Exercise: you can love it or hate it but you cannot deny it has endless health benefits, both physically and mentally. Regular exercise has been link to a reduced risk of disease, better mood and overall body composition. The one thing we all must try and do when it comes to exercise is to find something we enjoy and can keep up for a long period of time. Just because your colleague runs 5km every morning does not mean it’s something you will enjoy and be able to keep doing. Walking, dancing, cleaning, skipping, playing sports, lifting weights.. the list of possible exercises is endless. Maybe you’re a water baby and love swimming or water aerobics! Go for it. Find what you and make it a habit.
Setting goals is important when it comes to fitness as it can help to motivate and reward you. Make sure your goals are measurable and relative to you and your fitness level. For example, if your aim was to run 5km by Christmas you wouldn’t go out right away and pound the pavement. Break it down into achievable steps each week. A journal is a great way to do this and make sure you acknowledge your achievements. Even if you went a quick 5 minute walk at lunchtime or walked to another bus stop to make your commute a bit longer make sure you say ‘well done me!’
Exercise with a friend or family member. When someone else is involved it can make things much less daunting, make time go faster and can motivate you greatly. Pick one or days per week and book a ‘fitness date’ with a friend. Promise each other not to bail and you’ll be much more likely to keep it up for longer.
Don’t put pressure on yourself! Simply moving more is an amazing way to boost your physical and mental health. Try not to compare yourself to others online, it’s not helpful! They are not the same person as you and do not have the same goals or lifestyle.
Simple tips to move more during the day:
Go for a walk at lunch – even for 5 minutes!
Get off one or two stops earlier if you take public transport to work.
Walk to work if possible or walk part of the way.
Integrate walking meetings into your work schedule. You’ll find you and your team are more creative with this too!
Get up 10 minutes earlier and do some stretching, yoga or a short walk in the morning. It will help to wake you up and you’ll feel better before seizing the day!
Turn coffee and lunch dates into coffee/lunch & exercise dates. Or take that coffee to go and chat and walk instead of sitting down.
Bottom line: move a little more and find what works for YOU!!
Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.