Spring is a great time to begin your new road to a healthier lifestyle – we’ve compiled some simple ideas that should get you feeling fitter and looking good in no time…
Hands up who has stuck to their New Year’s resolutions? No, us neither! January is not the best time to start a new healthier lifestyle. It’s cold, the days are short and have we mentioned lockdown 3.0?
But never fear, spring is a much better time to get started on some healthy habits. According to scientists it takes 66 days to form a habit, so try these easy ideas and they’ll be part of your lifestyle before summer rolls round…
Get a breath of fresh air
‘My healthy habit over the past few months is my daily lunchtime walk,’ says Claire Foster, community partnerships and wellbeing officer for physical activity and sport at Dacorum Borough Council. ‘Whatever the weather I take this opportunity to get away from my laptop and get some fresh air! If you want to set yourself a challenge there are lots of virtual events, including Dacorum’s Your Town 5k event run later in the year, that you can work towards.’
‘Find time every morning to meditate, even if it is just five minutes,’ says Hollie, senior therapist, at Cecily Day Spa in Berkhamsted. ‘This will give you the perfect time to check in with yourself and listen to what your mind/body needs’ If you struggle with the concept of meditation, just sit still for five minutes with your feet flat on the floor, shut your eyes, and breathe.
Get some balance
‘Grab a chair and sit up straight, holding your core in,’ says Heather Harris, coach at Berkhamsted’s Jog On. ‘Lift one leg out straight in front of you, foot flexed and then lift it higher, slowly 10 times. Swap legs. Repeat this set three times (30 on each leg). Progress by doing the whole exercise standing up holding onto a wall then, as your confidence improves you can step away from the wall and again repeat the leg lifts. This simple exercise will improve strength and balance.’
Ditch the screens
It’s easy to get involved in a Netflix bingewatch or scroll through Facebook before bedtime, but the blue light is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. Leave the TV downstairs and invest in an alarm clock so you can leave your phone elsewhere too!
‘Create a new healthy habit based around some activity that’s already part of your daily routine,’ says Karin Voller, event director at Tring-based Run the Wild. ‘Combine brushing your teeth with some balance work (stand on one foot for half the time and then the other), or squats, or perhaps lunges. When you go to the shops, could you walk and carry your shopping home in a backpack? Rather than driving to the local postbox, try walking to one.’
Check your posture
With many of us working from home at kitchen tables and on unsuitable chairs, make a note to correct your posture as you sit or walk. Your back will thank you for it.
Dance like no one’s watching
‘I love dancing to all kinds of music, even in my kitchen or front room,’ says Annie Smith, community partnerships and wellbeing officer for Arts and Culture at Dacorum Borough Council. ‘I recommend putting on some music you like and moving to it in any way you feel! Creative activities such as singing, dancing, music, arts and crafts activities are a great way to improve your mental wellbeing. You can find lots of online creative events and activities by visiting www.creativehertfordshire.com’
Stretch it out
‘I’m making it a habit this year to start each day with a few yoga stretches before I hit my desk with a large mug of tea in hand,’ says Berkhamsted’s Cecily Day Spa manager Nikki. ‘Beginning my day with a good stretch is a wonderful way of softening some of the kinks we get from sleeping and gets the blood flowing – providing the perfect energy boost to face the day.’
Stock up the freezer
‘Frozen fruit and vegetables tend to be cheaper than fresh, and don’t compromise on nutritional benefits as the freezing process can preserve nutrients,’ says Karen Lem, director of Hastoe-based Vivo Fitness. ‘Frozen produce is often prepared and pre-cut, saving you time, and is easy to cook or defrost and add to smoothies, cereals, soups and stews.’