All posts tagged: fitness

Is it good for me to take a nap or not?

I used to have a very dismissive attitude towards napping. I wouldn’t have it. I thought no, I don’t need to sleep. Sleep’s for the evening. But, I completely changed my mind. I equate sleep to going out for a long day and taking a spare battery to boost your mobile phone. Taking a nap is the same thing. If I’ve got a long day, a hard day, a creative day, or I’ve had a bad night’s sleep, no problem. I’ll just go and have a 20, 30-minute nap if I can. Recharge my batteries and then crack on again. Is taking a nap good for you?  Science confirms that yes, it is. But, there are some conditions. A nap is ideally taken between 12 and 2pm. Any later than that, and you might be cutting it a bit fine, chipping into your evening sleep. It’s very good to bolster a poor night’s sleep. But 20 to 30 minutes won’t take you deep into that sleep cycle of REM sleep. It’s been found to improve …

I feel tired all day and then can’t sleep at night

Do you find that you’re tired all day, you don’t have the energy to get through the day, and then you hit the pillow and you can’t sleep? This is hugely frustrating and very common. What can you do about it? Firstly, let’s talk a bit about the autonomic nervous system, which is a part of the body that controls a lot of our autonomic movements like breathing. There are two branches to the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic, which is your classic fight, flight, freeze, and your parasympathetic, which is your classic rest and digest. What we want to do as we move towards bedtime is move from sympathetic dominance into parasympathetic dominance so we’re ready for sleep, and the body has had time to wind down. One of the ways that you can do that would be to control the amount of caffeine that you have during the day. Depending on your sensitivity, two cups maximum in the morning is as much caffeine as you should really be taking in. Controlling the amount …

Local resident takes on 100 Miles in aid of Operation Smile

A true legacy of the 2012 Games Local resident, Helen Carmichael, is taking to the track to support Operation Smile. The Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 is one of the biggest cycling events of the year and an endurance test like no other. Helen Carmichael: “Why did I choose to Support Operation Smile? How could you not want to give a child a smile? When a stranger smiles at you in the street it can change your whole day – everyone should be able to give that gift to other people. I have a little girl and I could not imagine how it would affect her. I hope if she ever needs help like this, someone will be kind enough to get involved” Karen Jaques (Operation Smile UK, CEO): “Our fundraisers are instrumental to our work – without them, we would not be able to provide free surgeries for so many children in need around the world. Those born with a cleft condition in developing countries face not only physical complications, but are often subjected to severe social …

How to avoid gaining weight in your 40s

We tend to think that gaining weight is something that happens with ageing, but this isn’t the case. It is, however, really important to monitor your body composition as you get older, to avoid putting yourself at risk of things like diabetes and other types of metabolic conditions. Here are four things you can do to avoid gaining weight into your 40s. 1. Monitor your energy balance (calories in versus calories burned from exercise). If you have less energy being expended, then you need to monitor and reduce the amount of energy that’s going into the body. Take a look at your food consumption and ensure that you’re not eating the diet that you were still eating when you were much more active. Also, try to include the following: More daily life movement – This could include taking the stairs not the escalator or walking 10,000 steps a day. Moderate exercise – Combine more daily movement with moderate exercise three to five times a week e.g. a light jog or lots of brisk walking. High intensity exercise …

Why maintaining weight loss is so hard

We’ve all heard about people who manage to lose weight, but how often do they maintain the new weight? Dieting is easy initially because you’re full of enthusiasm and can draw on willpower for the energy required in the first few weeks. Willpower is a finite commodity though and isn’t enough on its own. Willpower is also an energy-intensive resource, and needs to be fed. If you are relying on willpower alone to get you through the first few weeks, you need to feed that power by sleeping fully, keeping the mind busy with constructive pursuits and staying active. Early promise… Initially, we tend to see results because often the body dumps a load of water, rewarding us with a few pounds off the scales. Despite the fact that it’s fat, not water, that we want to lose, it’s motivating to see that dial go down on the scales. Usually with a bit of effort more weight can be lost, but after a while, it all starts to feel like hard work. Sound familiar? The …