According to a study of relatively active people who normally walk around 9,000 steps a day, they were asked to reduce that amount to around 5,000 steps a day and the conclusion was that 88% of people reported symptoms of depression, nearly everyone had less energy, and they reported having more anxiety and stress. 31% also reported a decrease in meaning or satisfaction of life which is really significant.
When we become less active, our brain chemistry and mood are affected.
Conversely, when we move every day, become more active, exercise, get outdoors, our brain chemistry and mood improve.
Exercise is great for our mental health and resilience as well as our physical health. Exercise makes us more resilient to stress and resets our mood and chemistry.
We get better at exercise or a sport the more we do it which I’m sure you found out when you first attended a new class or started to run. You may have been apprehensive, not sure how you’d get on but you got through it and hopefully enjoyed it. Everyone has a starting point and if you set your intention to continue and keep going, you’ll improve in so many beneficial ways.
We’re lucky that recently, the weather’s mostly been great, we’ve enjoyed some lovely sunshine, warm and even hot days (ie last Wednesday). Getting outdoors, being in green spaces, looking at and taking notice of our surroundings eg the skyline, a flowing river, view of the hills etc is very powerful.
When exercising and we listen to music (as we do in our classes), it helps our workout motivation and reduces stress. Something to think about if you go for a walk or a run, I’m sure you’ll find it beneficial to listen to a playlist of inspiring songs which will spur you on and help you get through it.
I’ve just started running again and have really enjoyed it. We usually have a route that we run which is only about 3 miles but it’s good to vary the distance and route too.
Anyway, do you have a favourite playlist? What songs do you love to exercise, dance or move to?
When I’m out and about and when in the garden too, I love listening to podcasts and would thoroughly recommend subscribing and listening to Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s Feel Better Live More podcasts. I’ve just listened to a few and they’ve been so informative, inspirational and I’ve loved them all so far. I’ve got a lot to still listen to as there are well over 110 now.
This week’s video is stretches that we do while standing in class – starting from the top of the body working down to the feet. It only takes 10 minutes so do this on it’s own or add to the end of a workout or another video, enjoy.
Thanks to SB who sent me a link to an article about Vitamin D and the benefits of it for our immune system – especially now while we’re in this Covid-19 lockdown. Our body makes around 90% of the Vitamin D it needs, which can only happen when the skin gets enough direct UV light from sunshine. The remaining 10% of our Vitamin D intake comes from foods rich in the vitamin – eg salmon, egg yolks, soy milk and tinned tuna – all are great for health and immune systems too. To take advantage of vitamin D and the sun on our skin, aim to get 10-15 mins of direct sunlight on your skin without a skin barrier. You can then apply a sunscreen after that though for protection. Sunlight also provides us with natural melatonin production for its sleep and antiviral effects. Vitamin D helps support strong and healthy bones and Vit D in your bones helps absorb and store calcium in your skeletal tissue. It regulates the cells which build and maintain bones.
When we’ve been out walking, I love to notice of colourful plants and have even taken a photo of some in other people’s gardens – at the very front I hasten to say, where the plant is overhanging on the pavement. Don’t worry, I’m not going into anyone’s garden, phew. I thought you might like the colours of the ceanothus (pink) and weigela (blue) plants and I asked a friend who told me the names of the plants but let me know if I’ve got the names or spellings wrong. I’m sure that, if you have your own garden, that you have some wonderful colourful plants, flowers, bushes, pots etc and are enjoying the varieties and scents and I’m sure you’ve noticed just how tall they’re growing at the moment too.
I’ve been trying seed and bean sprouting again – as I said before, I usually sprout mung beans and have also tried sunflower seeds and broccoli seeds which have been quite successful. You can also grow seeds and beans as microgreens – in compost and I’m trying that too.
In our greenhouse – it literally is a ‘green’ house as it has one of those green covers you put over the frame – I planted some kale, spinach, mixed leaves, tomatoes and yellow courgettes and they were all coming on really well then we had that high wind on Friday night and Saturday and a few of the plants have been blown over but I’ve saved most.. We’ve harvested some young kale though and added to salads.
One lunch at the weekend was home made nut/seed bread toasted with baba ghanoush and sprinkled with broccoli sprouts over the top and kale on the side – nice.
I also found a recipe for matcha green tea latte that I thought I’d share and see what you think. It’s not as strong as ‘straight’ matcha tea but nice for a change. I blended 1½ cups warm/not-too-hot (not boiling) water, 1 medjool date, ½ – 1T nut butter and 1 tsp matcha green tea powder.
I bought a book on microgreens and bought a packet of peas, I have the compost and a suitable container so will see how I get on growing pea shoots for our salads.
I just say that if we hadn’t been in lockdown, I probably wouldn’t have bought the (it was cheap) greenhouse and started to grow from seed, I’d have thought ‘I don’t have the time’ but … turns out I’m not doing much else so do have the time.
I think it’s all too easy to make excuses to not do something ie I’ve no time, I’m too busy doing xyz, I’m too tired but maybe it’s about prioritising what’s important and trying something new too.
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In the meantime, stay fit, flexible, strong, well, relaxed and positive.
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