Chartered Physiotherapist Emmet Kennedy shares some thoughts relating to his own exercise.
One of the key parts of our profession is to encourage people to do exercise, both in terms of rehab and for general health benefits. As a physiotherapist I feel it is important to try to lead by example and to practice what I preach. Adherence to rehab exercise is actually quite poor and the number of people of who don’t meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity is much higher than it should be. We all know that being active is important for loads of different reasons, but there are lots of things that get in the way to prevent us from hitting the goals we set ourselves. I thought it might be of interest to share some personal insight into how I fit exercise into my own week.
I work full time at the clinic – Monday to Friday, including 2 evenings per week so that automatically limits my available time to exercise. Life is also really busy away from the clinic. My main focus just now is my young family. My wife, Kirsty, and I have a very energetic 2 year old at home, called Shay, who keeps us on our toes! Shay was recently joined by his little sister Orla, who is now 9 weeks old (time is flying by!).I get home from work on normal days at about 5.30pm. Before we had kids I tended to come home, get changed and go straight back out to the gym. Shay goes to bed at about 7.30 in the evening so those couple of hours when I get in are now prime family time. Spending time having dinner, bathing the kids, reading stories etc. are a good way for me to unwind from work. Once Shay is in bed (fortunately he’s a good sleeper) our routine is to tidy up the enormous mess he has made (!) and to do some general household tasks, which takes us to after 8 at some point. Orla is then usually feeding or sleeping around this time so it gives me an opportunity to go exercise. The thought of going back out is one I often can’t be bothered with. Getting up off the couch is pretty difficult and I often feel like just nodding off for a sleep. However, I force myself up, have a quick shot of espresso to perk me up and then go do some exercise. I’ll either go for a run or do some weights at the gym (luckily my gym is open quite late), which I’ll manage to do 4 or 5 times per week. I’m normally out for 45 minutes and come back feeling fatigued but energised. I then often sleep much better on the nights that I’ve exercised, apart from when Orla is up to feed!
By and large I have managed to be consistent with my exercise over the past few months and it is now part of my normal week. Getting to this point definitely makes it easier for me to maintain. Like a lot of people I also use exercise to help regulate my mood and it’s much easier for me to manage the stress of life when I’m regularly active. It’s challenging to fit exercise into the week and would be easy to let it slide but finding the time to do so makes the rest of my week better.