The importance of exercise
The NHS (National Health Service, UK) recommends adults (from 19-64) should do some form of physical exercise daily. The NHS also recommend that older adults (65+) should be exercising daily, even if it is light activity.
At AMALAwellness, we recommend focusing on exercises that cover flexibility, balance, strength and aerobic fitness. There are many things you can do to cover these bases and keep your physical practice well-rounded.
Just a few benefits of regular exercise:
- Suppler Joints
- Stronger more flexible muscles
- Improved cardio-vascular health
- Mental clarity
- Better sleep
- Improved proprioception (hand-eye co-ordination)
- Improves memory
- Calms and soothes the nervous system
- Alleviates symptoms of depression, anxiety and low mood
- Improves mental wellbeing
- Helps us to lose or manage weight
- Many more!
Barriers to practising
We can experience many barriers to practising and exercising, such as anxiety about attending classes as well as a lack of motivation, or struggling to find classes and support networks suitable for us.
However, working towards an accessible action plan tailored to what you want to achieve can help you overcome the barriers and hurdles, to help you become more physically active.
Changing Attitudes and Behaviours towards health will help you improve your Wellbeing.
Changing behaviours related to health can have a major impact on minimising the risk of lifestyle-related disease. Behaviour plays a crucial role in health and wellbeing. Our thought patterns and behaviour will determine how much we focus on our physical and mental health. Research shows that health related behavioural patterns are often determined by social circumstances.
It isn’t easy to change our behaviours . It is even more challenging to achieve change in other people. Many people know that having a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet is of great benefit, but still struggle to live healthily.
Education is important, but is not enough to encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. If we look at changing our behaviours rather than just educating ourselves about the benefits of exercise, we can start to feel the immense benefits that a healthy lifestyle can have.
BCT – Behaviour Change Therapy
Science backed approaches to change.
Three of the most useful intervention tactics for promoting positive change in physical activity, mental wellbeing and dietary behaviour are:
1. Goal setting
2. Action planning
(Samdal et al. 2017).
What are your aims, what would you like to change in your life?
Make your goals simple, realistic, manageable and important.
This is an integral part of self management. Make sure they are important and specific to you.
What specific steps do you need to take to reach a specific goal?
– Who, What, Where, When, Why? –
Make a step-by-step goal plan, with 6 weekly plans. It should include detailed steps on what you need to do. This involves stating what you will do, when and where you will do it. Do you need any equipment? Why are you doing it? Who with? Are there any groups, clubs or other social hubs that can support you? – These are all important questions to ask and implement into your action plan.
Keep a journal or diary of how you have achieved your goals daily…
Keeping a journal or diary is a great way of monitoring and reflecting on progress. You can also reflect on what you found useful, what you have found challenging and discuss with others. Using a specific action plan can really help you to implement change. Make sure it is relevant to the changes you wish to make and specific.
Some other things to consider when action planning….
Finding something that is both accessible and affordable….
What clubs, gyms, private lessons, personal trainers or groups are on your doorstep, or in your town? How accessible are they to get to? Is it something you will be able to continually fund long term? These are some things to ask yourself to help you with sticking to a consistent plan.
Consistency and creating a schedule that works for you…
Consistency is key for any action plan being successful. There needs to be specific time, where you can dedicate and honour this for yourself and your physical and mental wellbeing. When you are consistent, your muscles and body develop at a constant rate and at around 6 weeks, you will start to notice the differences in yourself.
Make exercise fun rather than seeing it as a chore…
Finding an exercise class, or exercise routine you enjoy doing will make all the difference. Even just creating a playlist of songs you enjoy can turn exercise from a chore into a fun activity. Are there any friends or family members who might want to join you for a walk, or a jaunt up Roseberry Topping? How about some Aerobics or Strength work to your favourite ‘out out’ tunes?
Community is such an important factor to changing attitudes towards exercise. When you attend a class or group regularly, you will start to make like-minded friends and you will naturally enjoy going along to classes. The sense of comradery, support and friendship will spur you on to keep to the goals you have set. Often, groups will socialise outside of class or specific group settings too, its a great way to be more active in your local community.
We hope these tips and pointers help you to start to change your attitudes towards exercise. Exercise can be fun and really rewarding, as well as great for improving our physical and mental health.
Any questions, we would love to hear from you in the comment section below!
Aimee is the Executive Director of AMALAwellness CIC – A community interest company in Teesside, which offers Tai Chi, Yoga, Meditation and Chair Based Yoga and Exercise classes. Aimee also teaches an array of Yoga, Meditation, Relaxation and Chair Yoga and Exercise classes both in-person and online.
Our team offer classes that help support wellbeing across the lifespan. For more information, check out our about us page.