Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Inactivity and health

There is a warning that sedentary lifestyles could be slowly killing you.

A new report from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) states that 20 million Britons are physically inactive totaling 31% of the population. "Inactive" is defined as not achieving the government guidelines for physical activity of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week and strength activities on at least two days a week.

The report identifies a north south divide across England with people in the north-west the most inactive 47%, compared to the south east, the most active region, totaling 34%. 

Click on image to view enlargement.

The male versus female findings, show that each year men spent a fifth of their time or 78 days inactive (sitting down) why females spent 74 days.

More than 5 million deaths worldwide are attributed to physical inactivity. In the UK alone it causes one in ten premature deaths from coronary heart disease, and one in six deaths overall. Evidence shows keeping physically active can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by as much as 35% and risk of early death by as much as 30%.

Dr Mike Knapton, BHF Associate Medical Director, said: “Physical inactivity is one of the most significant global health crises of the moment. Levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour in the UK remain stubbornly high, and combined these two risk factors present a substantial threat to our cardiovascular health and risk of early death”.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Plus-size personal trainer

Kate Buckland, is a plus-size personal trainer.

Thee mum of two used to weigh 22 stone and was a size 26 at her biggest. Now she's a size 16. Kate shed the weight because she felt uncomfortable in her own skin.

"My back fat rubbed together, my tummy fat rubbed together. It felt horrible," she told the BBC.

"I'm not doing this [fitness] to be skinny. Body perfection doesn't fit with me and it's not something I aspire to. I am plus-size and I'm cool with that."

"I turned to fitness as a form of stress relief. It's the best thing I've ever done. Sometimes I hate it but I know I'll feel better once I've done it. I push myself to do things I don't think I can do."

Commenting on some negative responses from the general public Kate stated: "I've been body-shamed. I've been called 'fatty' while running down the road. You just have to get on with it. It's not easy and people can be nasty but that is their problem, not mine. Sometimes”, she admits, “it does make me want to turn around and walk away because it makes you feel small. I'm not going to let them ruin my day. You just have to go out there and do 'you'."

Talking about her job as a fitness trainer Kate says: "I'm helping people to be a version of themselves that they want to be but sometimes feel is unobtainable. To me it's really important and fulfilling."

It’s great to see someone take control of their lives and make the necessary changes to improve their overall health, fitness and quality of life. It’s even better when they both inspire and assist others to do likewise. We wish Kate well.

Watch video



Monday, February 29, 2016

Trainer helps client by gaining 5 stones

Personal trainer Adonis Hill gained nearly 5 stone to help his client lose weight.

He ate more than 8000 calories a day for 4 months, then he and his client Alissa Kane lost the weight together.

Adonis says he was overweight before he became a personal trainer and that "going back was scary".

Alissa says when she found out what Adonis had done, "I was overwhelmed. I didn't feel guilty until the moment I saw him big...I felt completely indebted."

It was filmed for the US TV show Fit to Fat to Fit.



Monday, August 03, 2015

Healthy whatever your body size and shape

The August issue of Womens Running magazine, has a runner on its cover that is very different from what we have come to expect; bearing in mind previous issues.

Taking a step away from the norm, the Womens Running magazine features plus-size model Erica Schenk on its cover.

Here is a brief extract from her ‘meet our cover’ interview with the magazine:

Question: What’s the best part of being on the cover?

Reply: Women of all sizes deserve to be praised for good health and have a presence in the media.

Question: Too often people equate “runner’s body” with “super skinny.” How do you think that affects runners?

Reply: Some women believe that since they have curves they can’t run or shouldn’t run. Running is for every body anytime.

“Its good to see Erica on the cover”, said Julie Court (My Body Beautiful’s founder). There is a general misconception that running, exercise and fitness is not for overweight individuals. The perfect example of this is that my husband was recently discussing his gym membership with a slightly overweight female colleague. She was very interested in hearing about the facilities and classes it offered, but decided against joining because, ‘it would be full of yummy mummies’.

“Medical evidence points to the fact that exercise and physical activity is good for us, whatever your body size and shape. The main issue being addressed is improving/ maintaining health.”



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

'I hate going to the gym'


A colleague recently recounted an exercise related disagreement that she’d had with her husband. The conversation went something like this:

Colleague: “How was the gym?”

Husband: “Terrible. I hate going to the gym.”

“Why do you go if you hate it?”

“I don’t have a choice.”

“You do have a choice. You don’t need to go, you could do something else instead.”

“ No you’re wrong. I really don’t have a choice. If I want to stay healthy and control my weight, I have no choice. I have to exercise. Exercise has to be a part of my normal lifestyle.”

“ I accept that you need to exercise, but why don’t you do something you like? Why don’t you use the bike or swim, rather than rowing all the time?

“I hate all types of exercise. I’m not like you, you enjoy exercise; I don’t. That makes doing it even harder.”

“You really need to find something you enjoy doing ... or at the very least don’t hate. Besides, nothing worth having, particularly if it is long lasting like good health, comes easily”.

“It’s definitely not easy!”

The *NHS lists the health benefits of regular exercise/physical activity as:

• up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
• up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
• up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
• up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
• a 30% lower risk of early death
• up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
• up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
• a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
• up to a 30% lower risk of depression
• up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

So if, like my colleague’s husband, you dislike going to the gym, what can you (adult) do instead that will enable you to gain and maintain the health benefits associated with exercise?

The NHS recommends:

1. At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with few hills, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking or fast walking every week,
and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).
2. 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running or jogging, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, football, rugby, martial arts, aerobics or a game of singles tennis every week,
and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).
3. An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week (for example 2 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of fast walking),
and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

*Source NHS



Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Inactive Britain ranks 8th in the world

We know that the UK stands in the unenviable position that, as a nation, we are the ‘fattest in Europe. Thanks to a recent Canadian ‘physically inactive’ study, we now know where Britain stands in the world, in regards to our level of physical activity.

The study, published in the Lancet, acquired its data from individuals in 122 countries. Each person aged 15 or above, reported the activity that they had undertaken.

Physically inactive, was defined as not completing:
- 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on at least 5 days every week.
- 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity on at least 3 days every week.
- an equivalent combination achieving 600 metabolic equivalent (MET)-minutes per week (where MET is the energy spent when sitting quietly).

In addition to activity levels; the data also revealed that inactivity levels:
- increase with age.
- is higher in females.
- is higher in more developed (high income) countries.

Once all the data had been collated; the top 10 ‘physically inactive’ countries were identified.


1. Malta 71.9 %
2. Swaziland 69 %
3. Saudi Arabia 68.8 %
4. Serbia 68.3 %
5. Argentina 68.3 %
6. Micronesia 66.3 %
7. Kuwait 64.5 %
8. United Kingdom 63.3 %
9. United Arab Emirates 62.5 %
10. Malaysia 61.4 %

Evidence* suggests that worldwide, physical inactivity accounts for:
- 6% of coronary heart disease
- 7% of type 2 diabetes
- 10% of breast cancers
- 10% of colon cancers
- 9% of premature deaths

Food for thought:

If inactivity levels reduced by as little as 10% or 25%, more than 533 000 or 1.3 million deaths, respectively, could be avoided each year.

* Dr. I-Min Lee’s research team at Harvard Medical School Boston (2008).



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

3 minute sweat-less workout

Several weeks ago I discussed the topic, 'What is happiness' with 12 other women. To make things more interesting, the chairwoman asked each of us to explain what happiness is to us.

One of my responses was met with astonishment by a few of my companions, admiration by one or two and total bemusement by the rest. What did I say ?

Well, after stating family, health, security etc I added. "Sweating in the gym during a hard workout followed by a long hot shower". I went on to explain that the time I spent at the gym was my time; a time when I wasn't a wife, mother, sibling, daughter, business women etc. I was just me.

I was telling the truth. I love and have always loved exercise. I spent years pounding the pavement during my teens and twenties, when lack of finance made gym membership impossible. I joined a gym after having my son almost 12 years ago and have never looked back.

Sweating in the gym makes me feel alive and healthy. It also gives me a sense of achievement, personal satisfaction as well as the ability to let my mind wonder in ways that just isn't possible elsewhere.

Last night’s Horizon, ‘The Truth About Exercise’ (BBC 2) went against everything I was taught and believe about exercise. During the programme presenter Michael Mosley tested the theory that a few short bursts of intense exercise, amounting to three minutes a week, can deliver many of the health and fitness benefits of hours of conventional exercise.

If '3 minutes a week' is proved to be true; I’m sure that the members of the British public who don’t do the recommended 2 ½ hours a week of conventional exercise (80%), will be ecstatic. For their sake I hope it’s true.

True or not; I for one will not be ditching the gym for a 3 minute sweat-less workout, (which you can do in a suit and remain completely dry) any time soon.



Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Strictly's Injuries

On Monday, a radio discussion brought to my attention the fact that 25% of the Strictly Come Dancing fans, who had taken up ballroom dancing, had injured themselves. The unfortunate individuals injured themselves by trying to replicate the dance movements that they'd seen executed on the show. The very movements that has resulted in Phil Tufnell, Ali Bastian, Laila Rouass, Ricky Groves and Jade Johnson requiring treatment.

It's great that the ballroom dancing viewers are undertaking actions that should (in theory) improve their fitness levels and overall health. However, they seem to have forgotten the golden rule of taking their current level of fitness into account and, where necessary, improving it before rushing in.

You have been warned.



Friday, September 04, 2009

Larger thighs are healthy

New Denmark based research (study published in the British Medical Journal), suggests that people who have larger thighs may have a higher degree of protection against heart disease than those with thin thighs.
The study observed 3,000 adults between 35 and 65, to see whether the circumference of their thighs, measured just below the bottom, was linked to their risk of getting heart problems or dying in the next 10 or 12 years. During the study, 257 men and 155 women died, 263 men and 140 women developed cardiovascular disease and 103 men and 34 women suffered from heart disease.  
The team at the Copenhagen University Hospital found that those with the smallest thighs - below 55cm - had twice the risk of early death or serious health problems. The study concluded that those with larger thighs probably had greater muscle mass. These individuals would in all likelihood, exercise regular and have a good level of fitness.  No real surprise then. 

However, it does mean that people with chunky thighs, you know the ones like myself who could never wear skinny jeans (drainpipes in my day) now have the last laugh.


Monday, August 10, 2009

UK - Lazy and unfit

A survey of 2,000 adults has recently been carried out on behalf of private healthcare chain Nuffield Health. The study found : 1/3 of Britons are so lazy that they wouldn't run to catch a bus.2/3 (almost) would take the lift rather than walk up two flights of stairs.1/6 would prefer to watch a TV programme they didn't like rather than get up to change the channel.3/4 admitted to having too little energy for sex.3/5 blamed a limited sex life to poor fitness.2/3 of parents admitted to regularly...

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