As you work out, different chemicals get released into your body; one example of these is endorphins, which are produced by the central nervous system. These work with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce the sensation of pain and provide a boost of positivity and pleasure. This can lead to a feeling of post-workout euphoria that’s a natural and healthy way to feel good.
There’s no getting around the fact that for some of us the gym can feel like an intimidating place when you’re first starting out. Our latest research shows that 50% of non-gym members say they find the idea of going to the gym scary, with one in five saying they would find it very scary. But don't worry, because we have found the best ways of overcoming this.
The first thing to understand is that weight gain really does seem to be a natural part of the ageing process, with various research confirming the trend. One 2014 cross-sectional study1 of Czech women found, for example, that body fat mass increased with age, and that even when lean body mass (think “muscle”) decreased with age, weight gain still occurred due to the increased fat gain.
When we think of exercise we often think of all-out, high intensity running, cycling or sports and aerobics. But it might surprise you to learn that one of the most effective ways to safely condition your body is by practicing Pilates.
1. Create a calm and restful environment Close down your laptop, put your phone down, turn off the lights and create a space that is calming and ideal for sleeping. Exposure to bright lights and electronics can stimulate your mind before bed which is the opposite of what we want when it’s time to sleep!
It can range from a mild ache to debilitating pain that may derail your workout efforts. But don’t let this common running conundrum stop you in your tracks. The best treatment is prevention, so here are some simple ways to keep your shins strain free:
Eating carbs increases the level of tryptophan in your blood, which the body converts into serotonin – a sleep-inducing brain chemical that slows nerve impulses and promotes calm. While more research is needed, sleep researchers generally agree that including a carbohydrate, particularly slow-burning carbs (beans, pasta, quinoa, sweet potato) to your evening meal will help you sleep more soundly.
While manufacturers are getting better at reducing the sodium levels in foods, you should still read the labels. Fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, unsalted nuts and fresh lean meats are naturally low in sodium and should make up the majority of your diet.
As we get older, many of us complain of stiff joints, immobility and tight muscles - not to mention just a lack of general cardiovascular fitness. All of these things create a barrier when it comes to carrying out our daily chores and activities, but we get by. We adapt, we figure out ways of making things easier. We take the elevator instead of the stairs, we park closer to the supermarket and we store things where they’re easily accessible.
According to studies standing at a desk increases calorie burn by 20 percent compared to sitting. Why? When we sit, our muscles are not engaged, our digestive system slows and blood circulation is gradual. So if you find yourself chained to the desk most of the time, stand up every 20 minutes and go to the printer, get a drink of water, take a stretch or pace while talking on the phone.
For an ideal sleep you need to go through several stages. Two of these phases are particularly important: Deep sleep is the most restorative stage of sleep when the body repairs itself, and studies suggest the most damaging effects of sleep deprivation are from inadequate deep sleep.
It is true to say that all fats are not created equal. In fact, fats such as cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats are detrimental to one’s health when ingested in large quantities. Conversely, omega 3 fatty acids are one type of fat that possess countless health benefits.
Omega 3s have been shown to improve heart rate, cut the risk of blood clots, decrease plaque in arteries, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and boost good cholesterol (HDL).
Believe it or not, exercise can be unhealthy if overdone. It’s known as overtraining.
When we exercise, we push our body, and this is normal. The exertion stimulates our muscles and cardiovascular system, which makes us fitter. But when we increase the frequency of our training, or up the intensity level, our bodies struggle to recover which can bring progress to a standstill, or even send it backwards.
Everyone is different so there’s no exact formula for how much exercise is the right amount. How quickly your body recovers is affected by experience, intensity, how often you train, nutrition, sleep and other lifestyle factors. But there are a few tell-tale signs it might be time to pull it back a little.