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HEFT Wellbeing Zone

Get active and beat stress

Use exercise to help ease your stress levels

Sticking to an exercise regime can be difficult at times of stress. Yet, there are sound, scientifically proven reasons why we SHOULD try to keep active when we’re feeling under pressure...

Physical exercise has been shown to help people with mild cases of depression, giving both improved self-esteem and a feeling of taking control of one’s life. The healthy afterglow caused by the release of endorphins in the brain following a good run or weights session is also prized by many people. It can also play a preventative role in protecting against anxiety, helping to stop those negative thoughts taking hold.



Think laterally

Experts say that any kind of moderate-to-hard physical activity of 30 minutes or more can count. If you’re not used to exercise you could take a brisk walk, if you’re at home with the kids you could follow a fitness video (maybe together) and if you have an injury that makes running painful you could go swimming instead. NHS advice is to aim for around 150 minutes a week in total. That might sound like a lot but it soon adds up – and will help you get in the habit. The important thing is to find something you enjoy, that you’ll keep doing and – most importantly – that makes you feel good.

Go green

There is an increasing awareness of the mental benefits of “green exercise”, with research showing that working out in the great outdoors can boost mood and selfesteem over and above similar activities in an indoor setting. Get out for a bike ride through the woods, run around a lake, climb a hill or just get stuck into a vigorous bit of gardening and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards.

Exercise is a great stress reliever

Physical exercise can be a powerful tool in decreasing stress and maintaining a positive attitude to life...

- It can help with depression and protect against anxiety

- Exercising in the great outdoors is especially valuable

- Just three hours a week can make a difference

- Find something you enjoy and can stick with

It’s the easy antidote to daily stress!


Get portion wise!

Finding your balance across the day

Most of us probably don't think about portion size when we eat. But having a healthy, balanced diet is about getting the right types of foods and drinks in the right amounts. The British Nutrition Foundation has recently launched a new guide which gives people an idea of portion sizes for different foods and how many portions of each food group to aim for each day. The guide suggests portion sizes in hand measurements. If you’re measuring with your hands then these will vary with the size of your hands, and so generally bigger people will automatically get bigger portions and smaller people will get smaller ones. From each food group, the guide suggests adults should eat the following portions during the day to stay healthy:

• Fruit and vegetables: 5+ portions per day

• Starchy carbohydrates: 3-4 portions per day

• Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins: 2-3 portions per day

• Dairy and alternatives: 2-3 portions per day

Using your hands can help you get an idea of sensible portion sizes. For example:

• 2 handfuls of dried pasta shapes or rice (75g)

• Cooked pasta or rice that would fit in two hands cupped together (180g)

• A baked potato about the size of your fist (220g)

• About 3 handfuls of breakfast cereal (40g)

• A piece of grilled chicken breast about half the size of your hand (120g)

• A piece of cheddar cheese about the size of two thumbs together (30g)

• A medium-sized fruit - 1 apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine


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