There is a growing emphasis on health in the UK. However, there are plenty of other ways to improve your health beyond eating more fruit or veg! It is about becoming more active in a gentler way, making the most of the outdoors and the opportunities around you. Here are other affordable and fun ways to get the most out of life as Spring approaches.
If muscle conditioning is what you are after, then Pilates is a must! Even though it is not proven to cure medical conditions it helps with the improvement of a healthy lifestyle and improvement in balance. A practise now used worldwide, it is becoming a very popular way of relaxation and a way to gently ease you into an active sense of mind. Pilates is mainly about the control of the body and mind, centring the body and stimulating the mind. Most local gyms hold classes but if you go to www.pilatesnearyou.co.uk you can enter your postcode for the nearest centre.
This is similar to Pilates but requires a little more flexibility. Yoga has been around for centuries offering relaxation and strength to boost physical and mental well-being. No requirements are needed other than yourself and a mat. Classes are available for a wide range of ages and differing levels of fitness, so get stuck in. There are even special poses for the men, so there are no excuses.
Qigong means, ‘Qi’ the life force of vital energy and ‘gong’ meaning accomplishment. It is an old ancient Chinese health care activity, that helps to heal the body of any impurities with a holistic approach. With easy stand still poses it makes the techniques suitable for any ability. It can become a daily practise that can easily be adapted to do in your own home. More of a calm and less energetic exercise Qigong is perfect for the less mobile.
Very similar to Qigong, Tai chi is often practised as a martial art for self-defence. It is designed to help you reach a state of calmness whilst relieving the body of physical effects of stress on the body and mind. If you want to build your strength and confidence, then this is the one for you. There are many different styles of Tai chi so it is a good idea to get a taster of them all and see what works best for you. Most classes run free taster classes for the first session.
Massaging is a great way to go into a deeply relaxed state. Throughout the week muscles may seize up and tighten, so it is a great way to release the muscles. There any many mobile therapists who will come to you. It helps relieve immediate pain spots, but also lowers anxiety and stress levels – massage gift tokens also make great presents and treats for family and friends.
Meditation may sound a bit ‘alternative’ but it is a practise that involves training the mind and inducing a mode of consciousness. The techniques used help to promote relaxation, build internal energy and develop compassion. The individual learns to clear the mind to focus on health and well-being. It is generally practised with closed eyes and a loud mantra (hum). Meditation generally just involves one individual, however if you want to learn the practise then therapists are around the country that can help. Most of the time meditation is involved in other relaxation techniques such as yoga, so why not give them both a try together?
If all the other tips seem a little slow or under energetic, then ballroom dancing is the one to try. With the rise in this activity mainly coming from the programme Strictly Come Dancing, it has got all ages up on the dance floor. If losing weight is a focus then ballroom dancing is the best way, it increases your heart rate to burn those calories. From the waltz to the foxtrot, which are a little slower, to a more energetic jive or cha-cha, the types of dances are endless. Bring along a partner or come alone and you can be partnered up.
And finally, laughing! The best way to give your lifestyle a natural boost. It releases endorphins which gives everyone a rush of happiness. Laughter works in a miraculous way that keeps our positive emotions may help the immune systems to fight off oncoming diseases. So basically laughter is a contagious drug that makes you; feel good, look good, more productive, reduces stress and brings joy all without the hangover tomorrow, oh and it is completely free. Laugh more and worry less!