One of the common health challenges I find my patients face when struggling to lose weight, battling fatigue and/or just totally stressed and overwhelmed is a lack of exercise.
Often people tell me that they don't have the time, energy or they just really struggle with the motivation. However most of these same people know that exercise WILL help them feel better, eat better, sleep better, reduce their anxiety etc.
Despite knowing this however, it seems that the idea of trying to fit in an hour of hard slog a few times per week, regardless of the benefits, is just an uninspiring task that is too hard to implement.
However my thought is that the reason people have such a fear of adding in exercise to an already over stuffed schedule is that we've made it all so serious! Like if it's not the latest and greatest form of workout then you're wasting your time.
I've heard all kinds of crazy things. It doesn't work unless it's HIIT, power lifting, ultra endurance, functional training etc etc etc.
The truth is that ALL exercise which raises the heart rate and gets you sweating is valuable and worthwhile. Anything that challenges you physically and mentally is worthwhile. Anything that stops you stressing about your work/bills/relationship etc is worthwhile.
Whatever you do, if you sweat for an hour you're eliminating toxins.
If you're challenging your muscles and creating resistance you're encouraging growth and regeneration of the muscles and bones.
If your heart rate is up you're burning calories and improving your lung function and heart health.
If you reduce your stress response and calm enough so that you can sleep and feel more balanced then you are reducing your chances of many chronic diseases.
If you are doing movements which challenge coordination such as basketball, dance class etc then you are rebuilding pathways in the brain that may lead to better creativity and focus in all areas of life (and better coordination for less falls in later life).
No matter what, in my mind the fun is the most important part. How often do you lose yourself in something beneficial? How often do you let your hair down while sober? How often do you do something that takes you back to the here and now with an all out sweat session that leaves you exhilarated?
We need to do more things that require sweat, fun, tears and total focus. More of this leaves you feeling balanced, happy, motivated and less stressed - while also offering the increased calorie burning, muscle growth, increased energy and fitness etc plus of course better sleep.
As you can see, there are benefits to most types of exercise. Just find something that gets you excited and do it often. It doesn't matter if it's fashionable / cool / sexy etc. It doesn't matter if it's instagram worthy. Just find something that gets you moving, get that heart rate up, get your sweat on. Find something fun, something that you can look forward to.
In summary: Get your butt moving in the most fun way possible. Exercise with friends if they are up for it, join a meetup group, join a dance class, join a soccer or basketball team.
Whatever gets you sweaty and tired and laughing and excited all at the same time is great. Just get moving!
Here's some ideas:
Go paddle boarding or kayaking on the harbour with friends
Join a dance class
Join a basketball training group like this one
Join a running group
Do Zumba or try pound
Go to spin class
Join an outrigger team
Join a dragon boating team
Do Persian Yoga (a better description for this class would be Persian warrior training)
Try skipping to your favourite music
Join an amateur soccer team
Whatever it is, do what excites you and you're much more likely to do it often.
That's my two cents. Don't be afraid to comment your suggestions or thoughts.
Until next time, stay deliciously healthy.