We know that exercising regularly makes us feel better in body and mind. But putting our good intentions into action is where so many of us fall down.
Not only does exercise lead to stronger muscles and joints, easier weight management and a better mental state – as well as cutting the risk of illnesses like heart disease and diabetes – it can improve everything from your diet to your sleep patterns.
Recent research by the University of Leeds has found that regular exercise can reduce your appetite for fatty foods by 10 to 15 per cent (in a study of 180 people). Researchers found a clear relationship between the amount of physical activity that someone engaged in and their dietary cravings – the more you exercise, the less you want that Big Mac.
And a recent national YouGov study of over 1,000 people aged 35-55 by the makers of Voltarol found that an amazing 64% of people admit they should do more about their physical health.
So why don’t we? The survey by the makers of Voltarol found the main obstacles to getting back on track to fitness were our busy lives, lack of energy, fear of injury and just not feeling motivated.
But it is a vicious circle: if you’re fit and healthy, your body can cope with the demands of everyday life; if you’re not fit, you’re more likely to feel aches and pains when you do physical activity.
The Department of Health recommends that adults should take at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week to keep healthy, as well as doing strength exercises a couple of times a week to work all the major muscle groups.
Ready to get off the couch and back into a weekly workout routine? Enjoy our simple three-step plan to help you get back into the habit of exercise.
1. Write a training plan
Setting yourself attainable goals is key, so it makes sense to start a steady training programme, which allows your body to adjust as you gradually increase your fitness; as a lapsed runner, for example, prepare a first target of completing a 5km run this year, a 10km next year.
On the Voltarol website, there is an inspirational and unique fitness tool with personalised training plans tailored to specific circumstances.
It allows you to choose the lifestyle which best reflects your own, for example, ‘I sit in front of the computer all day,’ ‘I’m a parent with limited time for myself’ or ‘I feel tense and stressed’. Each exercise programme starts with some tips and suggests detailed exercises designed to improve your mobility, strength, coordination and stamina.
2. Stock up on essentials
Before you hit the gym, the pool or that exercise class, make sure you’ve got the right kit.
- The right clothes for your sport (comfortable, breathable, allowing freedom of movement)
- Trainers - properly fitted and providing adequate support. Many running shoes can last over 300 miles, but it may be worth checking those trainers at the back of your wardrobe for signs of wear and tear.
- A re-sealable bag with micro-fibre towel, water bottle, shampoo, body wash and deodorant (especially if you’re planning to hit the gym in your lunch break).
- A mini medical kit with blister pads, plasters and Voltarol Pain-Eze Emulgel for any post-exercise aches and pains.
3. Track your progress - and celebrate your wins
Nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing visible results from your exercise programme as it can really help with motivation.
Keep track of the results you are seeing and feeling. Take a before picture and then one every month (and put them on your fridge or mirror) or track your progress using an app or a wearable device.
Make sure you keep plotting an upwards trajectory. Once you reach a goal, set another one. The waist of your jeans feels looser, but what about that jacket languishing in the back of your wardrobe? You ran for 15 minutes, how about 20 next?
Voltarol Pain-eze Emulgel contains diclofenac diethylammonium. For the relief of pain and inflammation. Always read the label.
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