Exercise… most of us realise that we have to do some. In this article I’m not going to preach to you, or tell YOU why you have to keep active, but rather inspire you to become a healthier version of yourself. I want to define what exercising is, explain how people of all ages and fitness levels can get started and explore ways of incorporating it into your already busy lifestyles.
Let’s get this bit out of the way first: If you are over 40 or you have not exercised regularly for a period of time, check with your health care professional before you commence.
Exercise is a routine that is part of your lifestyle, which raises the heart rate, incorporates functional movement and resistance to allow you to perform daily activities without exhaustion or discomfort.
Why should you keep active (other than the much spoken about and written about health benefits)? Think about how you feel physically now and what it may be hindering you from enjoying. Is it a struggle to keep up with the kids? Maybe you can’t enjoy all of the experiences you want to when you are on holiday. Perhaps your relationship with your partner or friends is affected because they are more physically active and you can’t enjoy all the same activities as them. It may even be effecting your performance at work because you are always tired. You might just be sick and tired of being sick and tired? If you're honest with yourself, do you feel healthy?
Now, I want you to sit in a quiet place and visualise what your life would be like if you could do the things you want to because you're up to the physical challenge. Think about how you will feel, the places you will go, the experiences you will have, how the people in your life will react. This is YOUR WHY.
Next is how often and what? How often is simple: daily. I know right now you might be saying to yourself, “I don’t have time”, but your WHY needs to be bigger than your excuses. The key is to make it part of your lifestyle.
So, what type of exercise should you be doing? This is a big topic just on it’s own and there is more than enough resources available for you to choose what’s right for you. In general, raise your heart rate, move as many joints as possible, sweat, lift heavy stuff (resistance or weight training) and enjoy it. Variety will keep it interesting, so mix it up and your fitness will improve faster and will translate to helping you in everyday life.
Yes, 30 minutes a day is great, so aim for this at a minimum. You will find that once your fitness improves that you will have more energy and require less sleep. Your overall wellbeing will skyrocket. Why not get up 30 minutes earlier? I get it, stuff gets in the way sometimes and 30 minutes or more might not be possible. Don’t beat yourself up if you take a day off every now and then. Another alternative is a 20 minute session in an infrared sauna at 55 degrees celsius. This will raise your heart rate providing a gentle cardiovascular workout without using the muscles. An infrared sauna is also a great way to warm up before getting stuck into a workout. I am also a fan of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). This is when you work really hard for a short period of time, say 30sec to a minute then have a short rest and repeat 3- 7 times. A version of this is called “Tabata” 4 minutes, 20 seconds on 10 seconds rest 8 rounds.
Regardless of your age and your history I believe that you find a form of exercise that you enjoy and that your body and mind will benefit from. Ultimately, it’s about living life to the fullest and not taking it for granted. So, find out your WHY and get started!
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