The JogBlog Guide To Healthy Habits

Krakau, Gefängnis Montelupich, Klosterschwester

The best way to get into the habit of doing something is to do it regularly. Okay, so obviously a habit isn’t something you do once, but how do you make something into a habit? Here are three of my tips to doing something more than once.

  1. Get a training schedule: I’ve got a couple of half-marathons coming up at the beginning of 2015 and I know if I don’t get a schedule and just leave my training to the ‘do a run when I feel like it and hope my mileage magically increases without trying too hard’ method, then it’ll get to January and I’ll think, ‘Oh shit, I’m doing a half-marathon in a couple of weeks and I haven’t done more than a couple of parkruns since August. Oops’ and then I’ll end up limping round the half in 3 hours and pretending my leg fell off or something.My favourite schedules are the ones by Hal Higdon. I especially like these because they’re in miles and not all that fancy 8 x 400m easy x I-haven’t-a-clue-what-you’re-talking-about stuff and I also especially like these because you can generate them into iCal files to import into Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, etc.schedule
    Want to know just how successful getting a schedule is? Well, it’s Wednesday today and usually, I’d spend a Wednesday evening drinking wine while watching Waterloo Road and The Apprentice (DON’T JUDGE ME) but, because my schedule says I’ve got to do 7 miles tomorrow (actually, I should be doing the 7 miles on Saturday but I won’t be able to but schedules can be rescheduled), the wine will be absent. See, schedules are healthy habit inducing!
  2. Get a training buddy: In general, I don’t like running with other people on a social basis as I’d rather zone out and listen to my music but a really good way to make sure you get out the door is to arrange to meet someone; whether that’s by publicly stating on your running group leader’s Facebook page that you’ll be coming to the Tuesday night speed session (yes, I did that and to make sure I definitely didn’t weasel out of it, she came and picked me up and gave me a lift there) or to arrange to see a friend at parkrun. You’re not going to stand your friends up, are you? Nope. Well, not unless you’re a bit of a twat, anyway.
  3. Get signed up to Janathon: Okay, I’m biased because I’m the Queen of ‘Athons (curtseying in my presence is optional) and the more people who sign up, the better I look but Janathon is a fantastic way to get into the habit of exercising. Not only will you feel fitter by the end of the month but you’ll have so much energy you won’t want to stop and you’ll be begging me for a Februthon.

So, there’s the JogBlog Guide To Healthy Habits, and here are some tips from simplyhealth – what are yours?

Fitness For The Over 60s

fitness-elderly- sport-weights-gym

Lots of pensioners workout at my gym. Although they’re walking or using the stationary bike, not pounding out 6 minute miles on the treadmill, it’s great they’re in there keeping fit and active instead of sitting at home knitting in front of whatever it is old people watch on the telly these days.

After all, there’s no upper age limit to keeping fit – just ask Fauja Singh, the world’s oldest marathoner. Fauja (also known as the Turbaned Tornado) took up running at the age of 89, ran nine marathons and only retired from taking part in races in 2013 at the age of 101. Even now, at the age of 103, he still runs for pleasure, health and to raise money for charity.

Another pensioner who runs for charity is Floella Benjamin, who those of us of a certain age will remember from Play School (I loved Humpty; Hamble gave me the creeps). Floella, 64, promised Barnados she’d run the London Marathon ten times for them and, true to her word, she did. Previously to that, she hadn’t run more than 200m. Go Flo!

Legendary children’s TV presenters and Sikh Supermen aside though, it’s never too late to get fit. Keith Simpson, who blogs at Not Just Another Running Blog started running in his late 50s, purely to up his fitness levels, but soon progressed to racing and has – just this week, at the age of 65 – run a sub-4 hour in the Düsseldorf marathon. Impressive, huh?

But for most mere mortals, taking up running in later life might not be the best option, therefore low impact exercise might be the way to go; just not so low impact that you never leave the sofa. According to the NHS, to stay healthy or to improve health, older adults over 65 need to do two types of physical activity a week: aerobic and muscle-strengthening. Aerobic exercise can include walking, cycling and even housework.

Obviously, oldies in care homes need to take things easy. A friend of mine who is the senior carer at a residential care home told me her residents have weekly sit down exercises for those able and willing to maintain joint mobility and coordination. They also have static pedals to help with leg and hip movement.

Other care homes also offer a variety of activities, such as tai chi, which is one of the activities offered at Rosetti House nursing home in Frome. Tai chi combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements. It’s associated with health benefits for all ages and fitness levels, but especially older people.

I’m hoping to be healthy enough to stay fit and active in my 60s; not sure I’ll be running marathons at 103 though.

(Please note I am not a doctor and nothing on here should be construed as medical advice.)