I don’t know about you, but at the end of last year I began to realise how much of an impact last year had on me.

My daily routines changed; sleeping patterns were well… no longer patterns, my eating habits altered as I found myself leaning towards comfort food, and although I did more exercise I was only walking further.

Feeling good comes from a healthy diet, daily exercise and regular sleeping hours. All of these themes became an ongoing topic of our weekly catch-up Teams/Zoom calls at PROPS at the end of 2020 and highlighted to each of us that when you lack good health, everything else in life suffers. 

And so, the team agreed to participate in the Better Health at Work Awards – dipping our toes into the murky waters of improving our health we aimed for the Bronze Award, even changing the name of our weekly meeting to a ‘Wellbeing Meeting’. Already we were energised and on the Yellow Brick Road to good health.

Each week our straw(wo)man, AKA Teresa, threw the exercise dice to decide what form of exercise we should be aiming for on a daily basis in addition to what we were already doing. Stomach muscles were toned simply from laughing at Teresa demonstrating each one. Henry, Nicola’s (acting CEO) cat enthusiastically joined in to show how it should be done.

Sit-ups, planks, crunches, quick bursts of running, even hoola hooping and skipping were encouraged.

The power of exercise is amazing, by increasing the amount and variety of exercise we include in our daily lives we can improve other areas.

What the PROPS team learned was that the benefits of physical activity didn’t only affect our fitness levels but also that it improved out health, sleep, weight and stress and anxiety levels. All of this leading to an improvement in our quality of life.

As a quick guide of how to increase activity and how it can benefit you look at the picture below. If you haven’t exercised in a while, take it easy and begin to build your strength. If you have any health conditions talk to your GP for additional advice. If you’re exercising already, think about incorporating additional activities into your routine.

Exercising regularly, every day if possible, is the single most important thing you can do for your health. In the short term, exercise helps to control appetite, boost mood, and improve sleep. In the long term, it reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, depression, and many cancers. 

So, to improve your physical and metal health, weight and sleep aim to:

  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking or 75 minutes of rigorous exercise like running (or an equivalent mix of both) every week.  It’s fine to break up exercise into smaller sessions as long as each one lasts at least 10 minutes.
  • include strength-training that works all major muscle groups—legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms—at least two days a week. Strength training may involve lifting weights, using resistance bands, or exercises like push-ups and sit-ups, in which your body weight furnishes the resistance.

Remember, small steps carry you a long distances. Like us, dip your toe in, you’ll be amazed at how quickly improvements are gained.

Good Luck!