In the season of giving, continue reading for Kieran's no equipment needed, home-based strength workout and downloadable exercise plan!
The UK exercise guidelines suggest 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, a baseline activity level for each and every one of us to aim for, but why bother? Exercise has many benefits ranging from enhanced sleep, stress relief, mood-boosting and improved quality of life to a reduction in the risk of suffering from the following;
Type II Diabetes - 40% Cardiovascular Disease - 35% Falls and Depression -30% Joint and Back Pain - 25% Cancers (Colon and Breast) -20%
Movement vs Exercise
We often hear patients in clinic say they lead an active lifestyle, but after unpacking their weekly habits and movement patterns they lead more of a 'busy' lifestyle than an 'active' one. There is a difference between being constantly on the go and exercising. The exercise guidelines are there to encourage movement whereby we load our tissues, mobilise joints in all their ranges, improve proprioception and challenge our cardio/respiratory systems.
We need to be performing a range of movement patterns outside of our daily routine to keep our bodies in top form, e.g. daily routine movement patterns of a desk worker: hip, shoulder & spinal flexion with anterior chain contraction. Therefore posterior chain strengthening, hip and spinal mobility, as well as the recommended exercise guidelines, would be beneficial.
It is easy to sneak simple movement into daily life e.g. hamstring stretch or wall squat waiting for the kettle to boil, single leg balance whilst brushing your teeth, pec/shoulder stretch between work tasks. Introducing a variety of movement patterns into your day will help maintain joint and tissue health and prevent injury.
Were the above figures encouraging enough to increase your exercise levels? If not, what holds you back? Could it be because of your idea of 'exercise'?
If the thought of gym sessions, running the coastal path or HIIT classes etc doesn't appeal to you then you'll be relieved to know anything that raises your heart rate, with the feeling of exertion making talking slightly difficult, is classed as moderate-intensity exercise.
This can include;
o Walking the dog
o Playing games with children/grandchildren
So out of those what do you enjoy?
If you have any to add let us know in the comments- It will help us with more suggestions and also inspire other readers!
Think to yourself what movements/exercise do I already do and what do I want to
do more of? Consider your enjoyment; exercise has its hard times, like everything, but it should be mostly fun and exciting. Note it down so you can build SMART goals (See last month's blog!) to help you implement more exercise in your everyday life.
If you find it difficult to begin or to enjoy exercising, find a group near you such as the ParkRun or community centres, etc. Organisers and participants in these groups want
you to succeed and have fun, committing to a regular event also encourages adherence to your exercise goals.
Below are a few places to start for inspiration;
https://www.parkrun.com/ https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/in-your-area/exercise/ https://www.tcv.org.uk/greengym/find-green-gym https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/free-fitness-ideas/ Or Google “local exercise groups near me”
If you don’t know where to begin, try easier methods to increase your
activity levels, like getting off the bus 2 stops before your stop or parking your
car 10 minutes from work to increase your daily steps. Taking it slow and building gradually will help you succeed. It does not have to be 150 minutes a week on your first week.
In fact, I suggest you become aware of how much exercise you do already as a baseline and then build up gradually.
This also applies to activity levels during pregnancy, find your baseline and continue from there.
Vigorous Intensity Exercise
If you’re low on time or you prefer more intense exercise, combine or just
do 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity work-out (categorised as increased breathing rate and exertion making it difficult to maintain a conversation).
This includes –
Alongside the 150 minutes, it’s suggested you aim to build strength twice a
week. This may make you think of a gym but it doesn’t have to be if that
environment makes you feel uncomfortable or is inaccessible.
You aren’t going to get 'bulky' overnight (I wish that’s how it worked!). But
strength training will increase bone density, increase muscle mass,
improve balance, and has a whole host of other benefits!
Home Strength Workout – No Equipment Needed
No idea where to start? Download and try this workout :
Enjoy the Journey
Exercising regularly leaves you feeling great and having goals set along the way will help motivate you to continue along your journey. It can be hard from time to time but exercise is incredibly rewarding so It’s important to take time to enjoy it and not always feel like it’s a struggle.
When you are finding it difficult to keep to your schedule or losing enjoyment in your activity, try adapting your schedule or switching up activities to something you're enjoying more at that time e.g. switching to indoor swimming in the winter from sea swimming. It’s all about balance.
If you have any questions, ask at your next appointment or get in touch to arrange a free phone call with one of the team!
-The Exercise Guidelines; (Department of Health and Social Care, 2019)