Editor’s note: As we emerge from our collective food and drink coma of the past few
days weeks, health and lifestyle writer and new blogger Nicola Conville* has some easy tips to help us feel great BEFORE the New Year.
We all like to look and feel our best, but the thought of a gruelling fitness regime or a drastic diet is often not the most appealing way to get there.
At least not for me! Eating and exercising has to be an enjoyable experience in order for me to stick to any kind of plan.
The good news is that there are lots of little changes you can make to your daily life that will add up to make a more fabulous you – and have you feeling great before the New Year.
I’ve asked some of my favourite health and fitness experts to share their best and sneakiest tips to looking good and feeling great this summer – without trying too hard. Enjoy!
1. Get fruity. Summer is a great time to enjoy all the wonderful seasonal fruits on offer, such as mangoes, cherries, peaches and berries. Nutritionist Lisa Guy (www.artofhealing.com.au) suggests adding them to bircher muesli, smoothies or making a big fruit salad topped with yoghurt and crushed nuts.
2. Go green. “Super green smoothies are a great day to start your day off,” Lisa says. “Include kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley and green apple and kiwi fruit.” Add these to a blender with filtered water for a great energy kick. “To make this green juice extra super you can add in a spoonful of spirulina,” she adds.
3. Drink up. “Make sure you stay well hydrated during the hotter months by drinking at least two litres of water a day,” Lisa says. If you find plain water a bit dull, make a jug of iced herbal tea with some fresh lemon, lime, ginger or mint.
4. Watch your sides. “There is nothing better than a summer barbecue, but watch out for high-calorie salads made with mayonnaise,” Lisa says. She suggests making a simple but healthy dressing from Greek yoghurt mixed with lemon juice, a dash of olive oil and some wholegrain mustard.
5. Find alcohol-free alternatives. Make a delicious and refreshing summer drink by mixing the water from a fresh young coconut with a squeeze of lime and a handful of ice. “This is a great way to replenish lost electrolytes, especially when you’re hot and sweaty,” Lisa says.
6. Go for a walk. We should all be aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise a week, according to the Department of Health and Ageing. The fitness experts at Lose Baby Weight, Rhian Allen and Sol Wakling, suggest ditching the car journey to the shops and going for a 45-minute walk instead – which can burn 180 calories. “For an extra workout, take a backpack with you and fill it up with what you buy so you are using more energy on the return journey.”
7. Head for the hills. “Once you get used to going for a walk start looking for routes which have hills in them,” Rhian says. “Walking up hills helps you to burn off more calories – for every 1 per cent incline, you burn off 12 per cent more calories per 1.6 kilometres. If you walk up a hill with a 10 per cent incline, you’ll be burning off over twice as many calories per 1.6 kilometres walked.”
8. Start skipping with the kids. “Skipping is a brilliant exercise for burning calories – and skipping continuously for 30 minutes burns off approximately 345 calories,” Rhian says.
9. Take the stairs. “If you find it hard to get out of the house to exercise – use the stairs inside instead,” Rhian says. “Just half an hour of going up and down the stairs will burn off 285 calories.”
10. Get your groove on. “Pop on some Wiggles or nursery rhyme music and get boogying with your little ones. Having a dance for 30 minutes can help you to burn off 160 calories and is a great way to have fun with your children,” Rhian says.
11. Get fishy. “Taking omega-3 supplements can really help plump up the skin and keep it soft and supple over summer,” says Pam Stone, director of education at Blackmores. Krill oil is the hot new supplement when it comes to omega-3s and Blackmores have recently released an Eco Krill oil, which is kind to your skin and the ocean.
12. Boost your vitamin C levels. Vitamin C is readily available in summer fruits and vegies but Pam recommends pushing your vitamin C levels even higher. “Vitamin C plays an essential role in the scaffolding of your skin, it helps boost the elasticity and prevents it from drying out. It’s a great secret weapon,” she says.
13. Amp up your antioxidants. Again, summer fruit and vegies are brimming with antioxidants and they play a vital role in helping to prevent damage from the sun, however a good daily antioxidant supplement is very important to make sure you’re covered, Pam says.
14. Go for grapeseed. “Grapeseed contains properties that strengthen the skin tissues, which help protect it from the signs of the ageing and has an antioxidant effect,” Pam says. “It is a key supplement for summer in the context of a healthy, fresh diet.”
15. Love your liver. During the silly season, all the extra alcohol and rich food we consume takes its toll on our liver. “Try to substitute healthy alternatives like raw snacks and remember moderation is key,” Pam says. “Skin is our biggest organ of elimination and if we overload our bodies the skin struggles and it won’t look as fresh and clear.”
What’s your number one tip for feeling great after a period of indulgence?
* Nicola Conville is a health and lifestyle journalist with more than 10 years experience in the publishing industry. She is the Specials Editor at body+soul, freelances for a variety of publications and blogs at www.myhealthyfamily.com.au You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. She lives in Sydney with her husband and their daughter Lucy.