Have a Healthy Future

Help Your Future Self

It takes only 30 minutes of exercise a day to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, retain muscle mass, maintain your natural range of motion, decrease your chances of back pain and lower your chances of cardiovascular issues.

By incorporating the lifestyle behaviours below into daily routines this will increase your chance of living a healthy mobile life as you grow old.

Resistance training

Loss of muscle mass although gradual, starts as young as 30 years old.  In order to combat this, it is vital to exercise.  Weight bearing exercises and weight resistance training will improve bone strength, improve your metabolism, strengthen your structure and improve your athletic appearance.

Yoga/Pilates

Do not neglect your mobility.  Sitting for hours at a desk then home for a run or a high intensity class without a stretch or warm up – remind you of anyone?  Yoga and Pilates help to protect your spine and that is not just the muscles, but the cartilage and tendons, which are equally important.  Stretching will make you more resilient to injury as you age.

Pilates is a traditional exercise protocol and yoga serves the mind and body connection, the body benefits while the mind is still!

Some people do both – but you should do at least one!

Daily Mobility Drills

Short daily mobility drill is a fantastic way to start the day, permitting your body to wake up after a long sleep.  This will stall issues of poor posture, sore neck and twinging backs.

Open up the spine, rotate your hips, shoulders, knees and ankles by doing simple exercises, cat stretches, cow stretches, squats, lunges and doing the plank.

Remembering to breathe.

Low Intensity Cardio

It does not have to be all high intensity to be effective.  Low intensity is a game changer.  Incorporate this into your daily routine and there will be a leaner fitter you in a few months.

The technical aspects are that you train at 90 -120 heart beats per minute (if you are 40).  This is the fat burning zone for low intensity workouts.

You do not need a heart rate strap or Fitbit on just get yourself on a brisk walk or a bike ride.  Even try a dancing class.  These activities will burn fat as well as reduce cortisol levels allowing you to deal with any stress that has occurred during the day.

Listen to your body

If you have an injury be careful not to exercise through it.  If you are tired, be sensible and rest.  If you do obtain any injuries get it checked out by a professional. Listen to your body.

Stay Hydrated

A hydrated body is an optimal natural state of health. Water will help to flush toxins, reduce inflammation, lubricate joints, support your metabolism and improve energy, digestion and mental performance.

Generally there is an evident increase in health and vitality by increasing your water intake.

Eat a Balanced Diet

We need to eat carbohydrates, proteins and fats to obtain optimal health.   Forget fad diets.  Portion control is vital too.  As a rule of thumb and very general, half your dish should be vegetables or salad.  One third should be carbohydrates and one third your protein choice.  Healthy fats should be around the same size as your thumb.

Eat a colourful plate

Load your meals with many colours for every meal.  This will ensure you consume a large variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in each meal.  Antioxidants are advantageous in aging as they battle free radicals and oxidative stress.  Increasing the intake of vitamins and minerals will strengthen your immune system and you will become more resilient to illness and disease.

Limit alcohol

Alcohol  can be enjoyed in moderation and  red wine has been suggested to  have a significant health benefit at low consumption rates, however, over consumption has serious negative effects.  Drink with careful consideration.

Joint care

Wear and tear on your joints will become noticeable after you are 40.  Endurance training or heavy training can increase deterioration on your joints.  It is best to concentrate on shorter, more effective training sessions instead.

Gut health

Gut health plays an important role in your health, although understanding the implications of this is still in the early stages.  The gut microbiome (combined genetic material) is significant in helping to control digestion.  Get lots of fibre in your diet.  Government guidelines are that we should consume 30g of fibre a day.  Keep your gut healthy.

Keep the mind healthy

Mental wellbeing is as equally important as physical activity in association with our overall health.  The mental state can affect everything from hormones, to blood pressure, to resting heart rate.  Remember no training or diet will be effective if you are not in the best place mentally and emotionally.

Meditate

Studies have reported even short, regular meditation routines may be effective strategies for reducing cognitive decline linked to aging.  Only 5 minutes of sitting or lying while calming your mind can help.  Your stress levels will drop and you will be able to deal with challenges more effectively.

Relationships

It is important for us all to stay connected to others.  This is how we flourish.  Stay in touch with friends, as it is crucial to our mental health to have close social ties.  A Harvard study found this was a great predictor of health in older years.  It also found that cognitive decline decreased with social support.

Have a goal

Have a goal to work towards.  This can help to focus the mind.  This will help to increase motivation as well as the appreciation of achievement once completed.

 

 

Take a Lunch Break

The Importance of Lunch

It is important when eating any food to consider it like any other activity and give it your full attention. Food eaten when distracted by another task has been proven to increase the amount of food we eat. Recent studies suggest at least 25% of people eat lunch at their desks, this increases stress levels and ultimately will increase cortisol levels which increase fat accumulation in the body. Actually taking a lunch break and nourishing your body with food, water and oxygen will lead to better work in the afternoon and will avoid a stress build up.

Creating time for a healthy lunch will improve both mental and physical well-being. Eating lunch, a few hours after breakfast will re-energise your body and help to focus and concentrate by raising blood sugar. By eating even small amounts for lunch, this will recharge and help to feel more revitalised in order to undertake the work for the afternoon. Eating lunch ensures metabolism is active. If meals are avoided there is a tendency to overeat or make poor nutritional choices. It is recommended to combine complex carbohydrates with lean protein to establish a continuing source of energy.

An effortless way to prepare lunch for the next day is to prepare extra when cooking the evening meal and keeping a portion aside to have for lunch the next day (or in the coming days). Prepare several days lunch at a time and keep in airtight containers in the fridge. If there are more people requiring lunches, colour code the lids, that way it is easier to distinguish who gets what.
Many people have some type of fruit as part of their lunch and many do complain about tummy ache after eating fruit and this is just a little pointer worth remembering – fruit digests quicker than other foods with melon quickest of all. Therefore, it is beneficial to try to eat the fruit first – with at least half hour (preferably an hour) before other food. Eating fruit after food can result in gas and bloating.

Suggestions for lunch should include fruit, for instance, slices of watermelon or honeydew, 2 peaches, 3 plums, 2 tangerines, an apple, an orange, a banana, whatever is in season preferably.

It is important for ladies to ingest calcium as the incidence of osteoporosis in increasing and a 150g yogurt pot or a 25g piece of cheese as part of lunch is a good source of calcium.

Breakfast

It is important to start the day properly and no prizes for guessing that we are talking about breakfast. It is quite staggering the amount of people who still do not eat breakfast.  This is extremely important for a magnitude of reasons which I will not bore you with right now, but at least to stop the additional consumption of calories by lunch time because you are literally starving.

Breakfast can be a pretty fraught time with a million things to do before you get out the door and trying to get everyone organised.

If you know that it is going to be a particularly busy morning why not prepare breakfast the night before. Below are a few recipes to make in the days before, to leave in the fridge to be able to grab for those mornings when there is little time.

One of the latest trends are overnight oats. They are generally photographed in Kilner jars, it shows the layering of the ingredients and looks pretty, and I think Ikea stock something similar, other shops are available. Although, any food storage container is suitable for overnight oats. TopTip: The Kilner jars can be used to create layered salads for packed lunches for adults or children.

Overnight Oats

Foundation of overnight oats is the base mixture which can be layered or all mixed together, whichever is preferred.

Porridge Oats 1/3rd Jar
Soaking Liquid 1/3rd Jar This can be all milk or half milk and half yogurt (Greek or Regular).

You can even soak in apple juice.

Additions 1/3rd Jar Fruits, Nuts, Savoury, Sweet

Method:

The preferable method is to put the oats and any spices in first, then the liquid or half liquid and half yogurt with the more robust ingredients next then the softer fruits or ingredients at the top.

Some Suggestions

Tropical: Diced Mango

Diced pineapple

Shredded Coconut

Or mix of all three

Berries: Blackberries

Strawberries

Raspberries

Blueberries

Mix of berries

Carrot cake: Grated carrot

Raisin

Cream cheese

Walnuts

Dietary Issues and Swaps If Required

Vegan: Use soya, rice or other plant milks or soya or plant yogurts

Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free oats

There are an enormous amount of fruits, nuts, seeds and spices that can be added to the overnight oats for variety.

Breakfast Muffins

These are just convenient mini egg cakes that are portable and you can take on the run or shove into lunch boxes for when you get to work.

Breakfast Muffin
Breakfast Muffin

Base Mix

Free range eggs 10 eggs
Fresh Mint Chopped Bunch
Fresh Coriander Chopped Bunch
Broken feta 25g
Seasoning Black Pepper
Fresh Chilli Finely chopped Can be removed if required

Additions

Bacon Cooked (Grilled) (Fat removed) cut into small pieces (I use scissors)
Ham (Fat removed) cut into small pieces (I use scissors)
Grated Courgette, Pea and Feta Grate a small courgette, add frozen peas and crumbled feta no more than 25g
Chopped bacon and tomato Cooked chopped bacon with fat removed and chopped tomato
Mushroom and Peppers Sliced Mushrooms and chopped peppers (any colour)
Onion White, Red or spring onions sliced thinly
Tomato and Chilli Chopped tomato and finely chopped red (or green) chilli
Spinach Handful cooked first
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Do not add the feta and snip smoked salmon with scissors and add in small chunks of cream cheese

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C (fan160/Gas Mark 4).
  • In a large bowl crack the eggs and whisk thoroughly. Add the herbs and the crumbled feta.
  • Lightly mix in the other ingredients of your choice.
  • Distribute evenly between the 12 cup muffin tray – not all the way to the top you will need room for them to rise. Preferably use a non-stick muffin tray or line a muffin tray with reusable silicone muffin cases.
  • Bake for up to 25 minutes – checking occasionally. They are cooked when you can pierce a toothpick in the centre and the stick comes out clean.
  • Leave for a few minutes to cool before removing from the cases.

Each serving is 2 muffins.

Poached Eggs

One of my favourites and relatively quick to do. Have a couple of poached eggs on wholegrain toast.  I sometimes spread guacamole on the toast to get my avocado kick for the day and it is more flavourful than plain smashed avocado.  Although, smashed avocado with chilli flakes and poached eggs is also a pretty substantial breakfast.

Poached Eggs with Guacamole and chilli flakes
Poached Eggs with Guacamole and chilli flakes

If you have smoked salmon to use up (I mean who doesn’t have smoked salmon in the fridge ?) rip a large piece of cling film off the roll and put this inside a small teacup, layer th smoked salmon in to the cling film then crack an egg into it. Twist the cling film to make a pouch.  This can be placed into the simmering water to poach and you have smoked salmon poached eggs.  This can also be done with honey roast ham.

How long does it take to poach an egg – 4 ½ to 5 ½ minutes – although I use the timing of the toaster (all toasters will be different). Once I put the eggs in I pop the bread in to toast.  When the bread is done and I have put whatever topping is on the bread the eggs are ready to come out – soft every time!

Omelette with Cooked Mushrooms (or selection of any vegetables)

Granola with Fresh Fruit and Greek Yogurt

Granola, Fresh Berries and Greek Yogurt
Granola, Fresh Berries and Greek Yogurt

Toast with Peanut Butter and Sliced Strawberries

Porridge Oats with Chopped Apple and Cinnamon (or any seasonal fruit)

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon

Breakfast Burrito

This is one of my children’s favourite meal anytime. It is pretty substantial and I would not recommend it every day.

Method:

  • Cook ½ sliced onion and a fresh chopped tomato with some finely sliced chilli in an omelette pan.
  • Add in 2 whisked eggs and cook to preferred consistency
  • Add sliced olives
  • Spread salsa over a wholemeal tortilla – quick salsa (tomato, onion, fresh chilli, fresh coriander, garlic (if required) whizzed with a hand blender or left chunky))
  • Place omelette in middle of tortilla
  • Add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese (or crumbled feta or grated ranchero)
  • Add a spoonful of guacamole
  • Add a few jalapenos
  • Add sprinkle of fresh coriander
  • Add chopped lettuce or rocket (I always pop it into every meal if I can get away with it)
  • Roll up the tortilla and cut in half at an angle
  • This can be eaten straight away or rolled into tin foil and taken for the office or school.

Time Scarce

If you really have no time for breakfast grab and Apple and a Banana on the way.

It is really important to kick start your system for the day. To initiate your metabolism, to nourish your system to give you energy required to function well.

The Importance of Hydration

 

Water with Cucumber and Mint

Essential for staying healthy is hydration. A massive two thirds of our body is made up of water!!  It is suggested that we drink 2 litres per day as a minimum.  This can seem quite difficult for some people but be aware that foodstuffs do contain fluids too.

It is advised that we drink a glass of water on rising since we have had a possible 8 hour fast and we need to hydrate our system. This can be a cup of hot water with a slice of lemon to kick start us and our digestive system.

If you do not like plain old tap juice (what I called it when the children were little – makes me feel a bit mean now but they were fooled as small children and drunk loads of it back then and they only drink water now…STOP PRESS They have NEVER had teenage acne and I do put it down to their intake of water) why not try giving it a flavour boost by infusing with fruit. Try adding sliced up lemons, limes or sliced orange, lemon and fresh ginger, cucumber and mint, slices of watermelon, pomegranate seeds, pear and apple slices.  Soak pineapple in the water for a couple of hours.  Mash some berries at the bottom of the glass and top up with water (who doesn’t love a muddle with gin added…so we can pretend…).  Trust me if you create one of the above and fill a jug with cold water and keep it in your fridge, every time you would normally hit the soda or fizz it is so much easier just to grab a glass of water out the fridge.

Try having herbal teas or slice a lemon and add hot water, jazz it up and have lemon and fresh ginger in hot water. No need to buy expensive tea bags.  Water from the tap is inexpensive and super healthy.  So what is all the big deal about water…..

Reasons why water is good for you….

Water infused with Lemon and Ginger

It regulates your body temperature

Lubricates your joints

Transports nutrients to give you energy

Transports waste products out

It is involved in every function of the body

Reduces recovery time

Proper hydration will improve your workout.

Lack of water in your body

Body does not perform at its optimum

You feel tired

You may have muscle cramps

You can become dizzy.