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Complementary Fitness 26 February newsletter

Complementary Fitness Logo

Welcome to this week’s newsletter & updates:

Woo hoo, this Friday we’re into March and hopefully better and brighter weather – I can’t wait.

Daylight is being extended (no more 4.30pm darkness anymore) but with all the colds, flu, other viruses going around, I’m looking forward to more light, warmth which all improves our mood too.


I’ll remind you nearer the time and this is way-in-advance notice but just to let you know that on Fri 29 March (Good Friday), I’m changing our fitness yoga start time to 9.00 (and finishing at 10am sharp), just for that one day.  Put the earlier 9am start time in your diary, phone calendar etc now and set yourself a reminder.


We’ve all heard or read that physical activity can super-charge our bodies as well as our brains.

In relation to the exercise-brain health link, scientific research has been incredibly consistent in showing us the value of exercise and moving our bodies is one of the most valuable things we can do to live longer, feel better and think clearer.


Regular physical activity has been linked to a lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression and at moderate levels, it can even lower inflammation.

Exercise and being active can also increase the protein BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) which in turn, has been shown to promote new brain connections and the growth of new neurons.


Scientific research has also shown that exercise appears to increase muscle-based proteins called myokines (I researched and say more about myokines below*) that positively affect brain health.

I’m sure that we all know that exercise is great at reducing stress and doing some sort of resistance training and/or cardiovascular training has huge benefits for our bodies, brains as well as elevating mood.

We’re moving our muscles and getting more blood circulating around the body with more blood flow to the muscles and brain with more oxygen and nutrients which are necessary for health.

Exercise is now also thought to improve our brain’s ability to use fuel eg glucose with recent data showing improved brain metabolism in people who regularly move their bodies.

Even short bursts of exercise can improve our brain power so it’s good to get up out of our chairs every so often (maybe once an hour, even for 5 mins), go for a walk, do a few squats, lunges, knee lifts, calf raises, bicep curls etc – as well as regularly coming to and participating in our classes, thanks very much.  (ha the photo of a squat with a rotational “thank you”)

Oh and it’s been said that sitting (being sedentary for too long) is the new smoking!


*More about myokines here for your info:

Myokines are small proteins that come from our muscles and stimulate cells to take specific actions.  Myokines specifically target other muscle cells, fat cells and cells in several of the most critical organs in our body.


When they are produced, myokines promote healthy bodily functioning.

Creating myokines can lead to:

  • healthier arteries
  • lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • enhanced memory
  • fat loss
  • muscle cell growth
  • reduced inflammation
  • lower risk of many chronic diseases

Our health improves when we create more myokines.

Myokines are created when our muscles contract.  

As you may guess, strength training is an excellent and effective way to maximize the production of myokines.

Research shows that strength training enhances the production of key myokines that reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and dementia.

So, in summary, myokines come from muscle contractions and they stimulate healthy changes in the body.

Strength training is a very effective strategy for increasing the production of myokines and, therefore, for improving your health.


Thanks to ES (Wed/Fri classes) who sent me a link to an article in Marie Claire which asked the question: Is Pilates once a week enough?

You can read the whole article here

Is Pilates Once A Week Enough To Boost Muscle & Tone? | Marie Claire UK

But if you don’t read the article, the gist of it/part of it said that:

If your goal is to improve your fitness, then aim for 2 or 3 sessions a week to improve strength, flexibility and mobility over time.

(the article didn’t say this but it’s my opinion that this can also be achieved with a combination of Pilates/fitness Pilates and yoga/fitness yoga classes).


We know that in the UK, according to the NHS Physical Activity Guidelines, adults aged between 19 to 64 should be aiming for and doing either 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week or 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity, instead.

The guidelines recommend that on at least 2 days, strengthening activities should be completed, ensuring that all the major muscle groups have been trained.


Now you might be thinking: ‘Is Pilates strength training’? ‘and technically speaking – it is.

(Btw: you’ll know that our fitness Pilates class IS about strength training too.)

The article said that Pilates won’t facilitate the same strength gains we’d experience while lifting heavy weights but it certainly ticks off the resistance training box in this category.


Thanks also to FB (Fri fitness yoga) who sent a screenshot of a recent article in The Times entitled ‘Running, yoga and dancing beat drugs in treatment of depression’ which said that, and research shows that ‘running or yoga should be “core treatments” for depression and can be more effective than drugs or therapy’.


The study published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) wanted to establish what types of exercise are best at helping with depression, reviewing data from clinical trails involving over 14,000 people.

Results: they found that all types of physical activity help lift the mood but vigorous exercise eg running or interval training had the greatest benefits.

Good news that group classes eg yoga, fitness, Pilates or dance were also highly effective as the social interaction and interaction involved can provide added benefits.

Overall, aerobic exercise was found to be more effective than taking antidepressants while several types of activities inc jogging and dancing had a bigger impact than CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).


The article said that the NHS should offer exercise classes alongside other treatments incl antidepressants and psychotherapy and that exercise IS already recommended for depression under UK clinical guidelines but in practice, it’s rarely prescribed (however, I know that some of our Dr class members do recommend exercise to their patients, thank you).


The study’s lead author, a doctor from the Uni of Queensland, said the research suggested that the type of exercise could be tailored to different groups of patients with yoga particularly helpful for depression in older men and strength training for younger women.


In the article, according to Professor J Roiser, mental health group leader at University College London, he said that “what is needed is a cultural shift in the way we think about treating depression which emphasises the important role that physical activity can play alongside standard treatments”.  Although another Professor at the same hospital said that “when people experience more severe forms of depression, simply offering exercise may not be completely helpful eg when someone is struggling to get out of bed let alone get to the gym”.

It’s all about balance isn’t it?  and doing what’s right for each and every one of us.

As I keep saying, it’s not about perfection but about progress.


Lastly, in this longish newsletter, have you heard of the Environmental Working Group (EWG)?

If not, it’s like a watchdog that looks at thousands of environmental issues, product looking at potential issues incl a safe sunscreen list so we can make educated decisions.

Every year, they also update the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen lists (looking at pesticides and residues on fruits & vegetables)

Environmental Working Group – Pesticides in People | Environmental Working Group (


Reminder to send me any info, articles, local or other news etc that you come across that we can share with each other, thanks.

How you can pay for classes:

With cash ie £6 per class

Paying directly on my iphone or

By bank transfer into my account.


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