London: How to get fit and fag free

Posted on January 2, 2007

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by jnoelbell

It’s that time of year again, when we drag out and dust off all the old resolutions – you know, the ones you made 365 days ago, with all the best of intentions?

If you’re like most people, those resolutions fall into one of the top two categories: quitting smoking or losing weight. Living in London is unhealthy enough – why not take advantage of some resources to help you be fag-free and fitter for the coming year? Here are some ideas:

Be fag free:
You know all the right reasons for quitting smoking:  improve health, save money, live longer. This year, however, Londoners have an additional incentive to kick the addiction – as of 1st July, smoking in all public places will be banned. And yes, even the last bastion of the inveterate smoker, the pub, will be serving up clean, fresh air with that frothy pint. So really, there’s never been a better time to try quitting again.

It’s not an easy task, so take advantage of the free support offered by the NHS – visit your GP to ask about nicotine replacement therapies, call the free phone helpline, or look up support groups and options local to you.

Even more alternatives and information are available from the charity Quit. You have nothing to lose but the habit.

Be fit(ter):
After weeks of chocolates, mince pies and drinking, we’re all feeling a little squidgy in the middle – most people have a few pounds they’d like to lose. But finding affordable gyms in London can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Why not check out the local leisure centres?

Look up local authority gyms, private health clubs, and nearby (free!) public recreational facilities here. From pools to boules, there’s something for everyone, with many activity centres waiving their joining fees at the beginning of the year.

Not a gym rat? Prefer to go it alone? Check out the ramblers guide to the best of London walks and the city guide to public parks and open spaces.

And if you needed any more inspiration, here’s a guide to get 30 minutes of exercise a day, including information, motivation, and a personal exercise diary.

It’s all right there at your doorstep, so here’s to a healthier 2007!

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