Most of us know what we need to do to get fit. Choose a workout, like running or swimming. Do it a lot. Keep up the habit. Try and improve each time. It’s obvious, isn’t it? But the problem is it gets boring. We don’t go as often as we should, we come up with excuses and next thing we know we’re five episodes into a new Netflix show and our gym gear never left the shelf.

So what’s the answer? Well, now we’re well and truly into 2017, it’s time to shake things up. You don’t have to do the same old gym classes or the same dull workout routines. We’ve explored some of the top fitness trends we think will be big this year, as well as how to get into them and start moving – like, right now.

Fitbit: Turn Your Steps Into a Game

Before we start delving into the top new sports and classes you can try out to turn yourself into a sporting superhero, let’s talk about technology. Sure fitness trackers, like the Fitbit, have been around for years now, but this will be the year they step up a level – and anyone who’s anyone will be working out with a device strapped to their wrist. (Or arm! Or ankle!)

Ever said you’d run more or go to the gym all the time if you won a medal for your efforts? Well, that’s the great thing about using tech to get fit. You can use it to make fitness fun. You earn badges for hitting your goals, can compete with friends and get little notifications when you workout too.

Where do you start? With an app like Sworkit for stretching or Nike+ Run Club for running. Or if you like seeing graphs about how you’re doing, invest in a gadget like the Fitbit Flex 2.

Parkour: who run the world?

Gone are the days of parkour only being reserved for boys in baggy trousers and branded t-shirts. The great thing about parkour, which you can also call ‘free running’ if you think it sounds less ridiculous, is you can do it anywhere. The aim is simply to gett from one point to another without any equipment. Think of it like making boring stuff, like steps, benches and parks into a fun obstacle course. Just be careful! You need to feel brave to give this one a shot, but don’t get too cocky about your abilities – follow expert guidance and always take a friend with you or you could end up hurting yourself. Obv.

Where do you start? Grab a friend and get outside. Look for things that you can climb onto and jump up (or down to). A park is a great place to begin. Start with jumping down steps a few at a time and you’ll get the hang of it.

Yoga: take a deep breath

Yoga has had a bit of a makeover in recent years. You don’t have to light incense or be on a hilltop in Thailand in a bikini to feel the benefits. Instead, it’s about becoming fitter, more flexible, super-charging your performance in other sports and most of all, learning to breathe properly. Most people don’t realise breathing is a HUGE part of yoga. We can all breathe already, right? Mm, not necessarily. Not only will yoga make you more bendy, but all the deep breathing will make you feel calmer and lighter when you’re doing everything else in life, too.

Where do you start? There are so many YouTube tutorials that’ll teach you yoga basics. Give a few a go to see how you feel, then find your nearest class. Start with one especially for beginners, it might seem slow at first but it’ll teach you the basics so you can become a head-standing superstar in no time. Or if you’re interested in the big benefits of breathing, try Googling mindfulness meditation and give it a whirl. 

Hiking: get fit with the trees, the breeze and the bees

Ok, ok. We’re not trying to claim walking outside is bang on-trend now. But what will be big this year is talking walking outside seriously; not just strolling around a park. We’re talking hiking, the LA way. Not only does it get you moving and keep you fit, but there are all kinds of happy mind-improving benefits to being around nature that’ll make sure your body AND your mind are happy.

Where do you start? Put on a good pair of trainers with decent grip. Find a forest, a hill or big local park and walk around it, taking in the scenery while keeping your pace up. The key is not be overwhelmed by muddy trails or daunted by little hills – take on the challenges and keep going until you’re good and tired.

Boxing: find your inner warrior

If you don’t fancy the idea of calming yoga or a nice walk to get you fit, then opt for something with a bit more ‘oomph’ instead. Boxing is a great place to start, you’ll be able to vent some of your anger from the day and get all sweaty at the same time. It’s also a fun one to try out with friends and you might even end up going head-to-head. All’s fair in love and sport.

Where do you start? Watch some YouTube tutorials and we bet you’ll be addicted to the energy of boxing in no time. If you’re going to take it seriously, you’ll need to find a local class, or head to a gym near you to find out if they have lessons to try.

Water Workouts: it’s time to make a splash

Rowing! Canoeing! Paddle boarding! There’s so much more to workouts in the water than just the front crawl. A lot of water sports are great because you get a real sense of achievement when you travel from A to B. Row down that river! Canoe across the lake! You’ll feel like a badass action hero and you’re getting fit too.

Where do you start? Google local sports centres or clubs that’ll give you a taster session of paddle boarding and canoeing to see if you’ll like it. From there, you could rent out your own equipment, join a club or get a few friends together and meet up to splash around once every few weeks.

Group Workouts: get fit with your mates

Whether you’re boxing, doing the downward-facing dog or just hitting the treadmill, we all know working out is a tonne more fun if you’re not doing it alone. And 2017 is going to be the year that fitness stops being a boring chore you slog away at on your own.

Where do you start? Create a Facebook group for your mates to suggest group workouts. You could do the same thing every week or nominate someone each week to come up with what you could all do.

@BeccaCaddy

Image: Getty

When my mum and dad split up, it felt like there was a LOT for me to deal with. Where would I live? Where would I keep my things? Who would I see on weekends? What if I just wanted to hang out with my friends and forget about it all? Sure I knew it was tough for them… but it’s difficult not to get all me, me, me when stuff gets scary.

But, like everyone told me it would, a few months in and things started to feel more normal. I had a routine. Live with my mum, see my dad on Sundays. Keep all my things at my mum’s place, keep a few things at my dad’s. Feel ok to say “I don’t want to see either of you today” and go to the park or beach with friends instead. Simple. Who said this parents-getting-divorced-thingie was so hard..?!

But fast forward to a year later and my dad shook everything up again. He told me he was getting re-married. It hadn’t come as a huge surprise, he’d been seeing Linda for a few months as friends and I’d assumed they might be more. But it still didn’t seem quite right. The mixed feelings I had about it were confusing. Yes, I wanted him to be happy. But who was this new person? Did she really love him? What would our weekends together be like now? Would she get in the way? And what about Christmas? Would she be here at Christmas?

There were so many new challenges and questions to deal with, it felt like the worry and stress of the divorce all over again. But this time there was another person involved. A person I couldn’t help but feel I just didn’t like. A person who, let’s face it, was just getting in the way.

Whether your parents are separated, divorced or one of them has passed away, it can be really challenging when they start to go on dates, find a new boyfriend or girlfriend and, cringe, then even marry them further down the line. And you know what? It’s allowed to feel challenging. Or upsetting. Or just plain bloody weird. Yep, we said it. You don’t have to be happy and accepting of stuff all the time. Sometimes the best thing to do is say, “I feel sad about this”, own it, and then move on and figure out the best way to not feel sad anymore.

We spoke to some friends, experts and people who have dealt with a parent’s new partner in good (and bad) ways over the years to bring you some advice about how to deal with all the emotions, figure out how you really feel and then get over it so your mum or dad can be move on their lives with someone new — because as tough as that is to swallow, they want to be happy too. Just like you.

Talk about stuff (and then go ahead and talk some more)

Sarah told me that she was really wary about meeting her dad’s new partner when her mum passed away. She found it challenging, because it kept feeling like her mum was being replaced by someone new. In fact, when we spoke to a lot of people who’d lost a parent, they all said it felt like this when their mum or dad started dating again.

She got through it by talking really honestly with her dad. Telling him she was happy he had found someone, but the thought of forgetting her mum scared her.

“I made a point of sharing a lot,” she says. “It felt hard at first. Telling my dad when I felt scared or uncomfortable was really the key to us getting through it. I feel that if he’d just assumed I was okay, it would have felt like I was a bit trapped and couldn’t express myself.”

Of course, parents do somethings make mistakes too. And if there are any serious reasons (not just, like, their accent) for you to dislike their new partner, they’d want to know about it – which is another reason it’s important to keep talking.

Accept it feels sad and weird (especially when it gets really sad and weird)

We don’t want to get all doom and gloom, but sometimes it can all go really wrong. That’s because there are so many people involved when a new partner comes on the scene — and so many difficult, icky feelings to contend with.

I spoke to Alexa who told us that her mum had been struggling with her divorce, so quickly re-married. The problem? She hadn’t even told her new husband she had a daughter! Alexa says: “She asked me to meet Steve and I felt kinda excited about it — I just wanted my mum to be happy! It wasn’t until just before we were meant to meet she dropped the bombshell. She hadn’t told him about me. SHE HADN’T TOLD HIM ABOUT ME!”

“I’ve realised now my mum was just really sad and confused. She didn’t want to hurt anyone, but had really hurt me. I told her I felt angry, but we worked through things. It took some time, but we’ve learnt to trust each other a lot more now.”

Obviously this is quite an extreme case. But when things feel really bad, it’s important to take a deep breath. Accept that things feel bloody awful sometimes. Try not to get upset in the moment. And talk, talk, talk about how you’re feeling.

Think about what not liking someone might REALLY mean

It’s very easy to make quick judgements about who you do and don’t like. If you’re anything like me, you can decide someone is a bit annoying based on the way they wear their hair alone (I’m sorry, I’m only human).

I spoke to Dr Jane G. Goldberg, a psychoanalyst who recently published her eighth book called My Mother, My Daughter, Myself, and she told me sometimes it can be really good to think more when you say you don’t like someone:

“Actually, it’s probably more accurate that you don’t know whether you like him or her. It’s probably more true that you simply don’t like the role he or she is playing in your mother’s or your father’s life, and thus you don’t like the role that you are afraid he or she will be playing in your own life.”

When you think more about what “I don’t like them” means, it stops being this huge, annoying thing you can’t bear. Instead you can ask yourself what it is you don’t like. Like Jane says, you might find it’s not them you have a problem with at all – they, or the whole situation, just scare you a bit! 

Or maybe you do have a real problem, in which case it’s good to figure out what it is so you can talk about it properly.

Separate them from you, a little

We know, we know. You love your parents. You want them to be happy. They’re a huge part of your life and you’re a huge part of their life. But remember, you’re separate people. What you want right now isn’t what your mum or dad wants, and vice versa.

Molly Goldberg, daughter of Dr Jane G. Goldberg, shared some wisdom about what it was like when her mum found someone new:

“When your parent takes a partner that you don’t like, it’s important to remember it’s not your life, and if it were, you would hope that your friends and family would be supportive. Keep an open mind, be kind, be accepting, and be there for your parent regardless of the outcome of the relationship. What matters the most is your relationship with your parent, and you want to nourish it with lots of love.”

It can be hard to put your feelings aside. Especially when your mum or dad’s new partner drives you up the wall. But you know what? Maybe they’re really happy! Or maybe the relationship won’t last very long – either way, keeping your relationship with your mum or dad strong will only make things easier in the long run.

Feel your feelings! It’s ok to feel weird – like, REALLY weird

It’s important to put on a brave face when you’re meeting your parent’s new partner for the first time. But don’t worry if it feels weird — it’d probably be weird if it didn’t feel weird. Telling yourself you should feel certain things is only going to make you angry, resentful and a bit bitter, too.

For many of us that seems scary. We’re so used to ‘being good’ and ‘being brave’ that to feel angry or express sadness seems kinda, well, wrong. But Dr Goldberg thinks that getting all up close and personal with your feelings is really important. Just don’t let them run the show.

“I value feelings. I love feelings,” she says. “But I don’t make the mistake of thinking that they are facts. They are NOT facts. Feelings and emotions don’t define reality. They are not always accurate. They don’t always predict the future. In fact, feelings are usually fairly unreliable predictors of the future.”

“We can understand the nature of our feelings: that they are changeable … and that they are not meant to be held on to for too long.”

The dealing with icky new feelings checklist

1. It’s ok to feel weird, or sad or angry, or did we mention weird?

2. Talk about how you feel — even if the main thing you feel is really bloody scared.

3. Remember this is about your mum or dad, not you.

4. Try to avoid just saying “I don’t like him/her/them” and instead think about WHY.

5. You’re doing fine, promise. This is really tricky. But it won’t be forever.

@BeccaCaddy

Image: Manjit Thapp

We know there are loads of reasons why you might feel a little stressed. Whether you forgot your maths homework, your period started and made you feel really grumpy or you’ve woken up with a bunch of spots and have a party to go to at the weekend. Or all of them. At the same time. Sigh.

There’s that saying your nan comes out with sometimes: “When it rains, it pours.” Really does seem to be true sometimes, doesn’t it? And often that feeling that there’s just so much going on can make the best of us feel stressed out. Some people get snappy, some find their chest feels a bit tight and it’s difficult to breathe properly and others just feel really, really sad.

Well, unfortunately we can’t do your homework for you, stop your period from showing up or magically make your pimples disappear (we really wish we could too). But what we can do is share some of our top tips for dealing with things a little better when life gets OTT.

And it all starts with a technique called mindfulness.

You might have heard the word before, when people talk about meditating. But don’t worry. You don’t have to get out incense and a yoga mat and start chanting. There are way more doable (and not to mention way more fun) ways to help you chill the hell out.

What mindfulness means, simply, is that you pay close attention to what’s going on. Whether that’s thoughts, sounds or just what you’re doing. Sounds simple, right? Here are five ways to use mindfulness as a secret superpower to combat your stress:

1. Breathe. More. And deeply.

Sure, it sounds like silly advice to breathe more. Everyone breathes, right? But often when you’re feeling sad or like you have too much on your mind, you tend to either breathe too quickly or even hold your breath. You know what this does? It causes your body to freak out. It thinks something bad is happening and makes you feel light-headed, your palms sweat and everything feels way less manageable.

But we all have control over our breath. Even when it feels like we don’t.

A good place to start is breathing in for five seconds. Holding your breath for three seconds. Then breathing out for five seconds. It sounds so simple. But just by counting your breath you’re shifting focus from feeling sad to breathing deeply, so your body doesn’t go into panic mode. Let’s call it the 5-3-5 trick.

2. Get back to nature (or whatever’s outside)

You probably already know that taking a walk outside when you’re feeling stressed can help you. It takes you out of whatever irritating situation you’re in and gets you moving. But next time you go for a walk, really pay attention to what’s around you, as well as how your feet feel.

Yep, that sounds funny but if you can notice ten things about your walk and name them, like ‘rusty red leaves’ or ‘black cat’ you’ll find yourself focusing on that and not feeling as stressed. We’ll call this one… walking for 10. For 10 minutes. Finding 10 things. We bet that’ll be all it takes for you to get your thinking back on track.

3. Think with your feet

The same goes for how your feet feel. Ever thought about how your feet feel when you walk? [Bear with us…] Feeling the way they touch the ground. Paying attention to the heaviness of your feet and even counting your steps is a great practice in mindfulness too. Taking you out of your own head and doing something else with that awesome little brain of yours, rather than worry. Feel those heavy feet. Really, f e e l them.

4. Do something really, really slowly

You don’t need to space out to relax. Or to take a walk. Or even to breathe (although we recommend you always do keep breathing, please). You can just get on with your normal daily routine, but pick one or two things to really focus on.

Whether you’re making tea or eating a chocolate button, next time you do it don’t just do it automatically or in a daze. Take a deep breath and do it slowly. If you’re making tea, watch the water pour out carefully. Count how long it takes to pour it. If you’re holding a chocolate button, feel it in your hand first and even smell it. Try and notice ten things about what you’re doing instead of letting your mind race. Do things slow. Reeeeal slow.

5. Listen to your favourite song

Music can have such a powerful affect on us all. A jolly track can send us into a happy, bouncy state. But a sad song can make us feel a bit mopey and weepy. Whatever music you choose to listen to, we recommend being really mindful about it.

Put your favourite song on and pay attention to it. Simple. Think you already pay attention to it? Think again. Notice all of the lyrics, the beats, the rhythm, the different instruments. Imagine you’re in a music class and you need to pull out all of the different bits of the song. It’ll keep your mind nice and focused. Pull that song apart. 

Dance to it, if you fancy. Stress? What stress?

@BeccaCaddy

Image: Getty

Pink! Blue! Purple? Rainbow-coloured hair has been in and out of fashion since your parents were kids. But these days, thanks to the weird and wonderful selection of dyes, chalks and colourful shampoos at your local Boots and Superdrug, it can be as easy as spraying purple glitter into your hair or using a washed-out pink shampoo for a faded look.

Not only that, but formulas are kinder to your hair and really simple to use yourself (because who can afford expensive trips to the hairdresser every time you get bored?). And let’s not forget that all kinds of celebs and internet stars are fuelling us with so much rainbow-coloured hair inspo that it’s seriously hard to keep one shade for longer than a day or two before you change your mind.

Katy Perry

So to help you navigate the technicolour waters of the mermaid, unicorn or rainbow colour trend, we’ve collected together some simple how-to guides, our favourite products and top tips – not to mention some of our favourite swoon-worthy, candy-coloured hair shades out in the wild. 

Chalks, wash out or semi-permanent?

Girl with pink hair

Before you start dreaming about which shades of the rainbow you want in your hair, you need to remember that different hair reacts differently to different colours. So, if you have blonde or light brown hair, then pastel colours will show up and everything will look really bright. If you have dark brown, red or black hair, it’ll be harder to make colours show up, so glitter, neon colours and bold shades will suit you better.

The first step? Figuring out which product you want to use. We don’t mean whether you should go for candy-floss-pink or sexy-hot-pink – we’re talking about the consistency of what you’re using (is it a chalk? Cream?) and, most importantly, how long it’ll last.

Some hair colours wash out straight away (some even brush out). Others are added to shampoos and give your hair a sheen of colour. Some wash out after five or six showers. Others are semi-permanent and you might not get rid of them for over a month. And some colours are permanent, and might stick around till your hair grows out (although that’s most typical of more traditional colours, like dark brown or black).

The key to figuring all of this out is to read the instructions carefully. You know what? Once you’ve read them, read them again. Just to be sure. You need to look out for words like “semi-permanent”, “wash out” and even details about how many washes it’ll take. Even if it says five washes, plan ahead for seven or eight, just in case.

Tip: For most of us this is the really important bit. Many schools don’t allow unnatural hair colours, so you’ll need to time it well so you can add chalk to your hair on Friday so it’ll wash out by Sunday. Or pick a colour that lasts five or six washes for the school holidays.

Our favourite hair colour products

Gwen Stefani

Your head is probably spinning right now, isn’t it? You need to think about the amount of washes, whether the word “permanent” is anywhere near the hair dye and also, what the hell will your mum think of it?

But don’t worry, we’ve got this. Here are some of our favourite products that you can get from your local Boots or Superdrug.

Colour rinse

If you have blonde hair already and just want a really subtle hint of colour that you can barely see, then try the Bleach London Rose Shampoo from Boots. It’s £6 and you use it like a regular shampoo.

Rose shampoo

The bonus? After a few uses it’ll leave your hair with a dreamy, pink sheen.

Wash out hair colours

If you want a colour that’s noticeable but isn’t going to get you in trouble on Monday, there are a few different options. The Pixie Lott Hair Colour Chalks from Superdrug are so much fun. A full set comes with six different colours and you can draw on your hair and play around with them as much as you like. The best bit? They wash out. Just make sure you lather your shampoo up really well and wash twice if you need to. Pixie Lott hair chalk

There’s also a range of Superdrug Colour Hairspray, so if you’d rather not use crayons this gives you the best faded pink look instead – or bold, bright red that you can just spray directly onto your hair and then wash out when you’re done with it.

Pink hairspray

Tip: The lighter your hair is, the better colours will show up on it. If you’ve got blonde or light brown hair, lots of colours will look great. If you have darker hair, the results will only be subtle, unless you bleach it first (WHICH IS PERMANENT, BEWARE) or choose something really bright or glittery.

Lasts up to 10 washes

Green hair

If you want hair colour that won’t wash out straight away, maybe if you’re going on holiday or have some time off school, then try the Pixie Lott Wash Out Hair Colours or Colour Freedom Hair Colours instead. They come in a huge range of shades, from bright blues to punky pinks, and promise to wash out after around 10 washes. But make sure you give yourself 12 washes, just in case.

Colour freedom

The best thing about these dyes is they’ll fade over time, so you’ll be bang on trend around the fifth wash with a washed-out faded pastel look.

Tip: If you’re panicking that a colour won’t come out, go and buy some Head and Shoulders shampoo. It’s a bit stronger than regular shampoo, and often does a really good job at fading colour away much quicker.

Semi-permanent

If you’re feeling brave, the Cool Colours range from Bleach London (find it in Boots) is really popular among Instagram stars and hair lovers. They will fade over time and probably be all out of your hair in a few weeks, but they are officially semi-permanent so there’s a chance they’ll stick around much longer.

Tip: If you love a semi permanent shade but don’t want to commit for too long, try adding a bit of the colour to conditioner. This will make the colour less intense and give you a totally fash faded look, rather than a scary shade.

Things you’ll need

Demi Lovato

It’s time to go! But what will you need to make your hair dying experiment a success? Well, every product has different requirements, but our top tips are:

1. Make sure you’re in a space that you can wipe clean. No carpets!

2. Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit of dye on. Most wash off, but it’s not guaranteed.

3. Find some clips, hair bands and bobby pins so you can section your hair and do an even job.

4. Have your phone or a watch with you so you can keep an eye on the time.

Our favourite hair inspo

Nicki Minaj

So you’ve got the right products, you know which products to get, you’ve got a space to splash dye and rub chalk around in. So here’s some inspiration to get you started:

If you want to try hair chalks…

Also this Pixie Lott Hair Chalks tutorial, or Fail or Holy Grail? DIY Hair Chalk

…and what about hairsprays?

There’s also this useful guide to How to Colour Hair Dye Without Bleaching, and this Review of Superdrug Instant Colour Hairspray.

Or if you like the look of Bleach London products, take a look at these…

We also love Pink Dip Dye on Dark Blonde Hair and this more subtle trial of Bleach London Home Hair Colours.

So there you go  – everything you need to nail the DIY dye! And remember, always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn (for 8-10 washes).

@BeccaCaddy