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Lost your fitness mojo? Get it back and embrace movement to age well

“The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do.  If you don’t move your body, your body will make you better at not moving.  If you move, your body will allow you more movement”

Ido Portal

I love this quote.  It sums up a fundamental reason why we should be moving our bodies.  To protect our bodies from disease and keep them strong and functional so we can be as fit and healthy for as long as possible. 

It would be wonderful if we had all been active since childhood, balancing out a good mix of CV, strength and flexibility exercise.   This is unrealistic. 

For so many of us exercise isn’t a continuous part of our lives.  Sometimes we may be motivated to move and throw ourselves into an exercise program (think January NY resolution time).  Sometimes we have no motivation and don’t move for months. 

This is all perfectly normal.  The key things to remember are, it’s never too late to start or restart and that even the smallest amount of movement will have a positive impact. 

It is difficult to get back into the swing of moving though, so if you’re inactive, there are some things you can do get moving again.  Don’t beat yourself up about it. It won’t help and just fuels any negative connections with exercise.

Here are my five top tips for injecting movement into your life:

1 – Focus on your intrinsic reason for exercise

How does it make you feel? Does it boost your mood? Give you more energy? Help you focus? This is proven to be more motivating and help build consistent exercise into your life than a long term goal such as weight loss or good health. If you want more energy for the day ahead, grab those running shoes and get outdoors.

2 – Find a friend – create sociable exercise

Combine a social experience with exercise! It’s much more enjoyable and keeps you accountable. It’s a win win. If you’re meeting a friend for a coffee make it a takeaway and go for a walk instead.  

3 – Find movement you enjoy

If you don’t like the gym don’t go, find an alternative.  What do you enjoy, use that as your start point.  If you want to be outdoors try running, an outdoor fitness class or even join a sports team.

4 – Reframe exercise

Any movement is exercise it doesn’t have to be formal ‘exercise’

Walking is a great place to start and being as active as possible in your daily life. You’ll have heard it before, but small things like taking the stairs instead of the lift all adds up to have a positive impact on your health. Try and fit movement into your everyday life. If you’re stuck at your desk all day why not take a movement break every hour? Stretch, grab a coffee and re charge.

5 – Start with one step forwards and build on it. It’s so important to have a realistic goal, don’t set yourself up for failure. 

Say to yourself ‘This week I will go for one walk or jog’ and build from there! Next week add a yoga class or a family game of badminton.

Creating or rediscovering your fitness mojo.

Pick one of these things and take action NOW.  Pick up a phone and arrange to meet a friend for a walk or set a timer on your phone to get up from your desk for a movement snack every 90 minutes.

Remember the quote above.  Envision a future where you are older but active, mobile and strong.  Where you can be independent, physically active and run after your grandchildren. It really is never too late to start.  Remember, every little really does help. 

Carole Dowling

Carole Dowling is the Founder of The Enjoy Movement a personal training and fitness business in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.  Carole has 10+ years’ experience of working with women, breaking down barriers to exercise that have been created over lifetimes.  Her mission is to positively encourage everyone, particularly ‘exercise haters’ to enjoy and embrace moving their bodies for life and to celebrate all the wonderful physical and mental benefits that brings.   

www.theenjoymovement.co.uk

insta – @the_enjoy_movement

facebook – The Enjoy Movement 

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Variety is the spice of life

Variety is the spice of life

… and movement and exercise

Ideally we should incorporate the 4 following aspects into our fitness routine:

  • Cardio/Aerobic (e.g., walking, jogging, running, dancing)
  • Strength/Resistance (e.g., resistance machines, kettle bell, pilates, weightlifting, yoga)
  • Flexibility/Stretching (e.g., yoga, pilates, matwork, stretches)
  • Balance (e.g., yoga, tai chi, qi gong, bosu ball, dancing)

Remember that fitness and health are not just defined by a high heart rate from cardio.  Strength and resistance training keeps our bones and muscles strong as we age.   Stretching keeps our joints moving as well as our muscles. And balance is important as we age to help prevent falls and injury.

So yes, do activities you like to do but try to do different things to incorporate these 4 elements.

 

 

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Vacuuming lunges and toothbrush squats

Informal exercises you can do

Vacuuming lunges and toothbrush squats

Some time ago Dr. Michael Mosley did a television programme called “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor”.  One episode showed a group of people doing a variety of exercises at home with household objects.  I found the before and after results amazing.

Have a look and see if there are not some exercises here that you can incorporate into your daily routine.  It all helps.

(They also offer a downloadable guide).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1wBY4y9KMwy02YjVSMhTfBt/can-i-get-stronger-without-going-to-the-gym

 

 

 

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What exercise?

What exercise?

Pick something you like to do

Aim to get some movement into your daily life – and that doesn’t have to mean going to a gym and running on a treadmill.  A dance class, walking the dog, gardening, or even cleaning house can count toward your daily movement.

Anything that you like to do that can get your heart rate up and that you can do consistently.

 

matt-aunger-dog_walk

 

 

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Living an Active Lifestyle

Living an Active Lifestyle

The Power of Movement

You can make big improvements to your health and energy levels by making small and deliberate healthy lifestyle choices that involve moving more every day. Many people feel daunted by the thought of changing their lives and starting a new routine to be more active, but there are only a few key tips to remember to be successful:

Emphasize fun.

What is something you love? Make the things you love part of your activity plan.

Attach activity to regular habits.

Whether it’s going to work, cooking dinner, getting the mail, or brushing your teeth, any habit can be an opportunity to move. Try doing a one-minute wall-sit every time you brush your teeth; or practice dance steps while cooking dinner; or lift your bag over your head every time you go into your house.

Involve others.

Swap sitting at the coffeeshop for walks, and go around the block while catching up with a friend.

Add Audio.

Having pleasant audio input can make exercise more fun and rewarding.

Be inventive.

Rather than thinking of movement as calisthenics or a workout, challenge yourself to be inventive with your active living. Do an extra lap around the supermarket. Stand while watching a television show, instead of sitting.

Be forgiving.

If you have a sedentary day, let it go. Don’t overwork the next day or punish yourself—just try to be active every day! Encourage yourself the way you would encourage your best friend. It is about progress, not perfection.

Track your progress.

Consider using a pedometer app on your phone or purchasing a simple pedometer and have fun with it. Striving for 10,000 steps a day is recommended. However, some is better than none. See how it goes.

(The Institute for Functional Medicine)

 

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Whatever Moves You

Whatever Moves You

Sport Relief Week 2018 – 17-23 March

The idea of Sport Relief Week is that you do some kind of physical or sporting activity to raise money for the Comic Relief charity.  Their motto this year “Whatever Moves You”. 

This is excellent advice because you don’t have to run a marathon to get the benefits of exercise (or to raise money for charity for that matter). Especially since the new catch phrase these days seems to be “Sitting is the new smoking”.  We need to incorporate some kind of physical activity into our daily lives.

Daily movement reduces the risk of many health conditions— protect your health! If you already have a condition, movement reduces the symptoms. Research shows that movement helps with conditions across a broad range:

  • Many forms of cancer
  • Depression, stress, and anxiety
  • Cardiometabolic diseases including prediabetes, diabetes, hypertension, stroke
  • Musculoskeletal health, including osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis

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