We would like to dedicate today's post to celebrate with the 40,000 walkers, runners, joggers and movers who took part in the biggest ever Great Run Day yesterday in Manchester.

Simplyhealth's 'Great Run Day' is their celebration of running, jogging, walking, or simply moving together. 'The day to walk a little further, jog a little longer and inspire those around you to get active' is a key part of Simplyhealth’s #millionsmoving campaignSimplyhealth want to inspire individuals, families and communities to simply move more.

We like that! We also like celebrating our successes and inspiring healthy communities! 

Did you know that Celebrating our successes can be motivational for us to try new things and overcome challenges in other areas too?

You may have read in a previous blog, one of our trustees, Jo and her husband Phil, have been encouraged and inspired by our recent series of webinars and signed up to take part in the Great North Run yesterday.

Jo was right at the start of her running journey, running her very first non-stop mile (with her daughter, Eloïse),  which was a huge achievement for her as she'd never run before.

Her husband, Phil, ran the full half marathon (in a personal best time!) and amazingly raised over £2,500 for Scunthorpe Baptist Church and their Foodbank Christmas appeal.

If that wasn't enough to celebrate, there were around 40,000 people, just like Phil and Jo, who also ran. Some for the first, and some for the umpteenth time. Some took part for fitness, some for the pure joy, some for personal reasons and some just because they like a challenge! Many also raised money for charities that are close to their heart. All of them challenged themselves to move more.

For everyone who; walked; ran or used any other means of moving more, we at Intentional Health would like to applaud you, celebrate with you, and dedicate this blog to you today!

We also pray that no matter how much your bodies ache right now, that your mental and emotional health and wellbeing will be elated with the pure sense of achievement in being part of something bigger than you.

We'd also like to take a moment and celebrate with other people, like Sarah, who this week, shared with us how she has been out for two runs last week - not as part of the Great Run, but just to be more intentional about her health and wellbeing. Sarah is one of our inspirational Intentional Health coaches and we are being part of her scaffolding. She is being a fantastic role model and living out some of the Intentional Health messages that our 10 session programme explores.

Well done to Sarah, Phil, Jo, Eloïse and the 40,000+ others who took part yesterday or have been more intentional about their health and wellbeing in the past week.

If you'd like to take part next years Great Run, then why not be intentional and sign up today to Simplyhealth's reminder service to receive an email as soon as the 2018 ballot opens.

If you'd like to find out more about running an Intentional Health programme in your community, then get in touch here.

If running is just not your thing, then why not find something else to challenge yourself that helps you move more or connect with someone in your community. And if you let us know; like Jo, Phil and Sarah have; then when you've completed it, we will celebrate with you too!

Hi, I’m Jo and I hate running...


Today's post is from one of our Trustee's Jo, sharing her three biggest takeaways from the recent Intentional Health webinars... Hi, I’m Jo and I hate running.

At school, I would get out of PE whenever I could and walk the cross country course each year (most probably) causing my house to lose the sports cup yet again!

Fortunately, my daughter didn’t inherit my genes. She loves all sport and is very competitive. For the past few years, she has been pleading with me to run a Race for Life with her like her friend and her mum. I have been very good at making my excuses.

Last year my husband ran the Great North Run and we all went to support him. As part of the weekend, they also hold a Mini Great North Run for children the day before. Last year we watched it and this year my daughter is signed up to take part. As she is only 8 she needs an adult with her. To try and earn some Mummy points I agreed to run it with her. It's only one mile! What could possibly go wrong?

For this week’s blog, I want to tell you my 3 takeaways of how the recent Intentional Health webinars have helped me.

1. Set a Goal So I have my goal. On the 9th of September, I will be running one mile with my daughter. Now if you remember I hate running. I don’t run. I do anything I can to get out of running.

In May this year, I had a realisation that the Mini Great North Run will be full of loving (sporty) parents running one mile with their children as a little warm-up for their big 13.1 miles the following day. They probably won’t even break out into a sweat. Now I had two choices – hand over the mantle to my husband or start some training. I’d made a promise to my daughter so I got training.

For those of you like me who don’t run I’d really recommend a great little podcast. NHS Couch to 5k. The first week all I had to do was run for one minute then walk for one minute and this repeated 8 times. I struggled and I mean really struggled. My legs hurt, I couldn’t breathe but I did it!

The first week all I had to do was run for one minute then walk for one minute and this repeated 8 times. I struggled and I mean really struggled. My legs hurt, I couldn’t breathe but I did it!

2. Scaffolding Now after that first week I was ready to give up. I was struggling to run for one minute, how was I ever going to reach a mile? My husband knew I was running but I also told some other close friends of my plans. It would be very easy to give up if just my husband knew but letting my friends down would be a different story.

Each week I would message my friends to tell them when I was intending to go for a run. I would then have great delight in sending them a sweaty picture of myself having completed it. I stated this right at the beginning of my training when I was only running for one minute at a time, so no major distances but each time I was accountable to them as well as myself. Some mornings I really didn’t want to go and could have very easily made an excuse not to, however, I had to run otherwise I would also be having to make excuses to my friends as to why I hadn’t gone. In return, my friends would also tell me of their intentional plans to exercise and send equally sweaty and embarrassing photos back!

3. What happens when things go wrong? Couch to 5k works by increasing your running time by a short amount each week. The first few weeks went really well. Then one week I really struggled with the increased running time. I spoke to someone who is a personal trainer and she reassured me that a lot of factors can influence your running and if I was really struggling to just repeat a week. As it happened I then came down with a nasty virus that knocked me out for 10 days.

I’d now had two weeks out from running and before the virus was only up to running for about 5 minutes, I was still very far off my goal of one mile. I now had two choices. Give up and hand the mantle over to my husband or carry on. Remember in place I have:

My goal – To run one mile with my daughter

My Scaffolding – My friends who know my goal and have been cheering me on and asking how my running is going.

So I put on my trainers again and repeated the week that I had previously struggled with.

I’m really pleased to be able to tell you that with less than a month to go I am now able to run continuously for one mile.

My goal in September is fast approaching. So what else have I done? I have promised some local friends that I will run a muddy 5k with them in 2018 – my next goal.

Do I now like running? No.

Do I look forward to running? No.

Have I noticed benefits to my running? Yes.

I feel generally fitter, I don’t struggle walking up hills as much as I did before and a lovely pair of trousers I bought two years ago finally fit!


If you’ve found this helpful or inspiring we'd love to hear from you, or if you've got any other topic suggestions! – please get in touch here.

You can also download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below to help get you started on your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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3 tips to being more active...


Following on from last week's blog, about how and why exercise or physical activity is a miracle cure, today we are looking at how active we should be and what being that active actually looks and feel like… Government recommendations to reap maximum benefits (keeping your heart healthy, reducing your risk of serious illness and strengthening muscles and bones) suggest that you should be moderately active for 150 minutes a week. This was previously commonly referred to as 5 x 30 mins, but now agree that being active enough for more than 10 minute bouts at a time all counts towards your 150 minutes a week.

Mention the word exercise to some and they will be ecstatic – they go stir crazy if they can’t don their trainers and pound the pavements.

For others, the thought of moving in any direction makes their stomach turn!

For me personally, I used to get mum to write me notes to get out of PE as a child. Funny then that I ended up studying sport and exercise science at university and becoming a PE teacher for over 10 years!

Don’t get me wrong, given the choice I would probably still rather snuggle up on the sofa and not move for hours on end rather than get active! But I have learned how to make being active more of a part of my everyday life and… dare I say it, I actually even enjoy it now!

So here’s some of the things I’ve realised about physical activity…

1. Everybody else is not more active than me!

My husband and best friend are the “go stir crazy” types without exercise. This simply makes me feel completely inadequate when I compare myself to them and I wonder what the point is when I will never be able to keep up.

The truth is that the latest government research states that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men are officially classed as inactive – that is, doing less than 30 minutes of activity a week!!


This just proves to me that our western culture makes it very difficult for us to be active.

It’s no wonder we suffer from ‘hyper sitting disorder’ when the working day revolves around the computer, or ‘walking deficiency syndrome’ when we have so little time the convenience of the car for the school run or get to and from the office become all too easy and normal. Added to that, all of our labour saving devices such as washing machines, dishwashers cooking appliances do exactly what they are meant to – save us labouring or working!

And although this means we don’t have to be too hard on ourselves when we find it hard to be active, it shouldn’t mean we simply settle or accept this.

To combat these lack of opportunities to be inactive we have to be intentional about including physical activity into as many other parts of our day as possible.

We can do this by not worrying about what anyone else is or isn’t doing and starting small. By simply focusing consistently on one step at a time we can create healthy habits of being active. Getting off a stop earlier or parking the car at the furthest point from the supermarket door, suggesting walking work meetings or catching up with friends whenever possible, and taking the lift instead of the stairs will all help!

So next time you find yourself sat in traffic, waiting in line at the supermarket or standing in a lift, why not think about how you could be being more active in that time instead?

2. Exercise isn’t always about sport!

If you can remember being forced to wear the smelly under or oversized PE kit from the lost property box, dropping the ball whenever it was thrust at you at high speed – and never quite getting the ball over or in the net, then your enthusiasm for sport is probably, unsurprisingly – not exactly exuberant!

But getting active doesn’t have to be all about sport - it can include anything that gets you moving moderately;

where your heart rate is increased and you become slightly out of breath – usually leaving you with just enough breath to still hold a conversation but not quite have able to have a sing-a-long.

Think about gardening, vacuum cleaning or simply going for a walk. You might have to pick up the pace a little more to make sure your heart rate is increasing, and if you haven’t been active for some time, then starting to include 10 minute of vacuum cleaning before taking a break will be a real workout.

Why not set a timer and don’t stop until it beeps to get you started!! Do this a few times a week and all that activity will be adding up, plus you’ll have spotless carpets!!

3. Being active is so much easier in community.

Don’t get me wrong, one of the benefits of sport is that you get added health and wellbeing benefits from social interactions. But there are still plenty of other opportunities to be active in community without joining the local netball team, especially when you are just starting out and growing in confidence!

One of the best things you do might be to find a friend and motivate each other!

It is much easier to drag yourself off the sofa when you’ve arranged to meet a friend on the corner to go for a walk and you know they will be waiting for you!

You could also ask a friend to join a Pilates class and benefit from strengthening activities or join a dance group with your spouse to also benefit from quality time together. Research even suggests that walking in a green space or by water is proven to be even more beneficial for our whole person health and wellbeing. picture1

There are many ways to be more active once you’ve decided that it’s important enough and these could include; more active leisure, active transport, everyday activities, organised activities and family activities (see infographic above for ideas on these!)

The government also have many resources to help including the change for life website for kids and families and the couch to 5k app is great!

Personally for me, I’ve learned that my body is the only thing I’ve been given that is unique to me, and if I want to live life to the full I need to choose to not go with the flow and instead be intentional about looking after it.

There are probably going to be people who take being active to the extreme, which doesn’t always improve a whole person health.

However, creating a habit of moving more is one of the best ways I’ve learned to both include physical activity and actually begin to enjoy it, as well as intentionally keeping it part of my everyday lifestyle.

If you’ve found a way that helps you be more active we'd love to hear about it! – please share it by emailing here.

Download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below to help get you started on your journey to living a healthier, happier life..

And as always, if you found this post helpful, please share it!

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