Archive | August, 2013

4 musts during pregnancy

21 Aug

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Pregnancy is full of amazing surprises. What your body is capable of is incredible. You are carrying on with your normal life whilst inside you another life is being created! You can even forgive your body for making you feel tired and nauseous sometimes when you stop and think how hard it is working to create a safe environment for your child to grow in.

Now, you must look after your body while it is busy doing all of this. There are a couple of things that absolutely cannot be forgotten…

1. REST
This does not mean put your feet up all day long watching TV, this means listening to your body and making sure you’re getting enough sleep. Your body is working harder than ever now and the least you can do to help it, it getting a full nights sleep as much as possible.

2. EAT
You may have never even thought about your diet, or maybe you’ve been on all sorts of “diets” in your lifetime but now things are different. This is not the time for FAD diets, this is the time to eat the foods that are going to help your baby grow and help give you the energy that you need to get through each day. (Another post will go through this in more detail)

3. EXERCISE
Like with dieting, you may have exercised all your life or this may be a foreign concept to you. Either way, it is extremely important to keep your body as strong as possible throughout pregnancy. The main reason for this is to maintain a strong posture. This will help to avoid any issues with back pain when your centre of balance changes with the growing bump. The other reason to build strength and stamina is to prepare for birth. This may seem a long way off, but labour can last a very long time and you need to have the mental and physical strength to get through it. (More exercise tips in posts to come)

4. TALK
As I mentioned earlier, pregnancy can come with all sorts of surprises, some good and some scary. The important thing is to talk to people around you, whether they are professionals or your nearest and dearest. Feeling scared during pregnancy is completely normal but there is no point in going through it alone and spending your pregnancy feeling unhappy. This should be an exciting time for you so make sure you spend it with supportive people around you.

 

I will be posting more about helpful tips and advice during pregnancy, involving diet and exercise so keep your eyes peeled and please pass this on to anyone you know who is pregnant or even thinking about trying for a baby!

 

Exercise and Endorphins

13 Aug

89793497People will often tell you that doing exercise releases “happy hormones” and makes you feel good! This is 100% true. These so-called “happy hormones” are actually called endorphins.

What are Endorphins?

Endorphins are produced in the brain and act as the body’s natural painkiller. During exercise, they are released and they can produce a feeling of euphoria and general well being. The effect they have on the body can be so strong that they can sometimes mask pain!
As well as producing endorphins during exercise, the body also releases serotonin, adrenalin and dopamine which work together to make you feel good.

People suffering with depression are encouraged to participate in regular exercise to encourage the release of these hormones. Physically active people are shown to recover more quickly from depression and are also associated with better mental health as they grow older.

What kind of exercise releases endorphins?

Most types of exercise encourage the release of these hormones however cardiovascular and aerobic exercises are the most likely to give you these good feelings. These types of exercises are slightly more vigorous than some, increasing the release of endorphins, serotonin, adrenaline and dopamine. Having said that, slower paced activities such as yoga and pilates, which focus more on breathing and calming the body down help to put the body into a relaxed state, which also contributes to feeling good as it releases all the stress and tension from the body.

 

As you can see, it is ever so easy to improve your mood. No medication, no whacky remedies, just pure physical activity. Pick something you enjoy doing, whether it is fast paced or more focused on relaxation, and do your chosen activity as regularly as you can to discover the benefits. 

 

Organisation is key!

12 Aug

Monday morning… perfect time to plan your week if you haven’t done it already.

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The key to sticking to your fitness goals is to be organised! You need to plan your workouts, and then stick to that plan. Seems so simple doesn’t it, so why doesn’t that always work?

The reason it doesn’t always work is, often we do actually “plan” our healthy week but things get in the way such as meetings, work, family and social events that may interfere with it all and before you know it, the week is over!

The trick is to plan your workouts for a time when you are least likely to be interrupted. Sadly for some, this may be in the morning before work! In my experience as a personal trainer, I can tell you that most cancellations come in the evenings. Don’t kid yourself into planning a workout for the evening if you know that you are very likely to be called to a meeting or work event. You will never get anywhere. If you want to reach those goals, you may have to lose an hour’s sleep in the morning but it is a small sacrifice to make in order to achieve what you want in the long term.

Treat your workouts as meetings with your boss that, once in the diary, you absolutely cannot cancel. Exercise must come high up on your priority list otherwise you will never get to where you want to be. You have got to be totally committed and the first way to do that is to actually turn up to your planned workouts… and then you can focus on how to make the best use of that time!

Make a plan, commit to it and you will see results!

Maintain that holiday feeling

5 Aug

 

 

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I know only too well that amazing feeling when you wake up on a summer holiday and have no cares in the world. The only decisions that you need to make is what beach to go to, where to read your book or what to have for breakfast! After a few days of catching up on sleep, your body starts to go into relaxation mode, refreshing the body from all the stresses of work life and helping it recover to it’s ideal state.

Do not let this go to waste, you want to keep this feeling for as long as possible. There are a few easy ways to prevent your body going back to it’s pre holiday state…

  • Get as many early nights as possible
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid processed, sugary foods
  • Limit caffeine intake
  • Drink lots of water
  • Keep your food as fresh as possible
  • Exercise

All these things make up the list of what we all know we should do anyway but after a holiday is can seem more important. You want to maintain that refreshed holiday feel if you can because this is when your body is least stressed.

If you revert straight back to late nights, early starts, boozy nights out, eating comfort foods and drinking coffee to get you through the day, then your body is going to lose those holiday benefits very quickly and you will soon be craving another week away!

Don’t waste it, treat your body well and it will treat you nicely in return!