Showing all posts in ‘Health & Fitness’

Fit and Tanned? Wow!

We have been listening to our customers. They are telling us that the love getting fitter, leaner, faster and slimmer, but still worry about confidence showing off the new improved selves!

 

Well, with this mind, Orbus Leisure have joined forces with the UK’s leading tanning solution brand,  Creative Tan, to produce a Spray Tan Kit which will get you beach ready within 10 miutes. Yes, within 10 minutes you can get that beach ready look, whether you are planning for a distant trip or an important night out, your fitness regime has paid dividends and now the icing on the cake is that fantastic natural looking tan. Please check out the tanning section of the site for full details.

 

So why don’t you try one of these great new sunless tanning kits and combine it with a Creative Tan solution to match you needs. Your home fitness workout routine doesn’t need to end with you just feeling great; you can be looking great as well!

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How your diet can help you meet your Cardio Workout goals

Of course, we should always try and keep to a relatively healthy diet to sustain general good health, but if your exercise routine is mainly cardio based, you will need a balance of nutrients to get the most out of your efforts.

We should all be getting some level of cardio exercise on a regular basis, so if you are managing to do so, these are some thoughts on how we can give ourselves the best dietary support.
All basic cardio workouts, like treadmill, bike, cross trainer or rowing machine workouts need both carbohydrates and fat. As you exercise routines intensify, your body will take up both fats and carbs to provide much needed energy levels. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits and bean provide good levels of carbs. Healthy fats are provided by the likes of olive oil, nuts, avocado, eggs and salmon.

We digest different foods at different rates, so timing your meals or snacks is also important.

You should have a healthy meal 3 or 4 hours before a workout. If you are looking for something an hour or so before you start, then low-fat (and relatively low-protein) snacks are the way to go.

After your workout you will need to “refuel” energy stores to help your body recover. This will mean more carbs and also a protein boost. Again, if it’s been 4 or more hours since your last meal you should make time for another. If it isn’t that time yet, then another snack or protein bar is in order.

In essence, do you research on foodstuffs, make sure your timings are correct and consider your own personal ability to digest certain foods. A healthy, well planned and executed diet regime will certainly boost your performance and help you get the most from your cardio workout!

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Should we all be buying Protein Shakes to stay fit?

SALES of protein shakes are booming, with celebrity bodies rather than muscle bound beefcakes leading the trend. Is this a fad, or a true necessity for a full and successful fitness regime?

In fact, experts will advise that a regular, light strength workout, combined with a well thought out diet is the most effective way to retain muscle definition and sustain long term weight control.

Already in the UK, in our daily diets, (source: The National Food Survey) women are generally eating around 65g of protein a day, which is 20g more than the recommended level. Similarly, men intake around 88g, which is over 30g more than the 55g required daily.

So, doesn’t this in fact show that protein shake supplements are not usually needed at all? Well, we do need protein for growth and to make and repair cells within our bodies, as we are not able to store reserves of protein. So we need to consume it daily, usually and traditionally as part of our regular diet, rather than via a shake.

Researchers in Denmark have revealed that milk is even more effective for controlling appetite than protein whey shakes. However at extreme training levels, undertaken by Olympic athletes for example, these supplements can make up shortfalls in what is effectively a much heightened need to protein. However for the casual gym goer, or those of us who just wish to stay trim, then sensible diet would be the easiest way forward, in combination with a regular fitness workout that you could design for your home gym, including the usual equipment such as a cross trainer, treadmill or exercise bike.

So, should we all be buying Protein Shakes to stay fit? The simple answer is no, but of course you can decide for yourself where you fit in the fitness world and if they may indeed be applicable to you!

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Uplift in Interest Free Fitness Equipment Sales

With the economy still slow, and the emphasis moving towards easy payment options, there has been a sharp rise in 0% interest free sales within the fitness industry.

Orbus Leisure have shown a lead and as a result have seen significant growth in this areas, as it has developed ‘smart’ offers which allow its buyers to source higher quality, traditionally higher spend items, in a cost effect, spread-payment way.

This has been particularly well received by Treadmill and higher end Cross Trainer buyers, who can equate the low monthly payments to a standard gym membership scheme. The difference being that after 12 months they own a significant piece of equipment outright!

It also makes it so much easier to justify a trade up to a more expensive model, without the need for and associated worry of a singular high value payment being required.

These offers are not confined to these two pieces of fitness equipment exclusively, with other great deals showing in the Vibration plate, Rowing machine and Exercise Bike categories also.

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Health, Leisure, Fitness and Wellbeing Exhibition Calendar 2012/2013

 

The next few months see a great wealth of exhibitions showcasing the health and fitness industry. Here are some of the highlights, with links to the relevant sites.

LEISURE INDUSTRY WEEK, 2012

18-20th September 2012, NEC Birmingham

Leisure Industry Week (LIW) has become the largest UK leisure exhibition dedicated to the whole leisure industry sector.

Highlighting the latest fitness equipment to indoor play, membership retention through to healthy eating, LIW covers all areas.

THE OLYMPIA BEAUTY SHOW 2012

23rd – 24th September 2012, Olympia, London

Representing over 400 brands from all areas of the beauty industry, exhibiting the latest products and collections for 2012/2013.

MIND BODY SOUL EXPERIENCE 2012

28th – 30th September 2012, Olympia, London

With TaiChi, Belly Dancing, Pilates, Zumba, Yoga and Salsa all represented in an eclectic collection of complementary health, spiritual awareness and personal development. The event aims are to visitors develop a healthy mind, body and soul.

THE GOOD HEALTH SHOW 2012

20th – 21st October 2012, NEC, Birmingham

A fantastic weekend of wellbeing, health, fitness. Get advice to help you feel better, look better and live better.

THE YOGA SHOW 2012

26th – 28th October 2012, Olympia, London

This exhibition offers a total yoga experience, with demonstrations, products and lectures. You can find everything you will need for yoga & pilates practice together with inspirational products for a healthy lifestyle.

THE 50+ SHOW 2013

1st – 2nd March 2013, Manchester Central

This age group is discovering new lifestyles and is seeking new ways to stay healthy, lively and well informed. Exhibitors with an interest in ‘mature’ markets come together under one roof.

THE VITALITY SHOW 2012

21st – 24th March 2013, Earls Court, London

Vitality Show is the UK’s largest health, beauty, fitness and well-being event for women, with free fitness and yoga classes, free food and health advice, demonstrations and classes. Learn how to get fit and stay in shape.

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So How do you Stay Healthy?

The biggest factor that will determine how long we live is not the genes you inherit, but the way we conduct ourselves during our lifetime.

A British Medical journal study suggested we could cut our chances of having a stroke by 50% by doing 3 simple things. Regular exercise, or activity, eating 5-a-day servings of fruit and vedge, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol.

These are now all well know factors for the public at large, but let’s look at a list of check points that can make a real difference to health and give a guide to life expectancy.

1. Don’t rush to retire – evidence shows the drop off activity can be very detrimental to health. So once your working days are over stay as active as possible.

2. Floss your teeth regularly – yes, flossing can actually keep arteries healthy by reducing the bacteria that enters the blood stream

3. Don’t stay still – it’s all about movement and activity. Exercise, waking instead of driving, taking stairs instead of lifts, gardening (etc) are all ways to beat inactivity.

4. Have a healthy breakfast every day – fibre rich breakfast cereal can halt age accelerators.

5. Sleep well – 6 hours daily should be the minimum. This will help your body and cells stay regulated.

6. Enjoy whole foods, not supplements

7. Try not to be neurotic – easier said than done, but try yoga or meditation. Those that live longest tend to be more relaxed in general.

8. Be good to your body – a general life message worth heeding!

9. Routine is good – a study of centurions found that they are often creatures of habit, with regular sleep patterns and diets.

10. Interact – socially active people are less likely to be depressed and more likely to stay mentally alert.

11. Believe it or not, one of the best predictors of longevity is conscientiousness— you are more likely to stick to routines and regimes that are good for you.

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How to avoid injury

Even top Olympians and Premiership football stars need to stretch before training; it’s a basic requirement to help ensure you can steer clear of injury.

Of course, some injuries are unavoidable, but pulls, strains and ‘tweaks’ can be avoided with some simple precautions.

You should always look at your exercise as a three stage process. Warm up – Exercise – Warm down.

Warm up

You can increase blood flow around the body, to increase flexibility of the muscles and muscle tissue, allowing free movement and reducing the possibility of wear and strain.

You can start your warm up with some very simple aerobics, such as light jogging for 5 or 10 mins on the road or treadmill. Then move onto some stretching. Again for 5 or 10 mins, concentrating on the correct areas.

Finally push the limits with some three quarter workouts, such as short sprints etc.

Exercise

You should now be ready for your fitness exercise or competition.

Warm Down

Once complete, don’t forget to warm down. This can replicate the first two stages of the warm up, i.e. simple aerobics and stretching. This will allow the muscles to slowly cool and relax, again avoiding injury.

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Fitness and Diet – Swap failure for Success

Choosing healthier foods to supplement you fitness training can be much easier than you think. Simply changing some old habits can make a huge difference you your health, wellbeing and waistline!

Let’s see what diet ‘swaps’ you can consider to make a crucial difference.

Try some simple, small changes when you plan your meals, or even when you reach into the fridge or cupboard for that quick snack. And by the way, don’t be afraid to snack. Our bodies are not designed to work on two or three big meals alone. Smaller portions, more often, really are a better rule.

Once you’ve got started, try thinking of your own healthier food swaps as well. Check food labels, as they can certainly help you to choose healthier options.

Let’s look at breakfast, lunch and dinner to see where a simple swap can make a lot of difference. Firstly of course, breakfast……do you even have breakfast? Well, we know we should! Anyway, let’s assume you do, so try some swapping at the start of the day.

Breakfast  

• Whole milk –Swap for semi-skimmed or even skimmed milk.

• Sugar Coated Breakfast cereal – Swap for a wholegrain breakfast cereal such as porridge or shredded wholegrain wheat cereal, without added sugar.

• A sprinkle of sugar on your cereal? – Swap for a topping of fresh or dried fruit, which also counts towards one of your five a day.

•Full-fat yoghurt – Swap for fat-free Greek yoghurt or natural low-fat yoghurt.

Lunch  

• White breads of any type – Swap for wholegrain types.

• Butter and Cheese in you jacket potato – Swap for reduced fat spread and reduced salt and sugar baked beans.

• Tuna melt Panini – Swap for a tuna salad sandwich on wholemeal bread, without the mayo.

 Dinner  

• Swap cream based or cheesy sauces for tomato or vegetable based alternatives to enjoy with your pasta, or meat and fish dishes.

• Forget adding whole milk and butter to your mash try a low fat spread and skimmed or at least semi-skimmed milk.

• Trim the fat from your meat or choose leaner cuts in the first place.

• Grill, don’t fry!

Overall, its all very straight forward; so just add dedication and will power and soon it will all fall into place.

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Fitness and Health Gadgets

As we continue to strive to keep healthy, maintain regular fitness training, follow exercise plans and endure weight loss controlled diets, we all need as little motivation along the way.

Once way to maintain momentum is to add variation to your workouts. For example, using just one piece of fitness equipment can sometimes become repetitive, whereas circuit training and cross training can add the variety.

However, if you are the type of person who loves gadgets, then why not add a little high tech buzz to your planning, execution or analysis of your fitness levels? This can also be a great way to motivate.

If you are that gadget lover, then take a look at some of the most hyped fitness gadgets at CES 2012 (Consumer Electronics Show).

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Knee Pain and Running?

We all know that running produces a high level of direct impact force on the body and joints. Well scientist have developed a space age method of reducing these forces, which allows professional athletes to train longer, harder and more frequently with minimal stress and recover from injury.

For us mere mortals, if we get knee pain when running, for example; then we need to look at other solutions. Maybe we need to consider better quality, better suited footwear. Take some good advice, and don’t be swayed by some heavy discount labels. They may not save you in the long run.

We can also move our training patterns, from a regular road run, to a cushioned deck treadmill workout. Or we can even move away to a different exercise that provides very low impact levels, such as Elliptical Cross Trainers, indoor exercise bikes, road bikes or rowing machines.

In reality, we should probably do a combination of both. Maybe combine different activities, but always be sure that footwear is adequate.

But for U.S. Olympic runner Jenny Simpson, the options were much more futuristic! Take a look at she used a zero gravity treadmill to help recuperate and train hard for the race of her life.

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How do vibration plates work?

Of the different types of vibration plate available, in general, oscillating plates seem to be better received by those who are not regular gym goers, but are looking to simple lose some weight and tone, or reduce cellulite. They are the gentler, but no less effective, alternative to vertical movement machines, such as Power Plate, and would definately be our recommendation for a beginner to vibration.

Whole body vibration plates (WBV) use vibrations create from a base platform which transfers movement from the feet upwards.

The effect of the vibration is that your body will attempt to ‘stabilise’ itself in direct competition with the vibration. In effect, your muscles keep you in balance, although don’t let that worry you, in reality you will not feel as if you are being thrown off the machine, as the movements are slight yet rapid.

Your muscle fibres contract around 30-50 times a second, burning fat and strengthening. As a whole  resulting in weight loss, reductions in cellulite and many other benefits which would include  boosting metabolism rates and improving circulation.

The term oscillating vibration plate trainers describes they type of movement produced by the platform, or base. An oscillating machine will move in see-saw type motion. So, to use a simple analogy, imagine if you were stood on a see-saw, with one foot either side of the centre, then at any time one foot would be moving down, whilst the other would move up. On an oscillating vibration plate this would only be a very small movement of about 10-12mm, described as the amplitude. So as we said, you will not get the feeling that you are being thrown around! In fact, it should only be the pounds that come off!

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How much do you really know about Core Muscles?

We hear an awful lot about core muscles, and the benefit of having a strong core.

It’s not only when we are exercising that we use our core muscles; we need them all the time in everyday life. They provide strength and support for all of us, all the time. But often too many of us don’t really understand in detail about conditioning of the core, in respect of the reasons and the methods we can apply.

So, as well as your regular cardio busting workouts on a Treadmill or Cross Trainer, or your outdoor or indeed indoor bike rides, it is always advisable to dedicate some time to developing core strength, to enable us to be faster, stronger, less susceptible to injury and to be generally healthier.

There is a great report on the Sports Medicine web site that will enlighten you to all aspects of core strength, and advise how you can achieve a balanced level of strength and fitness. It’s an invaluable read to all budding athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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How much should we exercise to improve our health?

Both UK and US government health departments recommend that adults should engage in at least 150 mins of exercise each week. Commonly suggested to take the form of 5 x 30 min sessions.

This would probably be considered a minimum level to the regular gym goes who may combine 30 mins on a treadmill, cross trainer, bike or rowing machine with an additional weight training session or swim to give over an hours exercise daily.

This is great, as both governments also say that more exercise is even better, but they are also clear that if you cannot do the 150 mins, then a little less is certainly better than nothing!

A relevant study recently published in Lancet has started to attract some attention. You can see the report detailed on the web site ‘ Science-Based Running ‘. It is an engaging read for any health enthusiast, or anyone thinking about improving their fitness.

The study was of huge proportions. In fact, a Taiwanese team led by Chi Pang Wen tracked over 400,000 Taiwanese adults for 8 years.

The results found that even moderate levels of exercise, under half the recommended limit, produced significant health benefits over someone who was relatively inactive

You will see in the report that for every increment of exercise, there was a significant decrease in mortality. An in respect of timings, 30 minutes a day is better than 15, 60 is better than 30, and 90 is better than 60. Also, the gains occur even faster with vigorous exercise, such as running or jogging.

So, in summary, any exercise is better than none, and up to 90 mins a day will incrementally give a greater benefit. So there is hope for those who can only manage a few mins a day of exercise, but the fanatics are certainly not doing themselves any harm either!

Read the full report on the Science-Based Running web site.

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Protecting those Joints during Exercise!

We all know how important it is to reduce wear and tear on your joints. Joint pains can be one of the biggest reasons to dampen a fitness routine, especially as we get older.

Like a gearbox in a car, it’s critical to look after your joints. Constantly crunch you gearbox and it won’t last too long, and your car certainly won’t be doing many miles! There are a few simply ways to keep you joints in top condition, and ‘prolong the life’ of these important parts, keeping you well and truly on the road to your fitness goals.

 Always warm up – Get your body ready to exercise. Even for less high impact equipment or exercise, like cross trainers or exercise bikes, always ensure you warm up. Try some stretching and dynamic movements such as shoulder rolls and ankle circles, and a brisk walk on the treadmill as well.

Don’t Rush – Progress gradually; rushing to do too much can place undue stress on the body increasing the chances of pain and injury.

Listen to your body – If it hurts, stop! If rest doesn’t help, then consult a doctor. Don’t try and push through joint pain, it’s not a barrier that you can break through.

Always wear the correct footwear – Maybe a no brainer, but you would be surprised. For example, if you are exercising in a Zumba or Combat class, you will need different footwear to a runner, or someone working out on a cross trainer. Also, protection deteriorates with wear, so try and change you footwear at an appropriate time. As a rough guide, running shoes will last about 500 miles before needing to be traded in.

Land lightly – When we are running or jumping, our body has to absorb forces equivalent to over 4x our own weight! Landing, with Knees and hips bent, and being in good alignment will minimises the risk of injury.

Watch your technique – Bad exercise techniques can cause injury over time. Have one eye on your positioning, technique and posture, especially as you near the end of your workout, when you may be tiring.

Maintain muscle strength – Conditioning and strengthening muscles will help protect the joints they surround.

Always cool down – As with the warm up, stretch and slowly allow the body to cool and fully recover from you work out.

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Could you eat 9,000 calories a day?

 

 

Running with the Olympic theme for the last time, did you know that typically, Olympians eat six meals and consume 6,000 to 9,000 calories a day!……Wow! If there was ever a better way to show that fitness and physic is all about balancing exercise against calories consumed, then this is it!

Your daily routine my include structured fitness equipment sessions like, treadmill runs, Elliptical Cross Trainer workouts, Exercise Bike rides, or Rowing sessions, Sumba classes or even Combat sessions for the more aggressively challenged! But it will also include less measurable things like the stair climb at work, the run for the bus, the fast stride to the tube station etc etc.

As part of your fitness regime, it’s important to balance calorie intake against calories burnt. Most of us are aware of food labelling, and in respect of calories it is fairly easy to calculate how many calories we are consuming, by applying a little mental effort ‘totting up’ during the day.

It seems more difficult to assess calories burnt, but we have found a good calorie calculator at HealthStatus.com, which should help. Just plug in some figures and you should have a good guide to where you are.

So the good advice seems to be balance the calorie intake v calorie burn to achieve affective weight loss or fitness goals, and also be aware of the nutritional values of food which we will cover in subsequent blogs.

Out of interest, if your first calculation of calories consumed makes you feel a little guilty, then take a look at home some of the biggest Olympians compare.

For example, Canadian shot putter Dylan Armstrong eats a massive 9,000 calories every day! He says…”I like a lot of salmon and obviously, beef and chicken. I’m on a high-protein, low-carb diet. I’ll eat five or six times a day. I try to eat healthy. It does help performance.”

So, the good news is that you can eat like an Olympian without feeling guilty…as long as you exercise like one too! Good luck.

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What does the average Olympian think about health, wellbeing and nutrition?

With an amazing 65 medals in total, including 29 Gold’s, out team GB really did perform fantastically at the London 2012 Olympics. To only be beaten by China and the USA on the medal table is a real feat for such a relatively small country!

With the games still in our mind, have you ever wondered what an Olympian thinks about health, Nutrition and lifestyle that gives them the edge?

Well, we can all learn from these guys, so whether you exercise ‘punishment’ is to pound on your treadmill or sweat on your cross trainer or exercise bike, this same thought process and help improve your performance and wellbeing. Even if you know you will never be stood on the podium blasting out the National Anthem, or crying with joy as would more likely be the case!

Recently NBC published a great video where they asked top US athletes what their thoughts were. Its definately food for thought!

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At odds with your running feet?

 

Maybe you feel you could do with the exercise…. but sometimes your feet could really do with a rest!

Sore or aching feet after running is not uncommon. Even the most expensive, attractive, stylish, supportive and technically brilliant running shoes can leave your feet in some discomfort following a long road run or treadmill session.

The general rule seems to be the longer the run, the more the pain, but if you are new to running, or returning after a break, then even a short session can cause some soreness and discomfort.

Of course, if symptoms persist, then you should consult your doctor, but there are some basic home remedies can be applied which will give relief in most cases.

Rest – It all starts here as this is possibly the best cure for sore and swollen feet. Try and plan your workout to fit in before a period where you need to have minimal movement, and maximum rest. Try and stay off your feet for a period after your exercise to allow recovery. This sound common sense, which of course it is, however taking a moment to plan it, may mean it becomes reality more often than if it is left to chance!

Elevation – of course, you will know that soreness will be accompanied by its friend, swelling! Your feet will swell due to the amount of pressure applied during a run. This can cause blood to ‘pool’ in the area, as good circulation is reduced by the constant pounding of a run. This build-up of pressure will cause swelling.

So, once finished, during you ‘rest’ period, remove footwear and socks and elevate your feet above pelvis level. This should then allow the blood to circulate more naturally and effectively giving relief from the swelling.

Ice – Putting an ice pack on the affected area is often the choice of the aching runner. The cold of a towel wrapped pack helps relieve the pressure that builds up in your feet during a run, and should help reduce swelling, or even prevent swelling if you haven’t been affected already.

A 10 to m15 min session of ice should be long enough.

Immersion – Finally, try soaking your weary feet in a foot bath. Again 10 to 15 mins should be fine and the temperature can be warm, to sooth and relax, or cold, to work like an ice pack and reduce pressure.

All of the above appear simple steps, but the best possible approach would be to make sure you plan the time to see if they can assist in your recuperation time, after that hard treadmill session, or exercise run. Good luck!

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Ever considered the ‘Exercise Equivalent’ of food and drinks?

 

Health & Fitness experts are suggesting that junk food and fizzy drinks should display ‘exercise labels’ on their packaging to advise consumers how much physical exercise is needed to burn the sky-high calorie and fat content contained in these products.

A research study out of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore suggests that ‘Exercise Labels’ On Food Packaging could actually be more effective than the current Calorie Counts.

To test the theory, researchers positioned three different posters outside corner shops to see which was most effective in influencing the behaviour of young people when buying high calorie fizzy drinks.

The first asked if consumers knew that an average fizzy drink contains 250 calories. The second asked if they understood that this single drink was 10% of their recommended daily intake. The last explained that it could take nearly one hour on a treadmill to counteract the soaring sugar and bur the equivalent calories.

Guess which was most effective? Yes, the ‘Exercise Equivalent’ message caused a higher drop in sales than either of the two calorie based information posters.

Dr Sara Bleich stated that “People generally underestimate the number of calories in the foods and beverages they consume”…“Providing easily understandable caloric information-particularly in the form of a physical activity equivalent, such as running – may reduce calorie intake from sugar – sweetened beverages and increase water consumption among adolescents”…“It is critical to explore the most effective strategies for presenting caloric information to consumers”.

So if we are looking for motivation to eat and drink more healthily, then maybe this conversion into time and associated effort, may be the best way forward for all of us?

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Sweating to Improve your Mind?

It’s easy just to concentrate on the visual results of training and exercise.

Next time you are sweating on your Elliptical Cross Trainer, or pounding ‘the streets’ on your Treadmill, just take a moment to consider that all this work can make you smarter and happier as well!

Smarter and Happier? – If you think your exercise regime will only give you an advantage in respect of weight loss, stamina or cardio efficiency, then you might be missing the full picture.

It’s true that your efforts will help reduce the risk of heart problems, diabetes and cancer, but it’s true that your mind and wellbeing may benefit just as much from your effort and commitment.

Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, the author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, explains that “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.”

He adds that “Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.” So, surely, if you ever need any added incentive to don your trainers and climb onto your fitness equipment, then this positive message should be it.

If you want to explore these ideas in greater detail, then you can check out the book on Amazon. We recommend it as a great read for those looking to gain, or even re-build, inspiration for your fitness workouts.

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DIY Physio ?

 

Craig Smith, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club physio, has developed some great homemade tips to deal with the minor aches and pains they you may just consider not serious enough to justify a trip to the doctors.

Here are 5 top tips for you to try, but of course he does point out that if the problems persist, then professional advice is always the route to take…

Hand Stretch – After a hard game of squash or tennis or squash, sometimes your forearms and hands stiffen slightly.

Try clasping your fingers together and interlocking your fingers. Then turn your hand over and outwards and push them away from you, leading with the palms. This extends the forearm muscles increasing blood flow which will help to reduce tension in these areas.

Raid the Freezer – If you need an icepack relief, why not raid the freeze for those obligatory pack of frozen peas? Cover the pack in a small towel and there you go! And remember, peas are a good source of Protein, B Vitamins, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Iron, and Potassium. So when they have defrosted, your evening meal will also be great for your health!

Tennis Ball Massage – When your feet are achy and tired after a long day, or a hard Treadmill workout, take a standard tennis ball, remove your socks (they should be relieved!) and sit down.

Put the tennis ball under your feet and roll it back and forward from the tips of your toes back to the heel. This should give your soles a relaxing massage. When you have finished, immerse your tiered feet in warm water for a few minutes which will finally boost the blood flow.

Throw the Towel In? –We have all woken up at some stage with stiffness in the back for no apparent reason.

Try taking lying on the floor, on your back and take either the well-used tennis ball, or a rolled up towel, and position it under the area that is affected.

Take 10, slow, very deep breaths. This will mobilise your vertebrae and chest cage which will loosen up any stiff back joints. Of course, if the pain persists, or gets worse, then a trip to the chiropractor or doctor is the next step.

Hot and Cold – Sprained ankle injuries can result in swelling for a long period after the injury itself and seriously restrict your recover. So if you are trying to get back on your Cross Trainer in record time, why not try this?

The heat and cold combined treatment theory will open and close your blood vessels helping to increase circulation. This should flush the area of excess fluid and reduce any swelling.

Get yourself two tubs of water. One with hot, but bearable water, the other with iced water. Starting and ending with the iced tub, alternate your ankle between the two about 5 times in each. Each ‘dip’ should last for two minutes.

That should have your swelling under control in no time!

Thanks Craig! (First published on the BBC Sports News web site, health and fitness section)

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