It always seems so justifiable at the time, “well, we are ON HOLIDAY after all” and given the COVID lockdowns and numerous restrictions we’ve had over the last 2 years, who could blame me for wanting to indulge in some nice food whilst visiting my in-laws abroad over the festive season.
However, touching down in Heathrow airport (why is it always raining when you return from a holiday?) the realisation soon kicks in that the holiday season is over and normal life must resume.
I was amazed to see just how much weight I had put on over the festive season and so I (after procrastinating for a fortnight) decided I must start running in the mornings again. I started with a very straightforward 4k with my wife and 16-year-old niece one Saturday (who did very well for her first run ever) and then followed this with an 8k run the following weekend and then my first 10k run of the year soon after. It was hard going, but well worth it as I know it will get easier in time.
When I got home from my 10k run, I had a message from the BetterPoints app telling me the points I had accrued and then a message to #belikeclare. What is BetterPoints? I hear you say. BetterPoints is an app with which you can earn points for doing certain activities. This can be something as simple as walking, running, wheeling, cycling or could be something like attending stop smoking sessions with One You Hounslow or our Healthier Me programme. You can also get points for doing certain activities at Lampton Leisure leisure centres as well. You can either choose to redeem your points for a selection of High Street vouchers or you can choose to donate them to a charity of your choice. To find our more visit the One You Hounslow BetterPoints homepage.
Anyway, back to the #belikeclare message on the BetterPoints app. The message was in relation to a local lady called Clare H from Isleworth that had recently donated 5000 BetterPoints to local charity Hounslow Cycling. This turned out to be a great reminder as I had been meaning to donate some of my BetterPoints for some time but was waiting for the points to build up before doing so. BetterPoints makes giving to charity so easy – all you do is tap on ‘Donate’ in the bottom right corner of the app, choose the charity you want to give to, choose the amount of BetterPoints you wish to donate and that’s it! It really couldn’t be any easier.
I decided to donate 5000 BetterPoints to local charity Hounslow Community Food Box (just so you know 1000 BetterPoints = £1 so my donation was for £5 plus Gift Aid). I am familiar with the work of Hounslow Community Food Box as I visited them along with some colleagues before the pandemic with a donation from our Hounslow ‘Beat The Street’ competition winnings in February 2020 and I saw first-hand how hard their volunteers work and the great support they are to the local community.
Of course, the BetterPoints app also works well as a great incentive to be more active and to go that bit further to get some extra points and thus also helping you with your fitness goals.
If you would like to start getting active but are not sure what to do, then you can always start with walking. If you can walk briskly (approx. 3 mph – you’re walking briskly if you can talk whilst walking, but not sing the words to a song) as often as possible that can be of great benefit. You can start off with just doing 10 minutes of brisk walking and build up gradually from there. You could use the Active 10 app if you would like to track how much brisk walking you are doing and see how many ‘Active 10s’ you can do in 1 day.
Alternatively, if you would like to learn to run then you could try the very popular Couch to 5K app, which takes you very gradually through a 9 week programme. Couch to 5K allows you to pick your trainer from a selection of well know TV celebrities and allows you to play your own music whilst following the programme.
You can also find lots of other different activities for all ages on our Get Active page.
If you would prefer one-to-one local support towards setting goals towards a healthier lifestyle then you can speak to one of our Health Advisors on 020 8973 3530, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Register Now page.
Digital Marketing Officer