I’ll start off by saying, I’ve always hated exercise.
The very thought of venturing outside into the freezing cold abyss for a run instead of settling down with a nice cup of tea in the evening gives me flashbacks to my school days.
PE classes were the bane of my life – we had to run laps around the never-ending playing field in the mud!
But it’s constantly drilled into us that exercise is a good thing, it keeps us fit and healthy. And doctors advise adults to try to take part in at least 150 minutes of moderate excise a week as well as strength building activities two days a week.
Before last year, my idea of strenuous exercise was speed-walking to my car when I was running late for work (most mornings), ladled down with my idea of weights; a constantly heavy handbag on one arm and a laptop bag on the other, juggling my coffee-to-go, which is quite heavy when its a large latte filled to the brim.
However, signing up for a 26.5 mile charity walking marathon last May forced me into regular training and led me to discover that maybe not all sport is so bad…
So this week I’m writing about how I’ve actually found that regular exercise benefits me in the long-run.
I used to hate netball, football and basically any team sports during my teenage years so I elected to go for something that I couldn’t get blamed for if I messed up a goal or pass, because believe me, I’ve dropped or ducked out of the way of a football more times than most!
Tennis and badminton were ideal options for me. So was swimming, so I took up tennis twice a week, swimming once a week and walking a few times a week whilst I trained for the charity event.
Fast forward to present day, I haven’t been swimming in a while but I plan to when the weather improves. I still play tennis regularly and although my backhand hasn’t gotten any better, I’m able to run around a lot more and I don’t get tired so easily generally.
I have also re enrolled myself into this year’s Moonwalk so the training begins yet again, non stop walking in rain, sleet, snow and a 26.5 miles walk that my feet will most definitely not thank me for.
Exercise it turns out, is good for you and can even be fun.
If the thought of the gym breaks you out in a cold sweat, why not take your iPod or phone with you, or go with a friend. You can blast out some music, watch your favourite movie or have a natter to take your mind off the treadmill. Doing something that’s good for you like exercising releases feel good hormones in your body, so it can help to de-stress you and help people who suffer with anxiety and depression.
Tennis, badminton and squash are popular sports which, if you’re like me and hate the thought of team sports, would be perfect if you’re planning on going solo. There are local tennis courts dotted around most areas, both outside and indoor courts so you’ll never have an excuse not to play during the winter again.
If you do like team sports, then that’s good news, there are plenty of local amateur and serious football, rugby and netball teams cropping up, a quick google search will land you in good stead and if unlike me, you’re not a liability on the pitch then you’ll enjoy yourself.
But even reminding yourself of the little ways you can boost your health makes all the difference. Choosing to walk to the local shops rather than drive will not only save you the stresses of finding a parking space, but will also do you the world of good. Your mind, body, skin and bank card will thank you for it (petrol is expensive and why waste that coffee money when you could just walk).
I’m not suggesting you go out for a run every night, unless you want to of course, but get creative with how you keep fit, get a bike, walk your dog or join a Pilates class. All these things will add up and make you feel happier, healthier and get sluggish in the long run and you might even have fun.