Monday, 29 October 2012

The Benefits of Exercise

Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. People that exercise on a regular basis are less likely to get ill and actually more likely to live longer. Becoming more physically active or exercising regularly not only makes you physically fitter, it actually helps improve your mental health and general sense of well being.

Regular exercise is the key to maintaining a healthy body weight but it is important that it is done using the correct techniques. This is where a personal trainer would be useful to help structure an exercise plan making sure it is executed using the correct techniques to keep you injury free. However you must remember that nutrition and hydration also play an important role. Eating the correct nutrients provides the fuel you need to exercise and drinking fluids helps to prevent dehydration.

Below highlights some of the health benefits associated with physical activity and regular exercise:

Heart Health

  • Exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Inactive people have almost double the risk of dying from heart disease compared to those that are active. Think about a change if you do not do any exercise at all!
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is common in the UK and is likely to lead to a heart attack or stroke. Exercise can help to prevent high blood pressure and even reduce it if it is already too high
  • Exercise can help improve the balance of your cholesterol (LDL- "bad" cholesterol and HDL - "good" cholesterol). High levels of LDL (low density lipoproteins) and low levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein) increase your risk of heart disease. Regular exercise such as brisk walking or running is linked to higher levels of HDL.
Bones and Joints
  • You are more likely to have lower back pain if you don't do any exercise and exercise can help reduce back pain if you are already suffering  from it.
  • Regular exercise can help to treat and reduce the pain caused by osteoarthritis. This is the most common form of arthritis and exercising may actually prevent and slow down its progression.
  • Physical activity can increase bone mineral density in children and help to maintain strong bones in adolescents. it also slows down bone degeneration in later life helping to prevent osteoporosis. 
Chronic Diseases
  • You are less likely to develop certain cancers if you are physically active. Exercise protects against colon cancer, breast cancer and may also help prevent lung cancer.
  • Partaking in regular exercise can help to manage and prevent diabetes. Over 2 million people in the UK have diabetes and keeping active can actually help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Mental Health and Well-being
  • Exercise can help both prevent and treat mental illness. It is suggested that regular physical activity could be as effective for treating depression as taking treatments or medicines, with fewer side-effects
  • Regular exercise can help deal with anxiety-related disorders, such as phobias, panic attacks or stress.
  • You are likely to feel happier, more satisfied with life and have an improved sense of well-being if you are physically active. Regular exercise will help you sleep better, lower your stress levels and boost your self-image.
  • Regular physical activity can help manage your weight. Physical activity burns up calories and so helps to create a healthy energy balance.
  • You are more likely to be obese if you are inactive and the more exercise you do, the more weight you will lose. However combining exercise with a healthy diet will mean you lose weight faster.
So as we can see their are many benefits to regular exercise. If you have a very inactive lifestyle then maybe its time to see where you can introduce some exercise into your life and start today. Maybe you find it hard to motivate yourself to do physical exercise, then maybe you need a PERSONAL TRAINER!

Look out for my next blog: Nutrition: Macro-nutrients explained

Rich Palmer PT
"making your fitness goals a reality"

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Getting that Right mindset to Exercise

Getting in shape is not that difficult a resolution to keep. You just have to set your mind into goal-mode, and exercise will come naturally to you. Here are five simple steps in order to get into the right mindset to work out regularly. Remember, exercise not only makes you look better, but it makes you feel better, as well.

1 Set Realistic Expectations

Before you actually begin your new workout routine, set a goal for yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve - weight loss, strength, muscle building, muscle toning or even just maintenance?

If you are new to exercise, do not overwhelm yourself. Try to stick to one small physical goal, and keep a list of objectives. When you set realistic expectations for yourself, you will be able to obtain them. Then, you may work on the more difficult objectives. It's that simple.

If you are considering joining a gym, many gyms have personal trainers available to help you set a goal for yourself. You can even get a personal trainer and train in the comfort of your own home. If you are uncertain about what you want to achieve, or even how to physically do so, a personal trainer would be the key to improving your mindset. They will give you that extra push that you sometimes need to remain focused.

2 Find a Fitness Buddy

With eight out of 10 people possessing the same healthy resolution to get in shape, it shouldn't be too difficult to find yourself a friend to work out with. Studies show that when you work out with a fitness partner, you are more motivated to your workout routine. Whether you are simply having more fun while working out with a friend, or you feel more competitive and push yourself to the limit to be the best, depends on your personality. Either way, having a friend right by your side proves beneficial.

3 It Does Not Matter What You Do...

… just do something! It does not matter if you cannot afford an expensive gym membership. Just because you do not have access to those state-of-the-art fitness machines, does not mean you cannot exercise efficiently. Exercise does not have to be formal. Run up and down your stairs 10 times a day. Take your dog outside for a jog, or even a quick jaunt, around the neighborhood. Anything that makes your heart beat faster and your body use oxygen more rapidly is a form of cardiovascular exercise. So, do not let anything discourage you from your ultimate fitness goals.

4 Eat Healthy

In order to become physically fit, working out is half the battle. You must eat a healthy diet to maintain a good fitness program. If you can afford it, consult a dietitian or personal trainer for nutritional advice. A good dietitian can tell you what foods to eat to compliment your workout and help you attain a leaner, healthy body. Remember, even though you may work out consistently, if you do not offer your body enough nourishment, all of your hard work will be for nothing. A body needs to eat healthy in order to properly receive the benefits of exercise.

5 Have Fun!

You are not alone! There are millions of others who want to exercise on a regular basis, but find it difficult to stay motivated or interested. As physical as exercise is, the first step to any kind of exercise is your mental state. It is important to remember that you exercise, not to torture yourself, but to make yourself feel good. So, do things that you enjoy. For example, yoga is a wonderful way to cleanse your mind and become fit at the same time. Or, join a five-a-side or netball league, and forget that you are actually exercising while having a great time! Also, free weights can be difficult to repeatedly lift, but think of that lovely burn you receive at the end.
If you begin your new workout routine with a negative attitude toward exercise, itself, you will not be able to work out regularly. Remind yourself that exercise can be fun. It feels awesome to work out.
Regular exercise has been associated with so many health benefits, it is surprising that not more people exercise on a daily basis. Studies show that exercise increase your life span, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of various cancers, and even enhances your mood. Once you begin your exercise routine, you will notice that your body not only looks better, but you will also have more energy to do the things you love.
Look out for my next blog: The Benefits Of Exercise

Rich Palmer PT
Personal Training Sutton Coldfield
"making your fitness goals a reality"

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

HYDRATION – The key to a healthy lifestyle!

  1. We all know that water is good for us as over 60% of the body is made up of water. Many people know that they should be drinking plenty of water but find it a hard habit to form. People tend to avoid drinking water as they find it tasteless and boring to drink so they end up drinking coffee, tea, sodas and alcohol, amongst many other possibilities. Consequently, there is then not enough of a water intake and the body becomes dehydrated, which is not good at all for our health.

    As mentioned 60% of the adult body weight is made up of water. Water provides the right conditions for the function of all your bodily organs and it is important that lost water is replaced to maintain cell and blood structure. Water is lost from our bodies through urine, faeces, evaporation through the skin (sweat) and expired breath. Even without moving around or exercising we lose 2 – 2.5 litres per day via these routes.

    So it is extremely important that you replace any lost water and KEEP YOURSELF FULLY HYDRATED. Hydration is a vital key to a healthy lifestyle and here are 9 great reasons why you should be drinking water regularly throughout the day:

    1.      WEIGHT LOSS - Water is one of the best tools for weight loss, first of all because it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda, juice or alcohol with a drink that doesn't have any calories. But it's also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we're hungry, we're actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs and no sugar. Drinking plenty of water can only help towards your weight-loss goals.

    2.      HEALTHY HEART - Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published on the 1st May 2002 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack than those who drank less than two glasses.

    3.      ENERGY - Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired, even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2% of your body weight. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and many other symptoms.

    4.      HEADACHE CURE - Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it's simply a matter of not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.

    5.      HEALTHY SKIN - Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won't happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.

    6.      DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS - Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fibre can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration).

    7.      CLEANSING - Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.

    8.      CANCER RISK - Related to the digestive system item above, drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

    9.      BETTER EXERCISE - Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise.

    How much water should you drink?

    It depends on your bodyweight but as a general rule:
    ·         Inactive person: 2.0 to 2.5 litres per day
    ·         Active person: 4.0 to 4.5 litres per day

    So it is even more important to monitor your water intake if you are exercising regularly. Dehydration affects the building of body tissues, temperature regulation and metabolic rate. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, lack of concentration and constipation; and just 10% dehydration can be FATAL!

    Just remember folks, get into the habit of drinking plenty of water and STAY HYDRATED! Being hydrated really is the single most important factor to a healthier lifestyle.

    Rich Palmer PT
    Personal Trainer Sutton Coldfield
    “making your fitness goals a reality”