The inspiration for this post is a lovely twitter friend who has recently been diagnosed with Raynauds Disease.
The following information is taken from the NHS Choices website
Raynaud’s disease is a common condition that affects the blood supply to certain parts of the body, usually the fingers and toes.
You may have heard of it referred to as Raynaud’s syndrome, Raynaud’s phenomenon or just Raynaud’s.
Why does it happen?
The condition occurs because your blood vessels go into a temporary spasm which blocks the flow of blood. This causes the affected area to change colour to white, then blue and then finally red as the blood flow returns.
You may also experience pain, numbness and pins and needles in the affected body parts. Symptoms can last from a few minutes to several hours.
Raynaud’s is usually triggered by cold temperatures or by anxiety or stress.
It is not a serious threat to your health but it can be annoying to live with. People with Raynaud’s often go for long periods without any symptoms and sometimes the condition goes away altogether.
In many cases it may be possible to control the symptoms of Raynaud’s using self-care techniques such as avoiding the cold, wearing gloves and using relaxation techniques when feeling stressed.
Quitting smoking can also help improve symptoms, as smoking can affect your circulation.
If the above does not help with the symptoms, then a medication called nifedipine has proved effective with some people.
Exercise can also be effective in the treatment of Raynauds as it helps to increase circulation. If you are new to exercise little and often is the key. Aim to do at least 30 minutes each day. This can be walking, jogging, swimming, exercise classes anything that you prefer. Try to plan a mix of activities to prevent boredom from setting in.
Also if you are exercising outdoors remember your gloves and warm clothes as the cold weather can also trigger Raynauds.
Other things that may help include
Dry body brushing before your daily shower as it helps to improve circulation.
Eliminate all caffeine products from your diet to prevent blood vessels from narrowing and further restricting blood flow.
Taking a Ginkgo Biloba supplement twice a day can help to diminish Raynauds symptoms. Ginko helps to promote blood supply to the extremities
An omega-3 fish oil supplement can help to improve blood flow, diminish potential blot clot formation and improve cardiovascular issues.
Women who have Raynauds may benefit from taking a Magnesium supplement.
Please check with your own GP before starting any self help methods to treat Raynauds symptoms.
If you have Raynauds please feel free to leave a comment below with any thing else you have found useful.
I first came across the benefits of Epsom Salt baths from my university flatmate. Next time you have a bath try swapping your Radox for some Epsom Salts. This post will tell you why!
Epsom Salts encourage the body to shed toxins quickly (these toxins that encourage water retention and cling onto fat). The salts also boost your digestion and reduce cellulite. They also work magically for easing muscle stiffness following an intense workout.
Known scientifically as hydrated magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt is rich in both magnesium and sulfate. While both magnesium and sulfate can be poorly absorbed through the stomach, studies show increased magnesium levels from soaking in a bath enriched with Epsom salt! Magnesium and sulfate are both easily absorbed through the skin. Sulfates play an important role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. They stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and are thought to help detoxify the body of medicines and environmental contaminants.
Researchers and physicians suggest these health benefits from proper magnesium and sulfate levels, as listed on the web site of the Epsom Salt Industry Council:
Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
Improved oxygen use.
Improved absorption of nutrients.
Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.
All this from a bath? Hurray! While there are many different brands of Epsom salt, they are all the same product chemically, and can be found at most chemists or health shops. Add two cups of Epsom salt and soak for at least 12 minutes. Do this three times weekly.
If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, please check with your doctor before using Epsom salts.
Glycaemic Index or GI refers to how quickly sugar is released from a food into the blood stream in your body. In order to maintain blood sugar levels and prevent highs and lows it is best to tick to foods with a low or moderate GI. This will provide you with a sustained release of energy. Foods with a high GI should be consumed in moderation.
If you eat food that has a high GI you can combine it with a protein that will reduce the rate at which the sugar is released into the body for example a jacket potato has a GI of 85 if you were to eat it with tuna this would bring the GI down.
Follow my tips below to completely revitalize your current training plan and finally get the results you desire.
Set yourself a target
This is a huge motivational factor. Set your self goals in 4 week cycles and make sure they are realistic and achieveable.
Always be active
Seek out opportunites to be active in your everyday life. Take the stairs, walk instead of talking the car/bus.
Short and sweet
You dont always have to work out for 60 minutes. Try to reduce the time you spend resting between exercises or increasing the intensity of your session to cut your workout time.
Early bird catches the worm
Workout in the morning so you dont have time to think up excuses during the day. You will also get the benefit of your workout throughout the day, such as increased endorphins (the happy hormones) and increased energy.
Ask for advice
If you are unsure of what you should be doing to achieve your goals then ask for advice from someone who knows. I’m always happy to answer any questions you may have on your current fitness programme. Get in touch.
Slow it down
When doing machine/free weights or body weight exercises, complete the movement as slowly as possible. This will make the muscles work harder so you get more from the exercise.
Take before pictures of yourself in something that reveals your body shape. As you start noticing changes and improvements take another set of pics to compare, great for motivation!
Allow yourself a treat n cheat day to reward yourself for all the hard work you are putting in the rest of the week.
Don’t beat yourself up
If you fall off the wagon dont get put off, just plan for the next session. Listen to your body and dont push too hard too soon.
Mix it up
Dont do the same session 3 times a week for 6 months. It will be a massive waste of time and you probably wont see any real results. Try and do a different session everytime you work out to keep your body and brain guessing. It will make them work harder and so you will see results quicker!!!
Goal setting will help to keep you motivated, think how good you will feel when you realise all your hard work is paying off!! Some people enter themselves into races as one of their goals, others just want to look and feel better. What ever you want your goals to be the most important thing is that its YOUR goal. You decide what you want to achieve for yourself, dont let others lead you into goal setting.
Break your goals down into the following time categories. You may have more than one goal in each of the time categories which is great, just make sure you are being realistic!
Short term – 6 to 12 weeks
Medium term – 3 months to 6 months
Long term – 12 months plus
Make sure the goals follow the SMART accronym
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Rewarding
T – Timed
Remember to regulalry review your goals to ensure that you are on the right track and can make new goals as needed.
Do you drink enough water? You can tell if you are by the colour of your urine! If it’s a pale straw colour then your fluid intake is probably fine. If your urine is dark yellow, you probably need to drink more. Water makes up 50 to 70 per cent of an adult’s total body weight and, without regular top-ups, our body’s survival time is limited to a matter of days.
Water is lost from the body through urine and sweat, and must be replaced through the diet. If you don’t consume enough you can become dehydrated, causing symptoms such as headaches, tiredness and loss of concentration. Dehydration also slows down your metabolism and thirst can send the same signals to your body that prompt you to eat.
The body gets its fluid from three sources:
-Drinks, either plain water or as part of other beverages including tea, coffee and squash
-Solid foods, especially fruit and vegetables (even foods such as bread and cheese provide small amounts of fluid)
-As a by-product of chemical reactions within the body
Most healthy adults need between one and a half to three litres a day, so aim to drink six to eight medium glasses of fluid daily. Beverages such as tea, coffee and fruit juices count towards fluid intake.
You may require more fluid if you’re very physically active or during periods of hot weather.
Tips to maintain fluid levels:
-Start as you mean to go on, have a hot water with a slice of lemon in with your breakfast
-Find time to make yourself regular drinks during the day – don’t forget that tea, coffee and juices can count. Just watch out for the amount of sugar consumed in some soft drinks.
-Keep a bottle of water in your bag, as it’s a convenient way of providing fluid if you’re traveling or exercising.
-Get into the habit of having a glass of water with every meal.
-The sensation of thirst is not triggered until you’re already dehydrated, so it’s important to drink before you get thirsty.
-Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, as they have a high water content.
I find it useful to fill two, litre drinks bottles in the morning and keep them handy and visible throughout the day, this way I am reminded that I need to drink them and can keep track of how much I have had!
These are my top tips for sticking to the program and ensuring you stay on the right track to a healthier lifestyle.
Stay positive When your brain tells you not to exercise for whatever reason, force a more rational, positive thought into your head. For every negative thought you have I bet you can generate three positive ones! Imagine your self exercising and think about how good you will feel after you have exercised. When you do get that rush of endorphins (or happy hormones!) after exercising, write down how you are feeling. Look at this note when you are feeling negative to remind you of this happy, energised, positive feeling.
Mark off the days Every time you exercise write it in your calender or diary. This written proof will help you to stay motivated and will reinforce your achievements.
Reward yourself After all the hard work and effort of a good work out you need to treat yourself! A good old pampering session after a workout will give you something to look forward too. Why not look back at the goals you set yourself at the beginning of the challenge and plan how you are going to reward yourself when you achieve each one.
Work out with friends Kill two birds and try being more social with your exercise. There have been a lot of studies published that have shown that people who exercise with friends are more likely to stick at it. Next time you r best friend asks you down the pub why not ask if they fancy going for a swim or a walk instead? You will soon be ticking of those goals!!!
Don’t beat yourself up If you do miss a session or something comes up that knocks you of course slightly, don’t let it put you off. Just take some time out to think about why the set back happened and how you can avoid it happening in the future. Remember Stay Positive!
Remind yourself how well you are doing each day. It does take a lot of hard work and effort and that’s why its easier not to do it!! You can do this!!!!
When you sit for long periods of time, at work for example, the enzyme lipase is switched off. Lipase prevents fat storage and is mostly found in the muscles that keep you standing. If the muscles aren’t active Lipase doesn’t function and fat is stored in your body.
-Take regular standing breaks from your desk or try working at a laptop on a bench.
-Stand while you make phone calls.
-Plan social events that require standing such as art galleries.
Any movement is good movement so try not to sit still for more than 20 minutes, even if it just to stand up!
Alcohol cant be stored in the body so it must be oxidised and converted to energy. If this energy isn’t used, it gets stored as fat. If you want to see drastic changes to your body shape knock the booze on the head or at least cut down! With a pint of bitter the same as a medium slice of pizza, and a standard size ‘ready to drink’ bottle (‘alcopop’) the same as 100g of cookies, the calories in alcohol soon add up…
Gin or vodka and tonic =126
Dark rum and coke =142
Medium glass of white wine (175ml) =130
Medium glass of red wine (175ml) =120
Bottle of wine (white) =555
Bottle of wine (red) =510
5% Lager (pint) =240-50
Cider (pint) =180-250
The Government guidelines recommend that women should not regularly exceed 2-3 units daily and that men should not regularly exceed 3-4 units daily. Drinking within these guidelines, and trying to give yourself a couple of days off alcohol every week, will help you avoid piling on the pounds.
Along with drinking alcohol comes the temptation to eat fattening snacks – crisps and salted nuts in the pub, and chip shop on the way home. A healthy meal before you go out can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol and so helps you stay in control. With less alcohol inside you that greasy pizza or kebab will look a lot less appetising at chucking out time too. Slow-releasing, complex carbs, such as whole-wheat bread, pulses or brown rice, give your body more energy for longer. Combine them with lots of vegetables and some lean protein and you’ll be the life and soul of the party, without feeling the need to turn to alcohol to keep your spirits high.