Small changes can effect big change

Most of you is great – it’s what your friends and family love. However, for many people there is a small change that would make a big difference in their lives shares Tom O’Herlihy, Leisure Club Manager at the Clonakilty Park Hotel. And small changes have surprisingly big effects.

The three main things we hear in the Leisure Centre are: ‘I’m heavier than I’d like to be’; ’I’m not fit enough’; ’I can’t really swim or swim well enough.’

One stone overweight is cutting out two biscuits per day for a year. The theory is fine, but can you wait a year? 

And are you sure it’s just the biscuits? Being overweight is caused by lots of things; genes, lifestyle, comfort eating, shift-work, Christmas. However it is caused, it comes down to eating more than we need for the work we do.  Eating less though, is not easy. There are thousands of diets and most do work if you can stick to them.

Getting fit is very specific – fit for running, hillwalking, swimming or chasing toddlers? You can be very fit at one thing and completely unfit at another. Decide what you want or even if you care.

Swimming is hard. There is a skill bit and a fitness bit and you have to work on both. A lot of people tell us they can do a few strokes or a length but no more. Usually, these people need to work on both by making just one small change in their technique and practising 10 strokes or maybe a length extra each day.

So what could you do?  Pick one option from the list below. Or one from each section if you want!


• Have a big, protein breakfast, – stops you eating junk during the morning.

• Stay hungry for 30-60 minutes before you eat – helps you learn when you are really hungry and not eating for comfort or from boredom

• Stop eating for seven minutes in the middle of each meal – helps you learn how much you really need. Half way through is often enough – you don’t need to clear the plate. The guy who made the plate had no idea how hungry you are!


• Walk 800 steps each day, same time, outside. This builds routine, pumps blood around your body, to your brain as well as the exercising muscles and is great for your core/posture – and you can progress it if you want.

• Press-ups every morning straight out of bed. Start with what you can do, increase by one every three days. (Or burpees? Once you get the blood flow going you will cheer up, think faster and feel stronger)

• If you are a runner, run 500 metres extra every day or the same distance in 30 seconds less every day.


• Swim 10 strokes extra each day (20 extra if you’re in the sea)

• Slow your stroke and try to cover more distance with each stroke, (longer strokes, pushing more water back)

• Swim as many strokes as you can in front crawl/freestyle, then recover in breaststroke or back stroke, and keep alternating. If you’re in the pool, you can recover by walking back down the deck then go again.

All of these are small changes. None should require you to make drastic lifestyle or timetable changes. But, if you do them every day for even a month, you will see and feel positive change. After the month, you can decide whether to keep it on or change it up.

Go on, give it a try! It’s only a month.

WCP Staff

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