Let’s be honest. You know the benefits of eating well and exercising regularly. But knowing something and making it part of your life are often two very different things.
After all, does anyone actually like going for a run in the blistering heat (or, perhaps more realistically, the driving rain)? And when you’re famished, who doesn’t lack the willpower to make the right choice in the worthy-yet-nutritious superfood salad versus the yummy-but-calorific chicken and leek pie lunch dilemma.
Ultimately though, it’s not just your physical health and fitness that improve when you eat well, and occasionally do more than walk quickly to and from the office. You’ll see benefits everywhere, from your state of mind to your ability to stay focused for longer at all times of the day.
But how do you strike the balance between enjoyment and indulgence? Read on for some top tips from the Cranberry team.
1 – Find an activity that you love
One of the many amazing things about the 21st century is the incredible breadth and variety of exercise options readily available.
From zumba to yoga, capoeira to karate and synchronised swimming to spinning, there’s a plethora of options, making it far easier to find something you enjoy.
When you start enjoying an activity – or at least not feeling like running for the hills at the mere mention of it - you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to make it a regular part of the life.
Plus, you never know, but you might start to find the endorphin rush addictive, not to mention the general feeling of self-satisfaction you get from knowing you’re improving your fitness.
2 – Consider joining a club or committing to a friend
If you’re one of those people who start each New Year setting yourself ambitious targets that fall by the wayside by around January 10th, you’re not alone! However, while ambition for yourself is wonderful, you’re more likely to make exercise part of your life if you’re not trying to do it all alone.
So why not find a friend, preferably with a similar level of fitness, and make a commitment to each other. You can spur each other on and act as each other’s motivators, as – hopefully – you won’t both be feeling uninspired at the same time.
What’s more, gyms and clubs often offer discounted memberships and free class trials, so you can shop around to find something that suits you.
3 – Plan plan plan
If you’re not someone who naturally springs out of bed at 6am ready for a 45 minute high cardio workout to start your day (and, let’s face it, most of us aren’t), then you need to think carefully about when you’re going to exercise.
That’s why committing to a friend – see above – can be a great way to ensure that you stick to your guns. There are other steps you can take as part of the planning process.
• If your mornings resemble a mad dash for the door, get your sports gear together the night before
• Pop your exercise slots in your calendar – You’ll get a reminder, as though it’s a meeting or a call
• If you’re exercising alone, make yourself a motivational playlist – You’ll be amazed at how quickly the time passes (and how much harder you work) when listening to a great tune
4 – Experiment with new recipes, foods and genres
While exercise is, of course, crucial to finding the right balance in your life, your diet is also vital. And, as with exercise, the multitude of food available from cuisines and cultures all over the world means that you have a huge choice, so eating healthily has never been so much fun.
Are you a big fan of spring rolls? Then try fresh Vietnamese rolls instead. They’re delicious, easy to make at home and – due to the fact that they’re not deep fried – far better for you.
And how about experimenting with vegetarian food? It’s becoming hugely popular, with many people electing to forgo meat during the week. And it’s delicious. From Anna Jones to Ella Woodward, you’ll find inspirational recipes that don’t take long to make after work.
5 – Snack healthily, but give yourself (small) treats on a regular basis
Finally, it’s worth remembering that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. While it’s great to modify your diet – including plenty of fresh fruit and veg and dropping the packet of crisps at lunchtime, for example – you need to give yourself small treats on a regular basis.
After all, if you’re exercising more regularly and cutting out foods that are high in fat, you deserve to reward yourself. But, while a little bit of chocolate every once in a while never did anyone any harm, it’s worth remembering that delicious snacks don’t have to be unhealthy.
In fact, nuts and dried fruit boost everything from your concentration levels to your mood, and are healthy too. Why not check out the dazzling delights of our Classic and Gourmet ranges for inspiration?
Get 5 little happy snacks every Monday morning to your home or work for under £1 per day. From exotic Smokey Almonds & Corn to boisterous Yoghurt Raisins and nutritious Raw Nuts, you’ll have something to look forward to every snack time.