We know that exercise is great for our mental and physical health and if we can continue to keep ourselves fit and active by doing some indoor workouts during the week, then that’s great, well done. When we combine that with getting outdoors and regular walking (around 30 minutes a day to reach our daily/weekly targets to keep ourselves active and fit), it’s been shown to reduce risk of heart disease and reduce the risk of stroke by 35%, reduce risk of cancer by 16% and reduce risk of diabetes by an incredible 58%. There are other benefits of walking/exercising outdoors; helping to boost our mood by being in nature and stimulating all your senses which in turn can help us feel less anxious, less lonely and depressed. We can vary our outdoor sessions by going for a leisurely walk, using your senses: taking in all the sights, sounds, colours, the smell of the grass and flowers, really focusing on your environment, the wind or sun, relaxing and noticing your breath. We can also ‘mix-up’ our outdoor sessions by increasing our speed, time, distance and vary your routes for a challenge.
I often use chia seeds to make chia puddings and add them to smoothies. Chia seeds are high in Omega 3, protein, antioxidants, lots of nutrients as well as all 8 essential amino acids and non-essential acids (amino acids are the building blocks of protein) and a great source of dietary fibre.
I also love eating nuts and seeds coz they’re full of B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and minerals (ie selenium, zinc, copper, manganese and magnesium) that are good for boosting mood, energy production, calming anxiety and protecting the brain from oxidative damage. To smoothies or in/over porridge, I’ll add nut butter or ground flaxseed or chia seeds and sprinkle seeds (ie pumpkin, sunflower or sesame) onto a salad or over soup too. I also love nut butter spread over toast – yum. Peanut butter and banana is a favourite and for a treat or something different, I mix hazelnut butter and cacao powder (like Nutella spread).
Did you know that walnuts contain a number of potent nutrients that can help fight cancer and boost overall health? These include antioxidants and vitamin E – both of which have strong anti-inflammatory and cancer-protective effects – many studies have found that walnuts appear to be particularly protective against breast and prostate cancers.
As I’ve mentioned before I buy a lot of seeds, nuts, nut butters etc from realfoodsource.com
Sometimes, we also want some comfort food; food that’s warming and filling and there’s nothing better than soup (or stew). There are of course, many options depending on what vegetables or lentils or other beans you use. We often make a big batch of soup and freeze some for another day and one day last week, we took out leek and potato soup from the freezer and had that for lunch. Mmmmm yum. Of course, as I said above, I could’ve topped it with some seeds but instead, I sprinkled some nori flakes (sea vegetable condiment) over for taste and colour. I buy packets of Clearspring green nori sprinkle from Real Foods (although if you want to try it, check with your GP if you’re on any prescription medication). It contains B vitamins, is a dietary source of iodine, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and amino acids.
New video: I thought, instead of a yoga, Pilates or low impact exercise video, that I’d do a stretch and relaxation video for you. You could do this at any time of the day or in the evening to help you relax, unwind and de-stress. You might want to have a sweat top or blanket handy as well as your mat. At the end of the video, I say something like: well that’s a few minutes of relaxation and stretching – I thought it had only been about 5-10 minutes of stretches and a bit of relaxation but it was actually 22 minutes long! I hope that you enjoy it anyway.
Sleep and relaxation:
I know that we can have good days and bad days whether we’re in lockdown or not and our sleep can be great for a while then be disrupted depending on our thoughts, what’s going on with us, whether we’re getting to bed late or perhaps drinking alcohol or watching tv or on our laptops etc late in the evening. However, getting adequate rest and relaxation is sooo important to our mental health, mood and emotional wellbeing too. Meditation and music also help to improve (lower) stress levels and (elevate) mood, wellbeing and (improve) sleep.
Having a relaxing bath with some Epsom salts and maybe some aromatherapy oils (a few drops of lavender essential oil mixed into full fat milk or cream) or a relaxing shop-bought prepared blend) added in, can help us unwind and relax more too. It helps to relax your muscles and your mind.
Thanks to all of you who’ve emailed me to let me know how you’re doing, how you are and what you’ve been up to etc. Please keep me updated as I love hearing your news too.
In the meantime, stay fit and well, relaxed and positive.
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Have a great week and take care, Susan x