The Great Escape!

Finally, we have some sunshine here in the UK! Now it’s time to perform the great escape out of your home and into nature to get fit and increase your wellbeing.

In truth getting outdoors is a good thing in any season but summer makes it a lot easier (unless you hate the heat of course). That said, get your sun block on and wear a good cap to protect your skin.

Here are some handpicked outdoor activities that burn up calories and have great health benefits whilst ensuring you have some fun:

Hiking: it improves your cardio respiratory fitness (heart, lungs & blood vessels), aids better quality sleep, reduces depression and burns up to 370 calories per hour (based on a 154 lb person)

Cycling: improves joint mobility, improves posture and coordination, increases muscle strength and flexibility, works the major leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, gluts and calves) and burns between 75-670 per 30-minute session depending on weight. Check these guidelines:

  • Recreational, 5mph: 75-155kcal
  • Moderate, 10mph: 190-415kcal
  • Vigorous, 15mph: 300-670kca

Golf: it keeps your heart rate up, in turn increases blood flow to the brain which can stimulate and improve nerve cell connections. It can also improve vision, reduce stress and burn up to 1000 calories in a single game (if you walk, not cart, and carry your own golf clubs!)

Gardening: is a great stress reliever, builds hand strength & dexterity, has been found to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis, allergies and asthma, gives a lift that positively impacts mental health & depression and of course calories are burned; click here to see what each gardening activity burns.

Playing With The Kids: the most significant benefits are time with your kids and having some childlike fun; who can get too much of those? No one! Check out the calories burned having fun times with the kids!

So make the great escape today and live a healthier life!

To your wellbeing,

Yvonne

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Mind Your Language!

When-parents-comment-on-girls-weight_The-Health-Sciences-Academy

It only takes one poorly phrased comment on someone’s weight (‘don’t eat so much, you’re putting on weight’, etc) to affect their self image and feelings around food for years to come.

A number of studies carried out have captured the impact of unhelpful language when referring to weight, in particular that of parent’s to their daughters. In one retrospective study, a parent’s comment about their daughter’s childhood weight was found to relate to her weight and body dissatisfaction as an adult.

Some Key Points from the research:

  • A woman’s dissatisfaction with her adult weight was only related to the extent she remembered her parents making any comments about her weight, but not about how much she ate – even though both were positively related to her BMI
  • Even among ‘normal-weight’ young women with similar weights, those who recalled their parents commenting about their weight were more dissatisfied with their body weight

But there is a lesson for all of us to take from this research. In a world where we are told freedom of speech is essential and that honesty is the best policy (both of which I agree with), we still need to remember that people have feelings and that contrary to nursery rhymes (“sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”), words do hurt.

This is a simple rule to remember: Think Before You Speak!

Mind your language and use your emotional intelligence when speaking to and with people in all circumstances but most definitely when referring to health & well-being issues.

Health & Respect,

Yvonne

 

Sugar, Sugar

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If cutting sugar out of your daily diet was easy, I’m sure we would all have done it by now.

Decreasing sugar intake takes some effort. There are obvious changes you can make like not buying bags of processed sugar however, even when you do that you are likely to seek out a replacement. For example I use honey instead of sugar but… it is still sugar even if it’s better quality! And what about the endless hidden sugars to consider; what is the answer?

The first thing to acknowledge is that sugar is addictive and comes in many forms. Consider when you eat sugary foods the most; is it when coping with stress/low moods, when looking to increase energy or just because you like the taste? If you can whittle down to your why you can identify ways to help. Better stress relievers are exercise, listening to music or doing an activity that fully engages you in a positive way (maybe a hobby, helping out at a local group, reading, etc). If your energy is low consider low sugar fruit (apples, berries), nuts or plain Greek yogurt.

Here are a few other suggestions collated from other people’s experiences of cutting down on or giving up sugar:

  1. Target the removal of processed sugar first and foremost. If you eat a lot of them aim to wean yourself off one meal/snack at a time, replacing with a healthier alternative.
  2. Reduce your sugar intake (in tea, coffee, on cereal etc) allowing your taste buds to get use to less sweet tastes. This really worked for me. I use to take 2 sugars in tea or coffee. I cut down on the quantity of drinks first and then went down to one sugar and eventually no sugar. Now if I go a day without a tea or coffee it’s not a big deal.
  3. Stop with the sugary drinks! By far one of the, if not the, worst offenders of sugar highs. Drink more water or create your own fruit shakes/smoothies. They have sugar in them but not processed.
  4. Choose fruit when you want something sweet but do not exceed your 5 a day; everything in moderation.
  5. Start learning how to read food labels in order to be clear on what you are eating. Sugar is hidden everywhere!
  6. Get into a regular eating routine. This is probably one of the biggest downfalls for people. When you are always on the go, having random meals here and there, grabbing morning coffees, it’s easy to see how bad habits set in. Be mindful about your meals and meal times – no excuses.
  7. Get your mind in the game. With the right mindset all things are possible and all habits can be changed.

In summary, find ways to cut down on the sugar, sugar; it might make a good record but it really isn’t good for your health!

One life, live it well,

Yvonne 

 

Obesity: Ignorance Is Not Bliss… It Is Ignorance

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Ignoring obesity won’t make it go away. It’s here, it’s real and it needs attention from all of us.

And contrary to popular belief, obesity hasn’t manifested purely out of people overeating. The environment in which we live has played an important role. Changing work schedules and the 24 hour availability of food has certainly impacted the choices we make. Add to that the decisions made by the food industry in terms of food ingredients and reducing food quality, and you begin to understand why this issue has grown out of control.

Get reading, be informed and make sure you are making the right food choices for you, your children and anyone else you can help. If we don’t take this seriously and do what we can, who will?

9 Ways Processed Foods Are Harming People

Corporate America; Killing Us Slowly

6 Lies The Food Industry Is Feeding You

And for quality up to date information on all things health, visit The Health Sciences Academy and sign up to their super informative newsletter!

Your Health Is Your Wealth,

Yvonne & Laura

The Battle For Healthier Lifestyles

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Hi, Yvonne here!

I’ve been a lifelong fitness fan… fortunately. That said my eating habits have, over the years, been more ‘miss’ than ‘hit’. I had a mindset that said ‘as long as I work out I can eat anything’. And that made perfectly good sense to me. I looked fit and healthy, so all must be well, right? Wrong!

I didn’t stop to think about the internal damage I might be causing by eating poor quality food. And in reality I didn’t appreciate just how poor the quality of the food I was eating had become over the years.

Like a lot of health conscious people I am now fully engaged in learning what it means to have a balanced diet, how to make better food choices and fuel my body for daily living as well as my fitness pastimes.

But what about the percentage of the population not yet on board with respecting and looking after their bodies from the inside out? Week after week there are headlines screaming out about the poor health of our nation. This is the latest one that caught my eye:

Britain – the fat man (and woman) of Europe: UK will be fattest nation on continent by 2025, with 40% of adults classed as obese

New stats are part of world’s biggest obesity study comprising 20m adults

  • Reveals there are currently 640 million obese people around the globe
  • Currently UK obesity rates are 28.4% for women – the second highest in Europe behind Malta – and 26.2% for men, the worst in the continent
  • Public health officials warn many adults will go on to suffer ‘life-changing consequences’ including cancer, strokes, type 2 diabetes and heart attacks

We all have a responsibility to look after our health (and that of our children) but I also believe we can play a part in the battle for healthier lifestyles by sharing  nutrition knowledge, personal stories and tips with others; helping those who want and are ready to make changes to do so one step at a time.

It’s time. I, for one, do not want to see these poor health predictions become our reality. What do you think we should be doing to help people make better health choices? Your thoughts & opinions matter…

Let Your Health Be Your Wealth!

 

The Healthy Mindset

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Step 1: Have a goal, keep it realistic and write it down

Step 2: Make a firm decision and commitment to do what is necessary

Step 3: Find a supportive friend (or two) who will encourage, listen and challenge you positively

Step 4: Expand your knowledge – start your  health, fitness & personal development library one book at a time. Be informed so that you can make effective productive decisions about your health.

Step 5: Empty your fridge, freezer and cupboards of poor quality foods & refill them with good quality foods. If you buy good food, you will eat good food.

Step 6: Decide on your fitness activities – and find the things you enjoy; that way you’ll stick with them.

Step 7: Change habits a bit by bit daily – Walk a bit more, use smaller plates for dining, make food time family time, get a motivation fix in the morning (play some music you like that’s uplifting, read a quote or two, write a quote of your own!), stop weighing yourself every day.

Step 8: Believe that you can; think it, see it and be the change you desire.

Step 9: Congratulate yourself & celebrate (sensibly) when you see and feel the changes in your wellbeing.

Step 10: Never give up! Quitting is not an option… Develop a healthy mindset and see how much you can achieve.

One life, live it well

Laura & Yvonne