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Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

New Years Health & Fitness Routines – Why They Do Not Work and What We Should Be Doing

Why! Why do we do it to ourselves. With the beginning of every new year we all make these health and fitness goals that just are not sustainable. It is like we are stuck in a broken record making the same mistakes every year.

I mean, what is it about January that makes us all focus about our health and fitness anyway?

Is it that we have all over indulged too much at Christmas and start to feel guilty so once January hits we go on diets but surely calories don’t count in December, right.

Or it could be that come the 1st January everywhere you go they are selling gym equipment, food supplements and gym clothes, even Aldi best buys are taken over by the January get fit quick idea. Everywhere you look there is adverts for gym membership trying to pressures us to make the change and newspapers and magazines are packed full of articles on how to be super fit and healthy. 

I mean how many times have you bought a piece of equipment or gym membership with the best intentions and once January has ended it has gone to waist never to be used again? 

Well I can tell you now that you are not the only one! 

It turns out that the second Saturday of February is statistically known as ‘fall of the wagon day’ as identified by Citylab and Foursquare research. 

To be honest even that is good going we are only on the 4th January and I have already given in on eating healthy and finished a box of Lindt chocolates to myself.

Now I am all for getting healthy and sustaining a fitness routine and I do actively promote these but I feel that every January there is so much pressure put on us to change literally overnight from eating chocolates for breakfast still on 31st December to then be eating avocados and rye bread from the 1st January. 

I do want to be healthier and fitter and I do encourage everyone to else as well to take the steps towards living a healthier life. However it needs to be done slowly and over the course of the year so it is more sustainable. 

If we ease into it and implement small changes then it will be so much easier to keep. If you are going from doing no exercise at all and then all of a sudden you are doing 5 days a week of exercise I doubt you will be able to keep this going. It is better to start off with one day a week of exercise then as the weeks/months go on slowly increase to 2-3 days. 

The same with diet don’t go jumping in on the newest fad diet that you just won’t be able to keep up. Start by making small healthy changes like maybe eating a healthier breakfast, drinking more water and then slowly build on this. 

If we can all slowly build on small sustainable health & fitness steps then by next New Year we won’t need to make these radical New Years health resolutions as we will already be at are prime health and fitness levels.

My January small steps that I have made is to start ordering weekly fruit and veg boxes from our local green grocer to ensure we are all getting more in our diet and instead of signing up for gym membership I have signed the whole family back up to National Trust membership to get us back out visiting these beautiful places and going out for walks again around the grounds.  

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What small steps are you going to make to work on your long term health goals?

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Why not take a look at my other posts –

Why I turned Vegetarian and my journey on cutting out meat

Being a writer with Dyslexia

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Mental health & Wellbeing

The Benefits of a fitness watch and how mine keeps me active!

I am what you would call and average Joe in the health & Fitness department. I am not over or under weight just right in the middle however saying that I don’t go to the gym and I eat a lot of cakes and biscuits. I work a 9-5 desk job and after the kids are in bed in the evening I like to laze in front of the TV with a cup of tea and biscuits.

Although my weight is fine my arse and my belly has more jiggle in it than a jelly and upper body strength is just none existent. I can just about manage to carry my shopping let alone lift weights of any sort.

I am one of these people that have a period of really not caring and doing nothing and then all of a sudden deciding that I need to change and inspire to become one of these super fit women I see on social media.

When I decide to start a fitness regime I like to see my progress so I take a before selfie in the mirror so after a few weeks I can take another and see how well I have done. Unfortunately I never get to the after photo, I went through my phone pictures the other day which were spread over 2 years and I found 6 different before photos with an extra roll added on each new one.

For me I have very limited time to fit in exercise and I also really struggle with motivation. I can’t go to the gym or do any classes as my partner works away and I have no one to look after the kids so youtube videos are as close as I can get but the motivation soon leaves me.

Last year I heard all the mums at the school discussing their activity watches and was intrigued to find out what they were. I could hear them all comparing who had done the most steps and others saying that they had won a challenge that they had been entered in too.

After looking into them I decided that I wanted to get one, even if I gave up on the motivation with the activity side, it would still make a great smartwatch and was water proof so I wouldn’t need to take it off when doing the washing up or taking the kids swimming.

As I had a birthday coming up I got Dino to get me it as a present. After he had read and watched countless reviews on which one would be best he got me the Garmin Vivosmart HR he also at the same time got himself one.

When you first get the watch you need to sync it with either the computer or the app for your phone or tablet. On the app you are asked a series of questions with regards to your age, height, weight and how active you are. Once you have filled out the questionnaire you are then set daily goals which increase or decrease depending on what you have achieved the day before.

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This for me was great as although I am not very good at motivating myself I am very competitive and once a goal has been set I have to achieve it. Everyday I would do that little bit extra to make sure I reach my goal and if it gets to the evening and I still have some steps left to do I have even walked or run round my garden. There is a daily stair challenge as well trying to get you to walk up 10 flights of stairs a day and again I would find reasons to go upstairs just so I could achieve my goal.

These subtle little changes really made a difference and day by day I was doing more and more steps and increasing my fitness level. Garmin also set you a weekly target of 150 active minutes which I have to admit I really struggled to achieve and even tried to amend the amount but 150 is the lowest it goes and you can only increase this figure. After I realised I couldn’t cheat I had to do something to make sure I was achieving this goal. That is when I decided that I would start cycling to work every day and since then I smash this goal twice over. I also try to fit in a quick HITT workout here and there just to add a few more extra minutes even though I am not so great at keeping this going.

My Garmin monitors my heart rate so when I am really working hard and my heart rate is raised then the minutes I work at this level are doubled. For example if I am working at high intensity and my heart rate is raised for 10 minutes then 20 minutes will be marked off the active minute goal.

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To help me better my step goal and I am not sure if you would class this as cheating or not as I am still working hard, when I am cycling to work I have figured out that by putting my watch on ankle my steps go up with every full turn of the pedals.

The watch also displays your calories burned in the day and the distance you have travelled that day. Another great feature is that it shows how many hours you have slept for and also tracks your movement during your sleep and deep and light sleep levels.

On the app you can join in with the weekly step challenge, which again increase and decreases with what you achieve the week before. I was in the 100k step challenge and always did quite well coming between 2nd – 5th every week that was until I injured my foot and was on crutches for a few weeks after that I was back starting at the 0k step challenge. I have slowly made my way back up coming 1st every week until I am now in the 85k step challenge.

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This watch is the best thing I have ever bought to improve my fitness, I wear it everywhere and check it regularly and it has helped me slowly improve my fitness but best of all maintain my level of fitness. I would highly recommend a fitness watch to anyone whether you are like me not very active or if you are super fit. They are a great way to keep track and gradually increase your fitness levels no matter what stage you are at. If you do have a bit of extra money then purchasing a fitness watch with GPS would be better as it will track you and measure distance when running, cycling or swimming.

I am writing this post as I believe fitness watches are a great tool for keeping active and maintaining fitness levels, I talk about the fitness watch that I have as I am very happy with the Garmin vivosmart HR but just to make clear I have not reviewed or tested any other fitness watches and I am not stating that my own is the best one on the market. My post refers to the benefits any make or model of fitness watches can provide. Which? have a great review of a range of different fitness watches that may be worth reading if you were thinking of making a purchase.

Why not also read my other posts –

Self Care tips for busy parents

I am your friend, A book of Hope

Why parents need yoga

The benefits of Journaling

10 Cheap Activities to do with the Children this summer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Why parents need yoga and the benefits it can have on stress

I have never really had much interest in yoga before, I didn’t understand how slow movements and deep breathing would ever help me achieve any health and fitness benefits. I was ignorant when it came to yoga and its power.

I have always been a ‘go hard or go home’, type of exerciser looking for the highest intensity workouts and pushing myself to my limits, taking things slow was never my style.

It wasn’t until this year that I truly discovered the amazing power of yoga. It truly has the power to melt away stress and transport you into a peaceful serene.

I suffered from a bout of stress and anxiety that left me feeling physically ill. I would feel sick, have bad stomachs and physically shake.

Being a parent of 3 children and working full time looking after another 9 children as a childminder my life was pretty stressful anyway so when we then decided to move 150 miles away my stress levels rocketing.   

I needed to find a way to combat my stress.

Someone told me that yoga is great relief for stress. So I thought that I would give it a go, after all I had nothing to lose. I did some research into yoga and its benefits and watched some Youtube videos on basic yoga and gave it a try.

After doing yoga a few times I was able to control my breathing and movements and I could then clear my mind. This in turn helped my stress and anxiety just disappear and put me in a calmer frame of mind. Once you can really immerse yourself in the moves and can control your breathing, you can really feel the positive energy running through your body.

After doing just basic yoga moves for over a week, I am seeing improvements in my flexibility, strength and most importantly my stress levels. Yes I still do get stressed it is hard not to especially with children however a quick yoga pose or deep breathing exercise and my head feels so much clearer and I am then in a better frame of mind to deal with the situation.

When dealing with children you always need to have a calm persona to be beneficial and yoga a great way to do this. 

To start of my mornings now I carry out some basic yoga moves which is great as it only takes about 10 mins of my time, it leaves me feeling energised for the day ahead and starts me off stress free. The best thing is that if you are pressed for time in the mornings then the basic moves will not leave you hot and sweaty so you can head off straight to work or on school runs without needing a shower. 

You can also fit it in throughout the day, I am on my feet a lot and I find that doing a yoga pose helps to ward off stiffness in my back and legs. My back especially has benefited as I do suffer from backache from picking the children up and yoga really helps to stretch and relieve tension.

Yoga is going to be a long term activity for me and although I am still at a very basic level of yoga, I mean I can barely touch my toes, I intend to one day to be able to achieve the advance yoga and will definitely be looking more into mindfulness and look forward to discovering the power it can have.

Why not also read my other posts –

Self care tips for busy parents

Why I don’t force my children to read

Body Image/Body Confidence photo shoot

Art is good for the soul even if you are not very good at it

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.