The Summer is often a time when we eat and drink a little more and are out of our usual routine, and though you have a golden summer glow, you might also be needing to return to healthy habits. Now that you are back to your normal schedule it's important to get back on track with eating and sleeping well and having regular exercise. If you get in the right habits now, they will stick with you and keep you in shape over winter. Here are some vital yet simple tips to help you get back on track.
1. Start with a 'good shop' on your return home from holidays. If your cupboards are full of essential basics such as rice, couscous and pasta, and you have fresh fruit and veg brightening up your kitchen you're less likely to have unhealthy take away meals.
2. Plan your meals ahead of time. Consider cooking ahead and freezing meals. This both takes the stress out of eating healthily and can save you money too.
3. Add flavour, vitamins and minerals to your diet without adding excess calories. Using fresh herbs, peppery rocket, brightly coloured vegetables, such as red pepper or beetroot, or a sprinkle of nuts can make a salad or meal so much more interesting. It makes meals more nutritious and flavoursome. Those you cook for will love it too!
4. Walk more. Try and fit in extra walking as part of your day, for example when taking kids to school or when going to the local shops. It will become routine and won't feel like a chore.
5. Be active with friends. A walk or short run with friends gives you a chance to catch up and helps lift your mood.
6. Active transport to work. Cycling or walking to work can save you money and time, as well as keep you fit!
7. Sleep! No screen time near bed time. Research shows that using screens at bed time reduces our ability to get to sleep easily and affects the quality of our sleep (Chang, A.M 2014). Use of devices such as smart phones and computer screens prolongs the time it takes to get to sleep and supresses levels of the sleep promoting hormone, melatonin. It can, in turn, reduce our alertness the following morning.
8. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Want to feel better, reduce your risk of a heart attack and look your best? Sleep will help! Studies show a link between quality of sleep and our waistline. Poor sleep decreases the hormone regulating appetite. We can't concentrate as well, so we are less effective at work and home and at greater risk of accidents when driving. Insufficient sleep can increase our blood pressure, which increases heart attack risk. Beauty sleep is no myth either, with studies showing that our emotions and tiredness do indeed show through. Now it is getting darker earlier, it's a great time to get to bed just a little earlier.
9. Motivation. Set achievable goals. Whether it is losing a couple of pounds or being able to walk or run for a set distance, it can help if you have a goal in mind to keep you motivated. Be realistic about the time it takes to reach your goal and what you can achieve.
10. Stay on track. Reminders and support from a partner and friends can help you stay in good, healthy habits. Encouraging each other to eat well, stay active and sleep well will keep you all on track
Claire Treen - VavistaLife Physio. For further articles on weight loss, wellbeing and health please visit www.vavistalife.com