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The Flexi Foodie's ultimate guide to being happy in 2017: top fitness tips

Julie Delahaye

Julie Montagu, aka The Flexi Foodie, has amassed a loyal legion of thousands of followers thanks to her impressive knowledge about all things health, nutrition and wellbeing. Every week this January, Julie will be sharing some of her biggest tips exclusively with HELLO! Online readers and challenging you to have a healthy and happy 2017.

"I'm so glad that you joined me in prioritising your health and happiness for 2017!" says Julie. "I've created these challenges to be quick and easy. But just because they’re quick and easy doesn't mean they won’t bring massive results. Spending just 10-15 minutes each day focusing on your self-care can be enough to start a lifetime of change.

"So this week, you have a Fitness, Breathing and Healthy Recipe challenge. Set an alarm and block out 15 minutes of your day. If you can, schedule this for first thing in the morning, before other things get in the way."

Julie will be sharing a challenge every week to get you feeling happy and healthy in 2017 - tweet us @hellomag and let us know how you're getting on! 

We're chatting to our new columnist Julie Montagu all things fitness and wellbeing
Posted by HELLO! on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

FITNESS CHALLENGE

"Walk outside for 10 minutes. Bundle up if it's cold, but get outside. You can listen to uplifting music as you walk or just listen to the sounds around you. Focus on breathing, relaxing, and being present. Walk to work, walk after breakfast, walk your dog, walk during your lunch break, have a walking meeting! But get outside today and just walk for 10 minutes.  

"The walk helps to boost your endorphins which put us in a happier mood. When you are stressed, your adrenal glands will release too much cortisol which can cause the storage of fat, mood swings, and sleep problems. A short 10-minute walk helps to get you back into a relaxed state and the parasympathetic nervous system (aka the 'rest and digest' system)."

After your walk, next comes the breathing, which can be done any time, anywhere! 

"Put one hand on your heart and another hand on your belly. As you inhale for 4 counts, press your hand into your belly in order to expand your body with your breath. As you exhale draw your belly toward the floor and try to exhale for 5-6 counts. Keep your eyes closed to remain calm. Stay in this position and repeat the breathing exercise for at least two minutes. Seems simple, right? It is. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean there aren’t massive health benefits.

"Breathing keeps us in that relaxed stated - keeps the 'stresses' at bay even longer and any time you feel that stress coming back to bother you, well, you now have a breathing exercise that can help keep it away! Small activities can lead to big changes and this fitness challenge is just the beginning."

HEALTHY RECIPE: Raw Oatmeal with Chia Jam in a Jar

"How about a super-fast, superfoods recipe? Yup, I have that too. It’s my Oatmeal with Chia Jam in a Jar that you can easily bring to work with you as well.  Or you simply make it the night before (it takes 5 minutes) and there it is waiting for you in the fridge the next morning - or even before or after your morning walk!

"This recipe is designed to be made the night before when you know you have to get up early to catch a flight or get a child to an early morning school trip. You then have the jar in the fridge when you wake up - you just need to 'grab and go'."

Photo: Yuki Sugiura 

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

45g rolled oats
180ml almond milk (or other nut or coconut milk)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 brazil nuts, chopped into small pieces (or other nuts)

For the Chia Jam

4 strawberries, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 jam jar, cleaned and dried

 Method:

In a small saucepan over a medium-high heat, stir together the strawberries and honey for the jam.

Once the strawberries start releasing their liquids (after about 10 minutes), mash them with a fork.

Add the chia seeds and lemon juice and reduce the heat to low, allowing the seeds to swell and the jam to thicken (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat.

Pour all the remaining ingredients and the chia jam into a jar and place in the fridge overnight. The raw oats will absorb the milk and all the delicious flavours.

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