Ashleigh Murray: How to enjoy more active lifestyle

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For many of us, the latest research highlighting the dangers of inactivity – maybe combined with overindulging during our summer holidays – will be the prompt to set goals that include a more active lifestyle.

We all know physical exercise is vital for our health and wellbeing, but finding the motivation to get started and stay active can be a challenge. That’s why finding activities you love, and making exercise a fresh, exciting prospect, is so important.

Our September offer – Edinburgh Leisure’s biggest promotion to date – is designed to give new and existing members the opportunity to try as many new activities as possible. With up to two months free for new members, and free upgrades or day passes for existing members, everyone will be invited to add a new element of fun to active living.

This is a great opportunity for people to try new gym workouts, swimming and water-based activities or any of our 700 fitness classes – whatever takes their fancy.

As well as keeping things interesting and motivating yourself, there are real physical benefits to an active lifestyle which is varied and fresh. My colleague Michael McLaughlin, a gym instructor at Craiglockhart, said: “If you do the same exercise the whole time, your body gets used to it and reaches a plateau. We try to educate our customers in the importance of stimulating the body in different ways to avoid training plateaus and in turn, continually improving their fitness.

“New exercises will ‘shock’ the body, challenge different muscle groups and make you work hard again. This reaps real results and, just as importantly, the new challenge keeps things interesting.”

There are many people for whom being active at all is a novelty, and supporting them in achieving more is one of our not-for-profit organisation’s core aims.

Michael said: “We offer a welcome induction to new customers to help them feel relaxed. We’ll help create tailored programmes with realistic, achievable targets that work for their lifestyle. Then after a while we can start to mix things up.”

New activities and goals are exciting. That’s how we want our customers to feel about physical activity: exciting, fun and something you can’t wait to do. Living a more active life helps you feel more energised and optimistic. And when the nights are drawing in, going to that workout you love could be just the thing to cheer you up.

Ashliegh Murray is a fitness class manager at Edinburgh Leisure. For details of Edinburgh Leisure’s services, facilities, funded community programmes and the September offer, visit www.edinburghleisure.co.uk