Healthy body + healthy mind = a happier you!
When it comes to fitness I hear a lot of people say “I don’t do exercise because I have never been good at it.” or “I wish I was motivated enough to do it.” The thing is you don’t need to sign up to anything to get going, if gyms are not your thing and the thought of pounding the streets to take on a 5km run makes you run the other way back inside then read on!
I had never been athletic at school, in fact, I hated running, apart from maybe the 100m sprints just to get it over and done with as soon as possible! Tennis, basketball and football were my preferred sports but definitely not athletics. But I have always enjoyed outdoor pursuits, from cycling, walking, snorkelling, exploring, and landscape photography. After I gave birth to our daughter in 2010 I felt very unfit and it was a case of “If you’re not happy, then don’t moan about it, DO something!”, a life philosophy that I am very much a big advocate of.
One Sunday afternoon I decided to try going for a run, let’s just say it wasn’t a pleasant experience, I couldn’t breathe after getting to the top of the road and thought “Yep, I knew it, I am not cut out for this unlike the natural runners that seem to have some superpower”. Thing is, when I got home, I felt like I had actually achieved something, I tried it out, felt the pain and that felt good. I slowly built myself up distance and frequency wise and soon understood what the “runners rush” meant, it’s that feeling of switching off to the stresses of life, and challenging yourself to improve your mood and wellbeing – which it really does! Just by getting out for an hour or 30 mins and getting some fresh air, getting my heart pumping listening to some motivational music and taking in some nature soon became a regular event, now it’s almost every day……wait, before you say “Hey, hold on, you started out by saying you don’t have to pound the streets to get healthy…!”. Agreed! So what I then started to do is mix up my outdoor pursuits, go for long walks to get my heart rate up, take on a steep hill or two but stop every so often to soak in the nature, breathe in the air, take some photos and “look” around beyond what is in front of me. I soon started spotting new wildlife that I had not paid attention to before and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors and boost my mood before heading back to the office.
Somedays I go for a bike ride, other days go running, or walking or simply take time out over lunch to take some photos of the beautiful scenery in our new home town of Grantham, Lincolnshire. It’s all exercise, it all helps boost my mood and I can choose how much or how little effort I want to put in but whichever activity I choose I always feel re-charged and energised afterwards. In winter it’s even more important with fewer daylight hours to boost our mood and productivity.
I don’t take on New Year’s Resolutions as they are destined to fail, I believe in setting reasonable goals and keep finding ways to improve on them and set new targets, maybe it’s walking an extra mile or taking on a hill to run up or just getting out for a 30 min walk every day. Our mental health and well being has become even more important in the last 18 months thanks to COVID so we need to keep our immune systems boosted, get some fresh air into our lungs however much or little is achievable, it’s still vital to keep at it. My equation to boost my immunity is a healthy body + a healthy mind = A happier and healthier me!