Posts Tagged ‘health’

features, health

Stay healthy this winter: get your vitamin D

By Laura on October 11th, 2011

With the winter months getting ever closer, we know how tempting it is to slip into hibernation mode. Baggy clothes, comfort food and general avoidance of the outdoors… let’s admit it, we’ve all been there. And If like us you, work in an office tied to your desk all day, falling into this routine is not hard.

So to keep you motivated over the winter we will be doing a series of features of tips and products to keep you in top shape. To kick off the series, we spoke to nutritionist and author, Fiona Kirk to get the low down on how you can stay focused and energetic.

Her advice – get your vitamins, especially vitamin D.

Vitamin D has become one of the most researched and positively-publicised vitamins over the past few years and for good reason. It seems that hardly a week goes by without another study highlighting a new benefit. Most of us already know about its role in helping to form and maintain strong bones by aiding the absorption of calcium, but it appears that thi bone-strengthener may also be a brain-sharpener.

Fiona pointed us to one recent study which compared the cognitive performance of more than 3,000 men between the ages of 40 and 79 and found that the men with the highest levels of vitamin D showed the best cognitive function. In fact, the men with higher levels of vitamin D performed consistently better in a simple neuropsychological test that documents an individual’s attention and speed of information processing.

Vitamin D is primarily synthesised in the skin after exposure to sunshine. It was previously thought that as little as 5-10 minutes of sun exposure on arms, legs and face 3 times a week without sunscreen between 11am and 2pm during the spring, summer and autumn months should provide a light-skinned individual with adequate vitamin D and allow for storage of excess for use during the winter with minimal risk of skin damage. Those with dark
skin may require twice or three times the exposure. However, a recent survey in the UK indicates that more than half the adult population are deficient and in winter around 1 in 6 people show a severe deficiency. If the body cannot produce enough vitamin D because of insufficient sunlight exposure, we need to up our levels with D-rich foods but even then we may be short.

So if you want to stay sharp and avoid winter lethargy try and get out of the office for a brisk walk at lunchtime and get plenty of D-rich foods into your day. This includes foods like canned salmon, sardines and mackerel, soya milk, yoghurt, cheese, cow’s milk, egg yolks, orange juice and cereals fortified with vitamin D.

Fiona even shared a meal plan with us designed to not only keep you on top of your game, but to help you avoid blood sugar peaks and troughs which are the enemy if you are looking to shed a few pounds and/or keep your waistline in check.

Meal Plan:

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs (add an extra yolk), a couple of slices of lean,
grilled bacon, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, rye toast and a large glass of
D-fortified orange juice

Mid Morning Snack: tinned, mashed salmon on oatcakes and a latte made
with soya milk

Lunch: Bean or Lentil Soup and a big mixed salad with lots of colour topped
with a dollop of cottage cheese and mixed seeds or pine nuts

Mid Afternoon Snack: Couple of pieces of fresh fruit with a chunk of hard

Evening Meal: Very Quick Mackerel (bake a couple of smoked mackerel, skin
side down, in a medium hot oven until deliciously hot and smokey, about 4-
5 minutes) and serve with lots of roasted vegetables, drizzled with soy sauce
and sweet potato chips.

For more fitness advice check out Fiona’s latest book ‘2 Weeks in the Fast Lane’

Sports, Sportswear

The Kayenne by Aqua Sphere

By Laura on July 5th, 2011

While training for my Triathalon one of the most useful pieces of kit had to be my goggles.
It might seem a bit strange, but when you are fighting your way through the water surrounded by what seems like hundreds of other swimmers… you want to be able to see where you are going.

I am in no way new to swimming, in fact throughout school I worked as a lifeguard. So it is probably fair to say I have spent a lot of time in the water and been through my fair share of googles. As they can really impact your experience and performance it is important to get a good pair. One of my favourites have to be the Kayenne by Aqua Sphere. Made for open water and pool swimmers, the wide-angle lenses are scratch/fog resistant and offer swimmers 180 degree peripheral vision. If you are planning on doing any swimming this summer make sure to check them out.

features, Footwear, health, Sports, Sportswear

Get Running – Top five running tips for beginners

By Laura on July 5th, 2011

As many of you know I recently entered to take part in a triathlon…this was a massive deal for me seeing as cycling to work was about as much exercise as I was willing to do.

It’s been a few weeks now and I can officially say exercising isn’t actually as bad as I thought it was. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way a fitness fanatic now, but have found it is definitely a great way to blow off some steam after a long day in the office.

Seeing as it is only July, there is plenty of time for you to give it a shot… maybe even sign up for a race. So to help you get started in the right direction I wanted to share the running tips the lovely experts at Sports Shoes gave me.

The Kit. Your old tennis trainers just won’t do I’m afraid. The important part of the kit is your running shoes. Ideally you should go to a running specialist to get your gait assessed. The specialists will be able to tell you what shoes are best for you so you avoid injury. Wearing the right clothing will make you more comfortable and help keep you drier and cooler. Find items that aren’t too tight or too baggy and opt for synthetic fibres which help draw moisture aware from the skin.

The Run. If you haven’t run for a while then make sure you start slowly with a mile or so, you might also want to run / walk at intervals. Gradually build up your mileage adding no more than 10% per week. If you’re running in a gym make sure you ask for guidance from staff at the gym.

Keep Hydrated. Hydration is key to your performance as a runner. Making sure that you take lots of water before, during and after your run will stop fatigue, cramping and heatstroke.

Shield Yourself From The Sun. Sunburn can occur after just ten minutes in the sun, even in the UK! While it can be hard to avoid the rays, especially if you’re committed to training, there are things you can do to protect yourself from the ill effects of too much sun: cover up well within loose clothing, sunglasses and a hat. Sunscreen, with both UVA and UVB protection and a factor no lower than 15, should be applied 30 minutes before going out and then generously and regularly throughout the day.

Company. Find a friend to run or train with or join a club – it makes it much more fun and even harder to quit! Investigate the most scenic routes in your area and organise running with friends. Or, if you prefer alone time, treat yourself to some new music on your iPod and save it especially for your training sessions. Finding ways to combine running with your favourite activities will mean you look forward to it all the more!

Weight Target. “I will be a size 10!” or “I’m running the London Marathon” – have a goal. Aim to be a certain size or weight, and put reminders around the house, especially on the fridge door. Summer is a great time for that extra fitness or weight loss push, but you aren’t going to shed stones in just a few days or become a long distance runner overnight. If you’re serious about your goal, build a training programme and stick to it for a good few months! Remember that eating healthily and getting regular exercise is the best way to lose weight and keep in mind other factors when assessing how well you’re doing- has your general mood improved? Are you more lively?

Distance Target. If weight isn’t an issue for you why not sign up for a race, even if it’s just a 5km fun run. Again, having a clear goal is so important, but a deadline makes it that bit clearer and important.

Entertainment, Lifestyle & Gadgets, News

Manilow Manorexic- An Actual Fear or Tabloid Fodder?

By Will Reid on July 21st, 2008

barrymanilow.jpgLast week’s diet poll obviously hit home for a lot of you- but in a way that I had not expected. I confess to being a guy who is conscious of my weight and I have dieted. I see nothing wrong with wanting to fit into a pair of skinny jeans but thought I was of a minority. However, that appears not to be the case; 57% of you voted that there was nothing wrong with watching your weight and had therefore dieted.

I know that most of you are unlikely to be suffering from an eating disorder but it appears that ‘Manorexia’ is no longer a fad-word put out by editors trying to fill pages of a cheap magazine but a reality edging it’s way into pop culture.

Read the rest of this entry »

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