By WALX Derwent and Dales at
Diet, Exercise and Sleep – the tripod of a healthy life. While improving just one of these lifestyle factors can help people lead longer lives, several recent studies have suggested that improving all three may be a better way to improve both physical and mental health.
We have recently celebrated the healthy approach to weight loss and sense of improved wellbeing, that three of our Walx members, John, Ralph and Jonathan made by making some small changes to their eating habits and exercising more. Swapping to more healthy snacks, like our recipe in last month’s newsletter and portion control is a great starting point, as is understanding how much exercise you need to be doing to really get those health benefits.
Did you know that to gain health benefits from exercise we should be aiming to be physically active every day? We need to do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week and do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. (Source NHS).
This would equate to 2/3 Total Body WALX or 2 x 90 minute Explorer walks a week’ for example.
Finally let’s talk about the importance of sleep as it is often overlooked and yet so important to our health, and something many of us struggle with. We need good quality sleep each night to allow our brain and body to restore and recover. The good news is that with a balanced diet and the right amount of exercise, a good nights’ sleep often follows!
We would like to share some sleep hygiene tips that promote quality sleep and are a good place to start if you’re looking to improve your sleep.
-Eat well and eat earlier in the day, don’t eat heavy meals late in the evening so your body has time to digest your food before going to bed.
-Avoid caffeine and Alcohol: If you enjoy a caffeine hit try to limit these in number and restrict to mornings only, as caffeine acts as a stimulant, and even a small amount of alcohol units can prevent ‘recovery’ sleep.
-Move that body: Schedule regular exercise to improve your sleep. While any movement during the daytime is good, it’s even better to get regular, moderate exercise a few days a week.
-Exercising outdoors: This is so good for our health. It engages our senses, grounds us in nature, which is beneficial for our mental health, as well as facilitating exposure to natural light during the day, which can help keep your body in sync with its natural sleep rhythms.
-Routine: Try to go to bed at the same time each evening and get up at the same time.
-Room temperature: ensure the room you are sleeping in is a comfortable temperature setting.
We hope you find this information helpful in understanding how diet, exercise and sleep are so intertwined for our body and mind wellbeing; and hope our tips can help you to get the balance right.
And for those of you struggling with a good 7-9hrs sleep a night and interested in reading more, then you may like Professor Matthew Walker’s book ‘Why we sleep’.
Looking forward to seeing you for our own outdoor exercising from March 29th 2021 when we relaunch our group classes!