Why should we exercise?
For context, I am writing this in October 2020 – the hard lockdown is over (for now) but we are facing lots of changing restrictions and globally have gone through a very challenging time.
I’ve been teaching exercise in various forms for over 20 years and could talk for hours about why we should exercise regularly. Over the last couple of decades many of the reasons I would give have stayed the same; improved heart health, better muscle tone (looks nice alongside some reduced body fat and makes you stronger), lowering the risk of many life threatening diseases including some cancers, heart disease, stroke etc.
Of course over the last two decades my specialities have become more focused. Postnatal exercise, especially outdoors added in the mental health aspect amongst all the other benefits – community, shared experience and headspace.
Pelvic Floor and Core knowledge – what woman doesn’t want to ensure that she doesn’t leak, that her pelvic organs stay in their rightful place, or if they’re not that she knows how to exercise in the best way possible? The same goes for the woman with Diastasis Recti or recovering from a C-section – there are aesthetics at play but reducing back pain, hip pain, leaking etc are key key key to a happy woman and ultimately the ability for her to exercise however she wants to.
Moving to the peri-menopause….. lifting something heavy (weights, rubber resistance, ones’ own body weight) helps bone health – putting the brakes on osteopenia and osteoporosis. Elevating the heart rate increases cardiac health (which can be affected by the drop in Oestrogen) and generally moving more and managing stress helps to reduce body fat around the tummy which is risk factor for heart disease. Plus let’s not forget that movement and exercise can also benefit brain and cognitive health (I think there’s another blog to be written about that!)
So let’s move forwards to 2020 and all the challenges that this year has brought so far. For me, exercising and providing a service to my amazing clients has been an absolute anchor of headspace and release when the mind has been full and busy (not always on the best way!) Back in March when the gravity of what was happening was hitting home, a run, a walk, a class or yoga afforded 30-60 minutes of being able to focus the mind elsewhere. The realisation that whether Covid-19 is a respiratory or a vascular disease (do we actually know for sure yet?) we need strong and healthy lungs and heart now more than ever. Obese people seem to be suffering worse than those at a lighter weight and there appears to be strong indications that Vitamin D deficiency isn’t helpful either. I cannot think of a single reason why exercise is a bad idea!
And YET, often when we are busy (and here in October, with schools back, work increasing for the lucky ones) it is often the thing that takes a back seat. I feel a collective weariness – this year has been SO tough, physically, mentally, emotionally and right now, a lot of my clients are fatigued in so many ways. I am ensuring as much as I can that sessions are manageable, enjoyable, provide all the benefits that I’ve outlined above and that by the end, it wasn’t a bad idea to turn up, move the body and give the mind a different focus. Energise rather than exhaust…. and that goes for my workouts too.
So tell me – what’s your motivation for movement? Or if you are lacking it…. how can I help you because it’s truly a non negotiable.
Stay safe and well xx