Complementary Fitness 10 February news

Schools are on holiday this week and our classes are ON too so come and work out with us in as many cases as you can.

Exercise is good for us in many ways including heart health, our mood, great for our joints, muscles and balancing our hormones.  Exercise can help us keep in shape and we can sweat out toxins so keep active and keep moving.

I was given an interesting article in The Times last month (thanks Diana – Wed class) by a celebrity fitness trainer on being lean for life and that it’s never too late to start.  He was saying that we all love the idea of a quick fix but when it comes to diet and exercise, that approach rarely works and that as we get older, we shouldn’t be slowing down but should be pushing ourselves.  For me and our classes, that’s why I like to make each class unique, and although we do a lot of the same exercises: squatting, lunging in all classes, we vary our workouts, add in variations, we don’t just stay in the one space/spot all the time but we move in all planes of motion.  We use resistance bands, kettlebells and hand held weights in our Wednesday class which gives us another opportunity to do some strength training and offset muscle loss that occurs with age.  Also in that class, we get to do some short bursts of cardiovascular interval training and burn more calories, getting our heart pumping while having the option of doing a bit of high impact aerobic work ie jumping jacks, skipping etc (I love it) and also some strength and core work with our short burst of combat moves (love, love, love this and I know that a lot of you do too).

As we get older, our connective tissue ie skin, tendons and ligaments become less elastic and loss of flexibility can affect our posture and the way we move so rather than giving up or only doing strength training, it’s great to incorporate all aspects of fitness including flexibility and that’s what we’re aiming to improve in our fitness Pilates and yoga classes when we stretch the entire body.

I’m sure you know that it’s recommended that we opt for fruit and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants eg broccoli, leeks, garlic, blueberries, bananas, cherries.  You might find it easier to add some fruit along with some spinach or kale into a smoothie made with either dairy or non dairy milk or coconut water.  Add in some spirulina or barley grass powder too.  I particularly like spirulina (maybe an acquired taste but try ½ tsp first) as contains iron, protein, vitamins 1, 2 & 3, copper and also magnesium, potassium and manganese.  It’s a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties and can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  According to some studies, spirulina appears beneficial, to improved muscle strength and endurance.  I certainly feel I have more energy when I add it to smoothies.

In 2 studies, spirulina enhanced endurance, significantly increasing the time it took for people to become fatigued

70% of the immune system is in the gut and prebiotic foods ie apples, pears, oats, leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus, artichokes and high fibre foods (ie sourdough bread) are great sources of prebiotics which feed the good bacteria in our guts.  Maybe up your prebiotics and gut health by having porridge and grate over some apple, pear, some fresh ginger (pear and ginger are a nice combo and top with mixed nuts.  Probiotics are live bacteria that can be found in fermented foods (pickled foods, sauerkraut, kefir and kimchi) and some yoghurts.  I’ve read that the more natural prebiotic food that probiotic bacteria have to eat, the more efficiently these live bacteria work and the healthier our guts will be.  Probiotics can have health benefits after we’ve been ill and if we’ve been on a course of antibiotics and we know that some medications can alter gut bacteria.  So it’s helpful to keep our immune systems topped up with pre and probiotics to help gut and general health.

I’ve often told you that we eat sourdough bread (we buy it from Twelve Triangles and their bread is fermented for 48 hours, rather than some bread which is fermented for 24 hrs) and love to top it with smashed avocado, ‘ordinary’ or beetroot hummus, dukkah etc.  (Talking of beetroot hummus and dukkah, I love Hugh F-W’s recipes which you can find online or in his books).  Anyway, studies have shown that eating sourdough bread can increase our dietary fibre intake by 10-15% compared to yeasted bread.  Some studies are showing a positive link between sourdough and better mood.  What’s not to love about eating delicious a slice of sourdough bread toasted with delicious toppings and feeling better?

When eating lots of nutritious, warming and comforting soups and stews this winter, adding some anti-inflammatory spices eg turmeric, ginger, cumin and paprika can improve your metabolism as well as adding flavour.

If you’re cutting down on meat and want to ‘go veggie’ or have family members who are veggie or vegan or simply want to up your veg intake, there are lots of cook books, loads of recipes on pinterest, realfoods.co.uk/recipes and vegetariantimes.com/recipes

I love this and it makes me think

Before you buy anything, ask yourself:

  • will I use it?
  • do I want to store it?
  • do I want to clean and/or maintain it?
  • would I rather put the money somewhere else?

Wishing you lots of love + hugs on Valentine’s Day this Friday.

take care and I look forward to seeing you and catching up with you this week

SUSAN x

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