“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented”

Exercise is certainly my drug. It gives me so many benefits – time to clear my head, makes me feel good and most of all – keeps me feeling energised.

My passion in fitness has mainly always been about running – which stemmed from a school residential trip, aged 12! Each morning, one of the teachers went for an early morning run and she asked if some of us if would like to go along. I went with a group of girls having a giggle. I think I must have been about 12 years old. I ended up going each morning with the teacher and she suggested I joined the local club. I did join the local club, Bideford Blues AAC and that became a massive part of my life for the rest of my teenage years until I left North Devon for a GAP year. I used to train twice a week, competed most weekends in athletics events and cross country events. My coach, Andy, was a role model and would keep me focused.

Thanks to running, I was never a smoker, tempted to take part in the drug scene. I did experience life and i liked to party and socialise and spend time with my friends. This is what I want for my children. My parents kept me involved in a healthy activity where I needed to stay healthy and be aware of what I was doing to my body (though at the time, I never thought of it like this). Getting hooked on running, probably kept me on the straight and narrow throughout my teena
When I was 18years old, I went to New Zealand for a GAP year which was an amazing experience. It was in this year, I was not running as much, enjoying the freedom away from training and competitions – I put on a lot of weight through drinking a lot of very yummy hoy chocolate with marshmallows and eating lots and generally not being so active. This was when I realised how important exercise was and how hard it is to maintain a fitness regime without the structure of a club. From then on, I was always looking for the next thing to get hooked on to to stay fit and healthy.
Staying fit and healthy is always such a challenge for so many of us. I admire those who are able to stay in the the same routine, week in and week out. As a mother to two young children, I find the times and opportunities to exercise are forever changing. This is why my main focus is on running at the moment. I can run when I want and where I want – I enjoy running with others as well as running on my own. One day I would love to train for a triathlon, but I know I don’t have the time to train for the different disciplines at the moment. Time is the biggest factor for so many of us and also motivation!
How can we create TIME to exercise? There is no easy answer to this, but you can do some things to make life easier..
Plan in your exercise and make it a firm place in the diary – get in the routine of going every week.
Involve others – make sure your family / husband / partner knows what and when you want to exercise so they can support you to get there.
How you can create and maintain MOTIVATION?!
Take along a friend to exercise – perhaps a class or go for a walk / jog / run together
Join a class which has block bookings and good reputation for being friendly and welcoming
Make sure you ENJOY the exercise you are doing
Know the benefits of the exercise you are doing so that you know why you are doing it!
Have a goal – what do you want to achieve and when…
This is an interesting site from the ‘livewell’ NHS website. – the outlines the benefits of exercise as well as how much exercise we should be having:


“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented”
Dr Nick Cavill
It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:
up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
a 30% lower risk of early death
up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
up to a 30% lower risk of depression
up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
What counts?
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song.
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities are:
walking fast
water aerobics
riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
playing doubles tennis
pushing a lawn mower
Daily chores such as shopping, cooking or housework don’t count towards your 150 minutes. This is because the effort needed to do them isn’t hard enough to get your heart rate up.
A modern problem
People are less active nowadays, partly because technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars or take public transport. Machines wash our clothes. We entertain ourselves in front of a TV or computer screen. Fewer people are doing manual work, and most of us have jobs that involve little physical effort. Work, house chores, shopping and other necessary activities are far less demanding than for previous generations.
Recommended physical activity levels
Children under 5 should do 180 minutes every day.
Young people (5-18) should do 60 minutes every day.
Adults (19-64) should do 150 minutes every week.
Older adults (65 and over) should do 150 minutes every week.
We move around less and burn off less energy than people used to. Research suggests that many adults spend more than seven hours a day sitting down, at work, on transport or in their leisure time. People aged over 65 spend 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group.
Sedentary lifestyles
Inactivity is described by the Department of Health as a “silent killer”. Evidence is emerging that sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, is bad for your health. Spending hours sitting down watching TV or playing computer games is thought to increase your risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as weight gain and obesity.
Not only should you try to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce the amount of time you and your family spend sitting down. Common examples of sedentary behaviour include watching TV, using a computer, using the car for short journeys and sitting down to read, talk or listen to music.
“Previous generations were active more naturally through work and manual labour but today we have to find ways of integrating activity into our daily lives,” says Dr Cavill.
Whether it’s limiting the time babies spend strapped in their buggies to encouraging adults to stand up and move frequently, people of all ages need to reduce their sedentary behaviour.
“This means that each of us needs to think about increasing the types of activities that suit our lifestyle and can easily be included in our day,” says Dr Cavill.
Crucially, you can hit your weekly activity target but still be at risk of ill health if you spend the rest of the time sitting or lying down. For tips on building physical activity and exercise into your day whatever your age, read Get active your way.
So, how are you active? What can you do to be more active? Questions to ask yourself. We all know that exercise makes us feel good – so why don’t we all do more?
Check out our classes on the home page of www.trainwithkirsty.co.uk. We are friendly and welcoming and offer low impact Fitball to cardio and strengthening outdoors Parkfit to Personal Training with Kirsty. Come and join us #befitlovefit

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