As a small town girl from Lancaster, London has always seemed appealing: a mesh of beautiful architecture, cultural vibrancy, and thousands of job opportunities. But since living in London, I’ve learnt that it’s not a city you fall in love with straight away. It takes time and quite a bit of effort to appreciate London’s wonders and accept its shortcomings.
In November last year, I started my new job in my new city. My full-time working life began at ukactive – a non-profit organisation that aims to get more people, more active, more often. I was more than happy to be welcomed as a Project Coordinator for their Let’s Get Moving project. Getting to know my wonderful colleagues who all believe in what they do has been truly lovely. Through Let’s Get Moving, many people have benefitted from having the support of an Exercise Professional in their community to help them become more active.
Despite being part of LGM for only three months, I’ve met participants who have thanked me and told me of their successes due to leading more active lifestyles – whether that’s improved breathing, being able to walk up the hill home without stopping, reduced medication, or better management of depression. There’s no denying that these stories are the best part of working for LGM, and they help keep the team enthusiastic and passionate at work!
An unexpected change to my life has been the physical activity that I do; my exercise has drastically changed alongside my new London life! With the countryside pretty much at my doorstep in Lancaster, I’ve always been reasonably active – but vigorous activity seemed to come and go. I lacked routine and I often fell into the horrible pre-summer panic exercise trap. This has definitely changed for the better. The work culture of ukactive promotes a very healthy view on why we should exercise and how we can fit it in with our London lifestyles. This has really helped me, and as a result I’ve noticed that my mood depends far more on exercise than I’ve ever realised before.
My colleagues and I get a real buzz when we come out of a group exercise class on our lunch break; we feel more positive and are more productive in our afternoons. I’ve vowed to never go back to even flirting with the notion that exercise is a means to a bikini body end. I now think of exercise as a healthy mind, a healthy heart and pure fun! I do spin classes with my colleagues at lunch, recreational netball once a week, run when I fancy it, and yoga a couple of times a week. None of these seem a chore. However, if one day I don’t fancy doing any of these for whatever reason, I don’t beat myself up about it or force myself.
So not only have I learnt a lot from moving to a new city and starting a new job, but I’ve also learnt so much from the exercise I do. Yes, my life has radically changed – but I feel it’s for the better. I now know that this year will be a great one, as I’ve learnt to simply feel the results of exercise rather than endlessly search for them in the mirror!