As many of us moved to a more sedentary lifestyle during the pandemic and working from home, we should now ask ourselves if we are getting enough exercise to remain fit and healthy. Working from home meant that we were no longer walking to and from the railway station or to the shops to get our lunch. We sat at our desks for most of the day and maybe didn’t even go out for a walk. Gyms and swimming pools were closed so it took a lot of will power to start exercising on your own after following a structured schedule. Online classes started to appear, but these were not to everyone’s liking.
Now that life is back to normal, you must ask yourself if you are doing enough exercise to stay fit and healthy. The NHS recommends that we do some form of physical activity every day. Even doing something once or twice a week can help reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke. The recommendation from the NHS is to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of higher intensity exercise per week. Bear in mind that moderate and high intensity varies from individual to individual depending on their current fitness and training status. If you can’t hold a conversation whilst exercising this would be seen as high intensity. The NHS also says that you should also do strength exercises on the major muscle groups a couple of times per week. “use it or lose it” as the saying goes!
We can always find reasons not to exercise: not enough time due to work or family commitments; too tired – usually due to the first reason; financial pressures, especially now with rocketing energy prices and inflation. So, how do we overcome these obstacles? The answers may seem a little glib, but please indulge me for a moment.
Time is our most precious gift so we should use it wisely. Wake up 20-30 minutes earlier and go for a walk, jog, or run. Remember that not every session or exercise has to be 100% effort. Movement is movement, and walking is better for your health than doing nothing. Sleep is important for both our physical and mental health so you may need to go to bed half an hour earlier. You can also find a workout to do whilst watching your favourite TV programme. There are plenty of workouts on YouTube – some good, some not so good. Write down the exercises you are going to do and use your phone to time the activity and rest periods. Why not squat while you are cleaning your teeth in the morning and at night? It beats sitting on the side of the bath thinking about work! Over time you will find that you have more energy and mental clarity.
Financial pressures have always been there but are worse now than they have ever been. Rising energy costs have not only affected our domestic energy bills but have also contributed to the increase in food prices in local shops and supermarkets. As a result, you might now be thinking about making some financial sacrifices and your gym membership is likely to be near the top of the list. Is there another gym in the area that offers the same services at a lower price? If you have been using the gym for classes for years, can you remember the routines and do them on your own or buddy up with a friend and use a local park or greenspace? Have you thought about finding an app that has free workouts? “Our Parks” also has free bootcamp sessions in most greater London areas.
If you just want to get fit, with no specific goals in mind, there are plenty of local bootcamp sessions and exercise classes in the area, some of which do not require long term subscription commitments. If you have more specific goals, it might be worth working with a Personal Trainer who can tailor a programme to suit your needs. No matter what your goal, just keep moving!