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?
What is visualisation? In the context of this blog, visualisation describes the use of our imagination to form mental images of an event, situation or anything else that we desire. Visualisation can also be described as mental rehearsal, where we create images in our mind of us having, being or doing something that we want for ourselves in the future. Whilst on one level we may know it’s a mental trick, the mind and body react similarly whether something is real or imagined and so visualisation can have real physiological effects. You can see this in action for example when we remember something funny that happened long ago and can’t help but laugh, even though it’s not happening now and is just in our mind. Similarly, if you think of an amazing meal you once ate and imagine the smell, taste, texture and use all of your senses, you may start to salivate or even feel hungry. The body can react as if a situation or object is real simply from what goes on in our mind.
Do you take care of yourself as well as you do your loved ones? Do you think self-care is self-indulgent and/or you don’t have time for it? The truth is, we actually all NEED self-care to be able to function in our everyday lives and to be everything we want to be for everyone else. If you repeatedly neglect your self-care, your body and mind will be negatively affected and they’ll make sure you know it too! Try some (or all!) of the mini challenges below, maybe one a day, to up your self care game. Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it!
Whilst the word ‘injury’ covers a wide range of issues, this blog is primarily aimed at everyday aches, pains, strains and sprains. For more serious injuries such as broken bones, wounds and anything else you should seek medical advice which I’m not qualified to give in this blog post! For those everyday niggles though, read on…
Training when you feel well is one thing, but when it comes to feeling under the weather for whatever reason, many of us avoid exercise through fear of potentially ‘making things worse’. On the flip side, others try to continue their exercise programme as if nothing is wrong – so who’s right?! Whilst exercise is known to help a wide range of conditions, it’s important to arm yourself with some knowledge regarding when to train and when to rest to make sure you stay as healthy as possible and recover quickly when you’re not feeling your best.
The idea of getting fitter or leading a more healthy lifestyle can often feel overwhelming and leave us not knowing where to start. The feeling that we have to make huge changes or set life-changing goals can be so intimidating that we end up doing nothing. It really is true that getting started is the hardest part of any task and so by starting with some simple, easily achievable mini-goals you can build momentum and confidence in yourself whilst getting started on your journey to a fitter, healthier, happier you. Try out some of the ideas below – you could try one a day for a month or choose a couple a week. Set a target that feels manageable for you and let’s get started.
This past 18 months have been, for many of us, a challenge like we’ve never experienced before. With health anxieties, changes to our working situation or status and periods of isolation to name just a few specific examples, it comes as a huge relief that lockdown is currently gradually easing and more people are being vaccinated daily in the fight against Coronavirus. Whilst this is certainly a light at the end of a sometimes seemingly endless tunnel, for those suffering the effects of ‘Long Covid’, the challenges may feel far from over. Whilst this is still such a new condition and research into it is constantly ongoing, there are now a few identified tips that are thought to help support recovery. This blog aims to outline some of these.
Here in the UK this week we’ve been enjoying a rare period of beautiful, warm, sunny weather. Knowing we have to make the most out of it while it lasts, many of us have spent as much time as possible outside getting any hint of a tan we can or at least soaking up some vitamin D and fresh air. Hopefully we’ve been aware of the health implications of the sun for our skin and made sure to keep topped up on suncream, but have you considered other ways that the temperature affects your health needs? One of the main areas to cover here is hydration and this blog aims to answer all your questions about this crucial topic for health and wellbeing at all times, not just in the height of summer (however long that may last?!)
A whole blog on breathing?! Seems a bit excessive for something we do naturally all day, everyday, right?! Wrong! Breathing is the foundation of our very existence and is inextricably linked to both our physical and mental health. Physical activities such as walking, lifting and cleaning have a clear effect on our breathing as do psychological states such as stress and relaxation. By learning how to control our breath we can help to manage our physical and psychological states to best support us.