Can you get fit for life in 5 easy steps?
Everyone has the right to #Enerjoy; but every now and then we need a helping hand to find it. Sometimes we forget the enormous long-term benefits we can get from being ‘fit for life’: improved gut health, better immune function, memory and mood, hormone balance, weight management, stronger bones and teeth, reduced risk of illness such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. And better sleep.
I’m here to help you with 5 quick and achievable tips, keystones to get you on track to achieve the good health, vitality and happiness that you deserve! It’s your life. Let’s make the most of it!
1. Food first!
Healthy eating has become so complicated! Aged 56 now, I’ve lived through far too many food and diet fads, and changes in government eating advice to even list. As the science of nutrition evolves, so do healthy eating guidelines and advice. Eggs are a great example. In the 1960’s we were told to ‘go to work on an egg’, then the advice was to limit ourselves to 3 eggs a week as they might cause heart disease, and now advice is that it’s OK to eat eggs every day as part of a balanced diet!
The sensible approach has to be ‘balance and moderation’. Boring, I know. But it works! Especially when feeding the family. Keeping things simple, without too much faf is the only way to go!
Head to my Hey, it’s so simple! blog to find out how to eat better in ‘5 easy bites’. Follow these and you’ll find you and your family will have fewer sugar cravings, sleep better, build a stronger immune system and enjoy a new sense of focus, balance and calm.
2. Moving makes you feel better!
It is scary how sedentary our modern lifestyles are! As a child I would walk or bike to school, go out to play with my friends in the local woods, just coming back at teatime. And I wasn’t a feral child, that’s just how things were growing up back in the 1970’s! The frightening facts are that children today take 90 seconds longer to run a mile than they did 30 years ago and children’s aerobic fitness has declined by 5% since 1975*. A physically active child will have better mental health, healthier bone density and muscle mass, reduced weight problems…the list goes on…so it makes sense to encourage our children off the couch!
It’s not just the kids though. The same goes for adults, especially if we have a desk job. It’s important we build in strategies to keep us moving for our mental and physical wellbeing.
Try building 30 minutes into your mornings, whether it’s a run, brisk walk or bike ride, gym session or a YouTube Pilates workout at home. Personally I like to mix things up or I get bored. The main thing is to get our hearts pumping a little more every day, and to build up a sweat a few times a week. Take the stairs, not the lift. Even a brisk walk can do wonders!
Recommended levels of activity are 60 minutes a day for children, and at least 150 minutes a week for adults.
You can be a role model. Getting moving yourself is one of the best ways to encourage healthy habits in your children. Believe it or not, your kids are watching you! Your habits, good and bad, will have a strong influence on theirs, even if this takes some time. Do stuff together like bike rides, swimming, walking, climbing trees and rediscover your inner child!
My own three kids have grown up seeing both parents doing some kind of physical activity most days. Now I can’t keep up with them…
Stress, caffeine and electronic devices, so many distractions to interfere with our sleep! The fact is, sleep is so important to all aspects of our lives: mental health, productivity and concentration, weight management, athletic performance, and for children, their growth and development. A 2011 survey of the nation’s sleep habits showed that 30% of the population are severely sleep deprived.
Try these easy changes to your bed-time routine:
- Ditch the tech. No tech in the bedroom or for at least an hour before bedtime! Try leaving your phone, laptop, tablet in another room to charge overnight as the ‘blue light from these devices reduces levels of the ‘sleep’ hormone melatonin which helps us sleep deeply. Try to resist sending those emails before bedtime…
- A dose of fresh air every day. Exposing yourself to natural light actually helps you sleep better.
- Caffeine after about 4pm isn’t helpful. This is something I personally find hard to do, but that post dinner cup of coffee might be what’s keeping you awake at night!
- We all love a routine. It’s not just kids who need a routine, we all benefit from a regular bedtime and something to relax us to prepare our bodies for a relaxing and restorative night ahead; perhaps a bath, calming music or reading a book in bed.
Oh yes, easier said than done, I hear you say! Building a little me-time relaxation into our lives can hugely contribute to your #Enerjoy! I call it self-care.
Treat yourself every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes in a hot bath to some time on your own to relax, think your own thoughts, focus on yourself, even if you’re a natural extrovert!
My thing is to wake up before anyone else and enjoy a cup of tea or a run outdoors in our local woods, in total peace; it gives me the space to contemplate the day ahead.
Equally, if you have children, give them space and privacy and encourage them to make their own decisions. Boredom can be quite productive for us all, especially children. It’s often the time that they discover something they love, something that is solely for themselves, which will in turn lead to better self-esteem and confidence.
5. Take time out together
Studies show that spending time together with family and friends increases our happiness, wellbeing and a sense of belonging. It’s so easy these days to disappear into your own virtual world. I am a strong believer in talking as a therapy for us all. Let’s put our phones down and talk to each other! Recently traveling to France I was dismayed to see a family in a lovely restaurant,
each glued to their phones without a word to say to each other.
We all know that it is important to be valued. It brings us self-confidence. Spending time together and showing that you value the opinion of your friends or other members of your family can help build this.
Do relaxing stuff with family and friends, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Bake a cake, meet for a run or bike ride, create a family night (but don’t call it that!) and get a takeaway, play a game, watch a movie, anything that will create that sense of togetherness and enable you to talk to each other.
TOP TIP: Getting it right all the time is a pipedream so remember to cut yourself some slack! However, it’s your life, you are the architect of your own destiny, so let’s make the most of it!
*Kids Are Less Fit Today Than You Were Back Then : Shots - Health News : NPR
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