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Do you Feel Sluggish? 5 ways to Start Moving to Improve Health and Happiness!

Do you Feel Sluggish? 5 ways to Start Moving to Improve Health and Happiness!

Being honest, most of us know that we should be more active and some of us know what an amazing impact exercise can have on our health and happiness, but we still struggle to motivate ourselves to exercise regularly. Why is that, and how can we make that crucial change to start introducing small chunks of exercise into our busy lives? What is the secret to keeping going and how do you get started again after a break because of illness or a change of routine? Take a look below for some of our top tips and see if you can start to introduce a little more activity into your daily routine.
Feeling Sluggish
1. Be honest with yourself

Most of us are much less active than we like to think we are. To change this isn’t as hard as it sounds, we just need to focus on some easy ways to incorporate a bit more movement into our daily routine.

I tried this and it was really useful just to establish a baseline - visit www.nhs.org.uk/oneyou and take their lifestyle quiz and fitness self-assessment to see how you score. This will give you a great place to start and will help you be honest about what you currently do and what you can start to include in your daily routine going forward.

NHS exercise guidelines for an adult aged 19-65 are:

For heart and lung fitness

At least 2 and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week. In order to make this achievable you need to look at what that equates to per day – around 20 minutes of movement. This could break down to 2 x 10 minute walks in a day –, or maybe trying a 20 minute cycle to the shops and back.

For Strength and Flexibility

Strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

The gym can really help here, with resistance equipment to work all the major muscle groups. It is well worth getting a personal trainer to show you how to use these machines. They aren’t complicated; you just need someone to show you what to do first.

Do what you love!
2. Do what you love!

If you enjoy a sport or exercise and it makes you smile - you are much more likely to stick to your new hobby. If you are stuck for inspiration as no exercise or sport really appeals that much – it’s a great idea to sweeten the experience by listening to your favourite music or doing it in an inspiring place. I love going for a walk in my local Victorian park as there is so much to see. Most of us have amazing places to explore close-by, which we sometimes forget about.

Make a list of all the activities you think you might enjoy and then try to focus on a couple you will try. Your initial list might include tennis, golf, running, cycling, badminton, netball, swimming, dance classes, hockey. Whittle this down and then do some research about activities locally. For example an interest in jogging may lead you to find out about an athletics club or a local organised park run.

3. Exercise with a friend

You are much more likely to turn up and stick to an exercise routine if you do it with a friend. Think about someone you enjoy spending time with and who would also like to get moving! You have someone to support and encourage you, plus it can add a bit of healthy competition. The best thing about exercising with a friend is that it is much more fun. If you have fun, you are much more likely to keep doing it!

You could play badminton or tennis, go for a brisk walk or jog, or even try a dance class together.

Exercise with a friend
4. Try using a pedometer

If you enjoy walking and haven’t exercised for a while, 10 minutes brisk walk twice a day will give you the 20 minutes of moderate activity you need. You can work your way up to an optimum level of 10,000 steps each day. A pedometer can really help motivate you to get up and get out walking!

You don’t even need to invest in an expensive fitbit or jawbone device to go on your wrist – although these can be a great motivator. There are a number of free apps which do the same thing. For example Pacer for the iPhone, tracks not only your steps but pretty much all your daily activity. Check out the app store or google play for android phones by searching for ‘Pedometer’ and see which tracker will work best for you.


5. Set your goals and plan the all important rewards

Start small and be realistic about your goals. ‘I want to walk 3000 steps each day’. Once this becomes the norm increase it by 300 steps until eventually you are walking 10,000 steps each day. Set a timeframe and plan a reward – ‘I want to walk 10,000 steps every day for 1 month.’ If I achieve this, I am going to reward myself with a treat – a new pair of walking shoes?!

So there you have it… It is possible, with a little help from your friends, to incorporate a little bit of exercise each day into your routine. You will be amazed at the difference this makes and how quickly you will increase the amount that you do, as your body becomes used to being more active. Go on, take the first steps to a happier, healthier lifestyle and get your trainers on!

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