One of the things we’re most passionate about is trying to simplify all the ‘noise’ out there in the health and wellness world. There is FAR too much over-complicating things when it comes to working out what our bodies need to be well, but reading the research, listening to wise people and generally wading our way through the mire, these four things keep popping up time and time again. So have a read and see if there’s even one you can implement…TODAY!
- MOVE!…We’re exercising more than ever but sicker than ever. Doesn’t quite make sense does it? Well, actually researchers are now saying that what we really need is to be less sedentary across the day, in other words, just MOVE more. Lots of us sit for long periods of time (Andy holds hand up here) and then think we can bust out a quick gym class/run/bike ride at the end of the day and all will be a-ok. However, research is showing ‘prolonged sitting’ to be one of the biggest factors for poor health right now so we’ve gotta find ways to generally move more throughout the day. A few suggestions: Park further away from work and walk the last bit; use the loos furthest away from your desk/office; get up for water breaks regularly; set a timer every hour to bust out some body weight squats/pressups (maybe best if working from home, but you could do squats in the loo!!); take a walking lunch break; a dance party with the kids; walk to places you’d usually take the car at the weekends when you have time; take the stairs (in 2’s if you can!); install a pull-up bar at home so when you walk past it you either hang on it for a minute or actually do some pull-ups (Sarah HASN’T got these down yet!).
- EAT!…good-for-your-body food MOST of the time. And what we mean by that you can read about (here) but think single ingredient, from-our-incredible-earth type foods. HOWEVER, don’t forget it’s what we do mostly that makes the difference. Enjoy that doughnut, your favourite flavour crisps/ice-cream or that doughy pizza from time to time and STOP FEELING GUILTY ABOUT IT! Be aware of your body and how it feels after certain foods – if they don’t make you feel good, make them your ‘less often’ foods and eat lots of what leaves you feeling energised, awake, not bloated/gassy, able to concentrate and just generally EPIC. Protect your mental health in it all – stress from overdoing the ‘trying to be healthy’ bit is detrimental to your physical health too.
- SLEEP!…Oh man oh man, this one is seriously underestimated but both Andy and Sarah have reaped the benefits of working on this one. For Sarah, getting 8 hours sleep a night regularly has brought inflammation down related to autoimmune disease and for Andy, post PhD, he’s got his smile/energy/brain back! We all know there are seasons where 7-9 hours sleep isn’t possible but research says aiming for that will get you in the right direction – think less inflammation (especially if you have any type of ongoing health issues), physical repair (including from workouts), concentration and memory improvements, a firing-nicely metabolism and the ability to use the energy you’re putting in, being able to handle daily stressors more effectively and much MUCH more. Get yourself in bed a bit earlier on a regular basis (yes even at the weekends) and find a good routine that helps you to switch off and zzzzzzzz…
- STRESS!…a body continually in ‘stress’ mode, whether that’s from illness, too much work and too little play, taking on too many things, never doing things for ‘fun’, money worries, family issues, over exercising…you name it, your body will eventually shut down in some way. Sarah holds her hands up here – this is HARD!…and she’s learnt this one the hard way with a health crash a few years back and a long journey back out. No-one can keep ‘running from the lion’ forever and that much adrenaline and cortisol surging through your body can cause a whole host of physical and mental health issues. Even in the worst circumstances, we can choose to find ways to take some ‘down-time’ on a regular basis, whether it’s reading a book, having a bath, 5 minutes of quiet in the morning, catching up with friends (this ones a biggie right now with social media usage – we need REAL interactions with REAL people!), playing an instrument, taking a yoga class, heading out on an exploring adventure from time to time with your lunch and a backpack…whatever floats your boat! But make sure you DO prioritise it – it’s like they say when you get on a plane, put your own mask on first so you can help those around you. You’ll be a nicer and happier person for it!
And most importantly of all – remember it’s a journey we’re all on and that we have to change and adapt in different seasons. It’s always a good choice to be a little kinder to ourselves.