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Why ‘Lean Muscle Mass’ Is So Important

Posted on 1st October 2020 by

As it’s International Day For Older People, it’s a good chance to focus on what helps people stay fit, healthy and active into the later years. We all know that it’s important to eat well, stay active, avoid too much alcohol, not smoke and to try and maintain a good body weight.

However, although there’s a big focus on body weight, what doesn’t get much attention is how much lean muscle mass you have or should have.

What is lean muscle mass?

Lean Muscle Mass Lean muscle mass is the amount of muscle that makes up your body composition. So you could have 2 people who look fairly similar from the outside or weigh the same, however, if you analysed the muscle mass of both people, one could have a much larger muscle mass and one a lower muscle mass underneath the skin.

Take a look at the images on the left. In the middle picture is the cross section of the leg of a sedentary 74 year old. You will see their thigh bone in the centre, surrounded by their quadriceps muscles (thigh muscles) and then the outer layer is fatty tissue. In the bottom picture, you can see that a 70 year old triathlete has in contrast a huge proportion of muscle mass (almost similar to that of the 40 year old in the top picture) and minimal fatty tissue.

Why does it matter? 

The amount of lean muscle mass that you have contributes to your overall lean body mass. Lean body mass is very important. It’s not just about looking great or being stronger, sufficient amounts of lean body mass are actually critical for building a healthy life over the long-term.

  • Lean body mass is associated with your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the amount of calories you burn at rest. The greater amount of Lean Body Mass you have, the greater your BMR will be. This means that people with greater amounts of Lean Body Mass will have a greater energy expenditure while doing nothing, helping to avoid calorie imbalances, and ultimately, obesity.
  • If you become ill or are stressed, your body’s nutritional demands increase as your immune system gets to work. An essential part of your immune system working well is protein. All this protein can’t come from food alone, so your immune system also relies on your protein reserves or your lean body mass. So, in short if you have a better lean body mass your body will find it easier to fight illness, infection or stress.
  • Having a good lean body or muscle mass more specifically, helps protect against bones becoming weaker or thinner. Osteoporosis and frailty in later life put older people at great risk as they lead to falls and fractures. What is beneficial about optimising muscle mass is that you can increase bone strength and density.

In the medical field, loss of muscle mass is known as Sarcopenia. This is defined as the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and is a well-established factor associated with decreases in muscle strength and impaired mobility. The potential consequences of sarcopenia are frailty, physical disability, loss of independence and the depression that can accompany this; and the reduced ability to cope with major illnesses.

Subsequently, preventing the loss of or building lean muscle mass is a really crucial part of looking after your body.

What can I do to improve lean body mass?

The earlier you can start developing or optimising your lean muscle mass the better, because as you age, it gets harder to improve muscle mass. However, the good news is, it’s never too late to start!

Diet

Diet plays a huge part. It’s outside the scope of this blog to explore the dietary factors, but if you want to look into this further, this website is a great resource and also has a database of professionals.

Movement & exercise!

There’s no easy way to improve lean body or muscle mass, it needs investment. Although cardio exercise like running, walking or swimming are great for improving and maintaining the health of your heart, lungs and circulation, to improve lean muscle mass you have to include specific types of exercise or activity to your routine. The best thing to do is some form of resistance training, so using light weights to exercise your muscle and build up strength and lean muscle mass. You can also do things like cycling, Pilates or yoga. Everyday activities like gardening, housework, shopping and childcare can also be pretty strenuous and will help too.

If you’re a little older and are worried about hitting the gym or starting exercises on your own, maybe think about seeing one of our Rehab Therapists for some individual guidance and support to help you get stronger and feel confident with exercising. 

You can read more about Rehabilitation here



National Fitness Day 2020

Posted on 22nd September 2020 by

This year’s National Fitness Day on 22nd  September 2020, is a chance to highlight the role physical activity plays across the UK, helping us raise awareness of its importance in helping us lead healthier and active lifestyles.

Having been faced with the challenges and threat of a global pandemic for over 6 months now, investing in health and fitness has never been so important. 

The definition of  fitness is:

The condition of being physically fit and healthy. (With the definition of fit being in good health, especially because of regular physical exercise.)

Fitness means so many things to so many different people. What does it mean to you? 

  • Playing with my grandchildren. 
  • Being able to walk the dog every day. 
  • Lessening the feeling of ageing. 
  • Having fun and being sociable. 
  • A way to help keep me feeling sane. 
  • Being able to run for the bus.
  • Getting a personal best on a deadlift at the gym. 
  • Paddle boarding at the weekend in the sunshine. 
  • Mowing the lawn and keeping on top of the weeding. 

These are just some but the message is – it doesn’t have to be running a marathon, it doesn’t have to mean going to the gym 5 days a week! 


As part of National Fitness Day, UK Active will be running a social media campaign – #Fitness2Me

#Fitness2Me aims to celebrate what fitness means to people, promoting that keeping physically active means something different to us all.

UK Active want to make #Fitness2Me the biggest movement in breaking down the barriers that stop people being active, showing that fitness is for everyone!

They hope that by encouraging people from all walks of life, activity levels, and interests to share what fitness means to them, it will inspire others to live healthier and happier lives through being active.

So if it is getting fit, getting happy, playing with grandkids, or connecting with pets, whatever it means to you we want to hear about it!

  • Simply grab a piece of paper and scribble down what Fitness Means 2 You
  • Then take a photo or capture a 60 second video to share with us on social media
  • Don’t forget to add #Fitness2Me and #FitnessDay and tag us via @FitnessDayUK

A major issue that people face when trying to increase activity levels, is overcoming perceived or actual barriers.

Here are some suggestions for overcoming barriers to physical activity.

Suggestions for Overcoming Physical Activity Barriers
Lack of time Identify available time slots. Monitor your daily activities for one week. Identify at least three 30-minute time slots you could use for physical activity.
Add physical activity to your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to work or shopping, organise school activities around physical activity, walk the dog, exercise while you watch TV, park farther away from your destination, etc.
Select activities requiring minimal time, such as walking, jogging, or stairclimbing.
Social influence Explain your interest in physical activity to friends and family. Ask them to support your efforts.
Invite friends and family members to exercise with you. Plan social activities involving exercise, like family walks or walk to a coffee shop with a friend.
Develop new friendships with physically active people. Join a group, such as a walking club.
Lack of energy Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when you feel most energetic naturally.
Convince yourself that if you give it a chance, physical activity will increase your energy level; then, try it.
Lack of motivation Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your daily or weekly schedule and write it on your calendar.
Invite a friend to exercise with you on a regular basis and write it on both your calendars.
Join an exercise group or class.
Fear of injury Learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury.
Learn how to exercise appropriately considering your age, fitness level, skill level, and health status.
Make sure you get any injuries checked out, so you have confidence to exercise without fear. 
Lack of skill Select activities requiring no new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs, or jogging.
Take a class to develop new skills.
Lack of resources Select activities that require minimal facilities or equipment, such as walking, jogging, skipping, or free online classes.
Identify inexpensive, convenient resources available in your community Park Run, Eastleigh Borough Council Activities, Health walks etc. 
Weather conditions Develop a set of regular activities that are always available regardless of weather (indoor cycling, free online classes, indoor swimming,  stair climbing, skipping, dancing, yoga, etc.)
Travel Put a skipping rope in your suitcase and skip.
Walk the halls and climb the stairs in hotels.
Stay in places with swimming pools or exercise facilities.
Join a nationwide gym.
Visit the local shopping centre and walk for half an hour or more.
Bring your mp3 player your favorite aerobic exercise music.
Family obligations Trade babysitting time with a friend, neighbour, or family member who also has small children.
Exercise with the kids-go for a walk together, play tag or other running games, do an aerobic dance or exercise video for kids (there are several online) and exercise together. You can spend time together and still get your exercise.
True skipping, ride a stationary bicycle, or use other home gymnasium equipment while the kids are busy playing or sleeping.
Try to exercise when the kids are not around (e.g., during school hours or their nap time).
Retirement years Look upon your retirement as an opportunity to become more active instead of less. Spend more time gardening, walking the dog, and playing with your grandchildren. Children with short legs and grandparents with slower gaits are often great walking partners.
Learn a new skill you’ve always been interested in, such as ballroom dancing, line dancing, or swimming.
Now that you have the time, make regular physical activity a part of every day. Go for a walk every morning or every evening before dinner. Treat yourself to an exercycle and ride every day while reading a favorite book or magazine.

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World Physiotherapy Day 2020

Posted on 7th September 2020 by

World Physiotherapy Day is held every year on 8 September, the day the World Confederation for Physical Therapy was founded in 1951. It is a day when physiotherapists can promote the profession to:

  • Showcase the significant role the profession makes to the health and wellbeing of the global population
  • Raise the profile of the profession
  • Campaign on behalf of the profession and its patients to governments and policy makers

The day marks the unity and solidarity of the physiotherapy community around the world. It is an opportunity to recognise the work that physiotherapists do for their patients and community!

The focus for this year’s World Physiotherapy Day is rehabilitation after COVID-19 and the role of physiotherapists in the treatment and management of people affected by COVID-19.

The campaign is focused around the following key messages:

  1. Exercise can play an important part in a person’s recovery from COVID-19
  2. As the experts in movement, physiotherapists can guide people in how exercise can help recovery
  3. People who have had severe cases of COVID-19 will need rehabilitation and physiotherapy to recover from the effects of treatment for the disease
  4. Using telehealth can help people access support from a physiotherapist to help them manage the impact of COVID-19
  5. Telehealth can be as effective as conventional healthcare methods to improve physical function

Exercise

Exercise is an important part of your recovery from COVID-19, paced to match your needs. As experts in movement and exercise, physiotherapists can guide you in how exercise can help:

  • improve fitness
  • reduce breathlessness
  • increase muscle strength
  • improve balance and coordination
  • improve your thinking
  • reduce stress and improve mood
  • increase confidence
  • improve your energy

Whether or not you’ve had COVID-19, many people may be wary of re-starting exercise or don’t know where to start.

You may have had COVID-19 and are not yet feeling physically ready to exercise, you may have been shielding or isolating for the past few months or you may have lost all your confidence as a result of lockdown.

As Physio’s, we can really hold your hand and guide you back into exercise in a very careful and supportive way. With our training and knowledge, we have the unique combination of skills that allow us to integrate and consider not only the best way to achieve the health benefits of exercise, but also your recovery from illness, pain and injury.

Here at goPhysio, in addition to 1-2-1 Physiotherapy or Sports Therapy, we have created a dedicated rehabilitation space, known as The Strong Room, from where we can gently guide and support you in regaining strength and rebuilding exercise habits. Our 1-2-1 exercise rehabilitation service is totally tailored to you, your aims and goals. We also offer both mat and Reformer Pilates, either 1-2-1 or small classes.

Telehealth

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a huge shift in how physiotherapists worked. Lockdown meant we were unable to see people in person (face to face), but pain and injuries didn’t stop and people still needed our help. So, we were able to embrace technology and offer support through online channels (aka Telehealth, Virtual, online, eHealth……..)

What is telehealth?

Telehealth or eHealth is the use of electronic communications to share medical information to improve a person’s health.

We are still offering the option of online physiotherapy and also Pilates at goPhysio, however, most people that we are booking in or need our help, are desperate to have the personal contact and benefits of face to face or in person appointments. Whilst Telehealth has experienced a huge surge and is undoubtedly here to stay, it has it’s limitations. Read more about our thoughts on this on a recent blog here.

Did you know?

Post Viral fatigue syndrome Up to 10% of people recovering from COVID-19 may develop post viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS). If you feel you are not improving, or if activity is making you feel much worse, speak to your physiotherapist or healthcare practitioner and ask them to assess you for PVFS. The rehabilitation of people with PVFS requires different management strategies.

Some resources and further information

An exercise plan to help your COVID-19 recovery

Your recovery after severe illness with COVID-19

Accessing rehabilitation with telehealth

#worldptday



September: New Starts, New Normal

Posted on 1st September 2020 by

New normal goPhysio

As we welcome September 2020, this month signifies a brand new beginning for many people. September always feels like a bit of a fresh start, but perhaps this year, a much more significant one than those before.

Although we are still living with the global pandemic that has impacted everyone’s lives in so many different ways, it seems we are all accepting and adapting to this ‘new normal’ and finding ways to manage our lives in a different way.

As we start this new month, here’s a few ideas and resources to help ease you in.

Be kind to yourself

Lockdown provided an opportunity to press pause on our lives in a way. You may have started new habits (positive ones, or not so positive!), re-evaluated your priorities or experienced significant life changing events with your health, work or family.

As you have the opportunity for some extra time or ‘head space’, maybe for the first time in months, take some time to reflect. Don’t be tempted to feel that pressure to be at full speed straight away.

Be kind to yourself and if you have the time and resources, think about what you can do to invest in yourself too. Re-connect with friends, take a walk alone, practice some mindfulness, or do some exercise.

Why not treat yourself to a massage, a time to really switch off and ease any stress and tension that may have built up within your body.

Thinking of trying something new and investing in your body? Our Pilates classes are a great way to strengthen, tone and stretch your body and a wonderful way of taking time out for you. We’ve created a COVID-Safe environment, so you can exercise with confidence.

Getting back to the gym & exercise

With the kids finally getting back to school, new routines on the horizon and confidence building, there’s finally time for exercise again. Since we re-opened in May, we have seen so many people who’ve returned suddenly to exercise with full gusto! The result of this is a surge in injuries. So, do take it slowly, don’t do too much, too often, too soon. Read more advice about getting back to the gym and exercise here.

Back to the gym

Working from home

A lot of people are continuing to work from home and this is likely to become commonplace for many. Arrangements for working from home, may at first, have been seen as a temporary measure. But as this now becomes longer term reality, your desk, computer and work station set up becomes more and more important.

  1. Read our guide to working from home, for some top tips and advice.
  2. Arrange for an online video consultation with one of our team, where we can take a look at your set up ‘virtually’ and discuss any concerns or issues you may have and help find a solution.
goPhysio Guide To Working from home

Wherever you find yourself for the remainder of this year, we are here for you. With our years of experience, dedication and the highest quality care, we can help you get back to what you love.

Read more

Optimising your physical and mental health

Take time to focus on your breathing

Post COVID Recovery


Back to the Gym!

Posted on 23rd July 2020 by

With gyms, classes and leisure centres re-opening on Saturday, it’s a but of an injury ticking time bomb!

Even if you’ve been doing regular exercise during lockdown, your body will definitely need some time to re-adjust to exercising again with a new regime.

Our 6 top tips:

  1. Build up gradually – most injuries occur after doing too much, too often, too soon. So however tempting it might seems, ease back into exercising. Don’t go and book a class or go the the gym every day next week. Your body will well and truly be in for a shock and on a. more serious note, you are putting yourself at risk of getting an injury.
  2. Have realistic expectations – it’s going to feel harder to start with. Even if you’ve been doing Zoom classes, running regularly or daily PE with Joe Wicks, you’re going to be in a different environment, with different equipment and doing something you haven’t done for months. Don’t expect too much or set yourself unrealistic expectations bu thinking you’ll get straight back into your pre-COVID routine.
  3. Start with shorter sessions / reduced frequency – think about your pre-COVD workout and give yourself a good few weeks to build up to it. Think about doing shorter sessions to start off with or twice a week the first week, then three times and build up from there. This will give your body time to adapt to what you’re asking of it which will significantly reduce the risk of injury.
  4. Start with lower weights – if you lift weights, start off with lower weights and build it up over the coming weeks. Going straight in to your usual level of weights without time to adapt will increase your risk of injury.
  5. Mix it up – try different types of exercise, mix up resistance and cardio in the gym, try a new class and build in something more gentle like yoga, Pilates or a stretch class. Use a foam roller on rest days or treat yourself to a post massage. Don’t be tempted to go to the gym and exercise the same part of your body repeatedly.
  6. Soreness vs Pain – some soreness in your muscles is to be expected when you get back to exercise, it’s nothing to worry about and should ease after a few days. If you get persistent pain in any area or in a joint and it doesn’t ease within a week to 10 days, it may be you’ve injured yourself and would benefit from coming to see one of our Physios’ or Sports Therapists. Getting a quick diagnosis and treatment plan will help give you the best chance of getting back again quickly without having to rest for weeks on end and being dragged into a cycle of injury.

As a guide, depending on how much or how little you’ve done in terms of exercise during lockdown, you should expect it to take 2 – 6 weeks to get back to to your pre-COVID level of exercise. If you’ve had Coronavirus, it may take longer and you’ll have to be a bit kinder to yourself, lower your expectations and really listen to your body. You can read more about this here.

Patience is really key here. We know how much you’re all looking forward to getting back to the gym and classes but just imagine getting back for 2 weeks and then having to stop again because of an injury, How frustrating would that be?!

So, by being sensible and not diving straight in at 110%, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of enjoying being back exercising, for the long term.

Happy exercising!



Post COVID Recovery

Posted on 3rd July 2020 by

We’re staring to see (albeit online only if appropriate), a number of people who have had and are recovering from Coronavirus.

It certainly seems to have a really significant impact on people longer term, even those who may have had milder symptoms. We’ve put together some useful tips and advice, to help you be realistic about and optimise your recovery.

Why is rehabilitation important?

While you are recovering, focusing on taking some time for your recovery and rehabilitation is really important. Rehabilitation will improve your exercise tolerance, muscle strength and help manage any breathlessness and fatigue.

You should focus on breathing, functional and physical exercises. Here at goPhysio, we can help guide you on the best types of exercises either through our online service or face to face, if it’s appropriate. We will help to put together a rehabilitation programme that is tailored exactly to you and where you are and where you want to be.

Making sure you’re suitably hydrated and nourished play a really important role in your body’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 virus. Eating well (together with the exercises) will help to rebuild your muscle strength and function.

REHABILITATION: The action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy.

What can I do to help myself?

Making sure you resume some ‘normality’ and routine is a great way to boost your recovery. Here’s a few tips:

  • Get up at a normal hour
  • Try and restart a regular morning routine e.g. wash, brush teeth, get dressed
  • Sit in a chair for meals
  • Follow advice on eating and drinking well
  • Think about keeping an exercise and activity diary

Why do I feel breathless?

Breathlessness is a very common symptom in some people with COVID-19. The lungs can become inflamed and the effort of breathing can increase. You may be breathing quicker and shallower, however it is important to try and stay calm. Anxiety can increase your heart rate and make your breathing rate increase further. This should improve over time. You can try some breathing control exercises to help.

Breathing control – something to help you relax

  1. Get in a comfortable position
  2. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breathing
  3. Breathe in and out through your nose (or mouth if you are unable to do this)
  4. Try to breathe in for the count of one, and out for count of two, working towards a longer breath out than in, to slow your breathing rate down
  5. Notice areas of tension in the body and try to release this with each breath out
  6. Gradually try to make your breaths slower and deeper

You can try various positions if you[re feeling breathless, that you may find help ease the breathlessness. Try:

  1. Lying on your side, propped up with pillows with your knees bent a little
  2. Sit upright and lean forwards over a table onto some pillow and relax
  3. Stand and lean onto a windowsill or forwards onto a wall

Mobility & Exercise

Moving little and often will help with your breathing and get your muscles working again, easing stiffness, achey joints and improve your strength and flexibility. All of this will help you get back to doing the things you’ve missed. There are different levels of mobility you should slowly work towards.

  1. Sitting on the edge of your bed
  2. Standing up from sitting
  3. Getting out of your bed and sitting in a chair
  4. Walk within a small space
  5. Walk around your home
  6. Walk around your garden
  7. Climb stairs or steps
  8. Getting outside

Exercises

It is really important to do some regular exercises that will help with:

  • Building up your muscle strength
  • Improving your muscle flexibility
  • Working on exercise stamina and endurance
  • Regaining balance
  • Improving functional activities

Exercise Diary: you may find using an exercise diary helpful. You can track your exercises and score how hard you are working using the Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale (RPE Chart).

As you progress, you can increase the number of repetitions of exercises you are doing and increase the number of exercise sessions each day. Exercises should feel ‘light’ to between ‘somewhat hard’ and ‘hard’ (RPE 3 – 5), and your breathing should allow you to maintain uninterrupted conversation throughout.

“Little and often” is the best approach.

Managing Fatigue

You may notice that your energy levels are low and and that doing simple daily activities suddenly feel like you’re doing a marathon. Fatigue is a common symptom of COVID-19. Although rest is important in recovery, unlike normal tiredness it does not improve with rest alone.

Feelings of fatigue can be made worse if you’re still experiencing episodes of breathlessness, muscle de-conditioning from having spent long periods inactive and in bed and also from stress that you may be feeling after a period of illness.

What can I do about fatigue? Fatigue can make managing your usual daily tasks more difficult. All daily tasks require the body to use energy through moving and thinking. Fatigue management can help you to understand how to make the most of your body’s available energy. This can help you to find ways to balance your physical, social and emotional needs when your energy levels are reduced.

Rating your fatigue from 1-10 will help you identify patterns of fatigue. You can discuss this with your Occupational Therapist who will support you to identify strategies to manage your fatigue.

Completing a fatigue diary and rating your fatigue before and after an activity (e.g. having a wash and dressing) can help you to understand how different activities can affect your energy levels.

How to use a fatigue diary

  • Start at the beginning of each day
  • Write down each activity including rest period you havetaken in each three hour interval
  • Use a scale of 0 – 10 (0 = no fatigue, 10 = extreme fatigue) to score how you felt at the end of this three hour period
  • Record any other factors you feel are relevant e.g. stressful events, skipping meals, over-exertion
  • Use the diary to track your progress and work out any patterns and record how you’re progressing

If you need any support or help, we are here for you. Our range of skills and services, with both online and face to face options, provides a host of ways to support your recovery.

The best place to start would be on online or face to face assessment with one of our Physio’s so we can establish where you are in your recovery journey, find out what your goals are and put together a realistic and gradual way for you to achieve this.

Our support can include a specific and progressive exercise programme, which we can monitor and develop as you recover, ways to help any areas of pain, discomfort, stiffness or tension, advice on pacing and returning to work, hobbies and sport, whatever it is you’d like to do.

Just call us on 023 8025 3317 to find out more and boost your recovery.


Mental & Physical Health

Posted on 3rd July 2020 by

Never has it been so important to look after ourselves both physically and mentally.

Here is a fab infographic we came across, highlighting some great ways to boost your mental health.

  1. Mental and physical health ate both so important. The 2 can not be separated, they are so closely linked and although we may be more aware of our physical health, it is just as important to look after our mental and emotional health too.
  2. MOVE! Movement in itself is medicine, for both the body and mind. If it came in a magical pill format, it really wold be a wonder drug! Don’t worry if you’re not doing a daily online exercise video; a walk, a cycle, a play in the garden, a stretching session, gardening, DIY or just not sitting all day is good!
  3. Mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to sit and mediate. Just being aware of your surroundings, how you’re feeling and what you’re doing and making that connection to be aware is all that’s needed.
  4. Lot’s of people have used this opportunity to take up a new skill. Whether it’s sewing, volunteering, piano, gardening or home schooling! Mastering something new, however small, can really give you a boost! Anything you’d like to try but never had the chance?
  5. Give your life some meaning. Review your goals, where you want to be, what you want to be doing. What’s really important to you? Take some time to reflect and find ways, no matter how small, to bring some meaning into your life.

If you need some help supporting the physical side of your health, we’re here to help with a range of services. The emotional and mental benefits from the support we provide go hand in hand with the physical care.


Being Active at Home – A Guide for Older Adults

Posted on 31st May 2020 by

A new booklet, co-funded and developed by Sport England and Public Health England (PHE), has just been launched! It aims to help older adults keep up their activity levels while isolating due to coronavirus (Covid-19).

This is part of the Sport England Join the Movement campaign designed to provide inspiration and trusted information to the public about how to get active in and around the home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Being active is good for our physical and mental wellbeing. This is why we should all try to move regularly, including exercises to help stay strong and steady. This particularly applies to those of us who have health conditions or are older. Due to coronavirus we are all spending more time within our home, so it is important that we find ways to build activity into our day, every day.

Over the next few weeks, you may have health and social care appointments cancelled or delayed. If you are waiting for treatment, being active is one of the best things you can do to look after your health, as part of a healthy lifestyle. Being active at a level that feels comfortable is unlikely to make your health worse; in fact it can help to manage many health conditions.

Most of us are spending much more time within our home. This can be frustrating and upsetting, and it can be harder to be active when you can’t do your normal daily activities. This guide will help you to find ways to build activity into your day. If the exercise suggested doesn’t work for you, feel free to adapt them based on what you can do.

There’s some fantastic, simple strengthening and balance exercises.

As well as lot’s of general health and wellbeing advice.

If you’re struggling with your activities, we can help with providing an online video appointment or telephone support. So, do get in touch. You can call us on 023 8025 3317.


Helping Young People during Lockdown

Posted on 11th May 2020 by

We are entering week 8 of lockdown, meaning week 8 of home schooling, kids not getting out with their friends, no formal social or sporting activities or hobbies.

How are you coping? Are the kids running you ragged? Has healthy eating and exercise gone out the window completely?

Fear not, we have a few handy ideas to kick start motivations once again!

It can be hard for our bodies and routines to adjust to such a change like the current global pandemic. It’s important, especially for younger members of the family, to introduce a new routine into daily life to keep stress levels low and energy levels high. You may be facing an increased number of stressors and tensions may be riding particularly high. In spite of this, it’s helpful for family units to come together to work through their problems. Try to be mindful of how others are feeling and to be more forgiving if they need to explode, cry or simply hide away.

When we’re feeling down, we often turn to sugary foods to help give us an energy boost. However, this can have a negative effect as the sugar rush may not last long and could potentially crash lower than we were before. Its good to look for energy in carbohydrates, especially complex carbs, such as sweet potato, wholegrain breads, lentils, parsnips or butternut squash. They have a slower release to help keep energy levels higher for longer.

One way to get younger family members eating the right foods is to include them in meal planning and preparation. They’ll have a sense of achievement and is a nice break from any home schooling also. Or, you could class it as a Food Tech class… two birds with one stone.

London Sport has an exhaustive list of ways to get kids up and active at home. Current Government advice is daily exercise to help the public get fresh air during lockdown, but we don’t always want to exercise. Their list gives you extensive areas of other ways to keep fit and healthy from the comfort of your own home; whether its alongside The Nations PE teacher, Joe Wicks, or Sport Englands campaign with Disney to create fun dance routines. 

We’re often bombarded by negative messages or thoughts from tabloids and social media, so its important to look for ways to keep spirits high from all the technology we have at our disposal. Zoom quizzes have been very popular in recent weeks, and are a great way to catch up with friends of family. You can also find a whole host of online games and entertainment which loved ones can participate in with you across the internet. They’ll introduce enjoyment and pleasure back to this ‘new normal’ and give younger people another element to a daily routine.

Here’s some great ideas:

Weird & wonderful ways to get through lockdown

Free online, boredom-busting resources!

Don’t forget yourself too!

But, lockdown isn’t always about looking after others before yourself. You still need to make time for you. Listen to a podcast, read a book, enjoy the sun; make time for yourself to relax and reflect on the current situation. Self care is so important in order to look after others. Some of the our favourite podcasts are:

Happy Place – Fearne Cotton

Food for Thought – Rhiannon Lambert

Run Pod – Jenni Falconer

That Peter Crouch Podcast – BBC Sounds

Give me Strength – Alice Living

Castaway – Laura Whitmore

When thinking about your current situation it’s helpful to:

  1. Acknowledge and accept that this is how things are at the moment (this is your new ‘normal’ and you can’t push it away or make it disappear). Think about what’s in your control and what is outside of your control.
  2. Find a way to allow yourself to feel all the things that this new normal brings up (it’s OK to feel cross, frustrated, sad, angry and any other associated emotion).
  3. Find ways to do your best within the situation (are there any positives for example, are you getting to do anything which you wouldn’t normally be able to do?).
  4. Stay in the moment rather than regretting the past or worrying about the future. We will be thinking more about this process in the next Step.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to find a sense of normality soon be connect with loved ones properly. There are of course, further online guides on how to cope during lockdown. Support wesbites such as Mind, Family Lives and Young Minds are charities that offer support, knowledge and advice so if you are struggling, please speak to someone. 



Walk This May

Posted on 1st May 2020 by

May is National Walking Month. A month to promote and celebrate the joys, benefits and health effects of walking! Who’d have ever thought we needed to raise awareness of such a simple activity?! Yet, with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and the impact of this on our nation’s health, the simple task of walking needs some extra support! This year, Walk This May, may have extra importance. For some, it’s one of the only activity they may get to do that provides a break from isolation and some time out and about. For others, the physical activity of walking is crucial for physical and mental health.

So, what’s the big deal with walking?

Not only is walking as a mode of transport great for our environment, walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 20-30 minutes walking a day can improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training.

Did you know, physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health. A 2007 study of inactive women found that even a low level of exercise – around 75 minutes per week – improved fitness levels significantly, when compared to a non-exercising group.

What are the health benefits of walking?

Walking is a weight bearing exercise, as you are carrying your own body weight when you walk. There are lot’s of health benefits associated with walking more. Some of the benefits of walking include:

  • increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
  • reduced risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases
  • helps manage and improve conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol
  • helps with joint and muscular pain or stiffness and long standing conditions such as osteoarthritis or osteoporosis
  • stronger bones and improved balance
  • increased muscle strength and endurance
  • reduced body fat
  • improved psychological and mental health
  • stress relief

How much walking?

As a recommended guideline, to get the health benefits, you should try to walk for at least 20 – 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days of the week. ‘Brisk’ means that you can still talk but not sing, and you may be puffing slightly.

The 30 minutes doesn’t have to be done all at one time, it can be broken up into smaller chunks, like 3 x 10 minute walks if this fits better with your lifestyle or you can’t manage 30 minutes in 1 go. Although, this may not be advisable in the current climate with our 1 activity a day restriction.

Building walking into your daily life is the most effective way to maintain activity levels. Take a look at the ‘Try 20’ Challenge below. There’s lot’s of ways and simple ideas for you to get 20 minutes of walking into your day.

Make walking part of your daily life

If you can build waling into your daily life, you are more likely to maintain it longer term. Some suggestions to build walking into your daily routine include:

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift (for at least part of the way).
  • Get off public transport one stop earlier and walk to work or home.
  • Walk (don’t drive) to the local shops.
  • Make walking part of your routine, maybe the same time every day scheduled into your diary.

Progress and challenge yourself

Over time, our bodies will tend to get used to physical activity. So if you’re starting to walk more and more, try to increase the intensity of your walking as your fitness levels improve. You can increase the intensity of your walks by:

  • walking up hills
  • walking with hand weights
  • increasing your walking speed gradually by including some quick walking
  • increasing the distance you walk quickly before returning to a moderate walking pace
  • walking for longer

Keep it interesting!

Like anything, if you enjoy doing it, you’ll be more likely to stick to it and make it part of your life. The same applies to walking. There are lot’s of ideas to keep your daily walk more interesting:

  • Pick different routes so you don’t get tired of seeing the same sights, explore places you’ve never ventured to before in your local area.
  • Walk at different times of the day. Fresh morning walks will be a very different experience to a dusk walk.
  • Put on a podcast or playlist to listen to whilst you walk.

Here’s some advice on walking within social distancing guidance.

Here’s a few ideas from Living Streets too.

And when our lockdown restrictions are lifted, here’s some more ideas…..

  • Drive to different places to walk, park the car and enjoy the views and scenery while you walk.
  • Find one or more friends or family members to walk with, walk instead of (or at least on the way to or before!) having a coffee.
  • Explore what’s going on around you, notice the sky, the people, the sounds. Be mindful.
  • Think about local walking groups that might offer additional support. Here’s some ideas.
  • Walk the dog (or your neighbour’s dog or look at sites like ‘Borrow My Doggy‘). Getting a dog can be a great way of encouraging you to exercise regularly if you can take on the commitment.
  • Meet friends for a social walk instead of going for a coffee.

#WalkThisMay #Try20