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Good health begins as a thought

The mind-body connection

Achieving long-term health and energy is a balancing act.   You have to look after your mind-body connection as much as you look after what you eat.

Quite simply, what you put into your mind may have as much of an impact as the food and supplements you feed your body.

Many studies have been conducted on the mind-body connection. What we know for sure is that a positive attitude works – when we remember to nurture it.

Wholesome food, avoiding sugar and toxins are obvious tools for great health but how should you deal with the consequences of negative thinking and stress?

Experts rate exercise, sufficient sleep, controlling negative thoughts and building a strong social support as some of the best ways to decrease stress and boost immunity – so paying attention to your feelings and needs is as vital as drinking enough water and avoiding junk food.

Winning ways to promote good mind-body health

EXERCISE

The release of endorphins during exercise promotes a sense of wellbeing, which has the added benefit of boosting your immune system.

During exercise, the lymphatic system – a network of tissues and organs that helps your body to eliminate toxins and waste – is mobilised. Its main role is to transport lymph fluid, which contains infection-fighting white blood cells. Unlike the blood, which is transported by the heart, lymph fluid only moves if you do.

A recent study from a North Carolina university showed that people who exercised for five or more days weekly experienced 43% fewer days of upper respiratory infections.

Walking, running or any other muscle-moving activity also dramatically reduces stress by ‘working off steam’ when you are upset or angry. With the release of endorphins, your body receives a natural mood boost, resulting in reduced stress levels. This in turn puts less pressure on your immune system.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

According to an American Psychological Association study, stress is what keeps more than 40% of adults awake at night.

  • To aim for the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night
  • avoid caffeine,
  • avoid digital screens, and
  • try to turn in at the same time each evening.

FOCUS ON SELF-CARE

Make an effort to do something nice for yourself every day. Neglecting your own needs adds unnecessary stress to the system, resulting in increased vulnerability to illness.

Women, in particular, tend to put their own needs last, especially if they’re caring for children and/or elderly parents.  If you battle with guilt when you take an hour off to read, go for a manicure or have a coffee with a friend, remind yourself that if your bucket is empty, you’ll have nothing left to give anyone else. Simple, but effective.

MINDFULNESS

You cut in half the chances of catching a cold by meditating. A University of Wisconsin study showed that people who practised mindfulness – a type of meditation or mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while accepting feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations – noted 13 fewer illnesses and took 51 fewer sick days. Researchers concluded that this reduced the physical effects of stress. Stress weakens the immune system.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE…

Building strong social connections has proven psychological and physiological benefits. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, having a ‘support group’ – no matter how big or small – boosts immunity by creating ‘stress buffers’.

Being able to share stress or concerns with close family or friends provides an opportunity for outside support and advice. This alleviates a sense of being alone in your situation.

Ongoing stress is also a contributing factor to many chronic diseases.  And it is seriously not helpful if you are trying to lose weight.

 

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”

– Jack Kornfield, American author and Buddhist mindfulness pioneer.

 

PS If there is anything that has come up for you as a result of this post, please get in touch. I warmly invite you to book in for a free 30-minute call.  We can discuss to see if a personalised nutrition and lifestyle plan might help. You can book yourself directly into my diary by clicking right here http://bit.ly/tnt-bookcall.

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Variety is the spice of life

Variety is the spice of life

… and movement and exercise

Ideally we should incorporate the 4 following aspects into our fitness routine:

  • Cardio/Aerobic (e.g., walking, jogging, running, dancing)
  • Strength/Resistance (e.g., resistance machines, kettle bell, pilates, weightlifting, yoga)
  • Flexibility/Stretching (e.g., yoga, pilates, matwork, stretches)
  • Balance (e.g., yoga, tai chi, qi gong, bosu ball, dancing)

Remember that fitness and health are not just defined by a high heart rate from cardio.  Strength and resistance training keeps our bones and muscles strong as we age.   Stretching keeps our joints moving as well as our muscles. And balance is important as we age to help prevent falls and injury.

So yes, do activities you like to do but try to do different things to incorporate these 4 elements.

 

 

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Vacuuming lunges and toothbrush squats

Informal exercises you can do

Vacuuming lunges and toothbrush squats

Some time ago Dr. Michael Mosley did a television programme called “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor”.  One episode showed a group of people doing a variety of exercises at home with household objects.  I found the before and after results amazing.

Have a look and see if there are not some exercises here that you can incorporate into your daily routine.  It all helps.

(They also offer a downloadable guide).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1wBY4y9KMwy02YjVSMhTfBt/can-i-get-stronger-without-going-to-the-gym

 

 

 

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What exercise?

What exercise?

Pick something you like to do

Aim to get some movement into your daily life – and that doesn’t have to mean going to a gym and running on a treadmill.  A dance class, walking the dog, gardening, or even cleaning house can count toward your daily movement.

Anything that you like to do that can get your heart rate up and that you can do consistently.

 

matt-aunger-dog_walk

 

 

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Living an Active Lifestyle

Living an Active Lifestyle

The Power of Movement

You can make big improvements to your health and energy levels by making small and deliberate healthy lifestyle choices that involve moving more every day. Many people feel daunted by the thought of changing their lives and starting a new routine to be more active, but there are only a few key tips to remember to be successful:

Emphasize fun.

What is something you love? Make the things you love part of your activity plan.

Attach activity to regular habits.

Whether it’s going to work, cooking dinner, getting the mail, or brushing your teeth, any habit can be an opportunity to move. Try doing a one-minute wall-sit every time you brush your teeth; or practice dance steps while cooking dinner; or lift your bag over your head every time you go into your house.

Involve others.

Swap sitting at the coffeeshop for walks, and go around the block while catching up with a friend.

Add Audio.

Having pleasant audio input can make exercise more fun and rewarding.

Be inventive.

Rather than thinking of movement as calisthenics or a workout, challenge yourself to be inventive with your active living. Do an extra lap around the supermarket. Stand while watching a television show, instead of sitting.

Be forgiving.

If you have a sedentary day, let it go. Don’t overwork the next day or punish yourself—just try to be active every day! Encourage yourself the way you would encourage your best friend. It is about progress, not perfection.

Track your progress.

Consider using a pedometer app on your phone or purchasing a simple pedometer and have fun with it. Striving for 10,000 steps a day is recommended. However, some is better than none. See how it goes.

(The Institute for Functional Medicine)

 

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Whatever Moves You

Whatever Moves You

Sport Relief Week 2018 – 17-23 March

The idea of Sport Relief Week is that you do some kind of physical or sporting activity to raise money for the Comic Relief charity.  Their motto this year “Whatever Moves You”. 

This is excellent advice because you don’t have to run a marathon to get the benefits of exercise (or to raise money for charity for that matter). Especially since the new catch phrase these days seems to be “Sitting is the new smoking”.  We need to incorporate some kind of physical activity into our daily lives.

Daily movement reduces the risk of many health conditions— protect your health! If you already have a condition, movement reduces the symptoms. Research shows that movement helps with conditions across a broad range:

  • Many forms of cancer
  • Depression, stress, and anxiety
  • Cardiometabolic diseases including prediabetes, diabetes, hypertension, stroke
  • Musculoskeletal health, including osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis

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