Exercise can promote health and help to treat common ailments. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to exercise everyday or spend money on exercise for it to work. Walking, jogging, doing yoga, or bodyweight routines for thirty minutes two to three times a week can massively boost your health. You can fit this in watching a favourite movie, walking your dog, or going shopping.
If you have a hard time getting motivated, finding a good coach or group class may help you to get started or move your physical fitness to the next level. A great coach can find your weaknesses and strengths and use them to guide you to success. They can also help you with posture making sure you are safe, and give you a routine to suit your physical level and lifestyle.
Look out for a coach who engages with you, makes you feel comfortable and motivated, and works on your mind as well as your body. If you enjoy friendly competition, moral support and team spirit, group class will work well for you too.
Return to nature
Shinrinyoku or ‘Forest Bathing’ involves quietly walking and exploring, with all senses keenly open to every sound, scent, colour and sensation of the forest, in all its buzzing bio-diversity
The Japanese government who funded millions in research on forest bathing therapy found amazing benefits: it lowers blood pressure, heart rate and sympathetic nerve activity compared with city walks*. These studies conclude that exposure to phytoncides, the airborne, aromatic chemicals and oils emitted by many trees have a long-lasting impact on people’s immune system markers, boosting natural killer cells and anti-cancer proteins by 40%.
*Juyong Lee and Yoshifumi Miyazaki of Chiba University
Sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects to health. We all talk about “beauty sleep” and we know we look bad with big purple marks under our eyes, but we can miss exactly how much sleep matters.
A Harvard study notes “What many people do not realize is that a lack of sleep—especially on a regular basis—is associated with long-term health consequences, including chronic medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and that these conditions may lead to a shortened life expectancy.”
However they also found that sleeping too much can wear us down too. The conclusion is simple: “Research bears out the connection between too much sleep and too little energy. It appears that any significant deviation from normal sleep patterns can upset the body’s rhythms and increase daytime fatigue. The best solution is to figure out how many hours of sleep are right for you and then stick with it — even on weekends, vacations, and holidays.”
Many of us experience weight loss as an uphill battle. This is because there is no one way to gain weight, lose weight, or keep weight off. Some people lose a lot of weight through exercise, others through diet, and we’re all unique.
It’s important to note that almost any diet works in the short term. Low carb, low fat, vegan, ketogenic… all of them will help you lose weight if you stick to them. But few are great for long term health. This doesn’t mean you can’t use a crash diet, but it does mean you need a reliable plan to keep the weight off long term.
If you want to boost your metabolism increase intake of rich, warming foods and do exercise to build your muscles, as both these increase your calorific needs. It’s also essential to never combine simple sugars and simple fats, as this stimulates appetite and makes us eat too much. Try flavouring food with rich spices instead. For more advice on diet, see Lifestyle C4.
We tend to focus on mind over body: that with enough focus and willpower our brains can completely control our bodies. This is true, but it is also true that our bodies support our brains. By keeping a strong and healthy body, we make our brains strong and healthy too. And this makes fitness even more important. This is why it can take a month to get used to a new diet or fitness regime: because you are completely changing your mind and body. So if you stick at it, you are more likely to see results, and more likely to eventually enjoy your new fitness routine.