Spring has definitely sprung in England, with lots of sunny days forecast this week. So, this week’s Wellness Tips are designed to encourage you to make the most of this weather. Here are my Top 3 Tips to help you capitalise on the healing power of sunshine, blue skies and fresh (less polluted) air!
TIP 1. GET OUTSIDE IN THE SUN
Ensuring you get outside and exposing your skin to the sunshine has a number of health benefits
- Improved sleep with better regulation of the hormones required for wakefulness and sleep.
- Improved immunity and mood. Exposure to sunlight is the main source of vitamin D. Studies show that many of us in the northern hemispheres do not have adequate levels. Having an optimal vitamin D level is vital for many body functions and particularly at this moment in time, ensuring you have adequate levels will help support both immunity and mood. (If you’re concerned about your levels and can’t get to the GP for testing, it’s possible to order an at home skin prick test. See link at the end of this article).
- Happiness boost. Have you ever wondered why being in the sun feels so relaxing? Well its actually due to the production of a hormone called serotonin which is released when we are exposed to sunlight. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.
TIP 2. GET MOVING!
As human beings we were designed to be active. With many of us home working, it’s likely that unless you plan to exercise or go for your once-daily permitted walk, you’re probably moving less than normal. Movement and exercise is an integral part of keeping mentally and physically fit. Movement is not only essential for our cardiovascular health, but also produces some key health promoting chemicals, supports our immune function and also helps us to eliminate waste substance. So, get moving for the following benefits:
- Increased endorphins levels. Exercise, even 10 minutes, has been shown to increase endorphins and give us that much needed mood boost.
- Improved flow of fluid in the infection-fighting lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. Its primary function is to transport lymph, a fluid containing white blood cells, throughout the body. Unlike the blood system, which has a pump (the heart), the lymphatic system relies upon movement and the contraction of muscles for circulation.
- Improved mental agility and memory. Walking, like sleep, is another “super power”, totally free, available to you every day and has been show to improve the function of the hippocampus which is responsible for memory and cognition.
Need some movement motivation?
If you need some motivation, there’s currently lots of free content being streamed on various social media platforms. In addition, many gyms, personal trainers, and yoga studios are now offering online live classes. Download the MindBody App to search for a class. (link at the end of article).
Alternatively grab your trainers, go for a walk, power walk, jog or maybe a run. Get on your bike, take your free weights into the garden and lift!
Exercising outside in the sun means you’ll also get your Vitamin D hit too!
New to exercise?
For some of you the idea of exercising may seem overwhelming, so start low and slow. Begin with a walk. Gradually build up the distance and speed. There are some great Apps that can support you to get more active. I’ve included some links at the end.
Or alternatively here’s some suggestions of how to seamlessly build more movement into your day.
- Set an alarm to remind yourself to get up from your desk for 5 minutes each hour. Put on some uplifting music and walk up and down your stairs.
- Every time you put the kettle on do 10 squats, push ups, march on the spot, dance around your kitchen.
- Go outside and chase your kids.
- Get gardening and mow your lawn briskly, dig out the weeds, trim the hedge.
- Walk and talk. Instead of sitting at your desk, take a phone call whilst walking around the garden.
- Turn your cleaning schedule into a workout and run around with the vacuum cleaner. You’ll kill 2 birds with one stone
TIP 3. MAKE A HUGE BOWL OF SUPER SALAD for outside dining!
This is a great way to ENSURE YOU GET YOUR 5 A DAY or more! Eating a wide range of fruit and vegetables has been shown over and over in studies to support health and wellbeing and what better way to do it all in one hit!
Eat a rainbow of colours!
Add variety! Be experimental! Here’s what you could include:
- Lettuce – choose a variety of textures and colours
- Grated carrot
- Apple chunks
- Slices of orange
- Olive oil
- Red cabbage
- Chives, parsley, coriander
- Spring onions
- Sliced mushrooms
- Cooked green beans or artichokes
From the store cupboard
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Red peppers
- Dried fruit e.g. cranberries, raisins, goji berries
- Drained chickpeas
- Olives. Try all 3 colours
- Pickles of all descriptions
Nuts and seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Fennel seedsSunflower seed
- Chia seeds
- Flaked almonds
Herbs and spices!
- Grated ginger
- Salt and Pepper
Drizzle with a good quality olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice and enjoy!
Here’s the salad that my family enjoyed this weekend.
How many ingredients do you think I packed in here?
I’d love to see what you put in your Super Salad so please post below photos of your bowls of goodness.
Let’s inspire and support each other.
Vitamin D testing