Why Do We Exercise?

Exercise daily and be healthyIn general it all boils down to three goals – lose weight, tone up and get fit. These aren’t our goals these are how we respond “typically” when asked. Even if people say it’s for health reasons they generally attach that to visual changes they see. For instance if they lose weight it must be working and they must be getting healthier.

So when the doctor says you have a high risk of CHD or diabetes you need to exercise and start a healthy diet. You think in order for this to be working I should see some change in my body shape I should see some weight loss on the scales (it doesn’t help that the doctor also associates these issues with being obese according to the BMI scale or your hip to waist ratio). Even if you have never had that conversation with the doctor but you just know you’ve gained weight or you feel less healthy or your not as active as you used to be … or your getting out of breath when walking a little or you feel stiff sore or weak all of the typical pre cursors to prompting a change in lifestyle or starting a diet and exercise program. These all lead to one thing a focused and planned out routine of structured and usually restricted eating and exercise to achieve visual result that will suggest you are achieving your goals. But think of it like this, exercise is not a natural or functional concept we do not need it to live or maintain quality of life, a structured or routine diet is not necessary for a healthy body.

I remember when I first started working in the industry the 6-8 meals a day idea was new and it was the definitive answer shortly after it got followed up with the theory of eating live a caveman (person!) and it all made sense. The problem is the cave people weren’t eating a diet or a structured routine, they also weren’t working a 9-5 job they didn’t have such a organised and developing society stress was much simpler back then and they lived more instinctively than habitually.. not to mention our bodies have evolved massively since then and so won’t they can and can’t tolerate is very different. If you consider all of this and then consider they weren’t trying to be fit or live up to a certain expectation they were just living then you can see how an understanding of their way of life can help us to find answers and solutions but it is neither the answer nor the solution in its entirety. What our body actually needs vs what our mind craves vs what is scientifically correct based on a perfect working model vs what is right for that person.

I read an article a while ago about a tribe in Tanzania and whilst there were many interesting points the main one was that the males of this tribe as hunter gathers would graze whilst out hunting and gathering on the food they would collect the females of the tribe were the farmers who would also graze throughout the day on the food they would harvest. In the main feeding times they would all sit together and eat a mix of the same food but the study found that their gut microbes were different due to the different grazing habits. The reason I think this is a good example as it goes some way to demonstrate how adaptive to change our bodies can be and how by the time we decide to make a change to our lifestyle we as individuals are unique and should approach it as such.


 

Editorial by the FitFarms Health and Fitness team. Check out all our fitness camp courses today.

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Exercise, Physical Activity and its impact to Longevity of Life

Exercise and LongevityExercise and physical activity are well understood to pose health benefits such as helping to control weight, prevent or manage health conditions, improve mood, increase energy levels and encourage quality sleep.

I found myself reading an article about another potential benefit which I will share: the article was about whether exercise or increased activity impacts longevity of life, in short as with many studies the evidence so far appears to be conflicted; without going into too much detail (yawn) observational studies are suggested to have consistently shown a connection between increased activity levels and longevity across varying populations, epidemiological estimates suggest solving the problem of inactivity may produce an effect similar to eradication of smoking or obesity, with an increased life expectancy of 0.68 years, while randomised control trials have not demonstrated a causal relationship between level of activity and mortality. The problem appears to be due to evidence being open to misinterpretation and study limitations, selection bias and a reverse causation were put forward: we know exercise reduces risk of obesity but what if obesity restricts potential to participate in activity.

There are clearly a lot of varying factors that relate to activity and longevity which all need to be taken into account when studied. All the time while reading I kept thinking even if it does increase longevity it’s only 0.68 years -just over six months is the estimated measurable gain of mortality from exercise or activity and it seemed like such a small amount. But then I reflected on the reverse causation: what if obesity restricts potential to participate in activity, 0.68 years may not seem like a lot quantitatively but it’s not just the extra six months that’s important but what can be gained qualitatively in all the other years that precede -and that goes beyond measure.


 

Editorial by FitFarms Health Team

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FitFarms Weight Loss Retreat at Norfolk

Imagine 6 Months from NowWe are here at our new weight loss retreat in Norfolk this week. It’s a place called piggy bank barns near Fakenham and it’s a part of a working farm set back off a quiet country lane with a church at the end of the road, as you approach on private driveway there is a lovely little duck pond between the farm house and the barn conversions that we are calling home for the week. The weight loss retreat accommodation is rustic and homely. There is a function room we will be using for the exercise studio this week that is spacious with some beautiful views of the surrounding farm land and the whole site is so peaceful and relaxing all around us is calm and perfect for the course.

We are really looking forward to our weight loss retreat week at this venue and since arriving here we have only become more excited. It’s fantastic, lovely spacious rooms, secluded, picturesque views a large studio area. It really is an amazing place.

During the week we hope to deliver a course that ticks all the boxes but our main focus is on helping people understand the differences between a healthy lifestyle balance and decide for themselves what is the right amount of healthy.

We want it to be fun but informative life changing but manageable and we want the end of the week to feel like they could do it all over again.


 

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Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy

Sports Massage TherapistAs a practitioner of sports massage therapy I thought it may be beneficial to explain a little about sports massage, partly because it’s a frequently used and often very beneficial treatment; and largely, as I’ve come to discover via the Fitfarms weight loss boot camp, it’s not a well understood one! Often people are not quite sure what its purpose is or what makes it different to other types of massage, so here goes my explanation of it.

Sports massage therapy is a treatment aimed at relieving stress and tension in soft tissues that may occur as a result of physical activity. It is a treatment that can benefit everyone not just people participating in sport, as often everyday physical demands can place stresses on the body that may not always be recognised until injury or ailment results. Sports massage incorporates techniques from Swedish massage, though is often deeper and more intense -however it is not necessarily painful as is sometimes presumed! Other techniques may also be included such as those to treat trigger points (aka ‘knots’) similar to acupressure, and muscle energy techniques and soft tissue release which aim to improve tissue extensibility and improve range of movement.

When used at sporting events treatment may be beneficial both pre and post event. Pre event massage is normally performed 20 minutes to an hour before the event with a shorter duration than other massages (usually 5-15 minutes), it is a more superficial massage which utilises techniques to invigorate and prepare tissues for optimal performance. Post event massage is usually performed 30 minutes to two hours after the event (following a cool down), it is a deeper massage intended to relax tissues and allow for identification of any muscle spasm and minor injury, it is often used to reduce the severity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which may occur following strenuous exercise.

In an everyday setting sports massage may be beneficial for either maintenance or rehabilitation. Maintenance massage is beneficial as a regular treatment where therapists aim to prevent injury by addressing areas that may be likely to cause problems based on knowledge and understanding of anatomy, the clients sporting background, and/or occupation and the physical demands involved, it usually has a duration of 30-60 minutes.

Massage for rehabilitation purposes may be beneficial for both acute and chronic injuries, aiding to reduce any pain or discomfort, encourage the healing process and lower the risk of further injury to other tissues which may be compensating. Massage for rehabilitation involves undertaking an injury assessment, the results of which guide the treatment plan. Initial treatment may be a shorter duration than a maintenance massage (allowing for assessment) though specific to the injury and tissues involved.


Editorial by FitFarms Health and Fitness Team
FitFarms specialises in Fitness and Weight Loss Holidays for people of all different fitness levels, shapes and sizes. Learn more.
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Tabata Workout in 25

Fitness Class

 

 

 

 

 

 

A nice all round tabata working upper and lower body and core (remember to brace!)

Use A) as a warm up, or add one if you’ve more time to spare.

(A)

  1. Bounce (side to side, stay on the balls of feet)
  2. Plie* (jump legs out, jump to turn feet out, jump to turn feet in, jump to bring legs together)

(B)

  1. Squat punch
  2. Tricep dip (use a chair/step if preferred to floor)

(C)

  1. Glute push
  2. Fire hydrant

(D)

  1. In – out abs (C sit position bring the knees towards the chest then push legs out or down)
  2. Plank + toe taps

Starting from A) perform 20 seconds of exercise 1) followed by 10 seconds rest, then 20 seconds of exercise; 2) followed by 10 seconds rest (1 minute in total), repeat x 3 for remaining tabata timer (4 minutes in total). Take 1 minutes rest.

Move on to B) alternating exercises 1) & 2); repeat for C) TWICE -right & left side! & finally D). Enjoy!!

*For a low impact variation alternate between the right & left legs so the movement resembles an alternating side lunge.


Weight loss exercise tip by FitFarms Team.

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Cardio-vascular Exercise and What is it?

Iheart would say that what makes an exercise cardio-vascular is that it gets you out of breath and allows you to keep that breathless state going for a prolonged period of time. For example any exercise or activity will cause you to get more breathless or for your heart rate to increase as your body is requiring more oxygen for a number of different reasons but if we asked you to do an exercise at the FitFarms weight loss boot camp that was too hard for you at this time then your body wouldn’t be able to cope with the oxygen requirement and you would fatigue too quickly so it’s not necessarily a specific exercise more like a level of output.

Basically you want to be able to elevate your heart rate and breathing as much as you can maintain for as long as you can. Take walking as an example, setting out at a constant pace will gradually increase your heart rate and oxygen saturation in your blood as long as you maintain a similar standard or effort that same pace will become more challenging as your body tires but is able to cope with the energy requirement if we then add a hill you may need to slow the pace to maintain a similar effort because you now have a greater resistance to work against. So your effort will be the same but your pace slower.

This example also carries over to your level of fitness as it improves your pace will increase but the effort level will feel similar to before. So then, how can we use cardio-vascular exercise? Well we could use it to improve our basic level of fitness which means to be able to do normal things better and to be able to recover from simple activities a little swifter, so something like going for a short walk 3 times a week could be enough to see improvement to this degree.

You could also use it to help with your higher level of fitness pushing your limits and challenging yourself more regularly, long undulating walks/jogs/runs swimming, cycling, CV equipment in a gym etc could all be used for this but exercises involving too much muscle focus like muscle specific weights/body weight exercises like squats or press ups etc will fatigue the muscles too quickly to be able to properly benefit the CV system. Also you can really effectively use these kind of exercises for recovery from more intensive sessions, the CV system is designed to work continuously and to recover whilst it works Muscles need a more thorough recovery so after a hard session that leaves your body aching your thinking you should avoid exercise until your ready to go at it again, but it’s actually much more beneficial to do something albeit less intensive to allow the increased blood flow to aid the muscle recovery by delivering much needed nutrients during the recovery process. So if you are looking to improve your heart health or want to improve your muscle recovery from more intensive exercise or would or would just like to be able to do the normal day to day activities better then the best exercises are the lower intensity movement based activities.

Editorial by Andy, FitFarms Health Manager


 

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Legs Bums and Cardio Weight Loss Boot Camp Style

impossible-until-done

Here’s a burner for you guys.

Set 1.. 30 seconds each
1.Dorsal hip extension
2.Glute bridge
3. lunge with floor touch

Set 2.. 30 seconds each
1. Skaters
2. Jump backs
3. Single leg burpee squat thrusts

Set 3.. 30 seconds each
1. Single leg deadlifts
2. Standing hip extensions
3. Kossack lunges

Set 4.. 30 seconds each
1. Burpees
2. Rock climbers
3. Side steps 123

Set 4.. 30 seconds each
1. Squat pulse
2. Windmill squats
3. Squat thrusts

Once round is 15 minutes plus change, if you want to make it harder add in a resistance band if you have more time do it twice. Simple satisfaction!


 

Exercise routine tips by the FitFarms Health and Fitness Team. Check out our fitness camp date and rates.

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There’s Snow Reason to Not Exercise

HobbyHere’s one of our London Fitness Camp all rounder routine for when you have the time but not through choice..

Warm up.. Neck rolls, shoulder rolls, arm circles, side to side reaches, hip rolls, hip hinge, deep squat, side lunge to runners lunge.. 30-40 seconds each.. or a minute to 1:30 if you fancy a real good warm up..

Fitness Camp Movement practice .. 5-10 minutes of each (not fitness or strength related it is not necessary to be out of breath while doing this) Prone position play In the press up position keeping either your hands or feet in one place try to move in as many different directions as possible make yourself as small as possible or as long.. move 180 degrees around shift forward and back and side to side Kneeling play..

In a kneeling position reach as far forward and behind as possible try to make each point of a clock face. Core strength and conditioning.. (1 minutes per exercise stopping to reset every time your back starts to ache or you feel you have lost the held position) Dead bug Bird man V-sit hold (Stretching into the rotation of the movement, don’t accept your natural finish point try to squeeze through it)

Supine alternating reach Sit back reach behind Treadmills Full body challenge .. 40 seconds work 20 seconds rest x 2 Rolling press ups / Hindu press ups Single leg squat thrusts Squat to centipede Hip lifts/glute bridge Table op glute bridge with dip ext

Weight Loss Boot Camp Resistance band arms and legs (20 reps per exercise 2-3 sets 20-30 seconds rest between)

Good mornings + deadlifts Squats + shoulder press Reverse flyes + over head squats Wood chop + side lunge upright row Cardio to finish.. (30 seconds per exercise start with 1 then take 10 seconds rest then do 2 and take 10 seconds rest then 3 etc until you’ve done all 5 in a row and then do it in reverse by removing one exercise at a time

Do this 2 times through for around 15 minutes work Sprints on the spot Jumping jacks or power jacks Front kicks or squat kicks Floor to ceiling Skaters Cool down as warm up.. (I personally don’t think we need static stretches at the end of a fitness camp workout so my warm ups are generally similar to the cool downs this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use static stretches during your weekly or monthly plan..

Hope you guys enjoy this and get in touch via our Facebook page or FitFarms website if you have any questions.

Thanks

Andy


 

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Sir Roger Bannisters: True Epitome of Mental Toughness

Sir Roger Bannister Having read about Sir Roger Bannisters death at the age of 88 at the weekend, I mentioned it to my partner who recognised the name but couldn’t place why, having made a historic achievement twenty years before my partner was born, I only had to say ‘4 minute mile’ and he knew who I was talking about!

Born in 1929, Sir Roger Bannister went on to read medicine at Oxford and during his time as a student took up athletics, having only 30 minutes a day to spare for the track he utilised his knowledge of medicine to examine the mechanics of running and designed his own training plan.

This saw him get to running a mile in 4:24 and putting him as a possible for the 1948 London Olympics, four years later at the Olympics in Helsinki he set a new British record coming 4th in the 1500m. However what many would come to view as his greatest achievement came two years later on the 6th May 1954 when he became the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes, 3:59.4 to be precise; for a quarter of a century people had been attempting to run a mile in under 4 minutes, no one had achieved it and most thought it impossible.

This new set record lasted only 46 days before it was beaten again, over twenty five years of trying and no one had managed to accomplish a sub 4 minute mile yet two people did it just 46 days apart -and it didn’t stop there, today there are thousands who have attained the same.

Sir Roger Bannister himself described that “it had become rather like everest, a challenge for the human spirit” and it is well regarded that the barrier to achieving the sub 4 minute mile was not a physical but a psychological one.

For me he is the epitome of mental toughness, he believed it possible when no one else did, was persistent, focused and motivated to push himself to the limit to succeed, and all starting from when he only had 30 minutes to spare! I mentioned that many came to view the sub 4 minute mile as his greatest achievement but interestingly once qualified as a Doctor Sir Roger Bannister went on to become a leading neurologist which he viewed as a far greater achievement than any he made as an athlete.


 

Editorial by FitFarms Health and Fitness Team

Image credit: ImpossibleHQ

What is Sports Therapy

sports therapy

A question I’ve been asked on several occasions, often followed by ‘is that like massage and stuff!’ In all honesty it’s quite a difficult question to answer for several reasons. Unlike most mainstream healthcare professions it is not regulated by the HCPC but instead comes under complimentary therapies, this means the title is not protected and essentially anyone with a sports massage qualification can use the title Sports Therapist (ST), that said many will preferentially use ‘Massage Therapist’, as many with a degree will use ‘Graduate Sports Therapist’ to differentiate.

That’s not to dismiss massage therapists as there are many who have spent years developing their skill and understanding, and are not necessarily any less knowledgeable than those flaunting a degree. With the availability of CPD courses sometimes those who trained initially as massage therapists will have added other treatment modalities to their skill set and be equipped to offer more than just massage – further adding to the confusion! An explanation I read that made the most sense to me was along the lines that with a degree the expectation is there that the practitioner should be better able to understand research to choose what to integrate into their practice.

Going back to the initial question, yes a Sports Therapist will often massage – amongst other things! Adding to the difficulty with the question is the various settings and teams that ST’s can work in, unsurprisingly many work in sports -some will work at events on an as and when basis, some work for teams/clubs either part time such as on match days providing pre-event work like massage, stretching and taping, as well as potentially pitch side first aid; some will work on training days too assessing injuries and designing rehabilitation plans; and some will work full time incorporating screening to prevent injuries as well as strength and conditioning. ST’s often work in gyms as availability of equipment to use for rehabilitative exercise is a huge benefit, and there’s many whose interest and additional qualifications lie in fitness. There are others who work equally as well in clinics, often alongside other healthcare practitioners. Some incorporate other additional qualifications such as nutrition or sports psychology into their roles too. The title itself can be a bit misleading as although it has ‘sports’ in it, the basis of what a ST predominantly does clinically is assess musculoskeletal injuries – not always sustained from sport! It is little wonder then that many go on to further education often studying aligned subjects such as Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy.

To conclude and try to answer the question ‘what is Sports Therapy?’ succinctly I think the simplest answer is ‘a many and varied thing’.


Editorial by FitFarms Health and Fitness Team

Image credit: HFE.co.uk