2. Walking (and running and swimming and going to the gym)

I think the biggest change in my life recently has to have been exercise. My evenings/weekends/holidays used to consist of sitting on the sofa, watching TV. The only real difference from when I was asleep was that my eyes were open. In February I started walking home from work – just under 2 miles. It started off taking me about an hour, within the week I got that down to about 45 minutes. I started to feel better straight away, mainly because of the exercise, but also because of the fact that I wasn’t reliant on anyone else giving me a lift, and didn’t have to wait for buses, I found I was staying at work later, but then not taking much work home with me.

I then started to think that I might start running – I honestly have no idea where this came from!!!! So I chatted to a friend at work who told me about the couch to 5k app. Sooooooooo made for me! There are lots of versions of this app but the general premise is the same. You run 3 times a week for about 30 minutes. Each week is a stage, and you start off running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes, this gradually increases as the weeks go on. So… I started! My friend at work has been a saint, I text her everything I run and she has really encouraged me. I’m up to about 25 minutes continuously running now. My main piece of advice here would be months rush it. I made sure that i didn’t move on to the next stage until I had completed 3 continuous sessions of a stage. There seemed to be no point in rushing it. That is why it has taken me so long to get to the stage I’m at, and I’m still not running 5k yet! I know other people have progressed a lot quicker, but I really was going from literally no exercise at all! The other key was routine, making sure I did the three days, even if sometimes I didn’t complete it properly and walked more, at least I was getting the exercise and was doing the time, and my body gradually got used to it! 

So I was walking from work, and running three times a week. Already I was feeling better. I was also sleeping better because my body was worn out. I then got a Fitbit – this is basically a wristband which measures steps, and exercise and as I said previously it shows how many calories you burn off and links in with myfitnesspal. You can set your own goals, but the set goal is 10000 steps a day. This was when I started walking to work as well. So, on a normal weekday I am doing 90 minutes walking and that is just to get to and from work. Just this walk allows to meet my step goal, and I understand how difficult it must be if you don’t walk, as I often struggle at the weekends. But the difference it makes to me, it gives me a chance to prepare for the day, or to wind down from the day. I listen to music, I think!

My concerns started to raise when I got to the summer holiday, I wasn’t going to be walking everyday, what was I going to do? This was when I joined a local gym, this was mainly to have somewhere to walk to and for the swimming pool, but I have had an induction for the gym and have a programme I follow. I’ve really enjoyed it, and am enjoying swimming as well. I’m not sure how it will work once term starts again but we can see how that goes!

These things won’t be the same for everyone, I have found exercise that works for me, and most importantly exercise that I enjoy. Try out different things, I have also discovered I’m actually quite a solitary person and peer to do these things in my own, but some people prefer and need to do things with other people. Find what fits in with your lifestyle, and what you enjoy.

Sorry, this one does seem like a bit of a rant but the difference the exercise has made is immense, and has possibly made the weight loss a lot easier. You may have to drive to work, that’s fine, but could you park further away, take the stairs rather than the lift etc… Find what works for you and what you enjoy.

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