Lauren Jagger brings you the lowdown on everything you need to maintain a healthy and balanced life while enjoying the adventures of island life. Slow down, take it easy and thrive.

More often than not we land on the islands expecting it to adapt to our lifestyle, lightning speed internet, 24-hour access to the latest TV shows, everything on time when, where and how we want it – when in actual fact we are the ones who need to adapt to the island way of life. But when it comes to exercise that need not be the case; with a little imagination and creativity you can enjoy the benefits of physical activity without the tedium of stuffy indoor gyms.

Let’s get physical

Keeping active in the islands can be so much fun. So you’ve no equipment, no worries. A morning walk when the sun is rising is all you need to get those endorphins going, your muscles awakened and your mood in top form. Island weather enables a more outdoor and active way of living compared to other countries so it’s time to take advantage of how fortunate we are and get some fresh air and vitamin D from the sun. Grab your friends and a volleyball and organise your next game on the beach. The best form of physical activity is when we don’t even know we are exercising. Ignore the myths of only sweat and tears work – keeping fit can be enjoyable and you are more likely to continue if you look forward to working out.

Did someone say sugar?

The key to healthy eating in the islands is being resourceful. Chances are that if the food came from overseas it will be with an abundance of preservatives and colourings. Look around you, nature is packed with goodness, especially the humble coconut tree. Often referred to as the ‘Tree of Life’ the ‘Bu, as it is commonly known in Fiji, is a staple we are encouraging everyone to add to their diet. With its ability to offer food in its white flesh and hydration from its juice, each coconut is a good source of natural protein and it’s one of the easiest lunches you could find.

Have you ever felt that during the day your mood resembles that of a rollercoaster? Up and down with no clear indication of when it’s going to stop? When the climate starts soaring and that headache begins to creep in, this is when your sugar cravings are crying out for a quick fix. So instead of grabbing a sugary snack reach for a natural sugar like a pineapple instead. This small change in habit will help look after your waistline and also ensure you don’t come crashing back down to Earth once the sugar wears off.

Being grown up can be tiring

We often get so preoccupied with keeping up appearances. Once we get to a certain age we feel we must act, speak, live and behave in a certain way. But why? When did being an adult become so regimented? The next time you go swimming with your family or friends get the inflatables out and have some fun. If you have kids, join in with their games, their ability to use their imagination and escape into their own fantasy world will leave you envious. We all have that inner child in us and it’s time to let it free. Life’s too short to not live in Peter Pan’s Neverland once in a while.

It’s time to stretch

Sometimes life can get very confusing especially if you live somewhere other people are on holiday and living carefree. You can often feel distracted when they are indulging in a Mai Tai whilst you are rushing from meeting to meeting or writing away at your laptop. Well it’s time for a change – all work and no play can make us very tense and knotted. When we don’t stretch we allow all of the week’s little issues to build up, causing our muscles to become tense and make us feel like we are tightly wound. A long stretch can give us the feeling that we are ten feet taller, allowing us to elongate our muscles and improving our posture, encouraging us to walk down the beach with that extra bit of confidence. Regular stretching can also ensure we improve our circulation. This in turn creates more oxygen, which is supplied to the brain, enabling us to make clearer and more sensible decisions, and gets blood to our organs efficiently so we function correctly.

Keeping the balance

Have you ever wondered why people from European countries such as Greece and Spain have such a long life expectancy? It’s because they don’t sweat the small stuff. When they feel like they need a sleep at midday they take one. Their calmer way of life is one which we could all look to adopt every once in a while. They make an occasion out of everything, like an evening meal. They surround themselves with loved ones and share tales and stories, keeping their lives filled with positivity. One thing the Greeks also do is enjoy a glass of wine or two and why not? It’s all about moderation. Whatever they are doing is working and we want part of it. Whenever you feel like you need a day away from your usual routine, no matter where you are, step away and take time for you. Life is all about keeping the balance, too much work can make you miserable and resentful, just like too much free time can leave you feeling lost and without purpose. The next time you are given a goal in your work life, make sure you set one in your personal life as well. Whether it be to read a new book, educate yourself about your family tree, learn how to scuba dive – whatever it may be do it to better yourself.

Take time to check in with yourself. A weekly assessment of your life will stop you getting to the start of the next year with a resolution list as long as your arm. Nobody knows you better than you, so when your body or mind tells you it’s time for a change then it’s time to listen. More often than not we put ourselves under unnecessary pressure when we don’t need to. Remember we are only human and we all have a limit, so be sure to look after yourself and assess the priorities in your life. Utilise what is around you and take advantage of being outdoors and the beautiful fruits nature has to offer. Let’s be honest, if it was good for our ancestors then it’s good enough for us. If you look deep enough the island life provides everything you need to look after yourself from head to toe.

*Bulalicious Activewear (pictured) is available via their online website www.bulalicious.com (FREE shipping worldwide)