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Slow down and embrace the benefits of exercise – A guide for busy grown-ups!

by | Jan 17, 2023

It’s January. Cue the inundation of weight loss commercials, the packed gyms, and a whole lot of ‘new year, new me talk’ Honestly, it’s a frenzy out there! 

If you are one of those people reluctantly trying to get yourself on the ‘exercise and eat well’ band wagon out of pure guilt after a wonderfully indulgent festive season then my advice to you is…..SLOW DOWN! Exercising to punish yourself with the sole aim of losing weight does not work. Read on to hear what you can do instead to set yourself up for not just a good year, but a great one. 

Hi, I’m Holly and like many of you, I have two hats. I’m mum to a very sassy, smart and funny 5 year old and a super cute, very active, 18 month old.

I am also a Personal Trainer and am incredibly passionate about helping mums and mums-to-be to feel strong, empowered and confident in their own skin. 

Now, listen up! There are a million reasons to exercise, aside from weight loss, that will benefit you.

One of my personal favourites? Sleep! When I eat well and exercise my sleep is the first thing to improve and let’s face it, when you’ve got little ones to run round after all day long a good nights sleep (when the little monkeys let that happen!!) is vital. And if I get that good sleep then the next thing to improve? My mood! Yes, I am much less of a dragon after a good nights sleep. Next up on the list of benefits…..immunity! Regular exercise can enhance immune defence by making you more resistant to infection as well as helping you recover quicker if you do get ill. I have trained so many mums who are sick (pun intended!) of catching every cough and cold their children bring home from school or nursery and it really is amazing how a healthier lifestyle has helped them to keep those bugs at bay. An excellent reason to move daily if you ask me! 

The list of benefits goes on; improved brain health, help with weight management, reducing the risk of disease, strengthening bones and muscles and improved ability to do every day activities. But my absolute favourite – yes I have saved the best until last – is how exercise makes you FEEL. Yes when people first approach me for help they fire off a load of measurable goals such as dropping a dress size or gaining more muscle and yes these goals are achieved. But the real results happen when they start to feel amazing! Quite literally on top of the world! Yes, their bodies start to change, but even before this the impact of exercise on their mental health is phenomenal. When they become happier in their own skin, more confident and stronger, not just physically but mentally, that to me is gold. 

So, if I have sold it to you and you are now telling yourself that you really would like to make fitness more of a priority in your life this year, I imagine your next question is ‘how do I find the time? I am a busy mum, I have my day job plus a million other things to fit into my day’. My advice to you, keep it simple! Don’t over complicate things and don’t jump in head first trying to get a workout in every day AND have a perfectly balanced nutritious diet. Trying to do too much is setting yourself up to fail. Think baby steps. 

First up I would suggest trying to incorporate 15/20 minutes of exercise into your day. Yes, I get it, having children to entertain can make this feel impossible. But think outside the box and involve them. Dedicated alone time can be hard to come by but is it really needed in this instance? Take the kids to the park, use the monkey bars for pull ups, the park bench for tricep dips or just run along beside your kiddies. They’ll love it! If you have younger children, stick them in the jogger and get out there for a run. Or utilise their meal times whilst they are contained and smash out 15 minutes of movement whilst they are busy eating. Winning! 

Also, find yourself a crew. Like minded parents can be a great support. Or better still, buddy up with someone and get a workout together in your diary. You are far more likely to commit if not doing it means letting someone else down.

Ok, so let’s say you find the time to workout. The next step is to have a plan. Do you often feel lost on what to focus on? What to include in your workout?

My advice to you is to focus on functional moves – exercises that support your every day life and real life movements. Include movements such as squatting, reaching, pulling and lifting into your routine to make your daily activities easier and prevent injury too (no-one wants to put their back out whilst picking up their kids or pull a muscle whilst reaching into the toy box). Which brings me on to correct form and posture, which is everything. If you are unsure then reach out to a professional to help set you on your way.  

Thanks for reading this and I hope it has got you thinking. But if you only take one thing away then let it be this: If you do one thing this year, learn to give yourself a break! There will be days that don’t go to plan, and that is just fine. Do not fret my friend. You are doing great. Learn to be happy with who you are, to love your ‘flaws’, ’quirks’ and ‘imperfections’ and teach your kids to love theirs too. Be active to celebrate your body, not to punish it. Help your children want to exercise for strength (both physical and mental), not to look a certain way. If we want our kids to be confident, strong and healthy then it’s up to us to show them how it’s done. So let’s cut the self criticism and instead start owning the bodies we were given. After all they are the only ones we’ve got. We’ve got this! 

Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2023.

Holly x 

Weekly classes in Ide, Devon: A 30 min HIIT on Thursday evenings at 7.15pm and a Saturday morning bootcamp at 9am. I also offer 1:1s in person or online.

Find out more and to contact visit @thegoodfitcompany