Author: Leanne Spencer

The Aggregation of Marginal Gains

Being physically and mentally fitter and healthier have never been more important. We all know though that lifestyle changes can be daunting, hard to incorporate and hard to stick to too. So, what can we do to make our lives healthier without feeling that we are about to climb Mount Everest? So, this month I would like to talk about a concept that might be familiar to some of you who have trained or performed on a more competitive and professional sporting level. It is the concept of marginal gains. I’ve borrowed this from, Sir Dave Brailsford, you may have heard of him in conjunction with team Sky. He did a lot of work with a lot of sports teams and it was around this principle of the aggregation of marginal gains. What Is Aggregation of Marginal Gains? What he means by that is if he could get a 1% improvement in an athlete’s sleep, a 1% improvement in their mental wellbeing, 1% improvement in their energy levels that all snowballs and actually the cumulative …

Exercise Snacking

Recently, I have been talking to lots and lots of different people at an organisation where I am the head of wellbeing. And almost every single one of them have reported this mid-afternoon slump in energy. Does this sound familiar to you? And if so, have you ever wondered how to stay energised after lunch? The main thing I am discovering is that people just are not physically moving enough. Given the current circumstances I know that is a bit obvious. We are working from home in the main, people are not necessarily going out and about. You may even skip or have skipped exercise all together. And there is, of course, a lot of staring at screens. But there are ways that you can move within the confines of a building if you really cannot get out for a five- or ten-minute walk or a quick jog. Movement Snacking This is where the concept of movement snacking comes is. Think of exercise as movement snacking. In the same way that you might go over …

Lockdown Has Changed My Exercise Routine. Here Is Why

How has the lockdown impacted your exercise routine? Some of you might have taken up running, signed up for online classes and others might have given exercise a total break for now – or at least until the gyms are opening up again. This month I want to talk to you a bit about how my exercise routine has changed and how I have tweaked my exercise sessions during this period while I have been working exclusively from home. This is a piece of advice I normally withhold, because many of us are office based and it becomes a bit of a moot point, but I’ve tweaked the timing of my exercise sessions. Our nervous system: Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system I want to explain to you why I have tweaked the timing of my session. The optimal time to do a harder or more exerting exercise session is actually the afternoon. It is roughly between 2pm and 4pm or thereabouts. And the reasons for that are our nervous systems in the morning are already …

The Importance Of Taking Regular Breaks

I’m very lucky. I have an outdoor studio and once I have finished writing this article, I will get myself ready to take a break out there. I’ll actually lie down on my mat, I’ll get my bolster out and I’ll use my lovely lavender eye cushion. Ready to take a short break. And the reason I do this is it improves creativity, it improves focus, it improves productivity. I see me getting better value from the work I do by taking regular breaks, and it is not just me, it is not just anecdotal evidence. The Benefits Of Short Breaks Some of us are still in lockdown and working from home. Work and private live can blur together into one long day for some of us. In those circumstances, taking regular breaks can be a game changer. As I mentioned briefly above, this is not just anecdotal. There have been lots of studies around the benefits of taking regular breaks. There is a 2011 study that I was reading earlier, from the University of …

Absorb And Redirect

This month I would like to talk about a concept that my business partner Antonia has been talking to me about… Absorb and redirect. It’s an idea that comes from Kung Fu, which is a very old, traditional Eastern or Chinese form of martial arts, often inspired by old Chinese philosophies, religions and legends. The particular style that Antonia practices (there are many Kung Fu styles) teaches you that in order to become an efficient martial artist one should avoid resisting the forces that come towards you from your opponent. You should instead absorb, redirect and make that energy work for you. I think it’s an interesting concept and relevant for today’s challenges. We’ve got a lot of negativity swirling around, but we also have the opportunity to create and take advantage of a great deal of positivity. The idea of absorbing and redirecting You absorb the energy that’s coming at you, both positive and negative, and then you redirect it. Think about everything that’s coming your way. In Kung Fu, for example, if you …