Movement is everything to our species, both metaphorically and physically. Without it, we are static, listing, without direction, traveling to no destination other than our present. Embracing movement is chasing the future, which is almost exactly what being active represents to me. When I am training, I constantly keep in mind the goal of a stronger, more functionally capable body, both for years time and equally for 40 years time. Without movement, we would waste away, our bodies and souls would atrophy, but the struggle and the journey are what gives us the stories and purpose of existence. It’s a pretty fundamental recognition. In a world where we move less than ever in our sedentary lives, where it’s considered ‘normal’ to sit in front of a screen for up to 10 hours a day, only arising to use the restroom… remaining active and moving where possible is of utmost importance. This post is a collaboration with Matalan, as part of their Value of Movement campaign, which totally resonates with my entire ethos. Click MORE to see my top reasons & ways to get moving right now…
BUT FIRST, A LIGHT STATISTICAL OBSERVATION…
The UN notes that a quarter of all Brits are obese, with levels in excess of Spain, Germany, and France. There are in excess of 20 million souls who are without physical activity in this country, per the British Heart Foundation (sub 150 mins activity per week). They also noted that the average person spends 1/5 of his/her life sitting down, or put another way just under 80 days of each year seated; and yet inactivity is a cause of about 10% of all premature deaths from heart disease, and 15% for any cause.
WHAT’S THE ANSWER?
Well, activity, clearly! However, one must be realistic; the dilemma of new clients is often that you want to be active but it’s genuinely not feasible, with work and life commitments interfering with the best-made activity plans. You simply can’t get to the gym 5 times a week. However, I would argue that your health is the most important investment you’ll ever make; it’s the one thing you carry with you for the rest of your life, and if you neglect it near-term, you’ll suffer long-term. Embracing motion is the only way around this. Therefore here are a few tricks that can help you incorporate exercise into every day, even as part busy life. Aside from that, keeping active will keep you motivated. Just a little activity every day deploys endorphins and reminds you just how great it feels to be active, with the benefit that your body will gather incremental strength each time, and the exercises will become easier. Heading out even for a brisk 20-minute walk will lift the mood, and trigger a release of happy hormones, which in turn help keep you positive and motivated.
ONE) POWER WALKING IS A SUPERB WAY TO EMBRACE MOVEMENT…
Yes, it works, it’s not meant to be a leisurely stroll but one that you literally power through. I recommend to most of my clients who have started training for the first time to aim to achieve >10,000 steps (at least) per day. Invest in a step counter of sorts (Apple Watch does the job beautifully for me), or most mobiles with an accelerometer will have this feature to help calculate your daily steps. By checking in on this throughout the day it’ll help you ensure you don’t leave it until late last minute before bedtime, and spread the activity as you go through the day.
– For an indoor treadmill, I’d suggest that a person of medium fitness should aim for a gradient of 7% with a speed of 7km/h. However, this completely varies depending on your fitness level. Ultimately, if you’re outside/indoors you should be thinking ‘this is tough’. You want it to feel almost like a jog although you’re walking – the same sensations are triggered; a raised heartbeat, a light sweat and the feeling of being slightly out of breath.
– Ensure the arms are at a 90-degree angle
– Maintain good posture throughout
– Engage your core and squeeze your glutes.
– Avoid looking at the ground, instead gaze forward with intent.
– Ensure you have comfortable walking shoes
– Bring water to stay well hydrated
– I’d also suggest some banging tunes to push you onward!
1) Superior fat burning
2) It’s relatively low-impact, so the consequences on the body are far more gentle (compared to a harsh run),
3) A full-body work out which sculpts arms, legs, and core particularly.
4) Strengthens bone density.
5) Improved blood circulation and pressure.
6) Cholesterol improvements.
7) The exposure to some hard-to-find Vitamin D (i.e. outdoors!),
8) Mood boosting
9) A mindful escape – a bit of ‘you time’ for a spot of solitude, to think about things!
10) If you’re short on time. Squeeze it in where possible – en route to work, during a lunch break or walking to a meeting – anywhere, anytime but the best time is before breakfast for 60 minutes!
– Plus you’ll be taking in some great scenery – nature or the urban city – whilst walking!
TWO) BODYWEIGHT EXERCISE
Training, or indeed introducing lighter activity during the day, needn’t be complicated. The benefit of bodyweight exercises are that they’re effective and can be done anywhere. It’s also not unusual that regular gym goers can lift incredibly heavy loads in the gym, but ask them to do 10 push-ups and they struggle. Functional strength is far more useful to the body than the ability to lift huge amounts on a single, less useful plane. That functional capability will help you to stay mobile well into the future, whilst a pursuit of heavy weights may threaten to impair joint functionality in the long run. Here are some of the benefits of bodyweight exercises.
– Functional exercises that involves body movements that are similar or mimic tasks we perform in our daily lives. This can help prevent injuries in the long run.
– Strength gain helps to build a more defined musculature and support the loads on joints.
– Boosts cardiovascular fitness.
– Toasts fat, with a thermogenic effect consuming calories hours after a workout.
– You can even deploy body weight exercises en-route to work on your power walk; a park bench is the only kit you’ll need!
– Empowering, as you can see how your body gets stronger with time, via your ability to manage more reps of the same exercise.
– Improved balance – many moves require balance and work your core as well, from the perspective of stabilizing the motion.
– It’s good fun – you can swap it up all the time to add variation, and avoid plateauing.
– Solo or in a group – Invite friends to train with you in the great outdoors.
– Easily modified – to increase the difficulty factor, simply add more repetitions, focus on tempo – performing the exercises more slowly, for instance can be a lot harder.
Check out THIS LITTLE VIDEO I made for Matalan, wearing their Souluxe collection; a power walk, achieving my 20,000 steps, and stopping along the way for a stretch & some light bodyweight exercises.
This post is a sponsored collaboration with Matalan as part of their #ValueOfMovement campaign. For more about why I take on such projects, please see my DISCLOSURE page. Thank you.