GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “information”

Why is child obesity so high?

Hi there!

I’m exhausted today since I was exploring a new city yesterday! Salamanca is gorgeous by the way if anyone is looking for somewhere to visit. Maybe not yet, it’s freezing. I think I’ve had a better workout shivering than an hour at the gym! But today I read a disturbing news article. It was from the Daily Mail so I looked around for better, more reliable sources to confirm the claims. Unfortunately, I didn’t struggle. Child obesity now affects 1 in 3 of Britain’s children. Whilst these levels appear to be ‘leveling off’ un under 10’s according to the BBC , it is still a shockingly high number. Obesity brings all sort of health risks including diabetes, heart disease, increased risks of cancer, high blood and more.

It’s not just children either, UK obesity rates in the UK have almost trebled (see the ‘more’ link above). This is shocking, especially with such focus now on leading healthier lifestyles! What can we do? Unfortunately, we can’t change a nation. But you can make small changes to yours and your families life to start leading a healthier lifestyle and (if required) lose weight! It requires hard work and focus but once you’ve made these little changes and turned them into habits, you’ll notice a huge difference. There’s so many little things you can do!

  • Walk to work if you’re close enough.
  • Get off/on at an earlier bus stop if you can.
  • Walk if these trip is 20 minutes or less.
  • Don’t bring temptation into the house (buy one chocolate bar if you’re craving it, not a multipack, for example).
  • Never grocery shop hungry.
  • Fit in at least 20 minutes of physical activity every day (a walk, for example).
  • Have a salad or soup at lunch.
  • Swap the crisps for an apple.
  • Eat porridge for breakfast to fuel you up until lunch.

Little steps like this can make a huge difference. Obesity does not need to be such a problem. We can change and we can help others change too. If you’ve got a group of friends who always complain about feeling overweight or uncomfortable then start a group and challenge yourselves! Doing things with a friend typically helps motivation because you feel a sense of commitment and don’t want to give up before the other (a little friendly competition never hurt anyone). Make some healthier choices to change your life!

What are your thoughts on obesity?

Gym Bug

Getting oot’n’aboot

Hi there!

For non Scottish readers “oo’n’aboot” translates to ” out and about”. It’s highly stereotypical and I love the phrase, I have no idea why. Anyway, now that I’m home I do not have access to a gym, which is really, really, really nice. I get to spend my cardio days outside in the gorgeous (haha) Scottish weather.

I love getting out and going for a good run outdoors. My first run since returning was great and it didn’t feel like a workout. I ran at an average pace of 5.33 minutes per km, which was faster than I usually run and I really enjoyed being outdoors rather than looking at my reflection in the gym window on the treadmill. Not getting sweat in my eyes was also an added bonus.

Running outdoors is not only more aesthetically pleasing, it also has additional heath benefits that you can’t get from a gym. Outdoor running means you’re exposed to a variety of different terrains. This adds to the development of muscles in your legs and gets them nice and strong!
Anyone who has run outdoors will also have probably, at least once, faced wind. Running against the wind requires more energy which requires more calories! You won’t get that kind of natural resistance in a gym.
You get fresh air! The gym can become a hot box and the air becomes thick and warm, but outdoors your lungs, body and mind can rejuvenate and benefit from getting decent fresh air.
I also find that running outdoors leaves me feeling more refreshed. I can come in from a run outside feeling more energised. I attribute this mainly to the fact that I’m not drowning in my own sweat and I smell of outside.

If you can’t run, I still recommend trying to get outside as much as possible. There’s so much to do! Go for a walk, a hike, a cycle, even sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. A well-balanced, healthy lifestyle is not achieved by powering it out in a gym. You need nature to help keep your lungs and mind fresh!

If you do decide to go outside for a run and don’t want a monotonous run, try mix it up a bit. You can sprint for 1-minute and jog for 1-minute (or any length of time). I like finding a hill and doing hill runs too. There’s a long hill next to my house and I find a good, challenging run is to run one full length at a moderate pace, walk down, sprint half the hill, walk to the bottom and repeat for a maximum of 5 times. I don’t plan on going beyond 5 repetitions of this because it will most likely end in injury. Instead I focus on improving my speed and recovery.

So get out there and enjoy the fresh air!

Gym Bug

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/treadmill-vs-running-outside.html

http://healthontrack.info/outdoor-running-benefits/

Slow or Fast; who wins this weights race?

Hi there!

Another weight training session today and I tried a slightly different technique based on some research I’d done. I got curious as to whether it was best to do fast repetitions or slow ones, so I researched it and tried out a slower routine today than normal.

Women’s Health Mag has discussed that both can have great benefits for the body. The key is the point in your training you’re at. If you’re a beginner, going fast will likely lead to injury. Going slow is also great if you’re looking to build strength. What you want to do is really focus on slowing down on the “release” stage of the lift. For example, doing a bicep curl, really focus on slowing the rate on the way down rather than on the way up.  By going too fast, too soon you risk injury to muscles and joints, especially if your technique isn’t quite on form. However, when performing the repetitions it’s best that you slow it down on the ‘release’ phase. I tried it today and I could definitely feel more of a burn, particularly with my abs. By doing the repetitions slower (for example, with a bicycle crunch) I could really feel my abs working hard.

Men’s Fitness also discuss this and state that lifting slow will see you develop more muscle mass. Again, it’s all about going slow on the ‘release’ phase of the repetition, this way you’re really working the muscles hard and developing more strength. Don’t worry ladies though, going slow won’t mean walking out the gym one day a bodybuilder, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it takes more than just lifting to get those types of muscles. Females lack testosterone, which is what’s needed to give you those bulging muscles. Always remember female bodybuilders or very muscular females are probably taking supplements to enable that type of muscle growth!

But does that mean fast isn’t beneficial? Not at all, however, it’s only wise to use faster repetitions when you’ve got the overall technique nailed down. This will help prevent injury. It’s also pertinent you’ve got muscle strength to maintain a safe technique whilst going through the more intense workout. By going faster you improve power and burn more calories but you need to be physically capable of maintaining a proper technique when more fatigued. By forcing the weight to move faster you’re using more energy, so you will notice you’re more tired, sweaty and out of breath by following this technique.  Be careful though!  Jerky, poor controlled movements will cause injury. You must remain in control of the weights to reap the rewards!

Here are a couple of exercises you can do both fast and slow;

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Bicep Curls
  • Squats (maybe not too fast if you’re using a bar)
  • Push Ups
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Tricep Dips

I’m going to do a session of 10 slow repetitions of different exercises, then next session try 15 repetitions in the same time frame for the same exercises. This way I’ll get to experience both! Hopefully it’s a new way to mix up my workouts. You should give it a try too!

Almost Friday. Keep going!

Gym Bug

Stretching your way to fitness

Hi there!

Today’s post is going to focus on stretching and the importance of it. I used to never stretch and the severity of this wsa revealed to me when I got injured with a grade 2 groin strain in January. It saw me out of rowing for the semester and out of cardio for weeks. It was painful and incredibly frustrating. Since then, I’ve ensured I fit in a stretching session after every single workout. I’ve noticed it’s helped my recovery and it feels good being able to touch the ground without feeling like something is going to snap.

Again, this information has been collected from research I’ve done and things I’ve stumbled across on Pinterest, Twitter etc.

  • Stretching helps your range of motion. It reduces muscle tenion and tightness, two things which reduce muscle function.
  • It can improve posture. Tight muscles will pull your body out of shape. For example, tight chest mucles pull out shoulders and head forward which gives us a hunched look. By stretching your muscles your releasing the tension and allowing your body to move more freely and allows you to have better posture.
  • It can help your calm down. Stretching is good for relaxation and the release of tension can be both physical and mental when stretching. When stretching practice deep breathing and clearing the mind. It’s amazing how relaxing it can be.

Something that surprised me was the complex lack of consensus regarding stretching and injury prevention. Some sources say it doesn’t do a thing to prevent injury, for example, Jillian Michaels whilst other argue differently, such as the article in Lifehacker. I believe it has benefits of reducing muscle tension, which allows increased range of motion which may prevent you overstretching it doing simple tasks. So I think it can indirectly help.

When stretching it’s important to hold it for a good 20 seconds, otherwise you won’t see benefits particularly quickly. Also focusing on the areas you worked most during that particular workout to ensure they get the best stretches.

The Mayo Clinic has a great slide show on stretching safely and gives advice on basic stretches to start incorporating into your workout. I discovered some really useful ones by attending some pilates classes also.

Have a happy Saturday everyone! Last weekend in November, almost time to get pumped for Christmas!

Gym Bug

Sources;

http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=2206

http://lifehacker.com/5983731/why-stretching-is-just-as-important-as-exercise

 

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