Top tips for a healthy summer

England's Lily Owsley against the USA during their opening game in the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, 20

England's Lily Owsley against the USA during their opening game in the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, 2014 - Credit: Ady Kerry

England hockey player Lily Owsley shares her ingredients for a healthy lifestyle with Somerset Life.

Bristolian Lily, aged 19, played in this summer’s Investec London Cup at the Olympic Park before heading to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.

Her childhood dream was to represent her country, something she fulfilled at the Investec World League Semi-Finals in June 2013 against South Africa. Throughout the tournament Lily, a former student at Clifton College, was studying for her A-levels, but stood out on the hockey field right from the start, with England Captain Kate Richardson Walsh saying that she ‘came in and right from the start showed she was a really confident, skilful player – definitely one for the future’.

While representing her country was an easy decision, in which discipline was not. During her teens Lily had a highly promising athletics career ahead of her, running the 800m, but it was the lure of a team sport that was to be hockey’s gain.

She says: “To play sport with your friends is a fantastic feeling – it makes the losing easier and winning better!”

Here Lily talks to Somerset Life about her top health and fitness tips.

1 Play sport – I know I’m a bit biased on this one but the chance to stay healthy whilst having fun with your friends is a no brainer!

Most Read

2 A little and often - It’s far better to do a little exercise a few times a week than put in a marathon stint once a month. The best form of cardio vascular exercise (ie burning fat) is constant exercise for 35 minutes.

3 Drink green tea – it boosts metabolism and contains antioxidants which are good for the heart!

4 Focus on the core – it’s important to maintain good core strength for injury prevention and posture. For sit ups don’t relax your abs as you move your chest away from your knees. To get the full value of a sit up you need to maintain the tension until your head touches the ground! Another torso exercise I like is the plank. Do three 30 second planks every night for a week and the following week add on 10 seconds and so on.

5 Go big on breakfast – I’m sure you’ve heard it before but a hearty breakfast ensures your metabolism doesn’t slow down and sets you up for the day. I normally start the day with granola, Greek yoghurt and berries. Although on a match day I’ll probably switch to porridge and berries.

6 Water, water, water – always stay hydrated and water is the best option.

7 Mix it up - sometimes exercise can be boring so try out different things. I love nature and the outdoors so I go swimming in Henlieze Lake and on bike rides along the Timberland trails around Ashton Court.

8 Don’t be too hard on yourself – it’s very difficult to sustain healthy eating and fitness routines 365 days of the year. It’s inevitable that you’re going to splurge every now and then and that’s ok!

9 Working the arms – specific circuits are very useful to work different muscles in the body. For arms a good one is 10 press ups followed by 10 bicep curls (6KG weights) then take a two minute break and repeat three times.

10 Get advice – if you’re just starting out it is well worth consulting an expert. So often people do fitness work that isn’t best suited to them. A professional will help you find out your weaknesses, focus on them and give you a balanced programme.