It’s time to hit the trail, for real!

This year at Londons Calling the keynote was rather awakening, at hands of Dr. Anastasia Dedyukhina. I was lucky enough to be one of the few that got a signed copy of her book.

Homo Distractus is a book to help you claim back your attention, time and energy; or at least understand why it is how it is right now. One of the things that it covers is the benefits of exercising.

To be honest I have been putting more and more effort into health after a bit of a scare last year… But in a sense I was already on the way, after not doing exercise for very, very, very long time. About 3 years ago I went to a ‘lunch & learn’ session (mainly for the lunch) where I learnt that building muscle mass it’s extremely important as we grow old. Essentially makes the difference for you to be able, or not, hold your skeleton!

As people, we are less active nowadays partly because technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars, take public transport or jump onto a Segway. Machines wash our clothes, plates, floor… We entertain ourselves in front of a TV or computer screen. Even our work is mostly done with screens and when we are not working we are mostly looking at our phones.

Research suggests that many adults spend more than 7 hours a day sitting down, either at work, on transport or in their leisure time. Inactivity is described by the Department of Health as a “silent killer”.

Hopefully this post may be just the extra boost you need to get going, and if you already are: I’d love to hear how is it helping.

Look, there is even a Trailhead module on this The Power of Movement!

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Why bother?

Let’s start with the easy one:

It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

Not only this, but the NHS reports that physical exercise lowers up to a 30% risk of depression.

Convenience:

Exercise is free and easy. You only need yourself and it has an immediate effect on oneself.

I’ve been one of those ‘great’ gym members that pay and doesn’t go for long enough, so what I’ve learnt is that for me exercise needs to be extremely convenient. Like on my way back from work, next door, least complications as possible, I even get changed before hand for the least excuses as possible en route.

Eye sight:

We strain our eyes every day with so much screen time. Running or walking can help decrease the risk of age related cataracts, can reduce eye pressure, and just by doing physical activity outside this has great effects on refocussing and long distance sight, as well to being closure to nature (that last one, is a whole chapter by itself).

Energise:

Studies have found that six weeks of regular exercise reduce feelings of fatigue for people who had reported persistent fatigue. As contradictory as it may sound, engaging in regular physical activity can increase your energy levels. I have definitely found this, as surprised as I was!

Feel happier:

Exercise improves mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Thanks to it the brain increases sensitivity for the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression.

Physical activity can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain.

Not only this but releases dopamine, which is most commonly recognised for its role in reward, motivation, and pleasure, but also plays a crucial part in modulating focus, motivation, cognitive flexibility, and emotional resilience.

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There is so many other benefits, like the improvement of sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress and overall improving the quality of life.

What now?

To stay healthy, adults should try to be active every day and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities:

  • moderate intensity
  • vigorous intensity
  • realign & balance
  • muscle build

This is how I do it:

For moderate I walk. Still moving quickly enough to raise the heart rate, breath faster and feel warmer. I walk 5.5km, springy enough, twice a day 2-3 times a week. My excuse? Go to a clients office and avoid the underground!

For vigorous, I run. This one is hard as I hate running. I secretly downloaded this app (Couch to 5k) after a couple friends praised it, to get them into running. It literally takes you from the couch to run 5k in 9 weeks. Now I continue doing 2 runs a week of 30-45mins, clocking up 5-7km each time.

For realigning & balance I do yoga. As mentioned started after the ‘lunch & learn’ post-shock to the system. I must confess that I thought it would be easier, yoga is tough. I go to the buddhist centre next door and love the vibes. Yoga gives me headspace. I do this once a week.

For muscle build my crazy chiropractor makes me do pull ups! Actually, I first went for some back pain to discover with the kind of work that we do, we need to reinforce our back (and all) so learnt some exercises I can easily do at home one time per week & every now and then some pull ups with bands (until the day I can do without).

For me, there is a special trick to all of this: get into habits. I have a routine when these things happen in my week, fit it into my every day life and repeat,  makes it into a habit. So much so that even on holidays I still go for my runs.

In this ecosystem where we thrive to be better at what we do every day, let’s do it with our whole self: let’s do it with body, mind and soul.

 

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