I was seriously unfit 7 years ago. Having moved to a sedentary lifestyle for a few years due to poor health and using comfort eating to keep my spirits up, I lost what muscle tone I had, and my general fitness started to suffer.
When I started my cancer treatment, I was struggling to walk any more than a few minutes without breaks for pain or fatigue, but I was a student and was lucky enough to have a lot of free time on my hands.
Having time on my hands made it a lot easier to make the decision to try and get active again. I knew I had the time to get to my sessions, but I also knew I had the time to be sore or recover from fatigue.
My first activity sessions were organised by the hospital. I started with 5 minutes cycling and then just walking once a week as I was still doing chemotherapy. It was super hard at first but 5 minutes became 6, then 10 and eventually I was managing more and more! That kept me motivated and having a support system kept me committed. After that, I did sports with a cancer support group and eventually moved to a regular gym.
About 6 weeks after finishing cancer treatment, I started my first job. Within about 18 months, I was making my move to London. Cooking, cleaning, groceries, working, commuting, attending hospital appointments…life became busy and I got tired. It definitely wasn’t as easy to stay fit like I was led to believe on tv and social media.
Even if I wanted to exercise, I had no time and even if I had time, I had no energy. And all the while I was wondering if I could actually afford a gym membership, whether there would even be room for me to use the equipment and of course, worrying about how people would view me while I was working out.
Everyone will experience their own time and energy barriers to getting active, and they are all very valid. Whether you are a stay-at-home mum juggling multiple kids, studying really hard, living with chronic physical or mental illness or are in a precarious job situation, it can be really really hard to persuade yourself and then to find ways to be active that you will enjoy.
My advice would be to set yourself a regular time for yourself to do something active you enjoy. Whether it’s a 10-minute walk in the park, a specific class you want to get to or dancing in the kitchen with no one watching, it all counts.
I have days when 15 minutes is all I can manage, and that’s ok.
After all, everything counts and once you have found something you enjoy, it’ll keep you motivated to keep on going.
Thanks to Sana Murad for providing photos of Anoushé for this page.