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Ain’t No Couch Potato Here (anymore)

Feeling uncomfortable – hot, sweaty, puffed, breathing hard, red in the face – nope, not for me thanks!

If you knew me as a child, teen and young adult you would know my distaste for all things physical activity. I was that kid that had every excuse under the sun to get out of participating in school sports and cross country. In fact, I used to joke that the only time you would catch me running is if I was running to save my life!

It’s fair to say that I wasn’t a natural athlete. I was afraid I wasn’t good enough and had a fear of being judged by others. I am also not at all competitive and came from a relatively sedentary family, so never had the drive to be physically active. 

What changed?

When I turned 30 I embarked on a journey of growth and healing; the catalyst being the birth of my second child, and my mother getting cancer.

I have been a fan of yoga since my early 20s, but never really made it a regular practice. Plus I knew I needed a little more than what it could offer me physically.

In early 2019, I decided to choose discomfort and challenge myself. I committed to getting stronger and fitter with regular exercise.

I started by joining an online fitness programme for women that could be done from home (2 young children and living rurally is not conducive to attending classes or the gym!). Initially I did a 30 day beginners programme, then committed to a 12 week challenge. Within that challenge I started running! What a revelation it was to discover that I could actually run, and that the puffing and burning in my chest would become almost non-existent as I got fitter and realised how much I enjoyed it.

P.S. that endorphin hit/“runner’s high” they talk about is real!

The increase in strength and fitness and the change in my appearance (increased muscle, decreased fat), made me realise how crucial it is to incorporate exercise into your life. 

Why bother with exercise?

Reduced risk of:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Type two diabetes
  • Dementia

Increases/enhances:

  • Sex drive
  • Energy levels
  • Mental well-being
  • Memory and cognition
  • Sleep quality and relieves stress

It literally adds years to your life, and life to your years.

What’s not to like about all that?!

Tonic herbs to put pep in your step:

  • Cordyceps – a gem for energy, stamina, endurance and exercise recovery.
  • Chaga – a beasty mushroom for endurance, increased exercise resilience, and decreased fatigue.
  • Eucommia Bark – a friend to your skeletal system, builds strength and flexibility (especially knees and lower back), and supports tendon and ligament health.
  • MSM – put the fire out with nature’s anti-inflammatory – organic sulphur. Ace for your joints!

These days…

I am back to online sessions at home (mostly in my PJs!) with Alicia Mabey from Motivating Mums via Facebook. She has wonderful workouts ranging from beginner to advanced, and no longer than 20 minutes duration which suits my lifestyle perfectly.

I have also signed up to Jane Pascoe’s online yoga and barre classes featuring my favourite, yin yoga, which is the perfect balance to the higher intensity workouts offered by Alicia.

Currently, my aim is to go running once a week – anything more than that is a bonus! As well as the physical benefits, I also find it a great mental challenge.

In general I just do whatever activity I can manage and it ebbs and flows depending on my moon cycle. I go harder with the energy of ovulation and do more intense and energetic workouts as well as more running around this time. However, toward the end of my cycle as my progesterone increases and oestrogen falls, I tend to do more low intensity exercise, more yoga, and go walking instead of running.

Any movement is good movement no matter the intensity or length of time. It’s all about regularity – daily if you can.  

Whatcha waiting for? Action before motivation – just get into it, and create a new healthy habit starting today.

Let’s do the damn thing,

Hannah xx

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