Reasons to be healthy

Everyone has their own reason for keeping healthy. It may be to lose weight, for rehabilitation, improve your mental health or do every day things like keep up with the grandchildren, keep active or socialise with others. – everyone has a reason and the team at our leisure centres are here to help with guidance and help along the way and a great variety of activities to keep you healthy and active.

Being active isn’t just about weight loss and lifting weights or running as far as you can. Keeping active has a huge effect on your physical and mental health and wellbeing. It allows us to carry out our daily tasks with ease, it’s social which is great for our mental health, it keeps our immune system working properly, which is even more important now with fighting the COVID-19 virus and it reduces the risk of developing chronic medical conditions which can sometimes be life-shortening or result in being dependent on other people and medication for many years.

Everyone has their own reason for keeping healthy…


““I want to be healthy so I can play in the park with the grandkids without them wearing me out!””

There are a number of factors involved with improving our fitness levels, the lungs, heart, muscles and even down to  cellular level, all of which have to undergo physiological changes. This takes a bit of time and so the key is, to start slowly and build up gradually. Your fitness instructor will be able to provide you with a  gym programme to get you going and increase the time you are working out for, the intensity levels and resistance training over a period of time so that you will be able to enjoy having fun with your Grandchildren.

“I want to be healthy so I can go shopping and carry my bags back home without struggling.”

It really is a case of use it or lose it. We start to lose muscle mass from the age of 30. If we can keep doing resistance training by either using our own body weight, weights, resistance machines or stretchy bands we can help to build up and maintain our muscle strength. There are a host of classes that can help you to become stronger as well as using the gym.

“I’d like to be healthy so I’m able to walk up the hill from the bus stop to my house without having to stop half way up.”

Walking on a steep incline can be tough, you will need to be fit cardio-vascular wise but also you rely on your leg and bum muscles to get you up there. Regular physical activity will help to improve your fitness levels and your muscle strength, before you know it, you’ll be at the top of the hill with ease.

“I’d like to be able to put my shoes on easily, I am so inflexible, I find this so difficult.”

Flexibility is such an important compound of physical fitness. Without it, it really hinders daily tasks and it can cause injuries to joints and the spine. Stretches are always advised before and after a workout. Pre workout, to prepare your body for what you are about to do, you should perform dynamic stretches, these go through a gentle range of motion mimicking what activity you are about to take part in. Post workout, you should do static stretches which takes the muscles back to its pre exercise length and helps to minimize the soreness that can be an affect from exercise. There are lots of specific sessions such as Pilates and Yoga that will help to improve your flexibility. This is something that is sometimes over-looked, but so important so that we can perform our daily tasks.

“I’m only 28 but I’m so unfit, I’d like to be as fit as I was when I was at University. I used to love going to fitness classes but I’ve not been for so long!”

It’s surprising how quickly your fitness levels can fall when you stop being active but, it won’t take long to build them up again. Muscle mass starts to decline from the age of 30 so, it’s a great time to restart your fitness again! Start off with the lower intensity options that the class instructor will offer and gradually build up the intensity over the weeks. Take things slowly, ease yourself back into it and you’ll remember why you used to enjoy it so much!

“I want to be healthy so I can play five a side with my friends. I’ve not played for so long, I think I’d collapse!”

Finding an activity that you enjoy is half the battle, it is really important that you look forward to it otherwise you will drop out. Remember how good you felt when you used to play football? Part of it would have been the game its self but it would also have been the social aspect with your mates. Are your friends still playing or have they given up too? Get in contact with them and see if you can get them altogether again or, start a new team up. It’s likely that they will all be in the same position as you, low fitness levels and wanting to do something about it. You can always start off with walking football which isn’t so harsh on your joints and fitness and build up to a full game. Our fitness instructors will be happy to provide you with a gym programme to help you to enjoy the beautiful game again!

“I’d like to get healthier so I’m able to do my housework, it really does tire me out.”

Housework in its self can be a great workout! Put some upbeat music on and dance around your house cleaning as you go. You can improve your endurance to physical activity by lengthening the time that you are active for gradually so that your body copes easily with longer bouts of physical movement. Your fitness instructor will be able to help you and create an exercise programme which will progress gradually, you’ll be flying around with the vacuum in no time.

“I want to be healthy as I’d like to be able to do my gardening but find it such hard work.”

Gardening is a great workout, lots of resistance training, squats, lunges and cardio vascular work. But, it’s tough if you have a low fitness level and a very large garden. Your fitness instructor will be able to provide you with a gym programme to help you to increase your fitness levels in the gym or you could attend a studio session, swimming or any another activity that you enjoy to help you.

“I used to be a member and a healthy lifestyle really helped me to cope with my anxiety. Since lock down, I’ve lost my confidence and I’m worried about coming back.”

It is well documented that regular physical activity can help with anxiety, stress and depression. You have benefited from this in the past which is great. Lockdown has caused many people to suffer from poor mental health and the isolation has only made things worse. You don’t mention what activity you used to do, but we know that it must have taken a lot of courage to join a leisure facility when you have anxiety. You have made that step in the past and you know that it made you feel better.  You may feel more confident coming in with a friend for your first few visits. We have lots of precautions in place to make your visit as safe as possible.

“I have never been into exercise but, I took up walking in the first lockdown just so that I could make use of the one hour I was allowed out of my flat. This turned into a jog (albeit slow) but I have discovered that I enjoy getting healthier and moving my body! I am thinking about joining the gym so that I can work other parts of my body too. I just don’t think that I fit in here, I’m overweight and not the kind of person you would normally find in a gym!”

First of all, well done on getting out there and being active, so many people have discovered that they actually enjoy physical activity since lockdown which is great. Secondly, we invite you to come into our centre and see the cross section of people who use our facilities. They are all ages, shapes, sizes, abilities with different goals. Some people have pre – existing health problems such as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, MS, wheel chair users, some are young, middle aged or senior with a high fitness level, or some have a low fitness level, some people want to lose weight, others want to improve a health condition, the message here is, there isn’t just one ‘kind of person you would normally find in a gym’ the whole community benefits in some way. We want you to feel comfortable to join us so pop in and see for yourself.

“Before lockdown, I used to come into the gym, swim and classes every week but I have no motivation now to come back. I really enjoyed it and I know it was doing my health some good but I feel so tired that the thought of doing it again exhausts me!”

This is something that we are hearing a lot of, how do we get motivated to be active again when we’ve not been doing anything for months? When you think of the activities you were doing, you are feeling overwhelmed, you can’t see how you can possibly get back into that routine again. The thing to do is not to go back to them all at once. Reintroduce the activities gradually, maybe start by swimming a couple of times a week to get you back into a routine. Once you are back to doing something you love your motivation will return. Did you go by yourself or did you go with a friend? If you arrange to go at the same time as someone else, that will give you the push you need as you won’t want to let them down by not going. It is a vicious circle, because you’re not active, you feel tired, you feel tired and so you can’t be bothered to do any exercise. The fact is, exercise can stop you feeling lethargic, it boosts your energy system and makes you feel more awake. Dig out your costume and take the plunge!

“I am 75 years old and the recent pandemic has really concerned me as it mainly effected older people. I used to be quite active when I was much younger but apart from a walk twice a week I don’t do anything. I’m not overweight, don’t have any health problems other than a creaky knee that gets a bit sore, I’m thinking that I should do more exercise but, is there anything I can do at my age?”

You are never too old to join a leisure facility! Being active is the best thing that you can do for your health. As you mentioned, older people were more affected by the virus and it is really important that you look after your health. Regular physical activity will help to improve your heart and lungs, reduce the risk of developing medical conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol which can lead do more serious conditions. You mentioned that you have a sore, creaky knee, this will benefit from physical activity as it will help to keep the surrounding soft tissues strong and take away the pressure from the knee joint helping to prevent deterioration and possible arthritis in the future.

“I have recovered from a heart attack and I want to do all I can to prevent having another one.”

We have various exercise support programmes available at our centres. Our exercise referral team can assess your needs and tailor a physical activity programme that can monitor your progress. Contact your nearer centre to find out more about our exercise referral schemes.

“I had COVID-19 in January and I am still not feeling like I am fully recovered. I get tired and breathless still if I do too much. I would love to get back to full health, I used to go to the gym but I’m not sure that I will be up to it.“

Unfortunately, some people who contracted the virus are experiencing Long-Covid where they are left with side-effects months after they were first ill. Physical activity has such a positive effect on the body and it will help you to build up your strength in your muscles and improve the function of you circulatory system. We would like to introduce you to our Exercise Referral Instructor who will be able to have a chat with you and decide together, what will be the best plan of exercise for you.

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