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By Megan Smiley, May 22 2019 11:24AM



Having recently spent nine months doing a part-time massage course through the Western School at Glasgow Caledonian University, I am now a qualified Massage Therapist!


It was something I had been thinking about doing for a while, as the older I get, the more I realise how important it is to look after our bodies. Looking after yourself comes in many ways and will be different for different people but I think the main areas include:


Movement


This doesn't have to be traditional exercise and sport but some sort of movement which includes a mixture of activities, some that increase your heart rate, some that increase endorphin production, and some that increase/maintain your strength.


Nutrition


Eating the right amounts of nutritious foods, ensuring a variety of both macronutrients and micronutrients to help your body function optimally.


Hydration


Drinking plenty of water, and not too much of the less good stuff, yes I'm looking at you coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and alcohol!


Sleep


This is an important one. People don't realise what an impact not getting enough does to your body. Therefore, it's not only important to allocate enough time for sleep, but also try and address any problems that are affecting your sleep.


Self care/preservation


The term self-care has become a bit of a buzz word over the past couple of years and rightly so I think. In modern life stress levels are high, everything is rushed and less time is spent relaxing and doing things that we enjoy for no other reason than enjoyment, e.g. not for the benefit of a social media post, or because you feel you should, or because you're expected too, but just because it feels good. The benefits of doing something that you enjoy with no strings attached will have a beneficial impact on your mental and physical health. Self care/preservation activities could also be things you don't necessarily enjoy but are good for maintaining your body in good working order, this could be things like going to the dentist or regular health checks.



Massage is definitely something that I class as self care/preservation and can also help in other areas such as with movement and sleep. Massage has many benefits including to help:


- reduce muscle tension and spasms

- improve muscle tone

- reduce risk of injury

- increase circulation and nutrition to areas of the body

- increase range of motion (ROM)

- improve postural awareness

- reduce build up of scar tissue

- reduce anxiety

- reduce stress level

- improve sleep

- relieve pain

- boost energy levels

- prepare muscles for use e.g. prior to a race/sporting event


I have loved learning more about the body and the way it works on this massage course, and am glad to be able to add a new offering to my existing business of personal training and nutritional advice.


I believe health is more than just sit ups and press ups as I outlined above, hence wanting to broaden the way I can help people feel fit, strong and healthy. Our bodies are amazing bits of kit that we should all be looking after. Now I'm going to practice what I preach and book myself in for a massage. If you want a massage get in touch!



By Megan Smiley, Oct 26 2018 10:19AM


British Summer Time officially ends this weekend and although that means you gain an extra hour in bed it also means shorter days, as well as cold and wet weather (especially in Glasgow), are well and truly here. So the heating is now on timed rather than a quick blast when it feels a little chilly, you’ve dug out that oversized cosy jumper/cardi that has seen better days but still does the job of keeping you feel warm and safe on the sofa, you’ve switched your meals from salads to soups and grilled fish and meats to warming one pot wonders. In other words you’ve gone into hibernation mode!


There are some other changes that often occur in this autumn hibernation transition, one being people become less active. Now I understand it is harder to get out of bed when it’s still dark, and it’s less appealing to go and run around, cycle, walk or whatever when it’s dark and cold. And there isn’t that summer motivation of wanting to look good in skimpier clothes/swimwear.


But that mindset just reflects the short-term view people take on health and fitness. As I always say, there aren’t any quick fixes or magic answers. Being fit and healthy is a long term commitment, a way of life that should be intertwined in your existence. It shouldn’t be because of a holiday, birthday or wedding, those things can be a great catalyst to start you off but you should want to find a routine that you can continue forever. Obviously there will be times when you need to adapt your routine and then times things will get dropped a little, but generally it’s about finding healthy habits that become second nature AND you enjoy (on some level)!


If you let those healthy habits and exercise routines you’ve built, drop off over autumn and winter it means, if you do start them up again, say in next spring, it’s going to be hard and take a while to get back into your routine and reach the levels you were at when you stopped.


So it’s about slightly adapting, working out how you can continue your healthy habits without having to go running in the rain if that’s something you don’t like. It’s amazing how much you can do inside, so even if you only have a small space in your home, you could still do a morning workout there. Also, think outside the box for spaces you could use (I used to train a client in the underground car park in the depth of winter), and things you could do. There are the obvious options of gyms and classes but maybe there’s some indoor activity you’ve always fancied but haven’t had the time to try, it could be indoor climbing, swimming or dance lessons.


Finally, as I touched on above, there is a tendency to move to a more wintry diet but it isn’t a bad thing. There are plenty of hearty and wholesome winter foods that are healthy. If you don’t fancy a cold salad, you could cook it instead – I love oven roasted little gem lettuce and cherry tomatoes. Warming food doesn’t have to be all about pies and puddings!


So what I’m saying is don’t just throw the towel in on your healthy habits as the days draw in. Keep being active and eating healthily but adapt it as necessary. Or if you’re wanting to get fit and healthy don’t think, there’s no point starting now, I’ll wait till spring. So carry on, or start now, and get your body fit, healthy and strong not just for summer but for life!