Exercise is any activity that increases or maintains physical fitness and health & wellbeing. It is mostly undertaken to strengthen muscles, develop & increase physical endurance (cardiovascular), practise & sharpen a specific athletic skill or to promote or maintain weight loss. It is also highly enjoyable!
Starting out on a new exercise regime can be highly rewarding, as the initial benefits are immediately obvious. Continuing with a regular exercise program boosts the immune system, helps fight off disease & obesity, improves mental health, prevents depression, improves sleep, and can drastically improve an individuals self-esteem. The endorphins released during and after extended exercise sessions can be highly enjoyable and addictive too.
Combined with a (permanent) healthy diet & lifestyle, regular exercise must surely be the key to a long, healthy life, and could ultimately lead to success in whatever you pursue thanks to the positive benefits it brings.
Every body (literally) is different, and so react differently to exercise. In this age of convenience, people have become reliant on various modes of transport to get around, tools for most tasks, and spent a lot of time sat at a desk or in front of the TV. Governments express some concerned about the state of the general population and the scary levels of obesity (it actually places a strain on the national health system and budget) and now ‘recommend’ a minimum of “30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity 5 times a week”, or words to that effect!
A lot of people seem to think that in order to ‘get anything out of’ taking regular exercise, or to lose weight, they have to put in an extraordinary amount of effort, or spend lots of money to reach a goal. This simply isn’t true! A pair of comfy, good fitting trainers & clothes, a healthy can-do attitude, and some basic pointers will be enough to get you on the right path. Most of what is needed is the self-motivation to get off the sofa and get out there!
We aim to provide some of our own experiences in our blogs, from starting out through to reaching specific fitness goals (such as completing a certain running distance or reaching a sporting goal). Everyone has to start somewhere, just like TeamPI did a few years ago, and just like those amazing Olympians who wowed us all so recently in London 2012.
Both of us have had lengthy (and expensive!) gym memberships at various points in life, and we really find the gym quite demotivating now for several reasons; its stuffy & air-conditioned (a totally unnatural space to exercise in), it’s really busy & its hard to use the equipment you want to, there are smelly people there (there’s always one!), they can feel intimidating, the machines are slightly too convenient (if it gets hard going, you can turn it down a level with the push of a button!), it actually feels like a ‘chore’ to travel there, get changed, workout, get showered & travel home again! How many people do you know who have a gym membership and have either cancelled it or are worse, still paying it but never going?! It is still a useful place, as some gym equipment is expensive or cumbersome to own yourself, so you need to weigh up the best gym, membership options and times to visit carefully to fit into your lifestyle. Some people like to train before work, early in the morning, others prefer to pack a quick half-hour session into their lunch break and the majority seem to go to the gym after work.
A couple of years ago we started running outdoors. It was hard work to begin with, but by keeping it slow, steady and short, and persevering, we started to enjoy it immensely. The fresh air, the different views & scenery each run, and the fact that it really fires the brain as well as the body, as you concentrate on each step and the route you’re following. Importantly, you start & finish your workout at home, and when you come home from only 20-30 minutes of running, the effort expended and the sweat dripping off the brow, is immeasurably more than most standard gym sessions will produce.
There are great benefits to be had from doing some resistance (weight) training too, so we continued to use the gym for that after we started running. Now we have built our own little gym at home in the garage. It takes up about half of a single garage space, and not only offers us the ultimate flexibility in when we can use it, but also with a small outlay, we have everything in there we need to be able to complete any exercise we want. As with the running, our gym is at home! No commute, no sharing with random other users, and straight into our own nice hot shower moments after finishing a workout… We save so much time & effort on travelling to and from the gym, and now have more motivation than ever to go and use it regularly!
We have recently discovered TRX Suspension Training which uses a simple strap system to support you as you use your bodyweight and gravity to perform strength training exercises. You control how much each exercise challenges you by simply adjusting the body angle or position with the exercise to add or decrease resistance. The system is cheap to purchase and can do pretty much anything the huge and expensive gym machines can offer! We love it, and as we learn more techniques we’ll be blogging about our progress with it.
We hope our blogs about our running, endurance training and strength training can inspire you to get involved or maybe change the way you do things, especially if you’re struggling to motivate or becoming bored of the gym like us…
Paul & Irina. 🙂