Although we may take a quick glance at the packaging, most of us don’t read food labels when we shop. So, how can understanding food labels better help us be more intentional about our health?
The human body is incredible. Every body has been uniquely designed and given to us to live in, to work from and to enjoy. Being active offers a whole host of benefits for our health and wellbeing and helps us live life in all its fulness. Staying active helps us be fit for the purposes we were made for; even if we might or might not be the size or shape we would like and even when our bodies aren’t physically able to do all the things they used to do.
We believe that Every Body Matters
Every body is a gift from God and each one is amazing.
Bodies are unique and come in all shapes and sizes, each one with strengths, abilities, weaknesses and limitations. Some of these we are born with, others develop along life's journey. Our bodies are a home on earth, for our hearts, minds and souls, and this is why our bodies are worthy investments of our care and attention. Healthy bodies support and protect our physical, mental and emotional health. They will inevitably begin to decline with inactivity and/or age, but they serve us best when we intentionally look after them well.
However, the influences of our modern lifestyles can make it difficult to regularly build sufficient regular physical activity into our everyday lives. Whilst we don’t need to workout to enable us binge-watch Netflix(!) - staying physically active is vital, if we want our bodies to be fit and healthy enough to do many of the things that really matter to us.
When it comes to taking part in physical activity, we’re all different. Some people enjoy moderate levels of physical activity, like regularly going walking, dancing, doing household chores or gardening. Others love more vigorous physical activity and take every opportunity to go to the gym and do a cardio workout, take a strengthening exercise class, or play an active sport.
Then, there are those who prefer a more sedentary lifestyle - grabbing any chance to collapse on the sofa with some tasty snacks. Rest and relaxation are really important, but whilst ‘sofa and snacks’ time is great in moderation, it's good to be aware that the benefits of being physically active far outweigh the benefits of being inactive.
Becoming more active helps us feel physically better, boosts the clarity of our thinking and supports our mental health. Keeping active also reduces the risk of injury from strains, falls and accidents and helps us recover from illness more quickly.
Being in good shape enables us to do many things that are much more of a struggle (or simply not possible) when we are less active and are physically unfit.
Even though we might appreciate the health benefits of being active it can still be hard to start, build and maintain healthy habits around exercise. So if your own physical fitness has ever got in the way of doing things you’ve wanted to do, or being the person you want to be; know this: You’re not alone.
The good news, is that it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s never too late to become more intentional about your health and wellbeing and we want to help!
Where do you see yourself? On a scale of 1-5, how active is your body at the moment?
Where would you like to be in 6 months time; so far as this is possible with you?
Making changes around our physical activity, or how we think or feel about being active, requires us to notice the stories we tell ourselves.
For example, when we say: “I’m rubbish at……” “I could never…” “I don't have time to…” “I can’t be bothered to…” it makes it harder for us to do something different.
If you’re someone who thinks about physical activity as some kind of punishment (or inactivity as a reward!), have you ever thought about activity as an intentional investment in your future?
When we think and talk about physical activity as something we have no choice about, feel guilty about, or feel no motivation for, we set ourselves up to fail.
However, here’s the good news! We can shift our attitude towards exercise, by thinking of it as an opportunity, something we are able to do… Being transformed starts when we start to think differently! (Romans 12:2)
For example, instead of saying “I have to go for a walk on Sunday afternoon” I can say “I get to go for a walk on Sunday afternoon.”
We don't have to. We get to. It’s an opportunity. A gift.
And here’s the thing: our physical health is much easier to maintain, than it is to regain...
If you want to build a life that includes more physical activity, so you can enjoy life to the full, ask yourself these 3 questions:
How do I feel after a day of binge-eating and watching Netflix?
How do I feel after a healthier day that includes some physical activity?
If you want to make different choices going forward, next time you have a choice to be more or less active, ask yourself:
“What would a healthy person do, in my shoes?”
Let us know how you get on and what new stories you are telling yourself!
As always, make sure you take advice from your doctor, before increasing your levels of physical activity, or starting something new.
If you want more ideas, support and encouragement, to help you become more intentional about your health, why not become an Intentional Health Angel? Membership of our Angels Community is our way of saying Thank You to the amazing group people who financially support the life-changing work of Intentional Health across the UK, by giving a small monthly donation. Membership includes a weekly email, exclusive access to this month’s PDF worksheet and an invitation to join us for a live 30 minute webinar. We’ll be on hand to answer your questions and share some stories, to help inspire you to be more intentional about your health and wellbeing. Join Now
Do you want to experience more peace and joy - and the sort of happiness that isn’t dependent on your circumstances? Many of us want more of these things in our lives, but the daily struggles and challenges we face can leave us feeling robbed of what peace and joy we have. How can we experience more - whatever our circumstances - and become the kind of people whose peace and joy is hard to steal away?
Although it has been a while since we last posted a blog, today’s news is something we are really excited about so had to share it! The Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, has today (5th November 2018) laid out his long-term vision for the NHS and the country’s health. His plan will centre around encouraging people to take more responsibility for their own health as well as employers the responsibility for their employees.
"It's about helping them make better choices, giving them all the support we can, because we know taking the tough decisions is never easy"
He said on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 that 4-5ths ot what happens with our health, happens outside of hospital. You can also read via the BBC News that Mr. Hancock, in an essential readjustment, stated, "In the UK, we are spending £97bn of public money on treating disease and only £8bn preventing it across the UK. You don't have to be an economist to see those numbers don't stack up.".
Equally, when we know that 75% of people in the UK (3 out of 4 of us) will suffer needlessly or die prematurely because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, you don’t need to be an NHS professional to know that changes need to be made in preventative community health.
The NHS ‘Five Year Forward View’ recognised a need for prevention. However Matt Hancock now highlights the need for a change of culture and method of delivering, with a substantial shift onto focus on community. This is because the NHS can only play a small part when it comes to health that is so inextricably linked to social determinants, including social isolation and poverty.
There has been a lot of talk about the need for prevention, but up until now very little has been done on a national scale due to limited resources.
Because our health is so largely impacted by making better choices, Intentional Health firmly believes the church can play a crucial role in loving their neighbours as themselves as it promotes supportive communities, provides encouragement, and loves compassionately in their local communities.
Intentional Health trains, equips and resources local church volunteers to run an inspirational10-session community programme providing facts, frameworks and friendships that encourage a step by step journey towards improved health and wellbeing.
Each session explores simple swaps and sows tiny seeds that impact areas of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and lead to healthier lifestyle habits.
People leave with a renewed sense of whole person health and wellbeing that is achievable, lasting and life-giving.
These programmes are placed-based and peer-led to ensure they are person centred, and that each person attending is able to get the most out of the programme content.
That is why today’s news is a real breath of fresh air for us at Intentional Health as it reiterates the need for whole-person healthcare which the person themselves is able to direct and effect, and is something a number of churches in the UK have been doing for a number of years. We aim to equip these amazing volunteers to do this in accordance with the NHS principles and using the tools comprised in Making Every Contact Count (MECC) guidance.
We do this because we believe...
Every Body Matters
We’d love you to join us, if you want to know more about the work of Intentional Health click here.
If you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below, to help start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.
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And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities click on the links above or contact us.
Another more personal blog again this week, about rest... I am writing this blog on Tuesday 17th April.
Last night I delivered our coach family devotional - this is a monthly 30-minute webinar that all of the Intentional Health coaches and volunteers can be part of if they want. During these sessions, we explore some of the Intentional Health programme content and remind ourselves that we are part of something bigger.
Most importantly for us - because we are faith-based but not biased and believe God has invited us into His plan - We also use this time to share what we feel He is saying to us, both individually, and corporately.
Yesterday's particular session was all about the importance of rest - using the scripture Matthew 11: 28-30 as a starting point - Many of our readers will know it well.
During the session, Gareth and I explored how we aim to create a healthy rhythm of working out of rest, rather than rest as recovery from our work.
I explained how for us here at Intentional Health right now, we happen to be in a season in the fast lane, where it isn't easy to rest - there is just so much to do, and only a few hands to do it!
Whether you believe in God or not, you'll probably agree that rest is something that as a society we can often struggle with.
Our world is filled with hustle and bustle. We reward busyness as if always working, striving, and achieving were the true marks of a life well-lived. We elevate those who have given everything to gain success. To be tired is to be weak. To be in need is to fail. To rest instead of work is to be lazy or selfish. We can become focused on ourselves, thinking that unless we work ourselves to the bone, nothing of value will be accomplished. I was encouraged to read an article last week that suggests this culture might be starting to change in the workplace, but I suspect this won't be the norm for a very long time!
Personally, I recognise that I am naturally more of a 'human-do-er' rather than a human being, and confess that I also find that it isn't easy to stop and rest when I am so blessed and get to do something I really love every day!
So after the session last night, I pretty much went straight to bed, reflecting on what we'd just been talking about, and to try and rest.
I noticed that this rest felt more like I was in recovery mode, in response to a great - but busy week, rather than a rest to help me bring my best self and work into the next day.
When I woke this morning - I realised that I have been guilty of talking more about rest than I have been practising resting!
So, (prepare yourself!) I made the decision to write this blog post today (Tuesday) and schedule it for Monday week (probably when you are reading it now) and to let you know that I am going to take a few weeks resting from our weekly blog, at least until after my Windsor trip.
That way, I can have a season of rest, and so can you from reading this!
A few people have previously mentioned they could write something for our Monday blog- and if they do, we can easily schedule that whilst I'm away, but I'm making this commitment to rest because it's right for me now, and because, as far as it possible for me, I want to always work from a place of rest, rather than because others can 'hold the fort'.
And as I begin to practice what I'm preaching, I hope that I may also inspire you to lay something down too - even something small for a short season?
When I return in a few weeks, I hope and expect to be able to bring my very best work from a restored rhythm of 'working from a place of rest' again :)
Thanks for your understanding. Niky :)
If you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional about your health and think about how you might work from a place of rest, then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below, to help start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.
If you are interested in helping us improve the lives of 1000 beneficiaries by 2020 and want to support Intentional Health so that we can share the workload and 'work from rest' more, please click here to find out about how you can become an Angel.