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The Hemsleys: fitness for busy lives

In this month’s column, Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley discuss the joy of movement – and how to keep our bodies fit and minds healthy when life is frantically busy

by Psychologies

Choose passion

‘When it comes to fitness, the main thing I would advise is: do not do anything that you don’t want to do. If you’re trying to squeeze out an extra hour of your day three times a week, it has got to be for something that you really enjoy – that’s when it will benefit both your mind and your body, and also make you want to keep doing more and more of it.’ Melissa

Virtual no-brainer

‘When we’re busy, we do some online yoga. I’m a big fan of Tara Stiles and we pick one of her short online videos (between six and 10 minutes long). You would be really selling yourself short to say that you don’t have time to do that. The lovely thing is, you often feel so good afterwards, you choose another short one. If I’m travelling, having fitness and meditation apps and videos on my phone helps. It’s just like being in a class and feeling motivated to get to the end to experience that same satisfied high.’ Jasmine

Healthy friendships

‘I’m wary of trying to multitask too much, but I do like to go to dance classes at the weekend with my friends. You’re exercising, sweating and laughing, and your brain is engaged. I really feel as though I get something powerful out of it and the bonus is that I also see my friends. I’m not going to go and do a workout for the sake of it, but it’s lovely to do so with a friend – even if it’s just for a long walk and then a meal.’ Melissa

Beyond the pill

‘I can see the appeal of supplements – you can totally buy in to thinking you’re doing something good for yourself and therefore don’t need to worry about your eating or sleeping patterns. But there are lots of poor-quality pills out there and I think, like health food, you can be too hungry for the quick fix, over the simple and good sense route. So much comes from putting the right things into your body, in the right ratios. Supplement recommendation is a real science, so you’re much better off talking to a nutritional therapist before you start stockpiling tablets.’ Jasmine

Inspirational movement

‘There are so many different ways you can be active, so it’s no longer just about the gym. I like variety and I want to be as active as I can, but I’ve also learned that so much depends on the teacher. Find an inspiring and motivational teacher, and a class that gets you moving in a dynamic and restorative way, and leaves you feeling empowered (not battered), and you’re on to a winner.’ Melissa

Transparently healthy

‘Most health foods suck the moisture out of your mouth, and are devoid of anything wholesome, or are ridiculously sweet. I don’t want to see something called “the honey bar” when it’s got five sweeteners in it and honey is at the end of the ingredients list. Why do we need five sweeteners? Why not only one clear one so we can read the label and know if it’s going to be good for us?’ Jasmine

Phone hang-ups

‘When we went to see Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, give a talk, the main thing I took away from it was: “Every night, gently escort all your technology out of your bedroom.” I love that – I can just imagine all the sad little phones heading off on their little legs! She said the best thing you can do is buy a cheap alarm clock and have that on your bedside table. Everybody says, “I need my phone for my alarm” – but the first mobile phones didn’t have alarms, and we did just fine.’ Jasmine

No it all

‘We can both be really busy, but one thing we’ve learned is to say no to things, even when we really want to do them. What you realise, ultimately, is that you’re saying no to yourself (and all the impossible goals and ambitions you set yourself) – and that can be quite a powerful thing. The minute you stop trying to squeeze that last “little” thing into your day, you realise that not every minute should be taken up with “stuff”.’ Melissa

Read more from the Hemsleys and our #360me team on our dedicated Life Labs blogging channel, here.

Photograph: Nicholas Hopper

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