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Fit for life

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Looking Good, Feeling Great

Author: Will Mbanga, Posted: Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 08:00

As the sun begins to dip on its orbit across our skies, daylight hours become shorter and cooler, and our bodies start to make an imperceptible shift as they prepare for the ‘long dark’ of winter.

We start struggling to find or make time to exercise due to lack of motivation or poor organisation, and we start to put on or stubbornly hold onto extra weight because of a lack or reduction of exercise. All of this contributes to the winter blues.

While these seasonal changes are normal and very common, ensuring that you continue to make good choices and don’t get dragged down through feeling unmotivated, overwhelmed or less active is key.

In the UK, a large number of premature deaths are associated with an unhealthy lifestyle – poor diet, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, poor sleep, high stress levels, smoking and other factors. There is a simple solution for prolonging one’s life; make better choices!

Of course, it isn’t as simple as just ‘doing better’, but you’ll be on the right track if you eat healthily, reduce alcohol consumption, stop smoking, don’t take drugs, look after your mental health, connect with positive people and engage in regular exercise.

To quote Douglas Adams, “Life is wasted on the living”. It is by its very nature a ‘long game’, but we don’t acknowledge this with our behaviour and actions in our youth, and for some of us, aspects of our adult lives continue to put our health and well-being at risk.

With life picking up pace as the world (slowly) opens up again and returns to what we all hope is a kinder, more tolerant and self-aware society, ensuring we maintain an optimal standard of health and mental well-being is more important than ever before.

A friend’s little boy put it to me beautifully the other day: “you need to practice running so you can get away when the zombies come for you”.

Having a consistent routine is essential

The key to ensuring you remain fit for life is consistency in your routine. Whether you train three times a week, or every day, having a consistent routine and prioritising your own health by blocking out some quality ‘me time’ to do your daily admin – exercise, planning, meditation, reading, listening to podcasts, drinking water, prepping healthy meals, etc. – is essential.

Thereafter, an achievable, realistic goal, such as a target weight, distance or exercise duration, will enable you to stay motivated in those harder, cold, dark months ahead.

Below is a basic plan to kick-start your winter training. You can adapt it to suit your fitness level and access to equipment, or mix it up with other exercises that you enjoy. If you’re unsure of how to perform an exercise, have a quick look on YouTube to get an idea of correct form.

Sample training plan
Frequency: 3 times per week
Target: repeat circuit as many times as possible in 25 minutes
Warm up/cool down: 5 minutes of cardio, such as jogging on the spot or using a skipping rope
Exercises:
Burpees – 10 repetitions (reps)
Push ups – 10 reps
Jumping jacks – 40 reps
Lunges (each leg) – 10 reps
Squat jumps – 10 reps
Mountain climbers – 40 reps
Plank – 30 seconds
Crunches – 10 reps
Good mornings – 10 reps
Sprint on the spot – 30 seconds

Remember, life is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be ups and downs in your journey, but you’ll maintain a good standard of health if you commit to always being ‘fit for life’.

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