Exercise without exercising (Part 4)

In this series we have been chatting about how to incorporate a little bit of calorie-burning activity into your daily lifestyle without necessarily rushing off to hit it hard at the gym and today I want to bring in a little bit of family fun and togetherness. A happy family life goes a long way towards any individual’s wellbeing – wellbeing is mental as well as physical, after all.

Here are some family-oriented tips on getting that blood flowing without putting in too much effort.

Buy a Wii.

The Wii is a great alternative to traditional sit-on-the-couch gaming as you have to get up and move in order to play it. While there are Wii Fit options that are specifically geared towards exercise, just about any Wii game demands a bit of action on your part. So get a Wii. The kids will love you for it and it takes next to no effort to organize a weekly Wii marathon with your spouse and kiddies (or even just your friends!) If you’re not sure what games you want then rent a couple from your nearest video store (while we still have them!) to help you figure out what you enjoy most.

Of course, there are other gaming consoles that allow for movement as well. Choose which works best for you.

Play with the kids.

Really. Don’t just take them to the park or the beach and watch them play. Play with them. Kick around a ball or play a game of catch or simply chase them around. Not only will you burn off a couple of unwanted calories but you will also build and even stronger bond between you and your family. If you don’t have kids, then play with your nieces and nephews, or your friends’ kids. Or play with your significant other. But play. It’s good for you.

Get a dog.

Dogs need to be walked. And sometimes they make you chase them down the road when they have stolen your underwear off of the washing line. Dogs are awesome. Get a dog. Not sure about this one? Visit your local animal shelter and ask to walk some of the animals there. You’ll quickly fall in love and find the perfect fit for you. And you’ll be saving a life!

Climb a tree.

When last did you climb a tree? Do your kids know how to climb trees? Teach them! Your core will get an awesome workout just by keeping you from falling out of that tree.

Get a ping-pong table or a basketball hoop.

And then? Play with your kids some more! Ping-pong is a pretty fast paced game and shooting baskets is not only fun but it can be incredibly therapeutic if you’re doing it on your own and a lot of fun if you’re playing with others. Neither of these items takes up too much space, so no excuses!

Simple, right? Which one are you going to do today?

 

Exercise without exercising (Part 3)

The idea that exercise has to be a formal and organized routine is a killer for many folk on the road to living a well-balanced and healthy life. The rigidity that we typically assign to the idea of exercise can be so off-putting that many of us barely start before we find ourselves quitting. Luckily a small change in mind-set could be quite a difference maker when it comes to your goal of getting more active, because being active is simply about being active. Granted making some simple changes to your daily routine might not turn you into Halle Berry, adding a little activity will most certainly go a long way to maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your body a little fitter and it is also good for your stress levels.

Here are some more tricks to try:

Use a pedometer.

Some studies have shown that people who use a pedometer ten to walk 27% more. You don’t have to set yourself a crazy impossible goal to achieve, all you need to do is monitor your progress. The simple act of monitoring your progress will motivate you to walk more. You don’t have to get anything fancy- those watches can be very expensive! Something as simple as an app on your phone will work. Anything that allows you to compare today’s progress with yesterday’s.

Stretch while you watch TV.

We all love TV. We all know that we should watch less of it, but most of us don’t. So why not try to use your TV time for a bit of stretching? You could even try a couple of yoga or pilates exercises which you catch up on your favourite show.

Dance when you are out.

If you’re out with friends you might as well strut your stuff on the dance floor. Why? It’s fun. You will sweat – a lot – but it doesn’t matter because everyone else is sweating too. You will get your blood flowing. You will suffer a lesser hangover. I can’t think of any cons.

Trade your desk chair for a stability ball.

It might sound crazy but sitting on a ball is actually pretty comfortable (yes – I know this from experience!) and it does wonders for your posture and your core muscles. It also seems to cause less stress on your back and hips. And when you’re done sitting on the ball you can do a couple of v-core exercises. Just quickly. While no one is watching.

Take part in a group sport.

You don’t have to be a pro to have fun playing sport with a casual club. Take up squash or hockey or soccer. Whatever sport you like.

Go shopping.

Stroll around the mall. Malls are big. There is lots to see. Many calories to burn. Just don’t snack on ice cream while you do it. Easy peasy!

Is any of this sounding hard yet?

Exercise without exercising (Part 2)

As much as we all like to think that we need to spend an hour in the gym everyday, the truth is that making an effort to up your activity in small bursts throughout the day can also prove effective. A daily trip to the gym can often feel like a massive sacrifice, and while it is one that we should gladly make, sometimes at the end of the day all you want to do is crash. Life in general, work and kids can take a serious toll on energy levels and sometimes it is harder to muster up the energy for exercise than it is to find the time to do it, especially when we leave it for the end of the day instead of getting it done in the morning. In anticipation of the times when we are likely to feel like giving the gym a skip, it makes sense to start taking a few minutes here and there throughout the day to incorporate a little activity into your daily schedule. In itself these changes might make a huge difference when it comes to sustainability, and even if you are one of those gloriously together people who manages to fit in a daily workout there is certainly no harm in adding a little extra activity to your day.

Here are some more ways to get your muscles moving and your blood pumping without hitting the gym.

Stop looking for the perfect parking spot.

You’ve heard this one a hundred times, now start doing it. Instead of parking right near the entrance of whatever building you happen to need to enter, park a block away. It’s just a block. And as you walk towards your destination, make sure you feel it in your calves and thighs. And breathe deeply because fresh air is glorious!

Take the stairs.

You’ve heard this one a hundred times too. So why do you keep getting into the elevator? Stairs are good for your bum. Good bums are good for when you go shopping for jeans. Finding a good pair of good jeans to fit your good bum is good for your soul. So take the stairs!

Touch your toes.

If you don’t have time for a full workout then do a few stretches. You can do stretches while in your office (wearing your office clothes) and you shouldn’t work up too much of a outfit-ruining sweat. Touch your toes. Stretch your legs. Stretch your neck. Stretch your arms. Practice your downward dog.

Become twitchy.

Things like toe-tapping and finger-drumming burn calories. Ok, so it might be a rather minuscule amount of calories but a tiny amount is better than none at all. Such activity also serves to regulate your body if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or overstimulated.

Stand more often.

Converting your desk to a standing work station might be pushing things a little far, but try standing whenever you have the option, like while you are on the phone or while you are in a reception area waiting to be called in for an appointment.

Breathe.

Breathing deeply burns calories. Breathing deeply helps to circulate blood through your body which in turn increases your metabolism. And you don’t need to go to a yoga class to breathe! Just do it while you are driving or while you are sitting at your desk.

See? Was that so hard?

 

Quick Tip: Always Make a Great Shake

When it comes to talking about shakes, I always make it very clear to folks that they should put a little effort into making their shakes taste good, to ensure that they continue to find their shakes enjoyable. This is incredibly important when making long-term lifestyle changes because if you aren’t enjoying your shake, it is going to be very easy to stop taking it even after you have started experiencing positive results.

I think that something psychologically positive happens when you really enjoy what you are feeding your body. I’m not talking about satisfying that crazy and unexplainable need to devour a KFC family meal all by yourself, I’m talking about that feeling you get when you fuel your body with something positive.

Have you ever eaten something healthy and sort of felt like your body might be sighing with relief? I love that feeling! That feeling motivates me. And because of this feeling, it is so important to make a bit of an effort with your shakes.

Do you have a favourite shake recipe? I’d love for you to share it!

Otherwise if you need some ideas why don’t you pop in at the Lifestyle Wellness Hub at The Crusaders in St. George’s Cricket Grounds and speak to the professionals? We’ve gotten really good at this shake lifestyle!

For more information on how to use Herbalife protein shakes as a healthy meal replacement call/whatsapp Anthony on 083 651 3980 or pop us an email and we’ll get back to you.

Exercise without exercising (Part 1)

When I was a kid there was a Ricoffey advert on television where (if you’ll forgive my gross paraphrasing) there was a woman who was making a cup of coffee while getting ready to go to the gym. Her toddler watched her as she did this, looking very sad and in need of some mommy time. The woman then takes a sip of her coffee and you can see that she has been struck with an idea. In the next scene she is on her front lawn playing with her kid and basically using him as gym equipment.

I always kind of thought that advert was great. We often joke about how ridiculous it is to drive to the gym so that we can walk on a treadmill, and yet “going to the gym” is often our sole benchmark for working out. Don’t get me wrong, the gym is great (especially when it is hot out and they have the air conditioner blowing!) but sometimes it’s kind of nice to skip the gym and do something different.

And let’s be honest for a second: some of us hate the gym. Some of us run screaming in the opposite direction at the mere mention of organized fitness. Some of us need to be active without knowing that we’re being active. Of course boycotting the gym and fitness classes won’t get you a spot on any of those bodybuilding competitions, but that doesn’t really matter if your goal is to simply live a healthier and more active lifestyle. There are ways to be active without forcing yourself to become a fitness fanatic. If you are a fitness fanatic – great! You can use these tips to shake things up a little. But if you aren’t one, that’s ok too, because being active doesn’t have to be all about spinning classes or joining a jogging group.

For today let’s just start with one suggestion. I will share some more in the next few posts to come. But for today, let’s just do one.

Go to the beach!

There is something about being at the beach (or anywhere that is naturally beautiful – a park/botanical garden/nature reserve/hiking trail/farm) that just forces you to walk around. You can’t help it! Going for a walk around your neighbourhood might not be all that appealing but take a visit to the beach and you will find yourself strolling along the water’s edge in no time. Of course, it may be best to pick up the pace to something a little more intense than a stroll (in which case you might consider climing a sand dune in order to pick up the pace) but anything higher than a sedentary rate can only be good for you. Walking not only raises your heart rate but it is great stress reliever too. Very few things clear a cluttered mind as much as a nice long walk.

They say that in order to feel grounded you should take off your shoes and let your feet touch the earth. Where better to do that than on one of our beautiful beaches?

5 Reasons That You’re Always Tired

Life in the 21st century can be pretty hectic and it’s easy to use the busyness of our lives as a reason for the fact that we are always tired. Do you ever get that? Somehow you manage a good night’s sleep but you wake up barely refreshed, so you desperately reach for that first cup of coffee? And then the first cup quickly turns into the second, the fifth, the eighth…doesn’t it?

Our lives, however, do not have to be lived through rivers of caffeine while we hold our thumbs in hope of getting through another day. Sometimes, the reasons for our relentless fatigue are quite simple, and because they stem from simple lifestyle choices, they may be remedied with equally simple changes.

Reason 1: You’re Skipping Breakfast

We’ve all been taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and yet so few of us ensure that our morning meal is a good one. We make do with a cup of coffee and one the odd occasion indulge in a slice of toast with jam. It’s not enough. Your breakfast sets you up for the day and plays a big role in your energy levels. You need protein and healthy fats and fibre. It’s a fairly simple combination, but if you’re feeling weary about it, the easiest route might be to make yourself a smoothie with our Formula 1 Protein Shake. That way you can take the guess work out of preparing yourself a healthy breakfast and feel confident that you have consumed a balanced meal before starting your day.

Reason 2: You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

Even the slightest bit of dehydration can play havoc on your energy levels. Increasing your water intake could easily be all it takes to improve your day.

Reason 3: You Keep Eating Junk Food

High GI foods cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then drop. This is no way to achieve good energy levels!

Reason 4: You Skip Exercise

It may seem like skipping your workout in favour of conserving a bit of energy is a good idea, but exercise plays a huge role in increased energy levels. If a big workout is too daunting, try a brisk walk instead.

Reason 5: You’re Drinking Before Bedtime

Yes, that glass of wine makes you feel like you’ve slept a little better, but alcohol ultimately sabotages your sleep as it is digested. It is understood to be best to stop drinking alcohol for up to four hours before you go to bed.

3 Health Benefits of Yoga

I’m a fan of yoga. I’m no guru, of course. Or, yogi, for that matter. I’m naturally bendy so that’s a plus but I’m not particularly strong so yoga tends to beat me often. The strength will improve as I keep it up. The thing is though, if there were no benefits to yoga other than the stress relief that I get from the practice, that would be enough. There are, however, numerous benefits to maintaining a regular yoga practice. The conscientious  among us might notice even the smallest of benefits after each session. It is always good to take stock of how you are feeling before and after your practice, and keep these niggles in mind as inspiration to continue.

Here are just 3 great benefits to establishing a regular practice:

1. Improved flexibility

It takes a surprisingly short amount of time to notice a vast improvement in your flexibility once you start practicing yoga. Touching your toes may seem like an impossibility today, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an inevitability. This flexibility will in turn go a long way to alleviating pains that arise from tight joints and muscle tension.

2. Build Muscle

Yoga combines muscle building with flexibility which leads to strong, toned muscles (which look beautiful) coupled with the health benefits of having stronger muscles. such as better protection against ailments like arthritis and back pain.

3. Better Posture

There’s something commanding about a good posture, and yoga can help you get one. Aside from the aesthetics, though, an improved posture may very well lead to improved health all round. A bad posture can, for instance, cause that feeling of constant fatigue. Improving your posture can also help with muscle and joint pain.

A Few More Tips for Better Sleep

We discussed last week that sometimes it takes a little effort to establish a good sleeping routine. Elusive sleep can be an absolute drain on your energy levels and after a while you might start to feel like you’re going just a little bit mad. Not ideal. There are some things that you can do to help

Here are some more sleeping tips to try to make sure that you get those 8 hours in!

  1. Don’t Toss and Turn – If you still haven’t fallen asleep after twenty minutes of trying it might be best to turn the light back on and do a bit of reading until you’re ready to fall asleep again. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for a night of tossing and turning which is most certainly not ideal.
  2. Keep the Bedroom Optimised for Sleep – Remove the television and other electronics and keep your bedroom a tech-free zone. This reinforces the idea that your bedroom is for sleeping and your body will condition itself to that idea.
  3. Limit Your Alcohol Intake – While alcohol might help you fall asleep, once the depressive effect wears off it may have the opposite effect and cause you to wake instead.
  4. Nap Less – Of course it makes sense that struggling to sleep at night can lead to needing to nap during the day, but napping may disrupt your sleep cycle so if you’re having a problem sleeping you might need to consider forcing yourself to skip the afternoon siestas.
  5. Try to Avoid Sleeping Tablets – If they’re unavoidable, work alongside your doctor to figure out how to use them effectively and for as little time as possible.

Do you have any sleeping tips?

5 Tips For Better Sleep

We all know that good sleep is essential to our overall wellbeing, and yet for so many of us sleep can be an elusive little rat, leaving us staring wide-eyed at dark ceilings until the early hours of the morning, and then refusing to leave once the alarm goes off. We do, however, tend to often leave our sleeping patterns to chance. So much care is taken when it comes to preparing the foods that fuel our bodies, and time is carved out for the activities we take part in to ensure that our bodies remain strong and fit. Perhaps it is time to do the same for our sleeping patterns.

Here are some quick tips for a better night’s sleep:

  1. Watch Your Diet – Make sure that you go to bed neither hungry nor too full. Both states may contribute to keeping you awake.
  2. Cut Down on the Caffeine – While coffee might be helping you wake up in the morning, it could also be contributing to keeping you up at night. Try to limit you caffeine intake after lunch and see if it makes a difference to your sleep schedule.
  3. Reconsider the Smoking – Aside from the obvious health risks related to the consumption of nicotine, it can also keep you awake at night.
  4. Stick to a Consistent Sleep Schedule – A sleep schedule will train your brain to be tired at the right time of day. It’s important to continue waking and going to bed at the same night on a daily basis, even on weekends.
  5. Exercise Daily – As little as a twenty minute walk in the early evenings can make a huge difference to your night’s sleep.

The smallest changes can make a big difference when it comes to a good night’s sleep.

Good luck, and sleep tight…

4 Ways to Add More Water to your Daily Diet

We all know that water is an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle and yet it often seems to be where a lot of us slip up the most. There are many reasons for why we aren’t managing this water necessity, but there are luckily also a few changes that we can make to improve our water intake with minimal effort.

1. Have it with you

There is something about the immediate availability of water that automatically leads to a higher water intake. It’s there so you drink it. It really is as simple as that. Whether it’s on your desk in a jug or you’re carrying it around in a bottle, the mere presence of water will make a difference to how much you consume in a day.

2. Make it taste better

Many of us don’t really love the taste of water. No problem! Add a couple of slices of lemon to your water. Or strawberries or oranges or even apple slices. The natural flavours might make all the difference to you. You could also add a splash of Herbal Aloe. Not only will this product help to replenish your electrolytes and boost your vitamin c but it is also calorie free.

3. Eat your water

You can ingest a high amount of water by simply adding more real foods to your diet. Watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers and all sorts of other fruits and veggies have a very high percentage of water in them.

4. Drink more tea

As long as you aren’t adding copious amounts of sugar and other bad additives, a nice cup of herbal tea a few times a day is a great way to up your water content. Herbalife teas such as the Thermojetics Herbal Concentrate will give you the added benefit of aiding in weight loss and the NRG tea is great at easing mental fatigue and giving you a bit more energy.

Herbal Aloe Concentrate

Instant Herbal Beverage