Where on earth do I start, health and fitness is a topic that I’m so incredibly passionate about and not for vanity reasons for mind and body reasons. Let me explain…
Health and fitness have always gone hand in hand for me and played a huge part in my life. As a youngster I was an international diver, county hockey and water polo player and also a high level footballer. My Dad used to joke about how he wondered how I fit it all in or had the energy for it. So there it was from an early age, I realised that being active and fit in turn actually gave me more energy, more vibrancy and in turn made me really happy.
As I’ve got older health and fitness has become much less about competition and much more an essential component to the way I feel. Fitness used to be very much about pushing the boundaries during my younger years and needing to be higher, faster or stronger, whereas now in my 40s and beyond it’s to keep myself free from injury and illness but also to bolster my mental health and help me feel happy.
Exercise has always played a huge role in my life and will continue to do so forever. I think what’s really important now is we can broaden the term ‘exercise’ and talk about the notion of activity, which is incredibly important for all of us no matter what our base level is. Keeping our bodies and minds active to me is what leads to having a healthy body and mind and giving me lots of energy, positivity and happiness!
The mind-body connection is so strong in all of us, and luckily I discovered the reciprocal impact of one to the other and how essentially they are the same thing. So now when I exercise it makes me happy! There are so many studies now about how exercise and fitness impacts on positive mental health and I am living proof of this.
When I exercise I feel alive and energetic, I feel happier and more positive and I become the best version of me. Don’t get me wrong, I still have lots of days where I just feel like it’s such an effort and I can’t be bothered, but that’s when you have to dig deep and drag yourself off to the gym, driving range or just to do a HIIT session in the house.
My daily routine
I prefer to exercise in the morning if I can, as it sets me up for the day and makes me feel like I’m off to the best start. What really gets me going is great music, I like house music that has quite a punchy beat it inspires me and helps to change my mental state to a positive one. If I’m on the early shows at QVC then my alarm goes off at 5:45am so there’s no chance I’ll get up earlier to exercise; on those days I’ll head to the gym afterwards (if I’m not too tired).
A typical week
I try to do a mixture of activities each week with around four to five different endeavours. A typical week for me would be two gym-based sessions where I focus on functional strength, one session of my upper body and abdominal and one of my legs and back. Sometimes I have a PT but more for motivational purposes, often I do the session on my own.
I do these sessions not for vanity reasons, but I know I must keep on top of my strength in various muscles to keep me pain and injury-free and it makes me feel strong, I believe if I feel strong, I am strong. We become what we think, we are a sum of our thoughts – I am a strong believer in this.
Staying on top of things
Sporadically over my life I’ve had a few injuries in my back, ankle and knee and I like to keep them at bay so I always incorporate some flexibility and stretching, or simple yoga moves where I focus on breathing too. The Homedics Stretch Mat is excellent for this and basically does it all for you. We have one at work, which I often use between shows for a reset and I’ll meditate at the same time. My favourite activities are outdoors, I’m a very outdoorsy person. I sleep with the window open every night no matter how cold it is because I just love fresh air. I go for walks every day and I’m lucky to have my little companion Ted the dog.
Occasionally we even have a little plod or a jog together if I’m feeling super energetic. In 2020, those walks with Ted were a god-send at times. During lockdown it was walks outside with Ted that I looked forward to most. Ted actually smiles on his walks which in turn makes me smile, he’s a tonic. When we can, walks on the beach are our favourite, Ted loves sandy paws and so do I. When we can’t do that then walks down the river, in the parks or through the woods is where we head, luckily where I live there’s plenty of options for us to get muddy trotters.
Occasionally when I wear my Garmin watch it’s not unusual for me to top 20,000 steps a day, and it’s a good job because I love food and can be a bit of a greedy piglet… oink oink.
So all that activity helps to burn some extra calories, which is also important because extra weight can also lead to health problems. I think it’s important for us to take ownership of our health, it all starts with us, what activity we do and what we consume. I’m really not about the latest fads – I’m crazy just about movement and trying to make it fun. One of the best forms of activity is swimming and I just love a dip in cold outdoor water, the sea, lakes or even a plunge in an ice bath.
I’ve no aspirations to set and world records or be svelte like a supermodel. Overall I think we can all be better and all do more. My mum used to say ‘less moaning and more moving’, perhaps something we all adopt as a mantra.
Find what works for you
What I think is really important with exercise and fitness is that we enjoy it and afterwards feel amazing and positive. If the gym isn’t your thing then don’t do it, find what makes you happy and do that even if it’s going for a walk or dancing around your kitchen to your favourite songs. This year I took up golf again and I love it! It’s outdoors, with lots of walking, in fresh air and very mindful.
Now I’ve got my own set of clubs I love going to the driving range and smashing the balls to let of a bit of steam, very satisfying! Next year I’m setting the goal of getting a handicap and this really excited me.
The average round of 18 holes I walk about 6-7 miles, and yes it’s very frustrating at times, but very satisfying at other times. So in 2021 don’t get bogged down with negative phrases like ‘I have to lose weight’ and ‘I need to go on a diet’ – I mean, that’s only going to depress you just thinking about it! Instead incorporate positive fun goals that you are going to look forward to.
Change your inner self-chat to things like ‘today I’m going to have a lovely walk in the fresh air’ and ‘I’m going to dance to my favourite song on repeat’ because it sounds much more appealing, and yet essentially is the same thing. So while 2020 hasn’t quite been the year we all wanted, we have a new opportunity to make positive changes in 2021; and I just know it’s going to be a much better year for everyone!
Lots of love and positivity, Chloe xx
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