Offering a unique reference point on alternative medicine and complementary therapies.

Posts Tagged "exercise"

Tips to Lower Your Blood Pressure

As this month is National Heart Month, the following tips can help to lower or maintain a healthy blood pressure. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80mmhg. High blood pressure is generally defined as having a diastolic pressure over 85mmhg and a systolic over 140mmhg. So read on to learn more about how to lower your blood pressure… The first change that you can make is to cut down on salt. You should not totally cut out salt from your diet, as the body requires salt for healthy function. Salt contains sodium, which encourages the body to hold onto water, which in turn puts more work on the heart and leads to increased blood pressure. Fibre is important in your diet, as it helps to flush out the extra LDL (bad) cholesterol. Foods high in fibre are: whole grains, porridge, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and lentils. Foods such as garlic, ginger and broccoli are all known to be beneficial for the heart and help to keep the arteries healthy. The best way to start exercising is to incorporate walking to your daily schedule. You can start by walking for 15minutes and gradually increase this. This will help you to lose weight and therefore reduce the work load on your heart, which will result in lowering your blood pressure. Omega 3 essential fatty acids are very important for lowering LDL cholesterol and they have an anti-inflammatory effect in the arteries. You can obtain these essential oils from flax seed or fish oil supplements. Magnesium helps to relax muscles and research has shown arteries are considerably narrower in people who are deficient in this mineral. A dose of between 400-1000mg a day has been shown to lower blood pressure. Co-enzyme Q10 is a supplement that helps to strengthen the heart and improve its function. L-Arginine has shown promise in reducing blood pressure. A study published in Alternative Medicine Review has found that in a small trial consisting of 29 patients, the results found that two thirds of the patients had a significant reduction in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure readings. These results are very promising but further larger trials are required. L-Arginine is an amino acid that is found in dark...

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Top Tips For Keeping Healthy in 2014: Part 1

Top Tips For Keeping Healthy in 2014: Part 1

This year is a great opportunity to make some beneficial changes to your health and wellbeing. With all the general doom and gloom surrounding us today it is vital that we take control in our general mental and physical health. The way the NHS is heading, it is more important than ever to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This has many obvious benefits both individually and globally. A simple and very effective way of improving your health is by modifying your diet and not over eating. Studies have shown that people who generally consume fewer calories live longer. The way we eat also has an impact on our health. Eating in a hurry or “on the go” can lead to indigestion and heartburn. The following tips can be used as a good basic start for your health. 1. Regular Exercise: this has so many health benefits both physically and emotionally. People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing depression.  If you are new to exercise, then start by walking. Even a 20min daily walk will make you feel healthier. Exercising has the added benefits of keeping your heart muscles strong, helping you lose weight, keep your cholesterol level down and making you feel more energetic. Incorporating some sort of weight bearing exercise, such as weight training, will help you burn more calories and keep your bones and joints healthy. If you have not trained with weights before, please train under the supervision of qualified personal trainer. Taking up a new sport is an excellent way of staying fit without the mental block of going to the gym or going for a run. Team sports are also a good way of socialising and makes exercising more fun. Martial arts such as Wing Chun and Tai Chi have the added benefit of providing a “work-out” for the mind as well as body. 2. De-Stress: Stress is one of the main culprits of ill health in the western world. With all the talk of recessions and lack of job security, it’s no wonder that we are now more stressed than ever. Stress has been linked with numerous illnesses such as heart disease, insomnia, migraines, stomach ulcers and depression. Stress...

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Exercise for a Healthy Pension

Exercise for a Healthy Pension

It’s never too late to start exercising….that’s a fact! Taking up exercise in your 60’s can still help to prevent major illnesses. These are the findings of a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which followed 3,500 healthy people at the age of retirement. The eight year study found that those who exercised three times were more likely to remain healthy than their non active peers. The results found that exercise cut the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. A fifth of the participants were classified as healthy eight years after the study. This group was mainly full of people who regularly exercised and exercise “newbies”. Dr Mark Hamer, from University College London said, “The take-home message really is to keep moving when you are elderly. It’s [a] cliche, but it’s a case of use it or lose it. You do lose the benefits if you don’t remain active.” Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This shows us that even if you don’t become active until later in life your health will benefit. However, there’s no need to wait until retirement to get started. Adults should try to be active daily and aim for 150 minutes of activities that get you breathing harder and feeling warmer each week. “Every 10 minutes counts, so even hopping off the bus a couple of stops early or taking a brisk walk on your lunch break will help.” The article A Workout a Day Helps Keep the Doctor Away reports on another large study highlighting the benefits of exercise on maintaining good health and preventing illness. We hope our health article “exercise for a healthy pension” has helped you. Please let us know by rating it above....

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Basic Rules of Strength Training (Part 2)

Rule 3: Develop Core Strength. The arms and legs are only as strong as the trunk. A poorly developed trunk is a week support for hard-working limbs. Strength training programs should first strengthen the core muscle before focusing on the arms and legs “Core muscles act as shock absorbers during jumps, rebounds, or plyometrics exercises; stabilise the body; and represent a link, or transmitter, between the legs and arms. Weak core muscles fail in these essential roles, limiting the trainer’s ability to perform. Most of these muscles seem to be dominated by slow twitch muscle fibres because of their supporting role to the arms and legs. They contract constantly, but not necessarily dynamically, to create a solid base of support for the actions of other muscle groups of the body. Many people complain of low back problems yet do little to correct them. The best protection against low back problems is well developed back and abdominal muscles. The abdominal and back muscles surround the core area of the body with a tight and powerful support structure of muscle bundles running in different directions. The rectus abdominis runs vertically and pulls the trunk forward when the legs are fixed, as in sit-ups, to maintain good posture. If the abdominal muscles are poorly developed, the hips tilt forward and lordosis, or swayback, develops at the lumbar area of the spine. The internal and external obliques help the rectus abdominis bend the trunk forward and perform all twisting, lateral bending, and trunk-rotating motions. The trunk acts as the transmitter and supporter of most arm and leg actions. The vertebral column also plays and essential role as a shock absorber during landing and take-off type actions. Excessive, uneven stress on the spine or sudden movement in an unfavourable position may lead to back problems. Sitting produces greater disc pressure than standing; the less stress occurs when the body is prone (such as during bench presses). Rule 4: Develop the Stabilisers. Prime movers work moreefficiently with strong stabiliser, or fixator, muscles. Stabilisers contract,primarily isometrically, to immobilise a limb so that another part of the bodycan act. A weak stabiliser inhibits the contraction capacity of the primemovers. Improperly developed stabilisers may hamper the activity of...

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Basic Rules of Strength Training (Part 1)

Basic Rules of Strength Training (Part 1)

Rule 1: Develop Joint Flexibility Most strength training exercises use the full range of motion of major joints, especially the knees, ankles, and hips. Good joint flexibility prevents strain and pain around the knees, elbows, and other joints. The way to develop joint flexibility is to ensure that adequate stretching exercises are performed on training days Rule 2: Development of Ligament and Tendon Strength Strength of the muscle improves faster than tendon and ligament strength. Overlooking the overall strengthening of the ligaments is the main cause of injury. Most injuries are not in the muscle but in the ligaments. Tendons and ligaments grow stronger through anatomical adaptation to training. Progressively increasing the load used in training improves the visco-dynamic movements and allows them to better accommodate high tensile loads such as dynamic movements, plyometrics and maximum strength training. The primary function of a tendon is to connect muscles to a bone. Tendons also transmit force from muscle to the bones so that movement can occur. The stronger the tendon is the greater is its capacity to store elastic energy. Tendons and ligaments are trainable. Their material and structural properties change as a result of training, increasing their thickness, strength and stiffness by up to...

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Is walking good for you?

We all know by now that we should be walking more; getting off the bus/tube a stop or two early, walking the kids to school, getting up from our desk every 30 minutes and probably spending less time in front of  the TV, laptop or playing video games.  All in all we spend too much time sitting down and being inactive. So is walking good for you?  We all know that walking is a form of exercise and as part of a plan that includes a healthy diet can help lose weight and is a good but gentle form of cardiovascular exercise BUT there also a number of other benefits that are just as, if not more important.  These include: Type 2 Diabetes A recent study by the School of Public Health at Imperial College London suggested that people who walk to work were about 40% less likely to have diabetes than people who drove to work. Increases Vitamin D Levels Vitamin D is very important in that the body needs it to absorb calcium which in turn is vital to help maintain strong bones (calcium deficiency can lead to brittle bones and even osteoporosis. We also need Vitamin D to help the body fight infections and help maintain healthy organs.  A daily 15 minute walk is all that is needed to make sure you get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Reduces the risk of Heart Disease Research has shown that a daily brisk walk can help reduce the risk of  heart disease by up to 50%.  Even walking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of heart disease in women by 40% according to a 1999 Harvard Study. I have highlighted just a few of the less obvious benefits of walking, the more widely known ones include increased heart lung fitness, reduction of body fat, increased muscle strength and stamina. A few more statistics that will hopefully motivate you to walk more….. “Walking for 20 minutes a day could save 37,000  people a year from dying prematurely of cancer, heart disease and stroke” according to a report by The Ramblers & Macmillan Cancer Support In fact, walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high...

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Robert Johnston – Exercises for Pregnancy

Robert Johnston – Exercises for Pregnancy

We’d like to introduce to you, our resident expert on physical exercise and training. Robert Johnston. The following is a transcript for a Q & A session that we recently did: (H3 = Healthy3, RJ = Robert Johnston) (H3) How did you get involved in personal training? (RJ) Coming from New Zealand I have always been interested in sports as a child, but developed an interest in exercise in my teenage years when everyone was growing taller and bigger than me. This lead to joining a gym with my friends and training and developing programs to gain our goals. My interest has never gone away and I found myself writing programs for my friends and correcting their technique came naturally. When I left University I struggled to find work in my field so I went for a job in a very large gym in Auckland. There I was exposed to so much more training philosophy’s and physiological methods, as the gym had all top of athletes (Professional/Olympic/Amateur/Sundays best) and Exercise Fanatics. I spent 3 years at the Gym then moved to London, Uk and have been working as a Personal Trainer since 1998. I tend to view my attitude to training is it can be fun and enjoyable and not just a dull, painful slog that drives so many people away. My major specialities Fat Loss, Boxing, Sports Specific and Strength Training. But I am interested in all that will help in the quest for physical Fitness as you would expect. (H3) What can women do to increase their chances of conception, in terms of physical exercise? (RJ) Being underweight or overweight can delay the time it takes a woman to conceive. A woman’s weight before getting pregnant is often an overlooked factor in fertility. Keeping a healthy weight can help with conception.Time to conception was increased fourfold in women with a BMI below 19.  Pre-pregnancy BMI of 25-39 – considered overweight or obese — had a twofold increase in the time it took to get pregnant. A BMI less than 19 (18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal) is even worse. (H3) Is it a good idea to diet whilst trying for a baby, so as to minimise weight gain during pregnancy? (RJ) As long as you eat a...

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Is Exercise Better than Drugs?

New research has suggested that exercise may be as effective as drugs at treating conditions such as heart disease and strokes. This latest research questions whether doctors may be unnecessarily prescribing drugs, when dietary and exercise advice may be more appropriate. So is exercise better than drugs?, maybe doctors should be prescribing a regular walk or jog? The research analysed previous studies found no “statistically significant” difference between the effects of drugs and exercise for people with type 2-diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The research did however find that drug treatment (diuretics) was more effective than exercise for heart failure. The study which was published in the British Medical Journal analysed the results from 305 randomised trials involving 340,000 patients, was carried out by researcher Huseyin Naci from LSE Heath, London School of Economics and Political Sciences and Harvard Medical School. The researchers found that prescription numbers are continually on the increase, but exercise and activity levels are comparatively decreasing. Prescription numbers have dramatically increased during the past decade, with average of 11.2 prescriptions for every person in the UK in 2000 compared to 17.7 prescriptions in 2010. The researchers found that only 14 per cent of adults in the UK exercise regularly and only around a third of the adult population meet the recommended activity levels. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that physical inactivity causes 3.2million deaths around tyhe world each year. This is a staggering figure, and one which can easily be reduced, without the need for any equipment, and without unwanted side effect! Regular walking, cycling, sports activities or jogging is enough to make a huge dent in this death rate. The added benefit of regular exercise is an overall improvement in heath, stronger bones, weight control, and reducing the risk of cancer and depression. The researchers commented, “The findings of our review suggest that exercise and many drug interventions are often potentially similar in terms of their mortality benefits; exercise interventions should therefore be considered as a viable alternative to, or alongside, drug therapy.” They added that in cases when drug therapy only provides a modest benefit, the importance of exercise should be fully explained to patients. This is something that the NHS should...

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A Healthy Start to School

A Healthy Start to School

With the school year about to start, this is a time of adjustment for many families. It’s time to get back into the daily routine of early starts, homework and early nights (hopefully). The re-opening of school again is also the sign that summer is coming to an end, with autumn fast approaching. So having a healthy start to school makes a great difference to children. Whilst many kids have enjoyed their summer and generally been fit and healthy, the autumn term is usually when colds, coughs and tummy bugs hit their peak. Children tend to pick up all sorts of bugs from classmates and sick days can cause disruption for working parents. There are certain measures that you can take to help minimise this risk. A good diet, regular exercise and certain immune boosting supplements can help to keep your child fit and healthy, and maintain good concentration in class. It goes with question that a nutritious breakfast is the ideal way to start the day. A breakfast containing protein and complex carbohydrates can help to improve concentration, by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels throughout the morning. Several studies have found that high protein breakfasts resulted in improved IQ scores in children. You should avoid sugary cereals which are also full of salt and processed carbohydrates which can cause drowsiness. Healthy cereals such as muesli which contain nuts and seeds increase protein intake and help to keep your child alert. These healthy cereals and complex carbohydrates such as porridge help to release sugar slowly throughout the morning, without causing sugar highs and lows. Nuts and seeds provide protein and omega 3 essential oils, which also help with concentration. An alternative for kids who don’t like eating breakfast is a fruit smoothie, with the addition of blended nuts and seeds and yoghurt. You can make these at home using any fruits in virtually any combination of your choice. Yoghurt also provides probiotics which help to maintain and support a healthy immune system, so your child can ward off colds and coughs. Colourful vegetables such as peppers, courgettes, red cabbage, tomatoes and avocados have been found to improve children’s IQ scores. These foods also provide good levels of vitamin C...

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Kids Wing Chun Academy

Kids Wing Chun Academy is a school that is based on teaching children of all ages discipline, good behaviour, respect as well as instilling self confidence and the skills of self defence. We recently had the oportunity to interview Sifu Jude Hudson.       1) How did you first get involved in Wing Chun (Martial Arts)? Brief History My brother told me about two men sparring, one was blind folded the other was not. when he asked why one of the men was blind folded he was told that it balanced the session as the other man was blind. We found a traditional Wing Chun school and started our journey; that was over 20 years ago.   2) What inspired you to create KWCA? The son of a close friend of mine had been badly beaten up at a party and this had affected me. I knew that I could help people like that to make sure that something like that would never happen again to them. At that time however, I was running a company and could not. A number of years later, I left that company and decided that I would invest everything my wife and I had into starting a school that would help children gain confidence, belief, and self defence skills using Wing Chun. I wanted to work with children as I could get to them early  to make life changes in their lives. Helping children to deal with confrontation and bullies, and  coupling this with a value system that promotes the right behaviour.   3) What are the benefits for children to get involved in Wing Chun?  Wing Chun is specifically designed to help build confidence and self belief through it’s unbelievable hand skills when taught a system correctly. Wing Chun is the antidote to protect themselves in all situations.   4) What’s different about Kids Wing Chun Academy?  Kids Wing Chun Academy focuses on teaching traditional Wing Chun at a younger age. We focus on imparting skills that will transition children from age 4 to 14 to 40. We have had a number of children that have left other schools to train with us. These students realised the hard way that what they...

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Natural Anti-Ageing Tips

Natural Anti-Ageing Tips

There is alot of information on anti-ageing in the media ranging from vitamin supplements to the latest magical creams and lotions. All of this information can seem confusing and overwhelming. There are a number of simple measures that you can take to “age healthily”. Factors that can influence the ageing process are nutrition, exercise, levels of stress and relaxation. Addressing these factors can result in a dramatic improvement in general health as well as slowing down the ageing process. Natural anti-ageing tips are all around, but here is our selection from us at Healthy3. Healthy ageing does not work with a quick fix approach or just supplemneting with lots of vitamins. A healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy diet, regular exercise and the addition of antioxidants is the key to keeping you healthy and young. The following simple tips can help you achieve your target of healthy ageing: Nutrition A diet high in caffiene, alcohol, saturated fat, salt and processed foods is unsurprisingly going to result in unhealthy skin, and will starve the body of nutrients. A diet that is going to help the anti-ageing process should include plenty of vegetables, water, essential fatty acids (from oily fish, nuts and seeds), and fruits. Anti-oxidants are also very important in anti-ageing. There are a number of supplements that are discussed in the article What are anti-oxidants?”. Foods that have high levels of anti-oxidants are garlic, colourful vegetables and fruits, extra virgin olive oil, pink grapefruit, walnuts, almonds, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Alchohol consumption should be kept to a minimum as it causes dehydration throughout the body. This also applies to processed foods, which are high in sugar and salt.  You should aim to drink 8 glasses or 1.5 litres of water a day. Exercise Regular exercise is very important in maintaining a healthy mind and body. Exercise causes an increase of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural mood boosting chemicals and are released during exercise. Exercise also reduces the stress hormones such as cortisol. Several studies have shown that regular exercise can slow down the ageing process. The types of exercise that can be incorporated into a regime should include flexibility training, strength training and a cardiovascular workout. If you haven’t done any strenuous exercise recently, you should consult...

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Top Tips for Weight Loss : Exercise

Top Tips for Weight Loss : Exercise

Exercise may sound like the obvious way to loose weight, but it often overlooked in favour of dieting alone. Exercise and dieting can be combined for optimal weight loss. If you are new to exercise or haven’t done anything in a while, this should be done under the supervision of a personal trainer. A combination of weight training and cardiovascular exercise is the most effective way of losing weight.  To get the most out your workout, try and end your exercise session with a 10 minute run, as this will result in more fat burning. Weight training has the added benefit of helping to strengthen bones and can prevent osteoporosis in later life. Studies have found that weight training can actually burn more calories than cardiovascular exercise alone. If you are not a big fan of going to the gym or walking, why not take up a sport. Basically any activity that results in movement is an effective way to lose weight. Swimming is a very good form of exercise, as it provides a workout for your whole body. Sports such as tennis, badminton and squash or dancing are a good form of cardiovascular...

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