Move, Explore And Enjoy Your Working Week

EMBRACE THE POTENTIAL FOR A HAPPIER, HEALTHIER WORKING WEEK 

Yesterday evening I had an idea for a new regular feature here on the blog and although in future I think it might be best placed on a Friday or at the weekend to give you inspiration and planning time ahead of the new week, I thought I'd start today because there are some really great ideas and events happening over the next few days that I wanted to draw your attention to.

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

I've talked before about ensuring that you take regular breaks during your working day, and especially making sure that you embrace your lunch break, get away from that desk and get moving for your long term balance and wellbeing both mentally and physically. In the past I, like so many of us, have been guilty of working through lunch and being stuck in my seat for the bulk of the working day. Sometimes through sheer workload and a feeling that I can't take a break. Other times through a lack of inspiration or motivation to go and do something useful with that precious hour that we all have and can all take if we want to do so. 

On idly browsing Twitter whilst sat on the train yesterday evening I noticed that Stylist Magazine have been running a campaign for a while now encouraging people to reclaim their lunch break and I strongly agree with the message that they are trying to get across. I've written before about how to take a more mindful lunch break and today I wanted to share some unique ideas for how to spend that precious time away from your desk. Some events that I've stumbled on that seem like such a great idea, not necessarily just exercise based, but cultural, social - anything that gets you out and gives you a moments break from the regular working day.

Now as I'm London based some of these have a predominant London swing, so make sure you leave your own suggestions and links to any similar events in your own area below. Whether they be social get togethers before work, during lunch, or after the 9 to 5 has ended. Let's share events, ideas and social gatherings that can help us all to have a happier and healthier working week.

 

THREE SMART WAYS TO BALANCE YOUR REAL SELF ALONGSIDE YOUR WORKING WEEK

1. Look Out For Creative Street Art As You Take A Lunchtime Breather:

As Part of their #70Things series to celebrate their 70th year the Arts Council England has been encouraging people to do different creative things each day for 70 days. One of their recent suggestions was to go out and find something artistic and pretty on your nearby street corner. Now depending on where you work or live this may or may not be possible but the streets of London are full of a plethora of really awe inspiring, colourful street art. So why not take a stroll, explore and unleash your inner iPhone photographer as you get some creative snaps of the urban beauty that lives and breathes on the walls of your city. Got some top suggestions for where best to explore? Leave them in the comments below.

Looking for more inspiration? Why not view the full list of the 70 creative suggestions in this series. Some really quirky and fun ideas from creating a sculpture using your own lunch to writing the plot of your favourite film using only emojis!

2. Get Moving And Try Something New:

There are always fun things going on in the city and they don't always have to cost a fortune. Look out for free events near you that you can get involved in before, during or after work that will get you moving and trying out something new. Staying active doesn't always have to involve hammering out the same old routine in the gym. Inspire body and mind with a new activity now and again. For example this week Merchant Square in Paddington, London is hosting a full programme of free activities to encourage people to reclaim their lunch break. From ping pong to paddle board yoga you can check out the details here. So if you're in that particular area get yourself out and get involved. Or take inspiration and search out similar activities near you. 

To find out what else is going on event apps such as Y Plan and Eventbrite can be really useful and give you quick and easy access to interesting goings-on in your area as well as an easy way to book your space so that you don't miss out. Have another great way to find out about events or an app you love to use? Share in the comments below - all inspiration always very welcome!

3. Give Your Mind A Break From All Things Work:

As you take that much needed lunchtime stroll maybe you want something to keep you company, inspire you and take your mind off of the working day for a moment or two? Or perhaps a dull and rainy day means you just need a break for the mind and want to find a quiet and dry space in which to do so. Why not download an audio book from somewhere such as Audible to free your mind as you walk. Or get started with that new language you've always wanted to learn - try Babbel or Rosetta Stone for online tuition.

Alternatively catch up on your favourite podcast. There are so many great options out there for all sorts of tastes and interests. To give you inspiration and get you started check out these 22 Podcasts That You Should Be Subscribing To In 2016 via Buzzfeed. A comprehensive collection of some of the best podcasts out there, you'll be sure to find something to entertain you during your well deserved lunch time break.

 

So I hope some of these suggestions have helped to fire up the creative or more active person within you. Work doesn't have to be all routine and no fun. Grab back those moments of 'you' time and fill them with something worthwhile.

What do you do to balance your working day with the real you? Perhaps something before work gets you fired up and ready for the day, or how do you spend your lunch break and make use of that valuable hour? Let me know and as always thanks for reading everyone and see you again soon.

Louise

 


Trying Out Forrest Yoga At Inspire Hot Yoga

A STRONG PRACTICE FOR THE MODERN DAY STRESSES AND STRAINS OF WORKING LIFE

On Monday I was lucky to have the chance to give the practice of Forrest Yoga a go at Inspire Hot Yoga Studios in Maidenhead, Berkshire. You may remember my recent interview with the lovely Lizzy in which she spoke about teaching this style of yoga. Well being intrigued as I am about these things I asked her a little more about it and before I knew it I found myself in a very warm studio in Maidenhead giving it a go!

Inspire Hot Yoga Maidenhead

I do love a bit of yoga and although I'm very new to the practice it's something that I enjoy immensely when I do it. I find it very grounding as well as strengthening for the body. What interested me so much about Forrest Yoga is the fact that this newer form of the practice is very much designed to focus on healing the damage put upon us by our modern daily lives. Things like sitting at a desk all day and hunching over our computers, the strain of typing away on a keyboard for long hours, or spending too much time on our phones.

It's a very strong and far more intensely physical practice - trust me, speaking from experience here! Developed by Ana Forrest as she was working on finding tools to transform her own healing and wellbeing, there is a focus on four core values: breath, strength, integrity and spirit. The process of opening up the body, the hips, the chest - releasing tension, strain and deeply focusing on the grounding power of the breath was all very powerful. So beneficial to both the physical and mental stresses of the day. A chance to focus and open up some of those tight, tense and aching muscles. Also a fantastic way to really build up that all important core, in order to help maintain that power throughout the working day and avoid further pain and trauma to the body as your working life continues.

Inspire Hot Yoga Maidenhead
Lizzy Nichol Forrest Yoga

The class took place in the very beautiful and relaxing Inspire Hot Yoga Studios where, as the name suggests, practice is undertaken under the warmth of infrared heaters to enable you to go far deeper and more safely into the yoga postures. Practicing in heat like this is also said to encourage detoxification so there are many given benefits for hot classes of this kind.

For the Forrest Yoga class the studio was heated to 31 degrees which I was told is the coolest of the classes on the timetable there. Still felt pretty warm to me though! But I definitely did enjoy the heat once I had gotten used to it. I can certainly understand the benefits when it comes to loosening up the muscles and achieving a deeper stretch. Just make sure you take a very large towel and a lot of water to help get you through. Sweat in the eyes is a bit of a tricky distraction when you're trying to balance on your elbows with your feet half way up the mirror at a 90 degree angle!

Inspire Hot Yoga Maidenhead

The studio is beautiful and fully equipped with everything you need for a happy and relaxing class. Upon entering you're asked to remove your shoes immediately and are then greeted by the softest, toe pleasing carpet ever known in the reception - I could've walked around on that all evening!

The studio is large with mats all laid out and ready to go, blocks for support should you need them, a beautiful Himalayan Salt Lamp which really adds to the feeling of wellbeing and mirrors in which to watch your progress, check you are aligned well and are hitting the correct postures. There are also smart, modern changing rooms with some very useful and much needed showers available so that you can finish your practice and get yourself ready to head off for the rest of your day or evening. The timetable at the studio is focused on providing access to classes throughout the day in order to meet the needs of all of our varying and different lifestyles.

Inspire Hot Yoga Maidenhead

Whilst this class was challenging for me, I really enjoyed it and it's something I really want to try again. To experience a hot class was unique in itself and I really felt I had hit deeper depths of my muscles by doing so, especially the following morning when I woke up! Oh and on the subject of sleep, they said at the studio that I would sleep well after such a class and boy did I have a truly relaxing and deep nights sleep! So there's definitely something to be said for the benefits of a heated practice. 

The philosophy behind Forrest Yoga is a great and much needed one in this day and age. I only hope that with continued practice I'll be able to find myself in some of the postures demonstrated by Lizzy below - and be able to hold them for more than a second! I love that this form of exercise focuses so greatly on reversing the negative effects of modern day life. It's something many of us need and I'm sure can relate well too.

Lizzy Nichol Forrest Yoga
Lizzy Nichol Forrest Yoga

Have you tried Forrest Yoga and do you feel that it's been beneficial to you? Or is this a practice that you think you'd like to try? Share your experiences below and have a wonderful Friday everyone. Do something that makes you feel fantastic and be happy!

Louise

 

*I was very kindly able to try this class out on a complimentary basis to see what it was all about. However if I hadn't of enjoyed the experience I wouldn't be sharing it here with you on the blog today.


3 Super Easy Fitness Tricks To Try This Weekend

I'm always intrigued by ways to try and stay a little stronger and healthier. Since getting back from our recent trip to India, where I spent hardly anytime on any form of laptop, computer and not even my phone (well by my usual standards!) coming back to reality has really taken a toll on my neck, back and shoulders. Highlighting just how hazardous our daytime desk jobs are. I know I say this a lot but finding ways to help our bodies out a little more in this digital driven age is something I'm always interested in discovering and sharing here on this blog.

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

So today I'm presenting three really simple health hacks that we can all start practising right away for a better mind and body. Bear with me, some might seem a little odd, but I'm reliably informed they will really do us all good in the long run!

 

3 EASY HEALTH HACKS TO START RIGHT NOW

1. Sit On The Floor Not The Sofa: Active sitting on the floor either in a cross-legged position or in a squatting position has been done by people all over the world for centuries. If you practice yoga you'll know the benefits that this can bring as apposed to sitting in a chair or on your sofa. Ok so it might seem a little odd, but switch it up and sit on the floor now and again, you don't need to pay for a yoga class to achieve this and the benefits that it brings. You will engage far more muscles especially in your core, improve balance as you get up and down, improve blood circulation and generally be surprised by the more centred calmness it can bring. Use cushions or support for your back as needed and forget the couch now and again, it only promotes unhealthy postures and bad circulation. To get you started and to make sure you're sitting in a healthy way try the Sukhasana posture. Not sure what I'm on about? A great resource from which to learn more can be found here: Sukhasana (The Easy Pose) - Yoga With Adrienne.

2. Walk Barefoot, Work Those Feet: Ok granted this one depends on where you are in the world right now. Anyone in the UK will probably laugh out loud at the idea of this given the weather. Although I'm not just talking about outside but inside the house too. In the western world we spend so much time hiding our poor tootsies in shoes and socks yet 25% of our bodies bones and muscles lie in our feet. By housing them in restrictive shoes we aren't using these important and by now totally sedentary muscles to their fullest. In a recent yoga session I was asked to sit back on my toes to wake up said muscles and oh my god did it really flippin' hurt!! I realised then that my poor feet were being crazily neglected and that I needed to practise moving them more often. Still not convinced? Get into the science bit by reading this article here: The Surprising Health Benefits Of Going Barefoot - Mind Body Green.

3. Stand, Walk And Talk: Got a lot of catching up to do with family and friends this weekend? Plans to organise, gossip to share?! Great but don't spend that time on the phone sat in your bed or on the couch, get up and walk it out! Making phone calls on the move, either on an actual walk which I like to do whilst walking the dog, or just by simply pacing around the house, is another super simple but effective way to keep the body moving and pumping! There's no great trick to this, simply get up and move whenever that phone rings.

 

So there we have three super simple ways to add a little strength and health back into your daily routine straight away. What do you think, can you see yourself giving any of these ideas a go this weekend? Share your thoughts, and any other tips you might have in the comments below. Thanks for reading everyone, have a happy weekend.

Louise

 

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Map My Walk Review And Power Walk Accessories!

Walking is one of the simplest and most effective ways to get yourself moving and get some exercise. I say it all the time but it's true. Plus when you work in an office all day long, or at home by yourself with the temptation to procrastinate and not get any exercise, taking a walk is an effective way of clearing the mind, getting fresh air and keeping yourself well. In fact recent headlines have stated that walking just 25 minutes a day can extend your life by 7 years and significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

Map My Walk App

I pretty much walk everyday thanks to my four-legged friend. Somedays, especially when I'm particularly hectic, I will walk for a short time and other days for up to two hours. However recently, in order to get the heart rate up a little higher, I've taken to hitting the streets for an extra walk, solo, at a very fast pace with my music pounding and breaking into a proper sweat!

Now I don't know about you but I'm a bit of a 'track my progress' type of person. I love to know how far I've gone, what I've achieved and to see the results in front of me to show that I have (or haven't) managed to reach my fitness goals for the week. This might make me sound like I'm mega fit, that's not the case!  However, I am now very consciously putting effort into getting out there and getting on with it! So today I wanted to talk about the app Map My Walk. How it has really helped me to get moving properly and on a regular basis, and how it might be able to help you too.

Walking Accessories

Map My Walk is a free app that does pretty much exactly what is says on the tin - maps, records and help you plan your walks. Helping you to improve on your overall fitness.

You can sign in with your Facebook account or sign up with an email address. If you want to you can find your friends and track their progress against your own. Take part in worldwide fitness challenges and record your progress and achievements.

Working on a GPS system, you select a workout like 'power walk' for example, press 'start workout' and go on your way. The app will record the route you have taken, the date, duration, number of steps and the distance. It also enables you to log your food if you wish to do so (although I don't use this function), set goals and record your favourite local routes.

For my own power walking fun I've also invested in a couple of other items that have really helped make the experience more enjoyable. Namely an armband to hold my phone and some sports earphones that clip over the old ears so that I can listen to some heart-thumping tunes to get me in the mood!

Oh and I've also gone old school and got my hands on some sweatbands for my wrists. Why? Well I'm weird and I hate the feeling of sweat when I work out (hence my usual aversion to exercise) so these really help as I can mop my over-heated forehead and feel better in an instant. I do however draw the line at an actual sweat related headband!

Nike Sweatbands
Sony Headphones

The art of the power walk has really helped in my pledge to get moving again and the app is a very effective tool for helping to incentivise and track progress. My only complaint is that sometimes it looses GPS signal out in the countryside! This can be annoying when you know you've been pacing it out for ages and you look at your phone to find it's only recorded 3 minutes, but all in all it's very helpful. Plus it sends you useful weekly email digests that summarise your workouts for the week and a monthly workout summary reminding you to fist pump away to your success. So that's always nice!

If you need to get that heart racing once again, grab yourself a couple of purse friendly but very useful accessories, download the free app and get out there asap. Walking is free, easy and simple to do yet really very useful and effective.

Recently I've also progressed onto Map My Run. I can't believe I'm running but I am so wonders may never cease! As soon as I logged into Map My Run it downloaded all of my walk info as well so it all syncs up really easily and nicely. If you're going to be both running and walking straight away then I suggest getting Map My Run instead. It's basically the same but with running options and challenges as well.

I hope this helps inspire those of you looking for a little extra activity in your life and if you decide to give the app a go let me know what you think.

What are you favourite fitness apps for tracking progress and staying motivated?

Louise