The Dangers of Sitting Down All Day

Do you spend half of your day sitting down, staring at your screen?

You are not alone, and it can be hard not to in a world where you are stuck at a desk for a large part of your day.

Despite the fact that a lot of people know that this is bad for you, the actual effects of it are not widely known and so, it is just put to the back of our minds.

The further it is from our minds? The less we do to counter it.

The most prominent side effects of sitting down all day according to a study done made up with almost 800,000 people are: an increase in the risk of diabetes, an increase in cardiovascular sickness, an increase in death via cardiovascular sicknesses and general low levels of well being.

All of these conditions have serious health and life altering implications and so, simply changing some key behavior’s can reduce your chance of serious health issues.

The main way to reduce your chance of serious health issues brought on by sitting down too much, thankfully can be broken down and enacted in chunks.

This way you can still do your desk job without getting in to any trouble, and reduce any risks to your health.

This does not however, mean that you can stop doing exercise too!

Every adult needs to do around two and a half hours of exercise every week to stay fit and healthy.

Yet, alternating working whilst standing and working whilst sitting, walking around whilst you are speaking on the telephone, walking over to a colleagues desk instead of emailing them and swapping the television for something a little more active can seriously help to reduce the risk you are putting yourself under.

What do you do to keep yourself active at work?

Activities To Try This Autumn/Winter

beta glucanJust because it’s getting colder out doesn’t mean that you should skimp on the exercise.

Thankfully, there are lots of ways that you can keep yourself fit and healthy without diving into a freezing cold lake or exposing yourself to a whole host of unfavorable elements.

To make it easy for you to stay on top of things this autumn/winter we’ve compiled a few of our favorite activities that may help inspire you to keep up your fitness however dark the days might get.

 

  1. Yoga

With the darkness gradually enveloping us all, it might be a good idea to keep centred and energised with a nice relaxing yoga class.

Not only can you stretch yourself into shape, but you can also boost your mental outlook at the same time, keeping away that energy draining feeling you can get when you’ve not been exposed to enough light throughout the day.

Best of all? You get to do it inside!

 

  1. Ice skating

Yes it’s cold, and yes you might fall on your bottom more times than you’d like to admit, but there is something quite romantic about ice skating at this time of year.

Grab some friends and make a day/ night of it. Socialising and exercise, the perfect combination!

 

  1. Kickboxing 

Fancy something a little more high energy than yoga?

Why not try kickboxing!

The cardio workout can help to tone your muscles and be an outlet for stress and frustration, as well as helping to boost your confidence.

What’s not to love?

 

  1. Dance 

You may not have danced since you were a little kid, but did you know that it can help keep you energised and alert?

Not only that, but there are tonnes of classes to choose from, and so if you don’t like one, you can always try another!

Exercise Safety

beta glucanWe all know that exercise is good for you, but when you exercise there is always the risk that something will go wrong, such as a sprained ankle or torn cartilage.

However, there are some things that you can do to help yourself, and to make sure that whatever type of exercise it is that you do, you exercise without putting yourself at risk from either traumatic or cumulative injuries.

Here are just a few that you can put into practice right away regardless of the type of exercise that you are doing:

Make sure that you warm up – Lot’s of injuries are caused by exerting too much power on the bodies muscles and tissue before they have been properly warmed up.

Warming up the muscles is important as it helps them to gain in flexibility meaning that breaks, tears and strains will be less likely.

It also helps you to be able to push yourself that little bit further, which is great for personal satisfaction.

Use the correct technique – If you have only just started exercising, you should perhaps take advantage of the gym and the starter classes so that you know that you are exercising correctly.

All too often people jump straight into exercising without the proper technique and it can lead to injury.

Don’t train too often – Although exercise is great, you can in fact exercise too much.

When you exercise too much and too frequently you don’t give your body the adequate time to recover.

This leads to tiredness and weakness that can affect ability and judgement as well as the overall strength and effectiveness of your work out.

Remember, resting is just as important when it comes to exercising as training, reps and the warm up. It can even help you to become even fitter.

Choose Health

beta glucanWe all know that it’s important for us to exercise. The government have even given out guidelines that specify exactly how much exercise we should all be doing.

However, deep down, we already know what the government is telling us. We know that the more regularly you exercise, the healthier you are, the more energy you have and the more resilient you are when it comes getting sick.

Yet, when work and family and one hundred other commitments get in the way it can be a lot more difficult to fit in exercise, or anything else for that matter. So, what can you do?

Apart from the obvious, (taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off of the bus a stop earlier and even swapping the bus commute for a bike commute instead), there is another option. Choose to exercise.

It sounds ridiculous, but when you actually make time for exercise, regardless of all of your other commitments, it is actually proven to boost not only your health and well-being, but your happiness levels too.

By taking time out, and actually focusing on your health it will help you to de-stress and help you to get back to your own personal equilibrium.

By choosing to exercise you are not just saying that exercise is the most important thing that you can do, but you are giving yourself an opportunity to look after yourself, admit that your health is important and to promote self-care.

Self-care is important as whatever else goes on in your life that may hinder your progress, if you take on the responsibility for looking after yourself and making yourself feel good you will be able to make these good emotions last longer.

Obviously exercising and looking after yourself isn’t going to guarantee a lifetime of happiness, but it certainly helps. Sometimes looking after yourself is your bodies best defence.

Can Owning a Pet Improve Your Wellbeing?

petAnybody that owns a pet will probably tell you how having that pet in their life, be it a cat, a dog or a guinea pig, boosts their mood, but did you know that having an animal that you look after is thought to reduce your stress and therefore may be able to enhance your immune system?

It’s true, the wonders of the human body never cease to be amazing, yet it is ultimately what takes us out of ourselves and helps us to feel for another human being or animal that helps us through life and enables us to attain high levels of wellbeing and health.

Having a pet does this as when you have one you are responsible for it, much like you are when you have a child.

However, unlike a child with a pet the love that they give you is unconditional and they will always need you to look after them, and do things for them.

Having this in your life enables you to better fight off mental health problems such as depression, and the calming effect that even looking at fish swimming in a fish tank can have is amazing.

In addition to this, talking specifically with regards to dogs and larger pets such as horses, the health benefits are a lot more tangible.

The physical fitness that you get from riding a horse, or going for walks with your dog is incredibly important as it helps you maintain your cardiovascular health, and helps you to stay active.

Sometimes, when you don’t have any excuse to go outside, it’s easy to stay at home in bed and watch the television, but when you have a pet that needs walking this is no longer an option.

Come rain or shine this pet needs you to go out, and so you do, and this is where you interact with other people.

Getting outside with your pet opens up conversations, and we need this interaction to help boost confidence and boost our moods.

Thus, having a pet won’t turn you into a world class athlete, but it will help you feel less stressed and could enable you to become more active!

Summer – Try New Things and Work On Your Fitness

summer_sportsSummer is a fantastic season to break out of your comfort zone and to try something new – how about some new sports?

With the sunshine boosting your energy, it is therefore the perfect time to work on your health and fitness, and try some sports or leisure activities that you’ve always wanted to, but haven’t had the motivation to work on.

As such, we thought that we would share with you our top 3 favourite summer sports that we are just itching to try!

Water Polo – Water polo is a brilliant water sport that builds up endurance, body strength and flexibility.

It is also great for toning your arms and your legs (which lets be honest – is something that we all want!) and is one of the best sports that you can play that will help maintain your cardiovascular health.

What is more, water polo is the perfect game to play on that sun-drenched holiday you’ve got coming up. What more could you ask for?

Horse Riding – Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and experience nature, and how much closer to nature can you get than riding a horse?

One of the best things about horse riding is that anyone can take part, regardless of age or ability, making it the perfect family activity.

If you’re more into the health side of horse riding then you’ll be pleased to know that it’s also a great activity to do to build up fitness, muscle tone and muscle strength and has been proven to boost the serotonin levels in the brain, helping you to feel less stressed out and a lot more happier!

Surfing – There is certainly an air of romanticism to surfing, and with the sandy beaches and beautiful scenery it’s not hard to see why.

Remarkably, the health benefits of surfing are fantastic too.

Not only does it improve your balance (which helps you as you age!), it increases your core strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.

Pretty great for a summer sport!

All three of these sports are fantastic to do with your friends and family alike, and are a great way to get outside and get active this summer.

If you have never thought about trying these sports before, why not give them a go?

Challenging yourself will not only push you physically, but it also helps you feel more fulfilled and boosts your confidence – so why not give them a go!

Exercising Online?

sleektechniqueNow more than ever we are relying on our wi-fi connection to enable us to carry out the simplest of tasks, and now, we can even attend exercise classes online.

Thanks to the wonderful ladies at Sleek Technique exercise classes are no longer scheduled once a week with huge sign up lists, they are on demand and you can fit them into your routine as and when you want to start exercising.

By making exercise classes into something that we can do via our webcams, download, and do without leaving our houses, they have made the whole concept completely accessible to a whole new market of women.

It’s also a huge benefit that if you bring your laptop with you on holiday you could even take part 50, 000 miles away!

It’s exciting to see how technology is seeping into more and more into different parts of our lives, particularly those parts that are unexpected like exercise.

Through classes that are centred upon dance based conditioning exercises put together by Victoria Marr and Flick Swan, two professional dancers who have incredible training qualifications, everyone now has the chance to give exercise a go.

Whilst it might not be conventional, nor is it tangible how it actually works until you’ve tried it, it’s definitely a fun way to get moving.

Personally, having tried the “Ballet boot camp workout” recently at an event in London I was unsurprised to find that as per usual, I went in at the deep end and made my way through an “intermediate” work out without realising.

It was definitely challenging, but I found that it actually boosted my mood for the rest of the day, and now I can’t wait to go back to the beginning and tackle some of the “beginner” courses such as “Classical Cardio Intro”, this time in the privacy of my own home.

If you want to check it out yourself please head over to Sleektechnique and tell them we sent you!

Make Exercise Work For You

exerciseExercise can sometimes be a pain, particularly when most people relate exercise with the gym. Luckily though, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Whilst the gym is great for access to machinery and expert help (often alongside the production of a personalised fitness regime) there are lots of other ways that you can make exercise work for you.

 If the gym just isn’t your thing however, and you can’t think of anything worse than running on a machine going nowhere for any length of time, then take your exercise outside.

With it being Spring now, the weather is much more aligned to beginner runners, and hopefully it will be a lot more scenic with the flowers springing up everywhere. This also gives you more freedom to create your own exercise regime.

Creating your own exercise regime is one of the best things that you can do to make exercise work for you.

Whilst you can always fit the gym around your work and social life, you still have to go to the gym and carry of your things, but outside the gym you are free to exercise wherever and whenever you want.

Making exercise work for you is all about accessing if you exercise better in a designated exercise area (the gym), if you exercise well enough outside the gym, or if you prefer group exercise and classes.

Group exercise classes are definitely something to look into if running or gym exercise doesn’t appeal to you.

They are great to attend with friends, and many of them have ‘drop in’ prices so that you don’t have to commit to anything meaning that you are free to try out as many as you like.

This way you are able to find the perfect fit for you and your schedule and are perfect for if you are routinely changing what you do from day-to-day.

Most importantly however, remember, exercise doesn’t have to be boring.

If you like cycling, rollerblading or even ice-skating, there is an activity or exercise that you will fall in love with. It does take a couple of tries sometimes, but once you find your thing, it’ll be hard to stop!

Why Everyone Should Do Yoga

yogaYoga has been practiced for thousands of years, focusing on building up the bodies’ strength and flexibility as well as the mind.

The use of yoga to promote health benefits however has only just been pushed to the forefront of modern medicine, being advised to help conditions such as chronic back pain, depression, diabetes, stress relief, heart disease and fatigue. But what makes yoga such a great form of exercising?

Part of this reasoning lays in the fact that it is a relatively soft exercise, relying on building up core strength and balance through a series of controlled stretches and movements that enable you to build up endurance and confidence.

By doing this continuously over a period of weeks or months, it has a positive effect on your heart, mental health and any aches and pains you may be experiencing. Of course, all of these aspects have a very physical reasoning behind them; however, many scientists have argued that it is the meditative element of yoga that is the most powerful.

 Meditation is fantastic for managing the physical effects of mental stresses. The results of these stresses include higher blood pressure, high blood sugar, tense muscles, depression and a lowered immune system.

By meditating as well as carrying out small controlled movements you are able to reduce all of the aforementioned ailments as well as bringing your mind back to the centre, which is one of the main reasons that yoga is such a fantastic method of keeping fit and healthy.

If this doesn’t convince you then perhaps the newer Bikram yoga will. Bikram yoga is yoga that is practiced in a room that is the same heat and humidity as a sauna. This enables you to stretch into the different poses easier and without injury, and flushes all of the toxins out of your body. Everyone can benefit from yoga regardless of age, so why not give it a try!

Does the Insanity Workout Help to Boost Immunity?

insanity_workoutShaun T’s “Insanity Workout” is meant to help you gain incredible results with regards to your body, health and general well being. By taking on high intensity interval training, which in non-sports terms means taking short breaks during your workout, this training programme pushes you to the extreme, challenging you both mentally and physically. But is it worth it?

As far as I can tell, the answer is yes, although it isn’t for the faint hearted. The insanity workout comprises of training 6 days a week for 60 days, with one “rest day” per week. These training sessions are either half an hour long if you want to focus on your abs, cardio abs and cardio power resistance, and an hour if you wish to work on your strength through plyometric training, cardio plyometrics and power and resistance exercises. But more than that, the “insanity workout” doesn’t seem to be singularly focused upon exercise.

Surprisingly, this DVD workout actually comes with a booklet on nutrition, pointing out foods that will help you through your training programme and that are good for you. It’s therefore not only promoting exercise, but also a healthy way of living and this is where for me at least it gains extra points. Healthy eating and exercise always have to go hand in hand. There is no use in cutting calories when carrying out an extreme workout programme like this one, particularly as you need to be eating the right things to support your body.

Cardiovascular training for example, supports your heart, making it a fantastic workout to do to maintain fitness and health. But you need more than that to have a healthy body and in turn a healthy immune system. You need to be eating the right things to give you energy and sleeping well to give you sufficient rest. These are all things that Shaun T has thought about when creating this programme, inserting the rest days and the rest week between months one and two so that your muscles can recover. Of course, this is no surprise when taking into consideration his background as an athlete and dancer.

So, does the insanity workout help to boost immunity? Not on it’s own, no. But the type of lifestyle that it is working does, especially if you do it in cycles as is recommended by many people who have fallen in love with the programme. Eating healthily and keeping yourself fit are both good things, and if you like to challenge yourself mentally this could be a great way of boosting your self-esteem and mental outlook. The only downside is the price. At £125.00 it’s not a cheap way to shape up, but like Shaun T says, it is important to “invest in yourself” and if this will help you do it, maybe it’s worth the cash.