Exercise & Natural Environments

There is much research on the physiological and psychological aspects of physical activity and our well-being. However, have you considered how your environment influences your health?

Green Exercise

The majority of people live in urban cities, with an increase in technology and pollution, most exercise training takes places in a leisure centre or gym. There are multiple choices of exercising in the ‘great outdoors’ such as local green parks, beaches, gardens, beaches, coastal regions and forests. Studies have shown that exercising in a natural environment and engaging with nature have greater results on ‘mental well-being’ compared to training indoors. With longer and warmer days, integrate some outdoor exercise into your lifestyle and add some variety to your workout

Portugal-Santiago Camino

I am preparing for a summer Camino, Portugual to Santiago. This Camino is recommended as the next Pilgrim route to take for those who have some experience of the Camino Frances and it is growing every year in popularity. Apparently the route was popular in the middle ages resulting in many walkers from across Europe undertaking the challenge. This South to north Camino will involve some coastal walking, making it ideal for walking enthusiasts looking for a sense of adventure, whilst visiting interesting towns and villages, trying local cuisine and wine. Some Portuguese words would be useful I am told to integrate with the community.

Wellbeing at Work

Organisations and their managers can play an important role in their employees health and lifestyle choices. This is important as it will impact the company and its performance. Physical and mental wellbeing includes health promotion where managers can encourage employees in many ways, such as healthy eating, good posture, prevention of back pain as well as encouraging relaxation techniques.

Establishing strategies for wellbeing by developing a programme of initiatives is a good starting place, looking at what the organisation already does and then considering the changes which need to be implemented.

Psychology of Marathon Running

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Participants competing in long endurance events such as the Marathon has steadily risen over the years.  Data taken of both demographic and socio-economic groups from various studies has seen a rise in running becoming a popular sport.

The Marathon runner embarks on this challenge for many reasons and they must adapt their lifestyle and training far beyond the recreational exerciser to include high levels of demanding physiological and psychological adaptations to push beyond their current capabilities.  Furthermore, the rewards and positive benefits of this training will outweigh the negatives of marathon running.

The London Marathon is my third marathon, as a veteran runner I have improved with age, both on personal performance together with a faster post marathon recovery rate.  Training for a Marathon demands a consistent, disciplined, structured routine which will manifest into other areas of the runners life to include; personal goal achievement, better life management, psychological and emotional strategies for coping and better vitality and health.

London Marathon – Running Injuries

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Injuries are inevitable when participating in endurance events and can occur as a result of a breakdown in tissue and muscles being overloaded. With just over one week to go until London Marathon 2019, my plantar fasciitis has flared up again.  This condition can causes inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thin layer of tough tissue supporting the arch of the foot.  Rest and ice are the best form of treatment together with a performance based Pilates exercise programme for the core, such as side plank, integrating foot muscle strengthening and flexibility in the lower limbs.

Mindfulness & Walking

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Walking serves many purposes to include physical exercise, fresh air, relaxation, companionship and travel.  There has been much research on the many benefits which walking and mindfulness offers to improve psychological health by; reducing stress, anxiety and depression, mental fatigue whilst enhancing mood and gaining more energy.  Try walking in a natural environment, near a river or forest.  As you walk take time to use all your senses, by noticing the sounds of the water, fallen leaves and branches underneath your feet as you walk.  Walking in nature enables you to connect with your natural surroundings and become more in tune with your natural body rhythm.

Goal Setting

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Are you embarking on a fitness challenge for 2019? It would be worthwhile setting some goals and targets to achieve the goal.  The quality of your goal needs to be SMART (Specific, measurable, accurate, realistic, time-framed).  First, consider the fitness challenge you would like to do, run a marathon, a 10K race, climb a mountain as a few examples.  The goal needs to be realistic, to be set within a time frame otherwise it won’t be achieved.  However, if it is not challenging enough you could lack the motivation to do it.

Goal Intensity – refers to the effort required to set a goal and how that individual is committed to the goal.  Research has shown that by setting specific, difficult goals, this can lead to a higher performance, rather than a vague goal.  Further studies outline the importance of a challenging goal to that individual, resulting in a focused approach to achievement.

Functional Strength Training

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Ageing is associated to physiological changes and declines in muscles and joints which could contribute to falls, frailty and disability, the term for this condition is known as ‘sarcopenia’.  Factors include a loss of muscle mass and strength.  Current research has shown that by engaging in regular strength training programmes 2-3 times per week, exercise can help combat muscle weakness, build muscle strength and improve bone density.

Osteoporosis & Healthy Bones

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The condition of osteoporosis or (porous bones) affects at least one in two women over the age of 50 in the UK.  As women enter the menopause, the risk of osteoporosis increases.  A disease which leads to a deterioration in bones and their structure which could result in fractures.  Some of the common sites are hips, legs, arms and the vertebrae of the spine, which could result in a reduced quality of life. Exercise has been known to improve bone health and research studies show that a high, free resistance training of the upper body, together with higher impact activities of the lower body as being effective for improving bone mass.

Benefits of Short Intensive Summer Courses

 

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Short courses can take place in winter, summer or throughout the academic year, delivered as a professional or academic course. Maybe you are looking to add an ‘extra flair’ to your study or would like to pursue a practical course in an academic subject combined with practical subjects, which is flexible, less connected to the regular curriculum, but is a course of interest.

A short course can not only enhance your skills, knowledge, but it enables you to specialise further, study from a different perspective or look into a different field of study you may of thought of as a hobby or interest.

An Intensive course gives you freedom, if you are looking for a job or seeking better opportunities, a short course will not only enhance your CV but enrich your study experience.