5 Healthy Habits for the New Year

Eat the rainbow

This may sound silly, but it is a wonderful and fun way for the whole family to eat more veggies and fruits each day, fill out your nutritional needs and avoid the less healthy options. You can challenge the children to track which colours they have eaten and which of the others they still need to try to eat. You could even put a rainbow on the fridge that they can tick off or colour in as they eat them.

Get outside

The benefits of stepping outside everyday are numerous. One of which is Vitamin D (yes even at this time of year) which will improve your general mood, energy levels and increase your immune health.

So get outdoors as a family more this year and reap the positive side effects. All our FIT, Mini and Baby FIT classes take part outside which gives you the added benefit of being outside in nature while you exercise too.

Electronics free night

In the modern world, where we depend on our digital devices for work, socialising and education it can be difficult to switch off and be present in the moment with each other. Why not try one night a week to make the household an electronics free zone, go back to old school methods of reading a book, playing a board game or simply sitting around the table and discussing the peaks and pits of our day.

Have a laugh

Whether simply having a laugh with family and friends or taking time to see a funny show, read a hilarious book, or listen to a funny song, laughter has real health benefits. Every time you giggle, it releases endorphins and creates a sense of well-being. This year remember to see the light-heartedness and find the funniness in all of life’s situations, even the stressful ones!

Start a new activity

New year, New activity. This year add something new and exciting into you and your families’ routine. How about try a class with us at Family Inspired Training or something else in the area. Let us know what fun stuff you get up to!

5 Easy Craft Ideas for Halloween!

 

Next week we are running Half Term Mini FIT Holiday Clubs with fun Halloween themes. The children will take part in a mixture of indoor and outdoor Mini FIT activities, games, arts & crafts and more. For a sneak peak into some of the fun crafts in the camps take a look at this blog post or if you can’t make it to the holiday clubs why not try some of these at home!
Even tiny hands can make these Fun Halloween decorations—with supervision from Mum or Dad, of course.

Paint your own Pumpkin

Carving pumpkins can be a bit of a chore at Halloween so why not try this super fun and simple way to decorate your pumpkin. Using marker pens or paint you can your little ones can design anything they like on their pumpkin without all the faff!

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Happy Halloween Selfie Sticks

This is a fun easy craft to do with your little ones. Print or cut out different Halloween themed images like signs, bats or ghosts. Stick them to wooden kebab sticks or lolly pop sticks and use them for fun Halloween selfies or stick them into cakes or vases as decorations.

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Spooky Cookies

Yummy cookies cut into spooky shapes!

Cookie recipe

  • 225g (8oz) butter, softened
  • 110g (4oz) Caster sugar
  • 275g (10oz) Plain flour

Optional

  • Add one teaspoon of spices (cinnamon, mixed spice, ginger, etc)
  • 75g White or Milk chocolate chips
  • Coloured Icing pens

Method

  • Preheat the oven at 170C or gas mark 3.
  • Cream the butter in a large bowl or in a food mixer until it is soft. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Sift the flour into the mixture and add optional ingredients. Bring the mixture together until it forms a dough.
  • Using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough and use Halloween Cookie cutters to cut out spooky shapes. (This is especially fun for little hands and also works on their fine motor skills).
  • Bake them in the oven for around 15 mins until they are golden brown and slightly firm on top.
  • Place the cookies onto a cooling rack and leave them there for around 15 mins.
  • Once cool use the optional icing pens to draw fun and colourful Halloween creations on top!

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Funky Table Decorations

This one is really simple and fun, especially if you are having a Halloween party. Get some different Halloween themed table toppers like streamers, confetti and some different coloured paper. Green, orange and black and work together with the kids to create a spooky and creative table decoration.

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Autumn Leaf Art

This one is super simple and gives you a fun reason to get outdoors exploring!

Go for a walk as a family and collect lots of Autumn leaves, twigs, acorns etc. Then simply create your own Autumn Leaf art when you get home. Another fun idea is to print off different Halloween or Autumn colouring pages and use the leaves to fill in the images.
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BIG Benefits of Extracurricular Activities for Kids

A new school year is here – and we are a few weeks in already!

Can you believe it? Nope, not us either.

Whether your child is school aged or not, now is a good time to start thinking about which extracurricular activities you’re going to enrol your child in. Extracurricular activities outside of the home and classroom provide children of all ages a multitude of benefits like socialisation, physical activity, and so much more.

Read on to check out 4 of the BIG benefits extracurricular activities can give your child

 

Routine

Consistent, scheduled extracurricular activities help children anticipate what will happen next. This provides a sense of security, control, and confidence. For young children, involvement in extracurricular activities also provides structure to prepare them for nursery, school and beyond.

Socialisation

For younger children, extracurricular activities, like Mini FIT or other sports and clubs, provide an opportunity for children to develop and grow important social and communication skills. For older children, extracurricular activities help to strengthen communication skills and build friendships.

Skill Development

Extracurricular activities allow children to explore new interests and skills which can help them find things that they are passionate about. This could be an affinity for a specific sport, playing an instrument, or even an interest in art. Developing new skills, and discovering those you like, can help build confidence and self-esteem.

Active Play

Many extracurricular activities are movement based, these can include team sports, or classes like Mini FIT. Activities that include physical activity not only help to keep children healthy, they have also been proven to help children achieve better performance in the classroom.

It’s important to let your child explore a wide range of extracurricular activities to help them find which activities they like best. This will help them learn a multitude of skills and will set them up for success later on in life!

Here at Family Inspired Training we offer Family fitness classes where you can get and keep fit and bring the kids for their own Mini FIT class, as well as Mini FIT Holiday clubs (next ones will be this October half term on the 22nd,23rd and 24th October and we will soon be running after school Mini FIT classes too!

 

Get in touch for a FREE intro visit or to book onto our holiday clubs. 07544119467 or email familyinspiredtraining@gmail.com

 

Stress! – How to manage it…

Why we are stressed, how it affects us and how to manage it

Dozens of modern studies have found that stress levels are increasing in modern life. With pressures at work, constant connectivity through smartphones, increasing threats of terrorism or other dangers across the globe, and hundreds of other things just waiting to be worried about, it’s no surprise that more and more of us are feeling anxious and struggling to get a good night’s sleep on a daily basis.

It’s important to reduce stress

Stress (and our body’s physiological response to it) is a complex evolutionary system designed to keep us safe in times of danger. It can be particularly useful when you are in genuine danger or are playing sport, but can cause a range of different health issues if you are experiencing stress consistently over long periods of time – usually as a result of modern-day problems or anxieties. For this reason it is important to properly manage stress and take steps to reduce it in your daily life.

The biological process when you become stressed

Many people are all too familiar with the range of biological effects on your body that occur when we become stressed. Your heart rate will increase and your breathing can become quicker and more shallow. Your muscles may become tense and your joints could start to ache. On top of this, it’s not uncommon to feel anxious and irritable – possibly leading to feelings of depression and difficulty when trying to get to sleep.

The process begins with the central nervous system. Sensing danger, this system stimulates the release of adrenaline and cortisol. In response to this your breathing may become quicker – this is your body trying to distribute more oxygen around your body. If you’re asthmatic or have other respiratory problems, these can become exacerbated at this point.

Stress hormones will also cause your heart to pump faster. Your blood vessels will become constricted and your blood pressure will therefore increase. Your skeletal muscles will also tense up in preparation for physical activity – the expected ‘fight or flight’. In men, testosterone levels may also temporarily spike.

When you’re stressed your liver produces extra glucose – this provides more energy (which can be essential if you are actually in a dangerous situation). If this extra glucose isn’t used by the body – for example through physical exertion – then the body reabsorbs it. Stress temporarily boosts your immune system, but as we will see later it can actually weaken your immune response over a long period of time.

The harmful effects of stress on your body

While these effects will not harm you if you only feel stressed every once in a while, they can cause a range of different health issues if you are chronically stressed.

When you suffer from chronic stress your heart works too hard, which increases the risk of hypertension and other cardiac issues like a heart attack or stroke. The repeated re-absorption of glucose can also encourage the onset of type-2 diabetes.

Chronic stress also increases the likelihood of heartburn and acid reflux. Stress itself doesn’t cause stomach ulcers, but it can irritate any existing ulcers. Other negative effects for your stomach can include vomiting and stomach ache, potentially with diarrhoea or constipation. This is because stress affects how food passes through your body.

When you’re constantly stressed your muscle rarely relax – leading to aches and pains. This can especially cause problems around the shoulders, neck and back. This pain can cause many people to turn to pain medication, which can itself make things worse as you enter a vicious cycle.

Finally, the release of cortisol from chronic stress can weaken your immune system and its inflammatory response. This can make you more vulnerable to illnesses like the common cold, and can increase the amount of time needed to recover from illness or injury.

Techniques to manage stress

There are a number of techniques for managing stress. Regular exercise and enough sleep are both important to make sure you feel refreshed without letting stress get on top of you. Many people also choose to write their feelings down when they’re feeling stressed – seeing the thoughts in black and white often helps people to realise that they are unnecessary worries and most likely won’t happen.

With work pressures it can be easy to ignore those activities or hobbies that bring us enjoyment. But often when you start to feel burnt out from work, it is these nourishing activities that we need to bring us a sense of calm and inner peace. If you’re struggling to overcome stress, set aside some time to enjoy yourself and you’ll be surprised how differently you approach the stresses in your life afterwards.

Mindfulness as a technique to reduce stress

Mindfulness is the practice of living in (and paying attention to) the present moment. This could be through formal meditations or by practicing during everyday activities – like walking to work, having a shower or eating dinner.

The idea is to notice your surroundings, the way your body feels, and most importantly the arising of any thoughts or emotions. By paying close attention to the coming and going of thoughts, you learn to accept that the mind ‘has a mind of its own’ and that just because you are thinking about something (such as causes of stress in your life) it does not mean that this stressor rules your life. By practicing this, you can come to accept that dwelling on problems won’t solve them – giving you a sense of peace that will in time make it easier for you to make good decisions and take affirmative action to actually reduce the stress in your life.