For many, spring inspires us to change things up and start afresh. Looking at Google search volumes, it appears that many of us are applying the same principle to our health and fitness.
Over the last three months, the UK’s search interest has surged:
- ‘Fun workout classes near me’ – 450% 3-month search increase
- ‘Air fryer weight loss recipes’ – 367% 3-month search increase
- ‘Easy ways to relieve stress’ – 300% 3-month search increase
- ‘Best multivitamin for muscle growth’ – 300% 3-month search increase
- ‘Tasty low cholesterol meals’ – 300% 3-month search increase
With so many more of us looking to improve our bodies and minds, I spoke to Dr Luke Powles, Associate Clinical Director for Bupa Health Clinics, who offers his advice on making sustainable changes to your health and fitness.
- Find the way you like to move
It can be easy to get in the habit of treating exercise as a chore, especially during the wet and darker winter months. So, Spring can be a great time to be inspired and switch up your routine, starting the new season feeling invigorated.
Google search volumes show that more of us are looking to make exercise more fun, with increased interest in classes. From aqua aerobics to bungee workouts, why not sign up for some taster sessions to try something new, and see what clicks?
Working out with a group offers further health benefits too, including boosting motivation, helping keep your form in check and the opportunity to make friends.
If you prefer exercising solo, the brighter spring days may inspire you to take your workout outside. Whether it’s a lap around the park listening to your favourite songs or getting off public transport a few stops earlier to enjoy getting your steps in on your commute, it’s all about finding something that you want to do and enjoy doing – as this means you’re likely to stick with it.
- Tweak your diet
Google search analysis shows many people are trying to make better food choices, with some focusing on weight loss, and others on more specific health goals, like lowering cholesterol.
If you’re trying to reduce your cholesterol, it’s important to cut back on the amount of saturated fatty foods you eat. Using an air fryer, instead of other cooking methods like deep-frying, can be a great place to start.
It’s worth noting that, just because something is cooked in an air fryer doesn’t necessarily make it better for you. If you’re using an air fryer to cook processed foods, e.g., readymade sausages or breaded chicken, it’s unlikely to make you healthier.
The key to keeping your cholesterol and weight in check is having a healthy, balanced diet – with a mixture of items from different food groups – and exercising regularly.
If you’re concerned about your weight or cholesterol, it’s important to get yourself checked and work with a health professional to make sustainable changes that are right for you.
- Brush up on supplements
If you’re planning to up your exercise this spring, you may be wondering whether supplements can help to keep you strong. There’s mixed evidence around whether taking protein supplements can help your muscles to recover after a workout.
Replenishing your muscles and energy stores after exercising is important, so be sure to eat something including a good source of protein within thirty minutes of completing your workout.
Including carbohydrates in your post-workout meal or snack can help with your recovery, too, e.g., rice cakes topped with peanut butter.
- Soothe your stresses
Taking time for your body and your mind is an important way to help keep stress at bay. Spring is a good time to brush up on the best ways of taking good care of yourself:
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Aim to get around eight hours each night.
- Make time to do activities that make you feel relaxed and happy.
- Try mindfulness techniques, or practises like meditation, yoga or breathing exercises to keep you grounded and reduce the impact of stress.
- Keep connected with friends – even a quick catch-up over a cup of tea can help you feel more positive.
- Avoid caffeine, smoking or alcohol as coping mechanisms if you’re feeling stressed.
Giving yourself goals can do wonders for your health and wellbeing, however, it’s important to not be too hard on yourself, as you could end up adding to your stresses. Speak to a health professional if you’re finding things difficult.
- Know your limits
When you start any new routine, it can be tempting to throw yourself into it with your new-found enthusiasm. However, it’s often not sustainable to make such big changes to your life on a long-term basis.
Think about spring-cleaning your home – you wouldn’t clean all the rooms all in one day (at least not to a level you’re happy with!). Apply this same principle to your body and take things slowly, not doing too much all at once and seeking assistance if you need it.