A new semester can feel like a fresh start. A time where we can try new things, take advantage of things around the university that we may not have gotten a chance to in the first semester. Within this series we will be looking at some habits that you introduce in your life that can bring about significant change to your wellbeing.
In this post, We talk to Laura from CCCU Sport and Active Health about how you can implement exercise and healthy living as new habits in your life.
Hi Laura! First of all, how would you suggest someone who has never got into exercise regularly get started?
‘If you are new to exercise, then just start with the basics by reducing the amount of time you are sitting for long periods such as taking regular short breaks – even if it is to stand or walk up and down the stairs, or keep count of how many steps you are doing daily and try and reach that target of 10,000 steps a day. If you are having a phone call or even an online lecture, try to do it standing or walking. It’s also important to try to find activities you find interesting, it is vital that when we want to be more active, we find things we can enjoy. You could try activities like, yoga, dance, boxercise, skipping or a scavenger hunt with your family or friends. Now don’t forget that for most of us we can still go outside at this time, this is imperative to reduce feelings of “cabin fever” helping to subdue anxiety and depression. You could go for a walk, cycle or even a run. Walking is also a great one as it is easy, you can go at your own pace and no equipment is needed – it’s great at helping you feel better and improving your mood. And you could start with just a brisk 10 minute walk. The free NHS Active 10 app from One You is great to help track your brisk walking. You can also use an app called ‘Strava’ to create your own walking routes and keep it interesting. Lastly, you can think about just doing short 10 min bouts of activity to make it more manageable and remember all those household chores count!’
What is your best piece of advice for anyone wanting to start a new habit?
‘For many of you, you might want to try and become more active, especially now we are getting out less. So in order to make this a habit we need to try and get into a routine by finding something you can do consistently and regularly. Firstly – make it fun so you can look forward to it! You need to enjoy it if you want to keep it up and to keep yourself interested make sure you vary the activities and perhaps alternate each day. Secondly, don’t start by thinking you need to do 5 days a week, keep your expectations low, start small and build up gradually. Maybe begin with the 10-minute rule; just find 10-minutes in your day to do something active. And, to make being active and exercising a habit you need to get into a routine, plan your week’s activity with a schedule and pick a time each day that suits you to exercise, then set a reminder, this will help you commit to your plans. It’s important to try to prioritise exercise or being active by setting aside some time in your day. If not look at ways you can make it part of your day rather than trying to find extra time in your day for exercising. Lastly and most importantly stay connected, if you have other people in your household – get them to join in with you or Facetime a friend or family member and do an online workout together. It’s important to encourage, motivate and support each other and this will help to stick with the new habit of exercising and being active.’
How can students get involved with CCCU sport during the lockdown and beyond?
‘Unfortunately, with the current measures in place, it means we are unable to open University facilities for you to get involved in activities, but we are still offering services that you can get involved in and be active!
There is a wealth of online resources to get you moving, you could watch from your phone or laptop, and Christ Church Sport & Active Health are even offering free online classes with collaboration with Ourparks every week, with something for everyone from Boxfit, Abs, Bums & Thighs, and Mind & Body.
We also have our StudyFit programme exclusively for students and is completely free. StudyFit is designed to help students who have low mental wellbeing e.g. stress, low self-esteem, anxiety or a low mood, with a positive introduction to being fit and active. The introductory 6 week StudyFit programme will provide an extended opportunity for students to develop an active lifestyle that aims to improve their mental wellbeing.
Signing up is easy, simply visit our webpages www.canterbury.ac.uk/sport
You can also find and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter by searching ‘CCCU Sport’ to stay up to date with all the latest news, online classes and activity’s from Christ Church Sport & Active Health.’
Click here for more information about the Online Classes that CCCU Sport and Active Health have to offer
Thank you again to Laura from CCCU Sport and Active health!
by Amy Bayliss-Fox, SGO Project Officer #livingwell