Has your fitness been on a back burner over the last few months because of focussing on your business – whether you are an employer, employee or self-employed?
Do you feel weary as you come toward the end of a financial year?
Lack energy and motivation?
Now is a great time to introduce a regular exercise routine as it will bring you renewed energy and enthusiasm to keep all your life on track: business, family, home and play. Here we answer some of your questions to get you started with your fitness plans in 2011:
How much exercise should I include?
Current Department of Health guidelines indicate a minimum of 30 minutes moderate intensity exercise for 5 days or more offers general health benefits such as reducing the risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease and some cancers, significantly reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, and it can also improve psychological well-being. When starting a new routine this can be split into more manageable chunks such as 3 x 10minute bouts – i.e. walking for the bus. However to prevent obesity a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes moderate intensity activity every day should be carried out. The guidelines are not designed as a temporary recommendation more a guide to what should be included as part of your life ongoing.
What counts as ‘moderate activity’?
For most it would be include things into daily life. Such as walking or cycling over driving or to include hobbies – gardening, sporting activities and playing with your children. These are great activities to start with particularly if you have been very sedentary. Once you are used to this level of activity, aim to include fitness sessions specific to your goals and make them progressive to see further change and adaptation.
What other types of physical activity should I consider?
As the population ages and we become more prone to osteoporosis endeavour to include weight bearing exercise such as walking, jogging, bodyweight and free-weight based exercise which will improve bone density and therefore reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Flexibility, balance and co-ordination are fundamental movements that we take for granted but lose as we age, or in fact sit at a computer screen for hours on end. Consider yoga and Pilates form of classes to maintain and improve this and bring about a feeling of stress management. Some people will enjoy team sports, others gym memberships where there are lots of people working out together, whereas others will prefer to work in a more private environment and benefit from 1-2-1 personal training to get you back on track. The key is to find a physical activity that you like and will want to continue going forward. Fun inspires motivation and focus, which makes you more likely to achieve your goals.
Should I ask my doctor for permission to include exercise or activity?
If you haven’t been active or included exercise in your daily life for a great deal of time, or if you are currently suffering with an ongoing illness or disability, then we would recommend a quick visit to your GP.
As an employer how can I help my employees?
Encourage them to travel actively to work. Provide bicycle racks and shower facilities wherever possible. Advocate a ‘stairs’ only policy in the afternoons, or a set day per week. Review meal or vending provisions to incorporate fruit and healthy options. Welcome activity breaks at lunchtime – i.e. half hour swims. Partner with local authority providers to offer in-expensive memberships to your work force. Embark on a corporate social responsibility project that includes physical activity such as re-building a schools sensory garden and encourage employees along for team building.
I travel with work what can I do?
Travel does disrupt the best laid plans. However if you are in a car always leave a kit bag in the boot so that you have no excuse and can use gym or pool facilities. If you travel on an aeroplane and can only squeeze in one item, take a swimming costume and find a pool local to where you are staying. Walking is by far the easiest activity to include as you don’t need any special equipment, just shoes on your feet!
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