On average we should be having around 30 – 60 minutes active time a day according to expert Leighanne Stephen from LS Fitness. There are so many ways to implement activity into your day even if you have a super busy schedule all ready, Leighanne talks about how this can be done as part of that schedule.
For me personally I had an Irish dancing career for around 10 years from 8 years old to 18 years old and it really was intense based cardio training for the most part. I loved it I was training 5 time a week and competing every other weekend all around the UK and then had around five major competition each year spanning across England, Ireland, Scotland, and America. This was really the only form of exercise I ever knew and as much as we did core work outs, skipping, stamina training and circuit training as part of a dance class routine once I finished competing and training, I just stopped all exercise of any kind. I never enjoyed PE lessons at school I was that person who always had a note and looking back maybe I just did not like the environment of my PE lessons in comparison to my dance class which I was so connected to on a deeper level.
Now at 22 years old I have had a very on and off relationship with exercise mostly off to be honest. I tried training in the gym and for a while I loved it, but I soon got bored and never really felt comfortable in the gym environment. I then tried home workouts which again for a while I was doing so well but fell out of the habit after about 1 month. I then realised at around 20 years olds that it was the motivation and lack of competition that was missing from my routines, having been competing all my life and being up against someone within my dance class I progressed most and pushed myself the hardest in a healthy environment of competition and with motivation from my dance teacher. However, at the same time I did not want to be in such an intense environment again as I was studying at University and my focus in life has really changed so I just neglected exercise until this year. I never really had a focus with exercise like I never knew what I was doing it for there was never a body type I wanted to achieve and, in all fairness, I had the mindset of I am doing this because as humans we are meant me right? Everyone else is doing it, so I should be. This is where I was going wrong all together.
So, what has changed. As I have grown older, I have realised the benefits that exercise has on our mental health and how many brilliant endorphins it releases and that we do not have to exercise for any other reason than simply making us feel good or clearing our minds. I also have learnt that you do not have to be in the gym lifting weights building a dream body type and if that is what you want to do that is also perfectly fine because everyone’s exercise journeys like most things in life will be unique to them. We will all have our own personal reasons for exercising and our own personal goals which is great. For me on my quest to living a healthier lifestyle across my mind, body and soul I released how much exercise can help with all three elements.
So why know am I exercising? I have released that I want to be able to go to the supermarket and buy what I need without having to worry about carry heavy things back to my car. I want to be able to go on a walk with my boyfriend and keep up with him without getting out of breath after around 10 minutes. I want to be able to clear my mind and keep my joints and muscles in good working order for my future with my many dogs so I can take them on long walks and throw balls for them in the park.
Side note: I genuinely have wanted a dog for the entirety of my life however my dad just won’t let me have one at home, so when I do eventually move out and get my own place and dog will be the first thing on my list of things to get and it will truly be the best day of my life to date, I already know it.
So, I started small going out for walks as often as I could in the week this was mostly due to many lockdowns that we have experienced and the simple need of needing to see different scenery other than the walls of my house. This has only been a recent thing that I have started during the most recent lockdown after reflecting on my moods, behaviour and general wellbeing after the first lockdown. I do still have to force myself to go walking but once I am out walking it is always the best decision I make, and I always feel so much better afterwards.
I have also been meditating during this lockdown but like Leighanne states this might not be for everyone so it is important you figure out what works best for you. For me personally the benefits of meditation really have been massive, so I thought what better way to combine mediation and activity than Yoga. Yoga has been something I have wanted to try for around a year now and after talking to my boyfriend about going to Yoga classes together it has been on my mind since. But you guessed it we never got round to going, then Covid came and some lockdowns later I thought just start from home and see if you even like it.
So where am I currently? I am still trying to walk as many days as I can during the week as well as doing a 30-day Yoga Journey on YouTube. I am currently five days in and it positive all round from me. While doing the yoga work out, I feel my muscles and mind are so focused and engaged with each other and I am no longer just doing an exercise in bad form and hurting my body more than benefiting it. Its challenging the yoga do not get me wrong but each day I am finding different breathing techniques which really make me connect to the practise on a deeper level. Most importantly I look forward to doing the yoga practise each day which has never been a common thing for me when it comes to exercise.
Let me know if you try out some new form of activity no matter how small or big. The important thing about this journey is starting and finding your own personal reasoning and focus for the journey. Also, like Leighanne said Yoga and meditation might not be for you or like me it might be exactly what you have been looking for in the world of exercise for years. There are many other things you could try like running, Zumba or boxercise that might be much better suited to you, but the main thing is that we all get some active into each day.
Here's to better wellness in the mind, bodies and souls of all my dreamers this year.