Whilst working as an Acupuncturist, I get to meet a lot of people who would benefit from increasing their activity levels but who are discouraged from doing so by their past experience of exercise and their perception of what it should be like. Equally, I regularly see people who have developed injuries and health problems because they are pushing too hard and their bodies cannot cope with the pressures that their training, work and lifestyle are producing.

Getting this balance right is unique for each of us and factors like stress, diet and the physical constitution of each individual all play a part in dictating how we should be exercising. Finding the right formula for you is all about listening to your body and learning to identify and act upon signs that some aspects of your  lifestyle are working for you and others are not.

This is a subject I am really interested in and I have tried to summarise the main points that I have found useful below.

My Approach to Health and Fitness in 10 Points

  1. Approaches to exercise, diet and lifestyle which promote health above all other factors will produce results that are sustainable. Quick fix methods are rarely successful in the long term.
  2. Spending time exercising outdoors and / or doing something that you actually enjoy provides benefits that cannot be measured on a scale or a stop watch.
  3. The ‘no pain – no gain’ philosophy is generally unnecessary and unhelpful.
  4. Everyone can look forward to daily exercise when they approach it with the correct mindset and find activities that are right for them.
  5. Taking some time for physical activity during your day should not be a novelty but a normal part of your routine like brushing your teeth or going to bed
  6. Learn to listen to your body and allow this to inform how you choose to exercise on a given day.
  7. Do not allow your ego or competitive nature dictate your day to day decisions. Sometimes it takes more discipline to stick to doing what is right for you on a given day than it does to push out a few more reps or run a bit faster because someone is watching.
  8. Your body is likely to be predisposed towards being a certain shape. Learn to accept this, embrace it and adopt  healthy exercise, diet and lifestyle habits which will enable you to make the most of it.
  9. Set goals for yourself which are realistically obtainable based upon your current physical ability and free time. Prioritise health above all else and other results will follow.
  10. If you are spending more time grimacing than you are smiling, something is wrong.