Body & Fitness

Gemma McCaw’s top tips for getting started on your fitness journey

Begin your wellness journey today with these six easy steps.
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I often meet women who are keen to lead a healthier lifestyle but have no idea where to start.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you’re thinking about changing your diet or taking up exercise, especially when you’re juggling a busy life. But remember wellness is a journey, not a destination, and it always starts with the decision to try.

No matter your shape or stage in life, it’s never too late to incorporate small, meaningful changes that can have a huge bearing on your health and happiness.

We’re not looking for perfection, it’s just about looking at what you can do, rather than what you can’t do, and often you can make some simple tweaks to your usual routine with some seriously big results.

So, where to start? Here are six tips for a healthier you. They don’t require money, fancy equipment or joining a gym – it’s just a matter of making some “you time”.

So often, we’re giving our energy, love, time and support to everyone around us, but if we don’t look after ourselves, eventually we’ll burn out and have nothing left to give.

Keep scrolling to see Gemma McCaw’s top tips for wellness below

1 Sort your sleep

Sort your sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly important. How about bringing bedtime forward half an hour and feel the difference it makes? Ensure your room is dark so your body knows it’s time to snooze. Poor sleep can result in weight gain and increased risk of disease. Alcohol has been found to decrease deep sleep and increase sleep disturbances, so avoid that last glass of wine just before bed. Invest in a real alarm clock or plug your phone in on the other side of the room so it won’t be tempting to pick up and scroll late at night or first thing in the morning.

2 Let food be thy medicine

Let food be thy medicine:

Want to feel more energised and less tired? Eat healthily. Reach for whole foods rich in colour and high in nutrients. When the 3pm slump hits, swap out the sugary quick fixes like muffins or a chocolate bar for raw carrots, apples or a handful of nuts. Whole foods make us feel better, improve our energy levels and nourish the body. Too much sugar can cause mood swings, decrease productivity and can actually fast-track fatigue and hunger. Healthy food is like a good friend – it gives you good energy and you always feel better for it!

3 Let’s get physical!

Let’s get physical! It’s no secret that even a little bit of exercise improves your mood, reduces the risk of disease and enhances your quality of life. Physical activity stimulates the brain, and leaves us feeling happier and less stressed. If you’re low on free time – a common problem for working mums, in particular – something is always better than nothing. It’s as easy as a 30-minute walk each day, but if that’s too much of a stretch, how about finding time for three 10-minute strolls? Instead of driving to the shops, go by foot. Avoid the elevator at work and take the stairs. Or if you want to try jogging, start with five minutes and increase it week by week. Your fitness will improve really quickly, which is so motivating. The key is consistency – choose the stairs instead of the lift, walk to get your morning coffee, print to a machine at the other end of the office, get outdoors and move any way you can. Every bit counts!

4 Get organised

Get organised: One of the traps of our busy lifestyles is the fact we often have less time to prepare and think about food. This often leads us to grabbing something on the go that provides us with no nutritional benefits. Being organised and planning ahead helps us stay on track. Pack your lunch for work or take snacks with you when travelling – I always have nuts in my handbag. This way, you know you won’t have to reach for those unhelpful foods on the run!

Start the day right: Breakfast is vital as it lifts the low blood sugar levels that have developed during the night. Eating a good combination of protein, healthy fats and low GI (slow releasing) carbohydrates is essential to balancing blood sugar levels, controlling your cravings and keeping your energy up throughout the day. Think eggs on a piece of wholemeal toast with avocado and tomato for a great start to your day.

Look up!

Look up: We’re all spending far too much time with our eyes glued to our devices and screens. How about making a family rule of no phones during meal times or in the bedroom? Model the behaviour you’d like your own kids or partner to follow by putting your own phone away and encouraging conversation instead. Try switching off the TV at night or choosing just one favourite programme if you must.

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