Well what a winter we’ve had! It’s been so cold and grey and miserable that I was beginning to think it would never end!
Luckily the blue skies have finally broken through and it feels like spring really is here. The warmer weather is a wonderful motivator, especially when it comes to exercise, so I hope that you’ll reap the benefits of this blog and use it to kick start, or shore up your exercise routine.
Now we all know that exercise is good for us for a million different reasons: it can stave off depression, keep our joints supple, keep our metabolisms moving and give us more confidence in our bodies, but how many of you have a love/hate relationship with fitness?
I certainly did when I was younger.
With young children to look after, and unwanted weight sapping my confidence I found that even the thought of going to the gym was enough to have me reaching for the biccies!
My life changed however, in my late 30s. Those who’ve read my book will know that this is when I made the decision to turn my life around and, once I’d adjusted my mindset and my eating habits, I set about finding the right kind of exercise for me. The thought of being seen in the gym still filled me with dread so I took up running.
Well, actually, I started with a run / walk worked my way up to non stop running! It was free, flexible exercise that I could fit around my other commitments and I found that the fresh air and sense of freedom made me feel amazing. To this day I love any opportunity to get outside, whether it’s going for a run or simply walking the dog.
I would recommend walking to anybody as a fantastic form of gentle cardio, but especially to those with mental health issues – being out in the fresh air is known to promote the production of happy chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and those all-important endorphins.
Of course I know that when it comes to running we have a bit of a marmite situation – you either love it or you hate it! So here’s my suggestion to you:
The main reason exercise programs fail is that we’re forcing ourselves to do something we hate. Yes some people thrive in a gym environment, but many hate it and if you’re one of those people then don’t waste your time making yourself miserable. Try a dance class, a martial art, yoga, team sports, skipping,…honestly, the list is endless and more varied than you could ever imagine.
Do some research online, ask your friends what they enjoy, and think back to what you used to love to do as a kid. I firmly believe that there is an exercise to suit everyone.
Did you love playing pirates as a kid? Then what about a fencing or re-enactment club? Do you envy the beautiful ballerinas you see on TV? Well look around, you’ll find classes that cater to every age, size and fitness level.
Above all don’t be embarrassed.
So much of my 20s was spent worrying about what people thought of me, but when I got to my late 30s I realised that it truly didn’t matter as long as I was having fun.
I have a friend who took up roller skating at age 40, having been too scared to try it as a kid. She now gleefully careens down public pathways in her bright blue helmet with a cry of ‘make way, midlife crisis coming through!’ without a thought for what she looks like!
Exercise isn’t something we should force. It isn’t something to be feared or dreaded; it’s a wonderful excuse to embrace our inner child and celebrate all that our bodies can do.