Questions, health niggles, uncertainty; friends and family often ask me things about their health. They usually start with an apology, “Sorry, I know people must ask you things all the time but it’s just a quick question …”
Changing your behaviour is a very difficult thing to do. How many times have you set a New Year’s resolution only to break it before the end of January? I’ve done this countless times. You have good intentions and even when you think you’ve set a pretty realistic goal you just don’t seem to be able to sustain it for any length of time.
I’m still feeling stunned! My book Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health won first prize in the Popular Medicine category at the British Medical Association Medical Book Awards on September 4th. What an incredible honour which hasn’t fully sunk in.
I decided to have a complete break from social media while we were away on holiday this year. I use my phone and computer A LOT. I run social media (FB, Twitter and Instagram) for three accounts and little and often seems to be the only way I can manage that, so although I do schedule some posts, I’m frequently checking the feeds and interacting with people. I also have numerous email accounts for all my different work roles. Much of the work I do crosses time zones so when most people’s email goes quiet, mine fires up. I absolutely LOVE my jobs and didn’t particularly feel I needed a break from them but I felt I simply had information overload and wasn’t being as productive as I could be.
Data from the Office of National Statistics showed that in 2014 there were 4.2 million people regularly working from home. With studies demonstrating reduced stress, increased happiness and increased productivity, it’s no wonder that this figure is increasing all the time. As you may know, I had a recent change in career direction and I now find myself working from home 90% of the time. I love it. I love my house and enjoy spending time in it, I work well there. I have however found that I have to make an effort to be active during my working day. I don’t have colleagues to walk over to talk to, a coffee room to visit and I don’t need to nip out to get a sandwich at lunch time. I don’t have a commute, there’s no stroll to the bus stop, no crammed train to stand on and no brisk ‘late for work’ walk. So, whilst I’m happier, I’m aware there’s a risk I may not be healthier. Reducing our sedentary time is an important part …
I’m delighted to welcome Alexandra Merisoiu to the blog today. Alexandra has a background in Martial Arts (she still competes at international level) and a fascination with how the body moves. She is a Running Coach, specialising in running form and technique. She works with runners of all abilities to help them run faster, further, more efficiently and most importantly, with fewer injuries. I still frequently hear, “Running hurts my knees” so I thought it would be helpful to have Alexandra share some of her wisdom about minimising the impact of running. Head to the Merisoiu Technique Institute to find out more but in the meantime I will hand over to Alexandra to share some of her top tips for healthy running.
There are so many benefits of exercise. From getting fitter and helping control weight, to easing stress and lifting mood. I certainly began learning to run, hoping for the former and continued when I realised the latter. One of the unexpected benefits I discovered however was the ability that exercise has to empower.
I’m really enjoying my blog this year, I hope you are too. I was planning ahead with a post featuring my book Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health published by Bloomsbury to tie in with Mother’s Day. Then it occurred to me that maybe you would like to win a copy to give to the mother in your life. Or maybe you are a mother, mother to be, or not a mother at all and want a little present for yourself!
Even as a doctor, I had no concept of the power that exercise has to improve and maintain mental wellbeing until I experienced it myself. When I started running it was to get fit and lose a bit of weight after having three children. I knew that regular exercise would do the trick. What I didn’t realise was that ten years later, my main reason for running wouldn’t be so I could eat cake or keep up with my kids. My reason to run has changed. I now run more for my mental health than my physical health. This is why I was delighted when England Athletics, asked me to support their #runandtalk campaign in conjunction with the mental health charity Mind.
We’re all so busy. We try to cram as much as we can into every day. Our to-do lists are never ending. Work, children, family. It’s no wonder that one of the biggest reported barriers to exercise is simply, time. There’s a risk that we feel guilt. Guilt that we aren’t looking after ourselves. Guilt that we don’t seem to manage our time as well as our fitness-mad friends. If only we could add an extra hour to every day, then we’d be fine. Well, good news! It IS possible to exercise when you never have time. Here are some simple ways to fit exercise into a busy life: