How Exercise Can Support Your Healthy Lifestyle

I have to say, despite having quite bad sleep right now compared to pre-Isaac, the one thing I know that massively helps is exercising. It gives me energy (weirdly) and improves my mood no end. While beforehand I might not really fancy doing it, I know afterwards I’ll feel a lot better! The below article is great on how exercise can really help keep you healthy 🙂

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We all know that leading a healthy lifestyle is important for our overall well-being. Eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise are both key components of a healthy lifestyle. But did you know that exercise can actually help support your healthy lifestyle in general? In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at some of the key benefits of exercise and why you need to make it a consistent habit in your daily life.

Why is Exercise a Key Component to a Healthy Lifestyle

Most people know that exercise is important for maintaining a healthy weight, but it does so much more than that. Exercise has been shown to improve mental health, increase lifespan and protect against conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. It also helps to reduce stress levels, improve sleep quality and increase energy levels. In short, there are few things that exercise can’t do for the human body. And yet, despite all of the evidence, nearly 80% of adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise each week. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, there’s no better place to start than joining a gym like Fitness 19 and creating a regular exercise routine. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but the benefits are more than worth it.

1. Exercise Boosts Metabolism

One of the main benefits of exercise is that it helps boost your metabolism. A higher metabolism means that your body is better able to burn calories, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. Exercise also helps build muscle, and muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, even when you’re at rest. So, if you’re looking to boost your metabolism and support your healthy diet, regular exercise is key.

2. Exercise Helps Control Appetite

Another way that exercise can support your healthy diet is by helping to control your appetite. When you exercise regularly, your body releases endorphins, which have been shown to suppress appetite. So, if you find yourself struggling with cravings or overeating, regular exercise may be just what you need to get back on track.

3. Exercise Reduces Stress Levels

We all know that stress can lead to unhealthy habits like overeating or eating junk food. But did you know that exercise can actually help reduce stress levels? Regular exercise has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. So, if you’re looking to reduce stress and support your healthy diet, exercise is a great option.

4. Exercise Helps You to Sleep Better

Studies have shown that people who are physically active tend to sleep more soundly and for longer periods of time than those who are sedentary. Furthermore, exercise can help to alleviate some of the common causes of insomnia, such as stress and anxiety. And while it’s important to get some exercise during the day, moderate activity in the evening can also be beneficial. So if you’re struggling to sleep well, try going for a brisk walk or taking a yoga class before bedtime. You just might find that you sleep like a baby.

Improve Your Fitness In 4 Steps

Happy Friday! I have a great article today about improving your fitness and how to stay motivated. Enjoy!

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Anyone who wants to have a better approach to fitness will need to know about some of the major ways you can achieve this. The truth is that it is always possible to improve your fitness, and just appreciating that possibility is an important first step for a lot of people. However, if you are keen to really get to the bottom of how you can improve your fitness, there are a lot of things you might want to bear in mind. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do to ensure that you are keeping your fitness in tact as best as you can.

Sign Up For Classes

One of the best ways to improve your fitness is to work on your commitment to it, and a good way of doing that is to sign up for some classes. If you have a few fitness classes to look forward to, then you are going to be much more likely to keep on with your fitness regime, and that will mean that you get much better results from it on the whole. Signature fitness classes could be a good place to start, as you are likely to get a lot out of them each and every time.

Keep A Routine

Routine is very much what this is all about. If you are capable of sticking to a routine, you are going to notice huge improvements in your fitness in no time, and it’s the kind of thing that you will be able to build on more and more as time goes on. Keeping a routine in this way is really important because you are showing yourself that you really care, and that it is important you are going to keep on with it. So make sure that you develop a routine you can enjoy and make full use of.

Set Goals

It might sound like something of a cliche, but you are going to want to set yourself some goals so that you are more likely to keep on track with regard to your fitness. Having some clear goals that you are happy to follow can really make a world of difference, and it’s the kind of thing that you will need to work on as well, because some goals are better than others in this regard. So, make sure that you set yourself some goals, and that you are doing all you can to follow them as best as possible. That is going to help you a lot.

Find The Joy

Finally, you need to make sure that you are finding the joy in whatever you want to do. As long as you are enjoying it, that is all that matters. This means that you should therefore seek out fitness regimes and exercises which you really love, and make a point of following them as clearly as possible. If you can do that, you are going to find that your fitness is a lot better on the whole.

What do you do to keep fit?

Do you you enjoy keeping fit?

Our experience with reusable nappies

Before Isaac was born I decided that I was going to use reusable nappies rather than disposable ones. I’m not sure when or where this decision initially germinated from, but it became something I was very passionate about.

I want to preface this blog post with a quick note. I have zero judgement to other people for what nappies they decide to use. This is purely my own story and hopefully will give advice to anyone who wants to know a bit more about reusable nappies.

I hate the idea of creating too much waste and try to be as eco-friendly as I can where possible. I remember seeing several rubbish bags of nappies outside someone’s house and it was astonishing. When I looked into things further I found that newborn babies could be using 10 nappies a day, sometimes less, sometimes more. So in a week that’s 70 or so nappies, all heading to landfill where it would take 500 years or more for them to degrade down. It made me feel sick.

I researched into things a bit further (knowing vaguely that reusable nappies existed but only a in a very ‘hippy dippy’ land). I found a great resource from the Nappy Lady’s website.

This website is a fantastic knowledge base – lots of helpful guides, Q&A’s, videos as well as the products themselves. Well worth a look if you’re interested. I also watched several YouTube videos.

This was all while I was pregnant. Yes, it was quite overwhelming and confusing at first. There are so many different types of nappies you can buy… pocket nappies, two-parters, all in ones, etc. And then there were boosters and liners. Bamboo or synthetic materials. How do you wash them? How many do you need? What do you do when you’re out and about?

But I literally immersed myself into that world, watched real-life mums and tutorials on YouTube and got my head round it. Up front, reusable nappies are a big expense. To use the nappies every day you really need 20-30 nappies depending on the baby – so you can be washing yesterday’s nappies while your baby is wearing today’s nappies. Each nappy is £10-20 depending on the brand and style – not even considering any extra accessories you’ll need (more on that later). That’s a lot of money upfront to get you ready.

To combat this a little, we asked that if family or friends who wanted to give us a present (at the baby shower for instance) then to please give us a nappy. That way we could reduce the hit to us and people would know what to buy us if they weren’t sure (and indeed wanted to buy us anything!).

I also had a lovely friend who sent us some of her old reusables for us to use, which massively helped. Preloved reusable nappies work just as well!

Upfront costs aside though, using reusable nappies in the long run are actually cheaper than disposables. (Of course though up front costs straight away compared to incremental over time).

https://www.cheekywipes.com/blog/cloth-nappies-vs-disposable-nappies-money-saving.html

So let’s get into the nitty gritty. Because we were gifted a lot of nappies, we didn’t get to choose the exact ones. This meant we got a mixed bag of the different types.

Nappy Types

Reusable nappies generally fall into these types:

  • All in ones: the most simple and easy to use. Everything is self-contained in one nappy. No wrap required.
  • Pocket nappies: basically similar to the all in ones but the absorbency bit is tucked inside the nappy in a pocket. So it dries a bit easier because you can take the bit out of the pocket separately.
  • Two parters: these are made up of a fluffy nappy bit that is the absorbent layer, then you have a separate waterproof wrap that goes over that.

During the day we just use a mix of the above. We have boosters and liners that we add. Boosters increase the absorbency by adding another layer to keep the nappy going for longer so it doesn’t leak. We also use a liner (we use thin fleece ones rather than deposable ones). The liner catches the poo so you can flick the poo down the loo a bit easier and it helps preserve the nappy itself in terms of lifespan (reduces the stains in the nappy which unfortunately do happen over time).

They grow with the baby as they last for so long

We have what we call the “Super Nappy” for the night which is a two parter as it’s the most absorbent of all our nappies and we need it to last 12 hours. These don’t tend to leak. We love the Bamboozle brand for this.

Washing and care

In terms of washing, when we change Isaac we put the dirty nappy in a material bag and then the next morning we put those nappies in the wash. We first do a rinse (not a pre-rinse but an actual rinse cycle, which for our machine is about 30 mins). Then we put the nappies on a 40C cycle (if nappies are just wet) or a 60C cycle (if the nappies are soiled) which is usually around 2 hours or so.

Then we hang them out to dry or put them on a drying horse (or if we need to be quick, put them in a tumble dryer but this does wear them down eventually).

Nappy Accessories

Like I said, we use boosters and liners (which go through the same washing process). We also have a wet bag for the nappy bag. This is for when we’re out and about and we change him. Instead of binning the nappy as you would a disposable, we just pop it into the wet bag and take it home with us ready to be washed.

We also use reusable wipes. We keep these in a plastic tub with a lid and we just add water to it and then they’re ready to go whenever we need them throughout the day. We take dry ones with us when we’re out and about so we can dampen them with the tap and use them when changing him.

When Isaac goes to the Nana’s we give them several nappies and then they send back the dirty ones (or sometimes if they get a chance they wash them for us, which is lovely). At nursery they use reusable nappies too so we just send him there in one and they have everything they need there.

Our experience

I love using reusable nappies. It’s just part of our life and feels completely normal. We used disposables for a short period when Isaac was born as we only had two newborn nappies, but as soon as he was big enough (which wasn’t long) we went full reusable.

I have such a system now of washing and getting them sorted that it’s just part of the day really. The nappies are perfect for Isaac as well. We’ve never had any serious nappy rash and we rarely have any poo explosions or leakages. And the patterns and designs are just adorable. And because the costs are all done, it’s absolutely free. We don’t need to buy anything else.

I would heartily recommend using reusables. Even if it’s just one or two a day or week. That’s one or two disposable nappies you’re stopping ending up on landfill. You don’t have to go the full hog to make a difference!

Have you ever considered reusable nappies?

What things do you do to be eco-friendly?

11 weeks and how it’s going

Blimey it’s been a while!

I mean it’s to be expected I guess – it’s a lot looking after a little newborn (well, let’s be honest he’s not that much of a newborn anymore and he’s definitely not that little). At 11 weeks he’s rather the chunk weighing in over a stone and in the 98th percentile for length!

In terms of how I’m feeling, I have to say, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my maternity leave. As a self-declared “lady of leisure” it’s been quite lovely. Of course it’s super tiring, sometimes stressful, sometimes emotional and the hours aren’t the best, but on the whole it’s so nice to be off and to spend such quality time with Isaac, family and friends without having to worry about work.

I’m not going back to work until April so I’ll have a good few months of this still but it really does feel like it’s flying by. I know I’ll blink and suddenly it’ll be over and then we’ll be juggling childcare and work… scary stuff. But thoughts for another time!

What have I been up to lately? Well, quite a bit! We’ve been back to parkrun – though I’m not running yet. I’m still 11 weeks postpartum and don’t intend on “coming back” until at least 12 weeks. And even then it’ll be a gradual return. To be honest, I’m a little terrified and not even sure it’ll be a success even then. I’m working on my core, my pelvic floor muscles and general strength each week so finger crossed.

But walking parkrun either with the pram or the carrier has been lovely. It’s nice to still be involved in it and of course parkrun is so welcoming and lovely that walking it hasn’t been an issue at all. I get lots of comments about the youngest parkrun being in attendance and Isaac seems to love it. To be fair, he’s very used to going for walks having been on a walk every single day of his life so far!

I also went up to Stoke and North Wales with my mum so Isaac could meet his great grandparents.

It was lovely to see them and for them to see him – we go lots of special memories and photos.

The trip wasn’t too difficult either and we only had one night out of the three where Isaac struggled with sleep (and I’m thinking this is potentially because I had a very large non-decaf coffee – my first since before I was pregnant!).

In general though it’s been a lot easier as Isaac has gotten older. Sleep has been better, though I’m still waking up 2-3 times a night to feed. But Isaac is so easy to feed, change and put back down to sleep that I’m not awake for long. And he even let’s us sleep in till 9am which is glorious!

He’s been for his first couple of swimming lessons as well.  I say swimming, more like floating. But after the initial first lesson which he really wasn’t happy about he now seems much much better in the water. It’s so important for us to get him nicely adjusted to the water because we live by the sea and want to make sure it’s something he’s comfortable and safe with.

Of course it’s still a minefield of confusion, worries and stress with looking after Isaac but we feel a lot more comfortable and at ease with things. We don’t feel like he could die at any moment if we look away for a second. We’ve gotten into a good rhythm of days and know what to do in different scenarios. It’s amazing how from being so clueless you can be to being so much more knowledgeable and comfortable.

But of course we have many more hurdles to get over and more changes to come so no doubt we’ll be back to being clueless and hapless parents once again!

Healthy Living 101: 8 Important Body Parts that Need More Care

Keeping yourself healthy – so important in all satges of life. As I’m currently breastfeeding I’m trying my best to keep right on top of my health. I mean this is a bit of a continuation of my pregnancy too – it’s no longer just me I’m looking after! Here is a great post to remind you to look after yourself.

Every part of your body needs special care and attention. Therefore, there are many routines that you should follow to ensure every body part is in top shape to improve your overall health. So, here are important body parts that need more care.

Pixabay – CC0 Licence  

Skin

Skin is the largest organ in your body and is the first layer of defence against any harmful and foreign substances. Every time you walk out of the door, you expose your skin to a barrage of potential hazards, such as germs and bacteria. The good news is that your skin has a mechanism to protect itself against most of these substances and prevent you from getting sick. This is an excellent reason to give special care to your skin. Failure to do so will expose your first line of defence to harm. Skincare is a good way to get started.

Eyes

They say the eyes are the windows to the outside world. Like most parts of the body, your eyes are constantly exposed to harm. Additionally, you have to deal with light emitting from various sources, such as your computer and phones and ultraviolet rays. This may result in irritation and, ultimately, infections.

Ears

It is advisable to listen to ears also. The human ears take a lot of sensory overload from the environment. And like other special body parts, your ears need care. The chances are that you expose yourself to high decibel sounds that can be perilous to your hearing ability.

The most basic ear care is ensuring you do not get exposed to too much noise by avoiding using earphones with high volumes or standing next to speakers in a concert. Additionally, you can take care of your ears by using earbuds when working in noisy environments. Lastly, keeping your ears clean and dry helps you prevent infections and irritation.

Teeth

Your teeth are the reasons behind your fantastic smile. Additionally, they allow you to enjoy the pleasure of various foods. Failure to take proper care of your teeth can be detrimental to your dental health and facial beauty. The good news is taking proper care of your teeth is easy. It is a matter of avoiding too much sugary food, flossing, and brushing at least twice a day. However, reports indicate that a majority of people do not take proper care of their teeth.

Apart from brushing and flossing, regular visits to a dentist help you prevent and manage dental problems. There are many health benefits of taking good care of your teeth, and you should not miss any of them.

Lower abdomen

Your lower abdomen comprises your belly and belly button. This part is another that requires special care because it contributes to your physical appearance. For starters, planks and sit-ups can help you get a 6 pack and make your lower abdomen more attractive.

When it comes to your belly button, you must have realized that it stays dirty even after hours in the bathroom. This may be scary because there are many types of bacteria in the human belly button. Proper care includes cleaning and consulting your physician if you have issues around this region.

Back

Your back makes up your core, an important body part that helps you do so many things. So, you have to ensure that you give special attention to your back. Chronic back pains can be debilitating and prevent you from going about your daily routines in peace. If you want to avoid this, make sure you sit in the right posture and avoid exerting too much pressure on your back. Physical exercise can also be an excellent way of taking care of your back.

Genitals

Do you find it challenging to spare a thought for the well-being of your genitals until there is an infection? You are not alone. Many people ignore their genitals until it’s late. Your genital area is always covered most of the time, making it prone to infections and irritation. Without enough air circulation, your genitals tend to be damp, and this is perfect for bacteria to thrive. Ensure you wear clean underwear and change them as frequently as possible.

Hair

This may be a surprise inclusion, but vital. Your hair may not contribute much to your health, but they are crucial to your physical appearance and personality. Additionally, your hair can be an indicator of your overall health. Taking proper care of your hair includes frequent washing using shampoo and cutting, if necessary. Avoiding too much heat treatment can also be an excellent way of taking care of your hair.

The bottom line

There you go; these are the most important body parts that require special care. Follow a healthy lifestyle and these tips to protect your body against diseases and improve your overall health today and every day.

Are you “on it” with your health?