Exercise isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Some would like it to be and are either daunted by the challenge ahead or have no idea where to start. Still, others have health conditions that limit the range of activities they can perform.
All you need is the right mindset
But health professionals agree. Exercise is good for your mind, body and soul. It doesn’t have to mean pounding the pavement for hours on end, nor does it need flashy equipment, simply a willingness to try something new.
The great news about exercise is, even a little bit is better than none. If you are surrounded by gym bunnies or triathletes, it may seem that a small amount of exercise isn’t worth it, but it absolutely is.
Start off slow
If a 30-minute walk seems the equivalent to reaching base camp on Mt Everest, then break it up into smaller portions. As a personal trainer, I once had a client who had been reliant on blood pressure medication and largely housebound for years. She lived on a farm with a fairly long driveway and the first goal we set for her was to walk to the end of the driveway to collect the mail in the morning, and again in the afternoon to retrieve and circulars that may have been delivered throughout the day.
Initially, this took me going with her, encouraging, cajoling and sometimes even bullying a little bit! Gradually, she went on her afternoon trip to the mailbox alone, then progressed to adding trips throughout the day. After six weeks, she was excited about setting a new goal, and we set off on slightly longer expeditions around the property.
It only took a couple of months to notice a real difference in her weight and overall health, so much so that she was able to reduce, and eventually stop taking the blood pressure medication. Her sense of self-worth increased, she became more interested in the outside world, and while she may never want to run or see the inside of a gym, she loves the freedom being more active affords her.
Choose an exercise which suits your body and interests
Similarly, if you suffer from arthritis or chronic pain, you may find that water walking in a warm pool, or aqua jogging is a great way to meet people and exercise in an environment that helps support your joints and relieve pain.
Gardening is a wonderful form of exercise – you need to be moving up down and all around, and digging or weeding is an ideal way to work up a sweat while getting a job done.
Use the equipment you have available to you. If you have stairs in your home, deliberately move things around so that you need to be up and down the stairs regularly. If you have a spare five minutes, spend it walking up and down the stairs – you’ll be amazed at how energised you feel afterwards.
Hiring a stationary bike is an excellent way to get extra exercise – you can roll it near to a television and pedal away during the news, or read a book, while you give your body some much-needed activity.
Better still, take up a dance class or beginners yoga class, where you have the opportunity to meet new people to share your new interest.
Make an excuse to walk to your local dairy or cafe every day – just don’t overdo the treats once you get there!
Aim for 30 minutes 3 times a week
Aim for 30 minutes activity, three times per week, broken up into 10-minute blocks. Start today and track your progress. Evaluate how you feel after 30 days. Odds are you will have more energy, a better outlook on life and probably looser clothing!