CAP Monthly Column – July 2019

2014 09 - CAP

Let’s get healthier and happier this summer

Now that it’s summer and the weather is warming up, many of us will start to think about eating more healthily and getting more active. But there’s much more to it than achieving the ‘beach body’ that we see portrayed in the media.

Living a healthier and more active lifestyle affects our lives in all sorts of areas, particularly our mental wellbeing, our productivity and the way we feel about ourselves. The good news is there are lots of easy steps we can take to be healthier and happier. And for those living within the restraints of a tight budget, these steps aren’t going to break the bank either.

Knock it back

Drinking more water is one of the cheapest and most effortless ways to improve our health and wellbeing. To encourage yourself, try carrying a reusable water bottle and keep a tally of how many times you need to refill it. Why not have a healthy treat each time you drink the whole bottle? Experts suggest we need eight glasses of water per day for our bodies to function well. This might feel like a lot at first, so start small and work your way up. Every drop helps!

Paint your plate

Have you noticed the abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables available in the supermarkets at the moment? These tend to be cheaper when they’re in season, plus they’ll often get marked down in price at the end of the day. The bright colours of seasonal produce can also help to boost our mood – when our plate of food looks good, we feel good too! The BBC Good Food website is a great place to look for healthy meal ideas: bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/summer-salad.

Craving something sweet between meals? Step away from the biscuits and try snack bags of fruit instead. If you have a blender at home, make smoothies using your favourite fruit and a splash of low fat coconut milk (you can pick up a carton for £1 in most supermarkets).

On the move

Being more active doesn’t have to mean gruelling gym sessions several times a week.

The message from the NHS and Public Health England is to just get moving more. The way you choose to do that is very much a personal choice, so start with what you enjoy.

If it’s swimming, check out your local leisure centre – many offer cheap family swim sessions so you can get the whole gang involved. Maybe you could walk or cycle more instead of using the car – a few vehicle-free days a month can help you save money as well as getting active. Or why not try a new sport? Get in the Wimbledon spirit and try a free tennis taster session this summer: clubspark.lta.org.uk/opendays.

You snooze, you can’t lose

It’s really important that we get enough sleep as it has an impact both physically and mentally. To get a better night’s sleep, there are a range of tips you can try to help your mind and body wind down before bed. Instead of watching TV or looking at a device, which will keep your brain buzzing away, do something relaxing like reading a book or having a bath. For more great tips, see: sleepfoundation.org/articles/healthy-sleep-tips.

Get more support

If you want to achieve your goals and improve your health and budgeting skills, sign up for your local CAP Life Skills course. You’ll get support and guidance from trained coaches and meet like-minded people too.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity with over 600 services across the country delivering debt counselling, money management, job clubs, life skills groups and support for people with life-controlling habits. Visit capuk.org to find out more.