What a difference a day (or 50) makes! At the end of 2016, a good friend of mine, David, from Kinetic Fitness gave an open challenge: perform some form of exercise for 100 days straight, starting January 1st, 2017. Naturally, I accepted the challenge and put my body and mind to the test. So far it’s been a great experience pushing myself and understanding more about my body; building on my Muay Thai training, I included running, swimming, strength and core exercises into my regular routine – some relaxed days simply consisted of stretching and long walks.
Now at the halfway point in the challenge, I wanted to share with some of the most valuable insights I’ve gained since starting:
1.Mindset is key
We make time for the most important things in life: visiting friends, education, career etc… We also need to make time for our health (both mental and physical). This means rather than simply reacting to when you have a health issue, being proactive in ensuring your mind is stimulated and you’re taking up regular physical activity will improve your wellbeing. A key part of this is developing positive health habits: how do you handle stressful situations? How do you prioritise your well-being? What positive references do you have with regards to health? I began to prioritise my health more through planning my weekly diary more effectively to include time for exercises, also making sure I have adequate time away from work to relax. I completely agree with Saul Williams (see above), your diet is everything you consume: both food and content.
Check out: The Relationship Between Happiness & Health
2. Respect Your Body
The human body is remarkably resilient: we survive in a variety of climates, push our bodies to the limit in sports, and we are living increasingly longer lives. With that being said, I picked up an injury on day 11 after taking an oblique kick directly to my left knee during a Muay Thai sparring session, the result of which was a strained Patella Tendon. Luckily, it’s something I will fully recover from in a few more weeks, however, injury highlighted how easily we can sustain injury. With that came the understanding to respect your body (and mind), and avoiding putting your body and mind in unnecessary situations that compromise your wellbeing: being mindful of what you are eating, avoid excessive drinking, and avoid harmful drugs.
Check out: The Benefits of a Low Impact Workout.
3. Do Activites You Enjoy.
There are no quick fixes in Health! However, the health and fitness industry does a particularly good job of promoting quick fixes. Rather than jumping on the bandwagon of a particular fitness craze, I believe you should simply be active and do activities you enjoy. Since the start of the #100DaysFitnessChallenge I haven’t spent any days in the gym, but rather focused on doing activities like Muay Thai, swimming, running, and working out at home – all of which I enjoy. So if you really like cycling and yoga, do not feel like you have to take up a HIIT session. I prefer to think long term about the physical activities I engage in, studies have shown our commitment to an exercise regime is very much dependent on how much we enjoy it and our positive emotional response to it.
Check out: The Psychology of Exercise.
4. It’s Your Progress.
Understand that your health journey is your own. We all have different training regimes, diets, lifestyles and genetic predispositions, therefore we won’t all get the same results at the same time. My focus both in exercises and in life is simply trying to be the best version of myself. No matter what your starting point is, what’s most important is that you make a start.
Check out: Tips On Tracking Your Health.
Come back for part 2 when I finish the #100DaysFitnessChallenge, I will talk a bit more about my training and results!