Annie Ross is the mind and energy behind www.Exerk.com. While working at Deutsche Bank, she launched the company to share the joy of being outdoors and active. Annie organised, marketed and completed 52 sporting challenges in 52 weeks in a bid to get busy people active. She was joined by over 450 people in her year of work-friendly adventures, spanning paddleboarding, hiking, swimming, triathlons, stair climbs, bouldering, rollerblading and hulahooping to name a few.
Annie has since left banking to focus on Exerk and the company’s dedication to helping people find their fun in staying active. She is a fitness columnist for the Evening Standard, also writing for The Huffington Post and Red Bull.
Here are her top tips on staying active in London!
Know your ‘why’
Who for: The disappointed gym member
What: Reassess what you want and drill down on the supporting reasons
Why? Gyms are not bad places; they serve a purpose and provide routine and convenience – they just lack a bit of excitement and community. The real problem arises when you view staying healthy as a chore and resent that time, whether you go or don’t! You can overcome this by spending a bit more time making your goals clearer. By knowing specifically what you want, when by and importantly why, you can set yourself up for success.
Find adventure in central London
Who for: The desk-bound adventurer.
What: Open water swimming.
Why? Swimming outdoors is a wonderful way to escape the hustle and bustle of London life. Head to the Hampstead Ponds or The Serpentine Lido for a wild experience complete with ducks and pondweed. The unheated waters of Brockwell Lido, Tooting Bec Lido or Parliament Hill Lido make for a refreshing dip. Or, if you’d rather stick to heated: Oasis in Holborn, Hampton Pool or London Fields Lido are your best bets. Full information on: www.exerk.com/2018/1/2/londons-best-outdoor-pools.
Combine social life with staying fit
Who for: The person who struggles to find the time.
What: Get active with your friends.
Why? Time scarcity is a source of anxiety for Londoners. Between work, friends, family and commuting, there are very few hours left for down-time. By suggesting active fun with your friends, you’ll share cool experiences together as well as making it more likely that you turn up in the first place thanks to the external accountability. If your friends just aren’t into the same things as you, join a fitness community: Project Awesome (early morning colour), London Midnight Runners (evening street runs), TRIBE (run training sessions) or Exerk (varied activities at the more gentle end of the spectrum).
Just do it
Who for: The serial procrastinator
What: If you don’t have an hour, do 45 mins, if you don’t have that, go for 30 mins…all the way down to 5 minutes. Something is better than nothing; it’s a start.
Why? Despite the best of intentions, keeping commitments to our health in our diary can be slippery. Rather than letting disappointment and guilt paralyse you into inaction, know that you all you have to do is…do it! No action is too small and you’ll soon find yourself wanting more once you notice how your mood, energy and productivity improve. I have been known to go for 10 minute jogs. Even a brisk walk around the block can provide the break your mind and body need to avoid that muffin and coffee or solve the problem you’ve been working on all morning. Deliberate practice done little and often is more likely to build habits that last for the long run.
Relax, rest and refresh
Who for: The person who fills their days to the brim and wonders why their fitness isn’t improving.
What: Balance out a fast-paced lifestyle with sufficient down-time and gentle activities.
Why? We expect a lot of ourselves, and living in London can exacerbate FOMO, and never quite feeling good enough. Strength, speed and agility can all be improved by better recovery, sleep and nutrition. Have a night in to prep some meals, aim for 7-9 hours sleep every day, have a bedtime routine and treat yourself to a massage every now and again. Your mind and body will thank you for it. By hitting refresh, you’ll find it easier to keep moving.
Exerk would like to invite you to join an activity this January. Instead of gyms, strict regimes and isolating classes, Exerk combines tried & tested group activities alongside scientific techniques to facilitate the priorisation of time, motivation and energy – check out their video here. The result: you build and sustain an active lifestyle to last long-term. To register for an activity or check out our ‘Find Your Fun’ programmes, head to www.Exerk.com or e-mail Annie@Exerk.com.