Barefoot Running

As someone who spends most of the day on their feet treating and training clients (with a personal work out squeezed between appointments) my feet (and legs) are often subject to the same aches, pains and strains as the people I help to treat. Over the years I have tried various trainers, have had gait analysis and have worn expensive orthotics and so have been intrigued by the growing popularity of barefoot running technology.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about it’s the funny looking trainers that have individual toe compartments, one of the biggest brands being Vibram. So, I decided to give them a go – the first hurdles being working out which of the many different styles to buy and then where to get some. We’re lucky in Swindon to have new shops like Run, but some of the latest technology like this can still be hard to come by ‘out in the sticks’. So after much internet searching I’ve decided to take the plunge and buy some online. I’ve gone for the Komodo Sport model and I’m due to receive them any day.

The idea behind this barefoot style type of shoe is all about becoming primal and getting back to literally following in the footsteps of our ancestors. The flexible barefoot shoe is designed to let the foot function naturally hence improving balance, agility and ultimately performance.

As mentioned earlier I’m somebody who has always struggled with a plethora of niggles and problems when running  and now that I’ve decided to get my hands on a pair (not to mention I think they look cool!) I will definitely report back on how I get on – at £135 they’re not cheap but I think it’s an experiment worth taking on.

A word of advice to anybody else considering trying these out though would be to take it easy! If you are used to running in a very supportive shoe and do heavy mileage a switch to something so minimal whilst continuing with your normal routine might ultimately end up in injury. If you are unsure ask some questions and take some advice before purchasing.

I welcome your thoughts on this one guys!

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Why can’t you resist?

Well?

That chocolate biscuit is calling you right? Or is it the bag of crisps or sweets that you know are in the cupboard? How do you justify it? Is it because you’ve had a bad day and you’re you fed up?  Do you deserve a treat because you’ve earned it or maybe it’s the weekend? Go on have one! It won’t hurt will it? It’s only one after all.

Chocolate cake is calling you!

Is any of this sounding familiar? Well it certainly is to me. In fact I’m going to be refreshingly honest and say that these are some of the things that go through my mind when I’m thinking about stuffing my chops with chocolate. I have indeed been known to binge heavily on copious amounts of chocolate when I’ve been in need of my sugar fix and I’m afraid to say that I have lied, cheated and stolen from loved ones to feed my dirty habit. Oh but that sugar rush afterwards is always worth it and is usually enough to ensure that we all keep coming back for more.

So why does it happen? Perhaps it’s genetic and I can blame my parents for my savagely sweet tooth, after all they are exactly the same and besides I like having somebody to blame for my short comings! Nope! I’m afraid that just doesn’t cut it. Now don’t get me wrong genetics obviously play a part but that doesn’t mean they are fixed and that we have to accept predisposition. We can change these habits and behaviours.

When we eat foods that are high in sugar it releases that feel good chemical in the brain called serotonin. I don’t know about you but after a double dose of Double Deckers I feel almost euphoric, however those feelings of satiation and elation are always short lived. Whether it’s a few minutes or a couple of hours later that temporary high has gone and we end up crashing often becoming tired and lethargic. It gets worse too as this vicious cycle is repeated our tolerance for sugar gets higher so the binges get bigger and so does the guilt!

So how do we put an end to it? Who cares and bring me some Maltesers! It’s been at least thirty seconds since my last mouthful!

These are some of the things that I try

  • Cleanse your cupboards and throw out any sweets now!
  • Be prepared. Don’t let your blood sugar levels drop too low by eating crappy starchy carbs and replace some of those high sugary treats with healthy snacks like nuts (a small handful is enough).
  • Recognise your triggers. Often there are emotional factors that cause us to respond with this behaviour. Be aware of what they are and try to substitute that behaviour with something different.
  • Take a picture of what you are about to consume. This might be enough just to make you stop and think about it.

Spark People suggest this four week plan to stop your sugar cravings Why not give it a try and let me know how you get on. Over and out.

Picture Published from BullDogza Library.

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Struggling to stick to that new exercise regime? New research offers pointers.

Whether or not you are trying to get that beach body you always dreamed about or you are trying to shed some post Christmas pounds sticking with an exercise routine means being able to overcome the obstacles that invariably arise. A key to success is having the confidence that you can do it, researchers report. A new study explores how some cognitive strategies and abilities increase this “situation-specific self-confidence,” a quality the researchers call “self-efficacy.”

“You can apply the concept of self-efficacy to every single health behavior you can think of because in many ways that really is what gets us through the day, gets us through the tough times,” said University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Edward McAuley, who led the research. “People who are more efficacious tend to approach more challenging tasks, work harder and stick with it even in the face of early failures.”

Those lacking self-efficacy often won’t even try to start a new routine, or will quit at the earliest sign of difficulty, McAuley said. “Almost 50 percent of people who begin an exercise program drop out in the first six months,” he said.

All is not lost, however, for those with low self-efficacy, McAuley said. Research has shown that there are ways to increase your confidence in relation to specific goals. Remembering previous successes, observing others doing something you find daunting and enlisting others’ support can increase your self-efficacy enough to get you started. Every step toward your goal will further increase your confidence, he said.

In the new study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, McAuley and his colleagues were interested in whether specific cognitive abilities and strategies enhanced older adults’ ability to stay with an exercise program by boosting their self-efficacy.

The researchers conducted a battery of cognitive tests on 177 men and women in their 60s and early 70s and also asked them whether and how often they set goals for themselves, monitored their progress, managed their time and engaged in other “self-regulatory” behaviors.

“These self-regulatory processes are really concerned with our ability to plan, to schedule physical activity into our daily life, to inhibit undesirable responses, such as sitting in front of the TV when you could be out working in your yard or walking around the block,” McAuley said. “These processes can be measured in a very objective way.”

The cognitive tests were “measures such as spatial memory, being able to multitask and being able to inhibit undesirable responses,” he said. Collectively, these tests assess what is known as “executive function.”

Participants were then randomly assigned either to a stretching, toning and balance program or a walking program that met three times a week for a year. Their self-efficacy was assessed after three weeks in the program.

The researchers found that some abilities and strategies did increase participants’ adherence to the exercise programs. Two executive function skills — the ability to multitask and to inhibit undesirable responses — significantly contributed to adherence by increasing self-efficacy, the researchers found. And more frequent use of self-regulatory strategies such as goal-setting, time management, self-monitoring and recruiting others for support increased study subjects’ participation in the program — again, by boosting their self-efficacy, McAuley said.

“We can potentially use this information to identify who might be poor adherers to an exercise program,” McAuley said. “And then offer those people an array of different coping skills and strategies to inhibit or overcome bad behaviors.”

Because executive function declines with age, McAuley said, previously sedentary older adults hoping to exercise more will likely benefit most if they adopt strategies that help them manage obstacles and build their self-efficacy.

Other studies have shown that aerobic exercise such as walking improves brain function in older adults. Thus, participation in an exercise program is likely to enhance cognitive functions that raise self-efficacy, positively reinforcing a person’s ability to pursue his or her exercise goals, McAuley said.

Edward McAuley is also a part-time faculty member of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Collaborators on this study from the Illinois department of kinesiology and community health include postdoctoral researcher Sean Mullen and students Amanda Szabo, Siobhan White, Thomas Wójcicki, Emily Mailey, Neha Gothe and Erin Olson. Collaborators from the Beckman Institute include graduate research assistant Michelle Voss, postdoctoral researcher Kirk Erickson (now at the University of Pittsburgh), former doctoral student Ruchika Prakash (now at Ohio State University) and Beckman Institute director Art Kramer, who is a professor of psychology.

The National Institute on Aging funded this research. Source -

All is not lost, however, for those with low self-efficacy, McAuley said. Research has shown that there are ways to increase your confidence in relation to specific goals. Remembering previous successes, observing others doing something you find daunting and enlisting others’ support can increase your self-efficacy enough to get you started. Every step toward your goal will further increase your confidence, he said.

In the new study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, McAuley and his colleagues were interested in whether specific cognitive abilities and strategies enhanced older adults’ ability to stay with an exercise program by boosting their self-efficacy.

The researchers conducted a battery of cognitive tests on 177 men and women in their 60s and early 70s and also asked them whether and how often they set goals for themselves, monitored their progress, managed their time and engaged in other “self-regulatory” behaviors.

“These self-regulatory processes are really concerned with our ability to plan, to schedule physical activity into our daily life, to inhibit undesirable responses, such as sitting in front of the TV when you could be out working in your yard or walking around the block,” McAuley said. “These processes can be measured in a very objective way.”

The cognitive tests were “measures such as spatial memory, being able to multitask and being able to inhibit undesirable responses,” he said. Collectively, these tests assess what is known as “executive function.”

Participants were then randomly assigned either to a stretching, toning and balance program or a walking program that met three times a week for a year. Their self-efficacy was assessed after three weeks in the program.

The researchers found that some abilities and strategies did increase participants’ adherence to the exercise programs. Two executive function skills — the ability to multitask and to inhibit undesirable responses — significantly contributed to adherence by increasing self-efficacy, the researchers found. And more frequent use of self-regulatory strategies such as goal-setting, time management, self-monitoring and recruiting others for support increased study subjects’ participation in the program — again, by boosting their self-efficacy, McAuley said.

“We can potentially use this information to identify who might be poor adherers to an exercise program,” McAuley said. “And then offer those people an array of different coping skills and strategies to inhibit or overcome bad behaviors.”

Because executive function declines with age, McAuley said, previously sedentary older adults hoping to exercise more will likely benefit most if they adopt strategies that help them manage obstacles and build their self-efficacy.

Other studies have shown that aerobic exercise such as walking improves brain function in older adults. Thus, participation in an exercise program is likely to enhance cognitive functions that raise self-efficacy, positively reinforcing a person’s ability to pursue his or her exercise goals, McAuley said.

Edward McAuley is also a part-time faculty member of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Collaborators on this study from the Illinois department of kinesiology and community health include postdoctoral researcher Sean Mullen and students Amanda Szabo, Siobhan White, Thomas Wójcicki, Emily Mailey, Neha Gothe and Erin Olson. Collaborators from the Beckman Institute include graduate research assistant Michelle Voss, postdoctoral researcher Kirk Erickson (now at the University of Pittsburgh), former doctoral student Ruchika Prakash (now at Ohio State University) and Beckman Institute director Art Kramer, who is a professor of psychology.

The National Institute on Aging funded this research. Source -

All is not lost, however, for those with low self-efficacy, McAuley said. Research has shown that there are ways to increase your confidence in relation to specific goals. Remembering previous successes, observing others doing something you find daunting and enlisting others’ support can increase your self-efficacy enough to get you started. Every step toward your goal will further increase your confidence, he said.

In the new study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, McAuley and his colleagues were interested in whether specific cognitive abilities and strategies enhanced older adults’ ability to stay with an exercise program by boosting their self-efficacy.

The researchers conducted a battery of cognitive tests on 177 men and women in their 60s and early 70s and also asked them whether and how often they set goals for themselves, monitored their progress, managed their time and engaged in other “self-regulatory” behaviors.

“These self-regulatory processes are really concerned with our ability to plan, to schedule physical activity into our daily life, to inhibit undesirable responses, such as sitting in front of the TV when you could be out working in your yard or walking around the block,” McAuley said. “These processes can be measured in a very objective way.”

The cognitive tests were “measures such as spatial memory, being able to multitask and being able to inhibit undesirable responses,” he said. Collectively, these tests assess what is known as “executive function.”

Participants were then randomly assigned either to a stretching, toning and balance program or a walking program that met three times a week for a year. Their self-efficacy was assessed after three weeks in the program.

The researchers found that some abilities and strategies did increase participants’ adherence to the exercise programs. Two executive function skills — the ability to multitask and to inhibit undesirable responses — significantly contributed to adherence by increasing self-efficacy, the researchers found. And more frequent use of self-regulatory strategies such as goal-setting, time management, self-monitoring and recruiting others for support increased study subjects’ participation in the program — again, by boosting their self-efficacy, McAuley said.

“We can potentially use this information to identify who might be poor adherers to an exercise program,” McAuley said. “And then offer those people an array of different coping skills and strategies to inhibit or overcome bad behaviors.”

Because executive function declines with age, McAuley said, previously sedentary older adults hoping to exercise more will likely benefit most if they adopt strategies that help them manage obstacles and build their self-efficacy.

Other studies have shown that aerobic exercise such as walking improves brain function in older adults. Thus, participation in an exercise program is likely to enhance cognitive functions that raise self-efficacy, positively reinforcing a person’s ability to pursue his or her exercise goals, McAuley said.

Edward McAuley is also a part-time faculty member of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Collaborators on this study from the Illinois department of kinesiology and community health include postdoctoral researcher Sean Mullen and students Amanda Szabo, Siobhan White, Thomas Wójcicki, Emily Mailey, Neha Gothe and Erin Olson. Collaborators from the Beckman Institute include graduate research assistant Michelle Voss, postdoctoral researcher Kirk Erickson (now at the University of Pittsburgh), former doctoral student Ruchika Prakash (now at Ohio State University) and Beckman Institute director Art Kramer, who is a professor of psychology.

The National Institute on Aging funded this research.

Source -

All is not lost, however, for those with low self-efficacy, McAuley said. Research has shown that there are ways to increase your confidence in relation to specific goals. Remembering previous successes, observing others doing something you find daunting and enlisting others’ support can increase your self-efficacy enough to get you started. Every step toward your goal will further increase your confidence, he said.

In the new study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, McAuley and his colleagues were interested in whether specific cognitive abilities and strategies enhanced older adults’ ability to stay with an exercise program by boosting their self-efficacy.

The researchers conducted a battery of cognitive tests on 177 men and women in their 60s and early 70s and also asked them whether and how often they set goals for themselves, monitored their progress, managed their time and engaged in other “self-regulatory” behaviors.

“These self-regulatory processes are really concerned with our ability to plan, to schedule physical activity into our daily life, to inhibit undesirable responses, such as sitting in front of the TV when you could be out working in your yard or walking around the block,” McAuley said. “These processes can be measured in a very objective way.”

The cognitive tests were “measures such as spatial memory, being able to multitask and being able to inhibit undesirable responses,” he said. Collectively, these tests assess what is known as “executive function.”

Participants were then randomly assigned either to a stretching, toning and balance program or a walking program that met three times a week for a year. Their self-efficacy was assessed after three weeks in the program.

The researchers found that some abilities and strategies did increase participants’ adherence to the exercise programs. Two executive function skills — the ability to multitask and to inhibit undesirable responses — significantly contributed to adherence by increasing self-efficacy, the researchers found. And more frequent use of self-regulatory strategies such as goal-setting, time management, self-monitoring and recruiting others for support increased study subjects’ participation in the program — again, by boosting their self-efficacy, McAuley said.

“We can potentially use this information to identify who might be poor adherers to an exercise program,” McAuley said. “And then offer those people an array of different coping skills and strategies to inhibit or overcome bad behaviors.”

Because executive function declines with age, McAuley said, previously sedentary older adults hoping to exercise more will likely benefit most if they adopt strategies that help them manage obstacles and build their self-efficacy.

Other studies have shown that aerobic exercise such as walking improves brain function in older adults. Thus, participation in an exercise program is likely to enhance cognitive functions that raise self-efficacy, positively reinforcing a person’s ability to pursue his or her exercise goals, McAuley said.

Edward McAuley is also a part-time faculty member of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Collaborators on this study from the Illinois department of kinesiology and community health include postdoctoral researcher Sean Mullen and students Amanda Szabo, Siobhan White, Thomas Wójcicki, Emily Mailey, Neha Gothe and Erin Olson. Collaborators from the Beckman Institute include graduate research assistant Michelle Voss, postdoctoral researcher Kirk Erickson (now at the University of Pittsburgh), former doctoral student Ruchika Prakash (now at Ohio State University) and Beckman Institute director Art Kramer, who is a professor of psychology.

The National Institute on Aging funded this research.

All is not lost, however, for those with low self-efficacy, McAuley said. Research has shown that there are ways to increase your confidence in relation to specific goals. Remembering previous successes, observing others doing something you find daunting and enlisting others’ support can increase your self-efficacy enough to get you started. Every step toward your goal will further increase your confidence, he said.

In the new study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, McAuley and his colleagues were interested in whether specific cognitive abilities and strategies enhanced older adults’ ability to stay with an exercise program by boosting their self-efficacy.

The researchers conducted a battery of cognitive tests on 177 men and women in their 60s and early 70s and also asked them whether and how often they set goals for themselves, monitored their progress, managed their time and engaged in other “self-regulatory” behaviors.

“These self-regulatory processes are really concerned with our ability to plan, to schedule physical activity into our daily life, to inhibit undesirable responses, such as sitting in front of the TV when you could be out working in your yard or walking around the block,” McAuley said. “These processes can be measured in a very objective way.”

The cognitive tests were “measures such as spatial memory, being able to multitask and being able to inhibit undesirable responses,” he said. Collectively, these tests assess what is known as “executive function.”

Participants were then randomly assigned either to a stretching, toning and balance program or a walking program that met three times a week for a year. Their self-efficacy was assessed after three weeks in the program.

The researchers found that some abilities and strategies did increase participants’ adherence to the exercise programs. Two executive function skills — the ability to multitask and to inhibit undesirable responses — significantly contributed to adherence by increasing self-efficacy, the researchers found. And more frequent use of self-regulatory strategies such as goal-setting, time management, self-monitoring and recruiting others for support increased study subjects’ participation in the program — again, by boosting their self-efficacy, McAuley said.

“We can potentially use this information to identify who might be poor adherers to an exercise program,” McAuley said. “And then offer those people an array of different coping skills and strategies to inhibit or overcome bad behaviors.”

Because executive function declines with age, McAuley said, previously sedentary older adults hoping to exercise more will likely benefit most if they adopt strategies that help them manage obstacles and build their self-efficacy.

Other studies have shown that aerobic exercise such as walking improves brain function in older adults. Thus, participation in an exercise program is likely to enhance cognitive functions that raise self-efficacy, positively reinforcing a person’s ability to pursue his or her exercise goals, McAuley said.

Edward McAuley is also a part-time faculty member of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Collaborators on this study from the Illinois department of kinesiology and community health include postdoctoral researcher Sean Mullen and students Amanda Szabo, Siobhan White, Thomas Wójcicki, Emily Mailey, Neha Gothe and Erin Olson. Collaborators from the Beckman Institute include graduate research assistant Michelle Voss, postdoctoral researcher Kirk Erickson (now at the University of Pittsburgh), former doctoral student Ruchika Prakash (now at Ohio State University) and Beckman Institute director Art Kramer, who is a professor of psychology.

The National Institute on Aging funded this research.

Source – www.illinois.edu

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What are the best carbohydrates to aid weight loss?

Clients are always asking me what are the best form of carbohydrates to aid weight loss and should they be trying carb free diets. Of course my answer to going totally carb free is emphatically no due to the fact they are an important staple and we need them for energy! However there are few rules to be following when trying to lose weight, most people need to make some changes to their carbohydrate intake without dropping them altogether.

The most important rule to remember about carbs is to try eliminating grains especially wheat. Now this will sound quite alien to most people that are used to eating as they do but grains such as wheat and oats are one of the most common food allergies and can dramatically influence blood sugar levels. As well as this grains raise the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies increasing risk of injury when training.

The main source of carbohydrates in our diet should come from fibre. Fibrous carbs typically have a very low carb content. Their high fibre brings about a very moderate insulin response, in turn making them a great food when trying to lose weight.

If we are looking to reduce or eliminate grains from our diet then we need to think about replacing them with something and that something is GREENS! Now when I say greens many might think I’m referring to both fruit and vegetables but I’m not. Although fruit is good for you and it is packed with lots of nutrients it is also full of the natural sugar fructose. Fructose in large amounts isn’t great. Not only does it raise uric acid levels and slows down thyroid function (the controller of metabolism) it also increases a process known as glycation. In simple terms glycation is a process which stops insulin being raised meaning that we will not get insulin into our muscle cells. Without insulin, the cells in our bodies would not be able to process the glucose and therefore have no energy for movement, growth, repair, or other functions. If this process isn’t regulated we have greater chance of developing diabetes.

When eating fruit remember the darker the colour the better! The darker the fruit the lower the glycemic load and the higher in antioxidants it will be. Nutritional expert Robert Crayhon recommends limiting fructose intake to no more than 5-10 grams per day! Although this can be doubled very active people.

When I say greens I mean lots of dark leafy greens. By eating lots of dark greens we can start to get the balance between acid alkaline which will control Glycemic Index and blood sugar levels.

Below I have listed some sources of fibrous carbohydrates that are great for weight loss

Broccoli
Lettuce
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Mushrooms
Green beans
Onions
Asparagus
Cucumber
Spinach
All forms of peppers
Zucchini
Cauliflower

Good luck sticking to this, let me know if you try! Over and out!

(Ideas for this blog post are adapted from Charles Poliquin. For further reading see his Top 10 Carb Intake Rules For Optimal Body Composition)

 

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I don’t play any sport so can sports massage help me?

In a word YES!

Even the pioneer of Sports & Remedial Massage in the UK and author of “Sports & Remedial Massage Therapy” – Mel Cash admitted that he’d got it wrong and has openly said with the benefit of hindsight his first and widely acknowledged book should have had the title “Remedial Massage Therapy”.

Most people automatically assume that because this sort of treatment is titled “Sports & Remedial Massage Therapy” it only applies to those who are playing sport and more so only those who are doing this at a high level.
Although this is quite a common misconception in my opinion it does appear that there is a shift in opinion amongst the general public that I see coming through my door.
Although I have seen a lot of active people participating in sport at varying levels from novice to a gold medal winning olympian a very large number of my clients are normal everyday folk presenting with the same old aches and pains from the daily grind of life.
This is an encouraging sign that the profile of sports & remedial therapy is being raised somewhat. Many of my clients are coming to see me because they have found it to be more beneficial than other therapies that they have tried in the past.
Now don’t get me wrong this type of therapy might not be the solution to all of your problems and simply massaging where it hurts isn’t going to fix you! Having the knowledge to know when not to treat and when there is a need to refer on to another professional is of paramount importance as our role is not to make things worse.

However I do believe that the broad spectrum of soft tissue tools and techniques that a well qualified sports & remedial massage therapist has in their armoury stand them in good stead to tackle many musculoskeletal and postural issues as well as everyday injuries and niggles.

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MCL Proprioception Exercises

Check out these later rehabilitation stage MCL proprioception exercises on this video, you will see ex-footballer Dean Ashton really being put through his paces by West Ham United Physiotherapist John Green back in 2007. Unfortunately as we all know Dean never did make it back to full fitness due to complications and setback after setback however it certainly wasn’t due to any lack of effort and endless rehab exercises.

In the video you will see that the exercises given to Dean are designed to challenge the MCL as much as possible by making the joint gap much in a controlled environment much in the same way as the injury mechanism happened. This is achieved by using unstable challenging surfaces like the Bosu and the Core Board which in turn causes greater displacement of the body weight making it tougher.
To me these later stage rehab exercises seem fantastic and I would definitely try similar things with my own clients. I welcome your thoughts.

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Do compression garments really work?

Has anyone else noticed that it seems that the days of wearing a pair football shorts, socks and an old cotton T-shirt for road running have long gone? Well let me tell you they have and it now appears that many runners now seem to be getting about looking like they are dressed as cat woman! So the obvious question is, why?
Well, apart from the serious fashion faux pas of wearing old skool gym kit and the obvious benefits of life without serious joggers nipple and other chaffing injuries there is something else.

Compression garments can be worn before, during and after exercise and claim to improve performance and aid recovery by increasing the blood flow to your muscles. I do not claim to be an expert on this subject as I am not a sports scientist/physiologist so feel free to read on about one of the main manufacturer’s take on it.
Skins are one of the main brands of this type of technology and their website summarizes the way that that compression garments are claimed to work:

When you apply compression to specific body parts in a balanced and accurate way, it accelerates blood flow. This gets more oxygen to your working muscles – and boosts your performance.

Better blood flow also helps your body to get rid of lactic acid and other metabolic wastes – which helps you work at a higher rate for longer. Plus, improved oxygenation reduces the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness and accelerates muscle repair. So BioAcceleration Technology™ plays a big part in helping you recover from exercise too.

So do they work? It seems that for many people and athletes the answer is yes even though there are many sceptics out there. In my experience most of my own clients that wear them have only given me positive feedback whether they are wearing them for exercise or just recovery.
Does anybody have any thoughts on this subject or maybe some experiences to share. I myself have yet to try them but as somebody who has been a sufferer of tight calf muscles I’m going to get on it!

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The latest exercise fad – Make your own minds up!

Check out this youtube video about the latest keep fit fad.

Based on the idea that talking on the phone takes up valuable time which could be put to better use exercising, ‘Power Talking’ is the brain child of fitness expert Sean Blair and TalkTalk and provides a range of exercises that can be done round the home whilst talking on the phone. The exercises, which are designed to help the ‘talker’ build core stability and strength look easy enough, but how practical is it to talk on the phone and workout?

Personally, I prefer to put my feet up when having a chat, using it as my downtime after a personal training session. Unlike my other half, talking on the phone for me is about getting arrangements made and ringing off, so maybe this is one better suited to the females of the species who like to talk for England?!
An interesting concept, why not check out the video and make up your own mind? If it works for you who am I to argue, just remember that a decent workout involves raising your heart rate so be careful who you’re talking to if you’re working up a sweat and getting out of breath!
Let me know what you think, or if you have any other unusual ways of combining exercise with daily activities.

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What are the benefits of interval training?

More and more people are taking up the challenge of building interval training into their training sessions so the question has to be why? How does it work and what are the benefits?

Interval Training

Ewan being put through his paces

The principle of interval training is to work at alternating intervals of higher and lower intensity. The objective is to use the body’s recovery during the intervals at lower intensity which makes it possible to increase the total amount of activity at higher intensity in the workout (adding up all the intervals at higher intensity), compared to if you were to work continuously at the same intensity.

Interval training works both the aerobic and anaerobic system. During the high intensity efforts, the anaerobic system uses the energy stored in the muscles (glycogen) for short bursts of activity. Anaerobic metabolism works without oxygen, but the by-product is lactic acid. As lactic acid builds, the athlete enters oxygen debt, and it is during the recovery phase that the heart and lungs work together to “pay back” this oxygen debt and break down the lactic acid. It is in this phase that the aerobic system is using oxygen to convert stored carbohydrates into energy. It’s thought that by performing high intensity intervals that produce lactic acid during practice, the body adapts and burns lactic acid more efficiently during exercise. This means athletes can exercise at a higher intensity for a longer period of time before fatigue or pain slows them down.

You can vary the intensity and duration and number of repetitions of the intervals and in this way effectively train the capacity of a specific energy transfer system. This depends entirely on the fitness and goals of the individual so it possible to use this method of interval training for people looking to work at a low intensity to help with weight loss right up to high level athletes looking for something a little more sports specific.

Benefits of interval training include :

- It burns more calories that one pace training
- It reduces your resting heart rate
- Reduces wear and tear on your heart due to improved efficiency
- Reduces risk of high blood pressure
- You will get faster!

Although these benefits speak for themselves it is important to remember that interval training is not for the timid and should be approached cautiously. High intensity interval training places great stress and demands on the respiratory and nervous systems as well as taxing muscles. Start slowly if you are a beginner (walk and run) and build gradually based on how you feel and how quick you are able to recover from each interval.

If you would like any help or guidance on following an interval training program give me a call!

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How can I speed up my metabolism?

Our resting metabolism or metabolic rate depends on your age, gender and physical condition as well as the amount of fat and muscle that we have in our bodies. I’m afraid to say that as we all get older we are on a hiding to nothing as our metabolism starts to slow down meaning that we shouldn’t need to consume as many calories as we one did. For instance it is suggested that we may need some 150 calories less by our mid fifties compared to what we needed in our mid thirties. So it is up to us to try and balance this as always by making the right food choices and increasing our activity levels.

Why not try boosting your metabolism with these tips.

- Avoid skipping meals. Try and eat small meals regularly throughout the day.
- Avoid alcohol and sugar.
- Stay active! Exercise daily or if not as much as is possible.
- Eat foods with a high nutritional value.
- Drink green tea and plenty of water.
- Eat complex carbohydrates and lean proteins.
- As part of your routine try interval training twice a week.

Although making the right food choices can increase our metabolism it is important to know that gains will be minimal. Clearly the best way to increase our metabolism is though regular exercise and healthy lifestyle changes. So don’t waste any time, get that gym kit on and let’s go for it!

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