When it comes to exercise programmes, we often think of losing weight as one of the key motivations. Whilst it’s true that weight loss is one of the most common reasons for wanting to make lifestyle changes (dietary, exercise etc), it’s not the only one. This blog covers exercise for weight gain and follows on from the previous 2 blogs on eating disorders. There are many reasons why people may want to gain weight, but exercise shouldn’t be demonised as always contributing to weight loss. Below are some top tips on making sure exercise supports weight gain if that’s a personal goal, whilst enjoying all of the other physical and mental benefits that are so important.
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.
In the fitness industry, one of the most common complaints or queries we get when somebody has recently started on a new diet and exercise plan is… why has my weight loss stopped/slowed down? People often start off in pursuit of weight loss full of enthusiasm and commonly see the numbers drop drastically on the scales for a few weeks, spurring them on to expect this will continue. However, over time despite still trying just as hard to exercise and eat well, the numbers on the scales become too stubborn to budge. Sometimes people may even notice clothes feeling looser and other desirable changes, yet the scales register no weight loss. Why does this happen and what does it mean? This blog aims to explain why weight loss doesn’t necessarily equal fat loss and why there is far more to it than a number on the scales.
Whether your motivation for change is at an all-time high at New Year or you think resolutions are a waste of time, there’s no denying that the start of a blank calendar leaves many of us reflecting on the 12 months that just passed. New Year is natures way of drawing one chapter to a close, helping us to let go of anything we want to leave behind and giving us a clean slate for new habits and experiences. It’s undoubtedly a natural time to set intentions about what we’d like to be, have and do over the next year. This blog details a simple exercise to help us assess how happy and successful we feel we are in various different areas of our lives at the current time, and consequently to identify any areas we may wish to make changes in.
Whilst Winter, like all seasons, brings plenty of things to look forward to, many of us find that some aspects of these months affect us negatively. Dark mornings and evenings, colder temperatures and cravings for comfort aren’t always conducive to optimal physical and mental health. Some people even suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes referred to as winter depression. Other people may not suffer from the condition fully but may notice some of the symptoms discussed below having a negative effect on their everyday life. This blog highlights some of the ways this coming season can affect our health and wellbeing and discusses ways to help deal with these potential obstacles.
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.
Whilst weight loss is undoubtedly one of the most common health and fitness goals, it is sometimes wrongly viewed as the key determinant of progress when trying to improve our exercise and nutrition habits. One of the most common questions personal trainers gets asked by people who have recently embarked on a new plan is ‘why haven’t I lost much weight?’ There are many possible reasons for this, including the fact that we all lose weight at different rates, you may be building muscle and you could be getting weighed at different times of the day or week and/or using different scales. These are just a few explanations, but the majority (if not all) of the personal trainers I know would urge their clients to explore other ways of measuring progress rather than the often soul-destroying focus of chasing a certain number on the scales. Embarking on a new healthy living plan should leave you feeling energised, proud and encouraged. If the scale is having the opposite effect, consider giving it a break for a while and focusing on other ways of measuring progress such as those below…
The terms ‘mindfulness’ and ‘meditation’ are often used interchangeably and have become somewhat ‘buzz words’ in the last few years. They are becoming increasingly recognised for their benefits within the field of mental health and are very popular due to their simplicity and accessibility. Anyone can practice mindfulness and meditation with no special equipment, training or guidance required but it’s always good to arm yourself with a few pointers when trying out a new skill and so if you’re interested in giving them a go or finding out what they can do for you, read on…
What is a vision board and why should I try one? A vision board (or dream/goals board) is a collection of images, words, ideas or other items that represent our desires for our life and our future. It can include examples of things we’d like to have, be or do and can help to inspire and motivate us to work towards these dreams and goals in our everyday life. Vision boards can support the practice of visualisation as explained in the previous blog for those who prefer to see physical images rather than simply imagine them.
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.