Healthy habits aren’t just for January, just in the same way a dog isn’t just for Christmas. The first month of the year might have seen you start a fitness regime, set some goals and write down your manifestations for the year, but suddenly April rolls around (scary, we know!) and you find yourself slipping back into those old habits. It doesn’t need to be that way though…
Prioritising your health and wellbeing is something that should come into play every day. The best way to do this is to take small steps that you know are achievable for you. The most effective health and wellbeing tips should be implemented into your routine gradually, as this will allow you to form healthy habits at your own pace.
We all want to wake up feeling healthy and happy, and often this comes from the combination of feeling good on the inside and out. In short, we need to take care of both our mental and physical health.
That’s why, this World Health Day, we’re putting together a list of five simple steps you can take to improve your health and wellbeing.
1. GET MORE ACTIVE
This won’t be the first - nor the last - time you’ve heard us say this, but exercising regularly can work wonders for your health and wellbeing. Physical activity is known to benefit your heart and lung health, your mood, energy levels, and sleep, as well as reduce the risk of injury, disease and stress.
As humans, we’re meant to move - and unfortunately, the increasingly sedentary lifestyles we live isn’t doing our health any favours. Exercising releases endorphins, the ‘feel good’ chemicals of the brain, which is why you feel a runner’s high, or pumped after a lifting session.
And while we could go on forever listing the benefits of exercising regularly, we understand it can be a difficult habit for people to maintain. That’s why it’s much more effective to add exercise to your routine gradually, so that it becomes part of your lifestyle, rather than just a phase.
Whatever your fitness goals look like, you want to make them manageable for you. Any movement will get your blood flowing to your brain, so if you’re not in the mood for a whole spin class, you can absolutely just go for a walk while catching up on your favourite podcast.
2. EAT WELL
Fuelling your body with healthy, nutrient-rich food will improve your health and wellbeing in a multitude of ways. Why? Because a healthy diet supports your bodily functions, immune system, mood, ability to recover and energy levels.
Okay, so we’ve covered the ‘why’, but what about the ‘how’? There are a number of factors that can make it difficult to enjoy a nutrient-dense, whole-food-rich diet, including health issues, money, accessibility and convenience. But we’ve got some top tips to make it easier for you to eat healthy, when and where you can:
- Meal prep - this saves time, is cost-effective, and is great for tracking, as you can manage your portion sizes more easily.
- Buy frozen fruit and veg - not only will this cut costs, but frozen fruit and veg are also frozen at the time of maximum nutrient density meaning this is often a more reliable option than fresh produce.
- Plan your food shop - before you head to the shops, plan what meals you want for the week and only buy the ingredients you need for these specific recipes. This can help to save time, keep you on track and reduce your final bill.
READ MORE: 10 Budget Hacks We All Need To Hear
Don’t forget to keep your H2O intake topped up! Seriously, your tired brain and body will thank you. Each day, aim to drink six to eight glasses of water.
3. PRIORITISE REST & RECOVERY
A stress-free life starts with restful sleep. However, even with this knowledge, sleep is often one of the healthy habits that gets shifted down the priority list. We’re here to tell you that you cannot underestimate the power of rest.
Physical rest is one of the seven types of rest our bodies need for full restoration. Physical rest is composed of both active and passive elements. Passive physical rest is when you let your body completely switch off, such as when you’re asleep or napping. Active physical rest is when you take restoration into your own hands through stretching, low-impact activities, like yoga or pilates, or any sort of massage therapy.
A good night’s sleep is crucial to your gains too, as quality sleep is associated with muscle growth and recovery. Muscle recovery is increased through protein synthesis which occurs when you sleep the recommended seven to nine hours a night. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is especially important to muscle repair as it’s during this type of sleep when your body releases the growth hormone that aids muscle recovery.
4. SET BOUNDARIES
This can look different for everyone! It might mean turning off your phone at certain times of the day or cutting certain ‘toxic’ friendships out of your life.
Of course, setting boundaries is easier said than done - especially when it comes to work and your loved ones. Learning your boundaries and maintaining them takes time and patience with yourself, but in the long run, it can work wonders for your stress levels.
Limiting your phone usage, in particular, can make a significant difference to your lifestyle. Yes, the idea of not always being *on* can be stressful, but giving yourself permission to shut it all out for a moment is allowed - in fact, recommended. Texts can wait. This will allow you to pay more attention to the present moment, which alone, can help to improve your mental wellbeing.
5. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Hear us out, but Instagram’s version of ‘self-care’ (aka bubble baths, face masks and daily meditation) is not the only way to recharge your body and mind. Of course, all of those things are absolutely lovely and if they make you feel good when you’re stressed out, keep doing ‘em!
Put simply, the best self-care strategy is one that you’re actually going to use. Setting healthy habits that prioritise caring for yourself and your needs go beyond the superficial things that might make you feel satisfied in the moment, and centre around what is good for you long-term.
This could be getting your daily dose of sunlight, setting boundaries with yourself and others and choosing downtime to help rest.
Find joy where you can and in the little things, and do things that make you feel nourished and fulfilled. But don’t try to do it alone! It can be easy to isolate yourself when you’re busy - like so many of us are - so make sure you reach out to the people around you, share your problems and feelings, and treat yourself with compassion.
Prime health and wellbeing can’t be achieved overnight. It’s a constant work in progress of making the best decisions for our bodies and minds, for the benefit of our present and future selves.
We’re only human, and so there will be times when it feels hard to stay consistent. We might have a mental health dip, work might become too busy or a big life event happens that is out of control. However, by adopting small, but achievable healthy habits, we can make our desire to be happy and healthy a reality.
Your 5-Minute Mental Health Check Up
Hey there! How are you feeling?
That’s a question we don’t ask ourselves enough.
It’s quite normal for us to schedule an appointment with the dentist or doctor to check our oral and physical health, so why is it less common to check on our mental health?
So many factors are closely related to our mental health, which is why it’s important to address the small changes and approaches we can take to prioritise and care for our mental wellbeing.
That’s why, for Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve created a quick and easy five-minute mental health check you can do every day, anywhere.
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?
Mental health is how you feel in your mind and your mood. Just like your physical health, it depends on many factors, including your genetics, your environment, your circumstances, what you do to maintain it, and underlying physical or mental health conditions you may suffer from, and how they are treated.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from Monday 15th May to Sunday 21st May, addresses anxiety. Anxiety is an emotion we all experience, but sometimes it can get out of control and cause issues for our mental health.
In a survey of 3,000 adults, 34% said they experienced anxiety.
HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Here are just a few things you can ask yourself or do to ensure you’re doing what you can to protect your emotional wellness.
HAVE I DRANK ENOUGH WATER?
Keeping hydrated is key for both your physical and mental health. When you don’t drink enough water and start to become dehydrated, your body triggers warning signals that you’re in a ‘life-threatening’ situation and starts kicking up stress hormones, particularly cortisol. An increase in cortisol is connected to anxiety, depression and mood disorders.
Carry a bottle of water with you to keep your hydration levels topped up. If you’re someone who likes more structure, you can use alarms or trackers to remind you that drinking water is part of your self-care.
HAVE I EATEN THE RIGHT FOODS TO FUEL MY BODY?
Diet and lifestyle can have a profound effect on our mood and research reveals there’s a direct link between what we eat and how we feel.
There are plenty of foods and nutrients that can put a smile on your face and make you feel awesome. When we’re stressed, it’s tempting to reach for comfort foods like pizza and sugary snacks that give us a temporary ‘high’. However, these foods can soon leave you feeling exhausted, jittery or sluggish.
Food high in fibre, as well as fruit, veg, nuts and seeds are more beneficial to your mental health. Discover our very own nutritious mood-boosting recipes here.
DID I GET ENOUGH SLEEP?
Anyone who has struggled with sleep will know what a difference it makes to our bodies, minds and ability to function.
For many people, sleep is often the first thing that suffers when they’re struggling with their mental health. The CDC recommends adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep a day.
If you’re struggling with your sleep, there are a few simple changes you can make, including:
- Establish a bedtime routine;
- Avoid tech and caffeine before you go to sleep;
- Practice meditation/relaxation.
READ MORE: How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Humans are hardwired to need time in nature, as we evolved to prefer environments where we had fresh water, sunlight, and nature because those provided us with the resources we needed to survive. But, nowadays, nature doesn’t just allow us to survive, it helps us to thrive.
Spending even small bursts of time outdoors can greatly benefit your mental wellbeing. A 2019 study found that spending just 20 minutes outside significantly lowered stress hormone levels.
MOVE YOUR BODY
Okay, so this one is our thing for sure. Keeping active has so many benefits, mentally and physically - from lifting weights to flowing yoga.
Regular movement throughout the day can boost your mood, reduce stress and refocus your mind.
Partner some fresh air with your movement to elevate the benefits - and kill two birds with one stone.
Explore our guided workouts and fitness tips here.
REACH OUT TO FRIENDS
Human connections actually boost feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain. The key is not how many friends you have, but to surround yourself with those whom you can be your most authentic self.
Be honest with yourself about how much time you need to spend with your friends to feel fulfilled, refreshed and empowered, and then make it happen - even if it’s just a catch-up dinner once a month, it makes a difference.
Meeting new people can be equally beneficial to your mental wellbeing, as studies have shown that connecting with strangers can help us feel happier and more connected with our communities.
WHAT AM I DOING TODAY THAT I CAN LOOK FORWARD TO?
Planning things to look forward to or that you enjoy doing can help us cope with difficult situations by increasing our sense of hope.
Whether it’s something as small as binge-watching your favourite TV series or something more extravagant like a weekend away with friends, factoring in time to do what you love will help you adopt a more positive outlook each day.
A huge part of prioritising your mental wellbeing is learning to understand and manage your feelings.
When we’re upset, we don’t always know why we’re feeling that way. It often helps to acknowledge our feelings without any judgement or telling ourselves we’re ‘weak’ for feeling the way we do.
We all have good days and bad days, and that’s okay. However, by asking ourselves the questions in this article and adopting these simple habits, we can work toward feeling like our best selves once again. Remember, rest is a basic human need.
Inside The New AYBL HQ
A world-class team deserves a world-class home - and after months of hard work, dedication and long days, the time has finally come.
Introducing the new AYBL HQ.
Measuring an impressive 56,000 sq feet, our global home is a place like no other. Featuring modern design throughout and a wealth of creative working spaces, our office is a place where people come to innovate and be their best.
Want to discover more? Join us as we step foot inside our creative hub.
Building on our high standards, our office is a hub of creativity and collaboration. From top to bottom, the stylistic space is kitted out with all the necessary tools and resources to optimise productivity and inspire our talented teams to push boundaries.
Its ultra modern design allows for plenty of natural light, open spaces and greenery to accommodate different work styles and preferences.
As a community-first brand, we wanted to create an environment that would not only enhance creativity and productivity, but a better sense of community and belonging for our people.
1. THOUGHTFUL DESIGN
Designed to maximise natural light, flow and functionality, our new home offers a modern and sleek look that reflects our brand and values.
2. COMFORT THROUGH & THROUGH
On every level, the office is equipped with comfortable furniture, ergonomic workstations and state-of-the-art equipment. There are also spaces for relaxation, where you can unwind, recharge and take time for you.
4. CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY
When you’re the UK’s fastest-growing company, you need technology that can keep up and deliver. From video conferencing tools and virtual whiteboards to our very own photo studio equipped with high-class cameras, our new HQ is home to the latest technology to support collaboration, communication and productivity.
This place truly has everything. That goes for hot water taps on every floor, too. Brew anyone?
Influential, inspirational and innovative. We had to make sure our team had the space to thrive and build the best ideas.
Designed to accommodate different working styles, our office offers a range of spaces for focused work, collaborative work and socialising, as well as options for remote work and flexible schedules.
AYBL is on an ever-evolving journey to ensure the brand promotes and supports sustainability wherever possible.
With that in mind, we have incorporated a range of eco-friendly features into our office design, including energy-efficient lighting and appliances and recycling programmes.
We understand that there is still plenty of work to be done, but right now, it’s about progress not perfection.
We’re incredibly proud to be working in such an amazing office space that not only supports us to be the best in our field, but supports our health, happiness and the environment. Here, we can work together to pave the way for the boldest and bravest ideas whilst feeling like we’re part of something special.
This is truly where the magic will happen.
How To Start Running
The hardest part of running? Getting out the door.
Running is a great way to get fit and feel better, but sometimes, a lack of motivation - or even know-how - can catch you short.
Starting a new running habit needn’t be difficult - all you need is a good pair of running shoes and the willingness to move a little or a lot, all at your own pace.
To help put you one stride ahead, we’ve pulled together the very best running tips for beginners, so you can get off to a safe start and enjoy hitting the tarmac (or treadmill).
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OUR BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO RUNNING
THE BENEFITS OF RUNNING
If enjoyment alone isn’t enough to get you increasing your stride, perhaps the proven health benefits of running will?
Running is one of the most effective ways to increase daily activity, cardiovascular fitness and mental health. It also is widely accessible, as you don’t need any fancy equipment, it’s relatively inexpensive and you can do it just about anywhere.
Here are some of the other key health benefits of running:
- Promotes muscle development;
- Can help aid weight loss;
- Helps to relieve stress levels;
- Boosts the release of endorphins, sometimes called a ‘runner’s high’;
- Increases bone strength and joint health;
- Promotes better sleep;
- Increases lung capacity, metabolism and energy levels;
- Reduces cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.
Whether you’re new to running or getting back to it after a long break, it’s really important to ease yourself in and gradually build up to avoid injury. Here are some top tips to get your started on the right foot.
Now, we’re not saying you need to go out and buy a wardrobe full of expensive new running kit, but what we are saying is that staying equipped for the environment and surface you’ll be running on is non-negotiable.
Start by investing in a suitable pair of running shoes that fit comfortably and offer extra support, cushioning and grip for your runs.
When it comes to the clothing, well, that’s where we step in. Fusing form and functionality, our Pace Collection is designed for practicality - with soft, lightweight and breathable details - so you can run with ease and without distraction.
Take measured steps to keep your body safe and free from injury. Warming-up is an essential part of any workout, especially running. We recommend walking or doing an easy jog for five to 10 minutes before increasing your intensity. You may also benefit from warm-up exercises, such as dynamic stretches.
Be mindful of other safety advice, such as running against the flow of traffic and carrying your mobile with you at all times.
Nothing can get you lost in the moment quite like blasting your beats as you pound the pavement.
We all have our own taste in music, which makes it all the more important to pick a playlist that’ll motivate you to power through, even when times get tough, with the wind against you and the heavens pouring.
If you need a little inspo, we’ve got plenty of tracks to keep you moving. Check out our Spotify here.
OUR TOP SIX RUNNING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Now that we’ve established the basics, you’re probably wondering exactly how to start running?
If you’re totally new to running, chances are your motivation levels are pretty high. That being said, it’s as important as ever to pace yourself. This includes your running speed, intensity and training frequency.
Don’t be afraid to start off with a few fast paced walks each week to build up confidence, condition your muscles and create a positive habit you can stick to. Pacing yourself will allow you to continue progressing and reduce your risk of injury.
The likelihood of strains, repetitive stress and foot pain tends to be greater during your first few weeks of running as a beginner, or if you’re returning to running after a long break.
The Run-Walk Method is a great way for new runners to get started, helping to build endurance with less joint stress and is a manageable intensity level.
The method combines running with intervals of walking. Start by alternating one minute intervals of running with one minute of walking, and then gradually try to increase the time spent running. As you become more comfortable, reduce the time spent walking.
Check out our beginner’s running plan further down this page.
Never underestimate the power of rest.
It’s completely natural for your muscles to feel a little sorer than usual, but if you’re experiencing genuine pain or discomfort, it’s crucial you allow it time to rest and recover.
If you’re suffering from sore muscles, more likely than not, it’s DOMS - AKA delayed onset muscle soreness. This is the aching or stiffness you experience as a result of intense training, however, this should subside within 48 hours.
Avoiding exercise altogether can actually prolong DOMS, so consider lower intensity exercise, such as walking, mobility and slow jogging to increase blood flow and relieve your muscle fatigue.
Chances are, you already knew this, but if not, you’ll soon learn that eating well and staying hydrated can significantly influence your runs.
You lose water through sweat, whether cold or hot, so you need to drink before, during, and after your runs. You ideally want to drink 120 ml to 180 ml of water every 20 minutes, but pay attention to your thirst level and drink when you feel thirsty. During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink to replace sodium and other minerals (electrolytes).
In terms of nutrition, it’s best to eat something light and high in carbohydrates but low in fat, protein and fibre. Aim to finish eating 90 to 120 minutes before you start running.
If you’re running for longer than 90 minutes, you’ll need to replace some of the energy you’re burning. A general rule of thumb is to consume 100 calories after an hour and another 100 calories every 45 minutes.
It’s easy to neglect other aspects of your fitness and strength when starting your running journey. Balancing your running sessions with other forms of resistance training and exercise will help to build muscular resilience, reducing your risk of injury and boosting performance.
Repeatedly hitting the road without building strength in the gym can not only lead to injury, but a performance plateau too. Be sure to balance out your training with strength-based exercises to work on muscular endurance, speed, power and potential imbalances - all of which will help with your running in the long run.
Running is a natural movement, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve aspects of your running form to improve your experience and efficiency.
First things first, keep your posture upright. Keep your head lifted, your back long and tall and shoulders level but relaxed. Maintain a neutral pelvis and ensure you’re not leaning forward or back at your waist.
Likewise, it’s important to monitor your footstrike - this is the way your foot hits the pavement. You might land on your heel, in the middle of your foot, or on your toes or forefoot. It’s recommended that you should try to land in the middle of your foot, and then roll through to the front of your toes. However, if you’re naturally a toe runner (land on your toes) or heel striker, it may be best not to change your stride.
RUNNING PLAN FOR BEGINNERS
Without a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve, and the steps you need to take to get there, you’re making the challenge much tougher than it needs to be.
That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate running plan for beginners.