Consistency is the key

‘If you really want to see results in your health and fitness levels you must be consistent and exercise at least three time a week’

Bursts of activity every so often will only get you so far - it is the ongoing commitment to an exercise programme that makes the difference.

Bursts of activity every so often will only get you so far - it is the ongoing commitment to an exercise programme that makes the difference.

Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 12:53

I was reading an article during the week about exercising and I thought its premise was very relevant for this point in the Healthy Town initiative. It said that maintaining optimal health is a long-term commitment.

Not an earth shattering revelation, but nonetheless one worth thinking about. This initiative has given people in Wicklow resources, tools and information to think about their health, maybe kickstart their fitness regime and give a little more thought to their eating habits.

What often happens however is that we are hugely enthusiastic initially and this wanes a little over time and then we slide back into those bad habits once again. There have been cookery demonstrations, exercise classes, health checks and talks and I hope you managed to make it along to some – check out the calendar to see what is still to come.

For myself I hope that I can maintain the momentum from these events so that I can build new healthy habits that I continue in the months and years ahead.

The article, by an American fitness expert, said that while some exercise is better than none, if you really want to see results in your health and fitness levels you must be consistent and exercise at least three time a week. Bursts of activity every so often will only get you so far - it is the ongoing commitment to an exercise programme that makes the difference. In this case specifically it is not enough to show up for a free cardio tennis class or yoga or a couple of runs and then feel you have done your bit. I am hoping that “Healthy Town” is a catalyst to changing habits in the long term. That when all the nice Pfizer and Irish Times people have left us to our own devices at the end of the initiative we will carry on with a healthier approach!

Apparently inactive people can expect to lose 10lbs of muscle every 10 years. Many people just do not think in terms of building muscle when they exercise - we are inclined to think purely of cardio fitness and weight loss.

I think it is interesting if we view it more in terms of retaining strength in our muscles than actually building muscle. This helps avoid weakness and weight gain as we get older which in turn can alleviate a lot of health problems and aches and pains that are unfortunately often synonymous with ageing.

It is said that there is no “easy way” out of it - you need to consistently eat right and exercise but my view is that ultimately this is the easy way. It is easier to incorporate good practices now and prioritise your health - simply put prevention is better than cure.

For those who are not interested in or able to partake in strenuous physical activity there are many other ways to live a healthier life. I was given some interesting information on choral singing by Wicklow Choral Society. Apparently researchers in Gothenburg University, Sweden found that people singing together synchronise their heartbeats with the music.

As well has having a positive effect on your heart it also apparently boosts the immune system, relieves pain, improves posture and increases self esteem. So for anyone who can hold a tune at all it is not a bad way to improve your mental and physical wellbeing! There is an open rehearsal on Monday next as part of “Healthy Town” details are in the calendar section. You could even just go along, listen and enjoy.

So consistency is the key. It is not enough to throw in the towel when I feel a bit lazy or it’s raining and I don’t want to head out for a run. It is the ongoing commitment to living a healthy life that counts.