Well, there is a change in the air – we’ve had the spring equinox which now means daylight will outweigh hours of darkness. Plants and animals recognise these changes with new growth coming through in the garden and my first butterfly of the year sighting last weekend.
We too can take advantage of these longer daylight hours and better weather. Not that I’m a fan of these apps on phones that track your physical activity, but I’m trialling one. I’m using it to help ensure I get my daily exercise in by monitoring my daily 30. 30mins of movement or more, depending on time constraints for me.
Living in Bude, we have the glorious facility of the canal. What a great place for us to spend time not only ensuring we get out and exercise but see some great wildlife. Herons, kingfishers, moorhens and watervoles – they all live in and around the canal and marshes of Bude and making your daily 30mins of exercise within such an environment a wonderfully enjoyable time. As you can imagine my daily 30 regularly becomes my daily 60 when I end up watching wildlife!
Exercising can be tough though, especially if you are recovering from illness or surgery. Maybe your doctor has suggested it’s time to start exercising in order to help with your rehabilitation. Even though you know how beneficial it could be, you sometimes feel worse when you try to move. Then of course you find feelings of discouragement and the desire to just give up grows and grows.
What you should be thinking about however is what the right kind and the right amount of exercise that you should be doing. So….
- Start slowly. If your body is in pain, fatigued or weak it will respond better to a gentle, slow approach.
- Warm up. Muscles are happiest when they’re warm. Exercise in a comfortably warm room. Wear layers so you can adjust for body temperature.
- Short segments say 3 to 5 minutes, and very gradually add more time. Every little helps.
- Listen to your body. Which activities make you feel better and what are the ones that don’t?
- Breathing. Let your breath help you realise when you’re doing too much. When you begin gasping and feel out of breath, slow down a little so you can begin to work on your breathing capacity. The more your stamina builds and lung capacity grows, you will be more easily able to exercise more.
- Limits. Work within your natural range of motion. Over-do it and those muscles will contract.
- The big R. Relax those muscles that you feel are tight. Ever seen a cat stretching? Imagine how good it could be if you replicated some of those movements and see how relaxed, supple and less tense you can be.
- Repetition. Repetitive movements, especially when there’s weight or pressure on the joints can give rise to inflammation. Strength training can be valuable but avoid heavy weights and work up gradually.
- Believe in your ability to get better.
- Friend. Treat your body like a best friend.
- Fun! Above all enjoy what you are doing. Use the time you exercise to join up with friends. Meet up for walks, sign up for a class – don’t forget we were always designed to move, but do it gently and you’ll feel better sooner.
So whether it’s a brisk walk along the canal, or trying out the various fitness / yoga classes, I hope you find what makes you happy within yourself. And if you are hankering for some literary gold dust? Read ‘Spark’ by Dr John Ratey and Eric Hagerman, you’ll never see exercise in the same light.
If you are struggling with any issues surrounding exercise or indeed anything else, I offer FREE no obligation initial consultations for solution focused hypnotherapy here in Bude, Cornwall.