Step into Spring with our 5 Top Tips to Getting Started

If your enthusiasm to start a new exercise programme has waned after the first week or two, don’t worry, we’ve got some useful tips to help you enjoy your workouts, maintain your fitness programme and have a positive impact on your wellbeing.

Tip #1 Try a variety of activities

There is no single exercise that is best for you. We need a range of activity to work our heart,lungs & circulatory system (Cardio) and strengthen our bones & muscles (Strength & Conditioning). Try a range of activities to find the ones you enjoy, because if you enjoy it, you’ll stick with it!

Tip #2 Set realistic expectations

When you’re feeling motivated to get fit, lose weight or improve your health & wellbeing, it’s really easy to set yourself unrealistic targets. If you’ve not exercised for a while, planning to exercise everyday may set you up for failure. It can lead to you feeling exhausted, pressured and giving up. Instead, build your routine gradually. Start with one activity and when you are comfortable with this, add another activity and before you know it, exercise will become part of your normal routine.

Tip # 3 Work out with a friend

This may not be easy during a pandemic, but planning to join the same online class as a friend or meeting up with them for a walk or run, once restrictions allow, can help you stick to your plan.

Tip # 4 Keep focused on your ‘why’

Our ‘why’ is what motivates us to become more active in the first place. Your ‘why’ maybe to achieve a new challenge, improve your health, lose weight or feel less stressed. Whatever it is, remind yourself everyday why you are exercising. Read our Believing is Achieving blog for some useful tools to keep you focused.

Tip #5 There’s no failure, only feedback

Changing our habits doesn’t come easy! If you find yourself reverting back to your old habits, don’t beat yourself up! See it as a journey and you have just become sidetracked, learn from it and get right back on track. For more info, read our blog on habit change.

Final Takeaway

Switch the idea of exercise to movement, here is a wellbeing hack from Sal Jefferies

Want to know more?

Try joining Sal Jefferies Mindset & De-Stress Clinic on Weds at 9.30am or catch up on our ‘On Demand’ Page, it’s a great way to get started.

Be kind to yourself

Hooray!!! It’s the first day of Spring! So to help you lift out of the Lockdown fog, we bring you our first Step into Spring tip.

This week is all about being kind to yourself.

According to Paul Gilbert, PhD, we have three types of emotion regulation systems – we’ve got the Threat System, the Drive System, and the Soothing System and we switch between these systems depending on our situation, environment and thoughts.

The Threat System

Its function is to manage threats, survive, protect and to seek safety. This activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers an acute stress response that prepares the body to fight or flee. The body stays on high alert, great if you are in danger but long-term can lead to chronic stress and serious health issues.

The Drive System

Here, we are seeking reward and driving to achieve goals, find excitement and achieve tasks. Again very useful in certain circumstances, though can be exhausting if we stay here too long!

The Soothing System

This is when we rest, nourish our bodies, feel safe, slow down and spend time caring for ourself and others. Here our bodies can recover and rejuvenate, giving you back energy and a zest for life.

When we spend most of our time in Threat or Drive, we become tired, stressed and unable to function well. Spending more time in the soothing system will restore your body and help put that spring into your step!

This week focus on understanding how long you spend in Drive and Threat and re-balance this by doing something you enjoy each day, that ensures you spend more time in Soothing. What will you try? Maybe a relaxing bath, listening to your favourite music or time with loved ones? Whatever it is, just make it a habit to be kind to yourself.

Credit to: Paul Gilbert, PhD

Exercise: What should it feel like?

If you are new to exercising or have other underlying health conditions, it’s difficult to know what you should be feeling and have the confidence to continue if you are unsure.

If you normally have painful joints e.g. Arthritis, you may think exercise will do harm. The opposite is true – Moving and Exercising the joints is essential to keep them healthy and has been proven to reduce pain and improve how well your joints work.

It is so important not to avoid activity because of painful joints, it will lead to increased stiffness and weaker muscles – this is known as the deconditioning cycle

Am I doing more harm than good?

It is totally normal to feel a bit uncomfortable or even sore after exercise – especially if it is something new or you haven’t done it for a while. But remember this does not mean you are doing harm. Any discomfort should settle and as you exercise more regularly, this discomfort will become less and less – a sign that your muscles are getting stronger and joints are working better.

Am I doing enough?

We are recommended to be doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week, but what does this mean?

Aerobic exercise is any activity that increases your breathing and heart rate (e.g. walking, swimming, dancing, gardening), and will improve your general stamina and fitness and have many positive effects on your health and wellbeing.

What is moderate?

You should be exercising at a level that increases your heart rate and breathing, you will feel warmer and you should still be able to talk – but not sing! If you like numbers, it should feel like around 5-6 on a scale of 0-10

150 minutes a week sounds like a lot!

If you haven’t been exercising much recently, this may seem like an unreachable goal. But don’t worry, even small increases in your activity levels can have positive effects on many aspects of your health and wellbeing. Create smaller, more achievable goals like aiming for a 10 minute chunk of moderate intensity exercise per day to begin with and slowly build up from there if you are able to.

Strength & Balance Exercise

Including exercise to improve muscle strength and balance is important to maintain independence, prevent falls and make everyday life a little easier. You can do this by using weights, resistance bands or your own body weight.

To see improvements in strength you need to work with a resistance that tires your muscles to a point where you can’t do any more of that exercise, and would need a short rest before repeating another set of the exercise.

Balance specific exercises should also feel like a real challenge. The aim is that you create a little ‘safe’ wobble in your body so that you are working all your proprioceptive nerve endings (that tell your body where it is in space), and your reflex reactions. This is challenging your nervous system and to see results balance exercises should be practiced every day.

These exercises should feel like a real challenge:

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”

Here’s how to make it feel easier!

  • Hydrate – make sure you drink plenty, if you are even a little dehydrated exercise will feel harder
  • Eat well – A balanced, healthy diet will give your body what it needs to work most efficiently for you
  • Exercise with a buddy or group if able to – Increase your enjoyment of exercise and time may pass more quickly
  • Pace yourself – Don’t be tempted to increase your exercise by too much, even if you’re having a “good” day. You may feel wiped out and be put off trying again.

It shouldn’t feel like this:

  • If you experience chest pain, dizziness or you are very short of breath -stop immediately and seek medical advice
  • If you experience any unusual or sharp joint/muscle pain while exercising – first check you are doing it correctly. If it persists stop and contact your instructor for advice.

By Emma Rollings, AHS WellBalanced Clinical Lead & AHS Wellbeing Coach

Check our online classes to see what exercises might suit you!

Later Life Training comes to Haywards Heath!

We are delighted to be working with Later Life Training to deliver a Postural Stability Instructor Course at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath In August & September 2019.

We hope that by creating more training opportunities will can help more people through our Well Balanced Falls Prevention Programme,reducing the risk of falls and greatly improving the quality of life for participants in their later years.

If you are a level 3 Fitness professional or Physiotherapist and would like to specialise in working with older people, please get in touch. Training course information can be found on the Later Life Training Website here