why health and fitness?

classes at The Bridge

back to basics

Fitness is not only about a person’s physical capability. Importantly, it is also about improving a person’s mental wellbeing. Mental and physical wellbeing are well known to be linked and there are studies emerging which are increasingly building on this connection.

Exercise can have a positive effect on the functioning of the immune system and can influence a person’s vulnerability to infection. Researchers have found a link between moderate regular exercise and reduced frequency of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) compared to that of an inactive person. A one year study of over 500 adults found that participating in 1-2 hours of moderate exercise per day was associated with a one third reduction in the risk of getting a URTI compared with individuals that had an inactive lifestyle (Nieman et al. 2011). Other studies have shown that people who exercise 2 or more days a week have half as many days off school or work due to colds or flu as those who don’t exercise. Which is great to know as we try to avoid catching a cold as we head into winter.

On the flip side of that, it is possible to excessively push your body and it has also been found that with excessive amounts of exercise that there could be an increased risk of URTIs. So as in all things, balance is important and weighing up what is realistic and appropriate for you in terms of the amount and type of exercise that you engage in within your fitness regime.

fitness and nutrition

When we think about our physical health, nutrition can often be a secondary thought to exercise. However, what we put into our bodies is just as important as how we use it. The body can be described as a machine and food as our fuel. You wouldn’t put diesel into a petrol engine so it’s important to think before you refuel. Avoiding certain foods and drinks may help prolong your life. Eating too much high-calorie food rich in simple carbohydrates (sugars) or fat could lead to weight gain or obesity.

Some fats are known to be particularly bad for you. Trans-fats, made from hydrogenated vegetable oil, can be found in margarine, biscuits, cakes and fast food. It can raise the level of our 'bad' cholesterol, significantly increasing the risk of atherosclerosis which blocks arteries, leading to heart disease and stroke.

Reducing salt intake is also important to keep your heart healthy, as eating too much salt could lead to high blood pressure – which in turn may lead to heart failure, stroke and other complications.

Drinking too much alcohol can also have devastating effects on our health – not only can it leave us with a hangover the next day, but drinking more than the recommended intake on a regular basis can also cause long-term damage to the body's internal organs. Chronic misuse is one of the major causes of liver disease.


next steps

Nutrition and fitness helps to reduce the risk of developing diabetes 2, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It also improves your quality of life, which is very important in a world where everyone is busy with work and career progression and where health often is left behind.

So you might say, “That’s all great” – but then question where to start or how to progress.

That’s not a problem, we can answer all your questions!

some top tips

  1. aim for at least 30 min of exercise or any physical activity a day: this could be jogging, walking, cycling, using steps at work, taking a gym class, etc.

  2. no skipping meals: make sure you eat regularly (considering portion size and nutritional value of meals). Most importantly, don’t skip breakfast. It is a mistake to think that skipping breakfast will lead to weight loss. Skipping meals, especially breakfast due to the long “fast” during sleep, often makes a person hungrier and prone to eating more at another meal or snacking. Research has shown that people who eat a regular breakfast are able to maintain a healthy weight (and lose weight, if that’s their aim).

  3. drink lots of water and leave sugary drinks behind: our body is made of almost 70% of water, so water is needed on a daily basis. Drinking 2 to 3 or more litres of water a day also contributes to our mental health, the functioning of our brain and our immune system.

  4. don’t eat too late: for example, a really late dinner or evening snacks. Have your dinner at least 3 to 4 hours before going to bed, and try to make it light. Leave the heavier meals for the lunch time, so have plenty of time to move around, digest and use the fuel we have consumed.

  5. cook your own meals: research shows that by cooking we can consume 30% less fat and oil to our body than when we eat take away food.

  6. eat the right foods: eat lots of vegetables and fruits, and consider amount of protein, carbs and fat you consume in your diet. If you are not sure what to eat, what constitutes a portion, what are the best kinds of proteins, carbs and fats etc., pay us a visit and we will be happy to help.

  7. sign up for a gym – in order to maximise your fitness level and accomplish your goals, a gym membership will really help you. Use it regularly and if you need help, a personal trainer might come in handy at the beginning.

Try these 7 points to kick start your fitness level, progression, and who knows where it might take you.

– hope that helps and see you in the gym soon to sweat it out and get fitter!!!


If you have any questions or a topic you would like to know more about  please do not hesitate to contact us.


References

Gleeson M, Bishop NC and Walsh NP (2013) Exercise Immunology. London: Routledge (Taylor and Francis). ISBN 978-0-415-50725-7 (Hb); 978-0-415-50726-4 (Pb); 978-0-203-12641-7 (Ebook).

 Nieman DC, Henson DA, Austin MD and Sha W (2011) Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults. British Journal of Sports Medicine 45:987-992.

 

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