Couch To 5K

When did you last get your heart rate up?  When did you last get out of breath?

Popular wisdom suggests that we should be doing at least half an hour heart rate raising exercise everyday. There are several reasons for this. Cardio vascular and respiratory health are one. Muscle tone and weight loss is another. Keeping joints and ligaments mobile and loose is another. And, of course, there are the psychological effects of increased endorphins such as serotonin and the subsequent feeling of increased wellbeing. So I ask myself ‘why is it that beyond a little yoga I am not exercising?’

It all stated when I was sitting listening to a TED talk. It would seem that the biggest killer of all of us isn’t some strange bug or virus, it isn’t some form a cancer or Aids, it is simply sitting down. The list of ailments that arise from us not rising out of the chair are enormous. The human body was not designed to spend great blockers of time immobile and sitting down. It seems that just getting off our butts for a few minutes each our can have a huge effect on our health and wellbeing and increased longevity.

As I began to review my own life style I realised that sitting down is just about all that I was doing. I would walk from the chair to the car and the car to the consulting room and do the opposite at the end of the day. I also acknowledged that I haven’t been to the gym for about five years, so apart from the odd bike ride yoga and the odd stroll I have been doing nothing at all.

So, call to action. Number one I created a stand up desk from a microphone stand. This had two holders one for my iPad and the other for my keyboard so that when I am working, I am using it now, I can create standing up. It felt odd at first but now that I am used to it I find it easier to work this way. Also being able to move around seems to get the creative juices flowing more easily.

Second was the daily walk. Now I am out at lunchtime for a twenty minute brisk walk then back for some light food. My walk is through some woodland and it reminded me of the research that i’d recently stumbled upon. It explained how walking in the woods improves your mood because of the natural endorphins enhancing scents coming from the trees, plants and the visual imagery.

Then Rie signed up for a gym, lady’s only so no chance of me going there. She has been settling into her routine. I know with her determination that within a couple of months she will be as fit as a fiddle. I went to look at a couple of gyms and thought ‘no not in the summer maybe in the winter’. I was considering getting the bike out and doing early morning rides and then we started the new podcast. As it rose up the iTune charts I became aware of an app just behind us ‘couch to 5K’, from the Apple App Store.

Now, considering that I have had no real exercise for a long time this was big move for me having never been a runner. I was inspired by the London Marathon and that wonderful man who ran it with his sons at 102 years of age. I downloaded the app and was amazed that my legs do actually run.

The programme takes you through a nine week exercise regime that begins with a five minute warm up followed by one minute jogging to two minute walking and builds from there enabling you, eventually, to run a full 5K in less than 30 minutes. By the end of this, the second, week I will have gone from being a virgin runner to covering 25K. Each time I get to the end of a run when the coach in my ear tells me ‘well done you’ve done it’ I expect crowds of people to applaud, champagne to flow, and people to clap until their hands. Today as at 5.30am I burst through the finish tape in my mind and all there was, was a little old man walking his little dog, “morning son” he said. Hey Ho one day…

Time to get off your butt and be healthy and happy?

Take care and live in your present

Sean x

By Sean

My name is Sean Orford. I am a therapist based in the UK, working for a variety of public and private organisations. I am also a speaker, writer and published author. I hope you enjoy my weekly blog. If you'd like to know more then please do get in touch.

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