penny barnshaw garage fitness girl

5 Ways You Can Truly Improve Your Health and Longevity


In our society, there’s often a huge focus on how we can look good and lose excess body fat, but not a lot of focus on health and longevity. But what’s the point of looking good if we don’t feel good, and if we don’t have a high quality of life?

After recently being sick with the flu where I couldn’t train for a week and instead focused on rest and recovery, I was reminded more than ever of how much I appreciate my health! The main goal for me is always to feel great and to take care of my body and mind.

By the way, it’s definitely an added bonus that through focusing on health and longevity as the main goal, we can achieve our other goals of increased physical fitness and lower body fat as a by-product.

Here are my favourite 5 factors that are backed by science in improving health and longevity🙌🏽.

Focus on rest / get good quality sleep

Sleep not only helps you feel more refreshed, but to allow the cells in your muscles, organs, and brain to repair each night. Sleep also helps regulate your hormones and metabolism, which are both extremely important.

When sleep is out of whack, it’s easy to see how it can lead to deterimental health consequences.

Pay attention to your body and see what works for you, but some things that I’ve found helpful are the following:

✅Turn off screens (phone and computer) an hour before bed to avoid harmful blue light that keeps you awake.

✅Stick to a regular bedtime

✅Adopt mindfulness techniques during the day (there’s a lot of research on this!)

Walk Daily

Walking is the most underrated exercise in the world, because we’re in a habit of thinking that if the exercise isn’t uncomfortable, it’s not doing anything! That couldn’t be more untrue.

Studies from Harvard researchers have found that walking every day may help people live longer lives. Other benefits cited included a reduced risk of depression, dementia,  stroke, and heart disease, and strengthened muscles and bones.

What I love most about walking is that it’s low impact and accessible to almost everyone.

Eat more nutrient dense foods

Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, remind yourself that your body is powerful and resilient, and can handle some imperfections around what you eat. It’s better to focus your attention on what you need to eat more of: lean protein, fibre, fruit and vegetables.

Eating protein and high-fibre fruit and vegetables will not only give you heaps of nutrients you need, but they’ll also help you feel fuller for longer, helping you to maintain a healthy weight without calorie counting.

Strength Train 2-4 times per week

This doesn’t need to be an hour long session in the gym. As I’ve gotten older (and wiser) and have started to tune into my body’s needs, I’ve realised I can see great results and feel strong and energised with just 3 x 30 minute full body strength workouts each week.

Studies have shown that muscle-strengthening activities are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, lung cancer and all-cause mortality.

If you’re looking for an easy way to strength train, check out my free Full Body Strong series to follow along with a structured 3 x 30 min full body program all planned out for you!

Practice gratitude

I was suprised by how much of a toll being sick took on my mental health. I really started to feel down and all my positive vibes went right out the window. Interestingly, research shows that gratitude helps you live longer. That’s because the more grateful you are for what you have, the happier you are. And the happier you are, the easier it is to adopt healthy habits.

Because of this, I decided to write down 3 things each morning that I have to be grateful for. Amazingly, after just 2 weeks of this practice my mindset has totally shifted, and I feel renewed energy for life and the goals I’ve set for myself. 


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