The Online Gym You’ve Been Waiting For!

“Find fit, find strong, find happy……..find your best you”

Do you like to workout?  How do you keep fit? Would you like to be active into later life?

I’ve always been quite active and have done many different things over the years! In my younger days I played hockey and squash. I then had a phase of running and swimming, followed by classes like Zumba, Pilates and Body Pump.  But now my thing is walking my dog and an online gym!

Online Gym

Don’t be put off by my activity history,  members of the online gym community are at different levels of fitness and many are much younger than me! Most of the online gym members are in the 25 – 40 age range.

I joined this online gym over 3 years ago and I LOVE IT!  It is packed with fabulous, effective workouts which can be done in isolation or as part of a programme spanning anything from 5 days to 12 weeks.  It caters for all levels of fitness and ability, with excellent advice and support.

There is a 5 day starter Bootcamp and a Beginner Series through to specific specialist programmes to move towards your first pull up or to reveal a six pack!  with many professionally crafted workouts programmes in between.

What will I get?

Julia Buckley the Personal Trainer behind this great online gym is also the bestselling author of The Fat Burn Revolution which “shows you the healthy way to condition your body for optimum fat burning – even when you’re not exercising”

online gym

So not only do you get excellent workouts – all with video’s for you to workout alongside Julia – at a ridiculously bargain price (Premium membership £6.50/month or a FREE Basic membership), you get a great online community and support.  I’ve made some great friends here and we have met in “real life”, once including a member from Australia! It is available worldwide.

One of the best things about the online gym is working out at home. That means no gym phobia to contend with, no travel time and you can workout in your PJs or undies!! You can train anytime, anywhere; you don’t need masses of equipment; an exercise mat and perhaps some weights. You will probably want to add to your “kit” as you progress. I now have more weights, ankle weights and a gym ball.

online gym

I workout in my living space and my equipment is hidden away and housed in a cupboard. Regularly logging in to this easy to access online gym and pressing play on a workout video couldn’t be simpler and this quickly became a habit……no motivation required! I have shed fat and sculpted muscle, and I move better than ever before, my flexibility and strength will keep me active and mobile for living a fabulous life.

What is not to lose by giving this online gym a go?

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

This blog contains an affiliate link

Fitness, mobility, exercise – are one of my 4 Pillars of Health, read about the others here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

 

Do you wear make up to workout?

To wear or not to wear makeup to the gym—that is the question. And, there is no right answer. However, I do have a suggestion to those who are in the “yes, I wear makeup to workout” category!

Over the years I have worked out in a lot of different types of makeup. Some were good and others were not so good (ie: full-coverage foundation…yikes). But, I think I have finally found the perfect combination of makeup that says, “look at me” while still saying “go away I’m working out.”

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer is my first must-have when it comes to working out! It is light-weight, light to medium coverage and it has SPF in it. This is perfect for those mornings when you don’t have the energy to put makeup on by still need a little something. I just slather this on my skin like any other moisturizer and move on to the next step!

workout makeup
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Chanel Soleil De Tan Bronzer is expensive but so worth the splurge! This stays-put all day (and all workout) long without losing its color or moving on the skin. I can sweat in this all day and it will stay long-lasting until I take it off. Seriously, splurge!

workout makeup
Chanel Soleil De Tan Bronzer

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight is next up! Yes, you will already have that “is it sweat or highlight” glow to your skin while you are working out. But, who doesn’t want a little more glow in their lives? This is great to throw in the gym bag and dab on with your fingers as you’re heading to the treadmill. It gives you a healthy glow while still feeling super light-weight and subtle.

workout makeup
Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight

L’Oréal Brow Mascara is a favorite of mine for working out because this stuff doesn’t go anywhere unless it’s taken off with makeup remover (even then it’s challenging). This tinted brow gel just adds a little lift and color to the brows without having to spend upwards of five minutes making sure the brows are even. And, this stuff won’t budge even when you’re wiping sweat off your face or if you go for a swim after your workout. It’s seriously amazing!

workout makeup
L’Oréal Brow Mascara

Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara is essential because I am one of those people who cannot live without mascara. I feel like it is the number one thing that makes me look awake even when I am working out in the early hours of the morning. This waterproof mascara plays no games when it comes to sweat. It very minimally runs (which is a huge accomplishment when you have oily under eyes like I do) and even stays put in water unlike some advertised waterproof mascaras.

workout makeup
Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

There you have it, folks! This is my go-to makeup look when I want to add a little glam to my sweat. It is casual enough to look natural but gives you that put-together vibe. So, try it out and let me know what you think!

 

What are some of your favorite sweat-proof makeup items?

 

XO,

 

Madie

__________________________________________

Hi, my name is Madie and I live in Chicago, IL, USA. I have been beauty blogging for about 2 years now and have loved every minute of it! I especially love guest blogging because I get to meet new incredible people and learn so much more about the blogging community. With that said, thank you so much to Jen for letting my post here today! I am honored to have worked with you 🙂

 

Thanks so much Madie for this fab guest blog post and for finding us some great products. I’m off to shop now!

Check out my guest blog post on Madie’s website here

And if you interested in some of my fitness challenges read this!

EAT. MOVE. THRIVE. Wellbeing Festival

EAT. MOVE.THRIVE. Wellbeing Festival BIRMINGHAM  September 2017

I heard about the Thrive Festival through The Doctors Kitchen (aka Dr Rupy Aujla) on Instagram (@doctors_kitchen)  – the power of social media!

As I live in South Leicestershire Birmingham is “on my doorstep” and with no other plans for Sunday 3rd September I booked an early bird ticket. Only £5 with a goodie bag thrown in! What was not to love.

The Thrive Festival promised to be;

“A one day food & wellness festival carefully curated with LOVE to celebrate the very best of wellbeing where you can meet & learn from some of the biggest and most respected names in the wellness industry. Bringing nutritious and delicious fun to the heart of Birmingham.”

The format was a great idea, with a modest entry price and then paying for any speaker sessions you wished to attend, also reasonably priced. An all-in ticket was available too.

Thrive Festival
Thrive Festival – some of the fun!

The speakers were;

“An exciting and inspirational speaker line up of some of the UK’s foremost influencers in the food, fitness and wellness scene”.

There were indeed a couple of people I really wanted to listen to The Doctors Kitchen GP Dr Rupi (see above) and Laura Thomas  – a Registered Nutritionist who I’d know of through her Don’t Salt My Game podcast , a great listen if you interested nutrition, food,  eating  and wellness.  Laura was speaking along with Plant Based Pixie, a plant-based veggie food and lifestyle blogger, scientist and nutritionist (MSc).  I booked on to these two sessions.

Other speakers  there including Dr Megan Rossi (gut health), Hollie Grant ( Functional Fitness “Strong not Skinny), Mary Lynch (sustainable food policy), Lauren Ames (Business Mentor) and Daniela Lawler (Children’s nutrition).  So lots on offer.

Fitness tasters & Wellbeing Markets

In addition to the speakers there was fitness taster sessions including HiiT, hooping, yoga flow, hot pod yoga, physiolates…. There was a great indoor market  with local and national wellness brands including handmade chocolate, clothing, cereals, seeds, cake and much, much more. The courtyard street food market was offering coffee, juice bars, matcha lattes and some great foods. A full list and links to contributors can be found here http://thrivefestival.co.uk/

My youngest daughter accompanied me and we arrived as the event opened, sadly it was a bit of cold, damp day but that didn’t spoil the event’s spirit. Although I could have done with an bigger sweatshirt!

Thrive Festival
Eat. Move. Thrive.
Urban Wellbeing & Food Festival

Plant Based Pixie and Laura Thomas

At 11.15 we listened to the Plant Based Pixie and Laura Thomas who questioned whether;  Has Wellness Made us Healthier?   The presentation analysed some of the wellness industry claims and debunked some of the myths. This slide showed why this matters:

Thrive Festival
Laura & Pixie’s message on debunking myths in the wellness industry

Here are some things I took away from this session, most of which I knew but you may not and they stand as a good reminder;

  1. Products claiming detox benefits – don’t fall for the marketing blurb/scams our kidneys and liver are designed to detox our bodies and do a perfectly good job! Read more here .
  2. Your body doesn’t know your foods! It doesn’t know if you’re eating a burger or bircher muesli, a doughnut or kale, What you body does know is the chemicals you have nourished it with and how it will process them, some foods being harder to process and having a more taxing effect on the body. Biochemistry!!.
  3. Gluten free – only people diagnosed medically as coelic really need to be gluten free. Gluten free foods are expensive, low in fibre and deficient in micronutrients and reduce the diversity of gut bacteria http://www.plantbased-pixie.com/dont-go-gluten-free-unless-coelic/ and  https://www.newscientist.com/article/2123995-that-faddish-gluten-free-diet-may-be-raising-your-diabetes-risk/
  4. How expert is your expert Nutritionist? This article explains  who are the professionals in the UK to give nutrition and dietetic advice. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/laura-thomas-phd/how-expert-is-your-expert_b_14270310.html
Thrive Festival
Thrive Festival – Laura Thomas and Plant Based Pixie

Following this session we had a browse around the Thrive Festival market sampling things like porridge, chocolate, brownies and kombucha. We then headed for the street food for a coffee and some peanut butter on toast with delicious toppings. We only wanted a snack as we had booked on to a yoga session at 13.15.

Yoga Flow

We joined a Yoga Flow session led by the lovely Sara from www.barefootbirmingham.com it was a great session. My daughter is a complete beginner and I am a regular Yoga with Adriene participant. We both found the session challenging and relaxing in equal measure. My daughter found the benefits of yoga lasting for several days!

The Doctors Kitchen

From the yoga session we were straight into The Doctors Kitchen session with Dr Rupi, a GP with a mission to bring positive food intervention to medicine, aiming to teach GPs more on nutrition, elevate their knowledge and enable their conversations with patients.

Dr Rupi advocates evidence based food and lifestyle medicine (whole foods), here are some of the things I noted;

  1. Nutrition – Mediterranean style diet with whole foods could be more effective than medication for some conditions. Read some of Rupi’s blogs here
  2. Inflammation- driving diabetes, depression, chronic illness looking at your lifestyle in terms of food, mindset, sleep and movement could help.
  3. DNA / genes -research shows that micro nutrient deficiencies (in some cases) will improve assisting the switching on and off of  how the genes manifest themselves.
  4. Lifestyle changes can help reverse chronic disease like type 2 diabetes.

Dr Rupi recommends high fibre, nutrient dense foods and to eat colourful with a plant focused diet. This is not an expensive option – be pragmatic. Shop wisely and use markets.

He also highlighted that sleep is important to good health, in the evening switch the blue light on your phone, have a digital detox 2 hours before you go to bed. Tune in with your circadian rhythm, it works best when you are sleeping well.

Sleep and food are the “winning formula” along with mindfulness and exercise. With the latter Dr Rupi says you need to challenge your body in different ways and there are many different portals to access a variety of exercise options.

The final point made by the Dr Rupi was that although the World is hyper-connected it is also disconnected (not eating around table) not to mention the effect of plastics on our planet and sourcing food more locally. The Doctors Kitchen concluded that science is complex,  but the solution is simple: back to basics!

End of the day

Thrive Festival
Eat. Move. Thrive.
Speakers venue

We ended our day at the Thrive Festival after this session. We had thoroughly enjoyed our day, would highly recommend the Festival and we will return next year!

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Have you read my blog about the 4 pillars I belief you need to consider to improve your health.

4 Pillars for Good Health

Bargain weekend away in North Devon

I’ve just had a bargain weekend away, spending less than £140 for 3 days and 2 nights in North Devon.  Ok, ok we were camping and we did borrow a big tent and we do have a car to transport us about BUT I have included our petrol costs.

Camping

My daughters (in their 20s and paying their own share), my dog (Rufus)  and I had the most fabulous break over Bank Holiday weekend in North Devon. We chose to camp for a couple of reasons;

  1. We needed to book for the Bank Holiday weekend but didn’t want to lose too much money if we chose not to go because…
  2. We wouldn’t go if the weather was going to be bad!

So we booked 2 nights at the Little Roadway Farm campsite near Woolacombe, all in this cost us £56.

The Journey

Our bargain weekend away began very early Saturday morning, to steer clear of the Friday traffic and to avoid putting up an unknown tent at the dead of night:). We traveled from Leicestershire to Woolacombe, with a quick coffee stop at the lovely M5 Gloucester services (a family business, a farmshop and no franchises) . We’d prepared some overnight oats (in jars) for the journey, these were a nutritious travel breakfast.

We arrived at the campsite at about 10.30 as the dew was disappearing and the sun came out.  The campsite, although fully booked, was not crowded we had a choice of location on the site, which was not huge but was green, pleasant and the facilities were good. We managed to put up the tent in not much more than 30 minutes.

Bargain weekend away tent
Our pitch!

Woolacombe

All unpacked, we headed off to walk the 1.5 miles to Woolacombe for a well earned drink and some lunch. Woolacombe beach has the Trip Advisor Award for Best UK Beach 2015 and 2016 , it is a large beach, very well equipped and it was busy as the day was warming up.

Bargain weekend away walk to wool
The walk to Woolacombe

The beach may be good and dog friendly but the town itself was a bit too (tacky) seasidey 🙁 for us! Lots of buckets and spades, arcades, ice creams, crazy golf……..all the good stuff! The walk back across the fields was lovely. We chilled at the tent, basking in the glorious sunshine before changing and heading off to Ilfracombe for the evening.

Bargain weekend away Wool
The view over Woolacombe

Ilfracombe

We parked the car near the small harbour surrounded by cliffs and met Verity! the controversial Damien Hirst statue that stands at the entrance to the harbour overlooking the Bristol Channel over to South Wales. What do you think of Verity?

Bargain weekend away Verity
Verity by Damien Hirst

Before dinner we had a wander around the town and hit upon the Beer Festival, right up my street so a local ale overlooking the sea was enjoyed. We had booked into the Blacksands Bistro for dinner , a family run bistro serving homemade, locally sourced, honest food. We sat outside, so Rufus could stay with us. As it gets chilly in late August evening the chiminea was lit and blankets provided (we didn’t need the latter).

Bargain weekend away Bistro
Our table reservation at Blacksands Bistro

We ordered a cocktail whilst we perused the menu, which had some lovely choices and local produce.

Bargain weekend away Bistro
Blacksands Bistro Cocktails

I chose a trout and cous cous dish, the girls had a cured meat platter and a chicken dish, all very delicious.  Our food was fabulous; the dessert choice was limited (and expensive) so we opted for a locally made ice cream en route back to the car.

Bargain weekend away Bistro
Blacksands Bistro 🙂

Our first night’s sleep went well, I was a little chilly but not uncomfortable. We all had to get up in the night for a wee, not ideal! Rufus was a star and slept soundly. We were woken early by the cockerel and the cows on the nearby farm.

Croyde

Sunday morning – our plan for the day was to drive to Croyde for brunch, have a walk and then find a beach.  We sat outside at The Stores and feasted on avocado on toast with a side of bacon, slugged down with a good coffee.  We watched the world go by at this busy corner of this lovely village.

Bargain weekend away Croyde
Sitting outside The Stores Croyde – Sunday brunch

Later we then walked directly towards Croyde Bay, near a campsite that looked more like a festival site with tents tightly packed in. The sun was up and it was heating up, people were flocking to the beach, not dog friendly.

Bargain weekend away Croyde Bay
Croyde Bay – crowded beach

Our plan was to walk along the coastal path up to Baggy Point (National Trust), from here we could see Woolacombe beach, it was also very busy, although the end near Putsborough Sands appeared quieter. The walk was glorious with great views.

Bargain weekend away wool bay
From Baggy Point across Woolacombe Bay

We headed back down to Croyde and dropped into Blue Groove for a drink, a popular place but plenty of space at this time….everyone was on the beach!

Putsborough Sands

We decided to head for Putsborough Sands, only to find parking was £8.50!!! After a little deliberation we agreed that between us for a full afternoon on the beach it didn’t amount to much. We were right it was worth it, although it was busy and there were lots of dogs, which we didn’t mind!  We walked along the sands and found a relatively quiet spot. We’d changed into our swimming costumes in the public toilets (new and very clean) so we spread out our blanket and settled down to read, people (and dog) watch, play with Rufus and enjoy the sun.

Bargain weekend away Puts
Putsborough Sands

The sea was bracing but we all went for a swim, including Rufus., we soon got in and got used to it. More chilling and an ice cream, left us feeling exhilarated and chuffed with our day.

Back to Croyde

That evening, after a change of plan, we were short of eatery options – Bank Holiday Sunday and we hadn’t booked! We headed back to Croyde and ordered Pizza from the pop-up pizza guys from Stoned, wood fired pizza ovens and great pizzas. We ordered 3 different ones to share, bought some drinks from The Store (see our Brunch) and had a feast.

Bargain weekend away pop up pizza
Stoned pop up pizza at Croyde

Lynton and Lynmouth

After a more comfortable night, we awoke to more brilliant sunshine, great for tent packing! We began to get packed up and whilst the tent dried out we had bacon butties from the campsite store. They were excellent and a bargain. Tent dry and car packed we headed off for a morning and a cream tea “lunch” at Lynton and Lynmouth.  Lovely picturesque villages “where Exmoor meets the sea”.

Bargain weekend away the Lyns
Lynton and Lynmouth

A cream tea had been on our list of things to do on this break and we hadn’t yet achieved it, as we wanted to be heading home before 2pm we decided that it’d be our lunch. The Pavilion came highly recommended we weren’t disappointed.

Home again

We hit the road, beat all the holiday traffic and were home before 6pm. We did miss another unbelievable afternoon’s sunshine and beach opportunity but both the girls were back at work at 8am the next day.

Bargain weekend away homeward
Rufus on the journey home

A great time was had by all, a bargain weekend away and we talked of making it an annual mother and daughter trip. The weather really helped to make it, we ate at some highly recommended (Trip Advisor) places and stayed at a top notch location, all for less than £140 each. North Devon is beautiful well worth a visit and we’ll go back to explore more of it.

Thanks for reading.

Do you have any bargain break suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

For more information about me and my message click here

More family and outdoor swimming fun here

Another bargain break from earlier this year 4 days/3 nights in the Peak District for under £200!

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5 low cost ways to be healthier?

Would you like to be healthier? Do you think you can’t afford it?

Think again – you can start to improve your health with these 5 simple steps:

  1. Commit to Walking

    You don’t need to have a fancy device to count your steps or special clothes or footwear. Choose comfortable shoes and get outside!  Walk for 10 to 20 minutes a day to get you started. ‘*   Later on you could move onto more structured exercise. You may fancy having a go at running, try Couch To 5k (http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx) or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or weights. There is lots of FREE stuff online requiring little or no equipment. I started with Julia Buckley’s online gym and you can access lots of her stuff for free here

    ‘*  “Taking at least 1 brisk 10 minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%” From Public Health England

    Low cost health -walk
    10 minutes brisk walking daily – low cost health!

     

  2. Drink more water

    It’s cheap, healthy and calorie free! If you don’t like plain water try fizzy or add some fruit, a slice of lemon or some no-added sugar squash. We should drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day. Water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee all count.

  3. Eat a balanced diet

    It’s not about fancy foods or “superfoods” – like kale, avocado, quinoa ( not that these aren’t good). It’s about lowering the sugar, saturated fat and salt, cutting out processed foods. A balanced diet is eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions , find some good advice here; http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Healthyeating.aspx
    Do you have an Aldi nearby? They sell great quality foods at fabulous prices and are well worth checking out. https://www.aldi.co.uk/store-finder
    I’m planning a “What I eat in a day” post soon, I eat well and I am on a tight budget.

  4. Get more sleep

    Yep sleep, and sleep should cost you nothing! Sleeping poorly increases the risk of having poor mental health along with increasing the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Read my recent post on Sleep – https://www.jenafitlife.com/sleep-pillar-of-good-health/ and set yourself up to get more and better quality sleep.

  5. What do you think? Mindset

    How you think, what you think about, how you motivate yourself, how to make something a habit ………all FREE, and all have an effect on your health. Getting control of your mind will enable you to better to control your cravings, urges and motivations, all of which no doubt impact on your health! Whether it is resisting the chocolate or ice cream or finding the excuse not to take that walk. Read my recent blog on Mindset – https://www.jenafitlife.com/mindset/

Will you take any or all of these steps? Do you already do this or more?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

You may like to read my blog on My 4 Pillars of Good Health https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

SIgn up for Julia Buckley’s online gym here http://azalejma.juliabfit.hop.clickbank.net

This post contains an affiliate link.

Body Image – How to change your view!

Body image is all about how you see yourself, this can be very different to how others see you. It is about self esteem and insecurity not vanity.

In this fast moving, visual world where the High street, social media and magazines are full of the “body beautiful” it’s easy to be unhappy about our own body shape and be dismissive/disgruntled/disenchanted/discouraged……some sort of dis’, your choice, ….and have a negative body image. “Be more critical of what you see in the media, and less critical of yourself” from BBC Radio 1 *

Let’s not go into self destruct or overdrive. Remember we are no longer 25, we (may) have some fab kids that our amazing bodies bore and health, fitness and technology knowledge has come a long way in the last 20-30 years! If we knew then what we know now perhaps……… things would be no different 🙂

Mindset

Anyway we need to learn to love our bodies: eat, drink and exercise to honour it not to be the “body beautiful” (leave that to the kids if they insist). Every body is beautiful, we have an incredible and complex set of systems that make us function and able to live! Let’s not abuse that but shift our mindset (read my thoughts here https://www.jenafitlife.com/mindset/) to help us make any changes and tackle our body image. *This piece has some great advice on how to rethink your body image viewpoint.

Fuel

I do believe it’s important to fuel our bodies correctly and this outweighs any crazy exercise regime, so get this right and I’m not talking any crazy diets or regimes. I’m talking proper food, simple fresh food, cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be time consuming and batch cooking can ease time constraints. The only thing you need to do, if you want or need to lose weight, is to consume less calories than you use, known as a caloric deficit.

Movement

Later you may want and find you can take a walk or join a class. Baby steps again, but remember this is to look after that Formula 1 machine (your body internally) not to reach some aesthetic goal – this (may well) will happen as a side effect of eating properly. There is a saying 80% of Abs are made in the kitchen [even if you can’t see your abs they are there!]

Talking of abs if you feel you’ve got your eating right and you’d like to work on your body and there are many reasons for this;
– reduce health risks (e.g. heart disease, diabetes)
– maintain or increase mobility
sleep better
– help your mental health

Then start slowly core exercises like Yoga or Pilates are great for improving posture and supporting a weak back. Joining an online gym to workout in your own space, reducing time commitment and any embarrassment of a public class. Starting the Couch to 5k,will get you out into the fresh air and will cost you nothing!

Wherever you are be PROUD of your body for what it has done for you in your life, and what it continues to do. Do things because you love your body (not because you don’t)

Check out this lovely article – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-401943

Another great article here too

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

You may like to read my blog on My 4 Pillars of Good Health https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

SIgn up for Julia Buckley’s online gym here http://azalejma.juliabfit.hop.clickbank.net

This post contains an affiliate link.

SLEEP – PILLAR OF GOOD HEALTH

I consider sleep to be one of 4 Pillars of Health, along with nutrition, mindset and movement. Read my first post on this here.

You’d probably be surprised at how important sleep is to your health and wellbeing. We’ve probably all experienced a bad night’s sleep and how that makes you feel the following day. Read about my recent sleep problems here. However regular poor sleep has serious consequences to our health.

sleep
Let sleeping dogs lie!

Sleep is not a lifestyle choice

It is a necessity, the importance of which is probably underestimated by many.  “Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesityheart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.”
Source – http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx     This piece also lists 7 ways a good night’s sleep can boost your health, including increasing your sex drive and fertility!

Thus the value of a good night’s sleep cannot be overestimated.

Some people may boast of only needing 4 – 5 hours sleep and others may be on their knees with only this amount of sleep. Shift patterns, family, work commitments, stress, anxiety……. may all disrupt our sleep arrangements: regularly or from time to time. Poor diet and stimulants (drugs, drink, electronics – games, phones) will all affect the quality of your sleep. Getting the right ambiance and routines can make a huge difference to our sleep quality. It is important to find a way to get good quality sleep.

Poor sleep will, initially led to short temper, inability to focus and fatigue. Poor sleep will affect your mental health, make it difficult to concentrate and make decisions, so increasing your risk of accident and injury.  Continued lack of sleep increases your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

This is an extract from the Mental Health Foundation Sleep Matters report (2011), well worth a read!

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/sleep-report ——

“Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information.

Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Sleep Matters provides sound, evidence-based advice on how to improve the quality of your sleep. This includes simple ways to improve your ‘˜sleep hygiene’™, such as adjusting the light, noise and temperature in the bedroom and changing your eating, drinking and exercise routines, advice which can also be found in Sleep Well, our handy pocket guide to better sleep”

This leads nicely onto how to address your quality of sleep.

Firstly there is no rule of how much sleep a person needs. It varies from person to person. It is important that people find out how much sleep they need, and then do it!

This is easy! Go to bed when you’re tired and allow your body to wake you up in the morning, switch off the alarm clock. This is one to do at the weekend, or on holiday. You may sleep over 10 hours at first, if you’ve got some catching up to do. This will decrease to find your normal level in time.

I will blog soon on how to get a good quality night’s sleep.

A comfortable place to sleep!

In summary

Sleeping poorly increases the risk of having poor mental health along with increasing the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.   A healthy diet and exercise can help to improve our health outcomes as can our mindset and sleep.  You should take the consequences of poor sleep seriously. Sleep then is a really important Pillar to good health.

Do you get enough sleep?

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Why Is Sleep Important?  – https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

 

Good Health Pillars
I have written blogs previously on mindset and sleep, and often write about fitness and will be writing more about these pillars of health shortly, so sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Mindset – What do you think?

What I mean by Mindset

By mindset I mean your approach, your way of thinking, your attitude, your mood. I touched on this in my recent post about 4 Pillars of Good Health, take a read here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

Are you able to control your mindset?

How do you manage your thoughts?

Do you choose how to behave or react?

If you can master controlling your thoughts or how you react it goes a long way to helping you move towards and achieving lots of things in life. There can be some things in life that debilitate this: alcohol, other drugs, illness…

Beat the excuse generator.

Overcome the procrastination.

Doing something regularly, irrespective of motivation, it will become a habit. Part of what you do; non-negotiable (to an extent).

Life will always get in the way – illness, work, holidays, and demands of others. BUT you must make time for yourself, it’s so important for your health and self esteem. Others will benefit from it, it is not a selfish act to take time for YOU.

Valuing yourself; put a value on your time, don’t let others devalue it or erode it.

Can you conquer your thinking?

I firmly believe conquering how and what you think will be of fantastic value to your life. I’m not suggesting it’s easy.

I don’t have any magic answer to how you do this, like most things in life you need to make the trip in short steps.

  1. Perhaps saying NO to that invitation to something you don’t want to do. Don’t say YES and then worry about how you can get out of it or regret it or worse be there/do it.
  2. Only do the things you enjoy or make life easier- obviously give & take, compromise has to exist to make relationships work but don’t be a doormat
  3. Choose to be positive and happy – why be a glass half empty when it’s still half full 🙂

    Mindset - glass half full
    Glass half full!
  4. Don’t dwell on the bad things, resolve them quickly or look for the silver lining. Always move forward, “don’t look back, that’s not the way you’re going”!
  5. Perhaps devise a positive mantra (a saying or short sentence) to utter when you need a boost or reminder. Vocalise them, write them down
    or share them on social media
  6. Perhaps sharing a goal on social media or with close friends will make you more accountable and help you work more positively towards it
  7. Start a gratefulness journal

Doctor Rupy of The Doctor’s Kitchen (Facebook) does a gratefulness exercise. Three things to be grateful for everyday [he puts them on Instagram Stories see @Doctors_Kitchen on Instagram]. Doctor Rupy has recently said that he has found many benefits to this exercise notably:

“• throughout my day I think I subconsciously look for things to be positive about
• my reaction to the inevitable negative occurrences during a day is much more mellowed and calm
• I’ve learnt to slow down a lot and appreciate the wider world around me and cherish our existence.”

Remember the long term

Sometimes you have to remember why you made a decision or why you’re trying to achieve a particular thing. It may be for a long term goal which means short term sacrifices, then refocus on the long term, be happy! Being miserable in the short term won’t make the situation any better or move any quicker. My daughter and her bf have moved in with his parents in order to be able to save money for a house deposit. This may not be an ideal situation but they have to remember the long term goal when the current situation may be tricky!

YOU have to be in control of your mindset and I really believe conquering this will enable you to conquer so much more in life.

Believe in yourself

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

mindset

 

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

 

Good Health Pillars

I have written blogs previously on mindset and sleep, and often write about fitness and will be writing more about these pillars of health shortly, so sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Swimming in Henleaze Lake

A family weekend catch up, when I was introduced to an outdoor swim in Bristol!

My niece and nephew live in Paris, although my nephew is moving to Warsaw with his Polish fiancee to begin a new adventure. So we don’t get to see them very often.

A weekend in late July they were in Bristol, at their Mum and Dads (my sister and Brother in Law), having narrowly escaped the horrors of the floods in Coverack, Cornwall – they were there but The Old PO in the harbour escaped any damage. Anyway my elderly father (90 in December) took no persuading to join me on a trip down to Bristol to see his grandchildren and great grandchildren (my nieces two young daughters).

Family allotment time!

We had a great journey down on Friday morning, beating the busy holiday traffic and the rain! It did however pretty much rain all day once we’d arrived. It takes a lot more than that to dampen high spirited kids.  We chilled out, gossiped, played and managed to mooch in the garden.

Do you live near to your family?
Are you close?
Do you travel for family get together’s?

Saturday was a better day weather-wise. We had a family trip to my sister’s allotment, picked various varieties of beans and raspberries. All consumed with lunch later on 🙂

The Autumn raspberries are ready in July in Bristol!

Outdoor Swim

I’d been feeling a little ‘coldy’ but when my Brother in Law suggested a trip to Henleaze Swimming Club  for an outdoor swim (I’d taken my kit and was always saying I’d never been there)…….I couldn’t refuse.

outdoor swim
Henleaze Lake, Bristol – Tranquility 🙂

Henleaze Swimming Club, established in 1919, a former quarry providing 125 metres of deep spring water, a haven in the City. It was about 20c and felt OK to get in to. I got in quickly and swam for 20 – 30 minutes. At that point I was getting chilly, you had to keep moving or freeze!

outsoor swim Henleaze Lake
Straight in! Henleaze Lake, Bristol

They don’t have any fancy facilities – heated changing rooms, fancy showers but they do have a SAUNA! A great place to thaw out and heat up. After I was dressed I tried to type a text but I had uncontrollable shivers 🙁

It’s fabulous to swim outdoors, peaceful and exhilarating, I loved the experience. I used to swim 2 – 3 mornings a week before I moved to Warwickshire, now I’m back perhaps I should introduce swimming to my schedule. I loved it – and this lake swim reminded me of that but it also was nothing like an indoor, chlorinated, laned swimming circus……..

Do you like to swim?
Any wild/outdoor swim recommendations?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

I love to have activity/fitness challenges read about some more here https://www.jenafitlife.com/fitness-challenges/

PS my cold disappeared after the outdoor swim 🙂

OFFA’S DYKE PATH – PART 3 Kington to Llanmynech

Offa’s Dyke Path

I’m walking, in stages, Offa’s Dyke Path on the England / Wales Border. A 177 mile National Trail named after the Offa’s Dyke which is a great frontier earthwork built by Offa, King of Mercia from 757 to 796 A.D  http://offasdyke.org.uk/

Offa's Dyke Path Stone
Offa’s stone dated 757 AD

Part 3 was over 50 miles hiking in 4 days, including The Switchback; 14 miles of undulating walking, one of the toughest days walking I’ve done. Part 1 and 2 of this walk can be found here http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/offas-dyke-path-part-1/   and  http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/walkoffasdykepart2/

Thursday 13th July Kington – Knighton

I woke early on 13th July to be at the appointed meeting place at 8am. Rufus and I were all packed for our 4 days walk of the middle section of the Offa’s Dyke Path. The weather looked like great walking weather, temperatures down to under 20c in comparison to the recent hot weeks and little or no rain forecast.

We arrived in Kington and managed to start the days hike to Knighton at 11am. 13.5 miles with 2 or 3 good climbs reaching 400m at the highest point, beginning (the highest 18 hole course in England) and ending over golf courses. For the first time the Dyke was much in evidence!

We alighted in Knighton and spent a delightful night at The George & Dragon; very comfortable with great food and beer.

Offa's Dyke Path view to the Black mountains
The first time climb out of Knighton looking across to the Black Mountains

Friday 14th July – Knighton to Mellington Hall

Another good 14 miles but this day incorporated The Switchback, a series of steep undulations – WOW possibly the hardest days walking I’ve ever done – I hate downhill’s this was really tough on my toes. I believe they are now bruised and toenails will be lost, in the making of this blog post no other animals were harmed! In fact Rufus relish’s a good days walk, does 3 to 4 times the miles we do, despite being the oldest in the pack at over 70! (10 years old in doggy terms)

Montgomery from Offa's Dyke Path
Looking down on Montgomery

Again today afforded the best Dyke walking, much of it atop the Dyke itself through rolling woods and farmland with no breaks in the uphill’s and downhill’s.

Offa's Dyke Path half way point
Yay – we’re halfway! But today is a toughie Knighton to Mellington Hall; The Switchback

The best view came at the Cwm-Sinaham (406m) pop over to my Instagram to see a 360 degree video (https://www.instagram.com/jenafitlife/?hl=en). Although the highest point on the Dyke itself was Llanfair Hill (432m) just a little further along the path. We’ve already done the highest point on the trail in the Black Mountains, Hatterrall Ridge (703m) ((Part 2 of my Offa’s Dyke Path walk).

This day ended at the beautiful Mellington Hall where I had a bath, BLISS! (bath’s being a B & B rarity, but so welcome after a hard days walk).  Great beer and Fish & Chips were consumed followed by an early night…….well that was the plan but the boy’s got locked out of their room (broken lock) and were popping in and out of my room whilst the drama ensued and a Man with Ladder came to the rescue.

Mellington Hall on Offa's Dyke Path
Mellington Hall – upmarket B & B for a night

Saturday 15th July – Mellington Hall to Buttington Cross

Mellington Hall on Offa's Dyke Path
Rufus checking out of Mellington Hall

A shorter, much flatter day, 13 miles with just one serious climb to Beacon Ring. This meant a steep climb downhill to Buttington where on advice from Andy (Andy’s Twitter account), who recently walked the entire path raising funds for Midland Air Ambulance , we headed for The Green Dragon, a pint and a phone call for a taxi to our B&B; Severn Farm in Welshpool.

The best B&B yet, wonderful hosts Joyce and Alun were so welcoming and immediately booked a table for us at a restaurant in town and offered to take us back to the trail in the morning. Service 🙂

Sunday 16th July – Welshpool to Llanmynech

Our last day, it’s all over so quickly but my bruised feet (due to adding gel insoles to my boots and then not having enough room for my toes – BIG MISTAKE) were not unhappy about this. Our 10 miles to Llanmynech were flat, canal paths and riverside. My twitcher pals were convinced they’d spot a Kingfisher today (check out the list of birds which were spotted at the bottom of this post).

Breidden Hills - Offa's Dyke Path
Breidden Hills, quarrying underway. The boys are down by the river looking for an elusive Kingfisher!

After some towpath walking the path goes along the top of the Tir-y-mynach Embankment following the course of the River Severn, from here you view the Breidden Hills which are in part industrialised with quarrying. The route continues along the abandoned Montgomery Canal it was a very pleasant walk and along this stretch were swans nesting.

Montgomery Canal / Offa's Dyke Path swans
Swans and cygnets on the Montgomery Canal stretch of Offa’s Dyke Path approaching Llanmynech

Apart from water and an apple we had no refreshments and were very disappointed to find The Golden Lion at Four Crosses was shut. So onward to Llanmynech where everywhere had stopped serving food 🙁 a pint and a packet of peanuts were lunch and dinner! Here we awaited our taxi to return us to Kington and the car for the trip back home – happy, dry, tired but accomplished.

Have you walked this route?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Read my post on avoiding blisters! Which I managed to mess up on this walk 🙁

How I deal with my blisters from long walks

Birds spotted on the Kington to Llanmynech stretch July 13th – 16th 2017
Different birds from the previous stretch are marked *

Wheatear
Yellow Hammer
Chiff Chaff
Black Bird
Song thrush *
Goldfinch
Sky Lark
Swallow
Housemartin *
Swift *
Wren
House Sparrow *
Dunnock
Long tailed tit
Coal tit
Great tit
Blue tit
Pied Wagtail
Grey Wagtail *
Nuthatch
Stonechat
Starling *
Robin
Green Woodpecker *
Spotted Woodpecker

Buzzard
Kestrel
Peregrine
Red Kite

Wood Pigeon
Magpie

Carrion Crow *
Jackdaw *
Rook *
Raven

Pheasant
Red legged Partridge *

Mute Swan and cygnets *

Offa's Dyke Path
Swans & Cygnets on the Montgomery Canal.
Photo. courtesy of Mark Godfrey

Heron
Moorhen *
Mallard *

Cormorant *