We are halfway through our online Intentional Health course and this week we discuss exercise. Being intentional about your health means being intentional about all aspects and not just focusing on one area. This means it’s not all about being an extreme gym bunny.
Sophia who writes on her own blog Time For Tea is currently taking part in our latest online course and today writes for us about her experiences of week 5.
Getting Intentional: Week 5
“It’s week five; we’re halfway through the course!
As always, we started the morning going into our breakout rooms so we could reflect on the previous session. Last week I had given myself the goal of going to bed by 10pm for three nights over the following week, and I was pleased to be able to report that I had achieved that goal. In reality, because I had mentioned it to my family they helped me be mindful of the goal, and so on the other nights that week I never went to bed much later than that anyway! I think that demonstrates beautifully the advantages of initially setting easy to achieve goals, and making yourself accountable to other people, too. Long may that continue…
This week’s focus was on physical exercise. It was a very interactive session, utilising group chats, the group message feature, questionnaires, and a video. We covered the theory side, discussing the benefits of physical exercise, and the recommended guidelines for how much moderate and vigorous exercise you should get each week (side note: both types raise your heart and breathing rates, but when doing moderate exercise you should be able to hold down a conversation, but not sing. Whilst with vigorous exercise you should not be able to do either!). Then we moved onto the practical side, sharing ideas on different ways we participate in strengthening, moderate and vigorous exercise, and reflecting on how we could build them into our week. Within the group, it felt like we were all at different stages on the journey, but there were enough ideas shared that everyone should’ve been able to engage with something!
Something that really struck me from the week was how beneficial walking is for us. One leader likened it to a ‘super pill’ (if you could put it into medication form!) because it has so many positives (e.g. it’s free to access, helps with general fitness, mental health, there can be a social component, it gets you outdoors, etc.) with minimal negative side effects. I can definitely vouch for the advantages that walking regularly brings; I walk my children to and from school most days and feel the most healthy that I’ve been for years by having that daily exercise.
I feel like a pretty active person already — lockdowns have definitely helped me develop healthy habits like meeting up with friends for walks and sea swims instead of sedentary cups of coffee at a cafe! — yet I still found myself challenged to consider how I could add vigorous exercise into my week (my absolute worst type of exercise!). Following the session, I have made a conscious effort to power-walk up the hill on the school run, and I even went out for my first jog in weeks! I had actually decided the day I would go for the jog and told my walking buddy beforehand as a form of accountability. On the said day it was blowing a gale and pouring with rain (typical), but I didn’t want to back out so I went for it! The best thing about telling my walking buddy was that they were super encouraging afterward, and that sense of feeling celebrated, along with all the endorphins released, made it worthwhile!”