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Your Active is here to help you!

We have a wide range of articles about fitness, health and events at Active.

Read one of our many articles below by clicking on the title and after you have finished, let us know what you think by submitting a comment. What fitness techniques have you tried that have worked or failed? Is there a new kind of fitness class that we don't currently provide? What more could we do to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle?

We will be uploading more articles regularly so please keep an eye on this page, and we hope to hear from you soon!

Are you weight wise?

The number of people who are overweight or obese has been rapidly increasing in the UK, to the point that obesity is becoming one of the UK's most serious health problems. Currently, 38% of the people in the UK are overweight and a further 20% are obese. Data collected in a Jersey Health Survey show that we are not far behind, with 33% of people reported to be overweight and 12% obese.

Being overweight or obese can affect nearly every part of your body. It can increase the chances of having heart attacks, high blood pressure and even developing diabetes and certain cancers. Other reasons for controlling weight may be as important to you as your health. You may want to get fitter, get into shape, look better and feel better or just be able to get into clothes that no longer fit.

So how do we know what a healthy weight is?

The definition of overweight and obesity is usually based on an approximation of body fat, based on our height and weight. Risk of illness increases significantly somewhere between BMI values of 25-30 and increases rapidly at BMI values greater than 30. However, underweight people are also at risk, with BMI value of less than 20 linked to decreased longevity.

Are you an apple or a pear?

BMI is a simple and useful tool but does have limitations. It takes no account of variation in stature, frame or body composition, so a very muscular person may appear overweight if BMI is the sole assessment tool. Evidence suggests that intraabdominal fat (apple shape) is greater risk factor for developing heart decease and diabetes than a similar weight of fat deposited subcutaneously (pear shaped). Hence waist circumference has also been proposed as an alternative measurement to BMI.

Small changes can lead to big benefits!

The good news is that if you are overweight, even a small weight loss can produce a variety of health benefits. It's not always easy to lose weight, but both diet and physical activity levels play a role in tackling obesity. Many physically inactive people fail to recognise that their energy needs are low and tend to overeat and hence gain weight.

Be weight wise, eat sensibly!

The best way of keeping your weight in control is to eat a healthy balanced diet. All research findings suggest that losing weight steadily and gradually is the safest way and the weight is much more likely to stay off than if you lose it quickly. Crash diets result in loss of muscle tissue and water. So, although the scales may read less, your body has not lost much fat. Also your metabolic rate slows down and it becomes even harder to lose weight.

If you are trying to lose weight, aim to lose no more than one to two pounds (half to one Kg) each week.

Measuring your waist is an easy way of finding out whether you are an 'apple' or 'pear'. To measure your waist find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips. Measure around your middle at a point mid-way between these (for many people this will be the tummy button). Use the table below to see if you are at risk of ill health.

foods like pie and chips occasionally is fine, but having them everyday instead of a variety of different foods is not so healthy.

The main rules for healthy eating are:-

• Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. All types - fresh, frozen, tinned and dried are good.

• Have some starchy food with each meal. These are bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, noodles and other cereals.

• Choose low fat dairy products where possible (milk, yoghurts and cheese).

• Eat small portions of lean meat and fish.

• Limit fatty and sugary foods and alcohol.

• Eat regular meals.

Changing your diet and getting more ACTIVE both need careful thought and effort, but often small changes can lead to big results. 

The list below are some simple actions you could try if you are trying to control your weight:-

• Do nothing else whilst eating, enjoy your food and try not to rush meals.

• Eat regularly. Skipping breakfast may mean you are tempted with chocolate or biscuits mid morning.

• Eat whilst sitting down.

• Keep healthy snacks to hand.

• Wait at least five minutes after finishing your meal to decide if you need second helpings.

• Ask yourself if you are really hungry.  Would a low calorie drink suffice?

• Remove serving dishes from the table if you think you will be tempted to overeat.

• Stop on a full stomach.

• Clean your teeth after a meal or when you have the urge to overeat.

• Practice refusing offers to overeat. Learn to say 'no thank you' firmly and politely.

Written by Jill Fa Karen & Le Cornu at 10:00

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Devoid of Energy...Has your engine run dry?

Having trouble getting your engine started in the morning; feeling stressed and frazzled; tired all the time;having problems concentrating; or feeling de-motivated?If this rings true for you, then read on for tips on how to increase your zest for living and re energize your batteries.

Step 1
Identify what is sapping your body of energy?
• Lack of sleep
• Stress
• Overwork
• Blood sugar imbalance
• Excess alcohol
• Over reliance on stimulants such as tea and coffee
Poor diet

Step 2
Shake up your diet.
Energizing nutrition can have a profound effect on the way you feel. Instead of relying on that chocolate bar or double latte to keep you pepped up; fill your diet with fresh foods and slow releasing carbohydrates to keep your body running in peak condition. The body has to work harder processing low quality nutrient-poor foods and uses some of its own energy reserves in the process - resulting in less energy for you.
Action.
Eat oat porridge for breakfast topped with fresh berries and a desert spoon of ground seeds (mixed ground seeds available from the health food shops).

Eat every 3 - 4 hours.
To stop your energy levels from falling. Leaving long gaps between meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop resulting in tiredness, reduced concentration and general lethargy.
Action
Take a small tupperware of mixed nuts and seeds to work to snack mid morning and mid afternoon.

Drink plenty of water.
Dehydration can exhaust your body.
Action
Aim to drink between 1 and 2 litres of bottled or filtered water per day.

Avoid eating late at night.
It disrupts digestion and prevents the body from carrying out its essential repair work - this can leave you feeling groggy and low on energy the next day.
Action.
If you get home late at night, try to eat your main meal at lunchtime and have a smaller,
more easily digested meal for dinner.

Eat slow releasing carbs with protein.
Simple carbs release sugar in the body at a faster rate than complex carbs, fats, and protein, and give the body an immediate energy surge. However this boost is short-lived and can leave you constantly fighting a battle for energy during the day. Protein gives your body a boost, and when combined with the right carbohydrates, gives the body long-lasting energy.
Action.
For a super quick protein-rich lunch try tinned sardines in tomato on whole meal toast.

Cut caffeine.
Caffeine is an anti-nutrient and will rob your body of vital vitamins and minerals. It can reduce the absorption of iron and zinc by up to 50%. Sugar and stimulants such as caffeine do provide a quick energy boost but they are usually followed by an even greater low, as blood sugar levels crash back down. These fleeting bursts of artificial energy can leave you feeling whacked out.
Action
Come off the caffeine slowly. Start by reducing the amount of coffee you drink by half. Experiment with alternatives such as Red Bush (Rooibosch) tea, Caro coffee alternative and herbal teas. Don't be put off by your first herbal tea taste, there are loads to choose from!

Useful supplements to help boost energy B vitamins, Coenzyme Q10, Ginseng and spirulina can all help increase energy levels in the body.

Step 3
Try the following to take your energy to new heights
✔ Let the sunshine into your life. Get yourself outdoors and breathe in that fresh air
✔ Get enough sleep. Poor sleep is one of the main contributing factors to low energy. Work out how much you need and stick to it
✔ Get active and exercise at least 3 times a week - exercise helps create vitality, resilience and health
✔ Practice proper breathing - take deep breathes to reduce stress, unwind and re energize - all in one shot!
✔ Stop worrying - stress and anxiety literally drain the body of energy.Worry never helped anyone
✔ Be positive - negativity is draining

High energy eating ideas

Breakfast
✔ Porridge oats soaked overnight with almonds, desiccated coconut, raisins, flax seeds. Add berries in the morning. Glass of diluted unsweetened fruit juice
✔ Fresh fruit smoothie mixed with yogurt or plain tofu and seeds

Snacks
✔ Glass of freshly squeezed carrot juice (homemade, or from the Market juice bar or Cafejacs at the Arts Centre) + a small handful of nuts
✔ One chopped pepper + a small tub of hummus (M & S or Waitrose at Checkers)

Lunch
✔ Wholemeal tortilla wrap with chicken and vegetables
✔ Fresh soup (made without cream) and wholemeal brown roll

Snack
✔ Unsweetened probiotic yogurt with chopped banana
✔ Chopped apple with peanut butter (healthy version)

Dinner
✔ Stir-fried beef with broccoli and spring onions served with brown basmati rice
✔ Baked potato and chilli
✔ Grilled trout or salmon fillet with steamed green vegetables

To sum up -
For good energy eat food that brings goodness to your body. Keep nutrient-poor foods to a minimum - to process these the body has to use its own stores. Avoid stimulating an unnatural high with caffeine and finally sleep well, smile lots, breathe deeply, relax whenever you can and take time to enjoy your life.

Written by Mandy Bonhomme at 15:35

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