All posts filed under: Health & Fitness

I’m Worried My Blood Pressure Is Too High, How Can I Lower It?

Are you worried about your blood pressure and not sure how you can lower it? Maybe your doctor has told you that you have high blood pressure, or maybe you keep a track with a kit and you do your own blood pressure testing and it’s a little bit higher than you’d like it to be. There are lots and lots of things you can do to lower your blood pressure. Popular belief has had us believe that salt intake is linked with hypertension – which has been dismissed slightly now. It’s not a bad idea to have a look at the salt content in your food. Often, if you’re consuming a lot of salt, it’s because you’re eating refined and processed foods – and we know that’s not healthy for us. The best drug-free brilliant remedy for high blood pressure is exercise but ensuring the appropriate type and intensity of exercise. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, I strongly recommend you consult a doctor or a personal trainer or both before …

Have you run out of time to get fit and healthy for this summer?

I would say absolutely not, there is still plenty of time to get your body and your mind in better shape and get you feeling really good about your summer holiday. If your fitness levels are not great at the moment, the first thing to do is start increasing your daily life movement. Getting out there and walking much as you can, lifting some heavy things, whether that’s lifting your children up or whatever it is that you do – but start moving the body. Do compound movements – these are movements that involves multiple joints. For example, when you sit down in a chair and get back up again, you’re using the knee joint, the hip joint, and you’re using the ankle joint as well. One of the things I absolutely love recommending to people is running or jogging. It’s not necessarily for everyone, but it’s a really great way of toning and what I love about it most is you immediately start seeing improvement straight off the bat. It takes about two weeks …

Health Matters:  Six Ways to Increase Self-Esteem

Last month was National Teen Self-Esteem Month and it got me thinking about the ways that we can nurture and support both our own and others’ sense of self worth and confidence. Teenagers have a lot to contend with these days, what with peer pressure, study and exam stress and the growing problem of bullying in schools. Social media can heighten the pressure to look and behave a certain way, to have the perfect body, own the latest gadget or wear the best trainers. There’s a tendency to look at others’ lives portrayed on sites like Instagram or Facebook and think that we don’t quite match up or that we aren’t good enough in some way. Teenagers are also dealing with practical, social and physical changes and of course hormones! Self-esteem is easily damaged, especially during childhood and teenage years. Of course I believe that it can be repaired and enhanced, so that as adults we can thrive, fulfill our full potential and be happy. I still think though, that preventative measures are always better than …

Why a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work

The old adage, one size does not fit all has never been truer. We now know that there are so many things that affect our body composition and it wouldn’t be wise to follow the same advice for example, at work, for my mum or my friend or the person off the road – you’ve really got to throw out that one size fits all and focus on personalization. What’s going to work for you? For your particular body type, your personal situation, your injury status, your food, and your lifestyle. We also know the oversimplification of eat less and move more doesn’t work for us. Yes, it’s very good, broad strokes advice – move less, eat more, and there is a certain element of truth in terms of the calorie balance, but what we know now about calories is that a calorie is not a calorie. For example, a calorie of fat differs from protein, differs from carbohydrate and the effect on our bodies of those macro nutrients can vary wildly from one of …

Is stress bad for your mind, body and wellbeing?

The answer, of course, is yes. But why? When we’re in a stressed state, we release different hormones, predominately cortisol, which can have a negative effect on our body composition because cortisol instructs the liver to secrete glucose into the bloodstream (in effect to get us ready for action because it thinks we’re in a threat state). We then have elevated glucose in the blood – which is not great for our energy levels or our body composition (our weight management). But stress can also affect the entire body from top to tail. It can switch on and off genes that we don’t necessarily want switched on or off, it can significantly affect our overall health through our genetic expression, which I think is fascinating! It also affects the nervous system – the autonomic nervous system. There are two branches to this nervous system: sympathetic and parasympathetic. Sympathetic is our fight, flight, freeze response. That’s our threat state, and when we’re stressed, we’re in a sympathetic dominant state. Parasympathetic is our rest and digest, and that’s the …