You know that funny video that was doing the rounds on social media about wearing your active wear to go and do non-sporty normal things like grocery shopping? Well, that could be me! Except usually I have actually done something active in my active wear before I’m doing the activities that don’t require active wear. But some days I do find myself quickly running upstairs to change in to 'normal' clothes before I pick up my kids from school, just so that people don't think I've been sitting around in active wear all day!
I find that to make exercise a regular feature of my week, I need to build it in to my routine. And for me this means making it a means to an end. I’m not just exercising for exercise sake, I’m using it as a way of getting from A to B.
Here in London, there is a huge push at the moment to make greener choices, and in particular greener school runs. Our kids are breathing filthy air, and I feel that by not driving to drop my kids at school, I’m doing my little bit to reduce the number of pollutants they have to breathe. So I take my daughter to school by bus. We have a lovely time on the journey, sitting side by side and chatting about the day to come. It's much better quality time together than being in the car, and it doesn’t make a huge difference to our journey time.
But the real bonus is that then I get to walk back home. Earphones in, podcast loaded, I don’t just stroll back home. I march on, powering my way up the hills of Hampstead and across the Heath to home. Swinging my arms, engaging my abs and lengthening my stride means it really is a workout. 45 minutes later, I arrive home with rosy cheeks and muddy feet, ready to start my day.
Just like Amos Lee describes in his lovely song, Bottom of the Barrel, I walk whatever the weather, and tend to love it even more if it’s pouring with rain like it was this morning.
As a nutritionist, I advise all my clients to exercise regularly, whether they want to lose weight or not. It’s as important for their state of mind as for their physical health.
But the type of exercise needs to work for them.
For some people that could be HIIT work outs, but for others the intense physical stress of that type of activity may be exacerbating their already stressed state, and elevating their cortisol levels even further. Something more gentle, like yoga or a hike, is better advised.
Just like diets, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another, and it really does pay to listen to what YOUR body needs and focus on that, instead of what everyone else around you is doing.