It’s already mid-February, (we know, how did that happen?), and you’re probably starting to lose the momentum of keeping up with those News Year’s Resolutions. We understand, a New Year for a lot of people presents the chance to commit to new goals and habits, but it’s how we keep them going that matters. Interestingly (in a study by Forbes Health) 45% of the 2023 resolutions were based on improving mental health, and 39% were concerning fitness goals.
It's no secret that a healthy body feeds a healthy mind, so it isn’t surprising that these two came together as the top two goals. Motivation can be hard to find while the weather is grey, there’s not much going on (unless it’s your birthday…in which case, have a good one!), and all you have to hold onto is the anticipation of lighter nights and warmer days. But here at Blue Apple, we encourage each other all year round to get out there, to keep moving, and to look after ourselves! Why? Because the benefits are endless.
We sat down with our Culinary Director, Chris Ribaudo, and HR Manager, Karen Wellbelove…two of our very own health and well-being gurus to discuss why they think movement and motivation are important. Both Chris and Karen have completed legendary fundraisers for various charities and foundations, have completed trail runs and obstacle courses, and even scaled the stairs of one of London’s tallest buildings! Now, we aren’t saying you have to go and climb Kilimanjaro, but you can introduce movement into your lifestyle through small steps. Chris and Karen give us their insight on introducing and maintaining a healthier lifestyle and turning those vaguely remembered resolutions into daily habits!
1. Have you always been into fitness?
C: I have always been active and played almost every sport at some stage growing up. But running and obstacle racing only came to me in 2017 and I haven't looked back. To me, yes, it's fitness, but your state of mind is a huge part of it.
K: No! I was very sporty as a child and all through my school years, but then only picked fitness back up when I hit 40. I set myself a challenge to run a half marathon within 6 months of starting running and then managed to push on to complete a full marathon within 12 months. I also joined an outdoor boot camp to complement my running.
2. Why do you think keeping fit is important?
C: Keeping fit, especially as the years tick by, is massively important as it keeps your mind young and also has many physical health benefits.
K: Not only for obvious health reasons but the enormous mental health benefits you get from exercise. As I do a lot of my fitness outdoors, I get a huge dose of fresh air and Vitamin D and it helps to alleviate stress. I want to ensure I live a long and healthy life and keeping myself active and fit plays a really important part.
3. What is the most recent fundraiser you have done – can you tell us about it?
C: I did a 10km Movember run, a cancer charity that talks about men's testicular cancer and also focuses on mental health. Both of which are close to my heart for personal reasons.
K: I run regularly to raise money for CRUK, I have just recently run the London Winter Run which is a 10K through the closed roads of central London. Last year I completed a stair climb of the Walkie Talkie building in London for GOSH.
4. Have you got any future fundraisers coming up?
C: I have a 50km run planned and am yet to decide which charity I will be running for.
K: I am planning a Tough Mudder race in the autumn – this is likely to be raising funds for the neo-natal unit at the Royal Berks Hospital in Reading. My first son was premature and spent his first month there so it is a charity close to my heart.
5. How do you stay motivated to do these events?
C: I go to the gym 5 times a week, attend park runs and take part in quite a few trail runs throughout the year. I also surf as often as I can.
K: I like to set myself regular challenges to keep motivated. By having an event in the diary, it helps you to remain focused. I also often do these events with others as you can then motivate each other.
6. What advice would you give someone starting out?
C: Try and find a woods or park and just go for a walk. Then do the same and jog the route. Remember you being out there getting fresh air and exercising is far more than those still sitting on the couch. Also, Parkrun is a great 5km that is free and happens at 9 am every Saturday and is for all levels of fitness
K: Just do it! Whatever exercise you are choosing, pick something you’ll love (I love running but it’s not for everyone, you could find a dance class, some boxing, walking groups, etc), start slowly and build up. And if you can exercise with others, you’re more likely to do it!!