Staying active during COVID-19

Due to the current pandemic, it seems like most of us are staying indoors more. Although, I can still work from home, with my gym closed, I’ve started being less active than usual which is really affecting the way I feel and look. Can you relate to that?

Getting active can be challenging sometimes – especially now when we need to remember about socially distancing ourselves. We all know that exercise provides many mental and physical health benefits so I’ve decided to put a few suggestions of what you can do to enjoy your time outdoors, connecting with mother nature and implementing a healthy routine. This approach worked for me and I hope that it will also help you.

  1. Find an outdoor exercise routine that works for you. It’s been proven that exercising outdoors lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. Studies have also shown that physical activity outdoors lowers a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. Whether you decide to go for a run, walk or a bike ride – it’s free of charge and offers you a variation to your regular workout sessions at the gym. Also, if the weather is nice then you can exercise in the sunshine topping up your vitamin D levels. The most important thing though, is to do something that you enjoy so that it’s not a one off activity and you stick to it.
  2. Invest in some quality outdoor wear. Looking good makes us all feel better, doesn’t it? As I spend more time exploring outdoors, I’ve decided to get some quality outdoor clothing from Maier Sports which I could use for trekking, hiking and discovering the countryside. Firstly, I got my new outdoor ‘Tangstad’ jacket – I absolutely love this durable and sporty 3-layer jacket with reliable weather protection (it’s both waterproof and breathable). It provides a few great design features such as grown-on hood which can be stowed in collar, underarm ventilation and spacious pockets. AEB95DFF-EB43-4CF2-89C9-BD0A51904193Secondly, I’ve chosen some ‘Ophit’ outdoor tights. These are fabulous – they look like your regular leggings but they are made from robust stretch fabric which is both water-repellent and environmentally friendly (PFC-free finish). They also have a concealed side pocket and soft and smooth comfortable waist. What I like the most, is that they are quick-drying thanks to dryprotec. Lastly, I completed the look by getting ‘Sinnes Tec’ trekking blouse. It’s super comfortable and made using 4-way stretch for complete freedom of movement. As most of Maier Sports products, this stylish blouse has a great design including underarm ventilation, quick-drying feature due to dryprotec in addition to turn-up sun protection collar. Simply amazing!
    Check out some photos I took wearing them – don’t they all look stylish?
  3. Try something new. Find something new that you enjoy doing. I moved to Essex a year ago and I am now close to beautiful countryside. It’s always great to discover new places and I love exploring local seaside, hills and tracks. I’ve started hiking with my husband during the weekends and during the weekdays I am fitting in some short 30-min running sessions discovering my neighborhood streets and nearby parks. Many outdoor areas include benches allowing anyone to use them for a variety of resistance-training or post-workout stretching exercises.
  4. Find time that works for you and stick to it. I need to be honest here – when I had to commute to my office in London daily, I had a set routine but since the lock-down started I became a bit lazy. Waking up at 5:45a.m. previously was the norm but now I tend to stay in bed much longer. Nevertheless, I try to wake up at 7a.m. three times a week and go for a run. When I arrive back home, I am normally already fully awake, my endorphins are at their highest level and I am ready to rock!
  5. Set realistic goals. Try doing a challenge for 2/ 4/ 8 weeks and don’t forget to set milestones where you review your progress. Perhaps invest in a training diary to monitor your progress or get a fitness tracker which can monitor your physical activity.
  6. Don’t give up and enjoy it! My parents always told me that the key to success is to never give up. I am quite active and I am trying to be healthy however like all of us I have my weak points. I am a massive foodie and if I wasn’t working out I would probably be massive now! You need to be realistic with your goals and at the same time enjoy your life. I never say ‘no’ to a sticky toffee pudding but at the same time I know my limits and I try not to have it too often. Having a ‘cheat day’ once a week when you indulge or have a treat is OK as long as you stay on track and limit it.

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Pauline

Holiday destinations: Hamburg, Germany

As it was a Bank Holiday weekend last week, we travelled to Hamburg in Germany. I’ve never there before so I was looking forward to discovering this second largest German city with the largest port. Hamburg has became one of the major centres for international trade due to its location and it continues to be one of the wealthiest cities build on maritime stories. Locals have mastered how to live well and if (like me) you like to indulge in diverse cuisine then you would enjoy your stay here as there are a plenty of great restaurants, bars and breweries to visit.

If you like sightseeing then you can take one of the sightseeing walking tours showing you the city’s highlights or grab a map and discover the major sites by yourself.

Here is a short list of my suggestions of places worth visiting:

  • Speicherstadt – the largest warehouse district in the world located in the port of Hamburg with some signature red-brick warehouses, canals & museums.

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  • Elbphilharmonie Hamburg – a newly constructed concert hall in the HafenCity on the Grasbrook peninsula of the Elbe River. It is one of the largest and acoustically most advanced concert halls in the world which cost 8 times more to build than the Sydney Opera House.
  • Townhall and Alster – the seat of local government which is one of Germany’s 16 state parliaments. Located next to Hamburg’s most popular river – Alster leading to many shopping malls and boutiques.
  • Planten un Blomen – a large city park with a size of 47 hectares featuring themed gardens, a lake & Japanese tea house

How to get there?

If you live in the UK then you can easily get to Hamburg from most of major cities. We’ve flown from London Stanstead and it took us slightly over 1 hour to get there. Perfect for a short weekend break.

Other tips:

Hamburg has a very good transport network and you should definitely get a Hamburg Card when you visit – it will cover all your travel in addition to some discounts i.e. to some of the top attractions, restaurants, river cruises etc.

I hope you enjoyed reading this review.

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Pauline

Holiday destinations: Bristol, UK

Last month my mum visited me in London and as I wanted to spend some quality mother-daughter time with her I booked us a weekend trip to Bristol. I was there last year after we got engaged so I have many happy memories in that city. We left London at 11a.m. and after a couple of hours on a train, we arrived in the centre of Bristol.

Bristol is a city in South West England with a population of almost half a million inhabitants. The Bristol metropolitan area is the 12th largest in the United Kingdom. The city buzzes with lively students and it is built on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries. Bristol is one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations, and The Sunday Times named it as the best city in Britain in which to live in 2014 and 2017. The city has also recently won the EU’s European Green Capital Award.

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My mum was super excited about our trip and discovering the city.

The city is steeped in history and there is something spectacular everywhere you turn. Here is a short list of my suggestions of places worth visiting whilst in Bristol:

  • Bristol Museum & Art Gallery – located a short 10 min walk from the city centre this museum exhibits some outstanding collections of art, archaeology, Egyptology and natural history in a magnificent building.
  • Bristol Cathedral – England’s only hall church Cathedral
  • Clifton Suspension Bridge –  a suspension bridge spanning the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, linking Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset
  • Cabot Tower & Brandon Hill – set in the parkland and provides priceless views of the city.
  • Pero’s Bridge – pedestrian footbridge in honour of Pedro Jones.

I hope you enjoyed reading this review 🙂

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Pauline

Holiday destinations: Barcelona, Spain

It was my husband’s 30th birthday last week so I decided to treat him to a mini-break to Spain. I love Barcelona and as he has never been there before, it was a very easy decision to make whilst deciding where to take him.

Barcelona is the largest city of Catalonia, and the second most populous municipality of Spain. It has a population of 1.6 million within city limits which makes it the sixth most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, Madrid, the Ruhr area and Milan.

There are many places worth visiting in Barcelona. Please find a quick summary listed below:

  1. Sagrada Familia – a landmark church designed by Antonio Gaudí
  2. Park Güell – a lovely park with mosaic-covered buildings, steps and sculptures providing amazing panoramic views of Barcelona. It was meant to be an exclusive housing complex with 60 houses however only 2 houses were build and a show home where Gaudi stayed was transformed recently into a museum.
  3. Casa Milà – another beautiful building by Antonio Gaudi popularly known as La Pedrera or “open quarry”, a reference to its unconventional rough-hewn appearance.
  4. La Rambla – a street in central Barcelona, popular with tourists and locals alike. Great for shopping or a bit of relaxation in one of its many eateries.
  5. Plaça de Catalunya – the most famous square filled with fountains and sculptures surrounded with many shops & cafes.
  6. La Barceloneta – a beach located short walk from the central Barcelona.
  7. Palau Nacional – hilltop museum for 11th- to 20th-century Catalan art plus important Romanesque collection.
  8. Arc de Triomf – Classical archway built as the main entrance to the Universal Exhibition hosted by the city in 1888.

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Pauline

Holiday destinations: New York, USA

I have recently traveled to the USA with my husband for our autumn / winter holidays. Our first stop was New York City.  It is the most densely populated city in the USA and it has a population of 8.5 million. New York City is one of the most famous cities worldwide and it has been described as the cultural, financial and media capital of the world. New York City consists of five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island. I have recently read that there 800 languages are spoken in New York, which makes it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

Many districts and landmarks in New York City are well known and 61 million tourists visited the city in 2016. There are many places worth visiting in New York. Please find a quick summary listed below:

  • Empire State Building – a perfect way to see the city’s major highlights from the highest building in New York.
  • Statue of Liberty – a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City.
  • Grand Central Terminal – beautiful train station with a wide range of shops and eateries to relax in.
  • Fifth Avenue – a famous shopping street with a range of boutique and high-street brands where you can shop until you drop.
  • Times Square – exciting and colorful square that just cannot be missed. Sometimes referred to as the Crossroads of the World.

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  • Rockefeller Center (Top of The Rock experience) – an observatory on top of Rockefeller Center, with great city views.
  • National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey – amazing entertainment experience in the heart of Times Square which uses ground-breaking technology that takes its attendees on a journey into the ocean. It is super interactive with escaping sea creatures and underwater maze. A perfect destination for a day out with a family especially if you have kids as everyone can experience being face-to-face with whales and sharks, squids or sea lions.
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum – an American military and maritime history museum. I especially enjoyed learning more about the Space Shuttle ‘Enterprise’ – the first space shuttle, a Cold War-era submarine Growler and British Airways Concorde, the world’s fastest commercial jet that can take passengers from London to New York in under 3 hours.

I hope you enjoyed reading this review.

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Pauline

Getting back into fitness after my honeymoon

Have you ever wished that you could instantly undo overindulgence? I have definitely done that in the past. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. If you read my blog regularly, you would know that I have recently returned from my honeymoon. During my time in Asia, I worked out only a couple of times and honestly, I was eating everything I fancied as it was a trip of my lifetime.

Getting more active and starting to exercise again can be challenging sometimes, thus I put a few simple steps that you can all follow to maximise your chances of sticking to your healthy routine. This approach worked for me and I hope that it will also help you to stick to your healthy routine.

  1. Find an exercise routine that works for you and you enjoy.

It doesn’t matter what it is: yoga, gym, walking just put any activity you enjoy in your routine, schedule it and go for it. I love my strength and power sessions at my gym and I attend them at least 3 times a week if my busy schedule at work allows it. Try to wake up earlier and start your day being active. I actually got used to getting up at 5:30 and having my workouts before work. When I arrive at my office, I am normally already fully awake, my endorphins are at their highest level and I am ready to rock!

  1. Set realistic goals

When I was younger, I was quite often disappointed that the goal I worked toward didn’t materialise as soon as I would wish it to do. In order to see the results, you need to stay on track and what I like to personally do is to set both short-term and long-term objectives. Try doing a challenge for 2 / 4/ 8 weeks and don’t forget to set milestones where you review your progress.

  1. Track your progress

Buy any activity tracking device that could help you to stick to your objectives. I’ve tried quite a few of  them as you probably know fitness trackers come in all shapes and forms, have different features and are design to fit all price categories. I  currently have a Garmin tracker and I like it as it tracks my sleep, steps, physical activity etc. -standard features of many other fitness trackers.

  1. Find a buddy

It is great to start your getting back into fitness journey with a friend or a colleague so you can both motivate each other and make sure that you stay on track.

  1. Think different – Electric Bikes!

There comes that time in everyone’s exercise regime where they want something different or some variety. Electric bikes are perfect for those who wish to pedal manually or can be used as extra assistance with the electric motor and so perfect for anyone who needs to ease themselves into fitness this year. Visit Fenetic Wellbeing website for more details.

http://www.feneticwellbeing.com/product-category/leisure/electric-bikes/

  1. Don’t give up and enjoy it!

The key to succeed is to never give up. I am quite active and I am trying to be healthy however like all of you I have my weak points. I am a massive foodie and if I wasn’t working out I would probably be massive now! You need to be realistic with your goals and at the same time enjoy your life so when you go out for a meal have what you like but make sure that you balance your diet and eat less day after. I never say ‘no’ to a sticky toffee pudding but at the same time I know my limits and I try not to have it too often. Having a ‘cheat day’ once a week when you indulge or have a treat is ok as long as you stay on track and limit it to I.e. weekly not a daily activity.

In order to stay on track I got involved in #FeneticFitness. Fenetic Wellbeing are a mobility company who exist to provide customers with the right healthcare and mobility products for their individual needs. #FeneticFitness’s aim is to help ease and encourage people back into exercise. The campaign is inspired by January being the time that people tend to detox, make New Year resolutions and think ahead to getting fit for summer. So what are you waiting for? Join #FeneticFitness today and enter a competition to win.

misfit

From 2nd of February until 14th of February my followers from UK can win a MISFIT Shine 2 Activity Tracker in Rose Gold if they follow @1stclasslounge on Twitter (mandatory). All followers can also get the additional entries by using the Rafflecopter. Winner will be announced on the 14th of February on Twitter. The prize will be send by 2ndclass recorded delivery. This giveaway is running in collaboration with Fenetic Wellbeing.

You can enter the competition using the Rafflecopter below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/437af2d31/?

Terms and Conditions:

  1. The competition is run on Twitter by Firstclasslounge.net
  2. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  3. The competition is open ONLY to residents of Great Britain aged 18 and over as at the time of the competition opening. Failure to comply with any part of this clause will disqualify the respective entry from the competition. Prize will not be posted outside of Great Britain.
  4. Only one entry per person per weekly prize draw competition will be accepted.
  5. Each entrant shall enter the prize draw via Rafflecopter and follow @1stclasslounge.
  6. In order to get additional entries please use Rafflecopter. Obscene or inappropriate entries will not be accepted and FirstClassLounge.net reserves the right to reject any entries for any reason at its sole discretion.
  7. The winning prize is a MISFIT Shine 2 Activity Tracker in Rose Gold.
  8. The promoter (FirstClassLounge.net) will not be liable for any failure of receipt of entries. The promoter takes no responsibility for any entries which are lost, delayed, illegible, corrupted, damaged, incomplete or otherwise invalid.
  9. Prizes are non-negotiable, non-transferable and non-refundable. No cash alternative is available.
  10. In the event of unforeseen circumstances beyond the promoter’s reasonable control, the promoter reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the prize draw competition or these terms and conditions, either in whole or in part, with or without notice.
  11. These terms and conditions and the competition prize draw are governed by English law and subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
  12. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
  13. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  14. This promotion is in not sponsored, endorsed or administered by Twitter or any other Social Network.
  15. The promoter’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  16. The winner’s twitter username will be posted on Twitter by @1stclasslounge after the winner has been selected.

Good luck everyone!

What are your getting back to fitness tips?

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Pauline