Get off your butt and exercise!

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CHALLENGING: The knowledge I am doing something for myself is worth it.

IT’S 10am Saturday morning. When I was young (er) and fit (ter) I would have been found on a Saturday morning roaming the local cafes in London searching for the best almond croissant and latte.

These days I am racing to get my kid to her activities before dashing to my own. I’m in the gym at the Country Club in Santa Ponsa, lining up with my fellow Challengers to go through my final fitness test. We’ve been participating in the first Whole Life Challenge for 2015, and it’s been pretty tough.

For a desk jockey like myself it’s vital to move my body before it atrophies into a sitting position, I get that: sitting down could be killing me slowly or at least could have some serious health implications.

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You’ve got to think of yourself as an animal, because essentially we are. Before civilisation there weren’t computer chairs to spin in or sofas to slob on. Biologically, sitting is a foreign activity when taken in the amount we do it, and our bodies suffer because of this. Nearly 150 years ago, people spent nearly 90 per cent of their day moving around. In contemporary society, we are on our bottoms for approximately 60 per cent of the day.

This makes the daily exercise requirements of the Challenge even more important: at least 10 minutes a day, but preferably a whole load more. Plus stretching, and sticking to a Paleo diet (hard if you are a wannabe vegetarian because the focus is on plenty of protein, and very little carbs) and other weekly tasks. I’ve got to say I love the Challenge, not just because of the inspiration to move more, but the feeling of being part of my team of Challengers and the benefits that has brought me.

Back in the gym the fitness test is short and intense. Ten burpees, 10 sit ups and 20 lunges followed by as much rowing as possible until we reach four minutes. The end result is measured in amount of calories burnt on the machine.

In January I managed to do 21 calories before my time was up, this time, eight weeks of training later, I burn 31. A 50 per cent improvement which I am thrilled with, it could have been better, it could ALWAYS be better, but that’s the beauty of it, there’s no end point, there’s always room for improvement.

The Challenge takes commitment, making appointments with myself at the gym, negotiating child care and work, but the feeling of personal achievement and the knowledge I am doing something for myself is totally worth it. The trick is to keep it going in between times. There’s the real challenge.

The next Whole Life Challenge starts on May 2.

More info on my blog at familymattersmallorca.com

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