A recent study conducted by Public Health England has revealed some shocking statistics regarding inactivity rates among British adults. It found that 41% of British adults aged 40-60 walk less than 10 minutes at a brisk pace each month. Results have also shown that a quarter of the population are officially ‘inactive’, meaning they are doing less than 30 minutes of activity per week. It doesn’t take an expert to know that these results mean many UK adults are putting themselves at a greater risk of negative long-term effects on their health. If this isn’t a wake-up call, we don’t know what is. Our experts have put together their top tips to get you off the couch, moving your body and leading a healthier lifestyle.
Find your rhythm
Exercise doesn’t have to be a dreaded thought, once you find a few things you enjoy, it won’t seem like a chore and you can incorporate it into your weekly schedule. Not into running? Find an indoor pool and swim some laps instead. Hate the gym? Pick a team sport you love, round up your friends and sign up to your local sports centre. Many gyms offer a trial week where you can test out the classes on offer before signing up for a membership.
Mind over matter
Are you blaming your inactivity on feeling tired? Us Brits are leading increasingly busy lives, constantly juggling work, home and family life. When you’re feeling fatigued, exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing. Contrary to what you might think though, exercise actually boosts your energy levels! Leading UK nutritionist and author of Fat Around the Middle Dr Marilyn Glenville explains, “Regular exercise is essential for keeping your energy levels up. Regular exercise releases feel good hormones, lowers stress hormones and encourages a good nights’ sleep so it is a fatigue fighting essential.”
Find a fitness buddy
If you find it hard to motivate yourself to become more active, it might be worth finding a fitness buddy who will make you accountable for those gym sessions! Not only will it make you work harder but it’ll also be a more enjoyable all round, encouraging you to keep going.
Say hello to a healthy diet
What you’re putting into your body is just as important as what you’re doing with it. Nutritionist Cassandra Barns explains, “I consider a healthy diet to be a primary factor in wellness at all ages. But what does a ‘healthy diet’ mean? Evidence suggests that the healthiest and longest-living populations around the world have one thing in common: they eat ‘real’ food and have very little in the way of processed and convenience foods. This includes fresh vegetables and fruit, fresh or tinned fish, free-range eggs, unprocessed meats, unroasted nuts and seeds, whole grains such as oats and brown rice, beans and pulses and, for most people, natural dairy products. It means limiting intake of high-sugar foods, refined foods and most things that come in a packet with a long list of ingredients.”
Walk, walk, walk
It’s time to get back to basics! Walking is sometimes overlooked, yet you can improve your health by walking just 10 continuous minutes at a brisk pace every day. This will help you to build stamina, burn excess calories and help to make your heart healthier. Michael Ratcliffe, podiatrist at Carnation Footcare tells us, “Walk whenever you can, every day and walk briskly. Everywhere you go and in everything you do, try to consider how you can maximise the walking element. Walk to the supermarket instead of driving or park as far away as you can and walk in.” You could spend less time sitting in traffic, or being cramped on a tube, by swapping public transport for your feet. If you live too far away, get off the tube a stop earlier and then walk in. Michael adds, “Plan to walk briskly at lunchtime whilst at work for at least 10 minutes and when you have to take a mobile phone call, walk while you talk rather than being seated and always try to use the stairs rather than use lifts.”
Choose the right snacks
When you start increasing your level of physical activity, it is important to support your body with the correct nutrients it needs. You have to ensure your body has enough fuel in order to increase your fitness level. Cassandra suggests, “Have a healthy carbohydrate-based snack about half an hour before your workout. This could be a piece of fruit, a small slice of wholemeal toast, or a couple of oatcakes with a teaspoon of nut butter.” After you exercise, your body is in recovery mode. Protein helps repair muscle tissues and helps maintain strong bones, which means it is important to fuel your body with the right levels of protein. Incorporate eggs, chicken breast, oats, tuna, broccoli and lentils into your diet each week. If you are pressed for time and unable to cook, or you are a vegetarian or vegan it may be beneficial to add a plant-based organic protein powder to your diet. Cassandra recommends Nature’s Plus Almond Protein Powder containing 15g of organic protein. Pop some in a fresh smoothie for an on-the-go post workout snack.
Ease the aches and pains
When you start to increase your physical activity levels, your body may need some extra help to soothe those aches and pains your muscles are now experiencing. Cassandra explains, “Magnesium is a mineral that’s important for bone strength, muscle function, and energy production – all of which need to be in full working order for optimal health as we age. The best food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and beans, and we should all be eating plenty of these for the many nutrients they contain. Magnesium supplementation may also be beneficial for preventing and relieving pain, including joint pain and back pain. I recommend Nature’s Plus KalmAssure Magnesium