Kick-start your health journey

Good’s Wellness columnist Rachel Grunwell shares her expert advice on starting a fitness regime which suits you 

For more from Rachel Grunwell, see her blog, inspiredhealth.co.nz

Three years ago I had a “mummy tummy” and I would puff just pushing my toddler in his pram. I wasn’t a runner at all. Fast forward to today, and I’ve just conquered my 10th marathon. So if I can go from unfit to fit then I think almost anyone can. Here are six tips to help you kick-start your own health journey.

Choose a fitness option you actually enjoy. There are so many exciting options out there that you do not have to be bored while exercising. For example, there are ballet-barre studios, boxing, CrossFit, belly-dancing, bootcamps, triathlons, and endless styles of gyms and yoga classes. Have a go at a few things and then choose the activity you most enjoy and then genuinely give it a go. I’ve tried a lot of fitness activities and so I can promise you there’s something out there for everyone. You’ve just got to be brave to try new things. You might just find something you love and that you are really good at too.

Find time for fitness and commit to it in your diary I exercise at 6am when my family sleeps (so there’s no excuse not to show)! For others, it might be easier to exercise at lunchtime or after-hours. Just find some time to boost your wellbeing. Your health is important. You deserve “me time”.

Commit to doing your chosen fitness activity two to three times weekly – for the sake of your fitness, health and happiness. However, just gradually ease into exercising. Don’t be too hard on yourself and expect too much too soon (which can often lead to failure). After time, you can build up to more sessions – if you wish and if it works into your lifestyle. Do what works best for you. I started with a run/walk routine for 20 minutes, twice weekly. I did this for several months and then slowly and gradually built up my running time.

Nutrition-wise, choose something you’d like to work on and just focus on one thing at a time Don’t overwhelm yourself with drastically changing everything you do at once (or this could overwhelm you). For instance, I started with quitting sugar in my coffee (that was tough)! My next goal was to focus on eating more vegetables at dinner.

Ask for support if you need it and people who will cheer you on If you need someone to mind the kids while you exercise then ask friends or family to help you out (and return the favour). Or choose a fitness option that works better around your lifestyle i.e. walking with the pram can be a great way to start your fitness journey. This is how I started and now I proudly call myself a marathoner.

Resist the “culture of busy” and being a “stress bunny” Worrying is bad for your body. Be kind to yourself and make sure you have fun. You’ll smile more and release your inner “sparkle”. You’ll also be nicer to be around!

Rachel is a mum, marathoner,writer, yoga teacher and director of inspiredhealth.co.nz. Follow Rachel on Instagram @inspiredhealthandfitnessor on Facebook InspiredHealthNZ.

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