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Rosemary Conley CBE

As our daylight hours become shorter here in the UK, it is tempting for us to make excuses for not going out-and-about for our daily walk. If, like me, you enjoy a walk first thing, it is a nuisance having to wait for the sun to rise but we can always use the time wisely. Having given my early morning exercises on the bedroom floor a bit of a rest in recent weeks, I am now re-instating them as I await daylight to dawn! You can find these mini routines on the Strength & Toning Exercises page of the website.
Climbing the stairs is one of the most effective ways to tone up our legs and bottom at the same time as working our heart and lungs. If it’s raining or it’s really dark outside, walk up and down stairs as many times as you can manage and next time, try and beat that number. Stair climbing is a great way to get fitter.
We have all heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (known as SAD) occurring for some folks in the winter-time, caused by lack of sunshine and longer nights. It can cause people to become depressed and irritable which obviously affects every part of their lives. On the other side of the coin, exercise is recognised as tremendously beneficial for our mental health and that is on top of the physical and metabolic benefits we will also enjoy if we exercise regularly. It is also essential that we try to eat really healthily too. Eating foods that boost our immune system is really beneficial to our general wellbeing.
Here are a couple of pages on our website for you to have a look at that might help to motivate you to make some healthy choices: Boosting Immunity  Motivation to Exercise

Recipe of the Week

Mixed Vegetable Soup (v)

This highly nutritious soup is a great way to eat a multitude of vitamin-rich, high-fibre vegetables to boost our immunity at the same time as keeping us feeling fuller for longer.  It is also a great soup to make when we have surplus vegetables that need using up, for instance after Christmas dinner.

This soup is suitable for freezing

Serves 4 - 6
Per serving: Calories & fat content vary according to vegetables used.
Prep time: 10 - 15 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins

3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Use one each of any root vegetables to hand – sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, swede, peeled and diced
Add any available cabbage, Brussel sprouts, celery, leeks, trimmed and chopped
500ml vegetable stock (use one vegetable stock pot)
2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
Using a Soup-Maker
  1. Place the chopped onion and crushed garlic in a hot non-stick pan with some rapeseed oil spray and cook until soft.
  2. Place the chopped vegetables, plus the onions, stock and stock pot into a soup-maker. Add freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Cook on high for 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Liquidise once for 30 seconds. Ensure the mixture is well mixed then add the fresh coriander (if using) then liquidise for a further 30 - 45 seconds to remove any lumps.
  4. If too thick, add more water or stock or freeze as concentrated soup and then add more stock when heating up ready to serve.
Using a Pan
  1. Place the chopped onion and crushed garlic in a large hot non-stick pan with some rapeseed oil spray and cook until soft.
  2. Add the vegetables and the stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool slightly then pour into a liquidiser or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the freshly chopped coriander (if using) and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and whizz again.
  4. If too thick, just add a little more water or stock when heating up ready to serve.

For more recipes click here to visit the website

Fun, Facts & Fitness from Mary Morris MSc.

Whilst out on a walk with one of my groups recently I slipped on wet mud and inelegantly fell, prostrate in a very muddy puddle!  The embarrassment was acute as you can imagine, but it has occurred to me since - what if I actually could not have got myself back up again?  So, this week I am going to focus on everything we can possibly do to prevent a fall both inside your home and also when out and about, and if you do fall, then to be able to get back on your feet again as elegantly as possible!

As you can imagine, falling is linked to two major factors – Strength and Balance.   Both of these vital requirements are covered extensively on our website and we have recently added a new video Getting up after a fall which is designed to teach you the easiest and most efficient way to get up if you have fallen.  It is possible that you personally don't need to learn that technique but there may be someone you know, perhaps an elderly relative, who is highly vulnerable to falling and would benefit greatly from being taught how to do it. 

Some useful tips to prevent falls:

  • Exercise with weights.  Exercising with weights encourages our muscles to work harder making them stronger. We need both upper body and lower body strength to enable us to push ourselves up off the floor.  Strengthening the 'pushing' muscles of the arms and chest guarantees our ability to push ourselves up and back on our feet. Having strong legs will reduce the chance of our falling in the first place!  Try the Standing Weights Workout which effectively strengthens all areas.
  • Improve your Balance.  The best thing about balance is that it can be trained.  The more we practise it, the better our sense of balance will be. Following our video Balance Exercises is a great way to train yourself to balance better.
  • Keep your home ‘fall-safe’!  Try to keep floor space clutter-free and immediately mop up spillages.  Always hold handrails on the way downstairs, too.  Most falls are associated with stairs, steps and roadside kerbs.

Finally, you may be one of those exercisers that is uneasy about exercising on the floor. Most of us can get down alright but some people are nervous about getting back up again. Our new video Getting Safely On and Off the Floor will transform your ability to do so and boost your confidence enormously. Floor exercises are really important for good core strength and our new Floor Weights Workout will do that job perfectly.

If you work slowly and methodically on the techniques for getting safely on and off the floor you will gain the confidence to regularly follow our floor programmes and gain super strength in those important areas.  And remember, the added bonus of a firmer tummy and a trimmer waist may be all the motivation and encouragement you need!

This Week's Fitness Challenge

  1. Practise the Balance Exercises every day this week.  They can be incorporated into other daily activities.  Standing on one leg for 30 seconds should be a doddle by the end of the week!
  2. Watch the Floor Weights Workout to confirm how much you can do then plan to do it 3 times this week.  Can't get down to the floor?  Then practise the techniques shown in the Getting Safely on and off the Floor video every day this week.
  3. With daylight getting shorter each day, you may need to re-adjust the timing of your walks but keep them up on a daily basis.  If you are at work maybe take a lunchtime power-walk for 30 minutes. A 30-minute daily walk is a great way to keep your body fitter and your heart and lungs stronger so it is well worth making the effort.

Increasing your balance skills can be life transforming!

And Finally...

When it comes to exercise, remember ‘every little helps’. No amount is too small to help us to become fitter and healthier, and by exercising regularly we will help our head as well as our body.

Have a great week,

With love and best wishes,

Rosemary Conley CBE DL


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