Every August, my dad and I have a conversation about a photo that shows up around this time.
The photo in question is this one of me at my first ever gym session:
This always prompts me to write a blog post related to my health and wellness journey every year as well. It’s great because I always like reminding myself of why I do the things that I do – I recommend that you do this self-reflection often!
5 years later…
So, it’s been 5 years since I first decided to prioritise my health! The good news is that I still am prioritising it today, although my focus has changed over the years.
From a fitness perspective, I’ve gone from wanting to lose weight as much as possible and being “slim” to over the years prioritising muscle growth. That has been a whole mindset shift especially when it comes to eating more of a surplus to help my gainz.
From a mental health perspective, let’s just say it’s come in waves that have been significantly more chaotic over the past year. Movement has contributed positively to my mental health, but I also realised that seeking actual therapy is something that I was actively avoiding before when I really shouldn’t have.
What better way to explain this than a tweet?
My health and wellness journey continues to be one of the most rewarding things that I’ve done in my life. I’m always grateful that I managed to make it a lifelong habit early on rather than when serious health issues arise (which is where I was heading to if I hadn’t taken control early on)
Improving my habits
Because of the pandemic, like everyone else, my routine has massively changed. This year, in particular, I’ve welcomed some new habits to help keep me feeling good. I wanted to share some of them with y’all today!
1) Focusing on cardiovascular fitness ❤️🩹
When my Apple Watch began tracking my cardiovascular fitness levels, I realised that although lifting weights made me relatively fit, I couldn’t run to save my life! I decided to take cardio a bit more seriously – currently aiming for more walking, running, HIIT workouts every week! Not to mention, after several hospital appointments related to investigating issues with my heart (after my dad was diagnosed with a genetic cardiovascular condition) it doesn’t seem like a bad idea!
Running is something I’m especially proud of — I’ve been running every single week since April and as a result, improved my cardiovascular fitness massively.
My main aim is to get to the “Above Average” range, however, I did recently find that my Apple Watch wasn’t completely depending on how I wear my Apple Watch.
For instance, if it’s tight on my wrist, it logs cardiovascular fitness levels lower than when I have it a little looser. I’m not sure if that’s just me, but as you can see, it’s dropped massively since I got a tighter watch strap 😂
Either way, it’s helped me stay focused to keep up my cardio work every week. ❤️
2) Spending more time outdoors 🗻
Naturally, because I’ve started doing more cardio in general, I’ve spent more time outdoors. After a year or so of lockdown, this has been great for my mental health as well. I try to aim for one outdoor walk at least a day, even if it’s just a few minutes to get some fresh air!
3) Increased the variety of my workouts 🎉
Not only have I been increasing my cardio, but I’ve also switched up my workouts more often. Instead of traditional strength training, I’ve done more functional strength training, HIIT, cycling, dance workouts, yoga, Pilates… all mostly from home too!
I admit that there was a point during the year where I got bored of traditional strength training and appreciated some time following along with a workout in real-time.
Variety keeps things fun!
4) Social fitness 🌱
Exercise is more fun with friends! I’ve enjoyed using my Apple Watch’s friends feature and seeing what everyone is up to. It’s fun to have friendly competitions! 🤪 I also joined Strava.
At work, we have a channel called “#fitpod” which has been fun to take part in as well. 🥰
5) Started therapy 🙏🏻
I’m learning so much about myself by going to therapy. For example, I briefly mentioned how I started to really understand the concept of blind spots in my previous blog post. It’s a slow and emotional process trying to untangle some things, but I totally see it as being very beneficial. Hoping to continue to stick to it!
Over the 5 years, I’m always reminded of why I started in the first place to live my happiest, healthiest life! That’s all there is to it. I’m proud of myself for keeping my habit going, here’s to more adventure and appreciation for my strong and healthy body and mind 💜