How boosting energy will make you run for your life… Part 2

Part 2 – Suggestions on Energy and Motivation…

The vital point is to have enough sleep, as discussed in the previous blog. The other important point is to get lots of exercise. It is ironic how this seems to energise me. Often if I feel sleepy, a walk will help cure any sluggishness.

Upbeat music often cheers me up and procures some enthusiasm for the day ahead. Even on a Monday! Often, if I’m feeling tired, I will put some lively music on and it helps wake me up. Also, if I’m going on a run, music facilitates a good energy boost. Whether it lasts is another matter but, it certainly improves my performance. Sometimes, I may just put some music on and sing along and or dance, which can be embarrassing when someone comes home and catches you, as recently happened to me. Oh well, who cares? 

Sometimes a mental boost such a doing a crossword or catching up on emails help too. In fact, writing this blog often inspires and interests me as I can research and read about topics that fascinate me and hopefully, you as well. BBC Radio 4, or any animated radio show or podcast, is a good first thing, as it helps you think about current affairs and gives perspective to your own life.

Although this seems counterintuitive, often tackling a task can motivate and give energy. Sometimes, I set an alarm on my mobile for 40 minutes and do a blast of cleaning. A boring job, but it does feel great when it is done. The same with gardening. As you watch the grass and weeds grow it is easy to feel overwhelmed, but recently I spent a day cleaning, then weeding and mowing the lawn and felt quite accomplished afterwards.

This leads to my next point, and that is to get close to nature! Go on a walk in the countryside and enjoy the fresh air and discover new surroundings. Going with family or friends is fun, but I find walking alone (with Oscar the borrowed dog) helps me relax as I explore woodlands and countryside trails. I’ve managed to find my way back home, as well without getting lost lately, and as I have a dreadful sense of direction, this is a miracle, I can tell you. 

Reading helps because it makes you think about something different. It can help you discover new interests too. Often, I find Pinterest or even YouTube is great for this as well.

Although, having mentioned social media, recently I have taken a step back from it, as I am finding the content quite benile and without depth. Unfortunately, this is due to the UK election, but I’m beginning to lose interest in Facebook, etc. I think you get more depth of content from books, documentaries and so on. Turn off any devices long before bedtime because the light stops you from sleeping.

Lastly, mindfulness and meditation are said to be good for wellbeing and energy. Ha hah something I need to try!

Let me know, in the comments, below, if you have any ideas 💡 that work for you.

Thank you for reading my musings about how to get more energy and sleep.

Sum up:

Sleep enough

Exercise

Music

Sing and or Dance!

Mental boost like a crossword

Listen to a podcast

Time yourself and clean

Gardening

Borrow a dog and go for a walk

Read a book

Mindfulness

Meditate

 

 

How boosting energy will make you run for you life…

Part 1 – Sleep

I’ve been poorly with a virus after weeks struggling with energy levels. So how do you improve energy levels and therefore fitness?

Having read various articles and papers by experts, plus watched some really interesting documentaries, I’ve decided to collate some points of interest.

The first point is you need to get enough sleep and most of us do not. The UK is known to be a sleep deprived nation. Insomniac Michael Mosley (Presenter of the documentary The Truth about Sleep) confesses that he usually wakes every night at 4 am and reads for a bit until he is able to sleep. So he investigated why we are so sleep deprived.  It seems easier to sleep when you are younger, but harder as life goes on.

The Sleep On-set Latency Test

To find out if you are sleep deprived, see if you can nod off in the middle of the afternoon. Hold a metal spoon over a metal tray and see how long you can hold the spoon. If it drops before ten minutes, then you are sleep deprived. If before five minutes, then you have severe sleep deprivation.

How Much Rest Do We Need? 

Apparently, you should get between eight to nine hours sleep, but many do not achieve this. In fact, as a nation, we sleep 1-2 hours less than 60 years ago. When we do hit the sack, our quality of sleep is worse and a third of us suffer from insomnia.

Caffeine and alcohol have a diverse effect on our sleep patterns and may cause snoring which, disrupts the partner’s sleep as well.

Sleeping pills are not the answer which is no surprise. They may possibly help for a few days but can be addictive as you build up a tolerance.

The biggest surprise, for me, is sleep deprivation can cause health issues such a Type 2 diabetes and obesity. This shocked me. Dr Helen Scott, from the University of Leeds has been researching this:

“We know that a lack of sleep alters different hormones that are involved in how we perceive appetite and hunger,” she explains.

“So we get more of the hormones that cause us to feel hungry and less of the ones that cause us to feel full.

“There.. [are].. some big studies suggest that people who sleep too little, and indeed those who sleep too much,…it’s associated with the development of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.”

 

Mosley’s documentary about sleep, investigated a few solutions which you may like to try…

THE TECHNIQUES:

1. Breathing.
Controlling your breathing can reduce stress. This approach is known as 4-2-4
– Breathe in deeply through your nose while mentally counting to 4.
– Hold your breath to a count of 2.
– Breathe out through your mouth to a count of 4.
– Try doing this for 3 to 4 minutes. It should feel relaxing.

2. Have a warm bath or shower 1-2 hours before going to bed, then allow yourself to cool. The act of cooling should trigger sleepiness

3. Eat two Kiwi fruit an hour before bed. A study done over 4 weeks found that this improved quality and quantity of sleep.

4. Remove electronic devices from the bedroom and turn off all screens at least an hour before bed. That includes TV, computers, mobile phone and all social media.

5. If you are a regular drinker then try skipping alcohol for a few days. Although it may help you go to sleep, alcohol also tends to disrupt sleep

6. Go for a 20 minute walk or a run first thing in the morning. The early morning light should help reset your internal clock, making sleep easier.

There is some science behind no. 2. A warm bath will increase your temperature and then drop when you experience cold air. This helps you to fall asleep.

Put away devices, because the blue light, is a good and vital point (that I don’t always follow myself). Plus alcohol will disrupt your sleep. Damn it!

Do the sleep challenge here.

How do you get enough sleep? Go for a walk, like Oscar?

More about gaining energy in Part 2…

 

 

#Juneathon, update plus a lunch recipe…

Ingredients for the stir fry…

The above means you are supposed to exercise every single day and blog, tweet of FB about it. Nowadays, however, most people just tweet or comment on FB rather than blog. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to blog about my progress, until now, but have been doing the exercise which is my main aim.

Day 1 – 3 Gym
Day 4 – Sunday run – (Did 6 k along local roads and country lanes.)
Day 5 – Short walk
Day 6 – Gym
Day 7 – Gym
Day 8 – A long walk

Sunday run – (Did 6 k along local roads and country lanes.)

Also, I’ve written two posts about sleep and energy as I seem to be lacking on both counts at the moment.  These posts are out this weekend, so I hope you enjoy them.

Last weekend, I decided you use up the oldish veg and do a stir fry for lunch.  Here is the recipe…

Impromptu Veggie Stir Fry

Left over veg – I used cabbage and leeks

Onions

Chopped garlic

Mushrooms

Seasoning, including herbs

Smoked Mackerel

Hoisin sauce (about tablespoon)

Sesame oil

3 Eggs, beaten

Fry in sesame oil, the onions, garlic, mushrooms, seasoning and add the beaten eggs to form an omelette. Remove the omelette from the pan and cook the vegetables and add the sauce. When cooked, serve up with the chopped omelette and add the smoked mackerel. Lovely.

A great lunch, which was exceedingly tasty.

Veggie Stir Fry

Notorious – Bluebells, climbing, photography and a pub that refused to open its front door…

Wondering what to write for my next blog and saw today’s word prompt. Bluebells are notorious during May, in England. They grow in Spring, around now, and remind me of my childhood. My sister and I used to go out into the woods at the bottom of our garden and pick them. You are not allowed to do that now due to environmental stipulations and quite right too.

 

A wild, beautiful blue carpet of bluebells brings a diverse splendour to our woodlands and made a recent family walk quite uplifting. I was invited for a four mile walk and found the loveliness of the scenery quite unexpected and invigorating.  The ancient woodlands were swathed in blue and wonderful to experience. My daughter, tried out her new camera and I used my exceedingly good phone camera. We had a wonderful time admiring the scenery, playing about with photography and of course, climbing over gates and stiles plus a good natter.

The walk surrounding Groombridge, Kent was delightful and staggeringly magnificent. Groombridge Place is a great family place to visit if you enjoy wandering around gardens admiring the cultivated plants. They have a grand selection of different gardens and a forest. My favourite garden area is The Secret Garden because it reminds me of my favourite book from childhood, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett first published as a book in 1911. A great piece of children’s literature. Another memory. Funny how these small life experiences take you back!

The forest has an incredible area for youngsters which includes two tree houses linked together with rope bridges and a central viewing tower. Also many levels with decking and platforms sheltered under sail roofs. All inspired by the TV series Crusoe with some original props.

 

We all enjoyed the walk and decided to go walking more often. I have a birthday coming up and decided a new camera may be prudent. I’ve always fancied pursuing photography as a hobby and feel the time is right. The clearer photography will be good for my blog, any future outings and this year’s travel plans. It may even encourage more walks, etc. and improve my health and fitness. We live in hope. 😉

After climbing a flipping long hill at the end of the walk (and it was very flipping long), we popped into the local pub to imbibe in some refreshment. Unfortunately, we had started the walk early and arrived, gasping, half an hour before the place opened. We  sat in the pub garden and chatted rather than move on and waste time finding another suitable, local establishment. Who else has done that? Can’t have a table for half an hour or so, gone away to locate somewhere else because you are desperate for something to eat, only to realise that you might as well  have waited and been patient because other places are booked up and ridiculously busy!

 

We sat and waited and waited. Went to the front door. Other waiting people disappeared and reappeared in the pub, happily supping their pints. The front door was still locked. Just deciding to move and find the mysterious portal that actually got you into the pub, and DA DAAAAaaa, a man appeared sheepishly admitting they had forgot to open the door. Never been so pleased to order a pint, I can tell you.

 

I was treated to a yummy pub lunch which consisted of a duck and hoisin sauce wrap.  This gave me an idea for future lunches without bread. Devoured in no time and I had earned it after climbing that steep, long hill, I can tell you.

 

Hope you are having a fabulous day and do feel free to comment about your favourite activities. Oh, and any information on photography is very welcome. 

Any follows are gratefully received, as well.

Bye for now,

Andy x

 

Twitter: @mishmashmedia_

Margate – Small hotels, posh food, micro pubs and a sunset…

I recently had a couple of days in Thanet to enjoy some sea air and sunshine. The weather was ok, and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting first Margate (overnight), and then Broadstairs. Although I prefer Broadstairs, I wanted to see how Margate was looking these days. I’d heard about the resurgence of micropubs, the cafe culture, the art gallery showcasing new and funky pieces juxtaposed with Turner’s seascapes, the retro shops and vibrant vibe of the Old Town. I was, therefore, fascinated to view the cultural renaissance for myself.

Unfortunately, The Sands Hotel was booked so stayed in a grand looking ‘boutique hotel’ on the sea front. The bedrooms online looked glorious. However, when I arrived, I quickly realized that ‘boutique hotel’ meant small, with smaller bedrooms and ridiculously small sinks and bathrooms to match. It looked so flipping splendid online and I was a bit disappointed, but not really surprised. They always make everything look amazing and glamorous online, don’t they?

Anyway, I enjoyed the micropubs and thought Margate Old Town was rather nice with a selection of cafes, pubs and obligatory gift shops. Enjoyed a couple of beers in the Life Boat micropub after a jolly good breakfast in the corner café. Looked in the gift shops (didn’t buy anything) and wandered to the harbour/beach area to enjoy a small libation in the Harbour Arms and enjoyed the views in the sunshine.


Margate has a very pleasant ambience, but could still do with some improving. Why can’t business owners pick up the litter in front of their premises? Particularly important if they are eateries! However, it has certainly retained some charm and the people are very friendly. The Turner Contemporary was fun to visit, although taking only a few minutes to see everything. The art wasn’t particularly impressive, but it was amusing and free admission is always welcome.

Unfortunately, many of the restaurants closed at 5pm and it was difficult to find somewhere interesting to eat. Eventually, a table was reserved for 7.15pm in The Sands Hotel which is a glamorous and luxurious residence. Why not treat oneself to a posh meal? When the waiter asked for an email address my husband told him, if you wanted to contact us, we will be next door in Fez, another micropub. He laughed and agreed it was a great place to go to.

Fez is amazing and by far my favourite pub. It is quirky, friendly, has delicious beers and quirky décor. We walked in and it was packed with people drinking, laughing, singing, and dancing to the blues band located in the corner. A lady asked me if I would like to sit down as there was a seat free. Later on she told me she had properties in Margate and there are a lot of investors coming to the area. She bought her first property when only twenty three years old while working “in the City”. We chatted for some time and it was great fun and interesting to find out about what was going on in the area.

As we talked, she confirmed what I had suspected about Margate. It is slowly relinquishing its reputation as a rundown seaside town and gaining credentials as an arty destination. If you want to visit you can catch a train from St. Pancras and the journey takes about 90 minutes. Also, once there, they have a fab bus service called the Thanet Loop so you can visit Broadstairs and Ramsgate too.
The meal in The Sands Hotel was delicious and we had a beautiful view of the evening’s sunset. I had salmon, guinea fowl a superb lemon pudding. Oh, how spoilt I felt.
After the meal, I went back to the pub next door to Fez, where they were playing 50s records on an ancient gramophone player. People were dancing and having a roaring time. Fantastic.

The next day we succumbed to our under cooked eggs for breakfast ‘scrape the snotty bit off’ and headed off to Broadstairs. We experienced more micro pubs, a lovely lunch and then a slow drive home. A great mini break.

Thanks for visiting my blog and don’t forget to follow. 😀

Twitter: @mishmashmedia_

Exercise can be contagious – new study finds..

During my Easter run, I decided to make countryside runs a habit. This is because I find them enjoyable, insightful and, most importantly uplifting. When I was young, and struggling to run half a mile, I would have laughed at this. Now instead of clubbing to the sounds of Donna Summer, I run with her dulcet sounds, as I pound the roads of the English countryside. Times have changed. The last thing I expected to be doing, is running.

One thing I’ve noticed is, if I’m honest, I prefer to run alone. In fact, any exercise really needs to be done alone. If you are in the gym, chatting, you are not working hard enough. Ok, I can’t work out and chat because I’m too puffed out haha.

Maybe I will participate in the park run again and enter into the competitive side of running. This element is possibly the best way to improve as you are competing against your own time as well as everybody else.

A recent study indicates that if you run with others you will run slightly faster (0.3 km). Running as part of a group will slightly improve your time. However, women tend to be influenced by other women. This may be because you may expect a man to run faster so you do not feel compelled to compete. I tend to expect males to pass me.

Scientists have found that a runner’s peers influence him or her to run more. Not all influence is equal and individuals are more likely to be influenced by less active ones. Men are influenced by both men and women. Yes, I can imagine!

So, perhaps I should join the local running club. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-exercise-contagious-friends-20170418-story.html

Mushroom Risotto

This is a delicious quick lunch which uses up the old mushrooms you may have lying about.

Chop the mushrooms, onions, garlic, bacon (if want to include) and get a litre of chicken/veggie stock ready plus 200g of risotto rice.

Throw the chopped bits into a pan with a splash of oil and cook. After a few minutes throw in the rice and add liquid. You may want to add peas and or spinach or whatever you jolly well like. Leave for a few minutes to simmer. Add Parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Tip: This could be boxed up for tomorrow’s lunch too.

Bacon

Mushrooms

Onion

Garlic

1 litre of Chicken/Veggie stock

200 grams Risotto rice

Peas or spinach, etc.

Seasoning and mixed herbs