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At Diets Don’t Work we like to promote really healthy eating with reasonably intense CV and good muscle toning resistance training. If you can do these simple things most of the time, then you can most certainly have some cake, and eat it. Although pizza is not the best weight loss food out there, if it is a deserved treat night (as you have been so good during the week) then go for it. But think about this; one slice of normal pizza has approximately 246 calories. Ouch. But wait…the same slice of thin crust only has about 149 calories in it. A great saving in energy, enough perhaps to tip the scales in the right direction.
Ok, so they may not be the coolest looking things out there, but using these clever Scandi bits of kit can increase calorie burn by as much as 67% (The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research). They are also good for fending off undergrowth when you get lost..
Have a look here-http://www.nordicwalking.co.uk/
Walking for 40 minutes a few times a week is enough to help preserve memory and keep ageing brains on top form, research shows. Moderate exercise increased the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that makes memories, in 120 volunteers. The year-long trial, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed performance on memory tests also improved. Exercise may buffer against dementia as well as age-related memory loss. The latest work looked at healthy people in their 60s rather than people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. But the findings have important implications for ageing societies faced with a dementia time bomb. In the UK, 820,000 people have dementia, and this figure is set to double by 2030. Until a cure is discovered, finding cheap and simple ways to reverse this trend is imperative, say experts.
Professor Kirk Erickson and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh in the US set out to investigate the impact that even moderate exercise might have on preserving memory. They split their 120 volunteers into two groups. One group was asked to begin an exercise regimen of walking around a track for 40 minutes a day, three days a week, while the others were limited to doing simple stretching and toning exercises. Brain scans and memory tests were performed at the start of the study, halfway through the study and again at the end. Scans revealed hippocampus volume increased by around 2% in people who did regular aerobic exercise. The same region of the brain decreased in volume by 1.4% in those who did stretching exercises, consistent with the decrease seen in normal ageing. Both groups showed some improvement over time on memory tests. In the walking group, the improvement appeared to be linked with increased size of the hippocampus. Professor Erickson said: “We think of the atrophy of the hippocampus in later life as almost inevitable. But we’ve shown that even moderate exercise for one year can increase the size of that structure”.
Dr Simon Ridley of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust said that although the study does not look at memory loss in Alzheimer’s or dementia, it suggests “it’s never too late to start exercising to help keep our brains healthy”.
“Even modest exercise may improve memory and help protect the brain from normal decline caused by ageing”.
“Increasing evidence suggests regular exercise and a healthy diet may help reduce our risk of developing dementia as well as reaping numerous other benefits from living a healthy lifestyle.”
Remember that if you don’t quite have the get up and go to do it yourself, the highest exercise maintenance rates are with a personal trainer - we will always start at your level and progress from there, it doesn’t have to be back breaking or too much too soon.
There will most likely come a time when whatever sport you do you will plateau. It may be that something is holding you back. You feel fit enough but just can’t seem to run any faster. You are getting aches that you think you should not. In these situations its likely that the problem lies with your technique, a muscular imbalance, lack of flexibility in a particular area or another problem that you might not be aware of. For this blog I have chosen the example of running, but the theory stands true no matter what sport you do.
To improve and get better it’s helpful to have a look at the 4 stages of improvement:
1 – Unconscious incompetence.
2 – Conscious incompetence.
3 – Conscious competence.
4 – Unconscious competence.
The first one, unconscious incompetence may well be where you are now. There is something wrong with your technique but you don’t even know it. It may be a running style that you evolved from early age that is not quite right. You feel that you should be going faster but can’t figure out why not. It might be a muscular imbalance, or even poor trainers.
The second one is the first step to improvement – there’s somehting wrong with your running, but you now know what it is. The best way of getting to this stage is to enlist the help of a professional. A gait analysis, running coach, personal trainer or perhaps even a self video (if you know lots about running form) are the best ways of finding out what you are doing incorrectly. Once you know that you are doing something poorly, and have identified it, you can now move on to stage 3!
With work and the right type of corrective exercises you can now start to get to the point where you are beginning to correct the poor technique that was holding you back. It takes practice and a conscious effort but you are now beginning to feel the benefits and to learn the correct technique. You are going faster!!
Finally, after some hard work you will find that all the little things that you have been conciously working on become automatic.
Many of our personal training clients report feeling sluggish and sleepy mid afternoon, with an urge to sleep. Part of the problem is what you had for breakfast, and what you had for lunch. If you skipped breakfast then you have gone for over 12 hours or more with no energy intake (presuming that you do not eat in your sleep). This means that your blood sugar levels have fallen very low resulting in a lack of energy. You are now getting into a cycle of energy highs and lows, so that come lunch time you will have a craving for sweet sugary foods and processed carbohydrates. If, true to form, at lunch you then have all the things that I’ve just mentioned, you will feel great for half an hour or so, but the problem is that all of those processed foods are easily converted by the body into blood sugars. This means that the blood is flooded by these sugars, the body then uses them very quickly, and then they run out. So you feel very tired and sleepy.
This cycle of energy highs and lows is really common, and apart from making you feel especially tired after lunch it will also encourage your body to store fat; it begins to think that there is a famine and can go into to starvation response, where it will store any excess energy available as fat. The cycle of highs and lows also means that you will alternate from feeling energetic to feeling tired in a short space of time.
So, what’s to be done?
Having breakfast will break the cycle, especially if it has a low glycaemic index, as then the food you’ve had in the morning will take longer for your body to break down into blood sugar, so will be released more slowly. Hence more even energy levels.
Having a healthy snack mid morning will also help keep the blood glucose levels even.
A healthy lunch with a good lean protein and vegetables will again be used up slowly for even energy levels.
This method of eating food with a low GI fairly often is not just great for energy levels but also for keeping slim and trim. No more excess energy intake at any one time means that you are balancing energy taken in with energy expended, so there will be no fat storage. Small meals often also gives you little metabolic bursts every time that you eat and so helps to increase the all important metabolic rate.
So eat healthily and reasonably often and you will be not just more awake but slimmer and healthier too!!
The time is drawing near now and several of our personal trainer clients in Maidenhead and Windsor will be donning their trainers to run a bit over 26 miles in the 2011 London marathon.
To inspire those who may be feeling a bit apprehensive, here are some records..from the London race.
Fastest marathon dressed as a cartoon character: David Ross as Fred Flintstone in 3:07:34.
Fastest marathon by a dalek: Paul Franks in 4:01:46
Best time dressed as a vegetable: Michael Neville (carrot) in 3:09:21
Nippiest runner dressed as a superhero: Martin Inge, aka batman, in 3:01:39.
Fastest marathon dressed as a baby: Tony Audenshaw in 3:13:30
Best time while wearing a 40kg pack was by Gary Homer in 4:54:11.
These times are all very very good, in a costume or not, but remember that they are records. All you need to do is to get round as best you can and then that will be a record for you.
A very special good luck to Lucy in Maidenhead, keep stretching that hamstring, and ironing that ITB.
A big Go On to Helen (also in Maidenhead), iron that ITB even harder, it will all come good on the big day!
If you are interested in completing a marathon then at Diets Don’t Work we do provide personal trainer services for this very purpose, from the duration of your training, to the types of resistance training that will help make it a successful day. If you are happy to go it alone then a training program and nutritional advice might be all you need. Remember that each pound lighter you are when running will gain you extra time each mile!!