As a physio, it is pretty much part of my core belief system that fitness and movement is medicine, that movement heals, and that we have been given these amazing bodies that allow us to be so diversely functional that it would be mad not to take full advantage of that. Obviously that means different things for different people, but science proves again and again that moving your body will make you live longer and have a better of life.
There is always a new fitness fad doing the rounds, and finding what works for you and your goals is sometimes a journey (which is not a bad thing), and can often change as our lives change. I am all for exercise, in whatever form, and I can 100% feel the difference in my mental state, body, sleep patterns and stress management if I am not exercising for a while. I am really a much nicer person to be around during periods in which I am training. It’s basically a public service! Equally important is making time for rest and rejuvenation when you feel you need it, this allows ‘reset’ time, so that one can get back into training full of energy. Rest days are important, active .rest days are important, taking time off training is important. You might just find that your nervous system and muscles really needed the break and when you go to your next session you are able to go beyond a plateau you were previously hitting due to fatigue.
Obviously exercise is about reaching a more healthful state, and that really should be the goal… The weight-loss, the muscle mass, the improved functionality are all just by-products of the vitality that exercise brings. As a culture we really need to move much more powerfully towards celebrating health and not size, FFS. Body positive all the way, do you. I am all for feeling comfortable in your skin. That being said, go hard, set some fitness goals. Smash them. Set some more. Do you.
A lot of people find it difficult to get motivated to get into fitness, and there are loads of ways to help with that (do a class, sign up for a race, find a workout friend, research, get a trainer, start small, buy a hot new workout outfit, compile a great workout playlist)… but the thing with motivation is that it waxes and wanes as life takes over. Something that can be much more powerful that motivation is habit. Habit is ingrained, habit is no-matter-what, habit will take over when motivation can’t. So prioritising exercise into a habit will make sure that even on those days that we REALLY just ‘don’t wanna’, you get some movement in. I pretty much guarantee that you won’t feel kakker afterwards. Tying in with habit is the idea that maintenance is much, much easier that starting again. You will know this if you have ever gotten over exercise for a few weeks or months and then started up again… Whew. That hill is big, man. A good way to look at it: push yourself as hard as you can maintain.
Something I have gotten into recently is cycle-synching. There will be a longer post about this coming soon, but basically, if you are female, there are certain phases of your cycle that lend themselves better to certain types/intensities of training. For example, during your ovulation phase, you have more energy to burn, so you can push yourself harder and schedule your intense workouts during this time. In the beginning of your menstrual phase, one’s energy tends to be lowest (I can definitey attest to that), and something like walking,yoga, pilates or stretching might be a better option.
What kinds of exercise are your favourites? At the moment, I am really enjoying diversifying my exercise routine. I parry between HIIT, weight training, Bikram, Hot Vinyasa yoga and hiking. I really am also trying to make enough time to get back into capoeira (Brazilian martial art), which was a huge part of my life for a while, but has fallen by the wayside, because, ya know, liiiffeee.
Let’s make this a fitter summer than the last, yass. x