Am I exercising enough?
Not a week goes by where at least 10 people ask me ‘what is the right amount and type of exercise’? There is a great deal of pressure to ‘exercise right’ and so many patients want the most efficient and effective way of staying fit.
I’m afraid I’m a bit of a pain in the arse when it comes to a response. Why? I hear you cry. Because we have a saying – the best exercise is the one you are going to do. I prefer to call it activity! ANYTHING! NICE guidance (2017) recommends that you exercise for 2.5hrs per week in stints of no less than 10mins. Please, this is easy as eating cake. Which is really easy, but exercise is much better for you 5 times a week (sorry, I’m sad about that too).
So what does this really mean? It means that I start with the pitfalls of physical activity. Let’s get the negative out of the way so we are prepared:
Overestimating how much activity you are doing.
This is my biggest beef. People think that ‘being on my feet a lot’, ‘doing bits around the house’, ‘walking over to people in the office’ constitutes a military style workout… Whilst these are all great habits to be continued. I often ask – do these things make you sweat? Get your heart pounding? Require a wet wipe? If not, it ain’t exercise.
Sugar free, sugary, sports drinks.
All of the above. It’s tried tested and old, real news. Water is better.
Healthy food does not = eat in unlimited amounts.
Your bodyweight in avocado sounds yummy, but isn’t ideal.
Come in all shapes and sizes. Read; mega workout = treat self with a facial, new racerback vest with sassy slogan. Do not treat with a family size jar of Nutella (guilty as charged).
Once we’ve ascertained where some our previous thinking is, I then ask; What is it that you like to do? The key here is consistency. What activity can we build into a person’s week that will be fun, hot and sweaty, and most importantly, sustained?! Then I add complimentary components to that. For example, if someone loves their Saturday park run, then I add a small stretch and strength programme to compliment that, add another jog, maybe a short and sharp sprint set et voila! 5 times a week bossed!
Or my personal favourite (putting on active wear) and dancing around my flat whilst I clean with such gumption, I need a lay down after! 30mins of intense scrubbing (it’s not a very big flat). Done!