Help Yourself September

Sweatember – Cancer Research has launched this month and I am jumping in on the action. The focus is on getting more exercise. It is good for me, it is good for others, and it is good for you, and making a pledge to yourself is a great place to start.

Why do we stop doing what is good for us?
Linda Sage I am not the most dedicated to exercise, although at one time I was and felt very good because of it, so why do we self-sabotage and stop doing what is good for us? Complacency is the best word. Just think about when you learnt how to do something – how to tie a shoelace, tie a tie or even drive a car. Think about how much care you took, and how you concentrated on getting it right. Once you had nailed it, did you take it for granted and become slapdash in your approach?

What we do to ourselves is really inexcusable, but we do it anyway. Stress, anxiety and depression are often exacerbated by elevated expectations of daily achievements… we often set ourselves up to fail and then, when we do, our self-worth and self-esteem erode and plummet.

We start with good intentions…
How many times do you get up saying “Today is the day that I will… (fill in the blank – exercise, diet, drink more water, find a hobby, give up/reduce alcohol, and there are many others)”? Then the first test of our resolve comes along, and we often rise to the challenge, but by lunchtime or a few hours later, we crumble and then feel useless, guilty and worthless. The cycle then perpetuates. The more times we break a promise to yourself, the easier it becomes till sometimes people give up, as they believe there is no point, as they will break it anyway.

Exercise is something we all know about and logically comprehend the benefits of, but who feels enthusiastic about going to the gym after a long day at work? Or all that hassle to go to the local pool, undressing, getting dried and dressed, and getting cold when leaving? I have used all of these excuses, just like you, on many occasions. The truth is they are excuses and not reasons.

Don’t let pain rule your life……..
No matter what, us humans will only change for one of two reasons, pleasure or pain; moving away from pain or towards pleasure. How many people get themselves into shape for a wedding, holiday or major event, and when it is over, slip back to how they were before? Most people plan carefully for these big events, but they do not plan their lives; setting sail and drifting off into the sunset may be a romantic notion, but with the winds, tides, rocks and pirates, it is more likely to be dangerous than dynamic.

Plan to live long and stay as healthy as you can, psychologically, physically and emotionally. If I have had the pleasure of meeting you, or you have seen me live or on video, you will have noticed I am not really built to be a personal physical trainer, or run a marathon, but I do know a lot from experience and long spells flat out with my back problems; I suffered with sciatica for 16 years before I really understood the power and the effects of exercise. I had gained 32 kilos through my burnout, not caring about myself, inside or out. I hit rock bottom when my daughter took a photo of me by our pool and put it on Facebook (not maliciously), but I was so angry with her, still. I had not taken responsibility for what I had done to myself.
I started with a personal trainer and thought he was going to kill me, but I persevered and grew in strength, stamina and confidence while diminishing my weight and waist. I looked better and felt better than I had for a very long time, and within a year all excess fat was gone and had been replaced with toned muscle. It was not easy, but I enjoyed it and loved challenging myself.

Working away in the Middle East does not make exercise easy, but this where I learnt to dance Ceroc, Ballroom and Latin moves, and where I got to enjoy many wonderful walks in the magnificent deserts. When you look for it, you can find it. Coming back to the UK, to an area I did not know, I let the excuses take over and inactivity reigned (even though I was a member of a gym). My back progressively got worse again and I felt I had aged years in 6 months, taking time off work and popping Ibrufen like Smarties, until I saw the Cancer Research Sweatember. I knew I had to get the mojo back into my life and get myself back in shape.

Benefits and Expectations for You …..
The official voice of the NHS and Government Health Bodies state that 250 mins a week is the guideline for exercise per week, not all in one go; it can be broken up even into 5-minute slots. It is also not about learning to run a marathon, or climb Everest, it is all about improving your life and health.
I was blown away when I attended a McMillan training for survivors of Breast Cancer and one of the statements that astounded me was that 250 mins exercise a week, reduces your likelihood of contracting cancer by 40% – that is massive. I am not into betting and odds, but 40% is resoundingly high, just for moving more, reducing body fat and maintaining joints. That was certainly a tipping point for me.

It is a simple challenge: move more than you have been doing before. So, all this month I will be posting on what I will be doing, and I would love you to join me in any way you can. Let’s also share our stories and help each other. I am not doing this specifically to lose weight, although I am hoping that might be a happy side effect. My main intention is to get moving and stop the pain. Hopefully, I will be moving towards pleasure in the next 30 days.
If you are joining me, please check with your GP or clinician before making any major changes. Small steps, making small changes, will still make a great difference in just 30 days.

Sweatember here I come, and I’m looking forward to the journey. If you want to join me and support Cancer Research you can find out more at

Share your stories and let’s help each other, be healthier and happier for September.
Be kind to yourself

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