There are so many health and fitness programmes out there each one claiming to be the next best thing and many of them focused rather misguidedly on appearance rather than health. Yet, one of the most important points Dr Ivan Cohen, founder of Run/Walk for Life emphasised to us was that maintaining a healthy life-style including regular exercise has nothing to do with the way you look it’s all about staying well and feeling good mentally and physically! Moreover, he made it very clear that the key to really experiencing the benefits of exercise is a scientific approach.
So to help you find an exercise programme that not only makes keeping moving fun and easy but is also based in fact and research about how to stay truly healthy, here are a few of the best scientifically based health and fitness programmes and resources available…
Designed by the NHS, Couch to 5K is an easy to follow motivational exercise programme which you can access via a podcast or app on your phone that coaches you from complete fitness beginner to running 5k (or 30 minutes) in nine weeks. The programme is not only completely free and based entirely in science but it feels and is a really achievable method to improve your health and fitness.
Another fantastic free exercise programme from the NHS, based on the UK’s recommended guidelines for physical activity. NHS Fitness Studio offers a vast range of free fitness programmes and classes tailored to suit your needs and help you find a form of exercise that works for you to create a healthy and happy life-style.
Developed by a team of behavioral scientists at the Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC), Stanford University School of Medicine, Active Choices is a six-month physical activity program personalised to you with the aim of helping you find forms of exercise you enjoy and make it easy to incorporate these into day to day life. One of the best things about this programme is because it is peer/volunteer run there is a real community and social aspect which makes participating in physical exercise so much easier.
What’s great about Active Living Every Day is that like Active Choices, it’s all about discovering physical activities that you really love and finding ways to fit these into your schedule. Based on a study called Project Active, conducted by The Cooper Institute, Active Living offers the chance to work with a trained facilitator who can help coach you alongside great free online resources to help you through your fitness journey.
It would be remiss not to mention our inspiration for this week, Run/Walk for Life founded by Dr Ivan Cohen. Suitable for any age or fitness level and ability, this fun and easy to follow programme focuses on helping you achieve healthy exercise and life-style goals while staying comfortable and motivated. Although the programme is mainly based in South Africa, they do offer great at home workouts on their YouTube channel as well as expert guidance on diet and life-style to help you stay healthy.