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Forget a marathon or even a 10k. Just 10-15 minutes of running done on a regular basis can add years to your life, even if it is done at a comfortable pace, says a new study. And the benefits are huge – the study has found that runners were 30% less likely to die from age related diseased over a 15 year period in later life. This moderate exercise was found to be as beneficial to health as stopping smoking. The largest reduction in mortality was seen in those doing just a little bit of exercise compared to those who did none. More exercise did not necessarily bring more benefits.
As an example, those who ran for just 6 miles a week cut their risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by almost 60% (compared to non-runners), but the group who ran more, up to 20 miles a week, were only 20% less likely to die than the non-runners.
This new news flies in the face of government advice that people should do three hours of exercise a week. It shows that many of the health benefits (although not all the fitness and strength benefits) could be achieved exercising less than this.
The study, by the University of Iowa, followed 55,000 adults over 15 years. Professor Albert Ferro, of King’s College London, said “this is an important study because it establishes, for the first time, in a large population of subjects studied, that even very low level exercise is associated with increased survival…high level exercise was not associated with any greater benefits than low level exercise – and indeed low level exercise may have been more protective.
Dr Lee of the University of Iowa, said “since time is one of the strongest barriers to participate in exercise, the study may motivate more people to start running, and to continue to run as an attainable health goal”.
Oliver Monfredi, lecturer in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Manchester said running, even at a slow pace is considered moderate intensity exercise and this study proves what physicians have long thought, that any exercise is better than none at all.
“The message is certainly encouraging” he said. I would urge people in their 50s, 60s and 70s who are taking up exercise to go to a gym and get an assessment and advice on how to exercise safely and slowly at first. Listen to your body, any chest pain, dizziness and palpitations are symptoms that should be taken notice of”.
Other studies have also shown that running can greatly improve bone density, connective tissue strength and co-ordination. It also has the advantage of being one of the most accessible forms of exercise available; there is no gym membership needed and no equipment, apart from some good trainers. Those that argue that running is bad for the knees may be right in only a very small minority of cases, but nothing is as bad for your knees as sitting on the sofa!
By Robert Adam Atkinson
As I recently celebrated my first decade at the coal face of fitness and nutrition, I have been reflecting on all those whose lives I/we have changed, mainly for the better!
But, as you would expect, it is not always smooth sailing. To work, personal training, and exercise in general, needs to by physically hard and challenging. Sometimes people just can’t face it. Sometimes they have done the exercise but perhaps have not been totally honest about calories. Or cakes. Or pizza. Here are some of the excuses that we have come across in the past 10 years. Straight from the horse’s mouth as it were.
This running is making me fat
There is a lot of swine flu about, I think we should cancel
I hardly eat anything
It’s raining I’m going to cancel
It’s too sunny I’m going to cancel
I think I have an under active thyroid
I think I have an overactive thyroid
I’m genetically programmed to be fat
Isn’t chocolate good for you? I read that in the Daily mail.
But it was an all inclusive
These squats are making me fat
I got bitten by a mosquito so can’t exercise today
My husband doesn’t like me losing weight
But this chocolate bar has “Nature” on the front
This yoghurt is low in fat
I have a vitamin D deficiency
I think I have big bones
But I’ve never had a flat tummy
Wine is good for you – I read it in the daily Mail
I have a really low metabolic rate
By Robert Adam Atkinson
Congratulations to long time suffering PT victim and stalwart Roger Huntingford. Here he is pictured with his trophy, very much in the spirit of Martin Johnson who, as you can see, approves.
Roger not only has a unique combination of meaty biceps and thin legs, but managed to punch out 60 push ups in the allocated 1 minute while still ranting about the state of the nation.
Big ups and congratulations form all the DDW team.
In the UK getting an appointment with a GP can be a struggle. Many adopt a seemingly “make them fight for it”policy including only being able to call and make an appointment on the same day. People are of course then more likely to look up their own issue online, both on Google and Wikipedia. Even doctors and medical students use it too, said a report in the Independent newspaper last week. Scientists have warned however that the online world contains many errors in its entries, and should be used with caution.
The researchers in the US analysed the online entries for 10 well known conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, back pain, and asthma on a single day last year. Despite Wikipedia being monitored by medical volunteers for accuracy, they found that in 9 of the conditions there was medical advice and entries that contradicted modern medical thinking and research.
So, try the doctor instead of panicking when the internet tells you that your cold is actually a flesh eating slug.
By Robert Adam Atkinson
British girls under the age of 20 are the fattest in Europe, says a new study by the medical journal The Lancet. Of the 22 countries that were covered in the study only Greece was on a par with the UK; in both countries 29% of girls were either obese or overweight. The study follows recent research that shows about a quarter of the UK’s adult population to also be obese.
The numbers make alarming reading: in adults over 20 years old, 66% of men and 57% of women were overweight, with 25% of both sexes being obese. Between 1980 and 2014 the number of overweight and obese globally has surged from 657 million to 2.1 billion. That’s 2,100,000,000 or 2.1 to the power of 9 for those mathematicians out there.
The news comes just as the National Institute for Health and Care (NICE) has come in for criticism after suggesting that the NHS could fund millions of overweight slimming classes at the expense of other patients, in particular through a reduction in funding for the treatment of the terminally ill.
In reaching its conclusions, Nice examined the effectiveness of several weight management classes run both by the private and voluntary organisations as well as the state sector, before endorsing classes run by Weight Watchers, Slimming World and Rosemary Conley – the latter company now in administration.
It found that those who were referred by GPs to attend a 12-week course of classes run by the three chains, lost an average of 3% of their body weight, and kept it off for at least one year.
However, Nice did not compare the approach with any other type of diet or weight loss programme, including methods which the public could try for free. That is eating less, exercise sing more and employing a little organisation and/or will power.
By Robert Adam Atkinson
It’s always been a comfort that some luxuries like dark chocolate (with its anti-oxidants) and red wine (with its anti-carcenogenics) are good for you. But unfortunately this may not be true. Researchers at Harvard University have studied the impact of resveratrol, the anti-oxidant in question, and have found it has no health benefits at all.
The study was based on analysis of 783 men and women all aged 65 or over and living in Italy. Although their diets were monitored, this method of study had been unreliable in the past. So they took urine samples of those taking part at regular intervals instead.
During the 9 year study just over a third of those taking part died. 27% of those who were healthy at the start of the study developed heart disease, 4.6% developed cancer. But the amount of reservatrol that they consumed had no bearing on longevity, death rates our overall health.
“This turns out to be just another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that doesn’t stand the test of time” said head researcher Richard Sembra.
By Robert Adam Atkinson
A new study funded by the British Heart Foundation and published in the peer journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that it’s not just olive oil that can give you a healthy heart. The study found that when combined with salads and other leafy green vegetables, olive oil creates a fatty acid that is proven to lower blood pressure. These healthy nitro fatty acids are created when nitrates and nitrites found in greens like spinach, salad leaves and broccoli combine with the healthy fats found in olives, avocado, coconut and other nuts. Nitro fatty acids appear to inhibit an enzyme known as soluble epoxide hydrolase, which regulates blood pressure.
While most dieticians and health professionals have been aware of the benefits of a healthy mediterranean diet, there has been little scientific evidence as to how or why. This study now shows the connection.
“The findings of our study help to explain why previous research has shown that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular problems like stroke, heart failure and heart attacks,” said Philip Eaton, professor of cardiovascular biochemistry at King’s College London.
For a flat tummy we need to eliminate, as much as possible, sugars and starch. Not fat. When we eat something with a high GI (glycaemic index) it is very rapidly digested by the small intestine and released into the blood stream as blood glucose, or BGL.This is sometimes also called blood sugar.
The glycaemic index, by the way, is a measure of how quickly foods are turned into blood glucose by our digestive system. It roughly equates to the amount of sugar in a food or drink. So glucose has a GI of 100 while broccoli has a GI of only 15.
Now, here’s the science. When we have something with a high GI, blood sugars rise quickly. Constantly high BGLs are bad for us, so we release a hormone (insulin) that tells the cells what to do with all that sugar. The cells open up (sort of) and, like a little fork lift truck, take the energy away for storage in the liver, muscles, and fat stores. This reaction is so reliable that a scientist in the 1930s (Willian Falta) discovered that in cattle it was impossible to fatten animals with insulin deficiency. So, when insulin is present you are storing fat.
But it gets worse. Under normal conditions we metabolise fats and blood sugars in the presence of oxygen to make energy. The oxygen is where the name “aerobic” comes from. We use this aerobic energy up to 60% of maximum heart rate or 60% of effort; so most of the time. Thus most of the time we are burning fat. HOWEVER, when insulin is present, it interrupts this chain. We stop burning fat.
Logically this makes sense; blood sugar levels are already high when insulin is present. So there is no point us metabolising fat and releasing it into the blood as BG (blood glucose). If we did it would be like putting petrol into a car that is already full.
So when we eat/drink something with a high GI it’s a double blow – we store fat but stop using the stores we have. This is why, in many cases, people may be exercising and eating perceived healthy foods, but not quite getting a flat tummy.
So the key to fat reduction (not just weight loss), is the elimination or reduction of
This is best done in 5 steps.
1. Remove the easy sugars from your diet
Don’t cry, but this means all sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, fizzy drinks (except low calorie ones), fruit juices, cereal bars, most breakfast cereals and fruit yogurts, as well as sweet spreads like jam and honey, and all dried fruit. Drying fruit simply compacts its sugar into a smaller package.
Don’t view this as deprivation: look at it instead as breaking an addiction. You may suffer withdrawal symptoms for a few days to a few weeks, but substitute sweet snacks for savoury ones (see 5, below), switch to diet drinks and persevere. Eventually you will break the chain and be free.
Once this tricky bit is over, you will stop craving sugars and feel healthier, slimmer and more in control of your eating.
2. Remove the hidden sugar
Look at the label on everything: you’ll be surprised how sugary many foods are, from salad dressings and mayonnaise (especially the low-fat versions which have more sugar to compensate for the lack of fat) to balsamic vinegar and condiments such as salad cream, barbecue sauce, ketchup and hoisin sauce.
Any ready meal, pizza or packet of sausages with more than 3% sugar is also a no-no. Once you’ve followed steps 1 and 2, you will have eliminated most of the fructose you encounter in a day; it’s this fructose that is the most addictive. You’re now aiming to get to a maximum of five teaspoons of sugar a day, all in. That’s 20g.
3. Replace the sugar – with care
Those foods lowest in sugar tend to be strategically hidden at the end of the aisle in supermarkets, so start “patrolling the perimeter” for untampered meat, dairy, veg, fruit beans and pulses.
You will have to cook more meals from scratch, although you can still buy ready-packaged food – just make sure you examine the label.
If it contains more than 3g of sugar per 100g, step away. If it’s a liquid, don’t touch it if it contains any sugar at all.
Always avoid low-fat options and anything advertised as “light/lite” or “healthy options (manufacturers will have taken out the fat but added sugar to improve the taste). Some ready meals are ok, but again, read the label. M&S fuller longer are generally ok for example.
When buying fruit, go for lower-sugar but higher fibre ones: berries and kiwis are better than bananas, grapes and and oranges. Fruit juice is a big no-no. It’s all the sugar but none of the fibre.
4. Change your habits
If some routines in your life are linked to eating sugar, you may have to give them up for a while. This could be having a project go well or having a great/awful meeting, Similarly, if watching TV in the evening goes hand in hand with snacking, find another way to relax for a while: read a book, use the computer or go for a walk.
5. Come up with tasty alternatives to a sweet fix
Identify danger times and situations: when are you most tempted to snack on sugary foods? Note them all down, be honest with yourself, and think up an alternative.
If you usually have a biscuit when making a cup of coffee, move the biscuits (throw them out) and keep a jar of nuts by the kettle instead (yes, they are calorific, but not sugary).
If you get hunger cravings in the evening, drink a glass of milk and have some cheese – or some crisps if you must have a treat. The former are calorific, but will not provoke an insulin reaction.
Substitute wine and beer for low calorie mixers with a spirit and swap your mid-morning muffin for some nutty, seedy toast.
By Robert Adam Atkinson
If you have trained with us in the past we would really like to know that it was good for you too. Reviews help us to let other customers know that what we do really works and also helps us to rank well on the internet search engines.
So please leave us a review. All new reviews posted over the next three weeks will be entered into the draw to win a fabulous set of kettle bells at the end of May! It only takes a minute. just follow the instructions below.
No need to gush, just tell the truth, that you are now amazingly fit, attractive and trim! Oh, and smart.
If you have a google+ account this will take 1 minute. If not, two.
We really appreciate it!
1- Firstly, you need a google+ account. This is like facebook, but the one that no-one uses. If you already have one, move to step 4.
2- Copy and paste this link into your browser: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?service=oz&continue=https%3A%2F%2Fplus.google.com%2F%3Fhl%3Den%26gpsrc%3Dgplp0&hl=en
3- Follow the sign-up instructions. Don’t do everything if you don’t want to, just the essentials.
5- If perchance the link here does not work just copy and paste into your browser.
6- In the top right of the page, but below the main photo it says “leave a review” Click on this and off you go!
7- If you can also hit “follow” it will not only make google like us more, but allow you to see out scintillating posts and latest news! The winner will be announced in June.
Our new spring challenge launches today – the push up challenge. How many (proper) push ups can you do in 1 minute? Up for grabs will be trophies for the ladies and the gents, as well as a free PT session for the winner.
They are simple, effective, use lots of muscles in a compound movement, strengthen the core, raise the heart rate and make you out of breath. So why aren’t more people doing them? Many gym goers persist with machines for pressing, more often than not sitting on a seat and pushing weighted/hydraulic handles away from the body. Machines can be great if used correctly, but few of them are truly functional, many only work one muscle at a time, and most involve sitting down. There is no balance, little proprioception (co-ordination), and you won’t be burning as many calories as you could.
The push up however does the same job as an expensive gym machine but a lot better. It uses the whole body in a functional way, making you support yourself, using control and strength to raise and lower your torso. It’s also adaptable and can be changed to be less or more challenging depending on ability. A box or ¾ push up might be hard enough for a beginner, the more adventurous might do it with feet on a medicine ball or bench. It’s also free, i.e. there is no kit needed, just you!
So…the challenge. The competition closes at the end of the month. The aim is to do as many push ups as you can in 1 minute. For men its a full push up, for women a ¾ push up from the knees. They must be to 90 degrees at the elbow, as in the photos here, or using a spotter lower yourself so that your upper chest touches his/her fist as with the fist on the floor. You can go as fast or as slowly as you like. We recommend fast!
The winner of the last plank challenge, Nick Earle is still basking in his glory with trophy on mantlepiece. But possibly still recovering after 11+ minutes. Get your hands on one too!
All participants doing the challenge solo must provide video evidence. Other entries to be ratified by PTs. You may not even be training with us anymore or have only enquired in the past, but you can enter too.
Guidelines for the number of push ups you should be able to do are: male aged 30 – 30 pushups
male aged 40 – 22 pushups. Female aged 30 – 27 push ups. Female aged 40 – 24 push ups. The world record is 138 by Roy Berger, a mad Canadian. He also holds the record for the fastest 1000 push ups.
Check our FB page for progress reports!