Life Health & Wellbeing

Sunday 18 November 2018

Karl Henry: The simple lifestyle swap that will make all the difference to your health

School of Health Week 2: This week, Karl Henry says sharing fitness goals is key

Ask a work colleague to join with your lunchtime exercise
Karl Henry

Karl Henry

So how did you fare with your homework from week one? Don't worry if you didn't manage to get each one done, just do your best. Sometimes people strive for perfection on their road to health and that can often be their downfall, being hard on themselves when they don't hit each and every goal. The homework I give you each week is achievable but if you do your best and just tick the boxes off as you go, then you still get an A plus, in my opinion.

Last week's column was very much about building the foundation for success, with simple swaps that work. This week I want to build on that and give you ways to encourage your household to work together for health, realising that putting yourself first sometimes is essential for health and giving you some simple ways to stay motivated now that you have started.

My clients get some of their best results when they realise that by putting themselves first, for a period of time, be it an hour a day, a day, a week, or even a month, it doesn't matter. Making yourself the priority ensures that you can be better for others around you as you are healthier yourself.

I want you to take a look at your day and see when you can make some time for just you, no one else, just you. Now ensure that you fill that time with something positive, healthy and productive.

Now I also want you to focus on getting those around you in on the health buzz too. In work, at home or with your friends - if those around you are healthier, chances are that you will be too. Involvement is the key word here, making sure that family and friends feel involved, empowered and motivated. Here are some simple ways to make sure that happens:

* Talk: Sometimes just communicating with your work colleagues or at home will be all it takes. Tell them about what you are doing and why you want to do it and why you want them to join you

* Share: Share the choices. Allowing each person to choose an activity or a meal to cook ensures that everyone finds something that they want to do

* Reward: You know how much I love a good reward and it applies to the group even more. Set a target and put a reward in place when the target is hit

* Keep it fun: No matter what you are doing with your group, keep it fun. Being too serious can turn so many people off exercise and health in general

Ok, so now you are on track, motivated and focused, we want to keep it that way. It's always weeks two, three and four that are the hardest when it comes to staying motivated. Last week you set some goals, let's give you some tools to help you stick to them:

* Break it down into small, manageable daily tasks

* If something isn't working then change it for something that does

* Have an accountability partner to be answerable to

* Use an event to work towards

* If it's a food issue then using a food diary is always a good idea

* Listen: Use the spare time you have to listen to inspirational and motivational podcasts and audiobooks. Spare time can be motivation time!

* Never be afraid to ask for help

* Measure lots of different elements of health and remeasure weekly - change equals progress so measure several times to see that change.

Homework: Get cooking, stay motivated and take the stairs

* FOOD: Let's take it up a notch this week and get cooking. Homemade meals are a crucial way of improving your health. With fewer additives and preservatives, your food is fresher and lower in sugar and salt. Home-cooking and batch cooking is something we all need to do more of. So our task this week is to cook three meals from scratch - any meals whatsoever. Don't be afraid to take a picture of your meal and tag us on social media too, we might just find a prize for the best photo #schoolofhealth

* EXERCISE: So let's build on last week's training with three cardio sessions, one hour each, getting slightly out of breath. Then add in three sets of 12 reps of lunges, press-ups and a plank. Do these every second day

* MOTIVATION: The motivational homework this week is to make that goal visual. Place it somewhere you can see it - such as your car or the fridge or at your desk, places that you would normally falter. You'll will be amazed at how it begins to change your behaviour

* LIFESTYLE SWAP: Stairs, stairs and more stairs. This week's simple lifestyle swap is to use the stairs only during the day. No lifts or escalators, unless you actually need to. This is a very easy swap that could make a big difference to your health.

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