This month Sport Scotland is turning the spotlight on the role sport and activity plays in improving physical health and developing a healthy lifestyle (#LookAfterYourHealth). In support of the campaign, Georgia Adderley, currently ranked 60 on the PSA tour, has shared her top tips on how to get fit and stay fit in 2022.

Many of us start January with the best intentions to get fit, only to fall by the wayside as the year goes on.  Setting unrealistic goals, lacking motivation and life’s other commitments are just some of the hurdles that stand in our way. Staying motivated is key to turning a fad into a lifelong habit, and through my years on the squash circuit, I’ve picked up some useful tips:

  1. Make clear goals. It’s important to have a clear goal to work towards, whether its training for a 5k, getting a new personal best or beating your sporting rival – be as specific as possible so you have a clear idea why you’re getting fit. In my profession, setting clear goals is part of the job. For example, this year I’m aiming to be selected for the Commonwealth games in Birmingham, the pinnacle of our sport. This helps keep my motivation levels high and means I can focus my training towards that goal. Over the longer term, its about climbing the PSA ranking, and trying to be the best player that I can be. Setting clear goals gives you a reason to keep going when things get tough.


  1. Plan your fitness programme. Take the time to create a weekly plan with activities designed to help you achieve your goal. If you don’t plan, you’ll have no reference point to measure progress, and you may not be as effective at building your fitness over time. Make it easy on yourself at the start and build slowly from there. Try to set realistic expectations of yourself as you set out on a new adventure. Set short term goals to keep you motivated and reward yourself when you do well. I tend to work to a four-week plan, deciding which sessions to do at the start of each week. I’ll alternate the severity/intensity of the sessions throughout the week so I know what I’m doing each day. I always give myself a rest day to prevent injury or burn out. Each week, the activities should get a little harder so you are building your fitness. But don’t over do it!


  1. Stick to what you enjoy. There are many ways to get fit so its better to choose the activities you enjoy most. You may prefer swimming than an early morning run, or cross training to outdoor cycling. Find out what really makes you tick and design your fitness programme around that. I’m not so keen on technical training, but love the challenge of a tough fitness session because I know it brings dividends further down the line. Doing the sessions which you find tricky and challenging can be very helpful too, but make sure you find the right balance and keep rewarding yourself.


  1. Get the right gear. Sounds obvious but you must feel at ease with the gear you use, whether it’s a pair of trainers that fit properly or clothing you feel comfortable in. Don’t feel you have to spend a fortune on gear because that’s another barrier. Get what you need and no more, but spend time researching so you get what works best for you.


  1. Stay motivated. Don’t set unrealistic expectations, set short term goals and reward yourself when you do I also find training with a friend really helps to stay accountable and motivate each other. I do a lot of my training at Heriot Watt University and will aways seek out a friend to train with. Any activity is more fun with someone else and getting fit is no exception. You can set up competitions if you like, or targets you can both work towards. Monitor your progress so you can see the fruits of your labour. My mum started running during lockdown and she really enjoys seeing her 5K times creep down each week on a running app. It gave her a reason to keep going and brought out the competitiveness in her. There are lots of great apps and gadgets to help with fitness monitoring. I use a Polar watch which gives me a break down of all the vitals such as heart rate, distance covered and times so I can keep track of how I’m doing. Progress is a great motivator.


  1. Seek advice. Don’t feel you have to go it alone. There are plenty of resources out there to help you design a fitness programme and stay on track, whether its online resources, joining a gym, working with a fitness trainer or simply talking to friends and family. Reach out if you’re struggling. I’m lucky to have access to coaches but I also often talk to friends and family if I need advice.


  1. Take rest days. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take time out to let your body recover. This not only helps keep you motivated, it prevents injury and in the end, helps you achieve your goal. I take one day a week away from training – it can be intense training day in day out, so the rest day means I can come back feeling fresh and reinvigorated.