Do you drink enough water?

We all know water is good for us but do you know why? Water is our body’s main component, making up on average 60% of our body’s weight, hence every system in our body is dependent on water. If we don’t drink enough it can lead to dehydration and even mild dehydration can drain our energy, make us feel tired and hinder weight loss.

Benefits of water:

  • Protects organs and tissues by flushing out toxins
  • Carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells
  • Regulates our body temperature
  • Helps to prevent constipation
  • Provides moisture for our ear, nose and throat tissues
  • Lubricates our joints
  • Lessens the burden on our kidneys and liver by flushing out waste

On a normal day our bodies lose approximately 2 ½ litres of water through breathing, sweating and other bodily functions. On a very hot day or when we’re exercising we lose even more.

In order for our bodies to work properly we must replenish this lost water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. Food usually accounts for 20% of our total fluid intake, so if we consume 2 litres of water or beverages such as low calorie squash, coffee, tea including green teas, fruit teas or rooibos/redbush tea each day (a little more than 8 cups) along with our normal diet, we will typically replace these lost fluids.

If you are feeling thirsty, listen to your body. It is telling you that you need to be having a drink. Another good guide is to look at your urine. It should be either colourless or of a pale yellow shade and there should be plenty of it. If it is dark in colour, has a strong odour or there’s not a lot of it, then you really need to start drinking more. If your weight loss isn’t as good as you feel it should be, then it could well be worth increasing your fluid intake if you know you don’t drink enough.

In my personal experience I know that the weeks where I am drinking adequate amounts of water, they are the weeks where I achieve good weight loss.

This article was contributes by Jo Butcher, owner of Jo’s Fit4All Classes.

Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Which exercise might suit you?

There’s no doubt that keeping active makes us feel more energetic. But there are other more specific benefits, including helping to:

  • manage high blood pressure and angina
  • keep you at a healthy weight
  • maintain regular bowel movements
  • stimulate a poor appetite
  • strengthen muscles and bones, reducing the risk of falls and fractures
  • ease discomfort if you have arthritis or Parkinson’s

Regular exercise also boosts the brain chemicals that lift your mood and make you feel happy – so it can be a good way to deal with stress and anxiety.

The 4 building blocks to being active

Developing and maintaining stamina, strength, flexibility and balance are particularly important as you get older, and can help you carry out everyday tasks more easily, as well as enjoy activities more.

Stamina helps you to walk longer distances, swim and mow the lawn.

Strength helps you to climb stairs, carry shopping, rise from a chair and open a container.

Flexibility helps you to bend, get in and out of a car, wash your hair and get dressed.

Balance helps you to walk and climb steps confidently, stand from a sitting position and respond quickly if you trip.

Different activities bring a different range of benefits, so try a variety of things. Finding something you enjoy means you’re more likely to do it regularly.

Exercise Table

You don’t have to be moving around to benefit from exercise. Chair-based exercises, which you can do sitting or holding on to the back of a chair, are ideal for improving muscle strength and flexibility. You can watch videos online that demonstrate chair-based exercises.

If you’re physically able, but find yourself sitting in front of the computer or television for hours at a time, try to break it up and build activity into your day.
Why not go for a short, brisk walk around the garden or in the street after writing an email or finishing another task where you’ve been sitting still.

However, if you have a health condition that makes moving about difficult or painful, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis or osteoporosis, always consult your GP for help in choosing the right exercise for you.

They may be able to suggest suitable activities and may know of special exercises or classes for people with these health conditions.

This article was kindly supplied by Ali Cannon, owner of The Active Weigh based in Bracknell.

© Copyright 2015 Find My Fitness.

Will hot flushes, mood swings and other symptoms of menopause halt when my periods are finally finished?

A question I am asked regularly.

Though you may have some idea of what’s in store for you as you head toward menopause, the stage of life when the ovaries stop producing eggs and menstrual cycles dwindle, you may not quite know what to expect when your periods are officially over.

A woman is medically defined as being in menopause when she has not had a menstrual cycle for at least 12 months.  At that point, the transition into your non-child-bearing years is complete.

After Your Period Stops

Unfortunately the permanent end of menstrual periods doesn’t necessarily mean the end of bothersome menopause symptoms. The symptoms typically associated with menopause, like hot flushes and mood swings, can occur for some time both before and after that point.

Women who have reached menopause can expect menopause symptoms to become worse than they were during perimenopause (the period shortly before menopause). Experts don’t know exactly why this happens, but it’s believed to be related to the hypothalamus, the portion of the brain that regulates temperature.

The hypothalamus is acutely responsive to oestrogen. Leading up to menopause your oestrogen levels fluctuate. When they’re high, you don’t have symptoms. But when you go into menopause and there’s a complete lack of oestrogen, you start to notice those symptoms more.

Managing Menopause Symptoms

Replacing the missing oestrogen in the body with medication can help relieve hot flushes and night sweats.

The simplest way to take control of your physical symptoms is to stay in good health such as taking regular exercise, developing healthy eating habits and getting enough sleep at night. All can help a woman stay stronger, which makes her more able to withstand the changes that occur as oestrogen levels drop. Women who do these things are less likely to be bothered by hot flushes, and they get less of them.

The Most Important Part of Post-Menopause Life

Along with the physical changes that occur after menopause, women may need to improve their health-care routines.

Postmenopausal women are at greater risk of heart disease, so it’s important to redirect your diet toward healthy-fat foods and lower your salt intake — this will reduce your risk of illness. As part of your routine check-ups, you should have a blood test at a minimum of every five years until age 50, and then at regular intervals. Your doctor will recommend what that interval should be based on how high your cholesterol is, if you are on cholesterol treatment, and on other cardiovascular risk factors that you may have, such as hypertension or obesity.
Women should also have their bone density checked once every two years to spot early signs of osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. Postmenopausal women are particularly at risk for this condition: Research shows that up to 20 percent of bone loss can occur in the first five years of menopause. Oestrogen is one of the best stimulators of bone growth. The risk of osteoporosis is very low before menopause, but post-menopausally fractured hips and problems related to bone density are very likely.

This article was kindly supplied by Susan Booth, owner of Alive Fitness based in Derby.

© Copyright 2015 Find My Fitness.

Bone Health, Like pensions, it’s never too late to start!

Bone health is a bit like saving for your pension: hard to get excited about when you’re young but the sooner you start, the better.
Taking care of your bones is a lifelong investment that will pay dividends by helping you to stay fit and independent later in life.
Like pensions, it’s never too late to start. There’s plenty you can do to keep your bones fit for purpose, whatever your age.

Let’s be clear: bone health isn’t just about bones. “It’s about your quality of life as you get older,” says Ruthe Isden of charity Age UK.
“Bone health is about staying fit and well as we get older so we can continue to do the things we enjoy,” she says.
As we live longer, more and more of us will become vulnerable to weak bones (osteoporosis) and breaking bones from falls.

Life-changing fracture

About one in three people over 65, and half of people over 80, fall each year in the UK. One in two women, and one in five men over 50, will break a bone, typically in the wrist, hip and spine, as a result of osteoporosis.

A fall later in life can be life-changing, leading to distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence, loss of independence and death.
Half of older people never regain their former level of function after a hip fracture and one in five dies within three months.

“Falls are the number one precipitating factor for a person losing independence and going into long-term care,” wrote Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England National Director for Health and Wellbeing in a blog post.

What you can do

But it doesn’t have to be this way, Osteoporosis and falls are not an inevitable part of ageing and much can be done to prevent them.
Preventing osteoporosis starts in childhood, if not earlier, when our bones are growing, and continues throughout life. Building healthy bones actually starts in the womb where the baby’s skeleton is developing. A real life course approach is needed to help people have bones fit for purpose as they age.

The recipe for lifelong strong bones is a healthy balanced diet that includes calcium, exposure to summer sunlight for most of our vitamin D, and regular exercise as well as avoiding certain risk factors, including smoking and too much alcohol.
The same lifestyle advice applies to people with the menopause, osteoporosis or at risk of fracture as it will help reduce the rate of bone loss and their risk of falling.

Listen to the diet advice and exercise tips you are given in our classes to help people of all ages build and maintain strong bones.

Bone-building years

The key bone-building years are those up to our mid-20s, when the skeleton is growing. For example, the bone accumulated in girls aged 11 to 13 is about the same amount lost during the 30 years following the menopause. Research has shown that gymnasts aged 10 have much stronger bones than inactive youngsters of the same age.

The gains achieved during youth put the skeleton in a better position to withstand the bone loss that occurs with age. Get tips on boosting your child’s bone health. After about 35, bone loss gradually increases as part of the natural ageing process.
Work out if you’re at risk of developing osteoporosis and breaking a bone in the next 10 years. Get tips on maintaining strong bones as you get older.

Preventing falls

People with osteoporosis have weak bones, but its falls that break bones. While it is impossible to prevent all falls, there are lifestyle and practical measures that can reduce their occurrence.

The most effective measures to prevent falls among people considered at risk involve:
• strength and balance exercises
• checking the home for trip and other hazards
• checking eyesight
• reviewing medication, which may affect balance

Physical activity and exercise can turn back the clock on some of the losses in bone strength caused by age and disease.
Research suggests that a programme of strength and balance exercises tailored to the individual can reduce the risk of falls by 35% to 54%.
Age UK says that fall prevention exercises could prevent 7,000 unnecessary deaths a year – 19 a day – from hip fractures.

This blog was written by Ali Cannon who runs classes in Bracknell,