10 Outdoor Exercises for All Fitness Levels | The Health Sessions

10 Outdoor Exercises for All Fitness Levels

This blog post contains some affiliate links to products you may find useful, at no extra costs to you. All opinions are my own.

Would you love to improve your fitness, strength and flexibility too? Depending on where you live, late Spring to early Autumn can be a great time to naturally get your outdoor exercise in – even if you’re chronically ill.

Compared to working out in the gym, outdoor exercising has some unique benefits. Not only are you moving your body, but safely exposing yourself to sunshine supports the production of vitamin D, necessary for strong bones and good mental health. What’s more, catching natural daylight – especially in the morning – fine tunes your internal body clock and helps you sleep better at night. Spending time in nature also lowers your blood pressure, boosts your immunity and eases mental fatigue. And of course, getting some fresh air cleans your lungs and energizes you.

The great news is, you don’t have to be super fit and athletic to get these health perks. You can adapt outdoor exercises for most energy levels. Sure, you won’t be able to go on a hike when you’re bed bound, and there are obstacles to overcome when exercising with chronic illness. You need to plan for rest afterwards and recovery days. You probably have to be more mindful about the heat and staying hydrated. Maybe you have to rely on mobility aids or practical support from family and friends.

A lot of what’s possible for you depends on your health, living situation and overall mobility. Not all the ideas mentioned will be doable for every body. Just take inspiration from the outdoor exercises below, adapt where necessary and listen to your body. And it’s always wise to consult your doctor before starting exercising again.

With these notes in mind, take a look at these 10 spoonie-proof ways to move your body outdoors.

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How You Can Make Your Menstrual Cycle Work For You (Instead of Against You) | The Health Sessions

Go with the Flow: How to Make Your Menstrual Cycle Work For You

This blog post contains some affiliate links to products you may find useful, at no extra costs to you. All opinions are my own. 

Do you feel bloated, tired or irritated right before or during your period?

PMS is one of the most noticeable examples of how hormonal changes impact your body and mind. But hormones affect your health, mood and behaviour in countless more ways – in women and men. These small but mighty chemical messengers, excreted by the glands in your body, influence many physiological processes, from your appetite and sexual desire to hormonal anxiety.

Your hormone levels naturally rise and fall throughout the day. Cortisol, for example, peaks in the early morning hours to wake you up, whereas melatonin gets secreted when darkness falls. But in the female body, the reproductive hormones also fluctuate over a monthly cycle of roughly 28 days, changing how you feel from week to week. That means that, unlike men, female bodies don’t function in a steady, predictable manner day in day out.

In Period Power, women’s health expert Maisie Hill advocates that we should acknowledge these monthly fluctuations, without feeling like we’re moody, unreliable creatures for doing so. Your energy levels, mental focus, mood, libido and food cravings vary throughout your menstrual cycle, due to hormonal shifts. And that’s not only normal, according to Period Power you could even take advantage of your hormonal powers.

If that’s the case, how can you get your menstrual cycle to work for you instead of against you? 

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15 Sweet & Savory Stone Fruit Recipes for Summer | The Health Sessions

15 Sweet & Savoury Stone Fruit Recipes for Summer

Nothing rings in the summer season like stone fruits. They’re luscious, juicy and their bright colours liven up any recipe, sweet or savoury. And even better, stone fruits are packed with health-boosting nutrients.

Cherries and plums contain potent antioxidants that help fight inflammation, whereas the vitamin C found in peaches and nectarines supports clear skin and good immunity. Mangoes are a rich source of betacarotene, which plays an important role in your eye health. Not that you needed any more reasons to enjoy these juicy fruits!

The only bad news is that stone fruits are only available for a short while. So we better make the most of them while we can. From breakfast to salads and desserts, sweet meets savory in these 15 healthy stone fruit recipes!

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15 Joyful Quotes That'll Put a Smile on Your Face | The Health Sessions

15 Joy Quotes That’ll Put a Smile on Your Face

This blog post contains some affiliate links to products you may find useful, at no extra costs to you. All opinions are my own.

Experiencing joy and feeling sick every single day – that sounds like a huge contradiction right?

You’re right, there’s nothing fun about chronic illness. Being exhausted and in pain, having serious symptoms, not being able to do the things you love, it all sucks the joy right out of your day.

And yet, joy is a more powerful emotion than we give it credit for.

When you’re having fun, feel passionate or burst out laughing, your brain receives a signal to release dopamine and serotonin. These ‘happy hormones’ causes reactions in many other parts of your body, like a racing heart from excitement or butterflies in your stomach. Through this chemical process, joy boosts your immunity, reduces stress and pain, improves your heart health and makes it more likely to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Studies show that even a fake smile can trick your brain into a better mood and lower stress levels.

So when you think of it, you actually need more positive emotions like joy now that you are sick. Not just to support your health, but to counteract all the negative experiences you’re dealing with. According to the happiness ratio concept, you need 3 positive emotions for every negative one in order to feel good, physically and emotionally. (Ok, the exact ratio is criticized but not really important – the idea that you need plenty of positivity in life for a healthy balance is).

Making room for joy in your day is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for your wellbeing.  

Sounds great, but how can you cultivate joy when you’re chronically ill or experiencing other kinds of hardship?

The first thing to realize, is that you can be sick and hurting and experience moments of joy at the same time. Feeling happy and excited or having fun does not mean that you aren’t seriously ill. It means you were able to put your pain aside for a little while to enjoy life too. These conflicting emotions can coexist. Filling your days with more laughter and more fun activities is not selfish or frivolous – you’re simply trying to live a full life despite your illness (and work on your health in the mean time!).

Even on bad days, you can try to find joy in your senses, from cherishing a good piece of chocolate to listening to your favorite song. You can find joy in playfulness, getting silly and laughter. It isn’t easy, but looking for the humor in every situation can be a helpful coping mechanism. You can even find joy in accomplishments, like putting in a day’s of hard work or overcoming challenges.

Whatever sparks joy for you, make sure your sprinkle more of these simple pleasures throughout your day. I highly recommend making your own happy list to cultivate positivity when life’s tough.

And perhaps the 15 joy quotes below will give you some inspiration – or at least put a smile on your face today. 

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