Exercise and Productivity - a blog from our finance officer, Charlotte


So here goes my first blog, which is probably supposed to be about my job as Finance Officer; I know for certain that you would love to read about my daily tasks around spreadsheets, accounting software, mandates, etc. but, I am going to digress and tell you instead about how I began leading a more active lifestyle (sorry Sue!).

So, my fitness journey started when my sister suggested we sign up for a 10k run around Wembley to raise money for the charity she worked for… I agreed. Application submitted, race pack on its way and a target time of 50-60 minutes set.

My exercise at the time consisted of the odd Zumba class and some horse riding. With about 5 months until the big day, I started training right away (well, that rhymed!) I soon discovered that running to the end of my road and back, about 10 steps each way, was all the jogging I could manage (oh dear, right?!).
I planned a little jogging route around Bishops Waltham that I walked/jogged a few times per week; progress with running is fairly fast (thank goodness) so being dedicated to regular training, I was soon able to jog the whole way.
I then upped my game and took on a 5k going from Bishops Waltham to Waltham Chase and back again, managing it in around 30 minutes –not bad for a first attempt, even if I do say so myself!

After a few months I decided I should probably go for it and do a full 10k. I hopped on the treadmill and did not stop until it showed 10:00km. (Boom, job done, bring it on!) Yeah, I made that sound easy, I left out almost falling off the treadmill, sweat droplets all over the machine, towel soaked, water bottle empty, worried glances my way from fellow gym goers, and the inability to walk properly for the next two days. Anyone reading this that has ever done “leg day” will know the pain of things we usually take for granted, like stairs and sitting on a toilet. If you don’t, well lucky you!
I repeated this a few more times before race day, improving my time by a few minutes per go, and managed to get within target time, just over 58 minutes, with a few weeks to spare. I messaged my sister telling her of my progress and asked her how training was going, her reply was interesting; unfortunately, she was not going to be able to take part in the run because she didn’t have any trainers…

September 2015, race day! Even though I was now running alone, my sister did come to cheer me on and our travel to Wembley commenced early in the morning after a breakfast of porridge and a banana.
After a quick warm up I was off, knowing if I made it, I would raise over £470.00 for charity; if that isn’t motivating, I don’t know what is!
The route plan looked flat (of course it did), however at 4k and 7k things got pretty steep, I battled on an with some extremely fetching photos being taken (not sure what’s happened to those…!!!) as I sprinted the last 400m over the finish line with a time of 54 minutes and 2 seconds -new personal best!

The event and preparing for it made me passionate about running and I can’t thank my sister enough for introducing me to something that is now a huge part of my life (even if she did bail on me!).
I spent more time at the gym running through the winter months which made me notice the other opportunities to be had; I tried out weight lifting, circuit/ab classes and a whole range of different exercises and ways of getting fit. I loved it all (and still do).

This is where I tie things up and link them to my work;
I now use my gym sessions as a way of breaking up my working day and evenings spent studying the AAT Accounting Qualification. The increase in endorphins keeps me feeling happy and it’s a complete contrast from sitting at a desk. It helps me to clear my head and de-stress, which in turn makes me more productive. I believe I am much more focused in everything I do now I have a more active and healthy lifestyle.

Bragging alert; I’m currently top of the leader board at my gym for fastest female cooper run -2.4km in 9.59, and the longest wall sit -45 minutes! I mention this for reason more than bragging alone; 2 years ago I could not run further than the end of my road, now I hold gym records, I never thought these would be things I would achieve. Fitness is not just for fit people, it’s for everyone. Give it a go, who knows what you will achieve in the gym, in your work and in everything else you do, thanks to a more active lifestyle…