Want To Achieve Your Health And Fitness Goals? Here Are The Seven Secrets To Success
Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick | Wild Women On Top
Being wild is plunging into a pristine turquoise cove, inhaling the sweet scent of the crisp mountain dawn and scrambling down a ravine to bathe under a sparkling waterfall. It's feeling the glow of the sun on your skin as you emerge from the forest and sensing the breeze in your hair as you hike though the rainforest on a summer's day.
There’s a reason we love being in the wild. Getting into nature is deeply good for us. Recent research shows that just two hours of exposure in nature makes you feel healthy and happy. Being immersed in nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing by reducing blood pressure, lowering heart rate, decreasing muscle tension, and lowering the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.
For many of us, COVID-19 has cut us off from the astonishing benefits of nature and it’s been almost impossible to stay wild. At worst, we’ve been stuck in the house and at best, we’ve been solo or buddy walking around the block.
But now, we’re back. We're back in the wild.
Because we are born to be wild.
For some of us, staying wild is easy. We just lace up our boots, throw on our packs and go hiking. But for many people, staying wild is a challenge. And if you’re one of those people, the best way to get wild - and stay wild - is to take on a daily challenge.
We’ve all seen the push-up challenges, the ab challenges, or the step challenges doing the rounds on social media. But how do you choose the best challenge for you? And how do you choose one that gets you into the wild?
Firstly, I recommend finding a challenge that provides an achievable daily goal, accountability, motivation, and an opportunity to help others. If it’s a well-rounded fitness challenge, it will prepare you for the wild as well.
We Need An Achievable Goal
Every challenge needs to have a goal. Goals help you stay motivated, focused and determined. You can have a big, hairy, audacious goal (B.H.A.G) - like reaching Everest Base camp. And you can have mini goals, which are milestones you can reach every day to get you to your ultimate goal.
Whether it's walking 10,000 steps a day, doing ten sets of stairs daily, or lifting heavy things three times a week - your fitness challenge needs to have goals!
We Need A Way To Stay Accountable
Once you've settled on your goals for your health and fitness challenge, you need to make sure you stick to them. For success in any fitness challenge, you need a mechanism to keep you accountable.
One way to stay accountable, and stick to your challenge, is to get a buddy to join you. Not only does it help you stay motivated, it makes your challenge more fun! Other ways to stay accountable include having a reporting or tracking system - like a Health App that tracks your steps - and a ‘giving back’ element - such as raising money for charity. This keeps you on track, makes you feel amazing, and acknowledges your achievements regularly.
We Need To Walk Every Day
Research has shown regular walking is one of the best ways to improve your fitness and health. And everybody can do it without expensive equipment. Researchers from the University of Queensland discovered the optimal number of steps a person should walk ever day is 10,000. So, your staying wild challenge should be based on a program that inspires and motivates you to do at least 10,000 steps a day, every day.
Daily walking reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, some cancers, some mental health issues, and dementia and Alzheimer’s by up to 50%. It also improves your immunity and makes you feel better.
We Need To Puff A Little
A well-rounded fitness challenge will also include some puffing. It doesn’t take much. Just 10 sets of stairs a day, or 5 minutes going up stairs, is all you need to keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
We Need To Lift Heavy Things
Lifting heavy things includes carrying your body, with or without added weight, around the place. It improves your muscle mass, your strength, your bone density, and your metabolism. Lifting heavy things can be as simple as carrying your shopping home in a backpack or carting it up the stairs.
We Need To Be Agile
Agility is the ability to move safely and securely over, under, and around obstacles. It requires you to have a level of flexibility, co-ordination, strength, and balance. This prevents falls as well as strains and injuries.
We Need To Give Back
Helping others makes us feel good and improves our wellbeing. For busy working women, helping others can remove the guilt we might feel for taking up family time with our workouts. Not everybody can easily justify daily exercise as self care, and for those who cant, supporting a charity can be a great motivator.
Get out there and find a new challenge for yourself and your buddy that ticks all these boxes and let us know how you go. We’d love to see the photos of you going wild with all the fabulous fitness you get from your new charity challenge in the Wild Women Community!