• Photo by Samantha Gades

The January Health Curse

Anyone who regularly attends a gym or fitness centre will be accustomed to the frustration of having to exercise around the yearly “January Rush”; where, for a brief period of time, the gym is packed with wide-eyed, enthusiastic, new members who are keen to explore every machine in an effort to obtain their ideal body in time for Summer.  We also know that by February, the annoyance at having to queue for a piece of equipment is very likely to have disappeared, as those same new members quickly return to their previous habits.

Dr Jeff Foster
Dr Jeff FosterMedical Director & Male Health Lead

Dr Jeff Foster is a Men’s Health specialist and one of the founders of H3Health.

You can find out more about Dr Foster by viewing his latest articles and biography .

Unused gym memberships…

So predictable is the habit of joining a gym and then not going, that most fitness clubs are able to make their membership costs viable based on the numbers of members that pay their subscription, and never actually attend.

After all, no health club actually wants members that use their facilities every day. But the January fitness phenomenon is not restricted to just exercise, and this behaviour is actually repeated in a wide variety of aspects of health.

Dry January…

“Dry January”, is another recent popular health fad that sees people abstain from drinking alcohol for the entire month of January in the belief that it will provide wider health benefits over the year ahead.

However, while not drinking alcohol is obviously good for you, recent evidence suggests, those who regularly drink do not actually consume less alcohol in a year by having January off.

In fact, total alcohol consumption may not only stay the same, but may actually be greater, due to a degree of overcompensation in February and March, as a result of drinking behaviour in January being “so good”.

Passing health fads…

Similar “New Year” patterns of health are also seen with diets, slimming clubs, other exercise regimes and even health checks.

Every year at H3Health, we see a flurry of male and female Health check requests for January, which then drop off abruptly in February as the impetus to get healthy fades.

Sadly, it seems that our efforts to improve our health are well-intentioned in all aspects of our lives, but often short-lived.  So how do you make sure your health aspirations are sustainable, rather just a month-long fad?

Best advice…

Really, it is quite simple; my best advice is to never, ever make New Year’s Resolutions.

If we are to succeed in our health goals, our desire to improve has to come from more than a short-lived promise on New Year’s Eve to join a gym and lose weight.

Improving our health and wellness is about a deeper desire to understand our bodies and accept that sustainable change occurs over many months or even years.

Next steps…

Getting a health check is a crucial part of this journey to better health, as it provides vital information on our current state of wellness, risk of future illness, and helps us to understand what we need to do to improve our quality and quantity of life.

Most health checks follow a similar pattern, a standard template of generic questions, tick boxes and generally “lifestyle bases” i.e. sleep, exercise, diet etc, followed by a set of simple biometrics and cheap tests generating basic feedback for the patient that could be delivered by anyone able to read the info.

At H3Health, we have spent several years designing a health check that is personal to you, is performed by a doctor who is not tied to a specific set of questions or tests, and can feedback, explain, and implement a plan, rather it being “turfed” to your NHS GP to fix.

Overall, we believe that getting healthy is not restricted to one month of the year, and that by understanding our bodies and health risks better, we can implement sustainable, and long-term changes to our lives, that will see us improve our health and ourselves as we get older.

If you’d like to talk to one of our male or female health specialist GPs, why not give us a call on 03309 120769 – we offer consultations online or face to face, whichever you prefer.