With most of 2020 being spent in various lockdowns, many people felt pressure to fill the abyss of free time that was suddenly thrown at us. With social media platforms such as Instagram only showing the mega fit, health crazed influencers, it can be easy to get lost in their superficial world which doesn’t provide a reflection of realistic lifestyles for the majority.

So this blog is here to help bring you back to the real world, away from the artificial world of social media fitness.

The best way to get fit and maintain motivation is to just have fun! No matter your ability, everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t pressurise yourself by focusing on times, or pace, or PB’s – just get out there and enjoy yourself. After all, the hardest part is putting your trainers on and getting out the front door – as soon as you’ve completed that, the rest is easy!

One of the biggest obstacles that social media fitness brings is the jump over the comparison hurdle. Once you have made the leap to stop comparing yourself to others -you’ll see a huge difference in yourself, both mentally and physically. However, whilst it’s easy to just sit and say that, it can be challenging to actually do it. To help make this jump, the easiest and simplest thing to do is find people who you feel comfortable around where you can be yourself. Setting realistic goals is also key – aims that are specific to you and no one else is what will keep you away from the void of comparison.

Another way to keep yourself motivated is to remind yourself of the goodness that exercise brings. Reducing the risk of developing illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes isn’t the only benefit of regular exercise. It also lowers your risk of an early death by up to 30% (NHS, 2018). Additionally there are also many mental benefits such as boosts of self esteem, your quality of sleep is improved and energy levels increased. So try and help yourself out as much as you can, by doing small bouts of regular exercise.

When we think of exercise, many of us feel that is has to be long gruelling runs that leave you on the floor; however, it doesn’t have to be to that extreme. A gentle walk or bike ride still counts as exercise – don’t overwhelm yourself. Especially as we all spend more time inside on our screens due to COVID-19 lockdowns, getting out in the fresh air is so important to wellbeing.

But most importantly, be gentle with yourself. It is completely normal for your motivation to fluctuate especially during these unforeseen circumstances, so don’t be hard on yourself, listen to your body and have a duvet day when you need!

Whilst lockdown bought challenges to us that we may not have not seen coming, we have all overcome these difficulties – so reward yourself by looking after your body and mind by using the miracle cure of exercise.

(I: @freya.stanger)