Arthritis and Exercise

Arthritis and Exercise

We tend to associate arthritis with old age, but is that correct. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, it can be just one joint or any number of joints. In the UK arthritis is the main cause of disability from painful swelling in the joint that can cause stiffness. There are, of course, different types of arthritis, but the two main types we will consider are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is usually known as the wear and tear one. As the name suggests it develops in joints where excessive use has been the case. Rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any age, and it is the result of the body’s immune system attacking the tissues. Fatigue is also a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.

When you suffer from arthritis it is still important to keep active. However, it’s also important to discover the correct form of exercise and level of activity. Good fitness programmes should consist of range of movement, strengthening, and aerobic exercises. Examples of movement exercise is swimming, Tai chi, and Pilates. As you can see these are considered low impact activities. Strengthening exercises help to build up muscles around the joint to support the area. Aerobics strengthens the heart muscles. Suitable examples of aerobic exercise is walking briskly, tennis, and cycling.

Regular exercise will help to maintain a suitable weight for your height, thus reducing the symptoms of arthritis. For both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis moderate exercise is much more beneficial than a more demanding one, as excess exercise can put even more stress on the joints.

There are exercises to avoid if you suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. These activities tend to be classed as high impact exercise, and they are running or jogging, using a skipping rope, and high impact aerobics. In short, any activity where both feet leave the ground at the same time. Of course, that leaves a wide range of activity available to try.

Image Credit: MedicalNewsToday.com

Fitness Course for the Individual

Fitness Course for the Individual

All of us at FitFarms understand there are a number of reasons for weight gain and appreciate that it’s not easy to find the correct solutions, especially when we struggle to acknowledge there may be other factors affecting our health. There are many links to weight gain: stress, illness, busy lifestyle, medical conditions, medication, diet foods, poor sleep, our psychological relationships to food, bad eating habits, or a general lack of exercise / inactive lifestyle.

Tailored fitness -you as an Individual
That is why we have created a fitness course that is designed specifically to target not just your exercise needs, but focuses on your mental wellbeing as well as physical health. Our three core objectives are fitness, nutrition and mentoring, so whatever your circumstances, we provide you with the help and support you need to begin a healthy lifestyle.

Providing the Right Guidance and Support
Getting fit is not easy, and it’s understandable that we may feel anxious about taking on such a challenge as an intense weight loss course. One thing we do try to communicate however, is that this programme is not a boot camp. The course is challenging, but it’s also very rewarding, interesting and most of all fun. The health team work with you, they provide support, guidance, advice, and assistance to ensure you get the most you can out of the retreat. Rather than shouting or criticizing, they work alongside you, pushing and motivating you with energy, positivity, and team work.

Different Courses
One way FitFarms aims to help your introduction to fitness is by giving you the option of the various courses there is on offer. There are mixed courses for men and women, women only courses, and parent and youth courses available. This is to ensure you will find the course most suited to you, and to allow you to feel comfortable in your fitness environment.

Different Fitness Levels and Abilities
The course is built around the belief that anyone can get fit and healthy and we believe this. I suffer with Fibromyalgia and had expected to be told I couldn’t do most exercises as I thought myself physically unable. I soon found that I was capable of a lot more than I gave myself credit for, and that with the correct guidance and instruction I can still maintain an active lifestyle. The team take your physical abilities into account when advising you on your fitness plans, and keep this in mind when helping you decide on your aims for the course as well as your long term goals once back at home.

Health Assessments
It is because we are aware that everyone has their own abilities and requirements that we provide health assessments to ensure the course structure takes into account any health issues, ailments, strengths and weaknesses, allergies and general fitness levels. Above all the team are concerned with your health and wellbeing and take this into consideration when training and monitoring your progress.

One to One Mentoring
You will be provided with a one to one session with your personal mentor to discuss any concerns you have, any issues in your life that may have an impact on your health, and to clarify your personal aims while at the fitness retreat. I had one myself during my recent stay at the weight loss camp, and I was amazed at how effective this process is. The health team are all incredibly knowledgeable and experienced, but what surprised me was the compassion and understanding they demonstrate. Many of us unintentionally neglect our health or the wrong choices about food and exercise based on the information we are fed from external sources. My one to one helped me realise how to make sustainable changes in my life, and how to feel more positive about food, fitness, and myself.

FitFarms Retreat Breathtaking Scenery Locations

FitFarms Retreat Breathtaking Scenery Locations

All FitFarms locations are situated in outstanding areas of beauty in the glorious countryside. You’ll surely enjoy the outdoor exercise activities with the stunning surroundings of national parks and open moorland. Check out our locations in the UK and in Spain here, http://www.fitfarms.co.uk/accommodation.html

Exercise and Fun at FitFarms Weight Loss Boot Camp

Exercise and Fun at FitFarms Weight Loss Boot Camp

Here at FitFarms Fitness Camp, we make exercise fun and enjoyable with new like minded friends. Get pumped up with our trilling boxing exercise activities with stunning outdoor views of the fitness camp location.

Weight Loss Camp Report (Matlock) – 11 Sept 2014

Weight Loss Camp Report (Matlock) – 11 Sept 2014

Today we are following the usual schedule wake up workout being my high intensity workout then double trouble after breakfast and the second of the nutrition workshops then after lunch it’s an 8 mile walk around Carsington reservoir, or run if your up for it?

Followed by dinner and your second instalment of resistance training with Ian for the week. Considering this is the 4th day in a row of exercise for some and the 11th for others the amount of effort being witnessed in each of the activities is awesome, people are not sitting down and refusing because they have done enough and they are not giving just enough, they are going for it! Giving every last piece of themselves not because of the results they want to achieve, but because they are like addicts on a high, only their drug is the oxygen coursing through the blood to their muscles and brain, giving them a feeling of slight euphoria and child like energy, they feel anew!

This is how exercise should affect us all! It shouldn’t be something we do in order to look better in clothes or the mirror it shouldn’t be another chore we have to complete it has to be something we want to do! Something we need in our lives and that we miss when it’s not there.

This is the focus of FitFarms, changing lives! Helping our clients enjoy their exercise and see that there is someway of both seeing results and enjoying achieving them, our exercise routine is set up to allow the fittest and unfit to stand next to each other in a class or walk side by side outdoors and still both get what they need from it, both feel a sense of achievement and achieve that happy state of mind from the endorphins released by good healthy exercise, it serves to prove that we can all enjoy exercise and get out what we put in. It also highlights the fact that it is our head! Our mind, our perception of self and our own insecurities that stop us from enjoying ourselves.

These girls started the week not knowing each other and judging each other not because they wanted to be nasty or judgmental but because it’s a natural I stick to asses possible threats. Only, once they had gotten to know each other a little more and were able to relax around each other and bond the exercise felt more friendly and even the tough classes and breakdown points were easier to handle because of the bonds made with each other and the support given.

The reason I being this up is that we have a lot of people missing out on their opportunity to experience this because they are afraid they won’t be accepted or that they will be too unfit and hold the rest of the group back. The truth is that exercise isn’t just competitive it is team building as well, you don’t have to be great to fit in you just need to give your all and get involved, the friends you will make through exercise could be some of the closest friends you have, or they may just be the kind of friends that understand that particularly tough time in your life when you were trying to get fit and will always be there should you need them again.

I am not a people person by nature, In fact quite the opposite, some weeks exhaust me just from the constant interaction, but I have benefited so much from meeting all these wonderful people that I could never be the person I am without this job and the people I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Now! I’ve ranted enough for today, but if your one of the people who has always avoided exercise for some of the reasons I’ve discussed then I hope my rant may help to convince you to try it and see what happens, I know for a fact the girls this week will not be regretting their decision.

Agility Training for You

Agility Training for You

Agility is the ability to change direction quickly and keep your balance. This is particularly important in racket sports where strength and body control is as important as speed. Not only is it about speed but also grace and the flow of movement.

As with any form of exercise the basis is balance and core strength, and so it is with agility training. Agility training starts as you warm up, the body can be encouraged to move through a greater range of movements with the use of resistant bands, Swiss balls, and step exercises. Over a number of weeks develop a programme to increase the range of movements, the speed of those movements, and the ease in which you are able to achieve those movements.

One form of exercise footballers use to improve their agility is the snake exercise; it can be achieved in the back garden. Set out items of the same size, i.e. cones, in this case you could use buckets or flower pots, at a meter apart and weave through the items from left to right. Repeat this process, in time your muscles will remember the exercise and you will be able to complete it in a shorter time and with less effort. Another form of exercise to use your flower pots for is the rolling start. Set two flower pots at 10-20 meters apart and jog to the first and sprint to the second. This exercise can also be carried by side stepping in a jogging form to the first flower pot and then sprint in side step to the second point. These exercises form a good basis of programming your muscles into different actions without the use of expensive equipment.

Image Credit: WCSC.org

 

Weight Loss Camp Report – 7 Sept 2014

Weight Loss Camp Report – 7 Sept 2014

In this Photo: The weight loss camp group resting during their walk workout activity. 

This blog post is a review from one of our weight loss camp day happenings as reported by our fitness course trainers and managers.

As this is the second week for a rather large portion of the group, (9 girls to be exact. We have kept the schedule roughly the same but changed the content so as it is a different experience but with some level of familiarity.

The local walks for instance are different but roughly the same distance, difficulty or time etc.

The classes have the same structure but different content and the workshops cover the same content with a little extra, or the chance to take a bit of time off, orrrrrrrrrr preferably do twice the amount of exercise! ;-)

Anyway we are at the start of this day only 2 days away from the completion of another FitFarms week which in itself is a great achievement but atop of this it is the completion of the 2 weekers stay. So as you can imagine there is a real sense of excitement and a noticeable build up of relief as they prepare for their final day.

With a local walk and Zu’s dance workshop and a life coaching workshop with the lovely Cara, we are looking forward to a feel good kind of day capped off with the hardest and most enjoyable resistance class I can muster the energy to instruct.. I know! I know! I work too hard and I should take it easy … But I owe it to my girls to work them as hard as I can ;-)

Tomorrow is the last day of the 7 night, 4 night and 14 night courses. That’s a lot of people realising affirming and committing to the changes they need to make before they make their journey home on the Friday so with all joking aside today is a good day to get serious and prepare because come Friday they will need to do it all on their own.

Is Chocolate Good or Bad for You?

Is Chocolate Good or Bad for You?

Dark Chocolate. Photo credit TheGuardian.com.

Is chocolate bad for you? There are indications that eating chocolate can contribute to reduced levels of bone density. Lower levels of bone density can lead to osteoporosis in later life . Headache triggers has been associated with eating chocolate, particularly for people who suffer with migraines. Milk chocolate is higher in the overall calories, sugar and saturated fats.

Is chocolate good for you? Research suggests that cocoa, in chocolate, contains polyphenols, which has been attributed to oxidation of harmful cholesterol. It is considered eating chocolate is good for relieving stress through valeric acid and the smell. Valeric acid is a known relaxant, and the smell of chocolate has been attributed with the slowing down of brain waves, resulting in a relaxed but alert state.

Is it possible to buy healthy chocolate? Perhaps we should be looking at the additives to chocolate to assess the health properties. Chocolate can contain sugar, dairy, gluten, and in place of sugar artificial sweeteners. Chocolate without these items are more likely to be seen as a healthy alternative, such as dark chocolate.

Research suggests that eating chocolate does not always lead to weight gain. It is a situation where moderation is required to maintain a good balance to the consumption of a healthy diet and a little treat occasionally. A healthy body is achieved through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Weight Loss Camp Day Activities Report by Andy – 4 Sept 2014

Weight Loss Camp Day Activities Report by Andy – 4 Sept 2014

Thursday really feel like a wind down day here, for us anyway! The clients still have a full day ahead of them, with Zumba, yoga, cookery workshop, 6 mile walk around Chatsworth,badminton spinning and rebounding a last blast workout and bokwa all before 5pm but not in that order. But it’s a wind down for us because there are a couple of classes taken by external instructors which gives us chance to get ready to move down to Dorset first thing tomorrow morning.

I think on Thursdays we could easily cram a weeks worth of exercise into one day and the clients would take it with a smile (of sorts) on their faces, it’s the last day and nothing can break their spirits today, not to mention the fact that when you’ve done so much exercise through the week so far however much we cram into one day would seem achievable in their new mindset. All that is left to do in the evening is congratulate them on a job well done, especially those that have finished 2 weeks of constant exercise!

I’m not sure how we are supposed put into words the sheer achievement and respect these girls have earned for their efforts and so at a loss for words we can only hope that from the looks in our eyes and the beaming smiles on our faces they will know how proud we are of their efforts. As for the rest of the group from both the seven and four night courses I don’t want it to feel like we are undermining their own efforts because at FitFarms everyone is an individual and each individual has earned the upmost praise and admiration however long their stay but as their mentor I feel it is necessary to reiterate how proud I am.

On a final note for this week I would just like to say it’s been a real pleasure working with such a group of interesting people yet again here at Matlock and it has put me in a fine mood for our third and final week down in Dorset.

Weight Loss Camp High Protein Breakfast

Weight Loss  Camp High Protein Breakfast

The Weight Loss Camp Breakfast which is high in protein and exactly enough calories carry us through the holistic boot camp day.

Breakfast is usually served between 8 and 9am after the first intensive exercise session. All the meals the guest have at the weight loss retreat has been designed by the camps nutritional therapist. The food is all delicious but most of all nutritious.