Last month I shared my passion for promoting well-balanced diets and positive attitudes towards our food and the fuel we take on board to power us through our working day. Our relationship with the food we eat can have a drastic effect on our ability to perform to the best of our abilities in the workplace. However, when combined with even a light dose of physical activity and enjoyable exercise, this effect becomes abundantly positive.
Now, we all know we are supposed to be getting our weekly exercise don’t we. It’s recommended we do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. This is easier said than done though. If we are spending the majority of our day at work, finding the energy to exercise before or after becomes something of an irritating angel on our shoulder crying out for attention when all we want to do is put our feet up for a box-set binge. However, although those figures are the recommended levels of activity we should be doing, any physical activity is better than none, and we have to start somewhere.
It’s all about breaking the cycle. Exercise, whilst requires energy to do, boosts your energy levels further. Feeling lazy and just want to curl up for a nap? Find that strength to get up and do some physical activity. You’ll be amazed at how awake you feel afterwards. It can somewhat feel like we are stuck in a catch-22 situation when we don’t have the energy to do it in the first place, but if that cycle can be broken, then a whole world of benefits opens up for us both personally and professionally; and it’s all thanks to those endorphins. Mentally, we feel more energized and ready to tackle the world after a good workout because endorphins have boosted our physical energy level. So, need a way to banish those sluggish feelings before starting work? Then set that alarm a little earlier and do a mini workout in your front room!
And right now, it’s safe to say everybody’s front room has become something of a mini gym. With gyms and health clubs closed during the pandemic, people have sought a different way to get their fix of exercise. Taking part in online video classes, a movement that has taken place in the last couple of weeks, has seen the UK feel the benefits of physical activity from wherever they are. Not only has it enabled us to burn those calories if we are stuck in the house all day, but it has given us a positive focus and mental boost to try something new, see results and be part of something outside of our bubble. Being at home all day every day can take its toll on our mental and physical health, and even just 10 minutes of yoga or a 20 minute HIIT session in the front room can trigger those endorphins, get that blood flowing, the sweat dripping and that feel-good factor we all need right now.
But, whether you have become a fitness-fix-fanatic over the last couple of months, or you’re sceptical about trying something new, how can you be sure it’s sustainable once the ‘new-normal’ of life resumes? It’s all about finding something you really love. There are so many different classes, exercises and sports you can try, so it’s just about finding the right one for you. You don’t want your daily or weekly exercise to become a chore, you want it to becomes a hobby you carve time out of your day for. If you love something enough, you will find the time to do it. Love dancing? Try Zumba! Want to work up a sweat? Try high intensity interval training. Want to boost your strength and flexibility? Try Pilates. Want to get out of the house? Then try the ‘Couch to 5K’ which will give you all the training schedules and advice you need to run your first 5k from no previous running experience. All of these things need not take up a whole chunk of your day, and the benefits they will have on your physical and mental health will make every second worth it.
When you’ve started your day with a workout, you’ll be refreshed, energised, your mood will be boosted, your mind will be refreshed, and you can finish your day knowing your daily workout has already been done! It really is a positive step towards greater mental health, as well as the obvious physical benefits such as burning calories, improving musculoskeletal health, weight loss and posture improvements. All of which provide great benefits to life both professionally and personally.
You can even turn it into a more sociable part of your life too by jogging with friends or taking part in challenges together. Who can do the most steps in a week? Who can perfect that tricky yoga pose with ease? If running is your thing, you could download the FREE fitness app Strava too. This way you can track your mileage, break your own records and the records of others and share with friends and family your goals and achievements.
So, what will your new fitness passion be? Find something you love, and you’ll be guaranteed to make time to do it.