Have you got started yet? It’s now nearly a week since we launched our big 25K miles challenge in support of Megan Baker House, SIL charity of the year. Whilst the weather is warming up (well, we hope it is – fingers crossed there are more sunny days on their way) we are going to give you some tips to getting started and why it’s a good idea.
Do you need convincing?
We might not like it, but we all know that exercise is good for your physical health. It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.
Not only that but now research shows that physical activity can also boost our mental wellbeing. Even a short burst of 10 minutes’ brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. It is also shown to help with stress, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Taken from the NHS website Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant says, “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented”.
What’s your motivation?
Whilst the overall aim of our challenge is to raise some money for Megan Baker House and encourage people to get exercising to improve their well-being, whilst celebrating our 25 years, you’ll have your own reasons for taking part. You may want to lose weight, increase your fitness or want to improve your mental well-being… whatever your motivation take a note of where you are now.
- How are you feeling?
- How out of breath do you get going up the stairs or walking up a hill?
- Have you measured your waistline or stepped on the scales recently?
- How well do you sleep?
Keeping a note of how these improve will help to keep you motivated.
Slow and steady wins the race.
If you are new or returning to exercise it’s important to start slowly; now is not the time to try a 10-mile walk or 30-mile bike ride. In terms of the challenge we have 12months to reach our total and in terms of your physical and mental wellbeing every little helps. Many people start exercising with frenzied zeal — working out too long or too intensely — and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Been there, done that – whoops!
Give yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down each time you exercise with easy walking or gentle stretching. As your stamina improves, gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of your exercise and plan time between sessions for your body to rest and recover.
If you have an injury or medical condition, consult your doctor about designing a fitness programme for you.
This section on the NHS website www.nhs.uk/live-well/ gives some great advice on increasing exercise and some exercise plans including that all important warm up.
The internet is a great source of advice and tips on getting started in any sport. Here are a couple of sites you could visit for inspiration:
Can I join even if I don’t do miles?
Here are some other ways you can help tot up our totaliser;
- Gardening – proven to help boost your mood and physical at times, count 1 mile for every 30 minutes of gardening.
- Aerobics/gym strength training/team sports – whilst you don’t travel from A-B these activities increase your endorphins, the hormones that trigger a positive feeling, and have obvious physical health benefits. Count 1 mile per 10 to 15 minutes – we’ll leave it up to you to judge how hard you are working.
If you would like to suggest any other ways we can add to our miles to make this challenge fully inclusive please let us know at SIL25K@s4il.co.uk.
However you clock those miles remember these 4 things:
- Enjoy yourself
- Warm up and cool down every time you exercise
- Share our link to donate to Megan Baker House as far and as wide as you can https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sil-25k-challenge
- Send us your miles and pictures at the end of each month to SIL25K@s4il.co.uk.
Follow our Facebook for blog alerts and share the Just Giving link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sil-25k-challenge