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SIMPLE WALKING CAN VASTLY IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING…

Getting out in the snow is difficult for anyone and not advised for many in case they slip but the snow won’t be around much longer so we have no excuse to get outside and walk.

Walking, they say can improve your health ten fold and some say a 10 minute brisk walk is enough and others say 20 minutes but if you can start with the 10 minutes you will soon see the benefit. It can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also help with lower back pain.

White blood cells and antibodies help in determining any illness faster. When you exercise daily, they modify these cells, helping you identify and prevent any disease. Daily workout also lessens the stress hormones that are responsible for many diseases.

If you find walking a bit boring or monotonous you could listen to endless Podcasts. Good Housekeeping has 45 of the Best Podcasts to listen to in 2021. You could learn a language. You could learn all about the spring flowers, trees and the leaves you pass on the road. If you just simply want to walk for health and some fresh air and don’t own a Fitbit then why not download an app and keep your phone in your pocket so it can register how many steps you have taken. Or, download the NHS Active 10 app ( more details below).

On the website Low Impact there is a great article called ‘Why I walk : A conversation with a walking guide’, with Emma Cunis who offers walks and nature connection events on Dartmoor, for transforming health, wellbeing and performance. Emma is passionate about the land, and our place in it. She shares how for her, it’s not all about hiking long distances, but taking time to enjoy the moment, be present and feel your connection to something bigger.

When Jessie Watson Brown of Oak and Smoke Tannery asked Emma why she loved walking, she explained that “There are many different reasons. I felt some kind of compulsion to be out, to go out, to somehow feel the ground under my body. Feel the nourishment of this exquisitely beautiful place and walking helps to ground me. I’m less in my head, more in my body. Less in the future and the past, more in the moment.

Everything slows down. Everything is gentler and more relaxed, and I started to feel better.

Then there is the physical wellbeing and health.

I also feel connection and wonder all the way back through the ages of how men and women would have walked on the land and taken pilgrimages. There are all sorts of ancient tracks on Dartmoor that people followed, ancient routes. 

I walk to feel part of nature, and not separate from it.

As I’ve got older and having been unwell I walk more slowly, so I see more. And the joy and the connection of seeing a little beautiful flower or creature that I might not have spotted if I just hiked past is fantastic.“.

Healthline have a list of 10 benefits of walking which are –

  1. To burn calories up
  2. To strengthen your heart
  3. It can help lower your blood sugar
  4. To ease joint pain
  5. To help boost your immune system
  6. To boost your energy
  7. To improve your mood
  8. To extend your life
  9. To tone your legs
  10. To help creative thinking

Check out the NHS website on the benefits of walking. Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.

Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.

You do not have to walk for hours. A brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise. Use the Active 10 app. The Active 10 app allows you to track how much and how fast you have walked. To keep things interesting, it gives you goals to work towards and rewards your progress. Download the Active 10 from the NHS website here.

There is also a brilliant book called Every Day Nature by Andy Beer (National Trust Book) which encourages you to find beauty in the everyday and forge a powerful connection with the nature than can be found on your doorstep.

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EIGHT WAYS TO CREATE MOVEMENT AND ENERGY INTO YOUR DAY…

We are all feeling a little down in the dumps at the moment with the depressing weather and dark days but you can help create your own energy and movement if you cannot get outside. Here are eight great ideas on how to get you moving and increase your energy.

  1. Climb the stairs even if you are not going upstairs to get something, try increasing the amount of times you climb them daily and you will soon notice how less out of breath you are after a few days of doing it.
  2. Do not sit for too long, make sure you have a regular break. Set your phone alarm to go off every 30 mins and get up and take a walk around your house. Enjoy walking around your house and admire some things you have probably not noticed for a while and you may also find a few cobwebs while walking 🙂
  3. If your phone goes stand up and put it on speaker while you chat to whoever has phoned you. Hold onto a table while chatting and move your legs from side to side. You will forget how many you have done as you will be busy chatting instead. Don’t forget to change legs.
  4. Always go for a short walk just before your lunch, if you cannot get outside to do a short walk to the bottom of your street and back then walk around your garden instead. If that’s not possible either then do a lap of the whole house and count your steps as you are doing it. You will amazed how many steps you will be doing.
  5. If you are working from home, try and make your working space user friendly so that you can do the odd stretch or sit and meditate for a short while. Check out some desk exercises online.
  6. Avoid blue light at night so that you will get a great nights sleep ready for another great day.
  7. Drink lots and lots of fluid during the day and try to eat at regular times. This can help with weight loss as well as wellbeing.
  8. Finally, buy a houseplant – it’s a well known fact that plants are good for you as they purify the air. They also boost your energy and help you sleep, ease stress and make you happy. Simply looking after your plants can lift your mood and improve your wellbeing. They can help air circulation, which can prevent the spread of viruses! To find which plants and where to put them buy this book Houseplants for a Healthy Home: 50 Indoor Plants to Help You Breathe Better, Sleep Better, and Feel Better All Year Round by John VanZile from Amazon at £10.65 (Hardcover).

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FOURTEEN WAYS TO NATURALLY BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM…

Here are fourteen ways to naturally boost your immune system to help keep yourself healthy.

  1. Mix up your shower temperature. Changing it to either hot or cold every 2 minutes will boost your immunity by increasing two types of white blood cells.
  2. Drink, drink, and drink. Your immune system relies on the water so drink lots.
  3. Sleep – poor sleep can affect the immune system so the more sleep you get the better you will feel.
  4. Laugh – we all need it nowadays but studies have shown it boosts energy, decreases stress hormones, improves immunity, and diminishes pain. I have a few videos of my granddaughter I watch if I feel like a giggle but there are plenty on YouTube.
  5. Ditch the dairy – try to avoid dairy as it is mucus-forming and an inflammatory product.
  6. Eat to Beat – include pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fish, and leafy green vegetables into your diet. Also garlic, red meats, lentils and berry fruits, papaya, kiwi, peppers, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. All types of leafy greens are great for the immune system.
  7. Leave the sweet stuff alone as sugar can have an inflammatory effect and feeds yeasts and bacteria in our body which can prolong a condition or illness.
  8. Get out in the fresh air – those who exercise moderately are 25% less likely to develop a cold compared to those who recently go out regularly.
  9. Hug a tree as with Covid-19 most of us cannot hug our family and friends. Physical touch has been something we have missed greatly. It can help to decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your body which decreases your immune system. If it is just the two of you living together at the moment then make sure you hug each other regularly.
  10. Pump up your Vitamin D – according to the NHS The Daily Telegraph has reported that “vitamin D ‘triggers and arms’ the immune system”. It said that researchers believe that vitamin D plays a key role in boosting the immune system. It is important to have enough vitamin D to maintain a healthy body. Vitamin D forms in our skin in response to sunlight. However, care should be taken to avoid burning or over-exposure. Vitamin D is also found in foods such as oily fish, eggs, fortified margarine, some breakfast cereals, and vitamin supplements.
  11. Start a new hobby – Woman & Home wrote “Getting into physical hobbies promotes good health,” Dr. Partha Nandi, a medical doctor and leading patient advocate, agrees. “These hobbies not only benefit the body but also help in making your mind more alert and sharp.” But you don’t have to get physical to reap the benefits. “Science is finding that the hobby diverts the focus of attention away from the problem causing the stress and places it on the hobby. People who engaged in leisure activities were 34 percent less stressed and 18 percent less sad during the activities.” Plus, “hobbies are a great way of meeting new people, and interaction is great for the spirit and body”. Also, check my post yesterday on how to find a new hobby here.
  12. Don’t smoke – I’m sure I don’t really need to write why you should not smoke but just as a reminder – the NHS says – People breathe more easily and cough less when they give up smoking because their lung capacity improves by up to 10% within 9 months. Within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking, your blood circulation improves. This makes all physical activity, including walking and running, much easier. When you stop smoking, your senses of smell and taste get a boost. Half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including heart diseaselung cancer, and chronic bronchitis. This list is a small number of reasons to stop smoking but is very important with how the Covid-19 virus affects your health.
  13. Maintain a healthy weight – start your new year with a determination and mission to lose some weight. You can only feel better. Why not raise some funds in the process and sign up for a charity.
  14. Avoid alcohol. Take advantage of dry January and carry on avoiding alcohol for the time being.

Source NHS, Woman & Home