Moving on, and keeping moving

Hi, I’m Drew, and I’ve been supporting the Blue Ribbon Foundation with their website and social media content.  This will be my last blog for the Foundation as I’m moving onto new projects (though I will miss working with the Foundation!).  I’ve been writing these blogs for the best part of two years now, so for my final missive, I’m going to focus on the key things I’ve learned over that time about how to keep yourself healthy.

1. Set goals

Hands down, I’ve found this is the most important thing to do if you want to both maintain good level of fitness and health, as well as do for anything you wish to improve.  Over the time I’ve been supporting the Blue Ribbon Foundation, I have significantly upped my exercise, with last year’s key focus being running my first marathon (see more about that here).  After trying out several different ways of setting goals for regular exercise, with wobbles along the way, I’ve settled into a flexible pattern.

My goal is to run 20 miles a week in total, which averages out at less than 3 miles a day (or roughly 4.5km).  I plan to raise that up to 26.2 miles.  Sound familiar?  Yup, that’s a marathon distance, and let me tell you, it’s a lot easier running that in bits rather than all at once!  While that isn’t possible every week, it really has helped to keep me moving.  It’s also an appropriate goal for me and my level of fitness, and will enable me to bring that up in advance of future marathons/half-marathons, or rest up more.

Other goals include weight training at least twice a week, which helps ring the changes and keeps the non-running muscles active.  I’m still working on eating better, but haven’t yet cracked the problem of my sweet tooth yet.  I’m a habitual snacker in the evening, and the quality of the food I eat tends to degrade later into the evening.  Need to address the midnight crisps!

There’s more about how to set goals on our blog here.

2. Mix it up

Lots of veg, good. Same veg all the time, dull!

Lots of veg, good. Same veg all the time, dull!

It’s so important not to get bored.  If you just exercise in the same way, using the same routes, or eat the same food, it’s much more likely you’ll lose focus and motivation.  As a result, it’s really helpful to plan out (there’s that goals point again) a variety of activities and meals to keep yourself engaged.  If you (like me) go running as your main source of exercise, then why not change this up by investing in a bike?  Or joining a local football team?  Or identify a new set of exercises with help from a local gym?  There’s more ideas on our blog here.

3. Go to the doctor

This doctor has a suspiciously clear desk…plenty of time to see you then!

This doctor has a suspiciously clear desk…plenty of time to see you then!

This is a constant theme here at the Blue Ribbon Foundation, and where better to reiterate it than in my last blog?  Whatever your age, health background or current situation, don’t let health problems or concerns linger.  Yes, some things will go away on their own, but many symptoms won’t, and may lead to longer lasting problems.

It’s vital to prioritise your own health, and make sure you get checked up for what’s bothering you, so you can get it sorted.  We’ve talked on the blog about the best ways you can overcome any inclination not to go – find it here.

4. Stay informed

If you’re reading this, and the other material the Blue Ribbon Foundation produces, then it’s likely you are the sort of guy who takes an interest in his own health.  But unless you are a doctor, you’re not going to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the world’s maladies, illnesses and diseases.  I’m sure some doctors would feel that’s a bit much for them too!  But what you can do is make sure you are informed of the most common sets of symptoms or early warning signs that something is up.

The internet is replete with lists of symptoms you shouldn’t ignore – some lists are better researched than others, so we’d recommend reading these links as starters:

NHS Choices

The Mayo Clinic

Men’s Health

And of course, there is all our information too!

That’s all from me.  In conclusion, look after your body and mind, and your body and mind will be more likely to look after you.  Live long and prosper guys!