Why Exercise is needed for total health

If you’ve had a long summer of BBQs, al fresco dinners and weekends in the sun, then, like many others, your exercise regime may have fallen by the wayside. Now the weather is cooling down and children are back at school, this is the perfect time of year to get back into a routine and set some fitness goals.
The benefits of exercising are wide-ranging, from improved mental health to a lower risk of serious diseases, but still many of us live sedentary lives.

According to a recent study by the British Heart Foundation, around 39% of UK adults – that’s around 20 million people – are failing to meet government recommendations for physical activity of 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate-intensity activity per week.

Autumn feels like a new beginning. Many people treat September as their New Year. If you’re not sure what to try, have a think about your goals. Look first at what you want to achieve – is it weight loss? General fitness? Or you want to feel stronger, for example?

Live group classes are very helpful to encourage motivation and reach targets. Swimming and Aqua Aerobics is very good for people with joint problems. Weight-bearing exercise such as barre and core focus is good to prevent osteoporosis. There is now increasing evidence that short, very intense bursts of exercise are more beneficial than long, low impact.

This could be in the form of interval training classes such as circuits or HIIT workouts. This type of exercise is offered as part of my monthly masterclasses. October sees us using the suspension trainer for intervals. All you need is a sturdy door and a suspension trainer like this one. If you’ve put off exercise for a while, here are some useful tips:

Enjoy it
The most important thing is to find something you love. If you enjoy it you will want to do it more and that is the best motivation. Try out different things and decide if there’s something you enjoy doing. Most people who dislike exercise just haven’t found the right exercise.

Set goals and stick with them
Set realistic goals, measure results and look to others who have achieved what you want. Schedule in your workout and place it at the top of your priority list.

Eat well
Keeping a food diary will make you conscious of what you’re eating and drinking. Your diet should be healthy and nutrient-dense if you’re seriously intending to become fitter. Experts say 90% of training is diet and 10% is activity – there is no point training hard if you eat rubbish.

Don’t do it alone
Exercising with a personal trainer (me! ;-)) or taking part in classes can help you keep motivated for longer.

Aim for 7-8 hours per night, as poor-quality sleep reduces our ability to train and make good food choices.

Be ready
Get your workout clothes and trainers ready the night before. This way you’ll have no choice but to wear that outfit and you’ll be 100% ready.

With the days getting shorter our urge to hibernate really starts to kick in in late autumn. In terms of exercising and fitness, preparation is key.

School half-term, Halloween, Fireworks Night and the run-up to Christmas can play havoc with our diet and exercise, so establishing a good diet and exercise regime can help combat the cumulative weight gain effect. Create good habits for damage limitation.

Another thing to consider is how exercise can impact on our mental health at this time of year. For those who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or depression in the colder months, exercise can help stimulate body chemicals called endorphins which are natural mood boosters.


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