Thursday, 19 May 2011

My Fitness Story... - Nigel

My contributor this week is Nigel, who is one of my Twitter followers. Quite coincidentally, he lives in the village in Buckinghamshire that I lived in before I moved to Lancashire, but we didn't live there at the same time. Nigel is a photographer and runs not one but two photography businesses. He's written today about his experience of his fitness programme that he started after Christmas and the benefits to his health. 

Since Christmas 2010, I have been going to my local gym; now, at age 54 years, that is quite an effort. Even though I play badminton regularly, I am not an active soul. My profession of commercial and social photography means spending a lot of time in front of this computer (or a different one if I am at home). My enrolment meant that if I attended the gym three times a week for eight weeks, I would get my sign-on fee returned.

Eight weeks on and I achieved my goal; not so much losing weight but improving my stamina and increasing my appetite. It also prompted me to buy my own provisions for lunch, instead of going to the sandwich shop in the week. I did seek some advice from a very good friend of mine, Lynne Garton, who as a professional nutritionist, advised me on what not to eat.

My weakness is still the odd beer or three about once a fortnight and I do try to consume more water instead of tea or coffee.

In the summer, I find exercise much easier with gardening and generally getting out there and enjoying the weather. I found that, over the Christmas period whilst attending the gym, it was the first year for some time that I did not come down with a cold or flu, but with a break over the Easter period of not attending, I now have a cough that I can't seem to shift. I am down to one visit a week to the gym and one evening of badminton. But I do plan on increasing the gym again.

With Summer approaching, I find there are good reasons to have a fit body, apart from which it does make me sharper in the mind and less sluggish. Gym is not for everyone, and I think from my experience, gym-goers mostly consist of two stereotypes: the wallflowers who stand in front of the mirrors, and the pros who keep their headphones on and focus with no eye contact or conversation. It can be quite a sad place.

All this is part of my programme to live a healthier life. Although my diet has not changed massively, I still keep a wise head on what I am eating and try and be as healthy as possible. I go to a network breakfast once a week and we do avoid heavy fry-ups. We are also growing vegetables in the garden which hopefully will improve our diet and our bank balance. So watch this space!

My thanks go to Nigel for writing this post today. I think that this shows that small(ish) changes to lifestyle can have a wider impact than just losing weight. The health benefits of regular exercise and watching what you eat are far-reaching. Again, this shows that it's what works for you that is best. Not everyone likes the gym (I don't do it, I tend to prefer classes) but if we all liked the same thing, it would be a boring old world, wouldn't it? And it also demonstrates that you can start a fitness programme at virtually any age - you don't have to be young to get fit, the health benefits can be achieved at any age. 

Feel free to share experiences, as always, in the comments below. My guest posters really do appreciate the messages of support they get from readers.

If you would like to share your fitness story, then please contact me on Twitter or email me on the address on the About Me page. Posts can be partly or fully anonymous, or if you are happy to be named, I will link back to your blog. All contributions are really appreciated so do get in touch, even if you feel yours is not a worthwhile story. If it's a personal experience, it is. And I mean that even if you have failed at something, because it is still YOUR fitness story and you learned from it. If you want to read previous posts in this series, click on the My Fitness Story... tab above and they are all linked on that page.

Thanks for supporting My Fitness Story... and do come back for another guest post next week.
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