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Workout at Home Let the gym come to you!
Posted on: Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
Regular physical activity is a fantastic way of reducing stress and improving your sleep which helps to boost your immune system. Nevertheless, even with the best health precautions winter often brings with it numerous viruses. This season is often associated with runny noses, spluttering coughs and aching muscles and you may wonder whether it is a good idea to exercise when you are ill even if you feel like it.
If and when you do exercise think about who are sharing your germs with. If you are working out at home then you might consider the people you live with and possibly your personal trainer, but beware of spreading your germs if you visit a gym or leisure centre. These are also places where you can catch that winter bug, so wipe down those machines and wash your hands!
It is well known that exercise is crucial to good health, but there may be times when it is best to give your body a break. Vigorous physical activity can negatively impact on your health if you are ill and may even hinder your recovery. Sometimes, we do need to slow down and the symptoms of illness can be a sign that we shouldn’t do too much. It is important to listen to our bodies and the advice of experts such as your doctor or personal trainer. Whether you exercise or not and to what intensity may depend on the illness or health condition.
Here a few guidelines for physical activity that you should follow when you are ill:
If your symptoms are above the neck, such as a cold with a runny nose or sore throat, it really should be ok to exercise, though if you are suffering from a viral illness it is best to reduce the intensity and duration of your normal exercise routine.
You would be advised not to exercise if you are suffering from certain symptoms such as a high temperature, sickness or diarrhoea, dizziness, shortness of breath or chest congestion.
Other health issues also need to be considered carefully. Those with a heart problem may be putting themselves at risk of additional strain if they exercise when they ill. Physical exertion when under the weather can be a risk for diabetics as well because when they are ill their levels of blood glucose increase and they decrease whilst exercising, so glucose levels need to be monitored more so than usual.
If you aren’t feeling at your physical best, but you have been advised it is safe to exercise and you feel like it, be prepared to lower your expectations. You are unlikely to feel as energised as usual even if you are not ill enough to spend the whole day in bed. Furthermore, when you recover don’t expect to be able to function as highly as before you were ill straight away. It can take time to return to form, so start with half the amount of usual exercise intensity for half the amount of usual time and listen to your body as you increase your physical activity over time.
If you are up to it, it is a good idea to simply get out of the house in order to help you get well. Go for a walk or run to combat ‘cabin fever’ induced through illness and get in a little cardio exercise at the same time. Fresh air and a change of scene can speed up recovery as psychological strategies as well as physical ones impact positively on health.
A personal trainer can help you resume your level of well-being in the shortest time possible using the most effective techniques. These might include a light aerobic routine and walking or cycling at a gentle pace to help you get back into your regular fitness regime. Exercises that cover the major groups such as planks, push-ups, glute bridges and squats can help boost your immune system if carried out in moderation. With a healthy diet plan provided by your personal trainer which is full of vitamin C and D it won’t be long before you are bouncing back to health and remember Spring is only just around the corner!
Posted on: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
So, this is Christmas with festive treats tempting us at every turn. Office Christmas parties, family get-togethers and those ‘drop in for a Christmas drink’ invites provide ample opportunities for overindulging when it comes to food and drink.
Bit by bit and morsel by morsel, the weight can creep up over this festive period, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A little care can mean you don’t have to pile on the pounds over Christmas, but you don’t have to totally deprive yourself of delicious goodies either.
Given that there are more temptations over Christmas, dieting might not be as easy as at other times of the year, so don’t be too hard on yourself, but at the same time you don’t actually have to eat everything on the buffet table. When you are at a Christmas event, simple strategies will help you stay on a healthy eating track. Make sure you are not too hungry before the meal, so that you are less likely to overeat. Don’t graze along the buffet table. Put a moderate amount of food on your plate and move away from the table, so you don’t constantly pick. When choosing what food to eat perhaps you could forego some of the high calorie options or at least limit portion size and don’t have second helpings. Recognising when you are full and knowing that that is when you should stop eating is a key factor in preventing weight gain.
It is hard to resist all those treats and a great way of balancing overindulgence is exercise. If you already exercise regularly, don’t stop just because it’s the festive season. You may not actually want to do a full body work out on Christmas Day itself, but do stick to your regular exercise regime to maximise your feelings of well-being over the festive holiday. Human beings have evolved to move, not to sit in front of the telly after gorging on a turkey lunch, Christmas pudding and those adorable soft centred chocolates! Of course, occasionally it can be great to have a few high calorie treats and there is much pressure at Christmas to do so, but a way of limiting the negative effects of overeating can be achieved through exercise.
Christmas is normally a busy time for people, so it can be difficult to find opportunities to exercise. Your Personal Trainer will be able to create a routine that you can squeeze into your busy Christmas schedule and you can grab unexpected chances to be physically active when you can. Dance your festive socks off at the Christmas party. It’s a fantastic way of having a workout whilst enjoying the seasonal fun. If you are Christmas shopping, use the stairs instead of an escalator or lift. Park the car further away than you would normally to give your-self a chance to walk. In fact, walk as often as you can. Follow meals with a brisk walk and ask your relatives or friends to join you this Christmas. Exercise is a wonderful way of reducing stress and it can be an activity that loved ones can enjoy with you. Stroll through suburbs with family and friends to see Christmas lights and decorations.
Many Christmas activities are designed around children and you can share the fun with them by joining in with games. Musical bumps, hide and seek and ball games all require physical activity and both you and the kids will hardly notice you are actually working out. Whatever you do this Christmas, enjoy it!
Posted on: Monday, November 12th, 2012
Good news for those of you who are physically active! If you exercise on a regular basis you are more likely to live longer than people who are physically inactive. This remains true even if you are overweight as shown by research published in PLoS Medicine this week by the Public Library of Science.
The research team in Sweden and the USA led by Steven Moore from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland pooled the results of 6 studies regarding exercise and Body Mass Index (BMI) which is a ratio of weight to height. Most of the 654,827 subjects were white, over the age of 40 and the median time that they were monitored for was 10 years.
The results were extremely encouraging. Simply walking for just 75 minutes per week was correlated with increased longevity of 1.8 years compared with people who didn’t exercise. This is the equivalent of exercising for just over 10 minutes a day and that is all. Of course the more you do the longer you’ll live and the study showed that this life expectancy increased to up to 4.5 years if people did 150 minutes of brisk walking or more a week. It is worth noting that this is the minimum amount of leisure-time physical activity that is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Exercising above the recommended levels seems to be linked with an even higher life expectancy though longevity plateaus at about 300 minutes per week of brisk walking.
The positive association between increased physical activity and a higher life expectancy held irrespective of gender, race and the educational level of the subjects whatever their BMI. However, it is best to maintain a healthy weight as well as to exercise regularly. Those subjects who were active with a normal BMI lived 7.2 years longer on average that those who were inactive and obese (i.e. a BMI of 35 or above). Even though the researchers found that obesity did contribute to a lowering of life expectancy, the amazing results showed that the obese people who were physically active still lived 3.1 years longer on average than people with a normal BMI who did not exercise.
Consequently, we can deduce that maintaining a healthy weight is best for general well-being, but exercise is still enormously beneficial even for people whose BMI is too high.
The researchers concluded that overall the less exercise a person has the shorter their life will be. This is true for a range of physical activity levels and irrespective of weight. Furthermore, even low level exercise seems to contribute to a longer and healthier life. Hopefully this will convince people that exercising is beneficial in its own right and not just to lose weight or for people who already have a BMI within the normal range. Exercising is always worth it and anyone of any age or weight can benefit.
The challenge is not simply to convince people that physical activity is an in important factor influencing life expectancy, but to help them with motivation to exercise. Look no further than your personal trainer! By spending a fraction of your leisure time in personal training rather than in front of your TV or computer you are making a huge investment in your health as well as increasing your lifespan. It has to be worth it.
Posted on: Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
It’s Halloween! A favourite time of the year for kids, Halloween instils excitement as they look forward to dressing up as a gruesome character, scaring their neighbours and then being rewarded for it with delicious treats. What a life!
Obviously a little over indulgence during festivities at particular times of the year are an enjoyable aspect of most cultures and overall do little harm. Halloween is a pleasurable time for all the family, but of course it does mean that for days afterwards your kids might well be bouncing off the walls due to sugar highs and an excess of e-numbers. Without putting a damper on celebrations, there is the very serious issue of children consuming far too much sugar during their young lives. Patterns of binging on sweets and overeating generally can extend into adulthood leading to an increase in obesity and associated health conditions such as diabetes. It goes without saying that dentists have an issue with Halloween too.
That doesn’t mean that kids can’t have fun or that you should necessarily stop them eating sweets completely, but here are 5 things you can do to temper the consumption:
1. Make sure your kids have eaten a healthy meal before they go out trick or treating. A child can easily collect thousands of calories worth of sweets and chocolate during Halloween night and they are likely to consume less of it if they are already full.
2. Of course Halloween is an unhealthy night and binge eating shouldn’t be encouraged, but remember that if you are feeding children nutritious food most of the time, a few excesses here and there won’t impact on their health too negatively. It’s not always easy to ensure kids eat healthily which is why many adults turn to their Personal Trainers for diet plans for the whole family. They are educated when it comes to nutrition and can integrate a nutritious eating programme into an effective fitness regime.
3. Your Personal Trainer can also design an exercise programme for your child in order to counteract the risks associated with indulging in too many sugary foods. For example, with just 20 minutes of exercise a day, the risk of a child developing diabetes is reduced according to research carried out at Georgia Health Sciences University.
4. Encourage children to walk round the neighbourhood to trick or treat rather than driving them. Any exercise is better than none even if it is low in intensity such as walking. We habitually drive when we could so easily walk and getting children into the habit of exercising whenever possible will have a big positive impact on their health over the lifespan.
5. Once the kids are back at home, allow them a certain number of sweets there and then and put the rest away (remember that chances are, they will have gorged themselves whilst they are collecting treats). Personal Trainers and Nutritionists recommend children have no more than 1-3 small junk, sweet items a day and it is a good idea to have days where children don’t eat sweets or chocolate at all.
However you approach the treat aspect of Halloween enjoy it!
Posted on: Monday, October 22nd, 2012
Diabetes Mellitus is a condition where the body is unable to process glucose adequately and it is one of the most common health conditions suffered by people worldwide. Currently, 2.8 million people in the UK alone are thought to suffer from Type 2 Diabetes with a further 850,000 people unaware that they have it. More often than not Type 2 Diabetes commences in adulthood and is usually triggered by living unhealthily with obesity being a very strong link. One of the unfortunate side effects of Type 2 Diabetes is that the cardiovascular system ages prematurely.
Generally, after age 40 or 50 an adult will lose approximately 10% of their fitness during each decade of their life. Research has shown that the level of fitness degenerates more amongst people who have Type 2 Diabetes by about 20% as compared to a ‘normal’ population. This investigation was highlighted at a conference on exercise in Colorado, USA and showed that a speeded up reduction in the level of fitness brings with it an increased risk of premature disability and even death. Amy Huebschmann from the University of Colorado, School of Medicine has noted that disability can hinder day to day activities such as going to the shops. Furthermore, the problem can be a spiralling one in that people with Type 2 Diabetes may find it more difficult to exercise which in turn increases the likelihood of disability.
Because exercise becomes more and more difficult for diabetics as time goes on, a personal trainer can have an enormous impact in being able to increase fitness and consequently, activity levels. By starting a programme that is appropriate for the level of fitness of the individual and then increasing the intensity of the exercises at a safe pace, the diabetic person will be capable of more and more over time.
Huebschmann and her colleagues have good news for diabetics. Regular exercise not only improves fitness levels it can also slow down the premature cardiovascular ageing commonly found in diabetic patients. An improvement by up to 40% in the level of fitness can be achieved after just 12-20 weeks of training. Even though regular exercise reduces the negative impact of Type 2 Diabetes the research suggests that it doesn’t totally restore cardiovascular fitness to the same levels of healthy adults. Nevertheless, the fact that some of the negative effects of Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed is extremely encouraging and of course a Personal Trainer can help a diabetic person get the maximum results in as short a time as possible. Many diabetic patients found it difficult to exercise moderately for the recommended 150 minutes per week, so personal trainers can help with this goal.
Posted on: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
Historically, we have seen a shift in working lives becoming less physical and increasingly sedentary. Gone are the days of the whole village working together to bring in the harvest. Now it is much more common for your average worker to spend the whole day in an office followed by a few hours in front of the telly when they get home. Even though we are bombarded with health messages through the media unfortunately, having a physically inactive lifestyle is the norm especially in the west. Getting to work or school is more often than not by car and with the rise in congestion sitting in traffic jams is a common problem. Once we get to work, many jobs involve vast amounts of time sitting in front of a computer and our leisure time often involves surfing the net, playing computer games or watching TV.
An average adult spends between 50 and 70 per cent of their time sat down and obviously, there are health risks associated with having a physically inactive lifestyle as shown by a glut of research.
Research as far back as the 1950’s showed that London bus drivers were twice more likely to have a heart attack than their more physically active bus conductors and we now know that people who spend most of their day sitting or lying down would be healthier if they moved more.
A recent analysis of 18 studies has shown a strong link between sitting for prolonged periods of time and health risks particularly diabetes. The study was published in Diabetologia which is the journal of the European Association of the Study of Diabetes and it collated research that involved nearly 800,000 people. Various measures were used in the individual studies analysed such as comparing a group of subjects who sat down for less than 3 hours a day with those sitting down for more than 8 or those who watched less than 14 hours of TV a week compared with those who watched more than this. Because of this variety the scientists at Loughborough and Leicester universities have found it difficult to pinpoint the specific amount of sedentary time that has negative health effects. However, Dr Emma who headed the research found it was obvious that the subjects who sat more than others were at a 147% greater risk of cardiovascular disease, had a 112% more chance of developing diabetes and were 49% more likely to die than those who spent less of their day sitting down. The strongest correlation was between sitting down and diabetes in that inactivity has a negative effect on glucose levels and increases resistance to insulin.
Furthermore, health outcomes are much more positive if a worker with a desk job exercises in their spare time. This is encouraging for people at high risk of suffering from Type 2 diabetes such as obese people, those with South Asian ethnic routes or with a family history of diabetes.
Many people are aware of the dangers of a lack of inactivity and try to make amends by exercising more. Because it is difficult to find the time for an effective regime many are turning to mobile personal training. A highly qualified personal trainer will be aware of time constraints and will design a bespoke regime in order to gain maximum results in the shortest time possible. Working out has enormous health benefits and is certainly better than spending spare time in front of the TV, but too much time sitting down is still bad for you. Dr Emma Wilmot warned that there is a danger of people thinking that they are exercising enough if they do half an hour a day, but the other 23.5 hours are just as important. Not only will Personal Trainers guide their clients through a regime that ensures they exercise for the perfect amount of time and at the correct level of intensity, they can also create a routine to be carried out between training sessions. Furthermore, Personal Trainers will also be able to offer tips for increasing activity levels during an office based working day.
Posted on: Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
Research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has found that staff who spent 2.5 hours per week being physically active showed greater levels of satisfaction with their work and we know from other extensive research on fitness that exercising benefits us in an enormous variety of ways.
Most of us don’t get enough exercise and personal training can really help redress this imbalance, but even with regular exercise there is room to increase activity levels. Many office jobs translate into a sedentary day in front of a computer and much of our leisure time comprises sitting watching TV, playing computer games, going out for a drink, to the cinema or for a meal.
A large part of the day can be spent being dangerously inactive, but it is surprisingly easy to replace unhealthy habits with more physically active options. Your Personal Trainer will be able to offer advice as to how to increase physical activity during your day, but here a few tips for you to be going on with:
1. Break up time spent sitting in front of the computer by standing in front of a laptop placed on top of a filing cabinet rather than sitting at your desk in front of a pc.
2. Have standing meetings rather than meetings centred round a conference table. If people are sat down, meetings are likely to last longer. Standing not only improves efficiency it is better for physical health.
3. Use your lunch break for activity. You could go for a walk or ask your Personal Trainer to meet you in a park for your bespoke regime. They could even deliver your workout to the office if you have a little space and you could share sessions with colleagues.
4. Walk to see a colleague rather than sending them an email or text. This personal contact will also improve working relationships.
5. Make a point of walking round the office during phone meetings.
6. Use the stairs instead of the lift and run up and down the stairs rather than plodding slowly. When you add up the time you spend exercising this way, by the end of the week you could have done a pretty good work out.
7. Make sure you get up at least once an hour, for example to get a drink of water.
8. While you are at your desk move your body. You can move your feet in a circle and roll your shoulders and still work, so as not to waste any time.
9. Try a computer squat thrust. Instead of sitting down fully, lift your bottom off the chair slightly and hold the position for a minute or two. Try and do this mini exercise five times a day.
10. Offer to make colleagues tea or coffee. Not only will you increase your activity levels and build up strength (depending on the number of cups on the tray) you will be extremely popular too!
Posted on: Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
Your genetic makeup could mean that you are more likely to be obese according to a new study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Data was collected on over 1000 people born in the early 1970s in Dunedin, New Zealand and followed the subjects for nearly 40 years. During this time, researchers investigated how 32 genetic markers for obesity effected growth. Interestingly, these genetic markers are mutations that occurred around 100 years ago before obesity was widespread. The results of this study showed that children exhibiting this genetic risk were between 1.6 to 2.4 times more prone to become obese during adulthood than those without this high genetic risk. Furthermore, those people thought to have had an especially high risk of being obese adults were children who grew rapidly whereas children who grew more slowly had a lower tendency to become obese. However, it didn’t follow that this propensity for weight couldn’t be overturned.
Daniel Belsky, a Research Associate in Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University has emphasised that the genetic background of a person doesn’t mean their destiny is determined. Many children in this high risk genetic group did not become obese which highlights the fact that healthy lifestyle habits have a massive positive impact on levels of obesity.
The Associate Professor of Nutrition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has stressed the complexity of obesity. In an editorial in the same journal he stated that the genes assessed in the research accounted for less than 2% of the disparity in body mass index (BMI), so genetic risks are only a very small part of the picture. The good news is there is scope for intervention. Genes influence the development of individuals, but they are expressed in an environmental context. Presently, the modern world has created an environment that encourages obesity and it is possible to address this no matter how strong the genetic risk is.
The investigation in New Zealand pinpointed factors that reduce the negative effects of the genetic risk. A healthy diet coupled with exercise lowers the chances of a child becoming obese during their whole lifespan, so inheriting a risk doesn’t mean that the future of an individual is written in stone. Moreover, it is never too late to start adopting healthier habits. Many studies into the effects of exercise on older populations have shown that increased activity at any stage in life yields encouraging results when it comes to health. Positive effects range from an improvement in physical health such as increased cardiovascular fitness, to better cognitive functioning. Indeed, increased levels of activity in children are associated with higher IQs as well as improved strength and fitness.
As a result of the Obesity Epidemic across the UK personal trainers are flourishing. Many personal trainers have specialist qualifications, for example ‘Kids Fitness’ or ‘Fitness for Older Adults’ and it is therefore possible to have one trainer work with a whole family while addressing the individual needs within it.
Posted on: Monday, August 27th, 2012
I was recently talking to a friend about her brother, who it transpires is a keen rower with Olympic standard promise, who scuppered his chances of competing in this year’s games due to injury. He dutifully trained for hours every day, but was unable to sustain the level of nourishment his body needed, and unfortunately became very ill. His zeal was not enough to turn him into the athlete he aspired to be, and because of his illness, lost out on his chance to shine. This got me thinking- in the blaze of glory this year’s Olympics resulted in, not much attention was given to those, who as a result of illness, and especially sport-related injury, were unable to represent their country in the games. As my friend’s story shows, injury and illness are unfortunately common-place in the world of sport and athletics, and even any amateur fitness enthusiasts are likely to suffer some kind of injury over their lifetime.
One of the most extreme sporting events, which places a huge strain on the body is the marathon. The marathon is meant to be a celebration of the extremes the human body can take itself to, and the very myth of its origin is testament to human endurance. As the story would have it, in 490 BC, the soldier Pheidippides ran from the Battle of Marathon (hence the origin of the events name) to Athens to announce the news of the victory of Greece over Persia, where he promptly collapsed and died. While there may be integrity and glory behind an individual’s determination to conquer physical frailty in the pursuit of something higher (be it political victory, as in Pheidippides’ case, or even personal fitness) it is vital to remember, as clichéd as the sentiment may be, that we are only given one body to last our lifetimes, and that once a person is afflicted with certain injuries, the damage can be irreparable. Even if you are not a top athlete (and chances are you’re not- no offence), it is important to seek out the correct help if you even sense an injury coming on. As a keen runner blighted by hideously painful shin-splints, I can testify that prevention is an infinitely preferable course of action to cure.
While the Olympics serve to show what can happen if an individual pushes themselves to the physical (and often mental) limit, we’ve come a long way since the days of poor Pheidippides, and it is perfectly possible to do any type of exercise without such tragic consequences. So, to ensure that you can continue to train and exercise ‘faster, harder, stronger and safer’, remember to keep poor Pheidippides in your mind and consider a personal trainer to help you with your journey.
Posted on: Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
It is never to late to Workout!
The Olympics have had an extremely positive effect on the attitude towards fitness across Britain. Many people who watched athletes perform at their physical peak might have wondered what they could have achieved had they started training in their youth. Middle aged people may suspect it’s too late for them, so not bother exercising at all. Well, people in their middle years might not win any medals for GB, but they can still make a huge difference to their health even if they don’t start exercising until they reach their 50’s.
Front Page News in the Daily Mail Newspaper on 14.08.2012 has highlighted research carried out by the British Heart Foundation published in the medical journal Circulation which shows that even if you don’t start exercising until you’re in your 50’s you can still reduce your chances of suffering from heart disease.
A huge body of research over many years has shown the correlation between a healthy heart and exercise, but it is specifically the anti-inflammatory effect of exercise that leads to the positive protective results as shown by the 10 year study. It is the first time that this anti-inflammatory effect has been confirmed as an essential protective mechanism and furthermore, that the effects are long term which is good news for those taking up exercise for the first time.
The research was led by Dr Mark Hamer, the Associate Professor of Epidemiolgy and Public Health at University College London. Subjects were civil servants with an average age of 49 years when they started exercising. Those who exercised more had lower inflammatory markers in their blood which was shown to be the key mechanism within the link between physical exercise and the lower risk of developing heart disease. This pattern remained in participants who were near to retiring as compared with their more inactive counterparts. It suggests that even if you don’t start exercising until after you retire, you can still benefit.
About 191,000 deaths a year are caused by heart and circulatory disease which amounts to one in three of all the deaths in the UK. 88,000 of those deaths are specifically from coronary hearth disease. The economic cost of these types of health conditions is £30 billion, yet it is, in the main preventable.
All you need to do is two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week and this is enough to lower inflammation of the body. The exercise doesn’t have to be an exhausting session in an intimidating gym. A personal trainer can design a bespoke exercise routine for any middle age person or older adult no matter what their level of fitness. Any health conditions can be considered, so that the routine is safe as well as being effective and of course, the programme will be adapted as you progress (and to ensure you don’t get bored!). Your personal trainer will also be able to recommend integrating other activities into your life, so you’ll hardly notice that you have notched up two and a half hours. A brisk walk, DIY and gardening all count because they raise the heart rate which in turn leads to a multitude of health benefits.