I used to occasionally fall prey to ‘fitspo’ on Instagram and wonder what I was missing out on by not engaging with the ever-evolving hardcore fitness trends. But over the past few months, I’ve come to realise that a more softly, softly approach works best for me and probably for many more… We just need to be kinder to ourselves, individualise our exercise regimes and do what works for and suits us and disregard the rest.
We obviously undertake exercise with a view to enhancing our cardiovascular and overall health, but truth be told, the body beautiful is foremost in the minds of the average Joe/Josephine when they embark on a new regime, although we’re not supposed to say that. I was intrigued to hear celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak (if he’s good enough for Kanye himself…) say: “We’ve gone so extreme with our approach to fitness. You don’t need to do P90X or insanity. I train 50 of the most amazing bodies in the world, and none of them do that”. His focus is on steps (to the tune of 12,000 daily), then sleep and then diet. A man of my own heart!
Apart from it being unnecessary, some of this extreme exercise can be downright damaging. Do we really need to further encroach on our sleep by dragging our weary bodies to an early am HIIT (high intensity interval training) class? Or turn ourselves inside out to fit one in after an already stressful day’s work. HIIT and similar classes exert huge stress on the body and while this may result in temporary weight loss, we’re in this for the long haul. A more gentle outlet for your stress will leave you decompressed and without the lingering elevated stress hormones of a post-HIIT workout which render you injury-prone, lacking in immunity, moody and stressed!
My current mix includes walking, the odd cycle/(short) run and some yoga (which I posted about two weeks ago) and I’m going to leave it at that for the moment.
I took a notion to buy a bike a fortnight ago, after brewing a few weeks of semi-notions. I’ve always been petrified of the idea of cycling around Dublin’s mean city centre but I thought it might be nice to change it up once every so often and cycle to work wherever cycle lanes permitted my nerves.
Off I trotted to the very helpful Christian in the Bicycle Repair Shop in Rathmines (Wynnefield Rd. FYI) to have a look. He had 3 ‘suitable’ bikes ready to go and a fair few more which would be ready in a day or two but sure I wanted to enjoy the Dublin October sun that had graced us that day and was determined to leave on my new wheels so I chose the one pictured below:
I’d earmarked the following Monday as my maiden commute to work by bike, but sure hurricane Ophelia scuppered my plans – Murphy’s law continues to cling to every aspect of my life, big and small! But I have got a couple of cycles in since I bought it, including this morning’s jaunt in the October bank holiday Monday sunshine. So easy to jump on a bike and sure you wouldn’t even notice that you’re exercising.
The humble walk has often been forgotten in this era of HIIT, Crossfit and the likes. I went on a lovely stroll while at home over the weekend – the forest trail of the Mote Park Heritage Walkway in Roscommon. Such a great idea if you need to decompress and see the wood from the trees, in every sense of the word!
So that’s my simple, individualised regime at the moment – walks, dipping in and out of my running app, the odd cycle and some yoga… I plan on continuing to do what I feel like on the day a few days per week, try to eat moderately well most of the time, relax, get my Zzzzzs and repeat… It’s been serving me reasonably well so far!
I hope Halloween tricks and treats you well and have a great week!8