Category Archives: Activities

10 tips to make your New Year’s resolution a success from NHS Choices

By on 01 05, 2015 in ActivitiesResolution

Most of us will make a New Year’s resolution – maybe to lose weight, quit smoking or drink less – but only one in 10 of us will achieve our goal.

Psychologists have found we’re more likely to succeed if we break our resolution into smaller goals that are specific, measurable and time-based.

Professor Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, tracked 5,000 people as they attempted to achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

His team found that those who failed tended not to have a plan, which made their resolution soon feel like a mountain to climb.

Some focused too much on the downside of not achieveing their goal, adopted role models, fantasised about their goal or relied on will power alone.

“Many of these ideas are frequently recommended by self-help experts but our results suggest that they simply don’t work,” says Prof Wiseman.

“If you are trying to lose weight, it’s not enough to stick a picture of a model on your fridge or fantasise about being slimmer.”

He said the 10% of participants in the study who had achieved their target broke their goal into smaller goals and felt a sense of achievement when they achieved these.

“Many of the most successful techniques involve making a plan and helping yourself stick to it,” says Prof Wiseman.

Top 10 goal-setting tips

Prof Wiseman’s top 10 tips to achieving your New Year’s resolution:

1. Make only one resolution. Your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.

2. Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to think about your resolution and instead take some time out a few days before and reflect upon what you really want to achieve.

3. Avoid previous resolutions. Deciding to revisit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.

4. Don’t run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions. Instead think about what you really want out of life.

5. Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable and time-based.

6. Tell your friends and family about your goals. You’re more likely to get support and want to avoid failure.

7. Regularly remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals by creating a checklist of how life would be better once you obtain your aim.

8. Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a sub-goal, thus maintaining motivation and a sense of progress.

9. Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a handwritten journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures.

10. Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary setback rather than a reason to give up altogether.

Getting started

Below are some of the most common New Year health resolutions, with links to help you get started and achieve your goal.

Lose Weight
Get practical tips to lose excess weight, including getting started, healthy food swaps, and see our 12-week weight loss plan.

Quit Smoking
We’ve got all you need to help you achieve your goal to stop smoking, including ordering a free Quit Kit, getting support and tracking your progress.

Get active
Boost your fitness with fun and practical ideas to help you get into shape, including Couch to 5K, Strength and Flex and our 12-week fitness plan.

Drink less alcohol
Calculate your units, get tips on cutting down, track your drinking and find out where to get help and support.

Eat more fruit and veg
Whether you’re cooking for a family or eating on the go, our tips and recipes can help you get your 5 A DAY.

See the full article here

Myageingparent.com provides us with 10 fun tips for grandparents at Christmas

Christmas is a great time for families getting together and different generations bonding over wonderful traditions. However, for the generations with the biggest age gap it can be difficult to find common ground and for them to find an activity that they will both enjoy. Here’s a few ideas for when the dinner has been eaten, the presents opened and the Queen’s speech watched on Christmas day or any of the surrounding dates.

Gifts they can both enjoy

If you are picking the present from your child to their grandparents try and choose something that they both might enjoy such as some of the ideas below. A simple game, or toy like a yo-yo, may be fun or sweets are likely to go down well!

Introduce each other to their childhood games

As with the yo-yo, there are likely to be games played by the grandparents in their youth that today’s children will enjoy. On the other side of the coin, Grandma may enjoy having a go on a game app on the tablet, or joining in with a game you play at home.

Do some of the Christmas cooking together

Maybe this could be the start of a new tradition, so while mum or dad take care of the main bits of the Christmas meals, Granddad and grandchild can prepare the dessert or one element of the main course. Just make sure the main cook is not too inconvenienced!

Put on a performance

For the more musical or theatrical perhaps Grandma can direct or star in a play or musical display with the grandchildren. A simple play about Christmas, re-enacting a favourite story or singing a few carols will provide some honest entertainment before everyone has their traditional nap.

Make some Christmas crafts

Christmas provides a great opportunity to get the arts and crafts kit out. See if Granddad wants to help to make some decorations or drawing some festive scenes. If it is in the days running up to the main event, they could create some Christmas cards to be exchanged on the day.

Take a favourite DVD

Films such as Frozen or other Disney favourites appeal to all ages. Have a family viewing of the little ones’ favourite film and watch Grandma become the latest fan of the animated classics.

Go for a ride out

This is one which can benefit from the help of care at home services. If there is another person to help out with the domestic tasks, then it is perhaps worth stepping out and seeing a local tourist attraction such as zoo or aquarium.

Complete a jigsaw puzzle

Here is one classic activity enjoyed by young and old. Bring a few puzzles of different levels to the Christmas Day gathering and see what they can achieve when they put their heads together.

Get the photo album out

It will be interesting and educational to show the youngest family members pictures of the family ancestry, especially ones which show the grandparents in their younger year.

Go for a walk

A nice brisk Christmas Day walk can help everyone digest the big dinner and the change of scenery will have benefits to everyone’s mood and health.

See the full article here

Yo Yo

The Royal Voluntary Service: You’re invited for Christmas

Community ChristmasNo older person should spend Christmas Day alone if they don’t want to and that’s why this year The Royal Voluntary Service has joined forces with Community Christmas to help older people who’d otherwise be on their own to find a local event where they can share a celebration.

Community Christmas is a one-stop-shop for older people, their families, friends and carers to search for options to join in on Christmas Day close to home.

Do you or someone you know not have any plans for Christmas Day?

To find a warm Christmas welcome for yourself or a friend, neighbour or loved one, go to communitychristmas.org.uk or call 0844 4430662.

Just search by town or postcode for events and activities happening up and down the country for Christmas 2014 that have their doors open and welcome older people on Christmas Day. Things to do include social events at local community centres, social clubs and pubs offering a hearty Christmas Day lunch and many can even help you get there by providing transport.

Click here to see The Royal Voluntary Service Website

Do you want to share your Christmas this year?

Do you have an event, activity or able to offer support to older people on Christmas Day? Visit the Community Christmas website to register your details and help to make Christmas happier for an older person near you.

Stay fit and healthy this winter

By on 10 13, 2014 in ActivitiesHealth and Wellbeing

It may be cold (and rainy!) outside but winter needn’t be the unhealthiest time of year for you and those around you.

Here are five ways to make sure that even when your body is telling you to hibernate you can keep healthy and fit, no matter what the weather’s like:

1. Eliminate your sleep debt

“On average we sleep six-and-a-half hours a night, much less than the seven to nine hours recommended,” says Jessica Alexander, spokesperson at the Sleep Council, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing. But in winter, we naturally sleep more, due to the longer nights. “It’s perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold,” says Jessica. “Use the time to catch up.”

2. Keep exercising in the winter months

Make exercise a winter priority to make sure you stay fit and healthy as the weather gets colder. Find a winter buddy to exercise with at least once a week, or someone to be accountable to. You can keep each other motivated during this period. Trick yourself by making your goals more achievable by telling yourselves that you are going to exercise for just, say, 15 minutes per session. Most likely, when you get to that stage, you will want to keep going.

3. Eat more fruit and veg

When it’s cold and dark outside it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it’s important to ensure that you still keep your diet healthy and include five portions of fruit and veg a day. If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or satsuma instead, or sweet dried fruits such as dates or raisins.

Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family. Explore varieties of fruit and veg that you may not normally eat.

4. Try new activities

Don’t use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in and lounge around. Instead, why not try out a new activity, maybe ice-skating, taking a bracing winter walk on the beach or exploring your local park in the different seasons. Regular exercise helps to control your weight, boost your immune system and is a good way to break the tension and boredom that can result from being constantly cooped up inside the house.

5. Have a hearty breakfast

Winter is the perfect season for porridge. Eating a warm bowlful on a cold morning isn’t just a delicious way to start your day, it also helps you to boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre, which give you energy and help you to feel fuller for longer, stopping the temptation to snack mid-morning. Oats also contain lots of vital vitamins and minerals. Avoid adding sugar or salt. Instead add a few dried apricots, some raisins, a sliced banana or other fruit for extra flavour and to help you hit the five-a-day target.

With thanks to the NHS and the Telegraph.

Warm in Winter

 

The Age Of No Retirement? Visbuzz joins the debate.

By on 09 29, 2014 in Activities

This week employers, policy makers, corporations (big and small), designers, artists, academics, inventors and social commentators will come together in a free event to explore the social and economic opportunities of a Britain in which the average person now lives. ‘The Age of No Retirement?‘ is a landmark event, a national debate about the opportunities in a society where we are living longer, which will look to break new ground and imagine new futures.

We are used to hearing about the demographic time bomb, baby boomers and the unsustainable cost of the ever-growing older generation. But, people are now living longer, healthier and more productively than ever before. In other words, we are younger for longer. So we need to start thinking in terms of positives, and what this means for the UK: a fit, educated work force that possesses that most valuable of assets – experience. And we can’t let all this talent go to waste.

The event will use talks from experts, open stakeholder debates, and participatory workshops, plus the involvement of artists to bring the insights to life. At the end of two days of thinking the co-authored insights will be pulled together and recorded in one unique collection of new ways of thinking.

The organisers hope to change thinking on a massive scale and ‘The Age of No Retirement?’ starting on the 1st October is the first step in this process.

‘The Age of No Retirement?’ is about breaking away from the patterns of the past and tuning into new opportunities and possibilities. The two days are about working collectively with openness. They are about asking ‘what kind of world do we want to live in?’, ‘isn’t there a way to change what we have for the better?’, ‘how can we create a better society for our children and our grandchildren?’ Trading Times and Commonland.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014 and Thursday, 2 October 2014. Southbank, United Kingdom. Register for your free tickets here.

No retirement

Staying in Touch

By on 09 08, 2014 in Activities

Last week marked the beginning of new stages of life for lots of children and young adults. New schools, new classes, new teachers, new friends, and with some people getting ready to start college and university, the mix of excitement and trepidation could be felt in the air. Parents watching children grow up faster and faster trying to hang on to them as long as possible, before they grow up too fast.

We all go through different stages in our lives, and after having a bit of a clear out last week, I found some letters in the loft. My memory is not to be relied upon so I find photos and letters really nudge my memory and help me to remember previous events, friends and general happenings. The letters were from people I had been friends with at school, and from friends at college and even a friend from work. As technology has become more advanced, we generally move forward with it, so I had forgotten the amount of letters I used to write. Now it is an occasional card to friends.

We make friends throughout our lives, and we have different friendship groups depending on the activity we are involved in. School friends, neighbourhood friends, work friends, friends we meet through clubs, friends we grow up with. With the advent of social media, children growing up now will have Facebook friends they may never even meet, however these people can still be a valid source of help, support and enjoyment.

I am still friends with some people from school, and university and I cherish those friendships and the history we share. Looking at the pile of letters, some of the people who I wrote to as a child, or as a teenager, I no longer see. I wonder how they are and what their lives have become, however just because I have limited or no contact with them now, it does not diminish the impact we had on each other’s lives. Every friendship, kind word and smile will have made me into the person I am today.

So, here is to all the children with new beginnings, and new friends who will shape them into the amazing people they will become.

Friends

Playing in the woods.

Today we share a post from The National Trust and their Outdoor Nation Blog posted on August 15, 2014.

It’s not just children who need play, argues Fiona Harrower, Visitor Experience Manager at Hatfield Forest.

Virtually all of my favourite childhood memories involve playing outdoors.  Even now, when I’m meant to be grown-up, I still can’t resist a puddle or balancing along a fallen tree.

Den building at Hatfield. © Fiona Harrower

For the last couple of years we have celebrated the national Play Day at Hatfield Forest with one goal: to encourage play with no play equipment.  With a thousand acres of woodland and grassy plains to explore this should have been a realistic challenge.

Or at least you would have thought so.

But I’ve noticed that many of our visiting parents are desperate for a trail to follow, a map to highlight where to play, actual trees and logs signposted as okay to play on.  Whereas their children, when allowed to just play freely, are quite happy to find their own spots, make their own games and use their imagination.

So our role is to teach the parents how to play in the outdoors, as the kids are experts at it already.  With a large number of veteran trees, we have an added challenge of balancing the promotion of natural play with the conservation of Hatfield Forest.

The 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 campaign has helped us to promote our no need for play equipment message, by giving us a tool to spark families’ imagination.  The scrapbooks, and even more so the stickers, are a big hit.  Our top play activities at Hatfield Forest are tree climbing, den building, making grass trumpets, exploring inside a tree and making mud pies.  We hold Wild Wednesdays throughout the summer holidays and have over 150 children participating each week.

Pie making during Mud Week! © Fiona Harrower

But play isn’t limited to Wednesdays only; it’s something we promote every day.

Play is one of the simplest ways to get kids outdoors.  The health benefits are clear.  Ask a child if they want to go on a five mile hike and you may get a moan, but spend hours running through long grass, climbing trees and building dens and they won’t notice they’re ‘exercising’.

Play is a universal way of connecting people to the outdoors.  It’s something children intrinsically know what to do.  We just need to give adults the permission to play too.

My 30 days of Adventure.

By on 08 26, 2014 in ActivitiesAdventure

My 30 days of Adventure.

On 25th July, along with Psychologies magazine, I started my 30 days of adventure. As of Saturday 23rd August my 30 days were complete. I must say, it was not easy. Adventure is such a big word. It is powerful and full of expectation and promise. Well, I made it work as best I could.

My 30 days of adventure included a wide range of activities, and these activities conjured up a plethora of emotions. Some activities were peaceful and led me to times of thoughtfulness and contemplation, these included paint by numbers, magnet craft and a walk in the park in the sunshine. In contrast, the result of me saying yes more meant I socialised more often, spoke more to people that I already knew, and got to know those I did not. I got involved in different running clubs and visited new places. These activities made me feel happy and gave me a sense of achievement and fulfilment.

The activities that were particularly adventurous for me were those that were right out of my comfort zone, those that made me think “really, me, oh dear!”. In this group I include driving someone else’s car, joining a new social group, driving to new places and in particular taking a new route which included an extremely small single lane track.

There are still some adventurous activities from the past 30 days to come to fruition, for example on one day I booked tickets to the Invictus Games. The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women and the Games are about survival in the face of adversity and the strength of the human spirit. I’ll be going to watch the Games in a couple of weeks.

My adventures will go on, and I will continue to be more open to things which are not part of the routine, and will no doubt drag some unsuspecting individuals with me along my way. I must simply remember to keep saying yes more.

Find out how Psychologies got on here.

ingleborough

My 30 days of Adventure.

By Harriett on 08 26, 2014 in ActivitiesAdventure

My 30 days of Adventure. On 25th July, along with Psychologies magazine, I started my 30 days of adventure. As of Saturday 23rd August my 30 days were complete. I must say, it was not easy. Adventure is such a big word. It is powerful and full of expectation and promise. Well, I made it [...]


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