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We Shouldn’t Feel Sorry About Looking After Ourselves

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 11/07/2019 Tamsin Kelly, commercial writer
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With her beaming smile and inspirational messages, Alice Liveing is the very image of bouncing energy and active living to her 636,000 Instagram followers.

But in HuffPost UK’s new Sorry, Not Sorry podcast series made in partnership with Galaxy®, health and wellbeing influencer Alice, also extols the virtues of switching off and allowing yourself time to just be, with no distractions and no feeling of urgency.

“I think it’s almost a lost art – the art of just sitting and doing nothing. But it’s really important,” says Alice.

a woman smiling for the camera © Alice Liveing

“We are so over-stimulated; we’re constantly looking at a screen or watching TV or consuming information. We feel this need to be doing something.

“But it’s just so healthy to take time to mentally digest what’s happening in our day. Most of us spend our days rushing around, but we’d all just feel a lot better if we took five minutes.”

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What to do if an exercise is causing pain or injury | ⁣ ⁣ There are a huge variety of reasons as to why an exercise may cause pain or injury for an individual, such as biomechanics, structure, and posture, but also poor program design, deconditioned muscles, or suboptimal technique. ⁣ ⁣ Whilst in some forms of exercise there may be a sense of discomfort as you push beyond comfort zones and challenge yourself, no exercise is worth doing if it consistently causes pain or injury. This includes everything from squats to deadlifts, and anything else that really doesn’t feel right. A body that is free of pain is a happy body - and a body that is able to move optimally is one that is healthiest, so moving through exercises that are consistently painful defeats the objective of exercise being a benefit to the body. ⁣ ⁣ In a time where many have fallen in to a dangerous routine of seeking ‘pain over pleasure’ when it comes to our workouts of choice, we tread a fine line of doing more harm than good. Pain alters muscle activation and can create compensatory movement which can cause a cascade of issues elsewhere in the body, so analysing whether something is uncomfortable, or in fact painful is key. There is no right or wrong answer for this, as we all have differing pain thresholds, so is something you need to explore yourself. ⁣ ⁣ And if something is painful, what should you do? ⁣ ⁣ 1. See a physio. ⁣ 2. Perform a more targeted or thorough warm up. ⁣ 3. Reduce the load and focus on form. ⁣ 4. Get someone to film/assess your form and provide feedback. ⁣ 5. Utilise corrective exercises. ⁣ 6. Perform a different/more comfortable variation of the exercise. ⁣ ⁣ If these don’t work, it’s therefore likely necessary to eliminate the exercise from your programming and work on strengthening other exercises that don’t cause pain. I’d also explore the root cause of your pain with your physio too. ⁣ FYI I realise this photo isn’t aspirational AF, but you don’t need to have your abs out to know s**t about exercise. Please and thank you ✌🏻

A post shared by Alice (@aliceliveing) on

We know that women find it particularly hard to prioritise themselves over the demands of work, family life, housework and caring for elderly relatives – and their own and society’s expectations of what they should be doing.

On average women have one hour less than men to dedicate to themselves. But taking time for yourself shouldn’t be relegated to a ‘guilty pleasure’ after putting on another wash or making that duty phone call. Research by Galaxy has shown that women who put themselves first are happier and feel more fulfilled.

In our Sorry, Not Sorry podcast series, radio presenter, author and columnist Gemma Cairney talks to a number of successful women about why it’s time to take back that hour – and how they’ve all seen the benefits of making a conscious decision to grab time back for their own pleasure. Funny, relatable and inspirational, this is the podcast we all need to listen to – and act upon.

© Westend61/Getty

And, as Alice so rightly points out, when you look after yourself, everyone around you benefits. It’s a win-win.

“We shouldn’t feel sorry about looking after ourselves,” says Alice, who as well as being a personal trainer and author of three bestselling books The Body Bible, Eat Well Every Day and Everyday Fitness, has her own podcast series, Give Me Strength.

Continuing on the theme of giving ourselves time to recharge our batteries and do something we enjoy, she says: “If we feel our best, we are better to everyone around us. That is one of the key things that people need to learn. It’s not about constantly giving off your own energy; it’s about being better to be better for other people.”

Female swimmer sitting by the pool and adjusting her goggles. Woman in swimsuit preparing for swim on pool. © jacoblund/Getty Female swimmer sitting by the pool and adjusting her goggles. Woman in swimsuit preparing for swim on pool.

Alice is a keen advocate of moving more to give yourself pleasure and feel better. “So often people put exercise into a box of a one-hour duty but it doesn’t have to be going to the gym and coming out dripping with sweat and red-faced.

“We need to ditch the term ‘exercise’ and talk about ‘movement’, so people realise it can be a really enjoyable aspect of their day and easier to fit into their lives. It can be anything that increases your heart rate, gets you moving and optimises your health – walking the dog, going for a swim, hiking somewhere beautiful, playing tennis with your friends. It’s often the case that people discover they move more than they think they do.”

Entrepreneur Alice’s ambitions for the future will mirror so many women’s own aspirations. “I don’t have any set-in-stone goals, but actually the most important goal is that I’m happy. That could look loads of different ways, so there isn’t a set path I’m going to follow. I just need to work hard in whatever I’m doing and be happy doing it.”

MSN are empowering Women In Sport this summer. Find out more about our campaign and the charity fighting to promote the transformational and lifelong rewards of exercise for women and girls in the UK here.

Gallery: The biggest wellness trends for 2019 (Harper's Bazaar)


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