Wellness Wednesday: Getting Moving

University of Kent Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, Brenda Brunsdon

It’s been a long slog, hasn’t it? Keeping optimistic and grounded since the pandemic began. Everyone has needed to cope with so many challenges in their lives. Uncertainty has been a major factor to contend with; human beings really don’t like that feeling of not knowing and not being in control. The recent delay in ‘getting back to normal’ has hit some people hard.

Motivation can be a problem when we feel unable to make plans and move forward. Even simple routines that we know are good for us can be difficult to keep up. Take exercising, for example. For many people, the pandemic hit their exercise habits hard. Gyms and swimming pools were closed. Exercise classes stopped, whether HIIT or yoga. Online classes and advice were available but not everyone had the space or technology to access these. Conversely, some people started walking and developed an new exercise habit that way. The excellent weather last Spring and Summer did help with that.

But what about now? It feels as if it’s not one thing or the other, doesn’t it? We’re not being controlled in what we do but we’re not free to do what we want. Gyms are open and classes are on again, but you have to plan ahead if you’re going to use the facilities. The same with swimming pools. And the poor weather may have hit the walkers and those who like to exercise outside. Also, I get a sense that our motivation for being engaged with fitness has dropped off.

Are you feeling the same? If so, here are some tips from experts on how to regain your mojo for keeping fit:

  • Start gently and be kind to yourself: research shows that if you go at things hard and get overtired you are more likely to get downhearted and give up.
  • Do something you know you enjoy: don’t go to the gym if you hate the atmosphere; don’t run if you know you loathe it; don’t sign up for yoga classes if you think it’s not your thing.
  • Measure your progress: research shows that seeing even small improvements in how we’re doing is a big motivation. There are plenty of apps available now to help you with this.
  • Use resources that are available to you and easily accessible.
  • Schedule in exercise regularly and consistently

You may find the Jeff Haden article below on decision making and habits interesting when you want to build up an exercise habit. It talks you through addressing lack of motivation in a different way and is very enlightening.

Remember, there are great facilities on Campus if you want to use the Kent Sport facilities. There are fitness instructors there to help you get started back into your exercise habit safely and they will also help with your motivation.

There is so much research that tells us that keeping moving and exercising is a major factor in both quality and longevity of life. It is the time to start thinking anew about getting yourself moving if your exercise habits have dwindled alongside the pandemic controls, very gradually, been lifted, and while life is taking on a semblance of normality.


‘Do what you love – and take it easy: eight ways to get back lost fitness and motivation’ by Sirin Kale on theguardian.com

‘How to Ease Back into Exercise Safely After a Long Break’ by Ashley Welch on healthline.com

‘Exercise – getting started’ on bupa.co.uk

‘15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)’ by Scott Young on lifehack.org

‘Neuroscience (and a Tiny Dose of Emotional Intelligence) Reveals the Simple Trick to Break Nearly Any Bad HabitWillpower not required.’ by Jeff Haden on inc.com

Getting Your Body Back Into Exercise’ by Roper St Francis Healthcare on YouTube

How To Start An Exercise Habit When You Are Really Unift’ by foreverfit tv on YouTube

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