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Meet the woman who helped me fall back in love with exercise

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Meet the woman who helped me fall back in love with exercise

A few years back I was falling out of love with exercise. I was tired of being told I’d earned my dinner, and fed up with hearing that with no pain, there was no gain.

I was all set to hang up my gym towel for good, when I booked into a spin class hosted by Ashley Newburn, Ride Instructor at Walthamstow studio East of Eden. Far from yelling at us to pedal faster and harder, she encouraged us to do what felt right for us, to go at our own pace and appreciate our beautiful bodies for carrying us through the class.

“I have tried to create the kind of movement space I wish I’d had access to when I was younger,” Ashley says of her sessions. “I truly believe that supportive movement spaces can be life-changing. If I’d had access to radical anti-diet classes as a teen/young adult my relationship with my body could have been completely different.

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Ashley Newburn helped me fall back in love with fitness

“I’ve had countless riders tell me how their relationship with movement has completely changed through coming to my classes and that has become my ‘why’ when it comes to the importance of creating a space where riders can feel safe and supported.”

After my first class with Ashley, I floated out, already planning when I could next join her on a bike. The joy I felt in her class reminded me of the feeling of childhood hobbies before exercise became a means to making my body smaller, which took all the fun out of it.

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Ashley got me thinking of how in adulthood, exercise is often seen as a chore rather than a pleasure. This is a feeling many of us can relate to, with new stats from Asics showing that adults have lost touch with moving for how it feels, instead becoming obsessed with exercising to change how we look, with 63% of adults admitting the main reason they exercise is for physical gain.

This is a far cry from childhood, when we hopped, skipped and jumped our way through the day, with 77% of children asked saying the key reason they exercise is for fun. “We never ask kids to exercise,” says psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos. “They’re just happy to do it because it’s never about the weight they need to lose.

“As adults, working out becomes a chore and that is a barrier to enjoying exercise,” she continues.

Ashley is working hard to help us reframe exercise as a joy and a privilege, explaining: “I discovered that it is possible for movement to be about loving our bodies, not hating them.

READ: This empowering workout reframed my attitude to exercise 

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“I only want to do things that made me feel good in my body, and only move in ways that I enjoy and that led me to focus almost exclusively on spin. There are certain classes and movements (I’m looking at you, burpees) that I absolutely hate, they feel awful in my body, and I can now see are not compulsory or required for me to move my body.”

See inside Ashley’s classes

Falling back in love with movement isn’t an overnight thing, Ashley explains: “It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where movement is about feeling and not aesthetics and I feel it’s important to emphasise this; it’s absolutely not something that happened overnight.

“It’s relentless and hard work to resist the fatphobia and body shame which bombard us from all angles all day, every day. Choosing to move my body with no agenda other than to feel good is a radical act and when I have a difficult body image day, I try to remind myself of that.”

Red lit spin studio
The spin studio at East of Eden where Ashley works her magic

How to find joy in exercise again

“I know joy can feel out of reach for many,” Ashley states. “Lots of folks may choose to focus on neutrality as a starting point. But I think it’s important to acknowledge that joy is possible.

1. Work out how a class makes you feel

” I’d encourage people to start by giving some thought to what classes/styles of movement they enjoy. Some helpful questions to start thinking about this might be: 

-When I book into class do I feel excited?

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-How does the movement/speed/resistance feel in my body?

-Can I name any pleasant/pleasurable sensations in my body whilst it’s moving in this way?

 RELATED: Why exercise can make you feel like yourself again – no mum guilt allowed 

2. Stop tracking your workouts

“I would suggest taking a break from tracking workouts (or maybe even ditching the tracker altogether!) to really allow space to focus on feeling.

“Getting out of our heads and into our bodies takes presence and an ability to listen to, and act on, what our bodies have to tell us. Since ditching my tracker I have never looked back!”

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3. Read anti-diet books

“It can be helpful to seek out anti-diet books to read and accounts to follow on socials, whilst also unfollowing any accounts that make you feel bad about yourself or share problematic ‘fitspo’ content. 

Some books I have found helpful are: The Body is not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor; The Good Body by Eve Ensler; Happy Fat by Sofie Hagen; Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Marie Brown; Hunger by Roxane Gay; and You Have the Right to Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar – but there are SO many and this is very much a non-exhaustive list. The Maintenance Phase podcast is also brilliant!

4.  Change your mindset

Dr. Linda explains that the language we use around exercise can make a difference. “The words we use really matter,” she says. “Rather than saying ‘I have to work out,’ say, ‘I get to work out,’ and think about all the things you stand to gain from exercise, rather than what you might lose.”

 Visit HELLO!’s Happiness Hub for inspiration on living a happier life

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Explained: What is fitness gaming and how you can use your phone to stay fit – Times of India

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Explained: What is fitness gaming and how you can use your phone to stay fit – Times of India
Fitness gaming is a combination of physical exercise and video gaming. This new mobile gaming genre is gaining traction among smartphone users as a new way to stay active. The digital transformation of fitness into a gamified experience brings together the exciting qualities of gaming with the physical benefits of exercise to stay healthy. Here we will explore what fitness gaming is, how it works on smartphones and its potential benefits.

What are fitness gaming apps

Fitness gaming apps, also known as Active Video Games (AVG) are also a form of exercise.Unlike traditional video games that are played sitting down, fitness games require physical movement from the player to control or interact with the game. This can range from simple movements like swiping and tapping to more vigorous activities like walking, jumping, or mimicking specific physical exercises. The popularisation of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) has also driven the growth of these apps.
Popular fitness gaming apps include Pokemon Go, which is an AR game that encourages walking and exploring outdoors by catching Pokémon characters in real-world locations. Meanwhile, other apps like Zombies, Run is an immersive running fitness game where players run to survive and collect supplies to help their community thrive in a post-zombie apocalypse world.

How do fitness games work on smartphones

Fitness games use smartphone’s built-in sensors and connectivity to offer an exciting workout routine Smartphones are equipped with various sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and GPS, which can track movement and location. These sensors enable fitness gaming which also includes monitoring physical activity. For example, counting steps, detecting movement speed and even analysing the user’s posture.
Some fitness gaming apps use AR to superimpose gaming elements onto the real world through the smartphone’s camera. This can make running through your neighbourhood park feel like a quest through a virtual world, where players can collect items or dodge virtual obstacles.

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Many fitness gaming apps incorporate social elements where users can connect with friends, join teams, or compete against others in fitness challenges. This social connectivity not only drives competition but also creates a community of users who motivate each other.
Fitness gaming apps often offer personalised workout plans and real-time feedback based on your performance. This can help users stay motivated and improve their fitness levels effectively.

Importance of fitness gaming for smartphone users

With fitness gaming apps, smartphone users can turn exercise into a fun and engaging activity. Fitness gaming can encourage users who might be less interested in traditional forms of exercise to get moving.
Smartphone users can participate in fitness gaming anytime and anywhere. These games will integrate exercise into their daily routine without needing gym equipment or special attire.
The gaming aspect helps maintain engagement. Challenges, levels, rewards, and the possibility to break personal records keep players returning for more, just as they would with any other game.
Fitness games can be tailored to any fitness level and can be used by people of various ages Like any form of exercise, fitness gaming can also help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

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National Exercise Day 2024: Check Date, Theme, History, Significance, and Best Exercises

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National Exercise Day 2024: Check Date, Theme, History, Significance, and Best Exercises

In a world where sedentary lifestyles are becoming increasingly prevalent, National Exercise Day serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of physical activity in maintaining overall health and well-being. This annual observance, celebrated on the second Saturday of April each year, encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to prioritise regular exercise as a fundamental aspect of a healthy lifestyle. As we commemorate National Exercise Day in 2024, let’s delve into its history, significance, and explore some of the best exercises to incorporate into your routine.

Date and Theme of National Exercise Day 2024

National Exercise Day falls on the second Saturday of April every year. In 2024, this auspicious day will be observed on April 13th. Each year, the theme of National Exercise Day revolves around promoting physical activity, inspiring individuals to adopt active lifestyles, and raising awareness about the numerous benefits of exercise.

History of National Exercise Day 2024

The origins of National Exercise Day can be traced back to a growing recognition of the adverse effects of sedentary behaviour on public health. In response to rising rates of obesity, heart disease, and other lifestyle-related illnesses, health advocates and organizations across the globe began promoting the importance of regular physical activity. National Exercise Day emerged as a means to galvanise individuals and communities to embrace fitness as a cornerstone of preventive healthcare.

Also Read: 6 Health Benefits of Consuming Melons In Summer

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Significance of National Exercise Day

Regular exercise offers a myriad of benefits for both physical and mental well-being. From reducing the risk of chronic diseases to enhancing mood and cognitive function, the positive effects of exercise are well-documented. National Exercise Day serves as a catalyst for individuals to kickstart or recommit to their fitness journey, regardless of their age, fitness level, or socioeconomic background. By encouraging widespread participation in physical activity, this observance aims to foster a culture of health and vitality within society.

Best Exercises

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a novice looking to incorporate more movement into your daily routine, there’s an exercise regimen suited to your needs and preferences. Here are some of the best exercises to consider on National Exercise Day and beyond:

Date Theme History Significance and Best Exercises to try on National Exercise Day

1. Cardiovascular Exercises

Engage in activities that elevate your heart rate and improve cardiovascular health, such as brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, or dancing.

Also Read: Do You Struggle With Dehydration In Summer? Try THIS Combination Drink for Best Hydration

2. Strength Training

Incorporate resistance exercises to build muscle strength and endurance. This can include bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges, or using free weights and resistance bands.

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3. Flexibility and Mobility

Dedicate time to stretching exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion. Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are excellent options for enhancing flexibility while promoting relaxation and stress relief.

4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Maximise your workout efficiency with HIIT, which alternates between short bursts of intense activity and brief rest periods. This approach can boost calorie burn, improve metabolic health, and enhance cardiovascular fitness.

5. Functional Movements

Focus on exercises that mimic everyday activities and promote functional strength and stability. Examples include squats, lunges, planks, and kettlebell swings.

On National Exercise Day 2024, take the first step towards a healthier, more active lifestyle. Whether you choose to go for a jog, attend a fitness class, or simply take a brisk walk around your neighbourhood, every movement counts towards improving your health and vitality. Let’s celebrate the power of exercise to transform lives and communities, one step at a time.

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Prediabetes symptoms, cure: Regular exercise, healthy diet and metformin help control blood sugar level

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Prediabetes symptoms, cure: Regular exercise, healthy diet and metformin help control blood sugar level
Prediabetes may come silently, but it is a precursor to diabetes that warrants attention and action. By embracing a holistic approach that encompasses exercise, dietary modifications, medication when necessary, and diligent monitoring, individuals can take charge of their health and potentially prevent the onset of diabetes.
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