FEELING GREAT: You don’t have to go to the gym

Swimming is a great way of keeping active
Swimming is a great way of keeping active

Has anyone else had that niggling thought in the back of their head when they think of the gym - ‘I’ve got to go to the gym. Should I go? I know I should but I’m tired/stressed/don’t want to…’

Yes? Me too. Don’t worry about it though, it’s normal.

If you dread the thought of going to the gym because you really don’t enjoy it, focus on being active in different ways instead.

Isn’t being active the same you ask? Well, yes it can be, but it depends on how you perceive it.

If I asked you what you define as someone being healthy what would you say?

If it’s eating well and exercising on a regular basis then yeah, it could be seen as different. I perceive being healthy as eating well for your body and leading an active lifestyle.

Let me explain. With exercising, it’s always seen as something you do as an extra in your day-to-day activities. For example, you might have heard someone say that they exercise three times a week and believe that they are healthy.

To me that’s not true. A person could exercise three times a week, but if that is the ONLY exercise they do then how can that be a healthy and active lifestyle?

Like I said above, focus on being active and there’s a stronger chance you’ll stick to it.

For starters you won’t have the pressure of thinking, ‘if I go to the gym 3 times a week then I can be seen as healthy.’

In fact I bet you are already quite healthy as you’re on here looking at a blog that is all about leading a healthy lifestyle!

Being active doesn’t mean you have to own a gym membership… Do you walk instead of taking the car or bus? Do you play tennis with your partner instead of watching the TV? These are just a few examples of how we can include movement in our daily lives.

It’s so simple to make the change from doing exercise to being active. One of the main reasons is because you are enjoying it. This might be because you are being active with a friend, rather than feeling pressured to go it alone on a treadmill three times a week.

To prove how simple it is to change from doing exercise to being active, I’ve given you a few tips below that you can incorporate into your daily routine. So here it is…

Try a sport. It doesn’t have to be something fast-paced and it doesn’t even need to be with anyone (if that’s how you like it!).

Walking more also can also help you to lead an active lifestyle. This one is really important, especially if you are sat down a lot during the day or have an office job. It would be a good idea to have a brisk walk in the morning, or during your lunch break.

Including family and friends is vital to maintaining your active lifestyle. I know you may prefer to be more active on your own but sometimes it can do you some good to have someone there.

You could take your partner on a walk with you if you never get to spend time together. Or you could try and beat your son or daughter at a game of badminton. Nothing beats a good game with healthy competition!

Becoming active with friends and family will help you to sustain being active because I can guarantee, you will be having more fun and won’t realise that you’re actually exercising.

For example, if I suggested now that you should go and get back on that treadmill, alone, how would you feel? Sad that you won’t be having as much fun?

It’s for this reason alone that we should focus on being more active. Why wouldn’t we want to be active and having fun at the same time?

My only point to add is when you DO decide to become more active, try not to do the same activities over and over. Keep it varied. So for example, try changing walking routes and vary the lengths of walks. This will stop you from getting bored and will challenge your fitness.

If you decide to do a sport on a night like tennis, try changing it to squash or badminton, so that the rules are a little different.

Even when you go swimming, try different swim strokes. All of these different activities target different muscle groups, so it’s important to try a bit of everything.

By doing all these different activities in your daily routine, you will be doing your body wonders in comparison to the gym. Your body will be getting a full body workout and will be challenged all day, not just from the hours you are at the gym.

Your fitness levels will increase and you will have a stronger chance of not having as many aches and pains from exercise (jogging all the time in the gym could end up giving you achilles pain and riding all the time could trigger back pain).

So to summarise… Leading an active lifestyle will give you more time for your family and friends, make you fitter and prevent aches and pains, ALL whilst you’re having fun! Don’t think of exercise and become more active, you could even start today!

For more tips on Healthy Habits, check out my book ‘The Healthy Habit’ on leading a healthy lifestyle, to help you keep active, mobile and free from painkillers: http://www.thehealthyhabitbook.com