5 Hobbies That Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing

Time is a finite resource. There are only a certain amount of hours when we are not sleeping and working in which we have other things to do. Our interests, as well as taking care of our health and wellbeing can often battle for dominance. However, what if there were hobbies which also helped your health and wellbeing? Today we asked expert personal trainer London for some recommendations.

Meditation

Meditation is a hobby which is practised by many and is a great way to improve our health and wellbeing. The art of calming down and stilling the mind to examine thoughts and feelings can help to prevent the buildup of stresses and anxiety and can be a great tool for feeling good about yourself.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a hobby which people do in their free time, but can also help to give a sense of fulfilment and purpose. Spending time at your local homeless shelter, or a charity shop, can help you to feel good about yourself, and you can help others at the same time.

Dancing

Dancing is a great hobby which is enjoyed by many but can also be beneficial for your health and wellbeing. Dancing is a fun way to stay in shape and can help you to stay active and meet new people, which could lead to some very fruitful relationships.

Music

Music truly is a beautiful thing. Whether you play or just listen, there is nothing better than popping in a CD or opening up iTunes and listening to the tunes you love. Music makes us feel better, and is great for your emotional well-being, giving you a pick up when you’re low, and a great way to make things seem a little bit easier.

Writing

A great way for people to relieve stress and express themselves freely, writing is an excellent hobby which has many benefits. Being able to control the world you create completely can be a great way to commit ideas, feelings and thoughts to paper, and realise and explore them in an environment which is completely harmless, and allows for a great way to relax and remain calm, especially after a challenging time.

Overall, these are just a few ways that you can combine your time to focus on your health and well-being with your leisure activities and interests in order to make the best use of your time. It can be very stressful and demoralising to go through the same motions on a constant basis, being locked into a cycle of work and sleep, so being able to detoxify and focus on yourself is a welcome time for many people. Combining this with your hobbies means that you can do something meaningful and enjoyable, while still encouraging a healthy emotional or physical health for yourself. Life is precious, and you can get caught up in work and responsibilities so quickly, so it is important that you take the time out to look at what makes you happy, and what helps you stay positive.

5 Ways To Get Exercise Without Exercising

5 Ways To Get Exercise Without Exercising

Do you find yourself avoiding exercise because it’s boring? Don’t worry you’re not alone, we all do it, but exercise doesn’t HAVE to be boring… there are plenty of fun things you can do that get you the exercise you need but more importantly enjoy doing it. Here are a few…

1. Play basketball

I find that if I try running on a treadmill I’m totally bored within three minutes and I just stare at the timer wanting it to be over. If I play basketball, football, soccer or whatever I can run for hours and hours and not really even care where the time goes.

Why? Because I’m distracted and instead of staring at the clock and wondering why it seems to be ticking so slowly I’m trying to shoot the ball or stop someone else from scoring on me. Don’t like team sports? Try hiking, swimming or jogging around a nice area. You’ll get lots of exercise with none of the boredom.

2. Chasing your kids around the yard / park

If your kids are like mine they do everything at 100 mph, so try bringing them to a safe park and letting them “loose”. By the time you chase them around, play games with them and get all of their energy out you will also get all of YOUR energy out too. Trust me you won’t be watching the clock wishing the time would go faster, you’ll be trying to keep up!

3. Mowing the lawn

Ok, I didn’t say all of these would be fun right? Mowing the lawn is a great source of exercise, and I’m not talking to all of you who have a riding mower and drink soda or beer while mowing. Get a nice push mower and get out there and push it around. My lawn seems to take forever to mow and it’s a much better work out than any treadmill could ever deliver for me.

4. Helping a friend move

Ever help a friend move to a new house or apartment? I can guarantee you will be way more exhausted than any weight lifting session or cardio workout. Moving boxes and furniture up stairs and in and out of a moving fan is really hard work so you’ll get tons of exercise and your friend will appreciate it.

5. Play with your dog

Playing catch with your dog doesn’t really sound like a good workout I admit but most dogs do anything but run after the ball or Frisbee and bring it back… they take it and run because they want you to chase them. Don’t want to play catch? Take them for a walk instead. I had a friend once say that if your dog is fat, then YOU don’t get enough exercise. Totally true!

The whole point of this post was to make you think. Exercise does NOT have to be boring… you can get exercise just about anywhere whether you live in the city or country, whether you’re a man or a woman…whatever. Exercise can be fun, but you have to use your imagination first!

A few good health sites with fantastic health tips we recommend are www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/fitness/ www.womensfitness.co.uk/ and www.nhs.uk/livewell/fitness
Have a healthy fantastic day.

Todays Healthy Recipe.

jacked-up red rice & beans
ricenbeans

Since returning home from Vietnam I have been on a mega rice kick – makes sense considering we were eating some form (if not multiple) of rice at every meal. As part of my own personal goal system, I told myself sternly at the beginning of spring that I would burn through some of the rice and dried pulses in my pantry before the summer heat arrives. This of course, plays perfectly into my ongoing rice craving.

My belly was very happy to be eating so much rice while in Vietnam – this was sort of surprising to me because, for the most part, my system doesn’t overly love grains. I do, but my guts? Not so much.

ricenbeans

In fact, my system was so on point while we were over there that I had fully decided to eat exclusively Vietnamese style dishes once we got home. Life hasn’t played out quite that way, but I have been using an over-abundance of herbs, lime juice and chilies with essentially every meal.

Lending inspiration from the typical red beans + rice, adding a bit of extra herbage, lime and spice (thank you, Vietnam) – I give you a Jacked Up Red Rice + Beans. Simple and quick enough for weeknights, yet tasty and impressive enough for company. Sounds like a no brainer, yes? Yes!

ricenbeans

This flavor bomb is nicely balanced + fully loaded.

The sauce is a very simple mix of fresh green herbs, bumpin’ jalapeno, quality olive oil and a good amount of lime juice. Super simple ingredients that pop and bang in your mouth (yeah, I just said that!).

A nice heap of crunchy baked protein packed chickpeas, warm soft red rice and massaged kale – high fiber, naturally wheat free, win win. Top it off with some raw spring onion, onions are an incredible prebiotic (gotta feed those belly bugs) and some cubed avocado. The purpose to the avo in this bowl is fat, healthy green skin-beautifying fat. If you’re not super into avocado (who are you?!) that’s okay, the body gets an added boost of absorption when healthy fats are added into a meal, but lucky for you there is that quality olive oil I mentioned above.

Give it a go, you won’t regret it!

ricenbeans

Jacked Up Red Rice & Beans

Serves: 2

Ingredients
1.5 Cups Cooked Red Rice
8-10 Stalks of Kale
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Flax Oil
2 Heirloom Tomatoes
1 Avocado
1 Can Chickpeas
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 Teaspoon Hot Smoked Paprika
1 Teaspoon Whole Cumin Seeds
Pinch of Salt
1 Spring Onion
For the Jacked Sauce:
1 Large Jalapeno
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Bunch Cilantro (about 1.5 cups chopped)
½ Bunch Curly Parsley
Juice of 1 Large Lime
⅓ Cup Quality Cold-Pressed Olive Oil
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400
Drain the chickpeas, roughly chop the kale, slice the tomatoes and spring onion – set aside
In an oven-proof dish dump the chickpeas, coconut oil, paprika, cumin and salt – shake to cover the chickpeas and then roast in the oven for 15 minutes
While the chickpeas are roasting, wash and roughly chop the jalapeno, cilantro and parsley, peel the garlic and juice the lime – add to a blender along with the olive oil and blitz until desired smoothness
Once the 15 minutes is up on the chickpeas, turn the oven to broil and crisp for another 5-10 minutes. Check frequently. Once crisped enough to your liking, remove from the oven
Massage the kale in a large bowl with the flax oil and lemon juice until it has softened
Split the rice between two bowls, add the massaged kale beside each scoop of rice
Arrange the tomato slices, spoon in some of the crispy chickpeas
Top with cubed avocado, spring onion and Jacked Up Sauce.

5 Of The Healthiest Foods Around

Everyone is talking about the importance of a good diet these days, and while everyone has a rough idea of what constitutes a good diet, most people don’t actually know what foods to eat. To try and help you with this, we’ve put together a list of 5 of the healthiest foods you can get.

Apples
Apples are a great food to eat, and the first to be covered on this list. This fruit is a popular choice, and is easy enough to come by. Apples also contain antioxidants which can help to combat free radicals, which are damaging substances in the body which can make the aging process particularly unpleasant. And as the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Broccoli
Up next on our list is broccoli. This green vegetable has been in the roast dinner for years, and is well worth eating. This is because broccoli actually contains fiber and calcium, as well as potassium and something called phytonutrients. These are special compounds which have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer, so it’s well worth eating the vegetables in this instance.

Fish
Now when we say fish, we’re not talking about the stuff you get in the chip shop. In this case, oily fish such as salmon and sardines are what you’re after. This is because the sea dwelling food contains high amounts of omega 3, which is good for the heart and nervous system. And if you’ve got arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, then the oils will also help to soothe them and provide some relief.

Blueberries
Blueberries are a sweet and delicious fruit, and they’ve got loads of health benefits in them too. Like the apple and broccoli, they contain antioxidants and phytonutrients, so they’ll help to keep you safe from all manner of nasty diseases and problems. As well as this, studies conducted in America have suggested that they help to slow the decline in cognitive ability, so you’ll be sharp as a pin for longer.

Almonds
The final, but by no means least important food on our list is almonds. These are full of health benefits, which can include being full of magnesium, vitamin E, calcium, iron and fiber. They’re also great for helping to keep your cholesterol levels down, because they’re composition contains around 94% of unsaturated fatty acids. To top it all off, they’re also good for the heart. Not bad for a little nut, are they?

These are some of the healthiest foods around, and looking at the health benefits it’s easy to see why. Together, they help to form a balanced diet that can protect against all kinds of health problems such as cancers and heart disease, which can be fatal, so the more protected you are from them the better. All of these foods should be consumed in moderation with other foods, but the important thing is that you’re ingesting regular amounts of all them, and getting the health benefits they bring.

Six Everyday Health Tips

Sometimes maintaining your everyday health can be difficult, particularly in a culture where everything is fast paced and frantic. In order to try and help you to stay healthy, we’ve put together these six health tips that can be employed every day.

Try and do some exercise everyday
This may seem like an obvious tip, but there’s a lot of people who don’t actually follow it. By doing some exercise every day, you’ll be keeping your body in better shape than you’d think. Even if it’s just a 20 minute walk every day, or half an hour at the gym after work, you’ll be able to build up a healthy body and feel good at the same time.

Have a good diet
Working in tandem with the regular exercise tip, keeping your diet healthy is always critical. It’s not a case of cutting out the bad foods completely, it’s more about eating in moderation, and balancing out chocolate with fruit and vegetables, to have a balanced intake and stay in good health.

Get plenty of sleep
This is a good idea for everyone, not just those who are looking to stay healthy. A long night of sleep is vital for good performance and health throughout the day, as your mood and appetite will suffer if you don’t sleep well, so try and make that a priority.

Exercise with a friend
When you’re working out at the gym with a friend, or walking for 20 minutes while catching up on each other’s daily lives, the amount of exercise you do can seem like almost nothing, because there’s a friendly face and something to distract from the monotony of exercise that can sometimes creep up. Cheerful company shortens the miles after all, so taking advantage of your friends company will help exercise to seem like less of a chore.

Vary the activities that you do
Try and do a different exercise every day, to make things more exciting. Dedicate one day to working on your arms, and then another day for legs, and so on and so forth. You’ll actually stay in better health if you push different parts of your body instead of just doing the same things, and as well as this it can also help to stop you from being disillusioned from exercising.

Make sure to have time for the things you enjoy
While it’s great that you’re eating well, exercising a lot, and sleeping well, don’t forget to spend time making sure that you look after yourself. Go and see a movie at the theatre, spend time with loved ones, or indulge in one of your hobbies. A healthy balance of work, exercise and play will improve your emotional and mental health, and this is just as important as your physical health when it comes to living a long and happy life. Being able to come home from an exercise session and just unwind with a good book or time with your family will often be a good motivator to keep exercising, and will help you to enjoy life a lot more.

5 Fitness Tips To Start Your Week

We’ve all been at the beginning of a week, and been unmotivated to start exercising. It’s a problem that a lot of people face, particularly if the weather is poor or you don’t feel in tip top shape. However, there are a few simple tips and tricks to get you in the mood to exercise, and we’ve compiled them for you here.

Make sure there’s some variety in your exercise
One of the fastest ways to lose interest in exercise is to be doing the same boring workout over and over again. To try and combat this, mix up the order of your exercises. If you usually do cardiovascular training on a Tuesday, then mix it up and move it to a Friday. By changing the variety of what you do, you’ll be more likely to keep going, because you won’t feel trapped in a rut. Introducing new exercise routines every once in awhile can also help to break the monotony.

Find out what motivates you
The trick to staying motivated, particularly at the beginning of the week, is to remember what it is that actually motivates you to exercise at all. Is it a drive to stay alive to see your children grow up and be able to play with your grandkids? Is it when you look in the mirror and you’re just not happy with what you see? In any instance, thinking about the reasons why you exercise can help you to get back into the mood for pushing yourself.

Stay hydrated
This may seem like a fairly obvious thing to do, but the benefits of staying hydrated are extremely important. If you’ve constantly got a good supply of fluid in the body, then you’ll have more energy to keep going, and the entire process of exercising won’t feel like such a massive pain.

Try not to procrastinate
It’s easy to stand in your house and dawdle with getting ready, or say to yourself, ‘I’ll go outside and start in a minute’. By putting off the exercise, you’re actually less likely to bother at all, so it’s best to just get it over and done with. By just going for it, you’re avoiding the time to mentally talk yourself out of running in the rain or driving to the gym when you could get another hour in bed.

Try some interval training
One of the hardest things to is exercise for long periods of time, both in regards to the capacity of your body and finding the time to spend an hour running around the countryside. With that in mind, some people do interval training to stay in shape. The premise of interval training is built around doing much more intensive exercise, but in short bursts, as to avoid hours on a treadmill. The training is actually much better for busy people who work on deadlines and schedules and can even be more beneficial than longer workouts, depending on what you want to achieve.

Fitness Friday | How I prepare my meals

1 Find healthy recipes! I assume that a lot of you are bloggers, or like to read blogs… so read some food blogs! Use Google, trawl through some sites and favourite those that you enjoy. I use Google and tumblr to find healthy recipes and food blogs. When I find a recipe I enjoy I take a picture of it on my phone, or bookmark it, so when I am later making my meal plan I know what I need to buy.

2. Make a Meal Plan! Now you should have a wide range of recipes to fill your week with, so organise which one’s you want to have this week. I don’t actually say which day I’m going to have which recipe as sometimes I really don’t feel like eating a certain dish. But I make sure I have 6 recipes for dinner, a couple of healthy breakfast options, a couple of lunch dishes, and some healthy snacks.

3. Buy your food! Your meal plan will have given you a list of ingredients you need for that week, so now go to the supermarket and buy ONLY what is on your shopping list! The majority of your food with be from the fruit and vegetable aisle, followed by the meat aisle. Stay away from the confectionary aisles… these things should not be on your list so there is no need to go anywhere near that aisle. Why test your will power, make it easy for yourself!

4. Find a spare few hours in your schedule! I’m a very busy person, as I imagine most of you are. I work full time, blog part time, workout daily and spend time with my boyfriend, among all that I still manage to find a coupe of spare hours so I can prepare my food. Be it a Sunday afternoon, Saturday morning or weekday evening… dedicate a few hours a week to cooking!

5. Figure out what will keep for the week!
Pull out your meal plan and recipes and figure out what you can prepare now that will keep for the week (I say week, my food usually lasts about 4-5 days, depending on what it is). I don’t prepare salads as like mine fresh, but am happy to prepare carrots, peppers, eggs, tuna, quinoa to go in the salad. At the moment I have soup for lunch, so always make a huge batch of soup for the week and keep it in the fridge. The same with smoothies or juices… I prepare a batch of them so I don’t have to make them first thing in the morning, I can grab and go! Things like mince can be cooked and kept in the fridge for a couple of days, chicken dishes not so much.. but they are pretty quick to make. I precook my pancake and muffins for quick breakfast. For snacks I chop carrot for vegetable crudité and keep them in a Tupperware, I hard boil eggs for grab and go protein and bake bars or healthy cookies, for sweet treats; all of which keep very well in Tupperware.

6. Cook! Now you know what you can prepare in advance on your meal plan, get cooking! It will only take a couple of hours to prepare your meals for the week! Just think of the time you will save in the morning, the money will you save from taking a packed lunch to work, and the easy dinners you can heat up in the evening!

7. Store in the fridge! Invest in plenty of Tupperware so you have plenty to put your food into. My fridge is always stacked high with various sized Tupperware.. but it mean that I save so much time when I have meals later in the week!

Mackerel Chimichurri with Potato Hash

I don’t know about you, but Ready Steady Cook was one of my favourite programmes when I was younger, so I decided to do a 30 minute recipe.

For me fish is hugely underrated and should be included more in everyones diet (including my own). It’s very versatile, easy to prepare and packed full of nutrients and health advantages such as;

  • Packed full of protein – keeping you fuller for longer!
  • Low fat
  • Mackerel (and other oily fish) are full of omega-3 fats which help keep the heart working properly and maintain normal blood pressure, brain function and vision.
  • Help keep your metabolism revved up!

I will definitely be including more fish in my diet to replace the beef, lamb and turkey my body disagrees with. So below you’ll find my Ready, Steady Cook Fish recipe which is made from a handful of ingredients and in under 30 minutes!

To make Mackerel Chimichurri with Potato Hash for 2, you’ll need:

  • 2 pieces of Mackerel
  • 10 new potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 inches chorizo
  • handful of spring onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • handful parsley
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbs sherry wine vinegar
  • 3-4 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 2 tb oregano

Start by cutting the potatoes into slices (approx £1 coin in thickness) and frying them in a pan on a medium heat.

While your potatoes are cooking, make the Chimichurri. Throw 1 handful of parsley, 2 garlic cloves, 1 red chilli (seeds removed), 2 tbs oregano, 1/2 red onion, juice of half a lemon, 3 tbs sherry wine vinegar into a food processor. Blitz until finely chopped and gradually add the olive oil until a loose sauce has been created.

Slice the other half of the red onion and chop the chorizo into small pieces and add both to the potatoes in the pan. Sprinkle all with paprika.

While your onions and chorizo are cooking, place the mackerel on a tray, season and drizzle with olive oil. Place the mackerel under the grill and cook flesh side up for 4-5 minutes, then flip over to crisp the skin.

Et voila, simply plate up all the yumminess. Potato Hash first, topped with the mackerel and drizzled with Chimichurri.

Five ways to Zumba fitness fun

Zumba is a workout I love! When a workout is fun it doesn’t take effort, it isn’t something you dread and it doesn’t feel like a workout – this is what fitness should be like! I’ve participated in a number of Zumba classes, have all the DVDs and even the Wii Zumba game so I am a bit of a fan! Although it isn’t as intensive as the bootcamp style workouts I currently do, Zumba still gets me sweating, gets my heartbeat racing and I definitely feel it working my abs! Sine it’s introduction Zumba has taken the exercise world by storm so if you’re looking to loose weight, get fitter or just have some fun while working out, Zumba could be the class you’re looking for! Based on Latin rhythms, it’s a dance class that’s not only fun, but also offers lasting health benefits. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the five health benefits below that Zumba delivers –

Fat Burning Fun
Depending on whether your class is a beginners or advanced Zumba workout, you could burn off anything from 300 to 600 calories in an hour long class!

Limber Limbs
Many of us have sedentary, computer-based jobs, suffering daily from prolonged periods at a desk as well as repetitive strain in our arms from computing. Couple this with “relaxation” activities such as internet browsing, texting our friends and computer gaming and our arms can really struggle! Zumba’s a dance which allows for any amount of arm action to engage arm muscles throughout the moves as well as lengthening, stretching and easing those tired, cramped shoulder muscles.

Booty Benefits
And speaking of sedentary… one of the most popular benefits of Zumba lies behind the scenes, with the shaking and shaping of that booty! Getting into the rhythm of the music and using the momentum from up and down moves to exercise thigh, hip and glute muscles is really encouraged by Zumba instructors, as this really burns those calories from areas which have literally just been sitting around all day – perfect for getting a top to bottom workout and a peachy booty!

Putting Your Heart Into It
Physically and metaphorically, putting your heart and soul into your Zumba class should bring you plenty of aerobic and cardio benefits, by getting that heart pumping at a consistently higher rate throughout some of the routines, and a healthy release of happy endorphins too!

Finally, there’s something about letting loose on the dance floor that’s totally relaxing, however high impact some of the rhythms might be. And because Zumba features both fast and slower Latin rhythms, there’s always the chance for your body to loosen up as you shake it on down!