I can’t remember the last time I blogged – deadlines (lots of ’em), keeping fit and regular longer runs have very much got in the way. However, I’ve been nudged into getting back on the horse (so to speak) by hearing that I’ve somehow made the VoucherCodesPro Top 50 Fitness Bloggers list.
Those lovely people rate my blog because they say: “every post is well researched and very clear so even novices will be able to gain useful information from them”. They then go on to explain why you should follow Happy Talking Health…”this blog is all about targeting every aspect of health, not just what you eat or how much you exercise, which is something we should all take notice off” – kind words indeed.
I’m very flattered (and also a little ashamed that I haven’t posted on here for so bloody long).
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos
If you’re stuck for gift ideas and growing ever panicky with each ‘it’s…days to Christmas’ notification – relax for a moment, grab a cuppa and take a look at my top three wellbeing-inspired present suggestions…
Healthy Back Bag – if your mum, sister or friend regularly complains about having back pain, this one strap bag, which is very kind to the spine, could be just what they need. HBBs are designed to distribute weight asymmetrically and contour to the spine, thus reducing stress on the neck and shoulders. They come in stacks of different colours and designs, from sporty to snazzy, with prices starting at £29. I’ve had one for a while now and they really are as good as they sound.
Fitbag – it can be tricky to find the get-up-and-go to keep fit in the winter, no matter what recent research suggests. It’s cold, it’s dark and those two factors alone can be a big deterrent for some of us. The Fitbag is a tone-up-at-home kit with a difference. The bag contains six items: skipping rope, dumbbells, ab roller, resistance band, resistance tube and a thigh master. It also includes a detailed workout plan and costs £37.99. Fitbag live classes are also being introduced – simply turn up with your Fitbag and get into your first class for free.
M&S Luxury Fruit Basket – put down the box of chocolates you’ve earmarked for a loved one and give the gift of fresh and seasonal fruit instead. On average, we consume an astonishing 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone. In addition, all our extra festive nibbles can add up to a weight gain of 5lb. You can choose from the luxury option (£39.50) or a traditional basket priced at £29.50. If your recipient has overdone it on the party food front (which most of us will), they could be very thankful for this healthy treat!
Main image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos
This may sound like a ridiculous question – after all don’t we all exercise to benefit our health? Not according to the results of a recent poll, we don’t.
Nurofen polled 2,000 fitness fanatics and asked why they exercise. Four in ten admitted they keep fit to look good and feel attractive. 44% said they had only started exercising to stop them from looking overweight, while 28% believed regular exercise would help them to look younger and fight the first signs of ageing. The most depressing stats from the survey (for me) were: 18% admitted they exercise just to impress their partners and one in ten said their main motivation when going to the gym was the hope of meeting someone there and falling in love. Really?
This daft approach to exercise had also resulted in four in ten injuring themselves while working out. In addition, more than half said they don’t warm up before exercise and 60% said they don’t bother warming down either. This is crazy: warming up and warming down are essential to prevent unnecessary pains, strains and injuries.
As we all know: exercise is fantastic for our health. Regular exercise is a powerful weapon in reducing our risk of developing serious and potentially fatal conditions such as heart disease, stroke, numerous cancers and type 2 diabetes.
Whatever your reasons for keeping fit: please don’t forget the most attractive thing about regular exercise is that you’re benefitting your health enormously.
We consume around 7,000 calories on Christmas Day alone as we gorge on a fine feast of foods, drinks and snacks throughout the day and into the night. Not to mention the excess eating, snacking and boozing that happens over the festive season as a whole.
But, fear not. If you want to avoid piling on the festive pounds, help is at hand from York Fitness on how to burn off those extra calories…
One mince pie contains 185 calories – minus additions such as brandy butter or cream, of course. The solution – 15 minutes of press-ups
Two glasses of your favourite vino contains around 185 calories. The solution – 20 minutes of continuous lifting of kettlebell weights
Did you know just SIX Quality Street or Roses chocolates contain 268 calories – yikes! The solution – 18 minutes of moderate skipping
For the non-vegetarians reading this blog, five mini pigs in blankets equals 375 calories. The solution – get on your exercise bike for 35 minutes
One slice of your mum’s special Christmas cake contains 249 calories. The solution – run or jog on a treadmill or outside at 12kph for 23 minutes
One handful of nuts is equal to 256 calories. To counteract this – work your punchbag for 28 minutes – continuously
Merry Christmas to all my blog readers…
Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity, is urging us to get outside to guard against winter blues and to improve mental health.
Many of us feel a dip in mood as the days get darker and research shows this is largely due to a reduction in sunlight. Our internal patterns of sleep, appetite, sex drive, temperature, mood and activity all rely on natural light cycles. As daylight hours diminish to just eight in December, the winter blues can be something that affects us all. You may feel low, eat and sleep more or feel less inclined to get out and socialise or even go to work.
Getting outdoors, or ecotherapy, increases our exposure to sunlight and can positively impact on our mood. Research shows outdoor exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
Exercise, laughter and music all stimulate and boost endorphins, the feelgood chemicals in our bodies that help to lift our mood. Make a point of spending time with those who make you smile. Or pop on a quality tune and sing-along gleefully. It is also important to eat well.
“By simply getting outdoors, we can all help ourselves in strengthening mental resilience,” says Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind. “Whether going for a lengthy bike ride, a quick jog around the local park or just time pottering in the garden, I encourage everyone to step outside and find something they enjoy this winter.”
Mind has developed a super information and ideas site to coax people outdoors this winter. Use the Ecominds activity picker to conjure up some truly inspiring, fun and unusual suggestions…
Breast Cancer Care is looking for media volunteers taking part in the Newcastle event to share their stories and become case studies for the local and national press. If you can help please contact Sheryl Plant at Breast Cancer Care – Sheryl would also like to hear from anyone who has had an experience with breast cancer or have found one of the Breast Cancer Care services helpful.
The 5-Mile Challenge event takes place at Newcastle Exhibition Park on Sunday 20th March and participants are encouraged to walk, run or jog five miles to raise vital funds for the health charity.
The route starts and finishes in Exhibition Park and the charity are aiming to raise £100,000 to help support the 46,000 people in the UK who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.
The challenge is open to all ages and abilities and the route is pram, buggy and wheelchair-friendly – great fun for family, friends and neighbours too.
If you are still to sign up – visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk/5mile and quote Newcastle6 when you register to be entered into a free prize draw.
Making even a small donation can make a big difference to someone who has received the devastating news that they have breast cancer.
* £2 pays for a headscarf set, helping to boost the confidence of someone who has lost their hair as a result of cancer treatment
* £10 pays to provide a comprehensive easy-to-understand information pack for someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
* £23 pays for a call to the BCC helpline for information on any aspect of diagnosis and treatment as well as confidential and sensitive support. Conversations can often last more than an hour as the caller is given as much time as they need to talk.
For more information on Breast Cancer Care please visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk
Rather than endlessly telling you what I’m working on – I thought I’d share some of the features I have already written starting today. So, hopefully (if I have done this right!) above you should find my chat with the very lovely and inspiring Gizzi Erskine…