How to Get Active - taking the hard work out of putting your best foot forward!
Updated: Feb 25
With the advent of a significant birthday, a new year, or a health scare of some kind, many people turn their focus to self-care; losing weight, working fewer hours, becoming a bit more active. The benefits of exercise in particular are going through a massive boost in the media owing to Covid 19, as research continues to demonstrate that the overweight and unfit are more likely to be at risk to a more serious dose of the virus. As I frequently can be heard telling those who have a moment to listen - starting to exercise either for the first time or after a long period of absence, no matter what your age, may be one of the best decisions you ever make.
However, the mere thought of getting going may very well leave you feeling overwhelmed by the wide variety of options available to get you moving. Alternatively you may be feeling terrified at the prospect of putting on some awkward fitting Lycra, or an old pair of trainers and venturing out onto the street or into your local park to do…. Something..anything. Just what exactly?
Below are some points to make that start a “little easier”, especially if you haven’t been active for quite some time. Additionally there is advice on how to get started safely, without risking injury at your first attempt. After all, the most important thing in your first few sessions is to make sure that you enjoy whatever you do and make sure you come back and give it another go! Equally it is important to make sure that what you do is effective; but in the first instance simply getting moving is better than sitting still and contemplating the enormity of the task.
1) Not been active at all in a while? Go for a Walk! I don’t mean a stroll with a partner, I mean put on some sporty clothes, a decent pair of walking shoes or trainers, decide how long to walk for (easier to stick to than choosing a distance), choose a route you know and one that has something interesting to look at along the way. Then simply stride out! Measure your attempt – how far did I walk, how many steps did I take in the time allowed. (Do this with an App such as MapMyFitnesss). Need some motivation to keep you going then listen to some upbeat music or a talking book. Have a clear plan on where you are going, before you leave the house and stick to it! Aim for a minimum of 20 minutes and write down what you achieve when you get home. You could also join a Walking for Health group and make it a social occasion. Follow this link to learn more: https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/
2) Thinking about Jogging? Running gets a lot of bad press these days, wrongly so. The reality is that it is one of the easiest ways for some of you to elevate your heart rate, stress your leg muscles in a positive way, challenge the mind and if you looking to lose weight, burn calories. However, if you are someone with little or no fitness, jogging (and this is what you should be thinking about for the initial 6 months, not running) can be very stressful. In which case simply combine the Jogging with intervals of Running. This is exactly how popular programmes like the BBCs Couch to 5k 9 Week Challenge App work so download their App and follow that! (Click on the Link Below) Be prepared to repeat weeks if you are starting out for the first time.
And ideally, think about adding a strength and mobility plan alongside it, to ensure you don’t pick up an injury once you get into jogging in a big way!
3) Join a Group Class. A class of people can be really motivating and sociable. There is also the benefit of having an instructor there to provide clear structure, accountability, and also variety as no two classes should be the seem; plus hopefully you will do things that you have never done before. Search your local authority websites for what they have to offer, or turn to Google.
4) Think about a variety of activities. Consider fitness as consisting of the following components: mental strength, cardiovascular “heart” and “lung” health, flexibility / stability / balance training, and strength AKA resistance training; choosing a couple of different activities will help to challenge both your brain and your body but in different ways. So for example a combination of tennis and pilates can achieve all 4 of the key fitness components. Clearly either one of those might be a step too far if you have never exercised before, so how about marching round your local community football pitch combined with following along with Jo Wicks in the morning. Equally though, just one personal training session could achieve all four in just one go!
Ultimately, if you have been thinking for too long that you need to get active, remember that something is always better than nothing. If lack of time if always your excuse, then consider breaking down exercise into smaller more manageable chunks of time: just 4 to 5 minutes of exercise, twice in a day is better than no exercise at all!
If you need advice on how to get started on your own, or are considering joining a group or friends or signing up for some personal training sessions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I am more than happy to spend some time talking through how it all works, and what exercise would best suit you and your lifestyle, FOC. Drop me an email or WhatsApp and I’ll come back to you ASAP.
Enjoy the Journey and Let me Know How You Get On!