Part 1 of 4:
Well, we've well and truly overdone it this Christmas and the belts have duly been let out a notch or two. What's more, there are a few things we would really like to tackle in 2018. So, like
many of you, we are busy honing our list of New Year's resolutions!
According to a recent ComRes poll of UK adults, the most common New Year's resolutions are to:
#1. Exercise more
#2. Lose weight
#3. Eat more healthily
#4. Learn a new skill or hobby
#5. Spend more time with family and friends
#6. Drink less alcohol
#7. Stop smoking
#8. Other resolutions
But we wanted to find out how we could keep our New Year's resolutions in true French style! In this first instalment, we tackle the first two on the list:
#1. Exercise more
According to an INJEP report, sport in France is overwhelmingly practised by the young. For the 30+ age group there is a falling off and French men are more likely to practise a sport than women.
Older people are also less likely to be signed up to a sports club or organised activity. So how are French people choosing to keep in shape?
1. For many French people, particularly the over 30s, la randonnée pédestre and la marche de loisir are the most popular ways to keep in shape. One reason is to get closer to nature but also walking can be enjoyed as a family, as a couple or with friends. It is also free, of course!
2. Cycling is, bien sûr, another popular activity with the French. There's no need to compete in the Tour de France, though! Cycling for leisure is more popular with the over 30s and in France there are vélo routes and pistes cyclables a-plenty. For off-road there is also VTT (Vélo Tout Terrain) which is more popular with younger people.
3. Swimming (se baigner, aller nager) is considered by many to be more of a holiday pastime than a regular activity. Perhaps surprisingly, there are very few people of retirement age that swim regularly. Most leisure swimming is likely to be done in a lake or in the sea. La piscine is seen as the place to do more serious swimming (faire de la natation).
4. Course à pied (running, jogging) is also popular with the French. Again, it gets you close to nature, but tends to be more of a solitary activity. For the French it can vary from a quick run in the mornings to running a whole marathon!
5. Gym - le fitness, le stretching, le yoga... These are more likely to be an organised activity, but actually the French are quite keen on exercise bikes too, which can, of course, be done at home.
#2. Lose weight
Firstly, we should explode the myth about the French being thin. We can confirm that the French exist in all shapes and sizes, just like in most other countries!
Being overweight is a problem in France, with 13% of children and teenagers being over weight (4% obese) and 34% of adults (17% obese). One thing that struck us when we first came to live in France was the large amount of window space given over to the promotion of slimming products in pharmacy windows! The French seem to have as many theories about how to lose weight as anywhere else. The site doctissimo.fr advises us to eat regular meals, avoid snacking in between meals, to eat féculents (pasta, rice and bread) at every meal, eat as many vegetables as we want but only 2 portions of fruit a day, avoid fatty foods such as butter and cheese and to cut out alcohol and beer, but not red wine! How very French!
We will be back tomorrow with how to eat healthily and learn a new skill or hobby the French way!