Emma says: “If I like my outfit, I’m much more likely to exercise. I use every bit of motivation I can find. I also like to be able to go on the school run or for a coffee after yoga, so layers are definitely a must. You want pieces you can take off easily as you warm up and put back on to cool down. The two things I would suggest you invest in are the right footwear for the exercise you are doing and a sports bra. The rest, feel free to express yourself. I think it’s really important to feel like you when you’re exercising rather than worrying what you look like or what bits are wobbling.
“I like to cover my stomach but don’t like vest tops either so I opt for very high waisted leggings which are flattering, or jumpsuits. There are some great bodysuits available at the moment too, if bra tops are not for you. The new Alexandra Miro range is so stylish but flattering. Opt for good quality leggings that hold you in and that you feel confident in.
“I like to pop on one of my own soft and cosy hoodies after yoga and go for a coffee or the school run in comfort.”
Emily Gray is a personal stylist at John Lewis in Leeds. @johnlewis_emily www.johnlewis.com
Emily says: “I think the basics for an exercise wardrobe have to be centred around both comfort and practicality. If you're doing outdoor exercise, a really great pair of trainers are essential, especially if you're running. It is well worth investing in a good pair of trainers made specifically for this purpose. ASICS and New Balance do a really great range and that way you can look the part but also, more importantly, avoid injury
“A good sports bra is another must-have. Technology in sportswear has moved on so much and brands such as Athleta are made in conjunction with top athletes to ensure maximum comfort and wearability when doing high impact sports. Most sports bras will tell you if they are high, medium or low impact, so do make sure to look out for that when buying, depending on what kind of exercise you do most. Low impact is perfect for yoga, pilates etc. but you must get a high impact one for anything more vigorous like running.
“Leggings are another essential. If you feel tummy conscious, go for a high-waisted pair which will act like shapewear and hold you in. The higher the quality, also the better the fabric. Go for a darker colour to give a more slimline look. My personal favourites are Sweaty Betty. I love the fit, they come in different lengths so great for all heights, they have fun prints, they're super stretchy so they're great for doing yoga in, but if I go running they have deep pockets on the side which I can put my phone in to listen to music as I go, which is such a great detail.
“Finally, something to cover up either post workout if you've been indoors, or if you're exercising outdoors and it's cold. I love the John Lewis ANYDAY range for hoodies and basic tees as they are organic cotton, so totally breathable, a reasonable price point and just a good throw-on that I can wear either for exercising in, or to put together an off-duty look.
“Add some colour to your workout gear, go for a crazy print, try something new. That always helps to boost my mood before I have even done any exercise and gets me ready for a workout.”
Hannah Firbank is a health and fitness coach based from Huddersfield. @firbankfitness www.stretchburn.com @stretch_and_burn
Hannah has been working with Yorkshire exercise clothing brand, Stretch & Burn founded by Holmfirth couple Clare and Richard Taylor, inspired by their lockdown exercise regimes and Clare’s experience of unsatisfactory activewear. Richard designed the Stretch and Burn all-in-one which has become the brand’s hero product and can be used for many activities including running, yoga and gym workouts, with leg pockets for phone or keys. It is part of a mix-and-match collection of activewear, including leggings, workout vest tops and bra tops, all sustainably made in Portugal using an Econyl Italian fabric recycled from old fishing nets and other waste materials.
Hannah has created these top tips for beginners on their fitness journey
“Start virtual, with an online trainer or video,” she says.
“Take Baby steps – start with just a few minutes a day. Track your progress, Have realistic expectations.
“Book classes that will motivate you. Book with a friend so you can’t bail. Make it sociable.
“Go out for more walks - walking is one of the best forms of exercise. Exercise outside where you can, as it helps with motivation.
“Get a smartwatch to prompt you to move.
“Write down all the reasons why you can’t exercise - time, money, knowledge, accountability - and then find the solution to each of them – no excuses allowed.
Leanne Hardacre, from Harrogate, is the founder of outdoor clothing brand Hachure Active - www.hachureactive.com @hachure.active
Leanne says: “Getting outside for even 10 minutes a day is great for your mental health and wellbeing. The combination of moving your body, the fresh air and being in nature helps reduce stress and anxiety, can improve your mood and help you feel more relaxed.
“If you are unsure where to go, there are lots of local groups you can connect with - walking, running, climbing, dog walking and more. You can make some new friends at the same time.
“I have recently begun to appreciate wildlife more, looking out for birds and listening to their calls. There is so much to see, once you get out and explore.”
Good luck and take it easy - but not that easy.