For people living with long term health conditions, it can be difficult to know whether exercise will help or exacerbate symptoms and the anxiety and confusion around this can prevent them from exercising at all. The truth is, there are very few conditions that exercise is unable to help with, although amendments may need to be made to make sure exercise is safe and effective for each individual and their medical history. Many people may avoid exercise or physical activity in order to prevent short term pain or discomfort or simply through anxiety, however this often makes matters worse. This blog discusses a common long term health condition, arthritis, and how exercise can help to manage it.
When it comes to exercise programmes, we often think of losing weight as one of the key motivations. Whilst it’s true that weight loss is one of the most common reasons for wanting to make lifestyle changes (dietary, exercise etc), it’s not the only one. This blog covers exercise for weight gain and follows on from the previous 2 blogs on eating disorders. There are many reasons why people may want to gain weight, but exercise shouldn’t be demonised as always contributing to weight loss. Below are some top tips on making sure exercise supports weight gain if that’s a personal goal, whilst enjoying all of the other physical and mental benefits that are so important.
Eating disorders are serious conditions that involve sufferers becoming overly focused on their weight, body shape and food. This leads to dangerous eating behaviours that can have serious detrimental effects on the body, mind and ability to function in other areas of life such as work and relationships. Whilst eating disorders often have extreme physical symptoms, they are classed as mental health conditions. Eating disorders are not just about food, but are often a way of coping with stress or difficult emotions. They can help sufferers to feel in control of one area of their life, often at times when other areas may feel out of their control. This blog is the first of two on eating disorders and aims to cover some key signs and symptoms. In parts this is also related to my personal experience with anorexia and orthorexia, which I suffered from at varying levels of severity for around 10 years.
Walking is free, can be done anywhere and anytime and can be a highly effective form of exercise when it comes to building fitness and reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. It’s especially great for anyone who feels more formal exercise settings aren’t for them or maybe wants to build up a bit of fitness or confidence before trying anything more. Whether you’re already walking regularly or just looking to start, this blog aims to cover some top tips you need to know to get the most out of this unbeatable form of exercise.
In the fitness industry, one of the most common complaints or queries we get when somebody has recently started on a new diet and exercise plan is… why has my weight loss stopped/slowed down? People often start off in pursuit of weight loss full of enthusiasm and commonly see the numbers drop drastically on the scales for a few weeks, spurring them on to expect this will continue. However, over time despite still trying just as hard to exercise and eat well, the numbers on the scales become too stubborn to budge. Sometimes people may even notice clothes feeling looser and other desirable changes, yet the scales register no weight loss. Why does this happen and what does it mean? This blog aims to explain why weight loss doesn’t necessarily equal fat loss and why there is far more to it than a number on the scales.
Whether your motivation for change is at an all-time high at New Year or you think resolutions are a waste of time, there’s no denying that the start of a blank calendar leaves many of us reflecting on the 12 months that just passed. New Year is natures way of drawing one chapter to a close, helping us to let go of anything we want to leave behind and giving us a clean slate for new habits and experiences. It’s undoubtedly a natural time to set intentions about what we’d like to be, have and do over the next year. This blog details a simple exercise to help us assess how happy and successful we feel we are in various different areas of our lives at the current time, and consequently to identify any areas we may wish to make changes in.
Whilst Winter, like all seasons, brings plenty of things to look forward to, many of us find that some aspects of these months affect us negatively. Dark mornings and evenings, colder temperatures and cravings for comfort aren’t always conducive to optimal physical and mental health. Some people even suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes referred to as winter depression. Other people may not suffer from the condition fully but may notice some of the symptoms discussed below having a negative effect on their everyday life. This blog highlights some of the ways this coming season can affect our health and wellbeing and discusses ways to help deal with these potential obstacles.
We all know what to do if we cut our finger, get a mild headache or any other minor physical ailment and we know the importance of getting treatment before a problem potentially becomes more serious. How many of us are treating our mental health the same way though? Just like with our physical health, minor issues can arise at any time or we may simply feel ourselves sliding down the spectrum of optimum mental health. We often recognise physical symptoms of feeling a bit ‘under the weather’ such as sleep disturbances, changes in our appetite, aches and pains, a reduced immune system or generally feeling a bit run down and realise the importance of remedying these before they lead to further issues. It’s important that we also learn to recognise changes in our mental health and emotional wellbeing and have a plan in place to manage them in the same way.
Whilst weight loss is undoubtedly one of the most common health and fitness goals, it is sometimes wrongly viewed as the key determinant of progress when trying to improve our exercise and nutrition habits. One of the most common questions personal trainers gets asked by people who have recently embarked on a new plan is ‘why haven’t I lost much weight?’ There are many possible reasons for this, including the fact that we all lose weight at different rates, you may be building muscle and you could be getting weighed at different times of the day or week and/or using different scales. These are just a few explanations, but the majority (if not all) of the personal trainers I know would urge their clients to explore other ways of measuring progress rather than the often soul-destroying focus of chasing a certain number on the scales. Embarking on a new healthy living plan should leave you feeling energised, proud and encouraged. If the scale is having the opposite effect, consider giving it a break for a while and focusing on other ways of measuring progress such as those below…
Regardless of how active we are, most of us are aware that there are guidelines as to how much physical activity we SHOULD be doing to support our optimum health, wellbeing and healthy weight maintenance. What we may not be aware of, however, is that guidelines change at different ages and stages of life. As young people, we are often educated at school on how to keep healthy and are required to take part in regular PE lessons and exercise. As adults we may have become more interested in certain sports and have found what we enjoy or we may exercise to protect ourselves from certain health conditions and weight gain. What happens to our physical activity levels as we enter our later years though? Many people find that their bodies can’t quite do the things they used to, or at least not with such ease. It’s true that there are certain physical and cognitive changes linked with the ageing process and that exercise can help to manage these, so what SHOULD we be doing to support healthy, active ageing?