This year I have watched more TV than I'm used to over the festive season and while this has given me the opportunity to watch some good films; it has also meant that I have seen too many adverts.
A couple of days ago I found myself saying 'Is it any wonder people get depressed! while trying to find the remote to turn it off. The constant stream of adverts aimed to make people feel overweight, unhealthy and generally in need of whatever 'miracle' cure was being sold became decidedly tedious and got me thinking.
In addition to these adverts I have also seen numerous challenges aimed to get people participating in activity every day in January. For me the two together could be detrimental to the person feeling that they have over indulged over Christmas of for people who haven't but who struggle with self image.
As a sports massage therapist I acively encourage people to be as mobile as they can be but within their own limitations. There are some exceptionally good exercise regimes out there that include rest days and modifications for those who need to build up to the full thing but sadly they all claim to give unrealistic results.
I did have to take a moment to establish why the adverts have bothered me so much; and i came up with the following conclusions.
Firstly; being subjected to adverts showing diet products, miracle diet pills and reminders that Christmas has been and that you must be overweight by now; every twenty minutes is not good for even the healthiest of people. Although I would argue that 'healthy' for one person is vastly different to another's and that everybody is an individual. This brings me neatly on to my next concern. A 5k run (or similar) every day in January is okay for a person used to this level of activity, it is quite different for somebody who hasn't run or exercised for many years. The damage that a person ca do by suddenly increasing their level of activity is sadly something that massage therapists are all too familiar with. In addition to the sudden increase in activity there should be structured rest days to allow muscle recovery; programmes that have structured daily routines do incorporate these and have modifier options thankfully but some of the 'challenges' found on social media appear not to.
I am not writing this blog to discourage exercise or diets; but to encourage sensible goals. Choose a regime that you enjoy so that you stick with it, exercise should push you but it shouldn't feel like a punishment. Get a personal trainer who will ensure that you are being pushed but not to the detriment of your health and well being. Have days off when you should and definitely when you need them. Most importantly do what's right for you! Remember everybody is different and that you should aim to be the best you can be not what you are being told you should be.
I guess what I am trying to say is; take care of yourselves if you are starting a new regime, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and if in doubt speak to the professionals. This may be the PT's at the gym, the instructor of the class or your massage therapist.
As for me I will be ignoring the adverts and their unrealistic images and goals. I will continue to train sensibly for my hal marathon (ensuring I have days off) and be the best I can be.