Exercise has many health benefits such as; preventing unhealthy weight gain and reducing your body weight, better heart, and lung health, lower blood pressure, lower the risk of diabetes and ease depression, but importantly it can also make you feel better about yourself and your body. Yoga and pilates are considered great techniques in helping to improve posture, strengthen your body and improve your mental health and wellbeing too.
Taking regular exercise can also help us to relax and cope with the stresses of daily life and also help us to get a better night’s sleep.
Simple tips for fitting in exercise even in the busiest of days are; using the stairs instead of the lift, taking short ten-minute walks, stand whilst you talk on the telephone. Finally, let’s not forget that housework is also a great form of exercise too even though it may not be our favourite!
Women can be overweight for many reasons such as genetics, lack of exercise, eating too much, and poor food choices. Many of us are juggling bringing up a family while managing stressful full-time employment. This often leads to being tempted by convenience foods and ready meals. However, with a few key changes and making the positive decision to manage your weight in a more proactive way, you will be amazed at what can be achieved!
Simple food and nutrition-related techniques that can help to keep your weight under control are; eating smaller food portions and chewing your food for longer, eating more freshly prepared food and avoiding processed foods, eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, have more lean meats and choosing more whole grain foods.
For more information about weight management please visit the ‘Healthy Lifestyle Program’ page.
Eating a nutritionally varied and balanced diet prior to and during pregnancy is crucial for the health of both mother and baby and will help you to get most of the vitamins and minerals you need. However, there are some vitamins and minerals that are especially important when you are planning to have a baby or when you are pregnant. Doctors recommend 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day throughout your pregnancy and you should also carry on taking this after the birth if you breastfeed. Also recommended is 400 micrograms of folic acid each day and it is essential that you take this from before you are pregnant until you are 12 weeks pregnant. Ask your GP about these.
Folic acid is essential during pregnancy, as it can help to prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, including Spina Bifida. If you discover you are pregnant start taking folic acid as soon as possible. You should eat foods that contain folates (the natural form of folic acid) such as green leafy vegetables and brown rice. It is difficult to get sufficient folate recommended from food alone which is why it is important to take a folic acid supplement.
Staying physically active and taking regular exercise is also considered to be an advantage during pregnancy for both mother and baby, although it is advisable to avoid strenuous exercise. Exercise is also great for achieving a sense of well-being and vitality and can be great for easing any prenatal or postnatal depression that may occur.
All women will go through menopause at some point in their life, for most it occurs in their late 40’s or 50’s. The length of the menopausal episode can vary from woman to woman and the symptoms and conditions they experience can vary enormously too. Common symptoms of people going through ‘the change’ or menopause are tiredness, hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, and irritability.
The level of oestrogen, a hormone in our body, falls during menopause and this can often result in less frequent periods or them stopping altogether. Eating a nutritious and balanced diet and taking regular exercise can really help alleviate some of the symptoms and improve your general sense of well-being during this sometimes challenging time.
Bone density can lower as a result of menopause and so eating produce rich in calcium and vitamin D can help with this. Foods such as milk and yoghurts, preferably those that are low in fat, bread, nuts, pulses, and fish such as sardines all good foods rich in calcium. Eggs, oily fish and some fortified breakfast cereals often contain vitamin D, and of course, you can always obtain a higher dose of calcium and vitamin D by taking food supplements.
More men die from heart disease than any other disease. It has been stated many times that lack of exercise, poor nutrition, being overweight, and smoking are all directly associated with heart disease and yet this can so easily be rectified.
Scientific research tells us that taking regular exercise can have an enormous positive impact on your overall health and will also help you maintain a sensible weight. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoiding foods high in salt, refined sugar and saturated fat are all going to improve the health of your heart by helping to keep your cholesterol and blood pressure levels under control.
Some top foods for good heart health are; spinach, salmon, oatmeal, nuts, blueberries, tomatoes and even dark chocolate in moderation of course.
Irritable bowel disease, celiac disease, peptic ulcers, and diverticular diseases are all conditions that can be the result of poor digestive health. With life being ever busier we may be tempted to turn to convenience foods and also eat on the go with little consideration to the damage we may be doing to our bodies.
Top tips for improving digestion and preventing digestive disorders.
- Take your time when eating and chew more as this makes the food we eat so much easier to digest. Never eat when you are stressed or anxious the body is too busy working at balancing your nervous system and the food you are eating will not be digested efficiently.
- Whenever possible make good food choices and eat fresh, home-cooked healthy foods as you know exactly what you are eating.
- Eat smaller portions – in the Western world most of us eat too much but we do need to eat regularly. Skipping meals often results in overeating at the next meal. Remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
- Avoid carbonated drinks, fatty foods, spicy food, and having too much dairy in your diet.
- Beans, yoghurt with live and active cultures, bananas, blueberries, and broccoli are all superfoods for excellent gut health. New research is telling us that looking after our digestive health will ensure a healthier longer life.
‘Move that body’ is a phrase that we come back to time and time again at Power for Health, we were born to move. The health benefits of regular exercise just cannot be underestimated! Men taking exercise is no exception and many studies have proven that taking even a short amount of exercise on a regular basis can result in lower cholesterol, lower the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, improve bone health, can ease depression, and result in better heart and lung health. A reduction in body weight and feeling more energetic and less tired are also by-products of regular exercise for men too.
An active life also means a longer and healthier life. In a 2004 study at Finland’s University of Kuopio, researchers followed 15,853 men aged 30 to 59. Over a 20 year period, men who engaged in physically active leisure activities, jogging, skiing, swimming, or doing serious gardening, were up to 21% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease or to die of any cause during the study period. So get out and ‘Move that body’!
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common condition amongst men and yet there are many simple things that you can do to either lower your blood pressure or measures that you can put in place to prevent getting high blood pressure. Prevention is better than cure is our motto here. Eating a healthy and nutritious diet is extremely important in general, but there are certain foods that have been proven to help prevent high blood pressure. Foods that are rich in potassium such as beans, dark leafy green vegetables, fish, avocados, and bananas are said to lessen the effect of sodium on blood pressure.
Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet by even just a small amount can also have a positive impact on your blood pressure. Sodium tends to be added to most processed foods, so eat freshly prepared food wherever possible. If you are not sure about the content of minerals in the food you buy, read the labels to be sure and then you can make informed choices.
Other things that you can do to prevent or fight back against high blood pressure are; avoid or reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, eat less salt, lower the amount of caffeine that you have, and most important stop smoking and learn to relax and avoid stressful situations.
The Importance of Breakfast
It is important for children to have breakfast every day, but even more crucial that they eat a healthy nutritious breakfast. Therefore, beware of some children’s breakfast cereals, as they may be high in levels of sugar and salt. It would be better to offer your child an oat or bran-based cereal and to sweeten this with chopped fresh fruit. Milk, yoghurt, and eggs are also foods high in protein and calcium good for strong bones, teeth, and brain development, and provide an excellent breakfast choice.
A good healthy meal at the start of the day is the perfect way to provide our children with the energy that they need and the right nutrients to keep their levels of concentration up, maximising the opportunity for learning. Many studies have scientifically proven that children who eat a healthy breakfast have a better general level of health and well-being than those who do not.
The number of children in the UK with type one and type two diabetes is on the rise and this is a real concern. It is thought that diabetes can be inherited through genetic characteristics, although many believe that poor diet, lack of exercise and a poor lifestyle also have a strong part to play.
A well-balanced diet and regular exercise are both factors that will influence the body weight of your child and this is increasingly important as there have been studies that have identified a correlation between those children that are obese or seriously overweight and the onset of type two diabetes.
A good nutritional diet consisting of low fat, lean proteins, and nutrient rich foods, complemented by regular exercise are the best ingredients to a healthy body and mind for your child.
In the ever more technological world in which we live it has never been more important to encourage and ensure that our children get regular exercise.
Guidelines suggest that on average children between the ages of 5 and 18 years should get an hour of exercise every day. This can be achieved easily through our daily routines with activities such as walking to school, playing in the playground, riding a bike or scooter, or walking a dog.
The benefits of frequent exercise for children are wide-ranging and can result in better sleep, healthy bones and muscles, healthy body weight, and children who exercise often have higher levels of self-esteem.
Brain Health and Development
A study of 4,000 children by Bristol University suggested that 3-year-olds who eat a diet high in sugar and processed foods have a lower IQ at the age of 8 than children who eat a healthy diet that was rich in salad, rice, pasta, fish, fruit, and vegetables.
These findings illustrate the importance of nutrition and our children having a balanced diet. Some foods that are considered superfoods for brain health and development in children are oily fish, blueberries, high fibre and whole-grain foods.