Navigating barriers for a healthier, happier you
We as a nation, hopefully worldwide too, are waking up to the fact that our health is not given. That it is something that we have to work on to maintain, or improve. We must all find a way to identify and navigate any barriers that stop us from becoming healthy.
The pandemic we are all currently living through, has highlighted that our health is massively important. It can no longer be considered as an afterthought and everyone should be aware of how crucial it is, that we try to be as healthy as we can be. Not only to fight off any illness or injuries that we may suffer from, but also to improve our quality of life.
There is a direct correlation between good health and our personal quality of life factors such as;
- Physical stress levels (less pain and discomfort)
- Mental health factors (lower stress and anxiety)
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk of disease and illness
- Increased life expectancy
Obviously, improving any of these factors is going to have a positive impact, but imagine if you improved all of them…..
Health and fitness is made up of several components; exercise, nutrition, rest, and recovery are the primary ones. We will look at the most common barriers to improving health and fitness and ways to address them.
Lack of time
Without sounding too much like an ass-hat; saying you don’t have enough time to exercise and take care of yourself is more likely an excuse than a reason. Yes, you may be pushed for time or be a busy person with family and work obligations, but there will be snippets of time you can utilise. Remember – exercise doesn’t have to be done in a one hour block. You can break it up into smaller sessions to fit around your day. For example, you could do;
- 15 minute bodyweight circuit in the morning
- 20 minute walk at lunchtime
- 15 minute HIIT session or jog in the evening
The beauty of exercise is that it is infinitely adaptable in its type, intensity, and timeframe. You just need to find out what works best for you depending on your available time.
Lack of knowledge
This one is tricky….but it is only tricky at the beginning. You need to do one of two things here;
- Empower yourself with knowledge, so you know the best way to approach exercise from your own situation. This can be done through courses, gaining higher learning qualifications, or simply doing research using a trusted source.
- Utilising someone who is a professional trainer/advisor in the area you are looking for guidance in. There are some very good personal trainers, nutritionists, and life coaches out there who could all help. They will be able to tailor the approach you take to your own health and fitness to help you reach your goals and improve your quality of life. If you don’t know where to look, please ask me! If I can’t help you myself, I know a network of brilliant people who certainly can.
Once you have either gained knowledge yourself, or found someone who can help you, you have begun to expand your knowledge and the journey ahead will be a lot smoother.
Lack of motivation
I feel like I’m going to give you some extra reading to do here, but you need to look at one of my previous blogs; ‘Motivation – The Best Pre Workout’. You need to figure out what your ‘why’ is – why do you want to exercise? Concentrating on the reason to do something rather than the reason not to, can be an extremely powerful motivational tool.
Motivation is normally higher in the beginning of a fitness venture and then fades gradually, which is where perspective can be a highly motivational factor. Look at how far you’ve come since you started, and how much you have already accomplished.
Lack of energy
Feeling like you haven’t got enough in the tank to exercise is likely to be as a result of a poor approach to nutrition, rest, recovery…or a combination of all three. You must fuel your body with what it needs to perform the exercise you are going to do. After you’ve exercised, you need to rest and recover adequately so you can exercise again in the coming days, as I discussed in another blog; ‘Recover....So You Can Go Again’ (more reading, sorry). Once your body has taken on the fuel it needs and the rest required, you can approach each session with enough energy to do what you need to, at the right intensity, and feel better whilst doing it!
Lack of resources
It is an unfortunate truth that not everyone has access to gym equipment or leisure facilities. That may be down to location, insufficient local facilities, or a lack of disposable income. People who lack the resources to do what they want to, are often some of the most motivated individuals, and still find ways to get their exercise done, which could involve;
- Selecting activities that require little or no equipment/facilities such as having a small selection of equipment at home rather than the cost incurred to use a gym or paid scheme.
- Identifying cost effective or even free ways to exercise such as bodyweight workouts that are found all over the internet.
- Utilising public spaces and groups, such as the parkrun
Work or family obligations
If you work long hours, please see the ‘Lack of time’ paragraph above. If you work away a lot, you have a couple of options;
- Pack some hotel room-friendly kit such as resistance bands and skipping rope or try and use hotels with leisure facilities.
- Join a gym that has memberships which allow you to use gyms within the same company in other locations.
If you have family obligations such as looking after the kids or being a caregiver, is it something which can be shared in a rota fashion with your partner or possibly neighbour? (If you look after each other’s children). If that isn’t possible, can you exercise with your family? You may also need to have a conversation with them about how you are prioritising your health. Not prioritising it above them, but alongside them, and that it would be great if they could support you in getting healthier. Maybe going out for a walk with the family could be about more than just exercise…..