Wednesday, 27 March 2019

"Fat Test" - for a better life - try it yourself

Image result for waist measurement

This test is for the average man and woman. Naturally there are people, such as personal trainers, rugby players, etc. who are physically larger, but also quite fit. So do not message us back trying to say that just because you are a larger person this does not mean your are not healthy.


For this test - find the bottom of your ribs, and then the top of your hips. You want to wrap a tape measure around your waist - which is midway between the two points. It is probably around, or just above your belly button area.Breathe out naturally before taking the measurement.  Do it a couple of times to make sure you get the right number:

Based on an average member of the public;
Good Health              31 inches (78cm) for women;  36 inches (91cm) foe men
Average:                    32.5 inches (83cm) for women;  38 inches (96cm) for men
Needs Improvement  34 inches (88cm) for women;  40 inches (102cm) for men

What does this prove?
Your risk of many health problems is affected by where you store your body fat. Fat is important, as various Vitamins (A, D, E, K) are fat soluble.
However, if you carry too much fat around your waist, this can significantly increase your risk of developing conditions including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, as well as several different cancers. Measuring your waist checks you are not carrying too much fat around your stomach.
Some people with a healthy BMI think they are not at risk.; And people can also claim they they are fitter because of behaviour even though they carry fat. But if these people have excess tummy fat, they are still more likely to develop these diseases than those with less.

How can I improve?
The simple solution is to exercise more, and re-evaluate your nutrition. Honestly, it is that easy. Well, that's the explanation. There are clearly physical and mental health issues that can affect that too.
Weight gain occurs when we eat more calories than we use up.
Look at reducing the portion size on your plate. Cut back on takeaways and cook more - this can be an exciting project as yo can try new foods and flavours, as well as improve your skills. Cut back on the cakes, sweets and sugary drinks.
If you do find you need to lose fat/weight, do it at a safe rate. The NHS recommends losing between one to two pounds a week - a maximum of 1kg. Remember, patience, maintaining, and persevering is the answer. And understanding that sometimes you will get weeks where you will not lose weight, or may even put on.

HMHB encourages exercise, watching calorie intake (to a degree - lets not be extreme) and a healthier lifestyle.

"Squat test" - for a better life - try it yourself

Image result for the squat exercise

The aim is to perform a deeper squat as possible (which means lowering your bottom as close to the floor as you can get it) - so try it out yourself.
Stand with your feel  slightly wider apart than your hips, with your toes pointed slightly outwards. Look straight ahead, keeping your chin up, and as you lower stock your backside out, ensuring your back stays straight, and lower.

Good Fitness:              30 squats in a minute - but remember form is key, and it is not about speed.
Average:                      30 squats in 80 seconds or more
Needs Improvement - 30 squats in 90 seconds or more

What does this prove?
The squat challenge is a really good indicator of fitness. It highlights your lower body strength and general flexibility, as well as your cardiovascular health (heart) through your ability to maintain a high speed of what is a difficult exercise.
Not being able to complete the squats in a reasonable time (and it should be noted that some people are naturally slower than others, and form is more important than speed) it can indicate poor posture, low general fitness, limited strength and lower range of movement and flexibility.

How can I improve?
Try some lower body strength work, such as hip bridges, to strengthen you glutes (one of the largest group of muscles in your body)

Image result for hip bridges

Lie face up on the floor with you knees bent and your feet and head flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the ground, and you can see from the picture that your knees, hips and shoulders form a natural straight line. Then squeeze your bum muscles, hold for a few seconds, release, and then lower back down to the floor. Repeat this motion between 10 and 20 times.
Also, try and squat during the day. It is a natural movement when we sit in a chair. Just get up and down from the chair a few times.  It all adds up.

HMHB incorporates squats into all out fitness and exercise routines. They can be down in various different formats.

"Heart Rate Test" - for a better life - try it yourself

Image result for healthy walking

Naturally, this does not take into account people who have mobility issues, but that can be adapted around.

For this test, and others can work for those with physical disabilities, we ask people to set out for a walk for just one hour. Use a tracking app - most app phones will have something that counts steps and looks at distance - work out how many kilometres you can manage in 60 minutes. If you cannot have something that measures distance on you, find an area that has measured distance - such as a track or a park - and use that.

Good Fitness:            6 to 7 kilometres (but as we have said this is dependent on current health and physical state)
Average:                      5 kilometres
Needs Improvement:  4 kilometres or under

What does this prove:
This test is all about you cardiovascular health - the strength of your heart.  People with poor cardiovascular health have a higher risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
A study by the University of Sydney found that the quicker your walking pace, thee lower of risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in older age.  Those who walk with a brisk pace have a 24% lower chance of death from all causes compared to those who dawdle.

How can I improve?
Don't just walk more - but please do try and do this - but try and increase your pace - as well as your speed intervals.
Set out on a slower paced walk, time yourself to walk as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then slow down for 30 seconds, and repeat this for as long as you can.
If this is too easy, see if you can break into a run for 30 seconds and intersperse that with fast pace walking.

As HMHB  said at the beginning, this is nor for everyone as we are not all capable of this kind of exercise. Just remember, something is always better than nothing. Try and build it uo.

"Balance Test" - for a better life - try it yourself

Image result for balance on one leg test

A good test to see how fit you are:

Stand tall, head up, straight back, with your feet hip-distance apart. Slowly lift up one leg and time how long you can keep that foot from touching the floor whilst staying in that position without swaying.
Good Balance -           more than 40 seconds
Average -                     25 to 40 seconds
Needs Improvement - 25 seconds or under

What does this prove?
This simple test can help predict your risk of stroke, and is an indicator of cognitive brain function.
The American Heart Association found those people who wobbled inside of twenty seconds often had small blood vessel damage, which in turn can indicate a risk of brain disease or the decline of mental functions.

How can I improve?
Practice standing on one leg in front of the television, or try walking heel-to-toe to build up strength in your leg muscles.
If you want to truly excel at this test, try doing it with your eyes closed. This is much harder. It is reported that concentrating on something that you can see that is still can help you balance for longer.
The UK's Medical Research Council, following a study, found those in their 50s who could stand on one leg for ten seconds with their eyes closed were most likely to be fitter in 13 years' time.

HMHB uses stretching and balancing as part of their awareness around exercise and fitness.

"Speed Test" - for a better life - try it yourself

Image result for climbing stairs

Do you want to see how fit you are?  Try this.

Time yourself climbing four flights of stairs without stopping.  Start the timer immediately, and stop it only when  both feet reach the top of the fourth flight:
Good Fitness:            50 seconds or under
Average:                    One minute or under
Need Improvement:  More than a minute

What does it show?
We all recognise that feeling of running up the stairs at home, or outdoors, and thinking we have just completed a marathon. Maybe you are sweating, out of breath, and even aching a little. If you struggle climbing stairs - and this isn't due to a physical injury or disability - you could be increasing your risk of high blood pressure and dying from cancer or a heart attack.
If you do use the stairs regularly, you will be giving your heart a healthy "spike" in the day, as well as building up strength in your legs.

How can I improve?
The obvious answer is  to take the stairs more often, instead of lifts or escalators. Try and walk as much as possible. It may not seem like you are making much difference. However, by climbing just a few extra flights of stairs each week can really improve your overall fitness, as well as energy levels. Soon, the habit will come naturally.

You have one life, and one body, it is your responsibility to make the best and healthier choices to ensure it continues to work to its highest capabilities.

Exercise can reverse mental decline

Image result for exercise is good for your brain

Exercising three times a week, and eating well, could reverse mental decline by almost a decade, says a recent study.

A US study took 160 people with the average age of 65, but the mental age of 93, and added exercise and a diet of plenty of fruit and vegetables.  Nearly ten years was shaved off the mental age at the end of the study.

Pensioners saw greatly improved thinking and planning skills after just six months of this regime.

Dr. James Blumenthal said:
"People with cognitive impairments without dementia may improve their ability to plan and complete cognitive tasks."

HMHB promotes a healthy lifestyle, with plenty of movement and flexibility, and improved nutrition, so this backs us up nicely.  :-)

Monday, 25 March 2019

Can fry-ups affect the male reproduction?

Image result for fry up breakfast

Research by Andrea Di Nisio of Italy's Padua University has said that fry-ups may shrink men's meat and two veg!!!

HMHB is taking this information with trepidation, as sometimes a good British cooked breakfast really hits the spot!!!

Apparently, PFCs,a  type of chemical used to coat non-stick pans are to blame. They inhibit male hormone testosterone leading to, according to this research, "significantly smaller penises". Also, blokes raised in areas with PFC-tainted water saw a "reduction in semen quality, testicle volume and penile length".  They also have a "shorter anogenital distance" - the distance between the bum and the penis - which is linked to lower reproductive ability!!!  That's what they are saying.

The study says it affects a whole generation of young individuals from 1978 onwards.

It should be said that Padua is one of four areas with heavy PFC pollution. The others are in Holland, China and the US - not UK.

It is an interesting thought though - is nothing sacred any more!! I like a fry up.  But we just putting the published research here - you can make your own mind's up.

Unhealthy lifestyles means increasing early death rates

Image result for unhealthy lifestyle

A recent NHS analysis of the state of the nation's health shows that 87% of adults had at least one of these deadly sins, and over half had at least two.

  1. 23% of adult Brits drank more than 14 units per week
  2. 21% of adult Brits were physically inactive
  3. 17% of adult Brits were smokers of cigarettes, cigars and pipes
  4. 27% were technically obese
  5. Over 70% were technically overweight
  6. 72% did not eat enough vegetables and fruit
It paints a grim picture, especially for the future generations.

Record numbers are now dangerously fat - one in 20 women are morbidly obese, which is five times as many as the early 1990s.  Obese mums are three and a half times more likely to have "tubby kids".

Unhealthy choices - and that is what it is - increase the likelihood of developing certain cancers - and research has shown that over 40% of cancer cases are preventable.

Rates of diabetes have more than doubled in three decades - and have tripled in OAPs.

One in three children in England is officially too heavy, raising the risk of future diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

HMHB is about prevention and correction, about building awareness, about making changes.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

A myth around milk and cancer

Image result for milk

Professor Gregor Majcid, of the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, says the idea that drinking milk can give you cancer is just a myth.  It has been linked to forms of the disease as it contains oestrogen.

This hormone can fuel tumours in breasts and ovaries in women and the prostrate gland in men.

However, the University claim, following analysis of over a dozen studies, is that there is no need to be concerned. The evidence suggests that the levels in milk are too low to cause any problems.

Cow's milk is packed with protein, calcium, zinc, iodine and Vitamins A and B.

Can "Organic" food aid cancer?

Image result for organic food

Scientists studying the diets of over 69000 French volunteers for an average of five years have claimed that people who eat Organic food are 25% less likely to get cancer.

It's a bold statement to be sure.

Chemicals and pesticides used on traditionally farmed fruits and vegetables may trigger the disease, meaning that eating a greener option could prevent it.

The study found the quarter who ate the most organic food were 25% less likely to develop cancer. Age, class, and existing health problems had no bearing on the results.

It concluded: "if the findings are confirmed, promoting organic food in the general population coujld be a promising preventive strategy against cancer."

It is definitely food for thought.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Should Trans-fats be banned?

Image result for trans fats

Trans fats are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it solid.
They are often found in margarines and baked goods - such as cakes, pastries and biscuits.

The British Medical Journal recently had an article by Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, from Imperial College, London - where he called for a government ban.

"A ban on trans fats would save a significant number of lives."

In fact, banning fats added to cakes and biscuits could prevent 7200 heart deaths by 2020 they claim. Higher consumption is linked to increased risk of coronary heart disease and death, with poorer families more likely to eat more.

However - as always in these cases these days - some nutritional experts dismissed these claims. The Food and Drink federation said: "the government has concluded that Trans Fats  at current intake levels do not pose a health risk to UK consumers."

HMHB says that our nutrition should be anything we want, in moderation, and being aware. I like cakes, and puddings, and why should we not be able to enjoy these things, as long as we are aware that taken in excess can be harmful to our lives.

There is a link between weight and cancers

Image result for being fat causes cancer

It is apparently well known in proven research that being fat can trigger cancer.
However, The World Cancer Research Fund says that four in ten Brits are oblivious to this fact.  And at least half did not know of a link between lack of exercise and the disease.

Two in three adults in this country are alleged to be overweight and experts estimate that it causes one in five cancers.  The WCRF said: "it is worrying that so many are still not aware that being overweight can increase their chances of cancer".

The International Agency for Research on Cancer linked obesity to colon, oesophagus, kidney, uterus and breast cancers.  However, they have no also said it has links to stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovary, thyroid, brain tumour meningioma and multiple myeloma.

The lesson is: yes, be happy with your body.  When you look in the mirror are you happy?  It should be noted that some people like being large.  As long as they know they are running a higher risk then that is their choice.

But maybe, if you really want to do the best for your life, improve your fitness and health, and watch your weight

Is High Intensity Training dangerous?

Image result for hit training

I am an advocate of HIT - high intensity training.  It is proven to be one of the best ways of getting fit, losing weight, building muscle and improving your health.

But, people do need to be aware - according to orthopedic expert Gorav Datta of Southampton General Hospital.
"Cult fitness regimes and over-zealous personal trainers, which emphasise high-intensity, high impact work, appeal to those who cram exercise into their hectic lives.  These can wreck havoc with joints and lead to surgery."

Apparently, high intensity workouts have caused a huge surge in back, knee and hip problems in the under 30s.  Busier lifestyles mean many youngsters opt for short explosive exercise programmes which put stress on joints.

Data advised young people to avoid over-training and exercises which "trash joints".  You need "adequate workouts with adequate rest days" he concluded.

It is a difficult one.  I like high intensity - especially in a group.  It makes you feel good, and lifts your energy levels and fitness.  Naturally, you should always ensure you can cope with it medically