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When driving it makes sense to wear a seat-belt. If you smoke it’s most likely that the cigarette will have a filter. So why not have a statin pill the next time that you scoff a burger to offset the negative health effects? According to a team of researchers from Imperial College London that is exactly what you should do. In a paper published by the American Journal of Cardiology they propose that the pills should be available free along with the sachets of salt and sauces that you usually get at fast food outlets. Statins don’t neutralise the harmful effect of fatty foods like burgers and fries and “it’s best to avoid fatty food altogether” lead researcher DR Darrel Frances admitted in the Guardian. “But in terms of the likelihood of you having a heart attack taking a statin can reduce this chance by about the same amount as the fast food increases it”. Other experts have criticised the proposal on the grounds that it may actually encourage people to indulge in junk food while not having to face the consequences.
Now we are all for a quick fix if possible here at Diets Don’t Work but this most certainly sounds like a bad idea. Imagine if the head doctor in the UK came up with a pill that stopped all effects of a hangover? The end of western civilisation as we know it, surely.
So a statin is all good and well, but you will be much better off getting some structured exercise and eating reasonably well for most of the time. Not only do you get all the benefits of reduced risk of an horrid death while still young but you also feel better mentally and physically, will have a better ass and feel more positive too. If you just can’t be bothered to get off that ass then you might need to enlist the help of a personal trainer from DDW. We can help in London, Windsor and Maidenhead.
Drugs prescribed to hundreds of thousands of people to treat or prevent osteoporosis may double the patients’ risk of developing cancer of the oesophagus warns a new study. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found a 30% increase in the risk of cancer of the oesophagus in patients who had received one prescription or more of oral bisphosphonates, and a doubling of the risk of those who had received ten or more prescriptions. However, the researchers stressed that this type of cancer was rare, thus even if the results were confirmed then the total number of people in danger was low.
Many GP’s in our experience fall into the western trap of drugs as a simple quick solution to many problems. Weight bearing exercise, in particular resistance or strength training is consistently shown to increase bone density especially in older patients. All of our personal training courses in London, Windsor and Maidenhead incorporate resistance training: not only is it good for the maintenance and improvement of bone density, but it improves reactions, co-ordination, metabolic rate (most important for weight loss), functional strength, connective tissue strength and overall well-being.
A prepared salad looks like a healthy option, but one in ten contain more salt than a big mac, says the Telegraph. The burger contains 2.1 g of salt, more than a third of an adult’s recommended daily intake.
Almost all prepared salads of varying brands (264 different ones in total) also contain more salt than a packet of Walkers crisps (0.5g). “Many women choose salad as a healthy and convenient lunch” commented Katherine Jenner of Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) which carried out the research. “Rather than feeling healthy, however, they often feel bloated and sluggish, symptoms of water retention which can be the result of excess salt in the diet”.
At Diets Don’t Work we try to promote the whole food nutrition plan with our personal training clients. So wherever possible we advise that you should, at least most of the time, eat foods that have not been tampered with by human kind in any way. Salads are fine, but it’s much better to make these yourself and take with you than to buy something ready made. In order for these ready made foods to sit on a shelf for a day or two and not go off they must by default contain preservatives and other additives. Preparation is the key, it may seem like a lot of faffing but just 10 minutes at the start of the day to prepare some simple wholefood meals to take with you to work (even for a few days if you can’t manage the whole week) will put you in good stead not only to eat more healthily but to change shape and even get a bit lighter!
Remember the 80-20 rule; be good for 80% of the time so that you can have treats and some fun for the other 20%. Salt-wise many personal trainers in London might take the purist approach and advise clients to avoid it altogether, but my personal advice (and I love salt!) is that there’s more than one way to skin a cat – try low salt. This is a branded salt with much less of the damaging sodium in it and lots of the salty tasting potassium. A salt connoisseur might turn up their nose at it but it works great for me! There are lots more nutrition tips on our knowledge page.
Aerobic training is training that improves the efficiency of the energy system that predominantly uses oxygen, carbohydrate and fat to create energy and that improves cardiorespiratory (heart and lung) fitness. This aerobic fitness is defined as the ability to take in, transport and utilise oxygen to produce energy, and training for it is typically sub-maximal work, so not flat out. Although a long aerobic session might leave you feeling tired, it should not be confused with having worked maximally in terms of power output. Good examples of this longer duration sub-maximal exercise are walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and rowing, although many of these types of exercise can be taken into power and anaerobic training if you push really hard.
Your body will begin to adapt and change when you start training in this way, and some fabulous things hapen to the heart.
A good comparison is a central heating system. If the pump sending water around all the radiators is small and inefficient then it will have to work hard and as a consequence will wear out more quickly and break sooner. The stronger and larger the water pump the less hard it has to work to keep the system going and so the longer it will last.
So although our personal trainers at Diets Don’t Work might be a bit obsessive about anaerobic fitness, there is still a place for aerobic training over longer durations. The most important thing is to take you body into overload by making it do more than it is habitually used to.
Article adapted from http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/anatomyandphysiology/a/Deconditioning.htm
Use It or Lose It.
It’s bit of a cliche but unfortunately it’s true. And while it’s also true that you will lose fitness when you stop exercising, how quickly you lose it depends on several factors, including how fit you are, how long you have been exercising and how long you stop for.
Just as the theory of adaptation (Hans Seyle) says that your body will improve when overloaded (made to do more than it is habitually used to), it also applies the other way too. The principle of use/disuse simply means that when we stop exercising, we generally begin to decondition, and lose both strength and aerobic fitness. Most of us need to stop exercising sometimes, usually because of illness, injury, holidays, work, travel and social commitments which often interfere with training routines. When this happens, we will see a decline in our level of conditioning.
Detraining in Fit Athletes
Deconditioning in fit athletes doesn’t appear to happen as quickly or drastically as in beginning exercisers. One study looked at well-conditioned athletes who had been training regularly for a year. They then stopped exercise entirely. After three months, researchers found that the athletes lost about half of their aerobic conditioning.
Detraining in Beginning Athletes
The outcome is a lot different for new exercisers. Another study followed new exercisers as they began a training program and then stopped exercise. Researchers had sedentary individuals start a bicycle fitness program for two months. During those eight weeks, the exercisers made dramatic cardiovascular improvements and boosted their aerobic capacity substantially. At eight weeks, they quit exercising for the next two months. They were tested again and were found to have lost all of their aerobic gains and returned to their original fitness levels. OUCH.
Detraining and exercise frequency and intensity
Other research is looking at the effects of decreasing training levels, rather than completely stopping all exercise. The results are more encouraging, especially for athletes who need to reduce training due to time constraints, illness or injury. One study followed sedentary men through three months of strength training, three times a week. They then cut back to one session per week. They found that these men maintained nearly all the strength gains they developed in the first three months.
There are many individual differences in detraining rates so it’s impossible to apply all of these study results to all athletes. But it appears that if you maintain some higher intensity exercise on a weekly basis, you can maintain your fitness levels fairly well.
Studies have shown that you can maintain your fitness level even if you need to change or cut back on your exercise for several months. In order to do so, you need to exercise at about 70 percent of your VO2 maximum (the largest amount of air you can take in, transport and utilise) at least once per week.
If you stop exercise completely for several months it’s difficult to predict exactly how long it will take you to return to your former fitness level. After a three-month break it’s unlikely that any athlete will return to peak condition in a week. In some athletes it may even take as long as three months to regain all their conditioning. The time it takes to regain fitness appears to depend on how fit you were when you stopped exercising and how long the period of inaction has been.
Tips for maintaining fitness through breaks
If you need to take time off from training the following tips can help you maintain your fitness.
It’s that time of year again and there are, as I write, only 3 days left until the Windsor half marathon. This year we have two of our clients taking part, JH and NA. By now you should have got all your longer runs in as well as the cross training and stretching needed to get you to the starting line in tip top shape. It’s important now to taper training, so the last short run should have been yesterday or today, and a couple of days of rest and gentle stretching are in order. The warm up before the race is also very important, remember to warm up, walking then go into into jogging, then some side jogging, followed with high knees, heel kicks to the bum and hot coal running a-la chariots of fire. When warm, stretch all the major muscle groups, then re-heat, starting gently and going through all the running drills and finally finish with some dynamic stretching.
Saturday and Friday evening are carbohydrate loading days, this is a rare opportunity to pig out on foods that we would normally reccomend that you eat only sparingly, so have lots of potatoes, pasta, lean protein and vegetables!
Any soft tissue is subject to injury including ligaments (linking bone to bone), tendons (linking muscle to bone or muscle to muscle) and of course the muscles themselves. The immediate reaction of the body is similar regardless of the type of soft tissue that has been injured and is known as the inflammatory stage of injury. Injury to this tissue usually involves the breaking of small blood vessels that results in bleeding at the injury site. This bleeding leads to the main stages of inflammation which are:
HEAT – chemicals released at the site of the injury cause dilation of the surrounding blood vessels in order to bring healing agents to the injury. The result is more blood and thus more heat.
REDNESS – this is also due to the increased blood now in the area.
PAIN – this is the result of the chemicals that have been released from the injured tissues as well as the increased fluid which causes pressure to be exerted on the nerve endings.
SWELLING – This is the result of the extra fluid in the area.
This inflammatory action lasts for 24-48 hours following an injury and is a necessary part of the healing process. However the body tends to overreact to sudden traumatic injury sending more chemicals and fluid to the area than is needed. This fluid contains proteins that turn into replacement scar tissue, and too much of this scar tissue can mean that the muscle, tendon or ligament may not return to full working order after the injury. This means a risk of reduced flexibility and the risk of re-injury. You might also have to have a nasty sports therapist break up this scar tissue at a later date, ouch.
Ice works because it cools the heat produced at this inflammatory stage but it also causes the blood vessels to constrict thus lessening the effects of the chemicals, blood and tissue protein.
Well done to Nick and Judy who completed their second successive Windsor half marathon. They have been diligent in both their homework and their personal trainer led work and it’s really paid off as they both did personal bests. I hope that they are both feeling fully recovered and did not chicken out of the ice bath that I recommended they do after he race.
5 gold stars all around.
As I have pointed out in many of my riveting blogs, interval training is both time efficient and very effective in burning calories and making you fitter. It’s also a great way of inflicting pain (sorry, discomfort in personal trainer lingo) on wayward clients. I have used the threat of 10 400m intervals with 1 minute recovery on my personal training client in Maidenhead Helen to ensure that she meets a (realistic) waistline target that we both agreed on 6 weeks ago. Tomorrow is the deadline. So if she has been a good girl and has an even trimmer waist then we will do some kettlebell training. If not then it’s off to Braywick Park for the intervals. Watch this space for the result!!