Is your New Year resolution to lose weight & get exercising in 2017?

In 2016 the number one new years resolution from the ITV news viewers poll was to ‘lose weight and do more exercise’.  I wonder how many people have managed to stick to this plan, as we know it takes determination and perseverance to get results and most new year resolutions fall by the way side within the first month or even week!

So how do you keep to your new years resolution to ‘lose weight and do more exercise’ – we have been looking for the best advice on how to make these life style changes and sustain them.


NHS Choices Live Well losing weight programme provides you with a 12 week step by step guide to healthy weight loss and exercise. NHS 12 Week Weight Loss Plan . Down load an easy to follow pack each week to help you plan, set your goals and keep motivated.

The 12 top tips from the 12 week Weight Loss plan are listed below:

  1. Don’t skip breakfast
  2. Eat regular meals
  3. Eat plenty of fruit and veg
  4. Get more active
  5. Drink plenty of water
  6. Eat high-fibre foods
  7. Read food labels
  8. Use a smaller plate
  9. Don’t ban foods
  10. Don’t stock junk food
  11. Cut down on alcohol
  12. Plan your meals

Other new year resolutions that featured in the top five of the ITV poll were – cut down on alcohol, stop smoking.

NHS Choices has a great online resource with over 100 topics on healthy living and useful tools such as Couch to 5k running programme to guide you on your health and fitness journey.  There is also information on how to cut back on alcohol and stop smoking.

Get going and good luck, make 2017 the year you change your lifestyle!

Happy New Year from the Valley Leisure team.

Compliment your 12 week plan with an all inclusive membership at Andover Leisure Centre or Romsey Rapids Sports Complex.


Sweet treats – indulge in the goodness

At the beginning of this month the Toning Centre at Romsey Rapids Sports Complex launched their ‘Toning Coffee Morning’ event. This event takes place on the first Friday of every month, between 10am – 11:30am.

Carrot cake, biscuits and even a low-fat fruit loaf were baked in preparation for the coffee morning, but is it possible to bake healthy yet indulgent cakes at home? The short answer, YES.

Here’s a recipe for mouth-watering Apple and Cinnamon Turnovers with no refined sugar:

Ingredients (makes four large, or eight small turnovers)
Four large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
375g puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Cover a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Put the apples, honey and cinnamon into a saucepan, stir and gently heat through until the apples are starting to soften. Add 1 tbsp water if the mixture starts to stick.

You can use the mixture as it is, or mash it together (I did the latter).

Roll out your puff pastry into a large rectangle, or if you’re lazy buy the ready rolled variety). Cut into four or eight smaller rectangles, depending on whether you would like to make large or small turnovers.

Put a few spoonfuls of apple mixture into the centre of each rectangle, being careful not to overfill. Press the edges together and lightly brush with beaten egg.

Place on the baking tray and bake for around 15 minutes in the centre of the oven until golden brown.


This recipe is by food blogger Mandy Mazliah. You can find this recipe and others on her blog here.

If you would like to attend a coffee morning, they run on the first Friday of every month between 10am – 11:30am. For more information about the Toning Centre, please visit the Valley Leisure website at or call the Toning team on 01794 835568.

We’re going green for Macmillan

Go green this week and support Macmillan with their annual ‘Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning’ taking place on Friday 30th September.

To support this, Valley Leisure will be hosting coffee mornings throughout the week at our two main centres – Andover Leisure Centre and Romsey Rapids Sports Complex.

Do you want to show your support and get involved? Come along!

Andover Leisure Centre BAKE OFF! Friday 30th September: The staff at Andover Leisure Centre are baking for Macmillan! Goodies made by the staff will be available throughout the day to buy at the leisure centre.

Active Community Coffee Morning at Romsey Rapids Sports Complex, Wednesday 28th September (10am – 12:30pm): We’ll be creating a selection of ‘Naughty & Nice’ cakes. Will you take our taste test and tell the difference? You can also grab yourself a FREE Health MOT, get useful information about exercise and Macmillan support and join in a taster session. Here’s a breakdown of the morning:

  • 10:35am – 11:15am: Body Balance
  • 11:20am – 11;50am: Zumba Gold
  • 11:55am – 12:25am: Pilates

Top Tips: Find your own balance

Top Tip 1: The importance of a balanced diet

1. Try to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day

2. Starchy foods such as potatoes, rice and pasta should make up just over a third of the food we eat. Choose high-fibre, wholegrain varieties such as wholewheat pasta and brown rice, or simply leave skins on potatoes.

3. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are good sources of protein and vitamins, whilst also being an important source of calcium to keep bones strong. Always choose the full-fat options for this, as they are the closest to being natural.

4. Pulses such as beans, peas and lentils are good alternatives to meat due to being low in fat and high in fibre and protein. Choose lean cuts of meat and mince (more preferably white meats), and cut down the consumption of red or processed meats such as bacon, ham and sausages.

5. Unsaturated fats are classed as ‘healthy fats’. This includes oils such as vegetable, rapeseed, olive and sunflower oils.

6. Limit sugary processed foods such as cakes, chocolate, biscuits, butter etc. If you cannot cut them out, then try healthier alternatives such as a couple of cubes of dark chocolate, or olive oil spread.

7. Drink lots of water. The daily recommendation is 6-8 glasses each day.

Top Tip 2: Hit the national guidelines for physical activity

Age 5-18 years: At least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Choose from activities such as cycling, playground activities or playing a team sports.

Age 18-65+: At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as cycling or walking every week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running, or a game of tennis. On top of this, you should aim to complete strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Keep it up and feel the difference.

Get motivated,

The Valley Leisure Team

Top Tips: Dive into your 5-a-day

Top Tip 1: 5 reasons to eat your 5 portions of fruit and veg a day

1. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, and include healthy nutrients such as float, vitamin C and potassium.
2. They are an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent a range of digestion problems, including constipation.
3. A diet high in fibre can reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
4. They can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some other cancers.
5. Fruit and vegetables contribute to a healthy, balanced diet.

Top Tip 2: Exercise doesn’t have to be high impact – go swimming
If getting hot and sweaty puts you off the gym, then why not try a low impact alternative like swimming?
Swimming is a great workout for getting in cardio and toning your body. It is one of the few sports that doesn’t cause any stress to the skeletal system, yet water resistance has a similar effect to using a lightweight on a resistance machine at the gym.

Not only that, but research suggests that swimming actually boosts endorphins in the body, which creates that feel-good feeling.

Health and vitality goals from the Valley Leisure Team

Top Tips: Don’t be fooled

Top Tip 1: Alcohol = liquid sugar

This is a tough one for most of us, especially with the summer BBQs, holidays and socialising. The occasional tipple is fine, but regular drinking has negative effects on your health, such as an expanding waist line, your skin losing its glow and that lethargic hangover that follows. The more you drink, the greater the risk to your long term health.

By cutting back on alcohol you will feel your energy levels increase, along with a range of long-term health benefits. New national guidelines from the NHS state that ‘regularly drinking more than 14 unites a week risks damaging your health’.

Top Tip 2: Running for fitness – Couch to 5K

One of the most popular ways to keep fit is by running. Couch to 5K is a government led programme free on NHS Choices.

If you have decided to take on the challenge of Couch to 5K, you are probably making a commitment to becoming more active and leading a healthier lifestyle. Plan your week, try and get yourself into a routine and you WILL see results. Make sure you are eating healthily and avoid having a large meal within two hours of your run. A light snack, such as a banana before running is fine.

A great way to track your progress is through photos. Take a ‘before’ photo at the start of your challenge, and an ‘after’ image once the programme has ended weeks later. You can also measure your inch-loss each week to maintain momentum.

Keep going, and remember that it’s never too late to shake up your routine.

Health tips from the Valley Leisure Team

Top Tips: #GetLifting

Top Tip 1: Cut out processed foods

Once foods are processed you have lost a lot of the natural goodness. Quite often there are added preservatives, salt, colours and sugar, so make sure you always check the ingredients.

Herbs and natural flavours are your best friend. For extra flavour marinate meat using freshly squeezed lemons, ginger, garlic or whatever natural flavours you fancy. You can use the same method for using herbs with new potatoes. This is also a really great option for BBQ food this summer.

Top Tip 2: Do weight bearing exercises twice a week

Weight bearing exercises refer to any activity performed whilst standing, such as weight-lifting, dancing or even running.

Young people five to 18 years old are advised to do vigorous activities that strengthen muscle and bones at least three days a week. The key bone-building years are those up to our mid-20’s when the skeleton is still growing, and this is the prime period for building up bone strength for the future years.

To reduce the rate of natural bone loss that occurs from age 35 onwards, aim to do muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.

“Muscle-strengthening exercises are any activity that requires your muscles to work harder than normal, like lifting weights. This type of resistance exercise works the tendons that attach muscle to bone, which in turn boosts bone strength.” – NHS Choices

Keep it up and feel the difference.

Get motivated by The Valley Leisure Team.