For people living with long term health conditions, it can be difficult to know whether exercise will help or exacerbate symptoms and the anxiety and confusion around this can prevent them from exercising at all. The truth is, there are very few conditions that exercise is unable to help with, although amendments may need to be made to make sure exercise is safe and effective for each individual and their medical history. Many people may avoid exercise or physical activity in order to prevent short term pain or discomfort or simply through anxiety, however this often makes matters worse. This blog discusses a common long term health condition, arthritis, and how exercise can help to manage it.
Walking is free, can be done anywhere and anytime and can be a highly effective form of exercise when it comes to building fitness and reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. It’s especially great for anyone who feels more formal exercise settings aren’t for them or maybe wants to build up a bit of fitness or confidence before trying anything more. Whether you’re already walking regularly or just looking to start, this blog aims to cover some top tips you need to know to get the most out of this unbeatable form of exercise.
We all know what to do if we cut our finger, get a mild headache or any other minor physical ailment and we know the importance of getting treatment before a problem potentially becomes more serious. How many of us are treating our mental health the same way though? Just like with our physical health, minor issues can arise at any time or we may simply feel ourselves sliding down the spectrum of optimum mental health. We often recognise physical symptoms of feeling a bit ‘under the weather’ such as sleep disturbances, changes in our appetite, aches and pains, a reduced immune system or generally feeling a bit run down and realise the importance of remedying these before they lead to further issues. It’s important that we also learn to recognise changes in our mental health and emotional wellbeing and have a plan in place to manage them in the same way.
Regardless of how active we are, most of us are aware that there are guidelines as to how much physical activity we SHOULD be doing to support our optimum health, wellbeing and healthy weight maintenance. What we may not be aware of, however, is that guidelines change at different ages and stages of life. As young people, we are often educated at school on how to keep healthy and are required to take part in regular PE lessons and exercise. As adults we may have become more interested in certain sports and have found what we enjoy or we may exercise to protect ourselves from certain health conditions and weight gain. What happens to our physical activity levels as we enter our later years though? Many people find that their bodies can’t quite do the things they used to, or at least not with such ease. It’s true that there are certain physical and cognitive changes linked with the ageing process and that exercise can help to manage these, so what SHOULD we be doing to support healthy, active ageing?
Training when you feel well is one thing, but when it comes to feeling under the weather for whatever reason, many of us avoid exercise through fear of potentially ‘making things worse’. On the flip side, others try to continue their exercise programme as if nothing is wrong – so who’s right?! Whilst exercise is known to help a wide range of conditions, it’s important to arm yourself with some knowledge regarding when to train and when to rest to make sure you stay as healthy as possible and recover quickly when you’re not feeling your best.
The idea of getting fitter or leading a more healthy lifestyle can often feel overwhelming and leave us not knowing where to start. The feeling that we have to make huge changes or set life-changing goals can be so intimidating that we end up doing nothing. It really is true that getting started is the hardest part of any task and so by starting with some simple, easily achievable mini-goals you can build momentum and confidence in yourself whilst getting started on your journey to a fitter, healthier, happier you. Try out some of the ideas below – you could try one a day for a month or choose a couple a week. Set a target that feels manageable for you and let’s get started.
A whole blog on breathing?! Seems a bit excessive for something we do naturally all day, everyday, right?! Wrong! Breathing is the foundation of our very existence and is inextricably linked to both our physical and mental health. Physical activities such as walking, lifting and cleaning have a clear effect on our breathing as do psychological states such as stress and relaxation. By learning how to control our breath we can help to manage our physical and psychological states to best support us.
When it comes to health and fitness, nutrition and calories are often discussed in conjunction with any exercise or weight-related goals. Rightfully so, as caloric and energy intake can have a huge impact not only on our weight but our overall health and energy levels. Whilst this can be a confusing area for many, and talk of calories may be avoided through fear of shaming or obsessing, this blog aims to give you some facts and ideas that may help with any weight or energy related goals.
As discussed in previous blogs there are many different components of fitness, with one of the most familiar and popular areas of interest being cardiovascular exercise. This blog aims to arm you with knowledge surrounding what cardiovascular exercise is, how much you should be doing, why we need cardiovascular work in our exercise programmes and give you some ideas you may not have thought of to help you get it done!
What does your average working day look like? Whilst this will be different for each of us, chances are it’s changed in the last year and may soon be due to change again. Whether where you work has changed, how you do things at work or simply your routine before and after work, it’s thrown many of us from our usual habits and schedules which can feel like low level chaos at times! This is certainly something I’ve struggled with whilst working from home and this blog aims to highlight some things I’ve found useful or know that others have done to help make their working day as healthy as possible. This can also apply if you’re still going out to work or when you go back, although some are more socially acceptable to do in a work setting than others (dance party anyone? I reckon my colleagues would be up for it to be fair!) Taking regular breaks can help to keep our physical and mental energy topped up so that we’re more focused and productive. Below are some ideas for mini-breaks to slot into your days to support the happiest, healthiest you possible even when you’re working hard!