Want good health and wellbeing?
Maybe there something more than diet and exercise you can put into practice?
How to improve health and well-being without a gym membership
Thinking that a lower number on the scales or size on a clothing tag is the key to happiness is an easy mistake to make. By now, we’re well aware that the images of perfection we’re bombarded with aren’t real, and yet we continue to put pressure on ourselves to achieve the unachievable.
More often than not, the rigorous work-outs and strict calorie counting is a fast-track to misery and feeling inadequate. The good news is, there are other ways – many other ways – to boost your mental well-being and your physical health will follow.
Find your fitness
If you’re not enjoying exercising, then it’s time to make a change. High intensity workouts that have sweat streaming and muscles screaming aren’t for everyone. If you’re dreading your next gym class, you’re going to be astounded at how many excuses your brain will be able to conjure up with to get you out of going. And how quickly you’ll start agreeing with it.
Moving your body in the way that feels right for you is how you’ll be able to stick with an exercise regime. Think about what’s most likely to get you going. Some jazzy beats and a few dance moves could lead you to a Zumba class, or revisiting ballet, tap or ballroom dancing.
Think about getting back in the pool, or taking a long walk on the beach – you’ll be surprised at the toning effects of walking barefoot in the sand. If you’re not living on a coastline, a hike or neighbourhood walk is a great option – Australia is known for its green cities, so there’s always a park or garden within reach. Explore your local area and map your walk as you go.
Gardening shouldn’t be underestimated – it’s a full body workout! Reaching, leaning, pulling, lifting and stretching and all while breathing in fresh air and enjoying vivid colours is great for the mind as well as the body. Try it for an afternoon and you’ll be reminded of muscles you forgot you had.
It’s never too late to get back into a group sport. Netball, soccer and hockey are energetic options, while bowls or badminton take a little less energy but are just as effective as mood-boosters. Putting yourself in a social environment with shared goals of fun and fitness will work wonders, taking your mind off the calorie burn while you reap the benefits.
The benefits of spending time with family
Spending time with family, whether it’s through home-cooked meals, sports or other shared activities, has more benefits than you might think.
Family time can contribute to the mental well-being of parents and kids. Parents will get a confidence boost from teaching values, help with problem solving and demonstrating respect for others. Kids will benefit from the extra time spent in a family environment. Knowing they are loved and supported unconditionally allows them to develop and grow, and they’re likely to perform better in school as a result.
There are more ways that kids benefit from family activities. Playing games and sports can provide an outlet for pent-up emotions, burning energy or allowing for a release of pent-up feelings or anxieties. These types of activities give kids options for dealing with frustrations later in life where they may begin to withdraw or make bad choices.
Not every family is perfect, and not every family necessarily wants to spend every waking moment together, and that’s okay. In this case, spending time together might not be as frequent as weekly, but when it does occur, It’s actually a great way to build resilience and skills in conflict resolution. Problems and disagreements occur in every family, but eventually, they have to be resolved because families are forever. These are the people who will be with you through thick and thin. Being part of a normal family will lead to discussions, healthy debates and the development of problem-solving skills.
Home is where the heart (and home cooked meal) is
Restrictive diets are amazing for making you crave the exact opposite of what you should be eating. Rather than torturing yourself with carrot sticks and lettuce leaves, take a different approach. Cooking at home encourages the use of whole foods and fresh produce, resulting in healthier meals. Preparing and sharing meals with family and friends will increase your repertoire in the kitchen and is a great way to get those endorphins pumping – it’s an affirming method of feeding your body and your soul.
Don’t use social media as a substitute
Social media is great for certain things, and not so great for others. Staying connected with friends and family across the globe becomes incredibly easy, but don’t fall into the habit of making this your method of communication for people who live across town. It’s just not as effective as spending time face-to-face. So although you might be up to date with all the going-ons, make a coffee catch up or weekend walk a priority to share some quality time together. Scheduling in the occasional social media detox isn’t a bad idea either. A break from the advertising and constant distractions will give you the chance to focus on your priorities and realign your perspective on what’s important to you.
An investment worth making
Life is busy and chaotic, and scheduling in time with family can be difficult with all the different priorities and conflicting agendas – but it’s worth the effort. Face to face interaction with a close social network improves mental and physical health leads to a happier life for parents and kids. If you’re going to do it, do it well. Put down your phone, and allow the work emails to slide for an afternoon. This is your family, and they deserve your full attention.