Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Road to Wellbeing.

For many of us, leading a happy, fulfilling, healthy and fit life is an un-attainable goal. We are often out of balance while trying to juggle our busy working life with our busy family life and our busy social life..We put everyone and their demands before our own and only when our bodies scream out to us for help do we take notice. How often do you prioritise your own wellbeing? We rush through our day at full speed trying to accomplish the impossible task of pleasing everyone all while running on empty.

Your health and wellbeing should be at the top of your list and there are some simple steps that you can follow in order to obtain maximum results.

The first thing you must address is your nutritional input. What exactly are you fuelling your body with during the day? Is it wholesome and fresh produce or processed and lifeless food out of a box? If you are feeling run down, lifeless and depressed, the answer to that question is probably because you are eating the processed stuff. It is not just a question of how many calories you are consuming, as a 100 calories of fresh fruit does not compare nutritionally to a 100 calories of gummy bears, obviously! It is more a matter of where those calories are coming from. It is important to really nourish our bodies with clean, wholesome and organic food. It is more important than ever to search out local produce that has not been sprayed with a load of toxic chemicals and to avoid processed foods which contain an ever increasing range of highly dubious additives. It is time to detox! I know the traditional detox is to survive on nothing but juice and water for days on end, but I don't really agree that this is a long term solution. By simply replacing the bad with the good you will be detoxing and cleaning out your system and gaining loads more energy to boot. Try eating a wide range of foodstuffs and also do your best to purchase organic or at least locally grown produce. Eat at least 3 meals a day and include protein, complex carbohydrate and fat in each meal. Snack on nuts and fruits and drink as much water as you feel you need. Everyone's thirst varies depending on their levels of activity and the time of year, but we should all be aiming for at least a litre or 2. Oh, and avoid sugar at all costs!

The next step to improving your wellness is exercise. Our bodies are designed to move and be physical on a daily basis. Unfortunately these days we have to schedule an appointment with our bodies to exercise. Finding an activity that you really enjoy will help you stick with the programme and making it part of your lifestyle means that you are exercising without even noticing. Cycling to work and back, walking the dog twice a day, playing with the kids, gardening, dancing...there is an endless list of things we can do in order to shake up our daily laziness and none of them require a gym membership. You can also join an organised group if you want a more social element to your fitness. There are Nordic walking groups, running groups, cycling and swimming groups, as well as triathlon, rowing, salsa....the list goes on and on. However, the one which we at Geneva Fitness encourage the most is our outdoor Boot Camp group. Here you will get a full hour of all round strength and conditioning and feel both physically and mentally elated at the end. These sessions are open to everyone regardless of their fitness levels as each movement can be adjusted depending on the individual and their capabilities.

So now we have dealt with your nutrition and your exercise, the next step is to take a look at your sleeping habits. Rest and repair is an essential part of our wellness. Without adequate night time sleep, our bodies rebel and start to breakdown. Ideally we should sleep for up to 8 hours each night although this is quite a challenge for a lot of adults. If you find that your nights are restless, take a look at your evening habits and maybe make a few changes to help you with your rest. Caffeine late at night is an obvious culprit as is drinking too much alcohol, eating a heavy meal or not eating enough. A lot of females will experience insomnia the week before their period and this is due to hormonal fluctuations. It is wise to avoid caffeine or any other stimulant during this period and opt for a soothing cup of camomile and a lavender infused pillow to relax the senses. Rest is also very important for those of us who train hard and make big demands on our muscles and energy. Your muscles will only benefit from your last workout if you follow through with a period of rest and recovery. I am half Spanish and there is a saying in my culture that states "you can rest when you are dead!" I used to live by this when I was 18 and had the energy to stay out all night and work all day...but it didn't last very long. Today my motto would be "rest so that you can live!".

Having an active social life and surrounding yourself with positive and inspiring friends is another essential part of your life. Loneliness can quickly lead to depression and being in a negative environment can destroy our self confidence and character. It is a sad fact that our society is suffering from an ever increasing amount of depression which in turn can result in chronic mental diseases, high blood pressure and many other stress related illnesses. If you ever find yourself falling down this slippery slope, take action immediately by looking at your lifestyle, i.e. diet, activity levels, sleep, environment...or seek professional help from someone that you trust.

Finally, a quick word on meditation. Meditation has been practised for centuries and I find it is the single most effective way of calming down the mind and body. A mere 10 minutes can flood your system with feel good hormones and help you restore sanity and balance in an otherwise turbulent day. I find that meditating before bedtime particularly helps me fall into a deep slumber and it does a great job at erasing any problems that might be dwelling on my mind.

Having an holistic approach to your life and your habits will keep you in balance and prevent your body from letting you down. Eating well, exercising, sleeping and having fun with friends and family are the only ingredients necessary for a perfect recipe.

Well, that's all from me today. You can leave your comments or questions below as it is always a pleasure to help you out with your health and fitness queries.



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