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Exercise General Health Lifestyle Stress and Relaxation Weighty Issues!

Health Benefits of Exercise

So it seems that a lack of exercise may be more detrimental to health than carrying around a few extra pounds – and I’m not talking money here. A large study carried out by the University of Cambridge basically concluded that getting our backsides off the sofa and out into the fresh air is a really important step we can all take to improving our health. If you want to read the study then click here.

So what are some of the benefits of exercise? People often think about it only in terms of weight management, but there are so many other important benefits. One is that it helps keep the cells in our bodies sensitive to insulin. When our cells aren’t as sensitive as they should be to insulin, we can end up with high blood glucose levels, which is associated with type two diabetes. Being active also increases our high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is helpful for maintaining healthy cholesterol balance, and decreases excess triglycerides (fats).

Exercise also affects our mood. It can help with releasing tension as physical activity stimulates lowers cortisol levels (one of the major stress hormones) and increases endorphins. I also think just the action of getting out and about into the fresh air, or hitting the machines at the gym is going to leave you feeling positive about taking active steps to improve your health and fitness, so no surprise if this boosts your confidence and self-esteem.

It’s also a great way to help regulate sleep, just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep. It usually takes a couple of hours for your body temperature to cool down fully after exercise, and it is this cooling process and drop in core temperature that can leave us feeling sleepy.

And if all those reasons fail to get you going, exercise can also help spark up your sex life! If you feel tired all the time, or completely out of shape, then it’s not surprising you might not feel all that frisky. But there’s more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.

But as usual, the problem is that just knowing something is good for us doesn’t necessarily make it easier to do. And let’s face it; did anyone ever really think that a bit of exercise was going to be a bad thing?

So at this point I should probably be thanking my parents for dragging me and my sisters out every weekend for long walks and bike rides. I really did detest going at the time, not because of the effort involved, but because it seemed like a pretty dull way to spend the day. However, like many things in life, if we are exposed to activities enough when we are younger, then when we are old enough to make our own decisions we often find it turns out we actually like doing it! That’s definitely the case with me and walking – I love nothing more than getting out and stretching my legs, whether going for a walk in beautiful countryside or pounding the pavements of Northwest London.

The good news is, for all those people who see it as an effort just to get from the chair to the fridge, exercise doesn’t have to involve hour long workouts at the gym. Great if you want to do this, but one really easy way to get the ball rolling is to buy a pedometer (or check to see if your phone has this function). What you want to be aiming for is 10,000 steps a day as a minimum, and then increase from there. This isn’t going to get you to iron man competition shape any time soon, but it will keep your heart ticking along nicely for a little while longer.

Here’s a smoothie to look forward to post exercise:

  • 1 glass coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful baby leaf spinach
  • 1 handful frozen berries
  • 5-6 ice cubes

Enjoy!

Olivia

Sources and further information: www.mayoclinic.com, Anita Bean (2009) The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition

Categories
Anthony William Lifestyle Stress and Relaxation

Celery Juicing

So only a few weeks to go till 2021 and I thought it was about time to do a blog on probably the quickest way to give yourself an injection of nutrition. Before I go any further into the wonders of celery juicing, I need to give credit where it’s due and say that this information comes from Anthony William. However, whilst I used to think it was going to be the cure all for everyone, I’ve now come to realise that as with most things, it very much needs to be integrated into people’s diet in individual ways, that takes into account where each person is at. And I’ve also realised that overdoing it can lead to a few problems – but more on that later.

The wonderful benefits of celery!

So why is celery juicing so good for improving health and overcoming chronic conditions? Celery contains numerous mineral salts that our bodies are dependent upon to function properly – you can taste this in the distinct, salty flavour celery has. Through juicing celery you get the benefits of more of these chemicals in one go – let’s face it, how many celery stalks can you munch your way through on a daily basis? These chemicals are thought to help with inflammation, and also restore stomach acid levels, which means it’s potentially a good thing for anyone with gut related problems or autoimmune conditions. These salts also support the adrenals, which are often overworked. From my own experience, I know it’s helped with headaches, skin health, gut health and restless legs – I definitely notice an improvement in energy levels when I do celery juicing on a regular basis.

How much juice do you need?

Now here is where I differ from Anthony William. He recommends 16oz/ 450ml a day on an empty stomach, even if you have to build up to it slowly. This part is really important – it’s powerful stuff and for a lot of people that would be far too much and would send you running to the nearest loo! So yes, building up slowly is good and most people will then be fine on 450mls. A lot of people then feel because they can manage this, why not have that 2 times a day, or even 3? I’m not saying this wouldn’t be a good thing for some people, but I tried that and I can tell you first hand it was too much for my gut which became a little unbalanced for a few months afterwards. So my personal view is less is more! Better to have a small glass once a day.

Is it for everyone?

Just because celery juicing is great for most people, it doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Firstly some people can’t stand the taste and it’s just too much for them. But also I’ve had a few clients who say they even if they start with a small amount, it just doesn’t suit them and they don’t feel good from it. So my feeling is that it isn’t going to be for everyone across the board, but for the vast majority of people, a small glass of celery juice a day will do wonders for your health! Do just make sure you build up slowly, and if you don’t mind the taste, it works best if you just sip it slowly rather than down it in one go. Always make sure you have it on an empty stomach – some people find first thing in the morning is best but I personally can’t hack it that early, so prefer it later on in the day. If you can then do get organic celery – luckily in the UK organic celery is pretty cheap and readily available.

So maybe make celery juicing part of 2021!