Getting Active

Its not steps, or duration, it’s doing what works for you

Waiting for the spark…

Life is full of changes, up’s/down’s and bumps in the road.

It is often at these times that we stop being active, getting started again can be a huge intimidating thought.

As with most things in life the thought is much worse than the reality, this is where procrastination takes over before you know it.

We wait and wait for the spark of inspiration, to kick start us again.

The truth is though no one and nothing else is going to provide that spark, it can only come from within us…


10,000 steps and the intimidation factor

This is the single biggest road block for many people….

How the heck do I manage 10,000 steps, that’s a huge and intimidating amount of steps.

I have news for you, it’s just a made up number.

Getting active is all about what works for you.

1, 10, 100, 1000 steps, 5, 15, 30 minutes of exercise.

What works for you is best for you.

Physical exercise and activity should be fun and motiviating, not intimidating and a struggle.

This is the single biggest road block for many people….

How the heck do I manage 10,000 steps, that’s a huge and intimidating amount of steps.

I have news for you, it’s just a made up number.

Getting active is all about what works for you.

1, 10, 100, 1000 steps, 5, 15, 30 minutes of exercise.

What works for you is best for you.

Physical exercise and activity should be fun and motiviating, not intimidating and a struggle.

Start small and build up to what works for you, however that best works for you.

Try different ways to get active and have fun along the way.


Learn to love it

Physical activity does something primal to us, it moves and motivates us in ways nothing else can.

It also rewards both the brain and body.

Once you start to get active, the best thing you can do for yourself is keep going, you will after some time, learn to love it.


Small beginnings lead to big changes

This is true of pretty much anything we start in life, but with exercise and physical activity its especially true.

Keep going and make it a daily or even a weekly habit and there are small improvements that take place over time that add up to big changes such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Gain muscle
  • Improved fitness
  • Increased Stamina
  • Mental clarity

The list goes on, even a short 5 minute walk will provide these benefits over time.

Finally…

It can seem tough to get going on the path to getting active, and it times the path itself can be really tough.

It doesn’t have to be intimidating though, it should be a fun and rewarding experiance.

My advice, ignore all the BS around step targets and 150 minutes a week.

Do what works best for you and stick with that, keep going, build the momentum, listen to your body and look for those positive changes.

One thing I can guarantee is that you will be glad you did.

Morning Exercise

The most refreshing way to start the day???

The way to start the day??

The answer will be different for us all, but for me right now, I have to say starting the day with exercise make’s a huge difference to me.

It gives me motivation to get up and start the day with something enjoyable.

At the moment that for me is a cycle of around 1 hour.


The positive action

I’m used to starting my day jumping straight into work and eating the frogs first, that is to say, tackling the hardest jobs first.

There are a couple of issues with that approach that I had actually never thought about until I started working from home:

  • I’m not motivated in the mornings at all, I know im going to face difficulty and so I end up getting more motivated as the day goes on and I end up too switched on and ready to work at the end of the day.
  • I don’t have a plan for the day, I just have a to-do list that I jump into head first.

Exercising first is a positive action that motivates me for the rest of the day:

  • Exercise makes me feel good, this alone motivates me to get up in the morning
  • I still have a to eat a frog — my 1 hour cycle, but its a physical challenge and that motivates me
  • I have 1 hour to myself on my bike and during that time, my mind wanders and I actually strategize my day

Those frogs in the shape of tasks are still their to be eaten, but I have a plan for them and im mentally prepared for the day.

The fact that Im prepared for my work day, and also I have the motivation from the exercise, my mornings are much more productive and I actually feel tired at the end of the day.

I also have a routine which helps me feel grounded.


The negatives

The negatives for me exist only on the days I decide not to exercise in the morning.

On those days I have less energy, im less motivated and I get less done.


Final Thoughts

Everyone is different and what works for you, wont work me and vice versa.

What I have found is a routine that is working for me, that im getting alot of motivation from.

The days I decide to stay in bed, I feel worse than the days I get up and at em.

My days are happier and more productive, which is a fantastic reason to keep going and to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Intermittent Fasting The latest Fad, or the way we humans were programmed to eat?

Image Courtesy of Canva

Isn’t this everywhere right now?

It probably hasn’t escaped you that intermittent fasting diets are everywhere at the moment, in fact you probably cant escape people online and on the TV telling you about them.

Where did it all start?

It may seem that Intermittent Fasting is the latest Fad in a 100 year old line of Fad diets which started in the 1920’s.

2 things to bear in mind here:

  1. Intermittent fasting as we will see isn’t a diet, its just a different pattern of eating which uses the body in a more efficient way to burn those calories and the bodies fat stores
  1. Fasting has been practiced by Humanity for tens of thousands of years, for religious reasons and also because before industrialization and large settlements came into being, we were hunter gatherers and intermittent fasting was part of the game, we would hunt and eat when we had a need.

Its true that this style of eating has been growing and gathering a following for the last 8 or 9 years, but its important to know that its not a new concept.

The benefits

Studies actually started as far back as 1945, where mice were put onto an intermittent fasting diet, which showed a link to healthier stable insulin levels, increased metabolic rate and longer life expectancy.

In the decades since that initial research the same findings have been found in us Humans as well.

n fact there is growing scientific research to suggest that intermittent fasting of at least 12 hours per day is hugely beneficial for a range of health benefits such as:

  • Reduced insulin levels (Is the drop in insulin level that allows us to burn off excess fat stores more effectively)
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced Cholesterol levels

The good news is that you we can get all of these benefits by fasting for just 12 hours a day, or put another way, sleep plus 4 hours.

Some of the more accesible reading on the science and adoption of this eating style are:

  • Eat Fast, Love Longer and the Fast Diet by Doctor Michael Mosley
  • The 5:2 diet by Journalist Kate Harrison, which serves as a non medical documentary almost of the benefits found by people in their everyday lives
  • The obesity code by Doctor Jason Fung

However just searching Intermittent Fasting online will open up a world of documented research, hints, tips and support to help you learn more.

Getting started

If intermittent fasting sounds interesting to you, there are 2 things I would say before going any further:

  1. Talk to your doctor, if you have an undelying health condition it may not be the best idea for you, this is a very different eating pattern and it wont be for everyone
  2. Research, research, research, there are so many different ways to fast that it makes sense to look at what’s out there and what may work for you

Once you have gotten the ok from a health perspective and done the research, its time to experiment, what works for you, is correct for you, there is no right or wrong way to fast.

Experiment, document the results and listen to your body, for me I go between 5 days eating and 2 days fasting in a week, through phases where I fast 20 hours a day. This works for me and I have some specific weight loss targets. This isnt for everyone but it works for me and thats great.

The mental barrier

The thing that puts most people off is the mental barrier. The fear factor of not eating for a fixed period of time is tough to get over.

However once you get used to listening to what your body is telling you and working around its schedule its far easier and more sustainable long term than a diet for example.

To quote Doctor Michael Eades a leading light in this field:

“Diets are easy in contemplation and difficult in execution, Intermittent fasting is just the opposite — its difficult in the contemplation but easy in the execution”

When we diet (I’ve done alot of dieting in my life), eating the same types of food gets boring and eventually we go back to our normal habits at the beginning its so easy to begin with, but gets harder as it goes on.

On the other hand the thought of fasting and not eating for a period of time is difficult, however once you realise you arent restricted to food types or times of eating,but its a flexible way or eating, just in a smaller window in the day, the thought of missing food goes away and this becomes a natural feeling way to eat.

I have been going down this road for about 6 months and the health benefits for me have been profound, losing 22kgs, type 2 diabetes remission and better blood pressure.

I also feel much happier and more productive as my insulin sensitivity has improved I dont feel that post lunch dive anymore.

Intermittant fasting has a lot of documented benefits and if its safe for you, I’d say give it a go, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Does it squeak?? Tales of prosthetic balls and mens health

As I was offered a prosthetic testicle, and knowing I was not going to be starting a new career in nude modelling or porn, the only question I could think to ask the consultant was does it squeak when you squeeze it?

It was 2013 and I was being talked through the surgery options for testicular cancer. After some confusion about the question being asked, the consultant informed me that no the prosthesis would not squeak and so we both decided that since there was no fun element being added by it that I could live without it.

Fast forward to 7 years later and after the surgery and a round of chemo therapy, I’m happy to say I remain cancer free and live with good health. I also realise that I not invincible or not as much as I though it was anyway, and that mens health is a big deal.

Most men are good at putting off illness or pain or other health concerns and dont like to visit the doctor. I’m definitely in that camp myself and because of that attitude I’m lucky to be able to be here to write this.

I think that especially in these times when we are all so focused on the covid pandemic it easy to lose focus on other areas of our health.

My message in these times is that we need to stay focused on our general health and stay alert to changes in our body.

Testicular cancer for example which affects around 1 in 270 men per year has a 95 percent sure rate, but like everything else it needs to be caught early.

Please make sure you are checking yourself daily, any pain, anything different, any lumps or bumps that were not there before, get it checked it out.

I could certainly have saved myself alot of stress and hardship by manning up and going to the doctor when I first noticed something different.

Same goes for all areas of your health. I see so many stories right now about health services being stretched by covid 19 and while that’s true, If you have a health issue whatever it may be you owe it to yourself, your loved ones and your friends to go get it checked it, 99 percent of the time it will be nothing, but the one time it may be something that visit could literally save your life.

Stay safe and health.