National Fitness Day 2021
The team here at hero have pulled together some top tips and advice for anyone starting out or moving forward with their health and fitness journey this National Fitness Day or any other time of the year. Enjoy!
Joe Gaunt, CEO and Founder:
“Wellbeing is at the forefront of every decision we make as a collective. We’re all on a different journey and physical, mental and social wellbeing is completely unique from one person to the next which is where most lifestyle solutions fall down. But not with hero. We’ve developed our Navigator platform to provide a preventative solution to enhance and improve the lifestyles of the end users. Our intuitive technology and range of services provides a wholesome package of expertise for people to access and benefit from across every facet of health. The key to changing attitudes and behaviours is through making realistic, meaningful changes that are sustainable and achievable. We believe that every individual, regardless of physical ability, experience or confidence can find a passion through our platform and our community.”
Dr Heather McKee, Behaviour Change Specialist: The first step on your fitness journey is to ask yourself – what would this look like if it was easy? Or even fun?
“We tend to pursue a lifestyle change without thinking of the discomfort “future me” will have to go through on that journey! When committing to a new healthy eating diet we buy a basket of the most worthy/boring foods broccoli carrots kale and quinoa, when joining a new gym head straight for the punishing treadmill or step machine, or when getting fit we think because it’s hardest to do running is the only option out there!
“One study of the way people tackle change found that more than two-thirds of respondents told researchers that they typically focus on the benefits they expect to accrue in the long run without any regard for their short-term pain. Only 26% of those surveyed said they would try and make goal pursuit enjoyable in and of itself.
“Yet research has found that when participants were prompted to select the kind of healthy foods or exercise they expected to enjoy vs. the ones they thought they would benefit from the most with no regard for how enjoyable they were (which is what the majority of us do naturally!) What they found was that encouraging people to find fun in healthy activities led to way better results people were much more likely to stick to their healthy eating or exercise goals.”
Alice Rawsthorne, 500hr Yoga Instructor, Pre + Post Natal:
“Physical activity is so important for whole-person health, and this is just as important during pregnancy. There is sometimes a myth that pregnant people are weak and should avoid exercise. Every pregnant person is different, but it’s important not to be afraid of exercise, providing that your doctor or healthcare advisor has cleared you for physical activity. Birth is intense, hard work, requires a lot of endurance and also requires being present in the body. Mindful physical activity like prenatal yoga classes are one of the tools you can use to help prepare for birth, to help you feel strong and confident in your body. You are not weak, you are strong!”
Dan Turnell, Physiotherapist: Why does exercise help? We all know from constantly being told that movement is key to a healthy body; But how and why?
“As we move we encourage the production of synovial fluid through our joints, this fluid acts as the oil for our joints by lubricating them, but also provides the joints with nutrients to help keep them healthy, this can reduce the incidents of joint pain or the severity of pain. By including exercise in our daily lifestyle we also help to maintain healthy, strong and capable soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments and tendons. This reduces our chance of injury, but also most importantly helps to keep us able to participate in meaningful activities we enjoy, with those that we love whether that’s sport, walks or playing with the grandchildren.”
Importance of exercise as we age: “As we age resistance exercise is key to helping to maintain our health. As we age our body’s muscles undergo sarcopenia (muscle loss due to ageing) and after the age of 50 our ability to reabsorb bone reduces and can lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis. Both of these can increase our chances of injury, as with muscle loss, strength, endurance and balance become reduced, and if our bone density reduces it can result in postural spinal changes (increased spinal curve) or fractures from small falls or impacts. Resistance exercise has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to reduce and reverse both sarcopenia and bone density changes. This simple change can help us all live a more active, enjoyable and independent life.”
Gavin DeMarines, 600hr Yoga & Meditation Instructor:
“Physical health is so much more important than simply just going to the gym for a good body. It boosts my self-confidence, makes me feel so much more energetic and always manages to lift my mood. It’s a fantastic anti depression solution. My mental health is always top priority as well. For me I meditate every day, even if it’s for five minutes, or when I’m in bed, work etc. II work towards a balance between both, bringing a state of Yin and Yang to my life.”
Vicky Fytche, Senior Wellbeing Coach:
“Physical activity is great for whole-person wellbeing, it’s a great way to contribute towards weight maintenance through energy balance, to help achieve a target or goal for a physical fitness component, such as strength or endurance, it can even help regulate our sleep wake cycles to ensure we have the energy and resilience to take part in day-to-day challenges. Indirectly it contributes to our mental wellbeing in many different ways, but being physically active directly contributes towards reducing cortisol our stress hormone and therefore reducing anxiety, depression and negative mood. It does this by ‘bumping’ up the production of our brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins!
“I personally use physical activity to help combat anxious thoughts and feelings after a busy period, my personal favourite exercise class is boxing! However, when I’m unable to attend, just a short walk outdoors also does the trick, it allows me to relax, digest information and have a more positive outlook.”
Laura Schober, EMCC Practitioner & Positive Psychology Coach:
“Physical activity is an essential contributor to human wellbeing. It releases neurotransmitters such as endorphins, dopamine and serotonin – which all contribute to an uplifted mood. Also, it increases our brain’s neuroplasticity, it can have a significant positive impact on one’s confidence and self-esteem and it can decrease anxiety and depression. There are so many benefits I could write a never-ending list!
“To me personally, physical activity is absolutely crucial to feel centred and keep my balance. I love all kinds of activity: yoga, bouldering, dancing, running and calisthenics. Especially yoga and dancing help me to strengthen the connection to myself and to feel happy & grounded.”
Samantha Gaunt, Head of Content & Delivery:
“The benefits of physical activity are innumerable. We are born movers. Movement is not only essential for the physical adaptations experienced at the heart, lungs and circulation, but also at the level of the brain. With an ageing society, now more than ever, it is important we act on evidence-based positive healthy behaviours that delay brain aging, degenerative pathologies including Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s and enable us to live better for longer.
“Movement is free, accessible, and key to supporting whole-person health. If I can give you one top tip, it would be to ‘find what you love’, whether that be walking outdoors, dancing in the kitchen, or joining a group exercise class, make sure you include this in your weekly plan, and you’ll soon reap the benefits for doing so!”
Jon Farrell, UK Head of Operations:
“Exercise gives you energy. You might be surprised at how a 30-minute workout in the morning can change your whole day. When endorphins are released into your bloodstream during exercise or activity you will feel like you have much more energy for the rest of the day. No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch!”
Which National Fitness Day tips did you find most useful?
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