Sunday 23 October 2016

We love ready meals … but what are they doing to our health?

Who doesn’t like a ready meal once in a while? People in the UK certainly do: consumption of ready meals and convenience meat products has increased five-fold over the last 40 years, according to the latest National Food Survey on UK food-buying habits. High levels of calories and fat in some of these products can be spotted on the label. But there are other concerns about the nutritional value of some ready meals – things you won’t find on the label.

Lost Nutrients
One concern is the way these foods are cooked. Cooking processes can be just as important for our health as the sugar, salt and fat content. Beetroot turning cooking water purple is a vivid example of how nutrients (antioxidants called betalains) can be lost. But other nutrients disappear unnoticed into the cooking water, such as B vitamins from leafy vegetables, and anticancer glucosinolates from members of the cabbage family. At home, we can minimise this by steaming vegetables or using the cooking water. But we have no control over the making of convenience foods and ready meals. Do firms that make these products take care to prepare ready meals in ways that preserve the nutrients? We simply don’t know.
   Labelling on ready meals tends to be limited to fat, sugar and salt. Makers of ready meals don’t have to label total vitamin content, and probably don’t bother figuring out how many of the myriad of cancer-preventing compounds in plant foods are lost during production. Even when they do mention vitamins on their labels, this can just mean that the vitamins were in the raw ingredients. It’s not an indication of what remains in the end product.
    Some makers of ready meals compromise health by substituting healthy ingredients with less healthy ones. For instance, rapeseed oil is common in ready-prepared Mediterranean dishes such as hummus and pizzas, even though they are traditionally made using virgin olive oil. Virgin olive oil has well-established health benefits against cardiovascular disease and possibly even against breast cancer, but there is no evidence for these benefits with rapeseed oil. 
    Another example is the way olives are processed. Beneficial antioxidants that lower the risk of cardiovascular disease are lost during the processing of some cheap black olives. Fortunately, the shopper can identify these nutritionally-depleted olives by the ferrous gluconate (added to stabilise the black colour) mentioned on the label.
    The nutritional value of ready meals matters since groups such as the single elderly rely on them for a lot of their nourishment. Surveys regularly find that elderly people aren’t getting enough heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins, vitamin D or minerals such as calcium, magnesium and selenium. Supplements might be one answer, but they don’t provide all the nutrients – including fibre and cancer-preventing compounds – needed for overall health. So health authorities generally recommend eating a healthy diet rather than relying on supplements. And if ready meals are a significant part of the diet, it’s important that they preserve the nutrients that were present in the raw ingredients.  

It’s not just what’s taken out
Lost nutrients aren’t the only concern. Other potential perils lurk on the ready meals counter. Carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines are produced in meats roasted or grilled at high temperatures. So reducing consumption of ready meals containing these meats could be a good idea. Also, popular meat products such as chicken nuggets and kebabs have high levels of substances known as AGEs (advanced glycation endproducts). These are linked to an increased risk of diabetes and also possibly of dementia. People with diabetes or kidney disease (who are less able to excrete AGEs) are advised to limit their intake of foods containing these substances.
    Poor diet is the main reason – ahead of smoking and lack of exercise – for the epidemic of chronic diseases in developed countries such as the UK. Firms that make ready meals could help the fight against these chronic diseases by providing nutrient-rich meals. Concern over poor diet often focuses on sugar, salt and fat, but nutrient levels are also important. For example, new research indicates that an optimal combination of nutrients can help prevent diseases as seemingly intractable as Alzheimer’s disease. But to achieve these nutrient-levels, those eating ready meals should be able to rely on them being produced to a high nutritional standard.   

BOTTOM LINE: In today’s fast paced world it’s inevitable that at some point we are going to eat some form of a ready meal. Keep these to a minimum. But if you must ,take the time to carefully read the label and ingredients. Even the most healthy looking ready meal may surprise you.    


Monday 17 October 2016

Why dieting NEVER works and leads to weight gain and health problems

   Anyone who’s ever spent any time with me knows that ‘diet’ and ‘dieting’ are words that are banished from our vocabulary. From thorough research and first-hand experience, we know that good health starts from the inside and works its way out, and this covers so much more than the number on the scales. Every morsel of food that we put into our mouths is comparable to fuel – high or low quality, and just as with your car, the better quality fuel, the better your body responds.
Fuel your body with quality nutrients on an ongoing and consistent basis, and when coupled with a weight-based exercise program, your body will thank you by regulating itself into a healthy weight range. Not only that, your consistency of a balanced diet and regular exercise will ensure that your healthy weight is maintained for life. 
We consistently come across people whose goal is to lose fat, either short term for a holiday or event; or long term to rectify obesity which is causing serious ongoing health issues such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes or hypertension.
Don’t get me wrong – for those carrying a few extra kilos, this is a good goal to have.
What is wrong about this, is calling it a diet. Look at the first three letters in the word “DIET”.
My mission is to bring wellness to people. So I  thought it was about time I put the ‘going on a diet’ theory to bed once and for all and give you four sound reasons why dieting NEVER works. 
1) The word ‘diet’ has temporary connotations
 The health and fitness industry is rife with ten-week challenges, bikini body programs,  and short-term promises. The problem with these diet programs is that they do nothing to change your mind set and work on your bad habits, and from the outset, you’re on the countdown to how long it will be until you can return to your old ways.
Once your diet is over and you’ve lost a couple of kilos (if you’re lucky), your old habits return and you’re reaching for the 3 pm biscuits or the after-dinner chocolate as you always were. Before you know it you’ll be weighing in at more than you started. 
Sound familiar? 
Putting your body through the stress of yo-yo dieting has significant consequences for your health. Restricting calories causes your body to go into starvation mode and promotes the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. The long-term presence of cortisol increases your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. 
Tip: Never set an end date as far as healthy eating is concerned. Introduce realistic milestones and change one unhealthy habit at a time. For life. 
2) Diets take the fun out of eating 
Food not only tastes delicious and makes us feel good, but it also brings us together with friends and family and helps us connect on a social level. When you’re on a diet, this all goes out the window.Where’s the fun in lettuce leaves, hunger pangs, and watching everyone else fill their faces? When you’re on a diet, you feel uncomfortable going out for dinner and don’t want to test your willpower by catching up with friends so you tend to become a bit more reclusive, and eating is something that’s done out of necessity only. Willpower and discipline don’t work.
 Tip: There are so many great-tasting and healthy food options out there, do your research and make sure you’re eating these until you’re full. Most menus are online these days so if you are going out for dinner and don’t want to be tempted into making bad choices, plan ahead so you know exactly what you’re going to order before you even get there. 
3) Diets focus solely on calories
Hands up if you’ve been on a diet and not been allowed avocado. Or nuts. Or butter? I’d say most of you at some stage or another, and I’m calling BS! These foods are jam-packed with essential nutrients which our bodies NEED to survive. Due to the high calorie content, however, they’re off limits for most diets. And bodies throughout the world are suffering for it. Calories DO NOT make you fat !
Tip: Count nutrients, not calories.
4) Diets SLOW DOWN weight loss
That’s right. You heard it here first, putting your body on a diet has the complete opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve.When your body is in starvation mode and isn’t sure where it’s next meal is coming from, it holds onto the food it has for as long as possible. Your metabolism slows down so that calories are burnt slower which results in a slower rate of weight loss. 
 Tip: Consistently eat nutrient rich food until you’re full. Your healthy metabolism will take care of the unwanted kilos leading your body to its ideal weight range. 
There is no doubt that weight loss IS an important goal to have but ‘going on a diet’ will never, ever, ever get you the results.Short-term, you may lose a couple of kilos here and there, but they’ll always go back on, and the damage that this does to your body in the long term can be irreparable.So do yourselves a favour; commit to a long-term program that is realistic based on your lifestyle and make a commitment to follow a healthy eating plan consistently – TRUST me, over time, the weight WILL take care of itself.  

BOTTOM LINE: Once you have made the decision to lose the weight and get yourself healthy, there are 2 things you must do to achieve your goals. 1. Eat Healthily 2.Exercise on a regular basis. The fastest and safest way to accomplish this is by getting yourself professional help. This will save you years of frustration and possible injuries.  

Tuesday 11 October 2016

13 Signs Your Dehydrated

      There’s not much in this world more refreshing than a tall, ice-cold glass of water. I don’t think there’s anyone alive that can deny that sometimes, a simple glass of water can be more satisfying than a cup of coffee or a can of soda. Despite this, too many of us don’t drink enough water on a daily basis. By depriving ourselves of the world’s most natural resource, we are continuously damaging our bodies. If you experience any of the following, you can improve your situation by starting with a glass of H2O.
1. Your Mouth is Dry: This seems pretty obvious, but the ramifications might not be so. Of course, any time you feel that sticky, nasty feeling in your mouth, you’d obviously reach for some sort of liquid. But sugary drinks are only a temporary solution to a larger problem. Drinking water lubricates the mucus membranes in your mouth and throat, which will continue to keep your mouth moist with saliva long after that first sip. 
2. Your Skin is Dry:Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so of course it needs to stay hydrated. In fact, dry skin is one of the earliest signs of full-on dehydration, which can lead to much larger problems. A lack of water means a lack of sweat, which leads to a body’s inability to wash away excess dirt and oil accumulated throughout the day. If you want to stave off breakouts, your first recourse should be to drink more water.
3. You’re Overly Thirsty:We went over dry mouth already, but thirst goes beyond a desert-like tongue. Anyone who’s ever had a hangover can tell you that, upon waking up, your body just can’t get enough water. Alcohol dehydrates the entire body, and drinking water sends “YES PLEASE!” signals to the brain until your fluid levels get back to baseline.  Listen to what your body is telling you; it knows what it’s talking about!
4. Your Eyes Are Dry:By now it should be clear that drinking water affects more than just your mouth and throat. A lack of water intake leads to dry, bloodshot eyes (again, think of that last pounding hangover). Without water in the body, your tear ducts dry up. If you’re thinking “So what if I can’t cry?”, realize that this could cause much more harm to your eyes, especially if you wear contacts on a daily basis.
5. You Experience Joint Pain: Our cartilage and spinal discs are made up of about 80% water. This is an absolute necessity to keep our bones from grinding against each other with every step we take. By keeping your body hydrated, you ensure that your joints can absorb the shock of sudden movements, such as running, jumping, or falling awkwardly.
6. Your Muscle Mass Decreases:Your muscles, also, are comprised mostly of water. Obviously, less water in the body means less muscle mass. Drinking water before, during, and after a workout not only keeps you hydrated and comfortable, it also brings water to the right places in your body, and decreases the chance of developing inflammation and soreness related to exercise and weightlifting.
7. You Stay Sick Longer:Drinking water allows your body to continuously flush out toxins. Your organs work to filter our certain waste products like a machine, but if you don’t fuel the machine with water, it cannot work properly. What ends up happening in a dehydrated body is organs start to pull water from stored areas like your blood, which leads to a whole new set of problems.
8. You Feel Fatigued and Lethargic:As we just mentioned, when a body is dehydrated it “borrows” water from your blood. A lack of properly hydrated blood leads to a lack of oxygen being brought throughout the body. Of course, a lack of oxygen leads to sleepiness and outright fatigue. A lack of stamina means you”ll start to experience that 2PM crash earlier and earlier in your day (and remember, coffee won’t help in the long run).
9. You Experience Hunger Pangs:When you’re dehydrated, your body might start to think it needs some food. This happens throughout the day, and overnight when you wake up craving that midnight snack. However, eating food creates more work for your body, whereas drinking water purifies and your organs and supplies it with the fuel it needs to go through the other processes a body goes through.
10. You Experience Digestive Problems:We spoke before about the mucus in our mouth and throat, and how keeping hydrated allows the membrane to function correctly. This also applies to the entire digestive system. Without proper hydration, the amount and strength of mucus in the stomach lessens, allowing stomach acid to do some major damage to your insides. This leads to what we commonly refer to as heartburn and indigestion.
11. You Experience Constipation:Like we said, staying hydrated helps lubricate the digestive system. During the process of dehydration, the colon uses up the water that would have been used by the intestines in the next step of the digestive process. Without going into too much detail, I’ll let you figure out what a lack of lubricant in the intestines leads to.
12. You Experience Reduced Urination:Believe it or not, if you’re not taking a trip to the restroom 4-7 times a day, you’re probably not drinking enough water. And when you do go #1, it should be a light yellow or clear color. If it’s a darker yellow, your body is telling you it’s lacking proper hydration. In extreme cases, dehydration can lead to urinary tract infections, in which case you should consult a doctor right away.
13. You Experience Premature Aging:The amount of water our bodies retain naturally decreases as we age. Obviously, what this means is that, as we get older, we should consciously increase our water intake. While premature aging is more evident on the outside, the damage it does to our insides will ultimately be felt over time. To decrease the risk of running your body raw, it’s important to continue to drink water throughout your lifetime.
14. You’re Reading This And Have Gotten This Far:I drink water all the time. I almost always have a glass or bottle of water next to me, whether I’m working, working out, or vegging out in front of the TV. If you clicked on this article, chances are you thought to yourself “Hm, I don’t think I drink enough water.” So if you don’t think you do, pour a glass right now! Don’t overdo it, of course, but if you’re not getting the recommended amount (which is higher than you’d think), there’s no harm in drinking more. Now if you’ll excuse me, all this typing has made me thirsty.

Monday 10 October 2016

14 Reasons Why You May Be So Fatgued

Fatigue Cause No. 1: Not Enough Sleep
It may seem obvious but you could be getting too little sleep. That can negatively affect your concentration and health. Adults should get seven to eight hours every night.
Fix: Make sleep a priority and keep a regular schedule. Ban laptops, cell phones, and televisions from your bedroom. Still having trouble? Seek help from a doctor. You may have a sleep disorder. 

Fatigue Cause No. 2: Sleep Apnea
Some people think they're sleeping enough, but sleep apnea gets in the way. It briefly stops your breathing throughout the night. Each interruption wakes you for a moment, but you may not be aware of it. The result: you’re sleep-deprived despite spending eight hours in bed. Your doctor may order a sleep study to check for this.
Fix: Lose weight if you're overweight, quit smoking, and you may need a CPAP device to help keep your airway passages open while you sleep.   

Fatigue Cause No. 3: Not Enough Fuel
Eating too little causes fatigue, but eating the wrong foods can also be a problem. Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.
Fix: Always eat breakfast and try to include protein and complex carbs in every meal. For example, eat eggs with whole-grain toast. Also eat small meals and snacks throughout the day for sustained energy. 

Fatigue Cause No. 4: Anemia
Anemia is one of the leading causes of fatigue in women. Menstrual blood loss can cause an iron deficiency, putting women at risk. Red blood cells (shown here) are needed because they carry oxygen to your tissues and organs.
Fix: For anemia caused by an iron deficiency, taking iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods, such as lean meat, liver, shellfish, beans, and enriched cereal, can help. 

Fatigue Cause No. 5: Depression
You may think of depression as an emotional disorder, but it contributes to many physical symptoms, as well. Fatigue, headaches, and loss of appetite are among the most common symptoms. If you feel tired and "down" for more than a few weeks, see your doctor.
Fix: Depression responds well to talk therapy and/or medication. 

Fatigue Cause No. 6: Hypothyroidism
The thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck. It controls your metabolism, the speed at which your body converts fuel into energy. When the gland is underactive and the metabolism functions too slowly, you may feel sluggish and put on weight.
Fix: If a blood test confirms your thyroid hormones are low, synthetic hormones can bring you up to speed. 

Fatigue Cause No. 7: Caffeine Overload
Caffeine can improve alertness and concentration in moderate doses. But too much can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and jitteriness. And research indicates too much actually causes fatigue in some people.
Fix: Gradually cut back on coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks, and any medications that contain caffeine. Stopping suddenly can cause caffeine withdrawal and more fatigue 

Fatigue Cause No. 8: Hidden UTI
If you've ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you're probably familiar with the burning pain and sense of urgency. But the infection does not always announce itself with such obvious symptoms. In some cases, fatigue may be the only sign. A urine test can quickly confirm a UTI.
Fix: Antibiotics are the cure for UTIs, and the fatigue will usually vanish within a week. 

Fatigue Cause No. 9: Diabetes
In people with diabetes, abnormally high levels of sugar remain in the bloodstream instead of entering the body's cells, where it would be converted into energy. The result is a body that runs out of steam despite having enough to eat. If you have persistent, unexplained fatigue, ask your doctor about being tested for diabetes.
Fix: Treatments for diabetes may include lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, insulin therapy, and medications to help the body process sugar. 

Fatigue Cause No. 10: Dehydration
Your fatigue can be a sign of dehydration. Whether you're working out or working a desk job, your body needs water to work well and keep cool. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated.
Fix: Drink water throughout the day so your urine is light colored. Have at least two cups of water an hour or more before a planned physical activity. Then, sip throughout your workout, and afterward drink another two cups. 

Fatigue Cause No. 11: Heart Disease
When fatigue strikes during everyday activities, such as cleaning the house or weeding the yard, it can be a sign that your heart is no longer up to the job. If you notice it's becoming increasingly difficult to finish tasks that were once easy, talk to your doctor about heart disease.
Fix: Lifestyle changes, medication, and therapeutic procedures can get heart disease under control and restore your energy. 

Fatigue Cause No. 12: Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Working nights or rotating shifts can disrupt your internal clock. You may feel tired when you need to be awake. And you may have trouble sleeping during the day.
Fix: Limit your exposure to daylight when you need to rest. Make your room dark, quiet, and cool. Still having sleep issues? Talk with your doctor. Supplements and medications may help. 

Fatigue Cause No. 13: Food Allergies
Some doctors believe hidden food allergies can make you sleepy. If your fatigue intensifies after meals, you could have a mild intolerance to something you're eating -- not enough to cause itching or hives, just enough to make you tired.
Fix: Try eliminating foods one at a time to see if your fatigue improves. You can also ask your doctor about a food allergy test. 

Fatigue Cause No. 14: CFS and Fibromyalgia
If your fatigue lasts more than six months and is so severe that you can't manage your daily activities, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia are a possibility. Both can have various symptoms, but persistent, unexplained exhaustion is a main one.
Fix: While there's no quick fix for CFS or fibromyalgia, patients often benefit from changing their daily schedule, learning better sleep habits, and starting a gentle exercise program. 

BOTTOM LINE: Most people feel fatigued simply due to a lack of exercise and poor nutritional habits. Exercise regularly and clean up your food and I think you will notice and immediate improvement in your energy. If you have any other concerns see your GP right away.   



Thursday 6 October 2016

Cooking at Home: Tips for Healthy Meals

      We are spending more money eating away from home than ever before. In fact, we now spend just about half of our food money at restaurants, up from only 25% in 1955, according to the National Restaurant Association. But research has shown that eating out frequently, particularly fast food, is associated with a number of health issues, including obesity, insulin resistance, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. As a result, many people have become more health conscious with their food selections and are even considering a return to home cooking.
     Many people find the transition from eating out to cooking at home challenging for one big reason—time constraints. If you are working two jobs or have an on-the-run lifestyle, you may think that you will not have the time or energy to cook a meal at the end of the day or to prepare food for the week. However, by learning a few cooking tips and tricks, you can turn a multihour cooking ordeal into a quick meal that will enhance both your health and wallet.
   Certain tasks can significantly lengthen or shorten the time you are in the kitchen. This handout will provide a number of methods, substitutions, and low-cost options that you can use to make quick, tasty, and healthy meals at home. 
Choosing the right recipes
 Choose recipes that have quick cooking times or ones that allow you to do something else while the food cooks. Certain styles of cooking, such as stir-fry (healthy version included in this handout) and grilling, cook food quickly, so you can sit and enjoy a meal within 5-10 minutes. However, other cooking options, such as braising and roasting, allow you to do other tasks while the food cooks, such as preparing other food or cleaning up!  
Using the oven
 Baking is a great way to cook meat without added fat. You can even “bread” foods in healthy mixtures, such as crushed spices and almonds, and then bake for 30-45 minutes for a juicy, flavorful main dish. Do not forget the vegetables. Roasting vegetables is quick and easy. Just slice your favorite vegetables, such as peppers, onions, eggplant, sweet potatoes, or beets, toss with a little olive oil and spices, and place in a 200ºC oven for 15-40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the slices. Thinner slices cook faster. Try roasting some thinly sliced sweet potatoes and beets with fresh rosemary or garlic for 15-20 minutes as a healthy potato chip alternative.  
Using the stove top
 Stir-frying and sautéing are great cooking methods for preparing healthy foods quickly, provided you make a few small adjustments. Cutting your meat and vegetables into smaller pieces will result in decreased cooking time. Try using cooking spray and just a little flavorful oil, such as olive, peanut, or sesame oil, to enhance the taste without adding too many extra calories or much fat. Rely on spices, such as garlic, ginger, cinnamon, thyme, or rosemary, to pack a zesty kick without any extra calories. A simple meat and vegetable stir-frywith a few teaspoons of sesame oil, garlic, and ginger can go from cutting board to table in less than 30 minutes. You can perform one of the healthiest cooking methods on the stove top—steaming. Stackable bamboo steamers are available for about £20-£35, which allow you to cook multiple foods at once. You can steam seasoned fish and vegetables at the same time. You can even roll the fish filets in some fresh spices, such as ginger or lemongrass, to infuse the flavor and aroma as it cooks. With this cooking method, you can have many fish and vegetable recipes ready within 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the food. 
     You can use the stove top to cook large batches of food, such as a stir-fry, stew, or chili, which you can then portion into containers for future meals. Some of these large batches may need to simmer for a while to cook, but you usually can do something else during that time and just stir the contents every 5-10 minutes. If you are sitting at home reading this article, you probably could have made a large batch of food at the same time.   
Using the microwave
 In addition to reheating leftovers in a snap, microwaves also can cook certain foods very quickly, particularly potatoes. You can have a raw sweet potato ready to serve in about 7 minutes. Poke many holes in the sweet potato with a fork, and then cook it on high for 6-7 minutes, turning the potato onto its other side halfway through the cooking. Once it is done, cut it open and allow it to cool for 1-2 minutes. Top with some cinnamon and a few spoonfuls of low-fat yogurt for a healthy side dish. You also can cook many frozen foods in the microwave oven, including vegetables. Just make sure that the ingredients listed on the packaged are healthy. If you do not know how to pronounce half the ingredients in a packaged food or do not know where those ingredients come from, you probably should not make it!  
Using the grill
 Grilling can cook meat and vegetables quickly, while allowing excess fat to drip away from the food. Adding just a dash of olive oil will prevent vegetables from sticking to the grill, and you can toss them with different spices, such as garlic, rosemary, or thyme, to bring out some unique, satisfying flavors. If you do not want to use an outdoor grill, indoor grill pans and specialty grills, such as the George Foreman Grill . Because of the heating elements on both sides of the grill, your food will cook quite quickly, usually within 10 minutes. If you invest in a slightly larger grill surface, you can cook your vegetables and meat at the same time, so dinner is ready faster. Another option it to make a large batch of grilled food and save some for the next day’s meal!  
No-cook and reheat options
 If you are really pressed for time, do not forget about making a quick salad or sandwich. A dash of mustard or hummus, a few slices of turkey breast, and some fresh sliced vegetables can result in a quick and satisfying meal. Leftovers also can go a long way when you are in a pinch. Reheating on a stove top or in a microwave takes much less time than cooking from scratch. You can freeze many foods for weeks or months, so you can enjoy leftovers long into the future. This is yet another reason to cook in bulk when you can!

BOTTOM LINE: You do need to be a lttle organised but once you create your own system after a while you won't know any other way. Remember this, your not aiming for perfection !


Wednesday 5 October 2016

What to look for in a Professional Personal Trainer

No matter how good the preparation or the training, nothing matches real, hands-on experience. As they say, learning by doing is the best form of learning. Experience refines the skill set and equips the individual with the knowledge and understanding to manage contingencies and navigate through tricky terrains—skills that simply cannot be learned from a book or classroom. When searching for a Professional Personal Trainer (PPT) put experience at the top of your list .Followed by education and certifications. Then cost. Follow those three things in that order and you will be sure to make the right decision.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

How important is lifting weights to your health ?

     Regular participation in muscle strengthening activity such as weight or resistance training has many health benefits. However, this mode of exercise has been largely overlooked .Recent research shows a large majority of Brit’s do not engage in muscle strengthening activity.

   Muscle strengthening activity usually includes exercise using weight machines, exercise bands, hand-held weights, or own body weight (such as push-ups or sit-ups). When performed regularly, muscle strengthening activity leads to the improvement or maintenance of strength, size, power and endurance of skeletal muscles.

  Historically, most public health physical activity recommendations have predominantly promoted moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (such as brisk walking or jogging). However, the current  guidelines issued in 2014 are our first national public health guidelines to additionally recommend muscle strengthening activity. They recommend an adult “do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.” 

   This addition of muscle strengthening activity into the physical activity recommendations is due to emerging scientific evidence linking this type of activity to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain, physical disability, heart disease, poor musculoskeletal and mental health and premature death.Among the most important roles muscle strengthening activity has is enabling older adults to keep their physical functioning adequate, preventing or delaying frailty and falls, and thus maintaining independent living for longer.  

     Importantly, when compared to aerobic physical activity such as walking and cycling, weight training has greater benefits for bone/joint health, the ability to perform activities of daily living (general mobility, getting into and out of a chair, bathing, dressing) and slowing the loss of skeletal muscle mass/strength. These outcomes are very important for all age groups, especially for older adults as we seek ways to maintain their independence. 

   Given the potential health benefits of muscle strengthening exercise, surprisingly little was known about participation in such activities among British people.  

The key findings were that only 9 percent to 19 percent of British adults meet the muscle strengthening activity guidelines; over 80 percent of adults report no muscle strengthening activity; participation rates decline with age, being two-to-four times lower among older adults when compared to young adults.Participation in muscle strengthening activity is socioeconomically and geographically patterned. When compared to those from less disadvantaged and metropolitan areas, those from more disadvantaged and regional/remote areas are less likely to participate in muscle strengthening activities. 

How to get people pumping 

    Participation rates might be so low because engagement in muscle strengthening activity usually requires some basic exercise knowledge. Access to equipment is almost certainly complicating its uptake. Sticking to the exercise over time could be difficult for those with limited or no experience.
   Another barrier might be the potential for negative social comparisons. It’s possible many think muscle strengthening activity is associated with excessive muscle gain, risk of injury, “hyper-masculine” settings (gymnasiums) and with the somewhat fringe modes of this activity (such as strongman competitions, bodybuilding, CrossFit).
It is known that when performed correctly, muscle strengthening activity is safe, and large gains in muscle mass are likely to be limited to extreme participation levels.
     If you are currently doing no muscle strengthening activity, even small increases are likely to have health benefits. Some practical tips for getting started are to begin with body weight exercises like squats, sit-ups, or push-ups at home; do household chores that involve digging, carrying, or lifting; and join a gym to do weights or other strength training. 

BOTTOM LINE: Weight lifting provides huge returns for everybody Young and old. Male or female. Surprisingly you don’t need to put in hours of time to reap the rewards of weight lifting. If your just getting started ,please get professional help to educate you in the proper technique of weight lifting. And of course be sure to let your GP know ,to avoid any potential problems.  



15 Reasons You Should Have Sex Now

 Like we need 14 more reasons ! Have a read and enjoy. 

It's Exercise
It’s not necessarily a full workout, but it can be as good for you as moderate exercise. It raises your heart rate about the same as a brisk walk or a slow bike ride.
Good for a Woman’s Heart
Women who have sex a couple of times a week are less likely to get heart disease than those who have it once a month. Whether that’s because healthier women enjoy it more often, or because it helps protect a woman’s heart is unclear. Unfortunately for men, good sex may have the opposite effect for them. 
May Cure Your Headache
Say goodbye to the old standby “Not tonight, Dear. I have a headache.” It turns out sex can help with pain, and that includes some kinds of headaches, such as migraines. Not feeling frisky? Try: “Not tonight, Honey. I have a highly contagious stomach bug.” Works every time. 

Lowers Stress
People who have more sex are less anxious when they’re faced with stressful tasks like public speaking or arithmetic. But according to the study, it only works when you have a partner -- masturbation doesn't count. 

You May Live Longer
One study suggested that married women who climaxed more often had a slight tendency to live longer. Researchers aren’t sure if the sex actually lengthens your life or it’s just a side effect of a healthy lifestyle. But why take any chances? 

Sharpens Your Mind
Sex has been linked to the making of new brain cells, and that’s a good thing. People over 50 who had more sex were better able to recall numbers and do basic math, and the difference was pretty big. It seemed to help men more than women, but both did better than those who had less sex. 

Makes You Happy 
You don’t have to overdo it -- once a week is plenty. More than that, and the effect fades. But scientists only studied couples in committed relationships, so if you’re trying to meet your quota by picking up strangers at your local bar, all bets are off.  

Bonds You to Your Partner
The hormone oxytocin is released during sex, and it sparks feelings of intimacy, affection, and closeness with your partner. That helps build a strong, stable relationship, which is good for everyone. 

Keeps You Lean
The more sex you have, the slimmer you’re likely to be. Is that because more sex keeps you trim? Or because lean people have more sex? Scientists don’t really know, but all you need is a partner and a bathroom scale to try to find out. 

Good for Mental Health
Adults in committed relationships who have more sex are less likely to be depressed or take medication for mental health issues. 

Helps Fight off the Common Cold
Move over, vitamin C. College students who had sex twice a week had more cold-fighting antibodies in their saliva than those who had sex less often. 

Helps You Sleep
Orgasm triggers a surge of endorphins and oxytocin in both men and women, and that dulls pain and relaxes you. Both of those can help you sleep more easily, though according to scientists -- and many women -- the effect is more pronounced in men. 

Lowers Risk of Cancer
Men who have more sex may be less likely to get prostate cancer, and women less likely to get breast cancer. Pregnancy and contact with sperm may both be linked to the lower risk in women. 

You Could Make a Baby
If you’re trying to have a baby, the more sex you have, the more likely you are to hit the right time of the month. But more sex may also prime women for pregnancy and improve sperm quality in men, which can speed things along. 

Helps Your Future Self
People who have more sex may have better quality of life -- and not just now, but in the future, too. If you have an active sex life in middle age, you’re more likely to keep it up as you get older, which is linked to better health and happiness.   

BOTTOM LINE: And you thought living a healthy lifestyle was boring . It’s official . Along with exersice,healthy eating add sex to your list of healthy,positive things in your life. Doctor’s orders !  


Monday 3 October 2016

Hydration in Children

 Children are the highest risk group for dehydration. Most commonly caused by severe vomiting, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, diabetic hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, or high urine output, dehydration progresses quickly and is sometimes life threatening. Dehydration is classified into mild <5%, moderate 5% to 10%, and severe >10%, with signs and symptoms becoming more severe with increased water losses.    
Clinical signs of dehydration include:
•Increased urine output, fluid loss, oliguria, anuria
•Skin color ranging from pale to pink-grey to mottled
•Decrease in skin turgor, with decreased elasticity and return to normal when pinched
•Dry mucous membranes
•Decreased blood pressure
•Rapid respiration or changes in breathing (rapid to shallow to slow)
•Elevated heart rate, tachycardia, or bradycardia
•Weakened pulse
•Weight loss
•Change in mental status from mild signs to irritability to lethargy 
Also look for:
•Dry mouth
•Crying with no tears
•No urine output for 4 to 6 hours
•Blood in the stool
•High fever
•Vomiting a greenish color or vomiting for more than 24 hours
•Lethargy or difficulty waking 

Recommendations from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for maintenance involve using the Holliday-Segar formula for estimating fluid requirements based on weight:
•1- to 10-kilogram (kg) child requires 100 milliliters (mL)/kg body weight
•11- to 20-kg child requires 1000 mL+50 mL/kg body weight for each kg >10 kg
•>20-kg child requires 1500 mL+20 mL/kg body weight for each kg >20 kg  

It is important to note that children age birth to 2 years of age have much higher requirements than older children and adults. They have a significantly higher basal metabolic rate, and their calorie and fluid requirements may be three to four times those of an adult. 
Good sources of fluids include water, Pedialyte ®, breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula, cow’s milk, ice, soups, freezer pops, gelatin, and smoothies. Rehydration is administered orally as the primary intervention. Intravenous (IV) therapy is a less preferred method of repletion and used only in the most severe of cases.

Do not offer sports drinks, sodas, caffeinated beverages, and juices to a dehydrated child, because these often contain too much carbohydrate and not enough sodium, which may result in adding to the fluid losses.

Even if the child seems to vomit all of the fluids given, offer small sips every few minutes, because some repletion is made. Usually replacement of fluids will result in alleviation of symptoms. If the child does not improve or you or the child’s caregiver is concerned, call the pediatrician or visit an emergency room immediately.

BOTTOM LINE:  You cannot over react in this situation. If at any time you become concerned head straight to your closes A&E.   




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