A Healthier You

After some well deserved time off, and over indulgence this Christmas, it’s time to look forward to a new year, and a healthier you!

As we all know exercise is extremely good for your health and well-being. Not only does it improve your muscle tone, and general fitness, it also increases your energy levels and helps stabilise your sleep pattern. Physical activity can boost self-esteem and mood, as well as reducing your risk of stress and depression (especially during these miserable, damp months).

In 2016, make time to take care of you!

To help you get started, here is a list of our top 10 tips

1. Make exercise fun and enjoyable – Find an activity that you enjoy doing, this increases the likelihood that you will stick at it. You do not need to spend hours on a treadmill or sweating in a gym to get fit, if that’s not your thing. There is a whole host of sports/activities out there, why not try a different one each month and find out what you do like.

2. Find an exercise buddy– Having a friend to exercise with helps and is good for keeping you on track. Make a regular plan to exercise together and you will less likely fob it off due to being tired, etc. than if you were exercising alone.

3. Don’t overdo it – It may be tempting, while you have the fitness buzz, to go from 0 to 60 straight away. Resist this urge and ease yourself in gently to begin with. Doing too much too soon, can lead to injuries or burnout, resulting with you discontinuing with exercise altogether. For your first few sessions, it is better to think, I could have done more rather than over doing it and not been able to move for the next 4 days. Gradually increase your effort and volume as you find where your fitness level is. This may mean in a gym class you leave slightly early to begin with or if they say pick up some weights don’t, start with bodyweight.

4. Try something new – If you’re already exercising regularly but is seems to become a bit of a chore, set yourself a challenge to try something new. This is a good way to ensure you don’t get bored, and often you’ll find that embarking on a new activity uses different parts of your body that you aren’t used to, increasing your overall mobility.

5. Set goals – Setting realistic, attainable goals is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It can be a short term goal, such as swimming two lengths of the pool without stopping, or a long term goal such as training for a marathon. Scarborough Athletics Club has a walk-to-run group with the final goal running in the local 5k park run.

6. Eat a well balanced diet– Studies have shown around 80% of any fitness goal depends on your diet. This applies whether you are trying to lose weight, or train for an event. Food is fuel for your body and it is important that you put the right things in it, to maximise results.

7. Water – Keep hydrated! Aim for at least 1.5 litres a day. Water washes out salts, toxins and helps the body to recover from exercise.

8. Sleep – When you relax, the body is able to repair itself post exercise. Sleeping, also relaxes your mind, and enables you to be more focused when awake. Go to bed a little earlier and see if it helps.

9. Preventative Sports Therapy – Regular visits to an expert therapist will enable you to achieve the most out of your life and avoid unnecessary aches and pains. Pro-Am Health Scheme gives you an affordable solution to investing in your health and well being. Sign up today

10. Keep trying, don’t give up – If you have a bad experience at a gym or your sick of getting injured then remember the first 4 points above. You never know you may find a activity where you become a volunteer or coach and inspire many more people to stay active.

Practical tips for a healthy back

1: Stay mobile

Optimal spine health means having mobility in all directions with good control. One area that can put pressure on the lower back and neck is stiffness in the mid back (thoracic spine). If your thorax has limited rotation, more load and stress can be transferred to other parts of the body. You can check this by sitting in a chair, feet firmly grounded, hands clasped and tucked into your sternum, turn to your right and then left. You should be able to turn equally to the right and left and be able to see behind you easily. Here is a video showing thoracic whips if you find you have limited mobility mobility here, perform 4 sets of 5 reps both sides, if one side is more limited perform 2 extra sets on that side. https://youtu.be/NFWAoXwjlCQ

2: Vary positions at work

Sitting at a computer and desk all day puts increased pressure on your spine. After 30 minutes of sitting make sure you get up and walk around or do some exercises for 30 seconds to keep the flow of blood and fluids to the spine. You will start to notice many work places are looking into workstations that are for standing but again after 30 minutes you still need to move about. Make sure workstation is setup properly for you to encourage optimal posture.

3: Keep the core in good condition

Optimal strength and control of core muscles is very important for spine health, especially if you do suffer from repetitive bouts of back and neck pain. Regular exercise that includes strength training is highly recommended. Pilates is a great exercise that helps you understand how to use your core muscles and how to control movements through the spine.

4: Monthly Sports Massage

Having a regular sports massage for maintenance of well being is highly recommended to get rid of tightness and stiffness that may interfere with spine health. Sometimes our bodies will adapt to the postures and movements we do in life, this can lead to compensations which can lead to injury. If one area of the body is stiff, that limited range of movement will have to be compensated for at the next joint. This may not cause a problem to start with but over months, years it can develop into a chronic problem.  Pro-Am’s Health Scheme can help prevent many injuries.