How to stay healthy while travelling

How to stay healthy while travelling

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

We’ve saved the money, packed our bags and planned ourselves an awesome trip. Everything has finally fallen into place and things are looking great. However, great times often lead to some not so great results; think discovering that our once beloved skinny jeans no longer fit, or that we’ve reached a number on the scales we’ve only ever seen on calculators. That giant Italian pizza and Nutella crepe seemed like a good idea at the time, but now we think it’s worse than any of the decisions we ever made in high school. To make sure it doesn’t happen again, here are the best ways to stay healthy while travelling:

Drink plenty of water

Yes, we sound like our mums, but water is actually one of the best things for us. It keeps us hydrated, energised and best of all; it has no calories. It’s extremely important to stay hydrated while travelling because we do so much walking, exploring and general touristy things that drain us of our natural supplements. Water can also replace snacks when we’re feeling hungry, as a lot of the time we’re not actually hungry; we’re just thirsty and our bodies confuse the two feelings. Replacing fattening snacks is a great thing because it stops us from gaining excess weight and adopting pimply skin. What more could we want?

Exercise

Exercising to keep healthy isn’t rocket science, but it’s surprising how many people are hesitant about exercising while overseas. We make countless excuses, such as ‘we don’t know where the local gyms are,’ ‘we have no idea who will be at the gym,’ and ‘we don’t know what the instructor will be like.’ But even if we don’t go to an actual gym, there are many other ways to get some much needed exercise under our belts. Why not set an hour of exercise aside every day or two to ensure it gets done? We can go for a run on the streets, jog along the beach or even go for a nice power walk around the local area. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout; it just needs to get done and we need to understand thatWhether we send ourselves a calendar notification, leave ourselves a note or get someone to remind us – just effing do it.

Commit to at least one healthy meal a day

Yes, this is hard. We know one of the best things about being in a foreign city or country is the yummy food we can’t find back home. But don’t worry; the good thing about this one is that we can still stuff our faces with awesome food twice a day (instead of three times). Similar to setting aside time to exercise, we should afford the same courtesy to food. Whether the chosen meal is breakfast, lunch or dinner – we just need to make it happen. We can even mix it up every few days by changing a healthy breakfast to a healthy lunch, or even a healthy dinner. There are nutritious restaurants all over the world, and contrary to popular belief, googling does more than tell us the best places to find chocolate, alcohol and milkshakes. If that doesn’t suit, we can head to the grocery store and bag some great ingredients that showcase those superb cooking skills.

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Keep healthy snacks handy

Let’s face it; snacks is where it goes wrong. Those devilish little things don’t look fattening at all. In fact, they’re so small and insignificant that we find it hard to believe they contribute to weight gain. But the thing is, they add up. They add up a lot. Quickly devouring a Mars Bar before hitting the shops and then thinking, ‘hey, why don’t I get a quick ice cream while I’m here?’ and then ‘one more Mars Bar won’t hurt’ is what gets us good. They slowly but surely cause pimples and then suddenly, our stomachs resemble our dads’ Christmas beer bellies. While this can be very concerning, there are ways to prevent it. We should carry healthy snacks that are low in calories at all times. According to experts, some of these snacks include bananas, almonds, strawberries, muesli bars, nuts, crackers and other foods high in protein. We should eat them whenever we feel hungry and refrain from indulging on those fattening, sugary foods.

Stick to routines

Holidays are exciting, and it’s extremely hard to maintain our everyday routines. We know that. Most of the time we just want to jump out of bed and head straight to the beach or something as equally exciting. However, before doing so we need to make sure we’ve washed our faces and applied our usual toners and moisturisers. It might not seem that important, but our bodies are thrown out of proportion when change occurs. As weird as it sounds, our bodies know when we’re messing with their routines and they’re not happy about it. Cue the intense breakouts, frizzy hair and weird shape changes. It’s a good idea to shower just as much as we usually would, exercise the same (if not more) and maintain our health eating habits.

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How to exercise according to your mood

How to exercise according to your mood

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

We all go through rough patches from time to time – some of us more so than others. And although we deal with our emotions in different ways, there’s one thing we can do to make sure we don’t push ourselves over the edge. It’s not a new concept but that thing is exercise.

Sometimes we’d rather do anything (think major surgery) before resorting to exercise, but studies have found that different kinds of exercises have the ability to shape, affect and direct our moods. For example, there are certain sports we should avoid like the plague when we’re angry, and vice versa. Here are some of our strongest moods and what we should do when we’re experiencing them.

Angry

Obviously, feeling angry isn’t the best thing in the world. Our blood is rushing to our head, we can’t think straight and all we can see is red. The only thing we want is to punch someone in the face and then down a bottle of wine. However, there are better and more healthy alternatives to this. Why not head to the nearest gym and go to town with the punching bags? Better yet – take your anger out on some of the poor souls in the ‘boxercise’ classes. After all, they signed up for it! Many anger management classes even employ boxing as a means to help eliminate anger, so we know it’s legit. Go for it.

Happy

The aim here is to maintain our happiness levels. This can be difficult because our moods change so quickly, especially when our lives are as hectic are they are. We need to find something not too intense – yet something that’s full of endorphins to achieve that natural high. One sport that fits this criteria is running – and no, running’s not going to kill us. We just need to choose an intensity we can adhere to without scarring ourselves for life. One great place for light jogging is along the beach – where the ocean will provide an excellent scenic backdrop. If we’re feeling really adventurous, we can even go for a dip afterwards!

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Sad

The last thing we want to do when we’re sad is hit the gym or perform something equally as excruciating. However, exercise gives us endorphins and endorphins make us happy. Yes, we know chocolate does that too, but it’s not as effective and chocolate makes us fat. So, balance it out and do something that makes you happy. Dancing is great for sadness because our bodies respond positively to movement. Research has found that we’re programmed to ‘jump for joy’ when we’re happy and ‘slump’ when we’re sad, so trick your body into thinking you’re happy by dancing up a storm. It really works – our brains react to messages and signals from the brain – it’s science.

Stressed

One word: yoga. The goal here is to zen your stress levels and chill the hell out. We know that taking time to do this can be annoying, especially when we’ve got a million other things to do, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Experts believe there are psychological benefits to yoga, as it has the ability to help us ‘return to meaningful activity’ and provide a sense of accomplishment. “Exercise may be a way of biologically toughening up the brain so stress has less of a central impact,” said Michael Otto, a professor of psychology at Boston University. “Exercise has such broad effects that my guess is that there are going to be multiple mechanisms at multiple levels.”

Fitness myths you shouldn’t believe

Fitness myths you shouldn’t believe

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

If you’ve spent even 20 minutes in a gym with other people, you’ll know that suddenly everyone in the vicinity becomes a health and fitness expert. Whether they’re criticising you for eating non-fat yoghurt for breakfast or trying to convince you how important it is to take a million different supplements a day, they think their word is gospel.

But let’s be honest – most of these people have absolutely no freaking clue what they’re talking about. To clear things up, I’ve done a bit of research and have discovered some of the top fitness myths out there. And let me tell you, there are plenty.

Strength training makes women bulky

According to certified fitness and nutrition experts, this is one of the biggest lies out there. While lifting weights does build muscle, it takes a hell of a lot more than three kilo dumbbell curls to transform you into the Hulk. You might be thinking of all those female bodybuilding pics you see on Insta, but let me tell you, those women pretty much devote their entire lives to gaining muscle and looking buff AF. They also complement their training with super high protein diets and a really, really strict fitness regime. Trust me, you’re not going to turn into a superhero just by performing two to three sets of light weights a few times a week.

Squats are bad for your knees

Again, this is complete BS. In fact, experts say squats are actually good for your knees. Squats are among some of the greatest moves for performance enhancing and core-building strength. Not only do they develop all of your major muscle groups around the knees and hips, but they also help other muscle groups, such as the glutes, calf muscles, quads and hamstrings. Once you strengthen these muscles, the pressure is eliminated from the knee joints and onto the muscles that are designed to stabilise those joints. Unfortunately, no matter how much research is done about squats, many personal trainers and media personalities are still spouting off incorrect facts.

The more you sweat, the better your workout was

Not always. Some people naturally sweat more than others, and that definitely doesn’t mean they’re working out any harder. The amount you sweat also depends on your fitness level, body type and genetic history. Experts believe that the best way to measure your workout is by intensity, not sweat. If you did an intense workout, but didn’t produce any sweat, it’s definitely not something to worry about. As long as you completed your fitness regime properly and gave it all your all, chances are you totally killed it.

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Sit-ups and ab exercises will give you a six-pack

Sorry to burst your bubble, but your six pack isn’t making an appearance any time soon if you live by this rule. According to research, “you can do sit-ups for days, but if you have a high percentage of body fat, your abs will stay in hiding.” Abs will only appear when you eliminate the belly fat that covers them. To achieve a toned stomach, you should try high intensity training. However, the simplest way is to just cut out artificially sweetened drinks and sugar from your diet.

The sorer you feel after a workout, the better your workout was

Soreness is usually just a sign that you haven’t performed a particular move before, or for a while at least. While stiffness and pain can be signs that you absolutely nailed your workout, it’s also possible to exercise without feeling like you’ve been kicked in the shins, thighs and buttocks with giant arse heels the next day. Everyone is also different, and some people experience delayed muscle soreness. Experts say that pain is not a suitable indicator of effectiveness, and that you shouldn’t worry if you’re not feeling as sore as your expert resident gym buddies.