So we’re free again! After 18 months of restrictions and drastic changes to our daily lives, including working from home with limited time outside for exercise and the closure of gyms, health clubs and spas, we can all feel a little less guilty about putting on some extra lockdown pounds. But it’s time to take a stand, get moving and shift some of that lockdown lard!
We did our duty and stayed at home whilst binging on Netflix boxsets and ordering one too many takeaways, (we were doing our bit for the economy right)?! But now the shackles are off and things are starting to move towards our new normal, it is important that we also start breaking out of our ‘bad’ lockdown habits and stepping up our health, fitness and wellbeing game! If you’re in need of some inspiration, we’ve just witnessed the Tokyo Olympics where team GB took home a total of 65 medals across all events and our Paralympic athletes displayed a truly heroic effort winning medals at the pace of Super Mario collecting mushroom coins and finishing 2nd in the medals table! How’s that for inspiration!
With National Fitness Day fast approaching there’s no better time to start burning off those calories, so dust off your trainers and grab your gear from the back of the cupboard!
What is National Fitness Day?
Since it was created in 2010, National Fitness Day has grown to become the most important day in the fitness calendar. The original mission was to run events and challenges in an effort to encourage the nation to celebrate the fun of fitness and physical activity across the UK. From there it has gone from strength to strength with many participating gyms, health clubs, leisure centres, and parks throughout the UK providing free access to events as part of National Fitness Day making it the most active day of the year.
National Fitness Day 2021 will take place on Wednesday 22nd September and will provide a great opportunity to highlight the role physical activity plays across the UK, helping raise awareness of its importance in helping us lead healthier lifestyles through being physical active.
If you would like to find out more and get involved or even run an event as part of National Fitness Day you can find further information here https://www.nationalfitnessday.com/get-involved/
A healthy body = A healthy mind – You will often hear gym goers say, that working out is not just about the body, it also has a positive impact on their mental health, they’re not making it up! The benefits of physical activity and exercise for both our body and mind have been demonstrated across our entire lifespan. We are meant to move and many of our body’s systems work better when we are consistently physically active.
Regular exercise has been proven to: Reduce stress, ward off anxiety, boost self-esteem and confidence and improve sleep.
Health benefits of regular exercise include: Strengthening the heart, increased energy levels, lowers blood pressure, improvement of muscle tone and strength and reduced levels of body fat
That all sounds great but where do I start?
If you’re not somebody who had a health and fitness routine previously and are not sure where to start. The beauty of keeping fit and healthy is the options are pretty much limitless and finding the right way for you and your body is up to you, whether you’re a gym king or queen, a runner bean, centre forward dynamo, yoga master or you just enjoy a good walk or bike ride, the main thing is that whatever you decide to do, it should include physical activity and most importantly you should enjoy it, there’s nothing to say you have to become a superior athlete or be putting yourself through rigorous routines that leave you feeling sore and miserable, that is more likely to put you off! Instead set yourself challenges and personal targets each week or 2, for example do a few extra push ups, run a bit further, lift a little more weight, swim an extra length or 2. Don’t apply too much pressure on yourself to see results fast, change comes with time and effort, after all Rome was not built in a day!
If you’re not somebody who enjoys the thought of doing it alone, maybe friends or family can join in and help motivate you or you could join a gym or a health club, most offer plenty of choice of classes or personal trainer packages. If sport is more your thing, get involved with a local team or better still set up your own regular match with friends down the local park. Group activity provides the added benefit of getting to know new people and trying new activities so it’s a win win situation really!
With our lives getting much busier again, there will be those who will understandably struggle to find the time during the day to get out and exercise as much as they would like, technology has the answer to this problem. Over the years technology and fitness have become increasingly intertwined with one another and recent times have certainly accelerated this pairing helping provide exercise at any time of the day that works for you. With the introduction of interactive and on demand exercise machines for those with the appropriate space (and budget), or your gym providing online classes and healthy eating recipes via your membership or even a quick search on YouTube will bring up a countless amount of home workout and yoga videos that require no cost or equipment however a mat or some kind of soft surface is highly recommended for those floor exercises!
A healthy employee is a happy employee
As we start to move back into our workplaces, the upcoming National Fitness Day can also be used a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle with employees such as encouraging walking or cycling to work, fruit bowls in the break out / kitchen areas, using the stairs instead of the lift and reminding employees to take a break from their desk and go for a walk during their lunch break for example. You could even form a Wellbeing Team to organise and promote health and wellbeing activities, ideas and events throughout the year.
Over time the healthcare insurance industry has naturally become increasingly conscious of the link between a healthy lifestyle and how it helps prevent ill health as well as the crucial role they can play in helping people achieve this. If you have employee benefits in place such as a group medical insurance policy, the likelihood is you will find a vast array of health and wellbeing elements included alongside the core product, these can include discounts for gym membership and health clubs as well as equipment / accessories, healthy diet advice, tips on preventing burnout and dealing with stress as well as incentives and rewards for keeping fit and healthy. Some providers even include app services that you can use to engage your employees in group activities and competitions such as the greatest number of points gained via exercise and healthy lifestyle choices or even a team effort such as a targeted amount of steps in a certain amount of time.