Here are the healthy tips we’re lining up for the Autumn as we head into shorter evenings season.
1. Purple is the new black … in superfood terms, at least. Next time you buy a bunch of beetroot to roast, don’t toss away the leaves of the stalk. These “beet greens” look similar to chard and are a great source of vitamin A. Use them as an interesting alternative to spinach and kale. Meanwhile, purple rice is the newest grain to grab the food police’s attention. It’s high in fibre and contains more antioxidants than blueberries – and it looks pretty on your plate to boot.
2. For some of us, new sportswear is enough to get us off the sofa into the gym. H&M’s A/W15 collection of sporty, stylish separates is just what we’re looking for; bra top €17.99, leggings €24.99. And if you’re lucky enough to be in New York this month, check out the athleisure collaboration between Derek Lam 10 Crosby (the designer’s contemporary collection) and Gap Inc-owned athletic apparel brand Athleta. The lifestyle range includes sportswear staples like leggings, shorts and sweatshirts, as well as washable leather pieces that are easy to slip into post-workout.
3. If the promise of a healthy body and mind isn’t enough motivation for you, the Pact app may be just the thing. It incentivizes users to reach their exercise and healthy eating goals by rewarding them financially, but you also have to pay up if you don’t honour your fitness commitments. The idea is that the reward money comes to those who don’t meet their goals. Sign up with an account and attach PayPal for rewards and penalties, then set your weekly goals, including how much you want to be penalised by if you don’t hit your target (maximum of €10); gym-pact.com.
4. The mantra used to be “eat green” now it’s “eat clean”. This can be tricky and time-consuming, so sports nutrition company Wyldsson sources exotic ingredients like Persioan mulberries and Californian Pomegranate to make healthy snacks that are packed with flavor. Eaten by American Basketball team, the LA Lakers, as well as the Leinster rugby team, Wyldsson trail mixes, mueslis and nut butters will give your body a boost before a morning workout; wyldsson.com.
5. Regular runners evangelise the benefits of the sport, but it can be a difficult pastime to pick up (despite the couch to 5k app!). So think about ChiRunning instead. Never heard of it? Apparently there’s an entire community of ChiRunners in Dublin, who combine the focus of T’ai Chi with the power and energy of running. Postural alignment and muscle relaxation are the cornerstones of the sport, and make for a more restrained approach to fitness than pounding the pavements with a stopwatch. Former long-distance runner for Ireland, Catherina Mckiernan, is a convert and runs regular workshops, catherinamckiernan.com.
6. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the obvious, but giving yourself a daily dose of green space is a great way of releasing endorphins and getting into the right head space. Research has shown that nature activates areas of the brain associated with love, empathy and pleasure.
7. Cycling safety is paramount, of course, but style still matters too. We love this gorgeous Mo Saddle Bag by Hill & Ellis. Crafted from Italian leather, finished with brass buckles and sealed with a gold, embossed moustache, the bag attaches to the bars beneath your bike’s saddle with traditional leather buckle straps. Cute and clever; €93.27 at hillandellis.com.
8. How often do you hear that old refrain, “I don’t have time to exercise”? Well, no more excuses because it’s all about express workouts these days. Perfect for busy women on the go, participants do multiple exercises in a short time to generate maximum results. Check out Ladies Workout Express, which offers an interval training programme that provides a full strength and aerobic workout in just 30 minutes. This can help to increase lean muscle tissue, which in turn increases muscle tone. And all in less than half the time it takes to have lunch; ladiesworkoutexpress.com.
9. It’s Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh’s favourite exercise, and it took Merrion Square by storm on a Saturday morning in late July – Voga is the freshest and most fun way to work out this year. Described as a “yoga voguing infusion”, Voga is the brainchild of former film industry art director Juliet Murrell, who wanted to bring a cardiac workout to traditional yoga. Participants perform the expressive moves of the 80s underground dance craze made famous by Madonna with the breath synchronised movement of yoga – leg warmers and leotard are optional; vogalondon.co.uk.
10. Don’t underestimate what a big difference small changes can make. Swap your refined carbohydrates for this chickpea and buckwheat pasta, made by Leaves, a company set up by Italian chef Nico and his wife Sabine, a Dutch health researcher. With only two ingredients (really, just chickpeas and buckwheat) this pasta offers 50 per cent more protein to keep you fuller longer, and three times more fibre, It comes in three flavours – original, garlic and sage – and having done a taste test at IMAGE, the verdict is that it tastes, well, like pasta. Check out leavespurefood.com for moreish and healthy Recipes.
11. How we eat has just as much to do with good health as what we eat, say mindful eaters. This school of thought suggests we should base our meals on physical cues, such as hunger pangs, rather than emotional ones, such as comfort eating. Sounds like a good idea, but how do we achieve this? Follow the cardinal rules of mindful eating – eat slower, pay attention to flavour, and know where your food comes from. For more mindful food ideas, check out The Mindfulness Cookbook: Recipes to Help You Cook and Eat with Full Awareness (Hamlyn, €11.84), amazon.co.uk.
12. Do the words boot camp fill you with fear? Then why not try a boot camp with a difference? A “reboot” that focuses as much on the mind as on the body. Push is based in the UK’s New Forest and offers nutritional advice, life coaching, mindfulness and, of course, exercise. The focus is on helping you to manage every aspect of your wellbeing more effectively and efficiently. Check out pushmindandbody.com.
13. If we were to let the rain stop us from getting up and out, we’d be permanent fixtures on our sofas. That’s why we love rain gear that ups the style stakes a little. And if you’re a vintage/retro girl then Georgia in Dublin is the label for you. The brainchild of mother and daughter team Nicola Orriss and Georgia Scott, the duo has created a much-needed alternative to those boxy rain jackets and high-vis vests we all detest wearing, with their collection of Georgian-inspired outdoor clothing. We love this Dublette Expandable rain jacket, €180 at georgiaindublin.com
14. Like the idea of a festival without the traditionally booze-fuelled formula? On September 19, WellFest comes to Herbert Park in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. The park will be divided into a variety of WellZones, each of which will focus on a different aspect of health and fitness, and visitors can attend a range of classes, including yoga, Les Mills and TRX, as well as seminars on meditation, mindfulness and nutrition. Headline acts include Icelandic fitness guru Svava Sigbertsdottir (founder of the famous Viking Method and trainer of model Suki Waterhouse). Tickets cost €25, wellfest.ie.
15. If he’s not on your Instagram feed by now, then you’re in a minority. The Body Coach Jock Wicks is one of social media’s fastest growing gurus, as he transforms people’s attitudes to health and fitness with his 90-day SSS Plan (that’s Shift, Shape and Sustain). Wicks calls it a personalised manual for healthy living – definitely not a diet! Check out thebodycoach.co.uk
This Article was originally published in the September issue of IMAGE Magazine.