All posts filed under: Mind and Body

5 reasons why cold showers are good for your health (and keep you cool during a heatwave)

I was persuaded to try cold showers having listened to a podcast where the guest, (the renowned Dr Joseph Mercola) was discussing their benefits, specifically, cold thermogenesis. It seemed to me that the benefits of subjecting yourself to cold temperatures were too many and too compelling to ignore. Here are my top 5 reasons why cold showers are good for your health, and why you should start experimenting with cold therapy now. Brown fat activation Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a type of fat that is typically found around the collar bones, sternum, neck and upper back. It’s a unique type of fat that generates heat by burning the white fat on the stomach, rump, hips and legs. One study found that cold therapy increases the activation of BAT by up to 15 times. Individuals who are frequently exposed to bouts of cold temperatures tend to have more BAT, which can also cause metabolic up-regulation and an increased production of heat in skeletal muscle, which means you’ll be burning more calories as you go about …

Stressed? Tired? Burning out? How 10 minutes of meditation a day can be a game changer for busy professionals

  This is how my day used to start: The alarm goes off, but I don’t feel rested or reenergised. I get up after hitting the snooze button two or three times and rush to the shower. Within 25 minutes of waking, I’m usually locking the front door and heading down the road to the station. Whilst on the train, I’ll check my BlackBerry for emails, I’ll look at my calendar and see what meetings I have ahead of me and when I might get a chance to take a break that day. I get off the train and head into the City via a coffee shop and pick up a pastry and a coffee, then hurry to my desk where I usually arrive bang on time. I then spend the day at my desk or in meetings, usually taking a short lunch-break to buy something that I then eat at my desk. When I get home at the end of the day I’m tired, possibly agitated and lacking in energy. The next day, it …

Why recovery is as important as training and how to balance the two

I recently ran the London Marathon for Alzheimer’s Research. I’ve trained several clients for a marathon, and the same thing happens every time; panic sets in a few weeks before and I refocus them on the importance of prioritising recovery and rest. The importance of recovery Understanding the fine line between a healthy training volume and over-training is vital. Generally, we put too much emphasis on training, instead of balancing our efforts with rest and recovery. What are the signs of poor recovery? Tuning into your body is a powerful way of reconnecting with yourself. The human body is extremely adept at sending us signals, but we’ve become good at ignoring them. There are typically six areas where you might have issues: Sleep Mental health Body composition Energy Digestion Fitness Sympathetic versus parasympathetic dominance The body is a complex system of nerves and impulses. The autonomic nervous system is comprised of the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous systems. Sympathetic relates to the fight / flight reactions. When the sympathetic nervous system is dominant, …

What are the effects of alcohol on weight management and fitness?

What are the effects of alcohol on weight management and fitness? Excessive consumption of alcohol can be harmful for the brain and body. Anything more than two drinks per day (on average) is too much, and problem drinking comes in many forms. If you’ve lost one of your personal possessions or your phone more than twice due to alcohol; if you’ve missed work or social engagements more than twice; if you’ve said something you regretted on several occasions because of alcohol, then that’s problem drinking. It’s about where it takes you rather than how much you consume. What happens when you drink alcohol? Alcohol is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine. Once absorbed, it affects every part of the body. In order to metabolise the alcohol, the liver takes on the brunt of the work, and the alcohol is then processed out via the breath and in the urine. Alcohol affects the brain in various ways, primarily affecting the frontal lobes, which influence speech, memory, judgement and movement. The central …

What effect does stress have on the body?

Stress is not necessarily a bad thing, but too much stress, can be very harmful to the body. So how do we learn to manage stress and what is the impact it has on our minds and bodies? Central Nervous System The central nervous system (CNS) is comprised of the brain and the spinal cord, and can be considered the command and control centre of the human body. It communicates with the rest of the body via neurons linked to what is called the peripheral nervous system (PNS). When a stimulus is introduced to the body, receptors communicate with sensory neurons, which in turn communicate with motor neurons to affect a response within the CNS. A nervous breakdown can happen when the CNS is subjected to repeated and prolonged stress. It can also be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Worry, chronic stress, fear, anxiety, nervousness and panic attacks are all symptoms of a mental breakdown, or burnout. Allostatic load Allostasis is the process of achieving stability (homeostasis) through physiological or behavioural change; it …