Getting fitter getting stronger

Yesterday I went out running and ended up running further than I have ever before totalling 7 miles. Not even back in high school when participating in cross country did I ever run so far. It just goes to show you what you can achieve if you stick it out and build your fitness and strength slowly. 

For the last month or so I have been out running probably between 2 to 3 times per week. Starting off with small 2 mile runs arriving home blowing big style, then over time 2 miles became 3 and so on until now I regularly run 6 miles (10k). Feeling so good yesterday at 6 miles I just had to keep going until the 7 mile marker came up. 

The euphoria you get from exercise with those endorphins running through your body is quite something. Achievement, release of stress and tension and good old fresh air does wonders for your mental health as well as your physical health. 

Three weeks ago I downloaded a couple of exercise apps on my phone. Both were 30 day challenges, one for push ups and the other for abdominal strength. Never being one to have great upper body strength I have now gone from barely finishing 10 push ups to knocking out over 30. The same for sit ups. Over the 30 days bar the odd rest day you have an increasing number of exercises to complete which overtime builds up your core muscles. There are several settings from beginner to expert, I started on beginner for the abs and intermediary for the push ups. Once you complete the 30 days, the idea is to start the next level up and go on that 30 day challenge. Hopefully once I have been doing these for a couple of months it will be second nature to exercise as part of my daily routine.

Since New Year’s Day my wife and I have started calorie counting in aid of losing weight. I propose to lose 14lb and my wife 28lb. Each day we have a set number of calories and you submit what you eat and drink into an app which counts your calorie intake. We have done something similar two years ago with Slimming World and we lost weight hitting our targets. The only way we find that we lose weight is to record our food intake, that way you can avoid overeating and make adjustments as you go to avoid certain high calorie and high fat foods. 

Then we are taking part in Dry January which is to avoid alcohol for the whole first month of the year. Alcohol is high in calories and sugar as well as depressive so a month off the booze will do us good. Having never completed this challenge I am determined to do it this time around. 

My motivation is to remain as healthy as possible and look after my mental health. I am eating almost double the 5 a day recommendation for fruit and vegetables as well as drinking plenty of water. By the Spring I usually start cycling again clocking up upto a 100 miles a week on most weeks. Now I have moved nearer home with work, I will be able to cycle to work more often and even run into work on some occasions. 

It helps when you are motivated and when someone is doing this with you and at the moment we are both fully committed to getting fit this year. So far, so good.  


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