It’s a joy to welcome my friend, GP, blogger and now author Dr Juliet McGrattan to share her fitness tips for busy women.
You can also enter to win a copy of her brilliant book Sorted-The Active Woman’s Guide to Health (£16.99, paperback, published by Bloomsbury) which I feature in! I have 3 to give away. Good luck!
If you’re anything like me, then your ‘to do list’ is immense and you rarely, if ever, get to the bottom of it! It’s a compilation of the things you absolutely must do today, mixed in with all the things you’d like to do if only you had the time. ‘Do some exercise’ probably fits into the latter category. The good intention is there but the reality of actually managing to squeeze it in is a different matter. Another day goes by and it remains on the list but out of reach.
If you can change the way you think about exercise, then you’re half way there. Getting fit and healthy isn’t the mountain you might perceive it to be. Here are my top five tips to help you towards an active and healthy future ….
Ditch the guilt. First up, stop feeling bad about it. There are so many things that need your attention, you simply can’t do everything. The key message with exercise is that something is better than nothing. Don’t aim for perfection. Just aim to do a bit more than you’re doing now, even if that’s just a tiny bit. Exercise is supposed to be fun, something to enjoy and not something to feel guilty about.
Take ten. The current recommended guidelines for exercise are that you should be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. That’s exercise that makes you feel a bit out of breath; able to talk but not sing while you do it. Who has 150 minutes going spare? Not me that’s for sure. But here’s the thing – you can get health benefits from just a ten-minute burst. I often look at the clock and realise there are ten minutes until school pick up or ten minutes until my alarm clock goes off.
Realistically we can all find ten-minute windows if we seek them out. Ten minutes three times a day for five days and bingo! That’s 150 minutes. That’s the goal anyway but even if you only manage 40 minutes in the week that’s better than zero and over time that 40 minutes will significantly reduce the health risks associated with inactivity.
Be inventive. No one says that you have to put on Lycra and jump around to music while you exercise, equally, you don’t have to go running either (although I highly recommend it!) Physical activity is not just about sport, you definitely don’t have to be sporty to enjoy and benefit from it. It’s just about moving. Walking is perfect.
No matter many kids you have in tow, you can walk to a park, to the shops, to a café. It all counts. Family activities are perfect for helping all of you get some exercise. Be creative; go on a treasure hunt, have a scooter race, teach them to play cricket (don’t ask me to explain the rules). Anything that gets you moving. Are you desk bound? Stand up and sit down without using your arms, as many times as you can for 60 seconds and then tell me whether you’ve exerted yourself.
Put your printer across the room from your computer so you have to get up to collect your documents. Moving frequently and often is important in addition to getting those moderate activity exercise minutes during the week.
Get help. What’s stopping you from exercising? If it’s time, then use the tips above to help you fit it in. If it’s motivation, then ask a friend to set a goal with you and work together to reach it. If no one is up for it, then hop onto social media where there’s a wealth of supportive communities such as Run Mummy Run on Facebook and UKRunChat on Twitter. The Sport England campaign This Girl Can has incredibly motivating posts and a community of others will step up and help you, I promise!
The Sport England campaign This Girl Can has incredibly motivating posts and a community of others will step up and help you, I promise! If it’s a health problem like asthma or a leaky bladder, then make an appointment with a health care professional. Being active is good for all of us, regardless of our medical issues and with advice, guidance and occasional medical intervention we can all participate and enjoy it.
Reap the rewards. Physical activity shouldn’t be seen as a chore. Once you’ve found something that you enjoy and want to do, it’s amazing how it scoots up your priority list and making time for it seems to become easier. When you realise how good it makes you feel, how it gives you energy and benefits all the other areas of your life, then you won’t want to be without it.
It might be hard to appreciate that right now but there will come a time when you wonder how on earth you managed to cope without it. You will also discover that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought you were. I promise.
Good luck for the competition below!
Ends May 25th 2017.
If the winners do not respond within 7 days of the email sent, new winners will be selected.
No cash alternative.