This is an easy topic for me to talk about. I absolutely LOVE spending time in nature and to combine my love for exercise and the outdoors is the absolute dream!

Studies of the so-called 'nature pill effect' suggest that your way to a healthier life could be boosted simply by getting out in the fresh air – walks in nature or working up a sweat doing some simple exercises in your local park.

From running outside to diving into lakes, our bodies and minds respond well to getting out into nature.

Working out in nature can seem daunting to many people and with anything in life, don’t over think it! Even just getting out for a daily walk is going to do your mental and physical health a whole lot of good.

Reasons why working out outdoors is better than working out in a gym

1. It’s a natural antidepressant. Outdoor exercise can help ward off seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression and anxiety because sunshine naturally increases serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood. And exercise itself produces endorphins, another feel-good hormone that boosts your mood and reduces pain.

2. It’s free! All you need is some space and an exercise mat to get going.

3. You can turn it into a social outing! I would say the majority of my social life is working out with friends…. Followed by coffee, obviously!

4. Variety – variety is the spice of life!! I started sea swimming recently due to a running injury. I couldn’t bare the thought of not working out in nature so decided to take the plunge into the sea! I honestly had no idea how it would go… I love the sea, but I am also slightly scared of it. Sea swimming has become a big part of my life now, a challenge, a new hobby that I absolutely love and even better, I have made some new connections!

5, Enhanced Self-esteem. Research shows that as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve self-esteem (Barton and Pretty, 2010). Any outdoor location will do, but being near greenery or water enhances this effect. Interestingly, low- to moderate-intensity physical activity shows greater improvements in self-esteem than high-intensity outdoor exercise. Activities shown to improve self-esteem include walking, cycling, horseback riding, fishing and gardening. A regular dose of outdoor activity can help boost the already powerful esteem-enhancing effect of exercise.

Put simply, getting outdoors is AMAZING for you. From natural light to breathing in fresh air, putting on an old pair of trainers and opening the front door could be the start of something transformational.

What are you waiting for… Stick on those trainers and get yourself out into the wild!

Gemma x

Ok, so this is pretty subjective! There are so many ways we can make ourselves happy but the way we do this can be very different from person to person. While some people may use exercise to keep themselves happy, other people may find enjoyment out of going shopping, or cooking. We are all different and that is brilliant.

Here are my top 10 tips on keeping happy which you may find useful;

1. Smile! Did you know that when you smile, you actually release endorphins – this one is easy. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, try forcing a smile and see what happens.

2. Exercise – while many of us think that exercise is all about fat loss and getting fit, actually there is far much more to it! Regular exercise can reduce stress, anxiety and depression and boost self esteem and happiness. Exercise doesn’t have to be going to the gym, it can also be going for a walk, doing a team sports, joining online classes.

3. Gratitude journal – I know journaling doesn’t come naturally to everyone and it certainly didn’t for me, in fact I found it hard to put my thoughts on paper but believe me it works wonders. Try and write 3 things you are grateful for and 3 achievements each day. When we focus on what we are grateful for and what we have achieved we focus less on what we haven’t achieved or what we don’t have.

4. Sleep – we should be aiming for roughly 8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is vital for good health, brain function, emotional well-being and generally just resetting our bodies. Many of us struggle to sleep for many different reasons, so here are my top tips on better sleep hygiene;

a. Avoid caffeine after midday

b. Avoid screens in the bedroom

c. Create a good bed time routine – have a bath/shower, dim your lights, read a book and start that wind down process early

d. Make your bedroom a place for sleep and relaxation only. Many people have got into the habit of sitting on their laptops in bed – this is a bad idea because our brains can’t then recognise the difference between work/relaxation

5. Eat with mood in mind – Again many people think that good nutrition = fat loss but it goes much further beyond this! Food is medicine – ditch the processed food. Processed foods contain a lot of sugar and other hidden ingredients. Whilst making these poor food choices may feel good at the time, they leave our bodies feeling rubbish which then has an impact on our moods. Try and make small changes to your diet today, small habit changes = long term success. Think natural!

6. Purpose – an interesting one… What is your purpose? Have a think about it, it may not come to you straight away and that is absolutely fine. Without a purpose we can feel quite lost. Running is my purpose, it is what makes me feel most alive, empowered and I get a real sense of freedom with it.

7. Connecting to nature – something I only found in the last couple of years but if there is one thing in life that grounds me and energises me it is being out in nature. Try and get out in nature at least once a day – no phone, no music – just you and nature. Notice what goes on around you.

8. Consider some breathwork/meditation – just 10 minutes a day. I find this one hard, like many people – switching off my thoughts for 10 minutes can be a real challenge but what doesn’t challenge us doesn’t change us. I actually find that swimming or running is a great way to get that breathwork in as we are forced to slow our breathing down and breathe deeply.

9. Boundaries…one of my favourite words! The great thing about boundaries is that you can put boundaries in place and no one will know they exist, only you. Boundaries help us strengthen and manage our relationships with other people and within ourselves. Trust me, these work.

10. Last but not least, friends… Spend time with friends! When I say friends, I mean people who make you feel good and bring out the best in you and people who you can be yourself around!

This list is absolutely not exhaustive, but it is a good start! You may find this list overwhelming but try and pick just a couple of points that you can slowly introduce into your lifestyle!

Gemma x

Updated: a day ago

My top tips on staying motivated!

Motivation is such a big word in the fitness industry! Something that so many of us can struggle with for various different reasons. Motivation comes from within and only we can really motivate ourselves! So here are my top tips to stay motivated;

· Write out clear, SMART goals

· Choose goals that EXCITE you

· Talk about your goals to your friends and family, accountability is key!

· Reward yourself

· Don’t do it alone – find yourself a workout buddy

One of the many benefits of online, live interactive workouts is having an instructor there to do the motivating for you! All you need to do is show up and bring your awesome attitude and we

will do the rest!

If you are lacking in motivation, please don’t feel you are alone, it affects all of us, even the most motivated people can feel demotivated! Don’t panic.

Start working your way through the above steps and you will see how quickly you will feel motivated again once you have a clear goal in mind.

No one ever regrets a workout, so when you are having a bad day and struggling to find the motivation to get moving – stick on your trainers, jump into a class and you will be glad you did it!

If you are struggling with your fitness goals, you can always book in a 121 consultation with me and we can come up with the best plan of action moving forwards.

Gemma x