2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Category: Exercise (page 1 of 3)

Rehab training

Rehab training is a very important part of recovery from both a physical and mental crisis. I will be discussing my own rehab training which has taken place over the last few weeks. I have been mentioning it in some of my other blogs but want to dedicate a full blog to it too.

Five weeks ago

About five weeks ago yesterday the hospital was wheeling me down for emergency surgery after finding two cysts one on each ovary. This is the second surgery I have had in three years and the third issue with Endometriosis. The funny thing is all the outside has healed and I have little scars now to add to my collection. However, the inside is taking slightly longer which is normal. I have to keep reminding myself that I am only five weeks post op.

My personality

My personality is very go, go, go and I am not very good at sitting still. I mean I was back in a Zumba class around ten days post op and haven’t slowed down since. In fact, I have been increasing what I do (within reason). Yes I say I have been in a Zumba class but it has been very controlled and there has been no jumps or bouncing. Jumping around at that stage would not have helped my recovery.

Training

So what have I been doing except for Zumba? I have been walking, walking and walking some more. Starting on a treadmill going to number five on the incline with a slow walking speed. I then progressed it up to incline level fifteen with a much faster pace. Today I did forty minutes. I use one minute for each incline, plateau at the top for five minutes then come down the other side. It has taken a few weeks to get there but with determination I feel it has gone well.

Other gym kit

I have also been using the rolling escalator stair machine thingy. Once I had found the correct spaces for my water bottle and book I was a very happy lady. I can walk on that machine for a good forty minutes before getting tired. I have also been using the cross trainer and bike.

Weight vest

A weight vest was a present from me to me. It is a great piece of kit which gives you a little extra weight to challenge yourself on treadmills, rolling escalators and the like. The funny part about the weight vest is it is exactly ten kilograms at full weight. This is the weight I have lost to date so to put it back on again it quite an experience. It feels heavy and awkward but then again for most of last year that is what I carried day in and day out. I am working with four kilos at the minute but hoping next week to progress to five. Once my core has healed and got back to its normality I will progress to ten and see how that feels to work out in.

Resistance training

Now, I am still banned from lifting any heavy weights but that didn’t mean I have to stop completely. I found using the lateral pulldown machine and low row were perfect for keeping my back from getting too tired and niggly. With low weights, low reps/sets and a longer break in between each round it worked perfectly. You see I didn’t have to lift anything heavy to have a workout.

Bands

And no I don’t mean the ones in the top forty music chart. I mean resistance bands. These are a fantastic way of training when you need to slow things down and concentrate on the deeper muscles. Now I prefer my training to be fast, moving in all directions and breaking a sweat. Something that I am not going to get with resistance bands in a rehab setting. I had to slow it right down and concentrate on activating the muscles which needed attention. This was mainly my back and will shortly involve me core muscles too.

My core

My core work can start now as well. However, my five minute plank will have to wait. I need to start with the basics and the regressions of most core moves. It means I will have to separate out my upper core muscles, lower and obliques (they live on the sides) and concentrate on activating each to get them strong again.

My mental health

Why am I keeping so active? That is a good question. First of all I point out my blog called “sitting still is tricky!”. That sentence says it all really. I find it really hard to sit still and do nothing. The idea of a beach holiday, reading a book, drinking an ice cold drink and so on scares me. I am wanting to know what water sports are available, is there a bicycle track or even a walking track and when the next activity is. So you see my point. My mental health sitting still would get bored, frustrated, irritable and many other words to describe that. My mental health doing this kind of exercise is happy, less stressed, active and smiling. And that is my point. Active body equals happy mind.

Conclusion

I hope that has given you a little insight into my training as I rehab from my surgery. I feel the main point is you can work out to an extent post operation/illness/injury you just need to be careful (always double check if you are unsure). Feel free to ask me any questions, talk to your own GP or local gym and see what you can do.

-Helen

Gratitude

With all the bad stuff going on in our lives and the world, it is easy to forget that we all have a lot to be grateful for. This ties in with my reflections over the last years, and how positive I now feel about the future.

2 years ago

2 years ago I was not in a very good place. I had been signed off work with depression/low mood and we had moved from London to Scotland without any plans regarding housing or employment. At this point I was very much crying every day, getting upset for every little thing or nothing in particular. Everything became a real struggle, everything stressed me out and I found it difficult to to the simplest of things such as cooking and food shopping. Most days were spent at home, not doing anything at all apart from waiting for Helen to come home from work.

Changes made

I was lucky to be able to make 2 fundamental changes: move away from London and eventually resigning from the police. It is so clear now that this had such a negative impact on my mental health, with the job that I did being the main culprit.
What has also become a lot more important, which we have both recognised, is the need for me-time. This can be anything: reading, listening to music and drinking coffee. It simply means doing all the good things that you love to do, that makes you tick, that you’ve stopped doing because you’re too stressed or there is just not enough time in the day.

Physical health

Exercise had gone out the window completely. I went from cycling/running to work with several yoga and gym sessions in the week to doing absolutely no exercise. I am now going to the gym on a semi-regular basis, and I make sure that I get as much time outside as I can, be it gardening or walking or simply drinking coffee in the garden.

Mental health

Looking back I believe I have always been anxious but have managed it well, and as we know anxiety and depression always go hand in hand. When this all kicked off I was crying several times every day, often for no reason. I was prescribed anti-depressants which really do help, and I am now also having CBT sessions as well as seeing a counsellor every week. There is definitely a change in perspective happening which means I am now feeling a lot more hopeful, happy, energised and excited about the future.

Work and home

I enjoy the work that I do and I no longer dread going back to work after a few days off. Where we live outside Glasgow is so much nicer than where we were in London, and it also has a garden. Going from a small flat on the second floor in a house between the 2 flight paths into Heathrow (yes this means there was a plane over our head at least every 30 seconds) to our current place is magical (and quieter).

Gratitude

I have so much to be grateful for! We all do, and I believe we need to make a habit of recognising this. Rather than complaining about all the bad stuff, which brings you and everyone else down, appreciate and acknowledge what you have. If its not what you want then you need to have a serious conversation with yourself/those around you and bring about changes. Simple. But very hard.

I hope you all have a great week. Practice being grateful.

-Rosita

They say a photo speaks a thousand words! (weight loss before and during, I’m not quite finished but a great start).

The trick!

The short answer there isn’t one. Diet, exercise and time. There you go. That is the trick (and a lot of hard work).

-Helen

Sitting still is tricky!

We are about one week on from my emergency surgery to fix two orange sized cysts on my ovaries. So far everything seems to be going in the right direction. The surgical sites are healing nicely and I am now on the lowest pain killers possible. Except for feeling tired a lot of the time I would say that I am doing very well.

Sitting still!

My main issue is this sitting still thing. I have never been very good at it and I am being less good at it now. Before last week I was doing an active job, making sure that at least six out of the seven week days I was in the gym and I was walking most places I could. I would happily go from one thing to another, to another and to another. I would plan lots into my day so everything was completed. Now I can do a few hours of activity before a sit down and then I can repeat.

It’s a good time of year!

That it is and I don’t mean that there are more colours around, trees looking fancy, mince pies everywhere you turn, music blaring from speakers and generally everyone seems to be in a better mood. I mean that there has been a lot for me to do. Friends and family have been coming over to the house to either take me down to the supermarket, taking me out for a drive, taking me for coffee and so on. I mean I have had small tasks to do most days.

The good thing!

The good thing about it is I am moving around. I have a theory that the more I move, the better I get and the quicker the recovery period so I can go back to Zumba and boxing. You may not think it is a big element to recovery but believe me it is. Little movement like walking from one room to the other, walking up the stairs, standing to seated and seated to standing, crouching down to pick something up (I can’t quite bend in the middle yet) and much more. All of this moves muscles, helps the cardiovascular system and more importantly the brain and my mental health. Yes, I would love to say that I am booked on to a Zumba and circuit class this evening but I have to wait. I have to wait until my core has healed.

Food

I thought I would add a quick note in here about food. I mean it would be great to kick back and eat all those sugary foods to make us “feel better”. But I am not. Having come so far in my weight loss journey it would be a great shame to start going backwards. I am aware that I may gain a little from in-activity but I am doing what I can to counter-act that. I have allowed myself the odd Christmas biscuit but I am also mindful that I don’t want to go over board with it either. I am sticking to the good foods. The proteins that will help my muscles recover. The fruit and vegetables (vitamins) so my whole body can recover and the water to flush out all the bad toxins.

Exercise

As mentioned above I am moving as much as I can. I am also going for walks. Nothing too big at the minute but I can now happily manage anything from a half hour to an hour. I have been to the gym once since last week. I did a half hour cycle and a half hour walk on the treadmill. I vary my days to walking outside to gym days and make sure when I feel tired that I remember it is my body telling me it has had enough for that day. I will increase these times (and resistances) as I come through the rest of December and hopefully post festive season will be back at the gym to start building my strength back up, Zumba and boxing.

Conclusion

Be kind to yourself. Let the body heal. Try not to rush into anything and be aware that if something doesn’t feel right or a twinge is a bit too much then stop. There is no harm in taking a break (I am trying, I really am!).

-Helen

Frustrating!

Why does life have to be so frustrating?! I mean sometimes we are only trying to get from point A to point B. In the way there are obstacles, hoops, wrong phone numbers, people who are no help at all. You find yourself three steps backwards and feeling down from doing such a simple task.

Customer Service

Now I could talk about customer service for hours and hours. However, for the point of this blog I will keep it short. Having worked in many a customer service role you could say I have a fair amount of experience. I also have a lot of people experience.

My current line of work

In my current line of work I deal with people who comes from all walks of life, from different careers, who have different illnesses or mental health conditions, who have different fitness goals and different life goals. Everyone in my book is treated with respect. A seven letter word that means so much but is quite often forgotten about, don’t you think? My point is with everyone I met I try to display professionalism, friendliness and a quirky sense of humour. The bottom line is that in my book everyone is treated the same. I try to give the best customer service that I can give.

When it goes bad!

I struggle when I have a big problem to solve and no one out of a customer service role is ready to help me. May be I am asking too much but then again may be I am not.

Let me paint you the picture!

Let me do just that. There is one more test I need to do for the IVF criteria and it something called a HyCoSy scan. Google can fill you in. In order to do this I need to have a Mirena coil removed.

Too many phone calls!

First of all I called my local GP but no, they apparently do not do such things. I was given another number to phone. But that number wasn’t recognised. I then got on to Google and had a search around other practices in the area to help us. But there were no phone numbers that I could see on their website. I tried the one number I could get and got through. But again no, they apparently stopped doing coil removal earlier this year. I was given yet another number. My poor phone was beginning to wonder what it had done to be calling so many different people. I got through to the last number and the lady asked had I spoken to the GP. My exact words were something like, “I have and they don’t do it, I have been sent on a wild goose chase, can you help?”.

I finally got a date!

After a few questions and a few calendar dates I finally have a date. It took about an hour to do all of that but I finally made it to the end. And here is my point. Did it really have to be that challenging to do such a simple thing?!

IVF

To me this is just another hoop we need to get through with a few obstacles thrown in. It is like we are being tested to make sure we are ready to progress down the children route. It is frustrating, it is challenging and it is darn right annoying as well. To do something so simple, which is to have children of my own, I need to go through many, many hoops.

What else do they want from me?

Exactly that. I have changed my diet, changed it again and finally changed it so it makes even more sense. I now eat a lot more than I did. The first few weeks were nerve-racking and scary while I looked at the amount I had to get through. Now I willingly make my own breakfasts and lunches making sure I have the correct meals and snacks. Admitting it now that I do like to snack. My appetite is back and I am not hangry as often. We have discovered that I have more muscle than fat and that is what is making my BMI and weight loss is challenging.

What else?

I changed my exercise regime and now run. Run! I do many more gym classes. In the rain, the sun and the cold I train. I do exercise when I really want to sit on the couch and eat cake. I do my own research into how best to go forward with IUI or IVF. Rosie and I ring many different people to try and get an answer. We have become massive Google fans as well. We read articles, forums and much more just to see if there is anything else I can do except wait.

I know it will be worth it!

Now, I know in the end it will all be worth while but I am also aware we are going through many different hoops. A lot of hoops before we even get to the massive ones that IUI or IVF will throw at us. I know I will have a little rant and then pick myself up and carry on. I have a goal to get to and I am going to try my hardest to get there.

-Helen

This time of year (and exercise)

I thought I would do a quick blog on this time of year and exercise. There are a few things that may influence our exercise during the next few months. Yes, stress will be a major factor but I am talking more about coughs, colds, flu, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and so on.

Can we exercise when we are sick?

The short answer to the question is, listen to your body. It is as simple as that. When we are sick with a cold or flu our bodies are using up vital energy. Energy trying to fight the bugs that caused us to be sick in the first place. If we then decide to go and run a 5k the energy switches from making us better to attempting the 5k. In short, it could make us much worse which will take even longer to recover from.

Our CV system

Our cardiovascular (CV) system is made up of our heart, lungs, arteries, veins and so on. If our lungs are already inflamed fighting off a chesty cough and we decide to run a 5k then this could make us worse.

An overnight bike ride

Let me put this into an experience. With a cold I was about to complete an overnight 100km (62 mile) bike ride. I should have been at home in bed recovering but I was at the start line at 2330. Riding through the night breathing in the continuous cold air was not a good idea. My body ached, I struggled uphill as I couldn’t breathe properly and I eventually made it to the finish line. Lets just say it was more of a collapse over the finish line. I was exhausted. Later that day my chest hurt, my cough sounded like a barking dog and I had a temperature. My mother was less than sympathetic (“it’s your own fault” she said) and I ended up with a chest infection. Several years later if I get a cold it always goes straight to my chest (a reminder for being such an idiot). The long and short of it was, I should have been in bed.

Temperature

Again if you have flu or a high temperature then attempting a high intensity class will only make you warmer. If the body gets too hot then it will shut down and you will faint. Not a great thing to do in the middle of a crowded gym.

But can I exercise?

If you are like me and you are determined to get into the gym then here is my top 5 things to do if you feel you really do need to work out.

  • Stay in bed
  • Drink a hot drink (water, lemon, ginger and honey can do wonders)
  • Watch TV
  • Eat chocolate
  • Call lots of people to give you sympathy

There you go.

No, in all seriousness if you are determined then here is the “real” list.

  • Slow to medium walking on a treadmill (no incline)
  • Cycle (not a spin class)
  • Lift little weights (no 100kg’s)
  • No high intensity/circuits/or anything that will get you out of breath
  • Some light stretching

Your body needs the time to recover and it is time you will need to give it.

When you feel better

When you feel better you will need to again listen to your body. Depending on how much time you have had off you will need to let your body get back into the swing of things. Don’t assume after 2 weeks off you can do straight into lifting 100kg’s or sprint for 2 minutes. Give your body time to get back to where it was.

SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

Now, there is one condition you may get around this time of year and it is SAD. SAD is a type of depression that presents itself during the winter months. The 3 best ways to help SAD is getting as much natural light as possible (sunshine) , exercising regularly and keeping stress away. For more information on SAD please visit the NHS website.

Listen

As I keep saying, during the next few months listen to your body. Let the main symptoms disappear and then get back into your exercise routine. Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to make a circuits class. It is much better that you recover first rather than collapsing mid-class. Even I have been known to say “I think I need to sit on the couch tonight”.

-Helen

Exercise as a daily activity

For our Facebook poll this month we asked you if you wished to see a blog on:

The importance of exercise as a recovery tool and stress outlet
Or
How to bring exercise into your daily life (no gym required!)

The second option was a favourite so we will be discussing that in this blog.

It’s easy!

It is just that. Bringing exercise into your daily life with no gym is not as hard as you may think. There are several simple options to help you. I am sure some of you will be doing them already. Half the battle is preparing in advance so you can achieve your goal.

Walking

A simple yet timeless classic (and it is free!). Now going for a walk around the block when you get in from work in the evening is one way to do it. However, there are others. For example, getting off a bus stop earlier than normal and walking home from there. Parking your car at the other end of the car park at the supermarket and walk in from there. Going for a walk at your lunch break. This last one you get a break from your desk and become more productive in the afternoon. Of course with the British weather I suggest bringing an umbrella.

Take the stairs

Another good option. Walk up the escalator or stairs rather than using the lift. How many levels can you get to? You can also challenge your friends and family on this one. If you have a set of stairs in the house then you can play stair relay races.

Get up from the couch!

Just that. I know it is that time of year where we want to grab a blanket, sit down on the couch and watch that baking show. However, that baking show can help us. It has adverts. Get up during each advert, walk around or generally stand up/sit down until the advert is finished.

Standing up at work

Standing up at your desk to answer a phone call or walking away from your desk every hour to get your photocopying, making a cup of tea, going to the bathroom and so on. I know standing desks are coming more and more into office spaces but we still have a long way to go.
On a side note, if your manager is complaining that you are standing up too much then just send them to 2 Spuds and I will explain why.

Vacuuming

A personal favourite of mine. I should point out that we live in a house with stairs and that living in a bungalow may make this tricky. There is nothing better that lifting the vacuum up and down the stairs, moving the furniture around to get into the nooks and crannies, then trying to empty the thing into the rubbish. I generally break a sweat when I am doing this and need a good sit down at the end. The same goes for cleaning the house from top to toe.

Making dinner

Grab some tins of baked beans or 2 bottles of water and hey presto you have dumbbells. While making dinner you can do some bicep curls, triceps or shoulders. Plus the standing up burns calories as well.

Gardening

More of a summer activity when it is nice and warm but well worth a mention. I know Rosie come April next year will be back out in our garden and looking at what to plant. She will then spend the summer maintaining it, watching it grow then harvesting it for the kitchen. Last year we ended up with many trips to the garden centre as well as B&Q as Rosie created her master pieces.

Dance, dance, dance

Now this happens on a regular basis in the 2 Spuds household. The music gets turned up and we dance like no one is watching. It blows away the cobwebs and puts a smile on our face.

Bodyweight exercises

Aptly named as your body is the weight in these rather than a dumbbell or barbell from the gym. The list is endless when it comes to this. It can range from squats to press ups to ab crunches. All you need is a bit of space and a comfortable rug to lie on. If you need some ideas then that multi-coloured search engine will be able to help you.

The benefits

Of course there are many benefits to the above. The obvious ones are weight loss, toning up, muscle building and general fitness. Some of the less well known ones are reduce your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, less coughs and colds, less risk of diabetes 2. Exercise can also help your mental health, mood and sleep. It can also help reduce your risks of falls and more importantly it can increase your chances of living a healthy and long life.

Exercise as a daily activity

There you have it – exercise as a daily activity with no gym required. See what you can do.

-Helen

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day!

As I am sure most of you know, tomorrow is the day allocated to Mental Health. This year’s focus is on suicide prevention, which we are lucky not to have much personal experience with. I do realise we are all not so lucky, and I think it is great that it is being highlighted. Here is a link to the World Health Organization site with more information and suggestions on what you can do to take part. It is shocking to hear that every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide. 

There are a lot of ways to help someone, or yourself, who is not feeling mentally well. We want to share our own experience using our chosen outlets: cycling, Zumba and boxing for Helen, and yoga and nature for Rosita.

Helen

As many of you know I like my fitness and exercise. It keeps me happy and keeps me fit. However, it is also an outlet for me when life gets stressful. I do many kinds of exercise as well. My top three would have to be (in no particular order) cycling or indoor cycling, Zumba and boxing. These are the main ones that keep me happy.

Cycling (or indoor cycling)

First, it is how Rosie and I met. We would cycle around the parks in London, eat ice cream and chat. I like how cycling can take me places. It can take me from A to B as a work commute, it can take me to a place I have never been before or it can take me on a night-time cycle ride for charity. There is nothing better than huffing and puffing to get up a vertical hill and then speeding down the other side while you catch your breath.

While I was at PT school, I had the chance to do the indoor cycling qualification. I thought with a love of cycling it would be a good thing to do. I love my spinning whether it is my own class, or I am taking part in someone else’s. The variety it has from sprints to hills to jumps to whatever the instructor can squeeze in before cooling down and your legs are about to give up.

Zumba

Whoever has read my Zumba blogs will know that with my two left feet, lack of coordination and terrible balance I still give Zumba a good try. The music, the way the body moves and all the steps it must create the dance is enough to put a massive smile on my face. Even better is when I am facing away from the mirrors in the gym and I can pretend I know exactly what I am doing. That is the thing. You don’t need to be good at it, you just need to try.

Boxing

This is an interesting one as I do boxing both as a personal trainer taking a class/client and as part of my own workout. I find it is a great stress buster for both clients and myself. I mean where else can you hit something and not get told off for it. Imagine you have had a crazy day at work. Your manager is demanding the report in for five o’clock that evening and you lets you know at a quarter to five. Your partner has just called to say they will be late home from work which means that dinner reservation you had now needs to be cancelled. The childminder has just texted to say your little one is sick and needs to go home urgently and reception have just emailed to say that your business client is waiting for you downstairs. Stressful? I would think so. Now take all of that stress down to the gym and put on a pair of boxing gloves. Hit the boxing bag, hit it again, and again and again. Now how do you feel? All the stress has been left in the bag and you start to feel better. It’s as easy as that. Once you have let go of the stress then you can start working on technique, the moves, the cardio side of the exercise, the core (abs) side of boxing and so on. It takes time but it is fun at the same time.

An outlet

Here is my point. Mental health can make us feel unwell, not wanting to do anything, angry, upset and so on. But when you have an exercise outlet (in my opinion) you can switch it around to feeling awesome!

-Helen

Rosita

There are a lot of things I can do to try and stave off my depression and anxiety, however there are 2 main things: yoga and nature. 

Yoga

Going to a yoga class is something I wish I could do every day. I do yoga at home but it is not always the same, and some days you really need someone to tell you what to do! What I like about yoga is the physical workout, and also the breathing. Physically I feel amazing afterwards, it feels as if the body has been reset and I can do anything. The breathing helps me relax, and it is something I use at other times too, particularly when I get anxious or stressed. Taking a few seconds out to breathe and relax the mind is so beneficial. It might sound corny to you, but I urge you to give it a try. When I say breathe I mean inhaling through the nose for 4 seconds whilst allowing your belly to rise, then exhaling through your mouth for 4 seconds. Next time you are stressed or anxious, why not give it a go? 

Nature

Nature has an amazing way of helping me feel relaxed. Most of the time it does not matter what I do when I am outside. It can be a mixture of things, physical outdoor activity or simply sitting in the sun. Going outside when I’m feeling a bit down or anxious really does help me feel better. 

Another contributing factor is the me-time that comes with both yoga and being outside. It helps me to look after myself, which is also so very important. Having spent a lot of time looking after others, I am now getting better at looking after myself.

-Rosita

#MovementForHealth #yoga #WorldMentalHealthDay #meTime #Zumba #boxing

The road to recovery

Facebook poll

A couple of weeks ago we asked on Facebook what blog you would like to see. The options were mental health conditions, signs and symptoms or how can I help myself on the road to recovery. It was a close call between the two options but with 57% it is the road to recovery. Rosita will take you through her recovery and Helen will take you through hers in Wednesday’s blog.

A road walked

This is a road I walk every day, some days more than others. It has become a way of life, making sustainable and healthy changes. I have come a long way from completely losing the plot having drunk Helen’s glass of juice. You know you’re in a bit of a mess when something so trivial tips you over the edge. It certainly put things into perspective for us. The next day we went to the doctor who signed me off for 2 weeks. 5 months later I resigned from work, having not been back to work. I spent the first few weeks/months crying and not doing a lot. Pretty much everything stressed me out. Most of this time is a bit of a blur. We made a few changes which helped enormously and that is why I am in such a good place today. 

Not going to work

It soon became obvious that my job was the main reason for me no longer functioning. I probably knew that before but could not see a way out of the situation. I loved the job itself, and the good days were fab. But working in the public sector, for a service with over 50,000 officers and staff, became difficult. There were a lot of changes made by people having to justify their existence at work, none for the best in my opinion. There never is a need to reinvent the wheel. I love helping people, and I’m damn good at it too. It got to a point where I could no longer do that. This is all very clear to me now, but it has taken a while to realise that, with a lot of conversations with the professionals and Helen. In the end, the job I loved broke me. Simple as that. 

Leaving London

We had been talking about leaving London and took action. This resulted in us finding a lovely flat in Scotland which also has a little garden. Having outdoor space means the world to me. I can make coffee and sit outside in the sun. You might think this is nothing, but to me it is what keeps me sane. It involves coffee, me-time, fresh air and hopefully sun too. All of this is pretty essential. 

Medication

Being prescribed medication was a massive thing. I only started with the pills after a couple of months, when I realised that I was not getting any better. They have made a huge difference, and I was able to get more from the counselling as well as my brain started to calm down. Constantly crying is hard and tiring.

Counselling 

Counselling gave me a lot of advice and tips, which was essential to my recovery. I have high standards for myself, our home, nutrition and exercise, to name a few. It became apparent that I could not keep this up. So the counsellor suggested to ask myself this: “if I don’t do this particular thing now, is anyone gonna die?”. The answer is simple. This helped me to lower my standards, giving me more time for me. This was when I was really struggling to do anything.

Me-time

I started taking time for me. This involves me doing things I love. To name a few:

  • Listen to music
  • Read a book
  • Taking photos
  • Going for walks
  • Sit and drink coffee
  • Being outside in the sun

These are just a few things that give me a buzz. All of which, apart from drinking coffee, I had stopped doing because I was stressing too much to get chores done. I can now take half a day or a few hours or even a whole day and do nothing. Nothing to me involves me-time. We now have a saying in our house that it’s time for me-time, and this overrides all chores. You should try it. You need to look after yourself. 

Helen

I know not everyone has partner in these circumstances, and I do not know what would have happened had I not had Helen by my side. She’s been, and still is, my rock. Words can’t emphasise enough how I feel. So I will just say this: thank you buddy.

-Rosita

Fitness

It’s National Fitness Day

It is National Fitness Day today. This is the day when gyms are giving you discounts on membership, new classes are appearing on the programme for you to try and there are competitions at various establishments to win prizes. I am aware of this as I did an additional two high intensity classes this morning at the gym where I work. This was on top of all my other classes. I was definitely tired and hungry after all of that and I have a feeling I am going to have tired legs tomorrow.

To find out more about National Fitness Day please visit their own website which loads of information on it.

Some fitness myths

I thought this may be a good place to bust some myths. Some myths that may be putting you off exercise.

Myth 1
Crunches are the best move for good abs
Answer
I mean in some ways this is true. However, let me put it this way. Crunches are good for the upper abs, hip bridges are good for the lower abs and glutes, side plank is good for your obliques and leg extensions are good for full abs. All of these exercises help make good abs.
My opinion
Variety is key to ab work.


Myth 2
No pain, no gain
Answer
A slight discomfort is fine to carry on exercising with. The discomfort is telling you your body has worked hard in a previous session. Doing gentle exercising while having tired muscles is actually good for getting them to start recovering.
My opinion
Workout but go easy is what I would say. If I have to take a day off everytime I got a niggle or a tired muscle I would probably spend more time out of the gym than in it.


Myth 3
You shouldn’t work out everyday
Answer
Your body needs rest as well as a workout. Even the top athletes in the UK will have rest times. Yes workout but rest too.
My opinion
This is something I tend to forget to do. I have learnt the hard way on many occasions when my body is tired and sore and then I push it too far. I also see the benefit of working hard but resting as well. As a trainer I tend to have a sports massage at least every four to six weeks. It is a way to thank the body for its work.


Myth 4
Lifting heavy weights make women bulky
Answer
The short answer to this is no. According to the active fitness website it says females have 1/20th to 1/30th of the testosterone levels that men have. Females do not have the testosterone to support serious muscles mass growth.
My opinion
I do a fair amount of weights in the gym and I can confirm that I do not look like that sailor who eats spinach all the time.

Find what you love

As it says on the tin. Find a fitness craze that is right for you. I am not a runner therefore I don’t do it often (unless running for the bus). My sister and her wife however, are ultra-marathon runners! That is what they love. I like boxing, spinning, Zumba and circuit type exercises as I find them more fast paced and suited for my fitness style. Rosie likes Yoga, Pilates and the slower based gym classes. A good friend of ours likes hill-walking, my Mum likes Scottish Country Dancing and several colleagues of mine like lifting weights. All of this is fitness based. The best way to find out what you love is to try a few different things and find one that suits you. That one that makes you smile.

Fitness benefits

Fitness is great for various reasons. We have discussed in previous blogs about how it is good for mental and physical health but lets get into the nitty gritty of this.

Fitness is amazing for many other reasons:

  • Helps get your sleep back on track so you get the recommended eight hours
  • Increases your energy levels and brain function
  • Can help improve your posture and alignment (how the body moves)
  • Is great for a healthy bones, muscles, heart and lungs to name a few
  • Also good for weight loss
  • It can help reduce pain

As I have said there are many, many benefits for exercise.

My point

Be happy, be healthy, find a fitness craze you love and enjoy fitness.

-Helen

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