Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Getting enough sleep

Sleep, beautiful sleep. I must admit, nobody ever warned me about just how little sleep I would get after having kids. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I had a full uninterrupted 8 hours of it.

There’s no use complaining though because with three kids under 5, I was always going to have to give up one of life’s luxuries. It’s just a shame it had to be sleep.

Yvonne Clarkson highlights below some great tips on solving your sleeping problems.

Sleeping is one of life’s priorities – it’s right up there with eating and breathing, right? You’d think that it would be easy to sleep, but that’s one area of human life that still leaves us mystified. More than half of the population still don’t get quality sleep – and most of us either don’t know why or are well aware of our sleeping problems but don’t know how to solve them. Here are some possible answers.

The Right Bedding

Yes, it could be something as simple as this. Are cold winter nights keeping you up? Or do you wake up clammy and uncomfortable in summer? You may want to consider bedding made from natural materials, not synthetics. For instance, a quilt made from wool is a good choice for winter as it keeps your body nice and warm. A wool/cotton blend, cotton, or down quilt may be just the thing for hot summer nights – they’re breathable so you don’t wake up overheated and sweaty. There are many places you can get quality quilts from; get ideas from a bedding specialist like Minijumbuk.

Know How Much Sleep You Really Need

We’re bombarded with advice from all angles about how many hours of sleep we need – so which is it? Six, seven, eight, nine hours…? We’re all different; some of us need more hours, some less. Worrying about not getting enough sleep will actually keep you up. It’s normal to wake up a few times a night. Remember that too much of anything can be bad too – your body may not need as much sleep as you think.

Avoid Technology Right Before Bedtime

In order to fall asleep and stay asleep, our heart rate needs to slow down and, in turn, our muscles must be relaxed. Watching something that’s action-packed on TV is probably not a good idea. If you must, watch something that’s calming. However, in general, blue light emitted from TV screens, computer monitors, phones, and tablets tricks the brain into thinking it needs to be alert, so if you can avoid them, do.

Do Something Relaxing

We all have a different idea of what is relaxing and what isn’t. Do something that’s always helped you unwind in the past. It could be anything – listen to slow music, read a book, pray, do yoga, knit, even bake something if that’s your thing.

Avoid Caffeine and Sugar

It used to be that eating the wrong foods was the only problem. Now, it seems the time you eat is as big an issue. We all know that high amounts of caffeine and sugar will keep us up, and excessive amounts of processed carbohydrates can often leave us feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Certain types of foods are best eaten about two hours before bedtime.

Clearly, we’re all different. There could be so many reasons why we have sleeping problems and if you are unable to get to the bottom of it, then it is best to consult an expert.

Some great tips there. Now to come up with some strategies to give up coffee.

This post was written in collaboration with Minijumbuk.

 

 

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Australian Fitness Expo and GIVEAWAY!

 

FitnessExpoimage

The Australian Fitness Expo would have to be one of my favourite events in the calendar year. It seriously has everything under the one roof.

This year is set to be bigger and better and I’m excited to be able to GIVEAWAY 2 DOUBLE PASSES to the Melbourne event which is happening between the 10-12th April. (Valued at $60 each)

I was lucky enough to be invited to go along last year and my hubby and I were in our element. I was heavily pregnant so I found myself waddling from stall to stall – nothing was going to stop me from meeting my health and fitness idols, Michelle Bridges and Teresa Cutter – The Healthy Chef.

Here is a sneak preview of what’s new in fitness in Australia this year.

If there’s one thing you can be sure of in the world of fitness, it’s that nothing stays the same. Thankfully, you can always count on a new class, a new accessory or a new piece of gym equipment to hit the market to help keep you interested in fitness and inspired to work out.

Each year in Australia, the world’s top brands in fitness come together to unveil the latest trends, products and theories surrounding getting sweaty and making the most of it.

It’s called the Fitness & Health Expo – on at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, April 10-12 (and Perth & Sydney later in the year!)– and here is an advanced sneak peek at some of the exciting new developments in fitness and health before they even hit the gym or the hands of your personal trainer.

Kettlebells get loud

Nothing like freshening up an old favourite with a new twist. Take kettlebells for example. They’re great fitness tools but add music and what do you get? Kettlebell AMPD takes heart-pumping music and your favorite kettlebell moves and combines them into 60 minutes of calorie torching fun. Each song focuses on a main area, while still maintaining a whole body workout. Coming to a fitness centre near you soon.

Gamified workouts

Wave goodbye to boring gym equipment and give a gamified exercise session a whirl, with cameras and sensors watching you move and awarding you points for every rep. Challenge yourself or your fellow exercisers as you work out inside a video game. The ‘Versus’ system’s scores take height, weight, age and power into account to keep comparisons fair. The system also constantly monitors your movements and gives you live feedback and suggestions for improvement. Invented in Melbourne.

Gym equipment that knows who you are

Imagine if you could walk up to a piece of gym equipment and you didn’t have to adjust the seat or the weights using those awkward removable bolts that never want to budge? This is now a reality. The new milon equipment automatically adjusts itself to an individual user’s settings by incorporating smart card technology that stores a user’s biometric parameters as well as their training plan. Thanks to chip card control, the equipment automatically adjusts to your individual body size and training plan when you insert your card. This totally eliminates any setting errors, saves down time in the gym and prevents under or overtraining.

Monitoring systems that stop you from overdoing it

Injury is one of the biggest roadblocks you can hit when it comes to achieving your fitness goals and overtraining is a big cause. That’s why some monitoring systems will now let you know just how hard you’ve pushed yourself. For example, the iQniter monitor system provides users with an instant performance report after the class and included is a Training Effect number on a scale of one to five. One means the session was great for recovery and five represents an over reaching session or a session that should only be completed 1-2 times per week by highly trained individuals. Coming to a gym near you soon to help you balance your workouts throughout the week.

Heart rate monitors go stylish

Fitness monitors have become the must-have fitness accessory for most, and thanks to Garmin, you can leave the black rubber wristband behind, replacing it with a fashionable stainless steel or leather band in a range of vibrant, in-season colours and designs. Keep an eye out for the new Garmin Style Collection.

Vending machines get a healthy makeover

The Lean Machine is set to turn the traditional vending machine industry on its head and give it a much-needed rattle. Selling a variety of products that are organic, raw, natural and clean, the Lean Machine menu ensures people don’t have to compromise their diet if they need to grab a quick snack on the run. Products on offer include dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free and sugar-free snacks for those that have intolerances or are simply watching what they eat, and also low-fat, low-sugar, low-carb protein options, naturally sweetened energy drinks, green tea, cold drip coffee shots and water.

Surfs up…at the gym

If you love the challenge a new fitness class can provide then take a look at the latest on offer. Surfset brings a mechanical surfboard into the gym to provide rotational core training and an isometric stability workout in one. It’s all about getting away from the traditional static workout and challenging your body in new ways. Every exercise on the board is designed to engage your core and stabiliser muscles.

Virtual fitness classes

A group fitness class without an instructor in the room? This is now a possibility with new virtual fitness classes hitting the market. Bringing classes to locations that may have previously found it hard to get an instructor, such as rural areas, and making fitness classes a round-the-clock possibility at places like 24-hour gyms, these high-tech classes may be on offer at a location near you soon. With systems like Fitness on Demand and Wellbeats, the instructor appears on a screen that automatically lowers at the class’s set start time.

Eat like and athlete

A collaboration between a sports dietitian, ex-professional footballer and award winning chef is letting people eat just like professional athletes do with a range of new home delivered meals. Dineamic’s pre-prepared meals are designed to power and energise with lean sources of protein, the right carbohydrate rich foods, plenty of vegetables and nothing artificial. The Dineamic team has been fuelling some of Australia’s top sporting heroes and teams for over a decade and began by feeding Cathy Freeman in the lead up to her gold medal performance at the Sydney Olympics. Perfect solution for busy mums, time poor professionals and anyone who wants a delicious and nutritious meal that is convenient and easy to prepare.

The Fitness & Health Expo is on April 10-12 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. It’s open from 10am – 5pm daily with Friday open only to those who work within the fitness and health industry. For more information visit www.fitnessexpo.com.au and follow Facebook and Twitter for updates on features, timetables and celebrities. The event also travels to Perth, Sydney and Brisbane later in the year.

General visitors can pre-book tickets online to avoid the queues – cost is $30 for a one-day ticket. If you work in the industry, entry is free if you pre-register online and provide the appropriate identification.

If you live in Melbourne or will be in Melbourne that weekend, then head over to my Facebook page, like my page, then tell me in 25 words or less on the blog why you’d like to win. It’s that easy.

Good luck!

This giveaway closes next Monday 23rd March at 8pm (aest), with the winner being announced here on Tuesday morning. 

CONGRATULATIONS NATALIE MCNAMARA AND EFFIE BAKKALIS – WINNERS OF THE DOUBLE PASSES TO THE AUSTRALIAN FITNESS EXPO.

 I’m sharing the love today with gorgeous Grace from With Some Grace for FYBF.

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Camping With The Kids in Active April

Image 2 MRThe Premier’s Active April is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to promote healthy and active lifestyles and get Victorians to join in the fun of increased physical activity. Here, here I say. There should be more initiatives like this.

My family and I will be participating in this incentive and we cannot wait! Being a good role model to our kids when it comes to their health and well-being is something that we take seriously so this was a no brainer.

You can get involved too. Click here for more details and be sure to take part. There are some fabulous prizes up for grabs.

To add to the excitement of Active April, we will be taking the kids on their very first camping adventure. We have been invited to participate in the Adventure Kids Festival which has got me, well, just a little bit excited. Perhaps even more so than the kids. I wont tell them that though. I am a little nervous to be honest, I haven’t camped since I was sixteen! I’m just hoping that my husband’s scouting days will be put to good use.

The Adventure Kids Festival returns in 2015 following it’s huge success last year. This year will host a series of events, offering children from the ages of four to 12 nature-based adventure activities across a multi-day getaway.

Amidst growing concerns that Australian kids are spending increasingly more time in front of screens than participating in physical activity, the Adventure Kids Festivals aims to promote the benefits of outdoor activity and adventure play for families with walks, runs, climbs, obstacles courses, bike rides, orienteering and more.

The events are accessible and affordable with all sites located close to the convenience of transport and amenities. A wide range of packages and choices are on offer at each venue. Tent city camp grounds will be established at most sites, allowing kids and their families to stay in tents without the requirement for owning all their own gear. From camping to self-contained apartments with panoramic views of the bush, there is an accommodation solution for all budgets.

Image 1 MR

Mt Baw Baw will host the Adventure Kids Festival from the 28-29 March providing a pristine natural environment to explore, with its many trails climbing the tree-covered slopes and crossing the beautiful meandering alpine streams.

Falls Creek’s relaxed small town feel offers the perfect setting for the Festival over the Easter long weekend (4-5 April) with its trail network and views across the shimmering waters of the Rocky Valley Lake.

The final instalment of the Adventure Kids Festival series coincides with Victoria’s Nature Play Week, an initiative as part of the Premier’s Active April which challenges Victorians to be more active, more often. Taking place at Lake Mountain from the 18-19 April the alpine haven offers day trip facilities, flying foxes and rollerskiing.

“Adventure Kids Festivals are not just about kids being active with their families,” said Event Director Grant Seamer. “It’s also about instilling a sense of appreciation for the outdoors in our kids that Victoria is known for. Hopefully they will walk away with a stronger desire to further explore what our many outdoor and wilderness areas have to offer.”

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Adventure Kids Festival

Mt Baw Baw – 28th-29th March 2015

Falls Creek – 4th-5th April, 2015

Lake Mountain – 18th-19th April, 2015

To book, head over to Adventure Kids Festival. 

Will you be taking part in Active April? Have you taken the kids camping recently? Any tips for a first timer camping with kids?

I’m joining in the fun with the fabulous Grace from With Some Grace for FYBF.

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Foods To Help You On Your Weight Loss Journey

Weightloss Foods

This great article written by Alice Duffield offers some great tips on foods that can assist you on your weight loss journey.

Losing weight is a difficult task and one that most of us have been faced with at some stage or another. While obviously incorporating physical activity into your life is a vital factor, exercising while eating badly will not get you anywhere. Here are a few superfoods you can incorporate into your diet that will assist on your weightless journey.

Start your day with a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon. This is a great way to boost your metabolism first thing in the morning. A speedy metabolism is key to losing weight. A weight loss retreat is a great way to help you stay accountable for your weightloss goals.  A retreat like Chi of Life is a great option to consider if you want to become healthier, fitter and leaner.

Healthy Carbs Burn Fat and Boost Metabolism

Get some rolled oats into your morning routine. Rolled oats are a great way to fill yourself up and is the perfect fuel for the brain. Oats are a good carb; they add fibre to your diet, speed up your metabolism, and burn that nasty fat – three things a healthy weight loss plan needs!

Try adding brown rice to your diet. It is a low GI wonder food that keeps you feeling full for longer whilst speeding up your metabolism. Add it to the side of fish and seasonal vegetables, or have a healthy stir-fry served on a bed of brown rice.

Monounsaturated Fats

Have half a creamy avocado every day. It’s easy to think avocados are really fattening but they are actually the perfect kind of fat for weight loss: over 50% of monounsaturated fat. Avocado is packed with fibre and protein, so this creamy delight will keep you satisfied whilst keeping those sugar cravings away. Another awesome source of monounsaturated fat is salmon. It’s a great way to get your portion of lean protein. Steam it, grill it or bake it and serve with steamed vegetables or put it in a soup.

Snacking is A-OK

Snacking is an important part of weight loss. It helps to defer those hunger pains and will help get you through to your next meal. Just make sure you choose the right snack.

Put down the chocolate bar and replace it with a grapefruit. Grapefruit is a well-known weight loss food and for good reason. This refreshing fruit is said to lower insulin, which is a hormone that stores fat. It is also rich in vitamin A, and beta-carotene. Grapefruit is well known for it’s disease preventing properties, especially among the health-conscious and fitness enthusiasts.

Another simple snack is hummus and celery (or any raw vegetable). Hummus is easy to make or buy and is made from chickpeas, olive oil, and sesame. Chickpeas are protein-rich and also help balance those blood sugar levels – a simple, tasty morning snack that will keep you going for hours.

What other foods have you found have helped you on your weight loss journey?

This post was written in collaboration with Chi of Life Retreat.

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Breakfast Around The Tan – Diabetes Australia

Image Source - Eventfinda.com.au

Image Source – Eventfinda.com.au

How are those New Years Goals going for 2015 so far? Well I’ve got another awesome event to add to your calendar. You don’t want to miss this one.

I participated in this event in 2013 with my family and it was such a great well organised day. The best part is the whole family can take part in it.

This year promises to bigger and better and is being run in conjunction with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. I cannot wait to get involved again this year.

So if you’re feeling energetic, grab your family and friends — and get your fit on. Join hundreds of Melbournians’ for a breakfast-on- the-move around the city’s most popular walking trail, affectionately known to locals as The Tan.

Take a leisurely stroll around the leafy greenery of the Royal Botanic Gardens, with pit stops at five breakfast stations filled with nutritious, dietitian-recommended breakfast options to kick-start your day. With all-ages activities on offer at the start and end of the walk, including hip hop yoga and tai chi sessions, there’s no better way to start your Sunday.

Due to the nature of this event, start times will be staggered. Please enter your preferred start time when booking.

Cost:

  • Children under 16 years – $15
  • Adult – $30
  • Family (2 adults and 2 children) – $80

Melbourne Food and Wine will donate 5% of all ticket sales to Diabetes Australia – Vic.

To visit the website for more details and to book click here. 

So who’s going to join me?

 

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Copyright 2013 Fit Mother Hubbard