I lived in Sydney, Australia for six years. During that time I learnt a thing or two about health and fitness the ‘Aussie way’. Living and eating healthily over there is truly a lifestyle – a way of life and one that I’ve kept hold of now that I’m back in the UK. What I learned the most, was that you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re missing out, or that it’s all somehow a chore, by living healthily – but instead, that you’re really living life to its fullest and enjoying it too. I was interested to read an article pushing the same concept by Clare V. Kent of late.
What I learned whilst living in Australia has changed my entire approach to health and fitness. Here are my top five tips for health and fitness, the Aussie way:-
Wear your gym kit to lunch
Yes, I was one of those people in my leggings sipping a flat white whilst munching on my smashed avo on toast. Clichéd, but you know what, if putting on my kit meant that psychologically, I was in more of a ‘get fit’ frame of mind, which thus meant that I ended actually walking to lunch or doing a few stretches once I was home, then I’m all OK with that. Actually putting on your gym/fitness/work out/walking kit is your first step to getting a bit more active. Even something as gentle as a 30 minute walk after lunch is a great form of low-impact exercise that everyone can enjoy. Having the right clothes already on will put you in a more ‘get fit’ and encouraging frame of mind.
Take the scenic route
There’s a coastal path in Sydney which takes you 6km from the famous Bondi beach down south to Coogee beach, taking in spectacular views and the chance to spot dolphins and whales along the way. There is however no convenient public transport between the two beaches and in the height of summer most buses and trains are packed with tourists and day trippers keen to get to the beaches themselves. It’s therefore a win-win to take the longer, but more scenic route. Whether it’s a trip to the shops, a jog to the park or a walk around the village block – take the longer more scenic route and work towards getting your 10,000 steps in.
Healthy food is not boring food
Some of my favourite recipes are from chefs I discovered whilst living in Australia – Sarah Wilson, Bondi Harvest and Teresa Cutter amongst others. Even Madeline Shaw’s interest in nutrition came from her time living in Sydney. Healthy, fresh food was available abundantly in cafes and restaurants meaning more access to healthy food to create at home.
My favourite healthy recipes include – Bondi Harvest’s miso glazed aubergine, Teresa Cutter’s salted nut butter cookies (easy and tasty), and come winter I’m frequently dipping into Sarah Wilson’s slow cooker cookbook.
Although Australia does have a lot of seasonal, fresh produce because of its distance from other countries, out of season food is priced high. I had never really considered the seasonality of fruit and veg before but seeing the prices when out of season were enough to make me take note. Seasonal veg tastes better, is cheaper and has higher nutritional value because it hasn’t been transported and stored for long periods of time.
Summer bodies are made in Winter
I recently went on my summer holidays and for the first time in many years I had the pre-holiday panic – I was not ready to be seen in a bikini. It had been at least a year since I had last worn one, my skin was pale and I was feeling self-conscious about my stomach. Living in a country with such a strong beach culture and putting on your bikini being almost as normal as putting on your shoes before leaving the house meant that you never had that moment of dread and panic each time you take out your swimmers. Exercising through the winter means that as well as boosting your endorphins in those short, dark days, you’re full of confidence by the time the clocks change and you’ve been dreaming of sunnier climes.
Photograph my own