5 Tips on staying fit and active during lockdown

Here in the UK, we are 10 weeks into lockdown.  Research shows that staying active and regular exercise is beneficial to health in so many ways. It reduces the risk of high blood pressure, helps lower cholesterol, regulates blood sugar levels, improves stamina and strength. Exercise can also improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Therefore, it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves, and do whatever we can to stay motivated, safe and healthy. In this blog, I offer some of my top tips to help you stay active.

1. Set a health goal

Aim to make your health goal SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Examples are: ‘I want to be able to jog 2 km without stopping in 1 month.’ or ‘I plan to workout 3 times a week, 30 minutes each time.’ or ‘I aim to walk 8000-10000 steps everyday this week.’

Setting a goal gives you something to work towards and offers a sense of accomplishment once you achieve it.  This will also keep your body and mind active.

2. Stay active at home

The ways to stay active at home are endless: housework, cleaning, gardening, walk up and down the stairs, dance to music. If you can, create a workout space at home where you ‘workout’. This may be your living room where you lift weight. Or kitchen worktop where you do some pushups. Or your garden.

3. Adapt your workout

We often talk about cardio, strength training and stretching in fitness. There are plenty of machines and equipment at the gym for this purpose. When you are at home, you can actually build your own fitness routine using bodyweight exercises and common items you can find at home.  Think about what you can do to get your heart rate up just a little (cardio). What heavy things can you lift (strength training). The most important thing is exercise form and lifting technique. Consult a fitness professional if you are new to lifting weight, or if you have any injury.

4. Be positive

When you are too busy or not in the mood to exercise, focus on how awesome you will feel afterwards! As a personal trainer, I have these moments too. I am a human after all. Remember, you do not need to sweat buckets or feel sore to experience the benefits of exercise. You can opt for low-impact, low-intensity exercise to begin with. See how you feel, and adjust the intensity accordingly. If a workout session feels too much, try brisk walk outside for 20-30 minutes. I promise you will feel much better when you get back home!

5. Make it fun

Make your fitness journey fun! There are lots of workout videos online, from aerobics, HIIT to yoga and zumba. These are brilliant in keeping you inspired and motivated during these challenging times. I encourage my clients to give these a go! If you already follow a fitness program, why not play your favourite music when you workout. Working out with a friend online can also be fun!

Hope you enjoy reading this blog and have found these tips useful.

Stay safe, stay active!

Winnie

Sugar awareness week 2020

This week is Sugar Awareness Week. Sugar is found is a variety of foods. Free sugars are sugars added to food or drinks (biscuits, cakes, sweets, chocolates, cereals, ice-creams, fizzy drinks, flavoured yoghurts). Sugars in honey, syrups and fruits juices also count as free sugars. Eating too much sugar can cause weight gain, tooth decay and diabetes. The World Health Organization recommends that added sugar intake is no more than 24g (6 teaspoons) per day.

 

Action plan:

🍎Understand the health impacts of consuming too much sugar
🍎 Create an environment so that there is less temptation to consume sugar
🍎 Replace sugary snacks with fruits, low-GI carbohydrates, unprocessed nuts, protein rich food (balanced diet)
🍎 Encourage healthy eating habits
🍰 Enjoy a slice of cake at celebrations without feeling guilty

Are you trying to cut back on sugar? Let me know how you are getting on.

Achieve your goals in seven steps

Perhaps you have heard of setting SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Goal setting is the first step in achieving any goal. Have you ever wondered what comes after goal setting?  In this article, I share with you seven steps to achieving your goals.

1. Goal setting

Goals give you DIRECTION and PURPOSE. Think about WHAT is it that you want. Is it better health, fitness level, relationship? Then think about WHY you want to achieve it. What does achieving the goal mean to you? What value will it add to your life? Is it going to take you where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years?

Make sure your goal is SMART

Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – Timely

You can set goals to achieve anything in life, not just fitness and health.

2. Write it down

Did you know that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them?

Write down your SMART goal somewhere you can see every single day.

Tell someone you trust, someone who will encourage and support you on the journey.

3.  Have a plan

A goal without a plan is just a dream. You can wish and pray that your dream will come true. That this year, things will be different. I wish that for you too. However, without a plan, it is unlikely that your thoughts, actions and habits will change consistently. For example, you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness. The guideline for this is to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week.  To achieve this, you could brisk walk 30 minutes, 5 days a week; or run 25 minutes, 3 days a week. Make time to make it happen.

4. Solve problems

Anticipate obstacles along the way. I would like you to write down three potential obstacles that might prevent you from achieving your goal. Now, write down three solutions to each obstacle. The more creative you are in problem solving, the more likely you are able to overcome them. During this process, you develop a very important and valuable skill – resilience.

5. Build winning habits

Achievement is the result of taking little steps, in the right direction, day in and day out.  Winning habits can be developed through deliberate practice, whether it’s changing your mindset or taking actions. It takes time. It takes discipline. The good news is that habits will make the change more sustainable and consistent.

6. Celebrate victories

Take time to celebrate what you have achieved!

Reward yourself for your hard work, discipline and commitment.

7. Review and reflect

Think about what you have accomplished, how far you have come. Now that you have overcome various obstacles and achieved your goal, how do you feel? What is the next step? Is it time to move on to setting another goal, or would you like to keep practising what you learnt to make the change more permanent?

Remember, goals change in life, and that is ok. What serves you now may not serve you in the future. Life is constantly changing and we evolve to become a better self.

What are you working on right now? Please share.