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National Parks Week

Posted on 25th July 2018 by

This week is National Parks Week – an annual National Park family festival championing all that is unique and special about National Parks. This year’s festival takes National Parks Week place Sunday 22 to Sunday 29 July and celebrates the countless opportunities to get outside and discover the length and breadth of the UK’s 15 National Parks.

How lucky are we to have one of these treasures right on our doorstep with The New Forest!

And what great timing, being the summer holidays and having such glorious summer weather!

Getting out in the great outdoors is so good for us in so many ways! 

  • Time to disconnect from technology and connect with nature. The kids may moan and groan about being dragged away from ‘Fortnite’ initially, but it’s often worth the extra effort and persuasion! Get back to basics – climb a tree, find sticks, feel that sunshine on your face!
  • Walking, climbing, exploring – all fantastic ways to get some physical activity into the day. Getting out in the fresh air will help you feel more energised, wake up those muscles & joints and get your heart and lungs pumping if you get your stride on!
  • Bringing families together – time to chat and a low cost holiday activity, why not organise a family walk & picnic (find a nice shady spot!). A spot of rounders or cricket always goes down well too.

Don’t forget, in this unprecedented stretch of hot weather we’ve been having to follow the recommended advice about staying safe in this heat.

  • Drink plenty of water as sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks can make you more dehydrated
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • Take care and follow local safety advice, if you are going into the water to cool down
  • Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • Make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling

Read More

Taking time to be mindful

Active 10 – 10 Steps to An Active You

#NationalParksWeek #DiscoverNationalParks #LoveActivity


 

 

 


Walking Resources

Posted on 1st May 2018 by

May is National Walking Month, encouraging people to find their feet and pound the pavements or countryside more!

There are lot’s of initiatives, tools and groups set up to help encourage and promote more walking. Walking combined with socialising, whether it be with family of new found friends, will boost your enjoyment and also your likelihood of continuing.

Here are some great walking resources

Walk Unlimited is a fab resource that delivers walking advice and projects. Their aim is to reduce barriers to walking and to ensure that the public have free access to high quality information.

Walks With Buggies has some routes and free information for those wanting to find buggy friendly walks.

National Parks has a huge range of walks, easily categorised by walker or interest. They also do guided walks.

Health Walks are run by Eastleigh Borough Council. The walks take about 1 hour and and are a great way to socialise and get some exercise. They take place frequently throughout the week, covering different areas. They also offer a gentler walk too.

Eastleigh Ramblers are another fantastic resource, take a look at their regular walks.

Nordic Walking is another alternative way of getting out and about and exercising through walking.

Read More 

The ‘Magic’ 10,000 Steps A Day

10 Steps To An Active You

#NationalWalkingMonth


The ‘Magic’ 10,000 Steps A Day

Posted on 2nd May 2017 by

May is National Walking Month – a month to inspire you to get out on your feet every day

10,000 – the magic number of recommended steps we need to do every day! But why and where has this come from?

Originally, the magic ‘10,000 steps a day concept’ was created in Japan back in the 1960s. A team of Japanese researchers worked out that the average person took 3,000 – 5,000 steps per day. However, if they were to increase their steps to 10,000 steps per day, the potential result would be healthier, thinner people!

This number wasn’t based on medical research, however, since then much research has been carried out and this seems to be the figure the NHS, WHO and other organisations have promoted to be the number of steps we should try and take every day to help improve our health and reduce the risk of many diseases.

10,000 steps equates to approximately 5 miles

10,000 steps roughly equates to 30 minutes of ‘activity’

In the UK, the NHS has published guidelines for the minimum activity levels we should aim for every day to maintain & improve our health. This includes 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity 5 days a week – brisk walking can be an integral part of this.

What can 10,000 steps help with?

  • Improving overall health
  • Decreasing risk of heart disease
  • Reducing body fat % and helping weight loss
  • Decreasing risk of type II diabetes
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Reducing stress

What’s good about 10,000 is that 10,000 steps a day is a realistic goal that is achievable by people of all shapes, sizes and ages. It isn’t really a magic number but a good guideline that matches activity expectations to meet recommended activity levels.

You’d be surprised how much you probably overestimate how many steps a day you actually do. Most people living a ‘normally’ active day will only do between 3,000 – 5,000 steps! So, reaching 10,000 does require some lifestyle changes and it will take some extra effort.

Read More 

The ‘Active 10’ Campaign

Increasing activity with technology

Exercise and stress

#NationalWalkingMonth


Active 10 – 10 Steps To An Active You

Posted on 6th April 2017 by

It’s well known that our nation is struggling to reach the Government targets for physical activity and that this is having pretty severe consequences on 10 Steps to an active you our health and wellbeing.

I think a big part of the problem with the guidelines is that people think doing the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day is unachievable. That they have to be sweating it in the gym or running marathons and subsequently don’t do anything!

So, it’s great to see Public Health England’s new initiative 10 Steps To An Active You. You may have seen the posters or leaflets cropping up near you!

The message is simple, you don’t have to do an intense workout to get the benefits of exercise, walking briskly counts too. They’ve even launched a free app that takes away the guesswork. It shows how much brisk walking you’re doing and how you can do more. It’s easy to use and helps you set your goals for the day.

Why is walking briskly good for my health?

There is evidence to show that a brisk 10 minute walk each day brings the following health benefits:

  • Increased physical fitness
  • Greater ease in performing everyday physical activities
  • Improved mood
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased physical leanness and healthier weight

A regular 10 minute brisk walk can make you feel better in so many ways. It can boost your energy, clear your head and lift your mood, as well as lowering your risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Why brisk walking? Wouldn’t something more intense be better?

Research shows that rather than the number of steps taken or distance walked, it’s the combination of the intensity of the exercise and how long you’re doing it for that leads to the health benefits. That’s why we’re focusing on encouraging people to go for at least one brisk 10 minute walk a day.

More intense exercise can benefit those who are able to make the commitment to this, while brisk walking is for people who find it difficult to find the time to fit exercise into their day.

You can read more about Active 10 and download the free app here.

 


Drive Less, Live More

Posted on 23rd November 2015 by

drive less live more

It’s Road Safety Week this week and this years message is

‘Drive less and live more’

Need to go the shop for a few bits for the tea? Do you really need the car or would it be as quick to walk? You’ll probably spend most of your journey looking for a parking space when you do eventually reach your destination.

Leaving the car at home for a day will only help improve the environment by reducing on toxins released from motor vehicles.

By taking the train or the bus to work, we can all make our roads safer. It would mean less traffic, speeding up the daily commute which I think we would all agree is a major benefit.

Walking and cycling also gives the extra benefit of stretching our legs and getting some regular exercise. Even a short walk from the bus-stop to our place of work is sufficient to raise the heart rate and improve circulation. This way we can build exercise into our daily routine without feeling the need to find more time in our already busy days to undertake formal exercise, like going to the gym.

So let’s try leaving the car at home for short journeys and walking or cycling instead. You might even feel better for it!


Road Safety Week

Posted on 18th November 2015 by

The message this year is to drive less and live more.

Need to go the shop for a few bits for the tea. Do you really need the car or would it be as quick to walk? You’ll probably spend most of your journey looking for a parking space when you do eventually reach your destination.

Leaving the car at home for a day will only help improve the environment by reducing on toxins released from motor vehicles.

By taking the train or the bus to work, we can all make our roads safer. It would mean less traffic, speeding up the daily commute which I think we would all agree is a major benefit.

Walking and cycling also gives the extra benefit of stretching our legs and getting some regular exercise. Even a short walk from the bus-stop to our place of work is sufficient to raise the heart rate and improve circulation. This way we can build exercise into our daily routine without feeling the need to find more time in our already busy days to undertake formal exercise, like going to the gym.

So let’s try leaving the car at home for short journeys and walking or cycling instead. You might even feel better for it!


Increasing Your Activity With Technology

Posted on 16th May 2014 by

Following on from our last blog – The Magic 10,000 steps – I thought it would be useful to write a Activity Trackers goPhysiolittle piece about how to actually monitor your daily activity.

The most simple way of monitoring how many steps you take a day (and therefore how active you are) is a pedometer. You can pick up a basic pedometer for under £5 (as cheap as 65p) and the function is to count how many steps you are taking by measuring the motion of your hips. Reliability will vary – but these devices will certainly give an indication of your step number.

As with everything now, technology has progressed significantly and there has been a surge in the last couple of years of ‘Activity Monitors’.

Did you know by the way, that there are now more mobile connective devices on the planet than people – scary!

The main ones currently on the market include the Jawbone Up, FitBit, Nike Fuelband, Garmin VivoFit to name a few.

Research has indicated that even the most basic devices can help increase activity levels.

I have owned a FitBit for some time now and I can honestly say it was a significant turning point for me in increasing my general activity levels and changing my lifestyle.

Basically, what the FitBit (and other activity bands) do, is similar to a glorified pedometer. But it goes way beyond that. They can also measure:

  • Sleep patterns
  • Calories
  • Distance
  • Heart rate
  • Activity intensity

Each brand of device measures a different combination of measurements and they can also be integrated with other apps such as My Fitness Pal or Garmin Connect. So, if you’re looking to buy an activity monitor, it’s worth doing some research into what factors are most important to you.

This sort of thing suits me – I like a challenge, I like numbers (and measurements!) & I like to have a goal. So I found the FitBit really motivated me.

More recently, I purchased a Garmin VivioFit (not that I was unhappy with my FitBit, but a kind friend of mine works at Garmin!). So, what follows is my personal experience of using these 2 devices.

FitBit

I have the FitBit Flex.

The Pros

  • Syncing is easy, basically open the app on my iPhone, make sure the FitBit is nearby and it syncs.
  • I love the ‘Active Minutes’ figure. You can read more about this here, but basically it measure how many minutes a day you are ‘very active’ – a good tool to measure against the recommended 30 minutes/day.
  • You can set alarms. The wristband buzzes gently, a nice way to be woken up or reminded of something. These are set on your app or web based dashboard.
  • The buzz it gives you when you reach your goal.
  • The scales – measure & track your weight and % body fat and sync automatically.
  • The dashboard & app are really easy to use and interpret.

The Cons

  • My wrist band has broken once (although FitBit did send a free replacement). I have heard of others breaking too.
  • Having to charge it up – it doesn’t take long but is annoying having to take it off not charge.
  • Minimal band information. You only get illuminated dots on the band, so need to check your app for further info. There is due to be a FitBit Force released which will display more info on the wrist band, but no UK date as yet as far as I’m aware.

The Garmin VivoFit

The Pros

  • You can see the time, steps, calories etc. all on a clear digital display on the wristband.
  • You don’t have to charge it – it comes with a 1 year battery apparently.
  • It adjusts your goals according to your activity – always pushing you a bit!
  • You can sync it automatically with a Garmin heart rate monitor.

The Cons

  • Syncing takes a little longer and isn’t automatic – you have to press a button on the device.
  • Straps aren’t interchangeable, i.e. you buy the device in 1 colour and ca’t change the strap.
  • It doesn’t monitor ‘very active minutes’.
  • No compatible scales/body fat monitor that I’m aware of.

Both have bits I really like and also not so keen on (but nothing’s perfect!). For now, I’m veering towards the Garmin, mainly due to the display and not having to charge the battery!

You can read full reviews of the many activity trackers online – there’s loads of them, here’s just a few I found Time.com, The Wire Cutter, PC Mag – although it’s work noting a few of these were written prior to the release of the Garmin VivoFit.

There’s no doubt that such devices are in their infancy, who know’s what we’ll be wearing or writing about in a year’s time. They’re no longer purely the domain of ‘techy’s’, wearable technology is set to become a part of everyone life!

Written by Fiona, goPhysio’s Non-Clinical Director (all views are her own)