Do you know one of the best forms of exercise for your health is free?

Yes, FREE!!! and who doesn’t love a bargain?

So what’s this secret exercise?

Walking.  It can help transform people’s health according to The “Walking Works” report by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support.

“Walking works. It makes people happy, keeps everyone healthy and can even save your life.” 

If you have been dithering over whether to start being more physically active then you need to read that report and stop making excuses.

“Being active also slashes the risk of getting these serious diseasesby 20-50%:
• heart disease
• stroke
• type 2 diabetes
• colon and breast cancer
• Alzheimer’s disease.12, 13, 14”   Walking Works summary report (1.2MB, PDF)

Not only could it help improve your health it can also improve your social life. If you would rather not walk alone then Walking for Health offers free, local easy walks tailored to you. It has also been shown that encouragement and support from a group can increase motivation to exercise.  Walking outside can also be a great way of getting your daily dose of vitamin D.

If you fancy walking alone (and sometimes it is lovely to have time by yourselves) then have a read of this blog post  Walking your Way to Fitness

Whether you walk alone, with friends, with grandchildren or with the dog walking counts as part of the 150 minutes a week of physical activity you should be aiming for.

“ If a medication existed which had a similar effect to physical activity, it would be regarded as a wonder drug or a miracle cure.” 

Sir Liam Donaldson, The former Chief Medical Officer of England

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. This will open a new browser window.

Some suggestions on how you maybe able to slow down the progression of arthritis.

In this post I am going to talk specfically about osteoarthritis.  I need to state there is no cure for osteoarthritis and whilst   no single gene found has been found which indicates osteoarthritis there is research which shows a genetic factor.  There is also an occupational factor so if you have a heavy physical work load then that is a risk. Along with the following

  • kneeling
  • regular stair climbing,
  • crawling
  • bending
  • whole body vibration
  • repetitive movements.

Now that list may make you roll your eyes as most of them (apart from crawling!) are part of daily life but there are things that might be able to help slow down the process.

  • Rosehip powder – whilst the evidence is sparse there is some that indicates that a good quality rosehip powder may reduce the pain of OA.
  • Eat your brocolli – now I like this one purely because it urges you to eat a vegetable rich in  vitamins A, C, folic acid, fiber, calcium and pottassium. However it also contains a glucoraphanin compound which our body turns into another compound, called sulforaphane, which appears to protect the joints. Steam don’t boil!
  • Take a glucosamine sulfate supplement.Research has found some glucosamine sulfate may delay the progression of OA
  • Ditch the soda -Soda May Worsen Knee Osteoarthritis in Men
  • Lose a little weight  Just 10% weight loss with a diet and exercise plan may relieve arthritic knee pain
  • Increase muscle strength – a 5 year study to determine whether quadriceps weakness is associated with elevated risk of worsening knee pain   found that quadriceps weakness was associated with an increased risk of worsening of knee pain over 5 years in women, but not in men.

The NHS Choices website page on prevention of osteoarthritis  recommends you avoid weight training if you have osteoarthritis. I don’t think the issue is quite that black and white and would depend on the person.  Whilst I agree that taking up olympic lifting or powerlifting may not be the most sensible options stronger muscles take the stress off the joints and help support unstable joints. There are methods of strength training that will ensure you gain muscle strength without stressing the affected joint.  In fact evidence has shown that incorporating strength training into an exercise programme decreased pain by 43% in osteoarthritic patients.

The current ACSM guidelines for people with arthritis is cardiovascular work 30-60 minutes 5 days per week accompanied by resistance training with major muscle groups twice a week and flexibility activities. However if you are not currently active these are long term goals and you could start out slowly with 2-3 short sessions a day.  This DVD is recommended by the The Centre for Healthy Ageing Research and Arthritis Research UK has several exercise sheets  you may find useful.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. This will open a new browser window.

National Fitness Day September 27th

Wow, it’s been a while. Sorry for my silence, life has been very busy, summer holidays, training and then participating in a Strongwoman competition and work.  However something is coming up I wanted to blog about.

On the 27th September it is National Fitness Day.  This day is about getting active, just 30 minutes a day 5 days a week is all that is needed for health benefits but let’s  start with one day and one lot of 30 minutes.

On the last Friday of September of each year, everyone is encouraged to take part in Empower Half Hour at 1pm doing 30 minutes of fun activities and exercise. This could be walking, swimming, cycling, dancing.  Anything that gets YOU moving and a smile on your face.  However you don’t have to do it at 1pm, walk to work in the morning, take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, go for a walk in your local park, go for a swim in your lunch break.  It doesn’t really matter what you do, it’s about making that first step into a routine that will see health benefits such as better sleep, increased mobility and mood improvement.

If you fancy doing something as a group then Surrey Sports Park in Guildford has a whole day of events you can try such as Zumba and Swimfit for free.  The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford has a an empowering 30-minute workout including, stamina moves, stretches and Body combat! The class is free and open to all ages.

More information about National Fitness Day can be found at National Fitness Day, including activities happening around the country. They also have a twitter account @FitnessDayUK

What are you planning to do?

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

Helen Witcomb is a personal trainer in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. for more information. This will open a new browser window.

Park Bench workout.

Summer is coming (at last), we had a wasp in our kitchen the other day and the suncream has been dug out of the bathroom cabinet.

Whilst a walk in the park is always lovely on a sunny day you know how you could make it better?

A park bench workout!

Next time you pass a bench on your walk stop and do this 5 minute work out. If you know you only pass one bench then do it twice at the same bench.

Make sure you have been walking for about 10 minutes first so you are warmed up and then do some tree sprints.  Pick two trees and walk as fast as you can between them, use your arms as well.  If necessary rest for 30 seconds before continuing the walk at your normal pace. Try to do 2-3 tree sprints.

Exercises to do at the park bench

10 sit-to-stands

  1. Stand a few inches away from the bench with your back towards it.
  2. Sit down, then stand up again quickly, using your legs to push yourself up.

Easier modification:If necessary find a bench with an armrest and use one arm to help yourself push up but still try and use your legs as much as possible.

10 push ups using back of bench or seat of bench. (make sure the bench is securely anchored to the ground before attempting this)

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, 3 to 4 feet behind a bench
  2. Lean forward to place both hands on top of seat back slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Keeping body in a straight line from head to heels, bend both elbows to lower chest toward bench.
  3. Push back to starting position.

Easier Modification: Do these against a tree instead of a park bench.

Seated alternating knee to chest.

  1. Sit on the edge of the bench and lean back, place your hands behind you resting on the bench fingers pointing forward
  2. Lift your feet from the ground lifting your legs up.
  3. Keeping chest up and shoulders back pull your right knee to your chest, then return it to beside the left leg. Now pull your left leg to your chest, then return it.
  4. Alternate legs like this for 10 reps trying to keep your feet off the ground, you can leave your toes on the ground for balance if neccessary

Easier Modification: Leave your feet on the ground for balance and to take some of the weight off.

At the end of the walk remember to do some stretching
Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

Helen Witcomb is a personal trainer in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. for more information. This will open a new browser window.

63-Year-Old Woman Powerlifter Takes Home Gold at First Competition

I LOVE this, more proof it’s never to late to change your health, to become a stronger you.

Full article here

Badass 63-Year-Old Woman Powerlifter Takes Home Gold at First Competition

Why it’s never too late to pick up a weight

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. This will open a new browser window.

3 hours walking a week may cut female stroke risk…

Now if you have been a reader of this blog for a while you know I am a huge advocate for just getting outside and going for a walk. It’s free, it gets you lots of fresh air and it can be sociable. So I am delighted that there is new research just published in Stroke magazine that shows that 3 hours walking a week reduces female stroke risk.  Now to be completely honest there were faults in the study but the conclusion drawn was the following

Conclusions—Recreational PA of moderate intensity was inversely associated with stroke incidence in women, whereas PA showed no effect on CVD risk in men. Increasing time dedicated to activities such as walking would be expected to help to reduce the stroke burden in women. ”

If you are looking for a way to start or even improve your fitness with walking may I suggest you follow the 6K Daily Steps Challenge set up by Over Fifty Fitness. A way to ensure you stay motivated is to rope in friends. Why should a catch up only be done over a cup of coffee and piece of cake instead find a lovely walk (maybe with a coffee shop or pub at the end!) and go, make it a weekly appointment in your diary.

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. This will open a new browser window.

Butternut Squash Soup

Last week I ordered a butternut squash on my online shopping and this 1.7kg behmouth turned up!  I had planned having it roasted with chicken but it was so big I decided to turn it into a soup for lunch. It is an excellent source of vitamin A and C and good source of vitamin E. Surprisingly enough it is also a source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (not as much as fish or flaxseed but if you are not taking a supplement every little helps)

  1. Turn on oven. Mine is a fan one and appears to have nuclear tendencies but 170 would probably be good.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthways.
  3. Mix 2 tablespooons of olive oil or coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of garlic (I am very lazy and use jar garlic, if you are not then I would crush about 2 cloves)
  4. Baste the tops of the squash with the oil
  5. Add a sprig of rosemary and sprinkle paprika all over
  6. Butternut Squash Soup - Whole Life Fitness

  7. Bake for about 45 minutes  or until a knife goes in easily, again oven dependent.
  8. Boil a pint of chicken stock, if you have home made it will taste better (after having a roast just boil the carcass with some water for a couple of hours, strain and then freeze)
  9. Remove the rosemary (I find it too overpowering)
  10. Butternut Squash Soup - Whole Life Fitness

  11. Scrap all the squash into the boiling chicken stock and simmer for about 20minutes.
  12. Butternut Squash Soup Farnham

  13. Use a handblender to blend the ingredients of the saucepan and there you go gorgeous butternut squash soup with a little bit of a kick from the paprika.

P.S I love coconut so if you want add roughly 50g coconut cream to the pint of chicken stock. Also test whilst the soup is cooking and add more paprika/chill if you want a real kick.

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