Tuesday 23 January 2018

Doctor's Orders: Exercise is a game-changer in life

Its time to pull the runners back on and hit the pavement

Get Off That Couch Exercise makes you feel anything’s possible.
Get Off That Couch Exercise makes you feel anything’s possible.

Ciara Kelly

I went for my first run in about two months this week. I'd injured my Achilles earlier in the year, which put me out of action; but if I was being very honest, it was good to have an excuse that got me off the exercise hook. I'd been extremely diligent during the Operation Transformation programme, and it was nice to ease off for a bit. But 5 lbs later and considerably less fit, I decided enough is enough. It's time to get back on that horse - so I bought three bags of salad and dug out my runners.

I actually quite like running and the long evenings and warm weather make it pretty enjoyable. But despite that, I've been refusing to heed exercise's call until now. A good motivation is that I'm off on my holliers soon and I've already got my pasty complexion to deal with, so I don't need excess flab as well, in the presence of olive-skinned, skinny Mediterranean types. So I've got three weeks to tone up and turn my lardiness into taut splendour - I live in hope.

I use the couch to five k app (C25K) for my running, and when I've been out of action, I go back to week six. So it's a mixture of running and walking with the longest stretch of running being about ten minutes - not too challenging. I set out in unfamiliar, summer, running gear, only to discover that running shorts are very short. (I prefer winter clothes - much better coverage) But I blocked that out of my mind and hit the pavement. And 35 minutes later, I arrived back to my house with a face like a tomato and legs like jelly. But that is all it took, to subtly change my world.

For a start, I've been sleeping like a log and waking up energised and raring to go - in the way that only exercise makes you. I've even thrown in a few sit-ups on top of the running, as I've a bikini-clad pipe dream I'd like to fulfil. But more than that, the small achievement of a daily half hour run affects everything else. So now I feel it's possible I might clean my house, cut my grass and de-clutter my room (note to self: steady on, don't want to peak too soon), and do all manner 
of other things that I've been long-fingering 
for ages.

That's the thing with exercise. It's not just the physical benefits you feel. Overcoming your resistance to do it, makes you feel that you can probably tackle all the other stuff you've been resisting as well. It makes you feel anything's possible. And the great thing is, all is not lost if you, like me, fall out of the habit. You can regain your fitness levels very quickly, even with slightly sporadic rather than continuous effort. I'm on day four now and already can run for twenty five minutes, having started with just ten. The only thing is, you actually need to do it.

So go on! It's the summer and the weather is gorgeous and you need to force yourself off that couch and out that door, even if only occasionally.

I would go as far as to say, I'm actually looking forward to this evening's outing, seeing if it's any easier and if I can go any further. I'm also keen to see what kind of shape I can lick myself into in three weeks. The good news is, it can't be any worse than my current state. And will I keep it up? Well I've told you now, so I'll have to, won't I. Anyone up for a run?


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