This week, talkhealth will be joining thousands all across the UK in supporting National Fitness Day 2017. Wednesday 27th September will see people all across the country shoving on their running shoes or slipping on their swimming costumes to have fun and get fit while they’re at it.
For those of us however who have not caught the fitness bug (I for one will never see the harsh light of 5am in order to get a quick jog in before work), the prospect that exercise can be fun and something to celebrate is enough to make you choke on your morning vanilla latte and almond croissant. We are all aware of the importance of fitness; it betters our health, gives us energy and improves our mental well-being, all of which are crucial to help towards a long, happy and healthy life.
To ensure those of you that are fearful of fitness can get involved in this year’s National Fitness Day we have gathered our 5 top tips to make you find exercise fun (or at least hate it a little bit less!):
1) Find exercise that suits you that you don’t dread: Don’t enjoy running? Don’t do it! Can’t lift weights? Don’t do it! For many people who say they don’t like exercise, it more often than not translates that they don’t enjoy the particular forms of exercise they have done in the past. Exercise is not limited to sweating it out on the treadmill. Join a dance class (there could be a Strictly Come Dancing champ in you after all), buy some roller-skates (an 80’s throwback could be just what you need), organise a family sports day or a Wii fit championship with your kids (I’ll take an egg and spoon race over spinning any day), or if your more Clubland than health club try a daylight rave exercise class (nothing goes better with your morning workout than UV sticks). Exercise doesn’t have to be serious business, as long as you’re moving about getting a sweat on you’re going in the right direction.
2) Set realistic goals: we’ve all been there on January 1st where we set ourselves the task of ‘New Year, New Me’, and we’ve all ALSO been there on February 1st when gym 3 times a week has turned into 3 times a month, and hearing the monthly charge of £35 for gym membership on your bank statement laughing in your face. We can’t expect to get up one day and miraculously change our lifestyle; it needs to be taken one step at a time. Rather than paying for an annual gym membership, book yourself onto 1 exercise class a week and build it up from there. Rather than signing up to run a marathon when you’ve never run further than the corner shop, sign up for a 5k park run. Pick the healthier option of a chicken salad wrap at lunch so you can start to see some real differences in your body (sadly the road to fitness is not paved with kit-kats and walkers crisps). Take small steps to achieving a big goal, hitting all those little targets will give you the boost you need to continue onto the achievements you never thought were possible.
3) Fit it into your day to day life: if you know you’re basically dead to the world by 6pm, don’t sign up for that 8pm Zumba class. If you live in the middle of nowhere and your gym is a 30 minute drive out of your way, don’t sign up for a £50 a month gym membership. The more barriers in your way when it comes to exercise, the more opportunities you have to say, ‘oh stuff it, I’ll start again Monday’. If you’re an early riser with a nice country trail near your house, build a morning jog into your day rather than sitting around watching the telly. If you pass your local community centre on the way home from work, sign up to some classes there after work. The easier it is for you to do it, the more you’ll do it.
4) You don’t have to go it alone: whether it’s going to a dance class with your sister in law or trying out a hilarious salsa-cise DVD at home with your partner, make exercise a group activity. If you’re struggling with motivation and want to pack up and go home, having someone there who can spur you on and share in the pain and hilarity with you will mean you carry on for that extra 10 minutes, or 20 minutes, when all you want to do is pack up and go watch MasterChef. BUT if there are times when even your fitness pal can’t give you the energy you need…
5) Cut yourself some slack: when busy schedules and kid’s parties all get a bit too much, let yourself have a day off. One bad day doesn’t spoil a week; one bad week doesn’t spoil a month. Some days you will be more motivated than others, and that’s okay. The important thing is to make sure you don’t give up altogether. If you can only find time for a quick 10 minute jog, that’s fine. Get up and get out, the more it’s built into your lifestyle, it will become second nature to you.
This Wednesday, whether it’s a short walk with the dog, a Pilates class, or a boot camp session, get moving and take a step towards being a lighter and happier you. Your future self will thank you for it!