Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Am I fit and healthy?

It's a question parents ask themselves all the time, and one we want to always answer yes, and permanently look towards a wonderful healthy future raising our children, being as fit as they need us to be.  But how fit and healthy am I in reality?

I’m working on a E.ON campaign getting people to think about what’s really important in their lives, and concentrating on no more than that.

I’ve agreed to take part in consultation sessions with four different experts, the latest of which specialises in health, wellbeing and fitness.

This area of my existence is one I’ve perhaps focused on in fits and starts in my life.  Having a bit of a realisation moment a few years ago, when I realised that things really needed to change if I was going to consider myself healthy.

I set goals then, had targets to work to, and my health and fitness improved dramatically for the better.

Thing is, now I’m in more of a static routine with no massive goals to aim for, and hence my focus has perhaps drifted from my health and wellbeing.

Talking to fitness expert Tim Haynes that much became clear pretty quickly.

As did my realisation that I don’t know myself as well as I should, nor do I know anywhere near as much as I think I do about my health.

Not that I feel I got lectured.  Talking to Tim was a really pleasant and positive experience, he apologised for being direct, but he need not have done.  I love those that give it straight.

We did a walkthrough of my daily routine, pausing to make notes and actions, and found generally that I’m far from a lost cause.

Generally, and like many busy parents, my biggest mistake is leaving too long between meals.  He pointed out that having a breakfast at 8am then not eating again till 2pm or later is really not fantastic for the body.

It can lead to bad moods, add to stress and leave you feeling lethargic.

Yep, that’s why we feel like crap, or certainly part of the reason.

We spoke quite a lot about how you know when you feel low and why, when you can tell you’ve run out of energy.  And one of the first actions to come out of our consultation was to keep a food, mood and energy diary.  Hopefully with the aim of building a picture as to what foods have what affect, and then making further changes to my diet and to my benefit.

May seem like a ridiculously simple thing to do, and for some unnecessary.  Some people can quickly establish what foods give them energy or have a negative impact.  However I’m a man that pondered for a good while why I was struggling to get to sleep, and I did so over a pint or so of diet coke a night.   I had a light bulb/pint glass moment to realise and make a change.  In short: a diary will really help.

Another action is to add mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks into my diet as a matter or course or planning.  Our breakfast, lunches and meals are fairly well planned out, so it won’t be too much more effort to think about – and plan – what to eat in between.  But could have a dramatic impact on the amount of energy I have for the things that really matter.


The final action is to perhaps introduce a short, but specific, training session into my weekly routine.  I generally keep fit these days by playing and training for hockey matches.  Playing at the weekends, and training in the early part of the week with my teammates.  Another personal session towards the weekend would probably improve my fitness, my performance and most importantly, my overall enjoyment.

Tim was really good and suggested I avoid things I don’t like, or do a ‘boring’ simple session of running, cycling or swimming.  Yuck.  Better to find something that I actually want to do, and even better if that routine mimics the movements a hockey player makes during a game.

Hopefully I'll have more energy for games, and understand better perhaps why sometimes I feel like I don't have any at all.

Plenty to think about, and plenty to think about positively.



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