It always makes me sad when I hear personal trainers or fitness bloggers use phrases like no pain, no gain or# #fitnessaddict or "exercise for weight loss".

Its so disappointing as I feel it really under sells the importance of exercise.

For years, my husband and I could never agree on how important exercise was. He saw it as a luxury, a sort of vanity or  a treat that you couldnt possibly indulge in everyday. Most of my clients saw it as a punishment, a necessary evil if you wanted amazing abs and a high bum. These ideas were frustrating to me because this way of thinking which was in many ways promoted by diet culture lead to my past dysfunctional relationship with exercise. I felt guilt when I did, and guilt when I didnt.

Most diets would prescribe a certain amount of exercise daily and when or if I didnt hit those targets, I was overwhemed with guilt, when I did, I was obsessed with counting the calories or points or whatever and would feel even more guilty if I felt I didnt go 'hard enough'. I wasnt listening to my body or actually being present enough to enjoy the activity.

Fast forward 6 years, having ditched the diet mentality, I was able to really connect with myself and thats when the true benefits of exercise began to shine through-  On my darkest days, a long run, hike outdoors or a HIIT workout could really turn me around. On days when I felt stressed and overwhelmed, an intense strength training workout would refocus me and in most cases take me to a good place. I found I was my most creative during or after a workout session. And when I mean workout- it could be anything from yoga, to trampolining with my son or a sunday cycle on the moors. I also slept better and deeper on days I moved, I was happier, more alert, more patient and more present.

Its so amazing and inspiring to see how some research is now moving in this direction.  According to the NHS, exercise can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality, energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimers disease.

They go on to claim that people who do regular physical activity have:

  • up to 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • up to 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis

and the list goes on.

My husband also had a change of heart 2 years after his arthritis diagnosis. He moves daily and is always on about how 'motion is lotion'. His joints are better with movement but they get stiff after a only a couple of days of being sedentary.

Exercise when done right and as part of self love is just medicine.

Nothing feels as good as going for a long hike or run in the early morning sunshine: the boost of serotonin, the vitamin D..... it puts you in a feel good mood for days.... this goes far beyond weightloss.

its about health and wellness and that's why I always think-

Active people are the best people!

Post By Sarah Feeney