The right activity at the right time

This week I am doing a course. It’s the GP referral course which will allow me to work with people with various medical conditions, and is also the gateway to several further courses that I want to do. It’s 4 days of pretty full on learning, and so far seems really useful.

However, it’s got me thinking about exercise guidelines vs personal capability. Over the last couple of years, for whatever reasons, my body has spent a lot too much time in the fight or flight mode, and as such I’ve been “stressed” (intentionally in inverted commas – I haven’t felt stressed, not in the way you do when there’s a deadline to meet, or a million things vying for your attention) for much of that time. Funnily enough existing like this takes its toll eventually, and right now I find myself in a sort of chronic fatigue type situation. If I plan ahead, I can find energy for what I need to do, but that’s all. This week, for example, I am finding the energy for this course but it will be at the expense of next weekend, when I will likely collapse; I spent much of last week gearing myself up for it, too.

Enough of the pity party, Emily, what’s the point?

OK, sorry! The point is on this course we are told the guideline amounts of exercise for people with various different conditions. Many of these conditions are attributed to sedentary lifestyles, among other things, so it makes very good sense that moving more will help. However, the guidelines seem to state that for each one ideally the person should be doing some sort of cardio exercise 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes (there are variations on this theme – I’m not for a second suggesting the guidelines are exactly the same for every condition).

Now, from my new position of understanding what it is too need to eek out your energy, and from having been told that cardio exercise is one of the big stressors for my body, I am finding this all very interesting. Yes, I absolutely agree that we all should be moving more. Yes, I 100% on board that my role is to encourage people to get more active.

What I am taking from these guidelines each time we get to that slide for a new condition is that getting active is the key here. It isn’t going and training for a 5k, a half marathon, a triathlon, whatever; it is moving more. For anyone with any of the conditions we are studying being more active WILL HELP. For me currently, being active HELPS, it’s just a different level of active to previously.

I’m really excited to learn more and to see how I can couple this learning with my experience to better support people who are inactive to take those first steps, to find their “thing”. We all have a thing. At the moment mine is walking. I walk with the dogs, I take in the sights and sounds of nature. I used to run to achieve the same, but not for now.

If you’re reading this wondering if maybe just maybe there’s an activity you could try that you just might enjoy, let me help you find it.

Right, I’m off for a snooze before today’s learning…

New year – new you? NO!

This time of year there’s all this “new year, new you” stuff being bandied about, as though the old you was a bit rubbish and the only way to survive the new year is to change your entire self. And how long will it take for you to “fail” at that? I’ll give it a couple of days, maybe a week. Who you are is who you are, you don’t need to become a new you!

However, there may be some changes you want to make, and the start of a new year can feel like a good time to address old habits and start creating some new ones. Gym memberships always go sky high in January, but I’m not sure how many of those people actually continue going. Slimming clubs make a small fortune in January from people buying into the idea that by watching their syns or their points they will somehow ditch all their old habits and become some new slinky creature, who is no longer affected by past troubles.

My issue with the gyms and the slimming clubs is that neither addresses why the person hasn’t made the changes before. Why they want to make a change. What success looks like. What has got in the way before. What are the current barriers. I mean, with all the will in the world, someone who works full time and has small children can pay a gym membership until they are blue in the face, but they still won’t have more time in the day, so ultimately they’ll stop going. Someone who comfort eats when life is stressful or work is tough won’t stop doing that just because their points are adding up.

In both instances we need to look at what is behind the habit that the person wants to change. Look at what little switches they can make to alter old habits – for good. Not put a one size fits all solution onto them, but actually…. LISTEN. Yep, I know, imagine that. A conversation about what is holding someone back, and working out what will encourage them forwards.

This is how I like to work. I like to be my clients’ biggest supporter, their confidante, the person who accepts that life happens and setbacks come along, but who is still there throughout and indeed after. I am by no means a counsellor or life coach, but as someone with plenty of experience of being unfit and overweight, I have probably felt how many of  my clients feel. I get it.

So, if in 2018 you want to address some habits that have been holding you back or that are getting you down, I would love to support you through that. If you think that just because it’s a new year suddenly everything will change, in a flash of glitter, then I can’t promise anything!

Give me a shout. Let’s Skype and see how I can help…