Our AHS Wellbeing Online android app is now available!
Download the AHS Wellbeing App today to plan and schedule your Wellbeing Classes, Workshops, and Appointments! Using this mobile App you can view and manage your complete schedule, sign-up for classes, workshops, and appointments, purchase block bookings, memberships, and update your profile. Optimise your time, maximise convenience, and keep up-to-date with AHS Wellbeing activities through push-notifications.
You can access the android app by searching AHS Wellbeing on Google Play or clicking this link
The AHS Wellbeing Apple App is coming soon, look out for further details.
If you want to find a lifestyle balance that takes back control of your wellbeing, there are 5 key areas to consider. Each will have a profound effect on your daily life and are a great starting point for unlocking your potential to be the best you can be.
The 5 lifestyle keys are:
Research has shown that what we eat affects both our physical and mental health and is associated with our sense of Wellbeing. Keeping a food diary for a week can help you see if you are eating well and help you identify any changes you may need to make to improve your health and wellbeing.
Being active and taking regular exercise promotes overall health and wellbeing as well as reducing stress. You also become stronger, fitter and less prone to injury. If you’re not currently exercising regularly, try starting with 10 minutes of gentle activity such as walking, dancing to your favourite tune or just try to spend less time sitting and more time moving, you’ll soon feel the benefits!
We all sleep, but how well do you sleep? Sleeping improves mental and emotional wellbeing. It also allows your body to rest and repair, recover from illness, boosts your immune system and gives you energy. Try to get into a regular sleep routine and make sure you’re sleeping in a restful environment.
We go through each day following our usual habits, often on auto pilot, not noticing what we do! Start to take notice, are these habits useful or are they preventing you achieving what you hope for? If you feel you need to change your habits, check out last weeks blog when we looked at how habits are formed and how we can learn new habits.
How is your inner dialogue? Does that voice in your head make you feel strong, capable and in control? Or is it full of self doubt, criticism and negative thoughts. Your inner dialogue can either support or sabotage the changes in the lifestyle you wish for. Notice the thoughts that affect your actions and start to recognise if they help or hinder you.
We will cover these in more detail over the coming weeks and provide some useful strategies to help you find a lifestyle balance that helps you take back control of your wellbeing, so don’t forget to check in next week!
Hands up if you’ve ever tried to make positive changes to your lifestyle, such as losing weight, getting more active or stopping smoking and soon found yourself slipping back into your old ways again!
Why is that?
During our lifetime, our experiences have helped up develop patterns in our behaviour, often referred to as habits. These habits maybe positive and help keep us safe and well, such as the habit of brushing your teeth, checking for traffic before crossing the road or eating when you’re hungry.
We can also develop unhealthy habits we may want to change, but these habits are often hardwired in our brain and finding the willpower to change isn’t easy. Understanding how these habits form can help you understand how to break down barriers and stop these habits getting in the way.
Habits are formed by a cue, a routine and a reward, this is called a habit loop. For example;
The Cue: you feel thirsty
The Behaviour: you drink some water
The Reward: you feel relief from quenching your thirst.
Repeating the same behaviour, over and over, trains your brain to recognise this as ‘normal’ and it becomes a habit. If you want to change a habit you have to rewire the circuit, by changing the behaviour and repeating it over and over, at least 21 times, until it becomes a new habit.
Start by observing any patterns in the behaviour you want to change. Can you identify what the cue is? Can you find ways to change the behaviour that follows the cue? Or find a new reward that makes you want to repeat the new behaviour again and again?
The Cue: You are feeling bored
The Behaviour: You decide to eat some chocolate
The Reward: The release of dopamine, serotonin and endorphins help you feel happier but only in the short-term, as later you may feel guilt.
Rewire this to:
The Cue: You are feeling bored
The Behaviour: You decide to go for a brisk walk outdoors
The Reward: The release of dopamine,serotonin and endorphins helps you feel happier, this time in the long-term, as this has also helped you feel in control.
Everyone will have their own habits and the desire to change a habit is personal to each individual, here is how you can get results:
Once you’ve decided what you want to change and why (see last weeks blog), write down what barriers may get in your way. Consider:
Your habits,beliefs and barriers that you’ve come across before.
What environmental factors may affect you i.e. work, day to day life and social obligations.
Family commitments and expectations.
From your list, pick one or two things you think you can tackle.
The media constantly tells us why we should do more exercise, so why is it so hard for some of us to be more active?
Our past experience will have shaped the beliefs we hold about ourselves and these beliefs help shape our behaviour. If you are one of those people who have always participated in sport, chances are you’ll have no trouble keeping active for life. However, if you hated sport at school, have a condition that affects your movement or simply do not like exercise, becoming active will undoubtedly be more of a challenge. If you believe you don’t like exercise, but want to change this, here are some guidelines to help you start to make that change. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Take one step at a time and start by considering the following;
What is your current situation?
First, think about what you do right now. What is your normal routine? How do you feel? What is important to you? Are you happy with the way you live your life? Spend some time thinking this through and write down your thoughts.
What do you want to achieve?
Look ahead to the next 12 months, what changes would you like to see? Why are they important to you? If you do not know what you want to achieve, maybe think about what you don’t want to happen. For example; as you age you may not want to lose your independence or you may want to prevent developing a condition such as diabetes, back pain or heart disease. Visualise how you want to be in 12 months time and write this down.
What Needs to Change?
Now, consider what you need to change. What are you doing right now that needs to change in order to be where you want to be in 12 months time? You may end up with several things you need to change. Just focus on changing one thing at a time. What can you can change this week? Keep it simple, realistic and believe you can achieve it, then give it a try! Believing really is achieving!
Lets face it, we are all feeling the impact of COVID-19! Stress and anxiety are common place in this day and age and a lot of us will suffer from this on a regular basis. Having some natural ways to manage and control it, can enable us to deal with these times and get the balance back in our lives without the need for medical intervention.
In this 1 hour session with Loren Leaver we will look at ways that have been proven to help decrease and limit stress and anxiety in life using natural and holistic methods which will also benefit other areas of your health and wellbeing. This session is aimed at all ages and genders and will help you with:
Healthy Habit Change
Body Language and Confidence
Overcoming fear-Self Conscious to Conscious self
Creating Healthy Boundaries for a stress free life
Sports Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer and Wellbeing Advisor
As a big football fan, fitness lover, and over recent years, a surfer, Loren’s decision to retrain came from helping a friend’s Saturday league football team out years back as match day first aid, where her interest in injury prevention, management and rehabilitation was born. Loren studied sports massage and rehabilitation therapy, which was then followed by studying personal training and nutrition predominantly for rehabilitation.
Specialising in women’s health, cardiac and injury rehabilitation, Loren continually sets herself new challenges and finds herself studying and looking at different courses, methods and techniques to improve her range of services to clients as both a sports massage therapist, trainer and wellbeing advisor.
If you are new to exercising or have other underlying health conditions, it’s difficult to know what you should be feeling and have the confidence to continue if you are unsure.
If you normally have painful joints e.g. Arthritis, you may think exercise will do harm. The opposite is true – Moving and Exercising the joints is essential to keep them healthy and has been proven to reduce pain and improve how well your joints work.
It is so important not to avoid activity because of painful joints, it will lead to increased stiffness and weaker muscles – this is known as the deconditioning cycle
Am I doing more harm than good?
It is totally normal to feel a bit uncomfortable or even sore after exercise – especially if it is something new or you haven’t done it for a while. But remember this does not mean you are doing harm. Any discomfort should settle and as you exercise more regularly, this discomfort will become less and less – a sign that your muscles are getting stronger and joints are working better.
Am I doing enough?
We are recommended to be doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week, but what does this mean?
Aerobic exercise is any activity that increases your breathing and heart rate (e.g. walking, swimming, dancing, gardening), and will improve your general stamina and fitness and have many positive effects on your health and wellbeing.
What is moderate?
You should be exercising at a level that increases your heart rate and breathing, you will feel warmer and you should still be able to talk – but not sing! If you like numbers, it should feel like around 5-6 on a scale of 0-10
150 minutes a week sounds like a lot!
If you haven’t been exercising much recently, this may seem like an unreachable goal. But don’t worry, even small increases in your activity levels can have positive effects on many aspects of your health and wellbeing. Create smaller, more achievable goals like aiming for a 10 minute chunk of moderate intensity exercise per day to begin with and slowly build up from there if you are able to.
Strength & Balance Exercise
Including exercise to improve muscle strength and balance is important to maintain independence, prevent falls and make everyday life a little easier. You can do this by using weights, resistance bands or your own body weight.
To see improvements in strength you need to work with a resistance that tires your muscles to a point where you can’t do any more of that exercise, and would need a short rest before repeating another set of the exercise.
Balance specific exercises should also feel like a real challenge. The aim is that you create a little ‘safe’ wobble in your body so that you are working all your proprioceptive nerve endings (that tell your body where it is in space), and your reflex reactions. This is challenging your nervous system and to see results balance exercises should be practiced every day.
These exercises should feel like a real challenge:
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”
Here’s how to make it feel easier!
Hydrate – make sure you drink plenty, if you are even a little dehydrated exercise will feel harder
Eat well – A balanced, healthy diet will give your body what it needs to work most efficiently for you
Exercise with a buddy or group if able to – Increase your enjoyment of exercise and time may pass more quickly
Pace yourself – Don’t be tempted to increase your exercise by too much, even if you’re having a “good” day. You may feel wiped out and be put off trying again.
It shouldn’t feel like this:
If you experience chest pain, dizziness or you are very short of breath -stop immediately and seek medical advice
If you experience any unusual or sharp joint/muscle pain while exercising – first check you are doing it correctly. If it persists stop and contact your instructor for advice.
By Emma Rollings, AHS WellBalanced Clinical Lead & AHS Wellbeing Coach
The use of the word ‘Wellbeing’ has become common place these days. Have you ever wondered what is actually means?
Wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” and the World Health Organisation describes wellbeing as “enabling people to develop their potential, work productively and creatively, form positive relationships with others and meaningfully contribute to the community”
Wellbeing has many components including mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual, and there are many ways to define it.
Research shows you can improve your Wellbeing by doing 5 simple things. Developed by the New Economics Foundation and widely used by many health organisations including Mind and the NHS, the 5 Ways to Wellbeing can help you cope better with stress and to live longer, healthier and happier!
Here are the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and some ideas to get started:
1. Connect with people around you
This could be with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
2. Be active
Simply put, try to move more. Try to do something that you enjoy, such as walking, running, an exercise class, dancing or gardening at a level that suits your mobility and fitness. See the Government guidelines to see how much exercise is recommended.
3. Take notice of things around you
Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
4. Keep learning new things
Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
5. Help others
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
Need help? Visit our AHS Services to find out how we can help you.
Katie is a presenter and freelance trainer and has worked on a variety of projects e.g. workplace health, family programmes, active schools, SENCO alive n’ kickin’, 12 week weight loss programmes and diabetes prevention workshops for Adur & Worthing, Mid-Sussex and East Sussex county councils.
Katie offers a range of classes to suit all levels, so no excuses, find your session and book today!
PILATES CHAIR BASED WITH KATIE
A gentle class of movements and stretches to help improve your posture, balance and wellbeing. Using Pilates moves to stabilise and strengthen your pelvic, core and abdominal muscles and increase posture, flexibility and mobility, as well as build muscular strength & maintain bone health.
PILATES WITH KATIE
Standing and seated exercise to improve balance, strength and posture. With the aim of making everyday activities such as walking, housework and gardening easier and preventing falls. This class will work on all the key elements needed for better balance and ease of movement.
PILATES – MAT BASED, ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS
Improve your posture, balance and wellbeing. Maintain a peaceful mind and feel in tune with your body. Learn to engage your core muscles and use the correct breathing techniques to enhance their effectiveness. Use Pilates moves to stabilise and strengthen your pelvic, core and abdominal muscles and increase posture, flexibility and mobility, as well as begin to build your muscular strength and maintain bone health.
PILATES – MAT BASED MIXED ABILITY
Improve your posture, balance, and wellbeing. Use Pilates moves to stabilise and strengthen your pelvic, core and abdominal muscles and increase posture, flexibility, and mobility, as well as build your muscular strength and maintain bone health. This is a structured yet relaxed class for mixed ability individuals looking to challenge their core strength and flexibility with a range of adaptions and modifications available where required.
MAT BASED BACK CARE WORKSHOP
This 5 week course uses Pilates moves which are safe and can help prevent and decrease back pain; including lower back. You will focus on your posture and alignment, perform moves to strengthen your core support muscles and stretch those tight back muscles. You will begin to improve your flexibility, muscular strength and feel more in tune with your body.
One to One Health & Wellbeing Coaching
Working on a one to one basis enables Katie to support you to reach your individual goals.
Katie can support you in many areas, to include:
Safe, effective and sustainable weight loss
Reduce your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some lifestyle cancers
Making healthier food choices as well as understanding portion control
Simplifying your food shop by helping you understand ingredients and food labels
Helping you plan your activities for health and ways to find your motivation
Looking at the impact stress and poor sleep have on your health
Helping you put in place clear and measurable goals for health, wellbeing, & weight loss
Learn skills to maintain weight loss and celebrate successes.
Pilates Mat-based; one to one session
A one-to-one Pilates session enables you to work with a tailored plan which supports you to improve your core strength, posture, balance and flexibility. Perhaps you are recovering from an injury, have a health issue, or are looking to enhance your sports performance and would benefit from a more individualised plan.
Katie can work with you, plan and pace your sessions to ensure you achieve your agreed goals. In addition to her Pilates qualification, Katie has undertaken additional training that enables her to work with specific orthopaedic rehabilitation conditions e.g. those rehabilitating from a hip or knee replacement, back pain, hyper-mobility, shoulder injuries and pelvic floor weakening. Working closely with your rehabilitation notes from your health professional, I will support you to continue your rehabilitation.
Note: It is advised to book a six-week block to enable you to get the benefit of your Pilates sessions, however, you are welcome to book these as individual sessions as per the timetable.
You may believe exercise is only for younger people, but think again!
Dr Nick Cavill, a NHS health-promotion consultant says “As people get older and their bodies decline in function, physical activity helps to slow that decline. It’s important they remain active or even increase their activity as they get older.”
So how much exercise should you do?
The recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. This can be completed over a number of days; for instance 10-15 minutes each morning and 10-15 minutes each evening or 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week, will certainly make sure you are reaching the recommendation.
What is moderate exercise?
You need to do an activity that makes your body work a little harder without it being painful or causing you to become too out of breath. You should always be able to maintain a conversation while exercising.
The amount and type of activity will vary dependant on your individual circumstances. Always choose exercises that you feel confident to do safely. As you exercise more, you’ll be able to do more. Always build up slowly and be patient, you’ll gradually see improvements in your general wellbeing as you continue to be active. If in doubt always seek professional medical advice before starting any new activities.
What exercise is suitable?
Ideally, try to do a mixture of activities to help improve your strength, balance and flexibility plus gentle aerobic activity to work your heart, lungs and circulatory system.
Walking is an excellent activity for all levels, include a few of our online WellBalanced exercises to work on your strength and balance and you’ll certainly notice a difference in no time!
Other recommended activities include Yoga, Pilates, Dancing, Tai Chi, Playing Tennis, Golf or Bowls and Swimming. Walking football and Walking Netball have become popular sports for older people, check with your local leisure centre or Wellbeing service to see what is available in your area.
AHS Wellbeing Online offers a range of classes for older people, including;
Ever wondered what The Alexander Technique is? Well here, Korina Biggs explains all about it!
Why learn the Alexander Technique?
The AT is a practice that enables you to become aware of how the way you move and carry yourself can effect your energy levels, your breathing and sense of ease.
It helps reduce unnecessary stress and tension and can help you find more pleasure in whatever you do.
How do you learn it?
Usually you meet in person with a qualified teacher who uses gentle guiding hands-on as well as verbal cues to bring more awareness and positive change. However in these socially distancing circumstances the teacher uses her observational and listening skills through the screen to be able to guide you.
Korina works with what you want to work with. It maybe that you get neck pain in front of a computer, or that you want to walk with more ease. It maybe that you want to play your musical instrument with less tension or run more lightly – the AT is a practice that you can apply to whatever you do.
What are the benefits?
Clients say they experience less pain and more ease, that their balance improves and that they feel calmer.
The AT is evidence based and research includes significant improvements for back pain, neck pain and balance. For more information on this evidence basis and in general go to www.alexandertechnique.co.uk