Exercise and Healthy Living: A Beginner’s Guide
Now before we start, HAPPY NEW YEAR from everyone here at Fuse Assurance.
We’re all back in the office ready to kick off the new year with a bang and if you’ve found your way to this blog, chances are you are too.
New year’s resolutions are a great way to set yourself goals for the year, but there’s always the fear that you’ll never see them past the end of January. The most commonly “failed” resolution is to get fit and live a healthier lifestyle. But, that doesn’t mean you should just give up now. Looking after yourself should always be a high priority. So, whether you’ve resolved to get fit and live a healthier lifestyle for the first time or the 40th, you have already given yourself a massive head start just by trying, and this year we have your back all the way.
All through January, we’ll be posting a series of blogs for people of all ages looking to improve their lifestyles through exercise and healthy living. We’ve got exercise advice for every walk of life, whether you’re busy at work or retired. We’ve also got a bunch of scrumptious recipes to help keep you away from your local takeaways. On top of that, we’re offering three months free gym membership for those who buy a new policy with us this month, so we’ll be advising you on how to get the most out of the gym too!
Are you ready? Then let’s start with some healthy lifestyle basics, and how you can fit them into your life right now.
Let’s admit it, we all dread exercise. Even the most devoted gym fanatics have days or routines they’d rather skip, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When starting regular exercise, don’t rush head-first into intense routines, just find exercises you like doing.
This may sound odd, or even lazy, but it will keep you motivated and encourage you to expand your horizons later on. Like walking? Then add an extra 5-10-minute walk to or from your workplace or do laps around your house. Like dancing? Then clear the space in any room and go crazy! Prefer swimming? Find your local swimming pool and find out what classes they run. These little things can be great for doing exercise on budget, especially if you get the whole family involved.
The gym can be great for those who want a challenge, or feel they need a structured routine, but even here you should still take your time and find exercises you enjoy. Push yourself too hard and you’ll start finding excuses not to go to the gym or take the initiative at home. Keep an eye on our upcoming blogs for easy exercises to do at home and at work.
The biggest change you’ll need to make is to cut down on the processed food you’ve been eating and replace them with whole foods like vegetables, lean meats and grains. For many people this is the hardest thing to do as they often feel they don’t have time to cook full meals or won’t find anything they like. While processed foods are more convenient, the internet is full of whole food alternatives to your favourite meals and many can be done in 30-minutes or less. In fact, we’ll be putting up a few blogs on quick, healthy meals this month, including recipes for work lunches that are both tasty and filling.
There are also some very simple attitude changes you can make to help eat better. When cooking, remember to put food you are not using away out of sight. This will reduce the amount you snack at home if you don’t find healthy replacements like unprocessed nuts and seeds. When eating in the evening, drinking a glass of water with your meal will help reduce overeating, but you could also try “plating up backwards”.
To explain this, lets imagine you’re serving yourself and your loved ones a roast dinner. We tend to give a lot of the plate over to the roast chicken and potatoes while vegetables are pushed into whatever corners are left on the plate. Large amounts of unhealthier foods like this can cause both weight gain and bloating. So instead, “plate backwards”. Give half a plate to the vegetables, then give a quarter each to the chicken and potatoes. This means you consume more healthy food while still eating a meal you enjoy.
We often take plain old water for granted, but if you are specifically trying to lose weight, it is vital for success. First and foremost, reduce your alcohol and soft drink intake, immediately. This not only cuts down the amount of unhealthy refined sugar in your diet, but it saves money as well. This gives you a larger budget to play with when buying whole foods.
As mentioned before, drinking water can reduce overeating at meal times, but did you also know that many adults can’t tell the difference between being thirsty and being hungry? If you feel hungry at odd times, try drinking water instead. It will reduce the craving for food, help you eat less between meals and keep you hydrated, which is especially important while exercising.
The concept of “wellness” can be very vague, but people generally agree that optimal wellness is getting enough sleep and being free of stress. Sleep habits will take the longest to change of anything we’ve discussed so far, but it will happen. Try going to bed five minutes earlier every few nights, this will ease you into sleeping earlier while not sacrificing what little time you have in the day.
Stress and how you deal with it varies from person to person, so you’ll have to experiment and see what works best. Here are some of the most common answers our staff gave on what they do to relive stress:
- Take Holidays – Don’t be afraid to have time to yourself away from work. If you fear losing pay, talk to your HR or payroll department or just take short breaks.
- “Go Manual” – Do something in your free time that keeps you away from technology. Reading, writing and doodling can keep the brain stimulated while taking a bath can ease both mental and physical stress.
- Get Away from the Negative – Cut out the people bringing you down, ignore what they think and try to find the positives in every situation. This isn’t easy, but you’ll get better with practice.
- Exercise – Yes, exercise has been proven to relieve stress. So, if you follow our earlier advice and stick to exercises you enjoy, the stress will soon melt away.
- Pick Up a Hobby – Whether old or new, having interests that don’t involve work or family can make you feel more fulfilled. Just remember to keep these hobbies within reason, because going out drinking on the weekends certainly doesn’t count!
Maintaining These Changes
Now that we’ve gone through some of the simpler changes you can make to your lifestyle, lets talk about upkeep. Humans are creatures of habit and it’s very easy for us to fall back into our old ways. Breaking down your goals into manageable chunks will make you far less likely to fail and give up. Aim to cook three whole food meals a week to start then build up to cooking seven, or if you’re aiming to lose weight, lose three pounds every so often rather than 3 stone all at once.
In the event that you do slip up and fail: forgive yourself. Don’t get into the habit of thinking you’ve ruined your chance to adopt a healthy lifestyle forever after one bad day. Just pick yourself up, run through your goals and get back into your healthy habits as soon as possible, you’ll thank yourself later.
There’s a lot to consider when adopting a healthier lifestyle, but it’s still your life.
You are in control, whether you make changes one day at a time or dive in with a full action plan. However, we all need a little help now and then and not only do we have your back all through January, but all through life with our wide range of insurance policies.
With our friendly, expert advisers ready to take your call, now may be just be the right time to consider your insurance options as well as your lifestyle changes. Please feel free to look around our website and if you decide to attend the gym as part of your new lifestyle, remember that we’re offering three months free gym membership to anyone who buys a new policy with us in January.
So feel free to click the button below for your free, no-obligation quote and come back every Tuesday and Friday this month for more blogs on exercise and healthy living.