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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!

Optimum Hydration

When exercising at any of our Active Gyms in Jersey, it is important to stay hydrated, this article outlines what is required to keep the right balance of hydration throughout the day.

We can survive without food for up to a month but can only go 3 days without fluids. Drinking fluids provides us with the most important nutrients that our body needs. 

How much fluid do we need?

The body loses about 1.5 litres a day through the skin, lungs, digestive tract and via the kidneys as urine.

We make about 1/3rd of a litre per day when glucose is burnt for energy. Therefore the minimum we need per day is 1 litre. Ideal is 2 litres per day.

How can we achieve the correct balance?

Fruit and vegetables consist of around 90% water and provide it in a form easily used by the body.

One kilogram of fruit and vegetables provides approximately 1 litre of water. Therefore if you eat the recommended intake of 4 pieces of fruit and 4 servings of vegetables per day, you are not only providing your body with an abundance of vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant chemicals but you are also providing approximately 1litre of water. This leaves 1 litre to be taken as fluid.

The remaining litre can be taken in the form of:

• Water

• Herb or fruit teas

• Diluted fruit juice (in moderation)

• Freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices.

 

Water is not simply H20. A typical spring water provides 100mg of calcium per litre (Therefore 1 litre can provide 1/6th of your daily 600mg calcium requirement).

Carbonated water

• Not all bottled water is spring water (read the label carefully)

• Artificially carbonated water actually depletes our minerals (the carbon molecules in artificially

carbonated drinks are unattached and can bind to minerals in the body, taking them from us)

• People who consume a lot of carbonated drinks tend to have less bone density than those who do not.

Tap water

There are concerns over the anti-nutrients such as nitrates, lead and aluminium, contained in tap water.

Levels of these exceed safety limits in much of Britain and approximately 1/4 of all British tap water contains pesticides at levels above maximum admissible concentrations set by the EC. 

Therefore it is best to drink filtered, bottled or distilled water (although filters also remove naturally occurring minerals from the body).

Caffeine

The stimulants in tea and coffee act as diuretics and rob the body of valuable minerals. Therefore they are not recommended as ideal sources of fluid intake. 

• Caffeine is not good for health or energy levels

• It can cause a rapid heart beat and lead to irritability and anxiety

• Caffeine causes a blood sugar peak (instant 'energy'). The body scrambles to adjust this increase in blood sugar by releasing insulin to bring blood sugar levels back to normal ('slump'). This causes hunger and uneven energy levels.

• Decaffeinated still contains stimulants. Chemicals are used to remove the caffeine.

 

Conclusion

Drink 1 -2 litres of water and herb tea per day (try taking a 2 litre bottle of water to work and drinking it throughout the day)

• Dilute fruit juices with 50% water

• Be well hydrated before exercise and drink an extra litre of fluid per hour of exercise

• Limit tea and coffee

• Drink alcohol in moderation.

Don't use thirst as an indicator of fluid need. you will already be dehydrated by the time your body starts signalling thirst!

 

You can read more about hydration in this article Are you dying of thirst? For a full list of Active classes at our three great centres go to our online timtable.

Written by Active at 11:00

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Detox Tips For The Summer

Why detox? Gentle detoxing can help remove the build-up of foreign substances and toxins from your fat stores in the body. These accumulated substances can sap your vitality and can be the cause of tiredness, headaches, constipation, allergies, low sex drive, skin problems and excess weight. Having an occasional clean out can help the body re-gain some of its lost vitality and give you renewed energy for a fun-filled summer.

Some of the following tips will help you get started:

Cleanse with Water

You should drink between 1 and 2 litres of bottled or filtered water per day. Drinking plenty of water is an important part of detoxification that will help cleanse and eliminate toxins from the body. Avoid fizzy drinks and reduce your tea and coffee intake.

 Top Tip = Start your day with a cup of warm water and lemon to flush out your kidneys. It will zest up the start of your day.

Detox Tips For The Summer Image

 Out with the Energy Sappers (Caffeine)

Increase your energy levels by reducing your caffeine intake. 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%, which can reduce the effectiveness of your immune system. Caffeine is a stimulant that overworks the adrenal glands leading to adrenal exhaustion and a more tired you.

Top Tip = 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!

Reduce Sweet and Fatty Foods

We all know this, but how many of us have diets high in the wrong kind of fats and hidden sugars. Read food labels and become aware of what you are putting into your body. Too many sweet foods can play havoc with your blood sugar levels, immune system and mood. Avoid refined white sugar, dextrose, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. Use healthier alternatives such as naturally sweet fruit juice, honey and molasses.

Top Tip = Sweeten your breakfast cereal with fresh fruits.

In the Raw

Try to include one raw food meal each day. This will help increase your intake of vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant chemicals. Raw food is also a good source of live enzymes, which aid in the digestion and processing of food.

Top Tip = Try different ingredients to jazz up your salads such as grated carrot, shredded red and white cabbage, grated beetroot, sliced mushrooms, black olives, spring onions, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated prawns, griddled chicken and small amounts of feta or goat's cheese.

Surround yourself with Fresh Fruit and Veggies

No excuse now, bright coloured fresh fruit and vegetables are everywhere and you need to make the most of it. Include salads, fresh fruit smoothies, chilled vegetable soups, fresh fruit juices, fruit salads, crudités with guacamole, or hummus dips (see recipes below.)

Top Tip = Snack on chopped vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, sugar snap peas, broccoli with a low fat dip or serve as starter.

Be Inspired by Colour

When shopping, try to include some form of fresh food in your basket from every colour of the rainbow. Your basket or trolley should be brimming with colour and freshness. This will help ensure you get a wide range of protective nutrients for your body. Try including berries (purple and red), apples and pears (green), mangoes (orange), pineapples (yellow). For vegetables try aubergine and tomatoes (purple and red), spinach (green), sweet potatoes and butternut squash (orange) and yellow peppers. With regards to the kids, try to encourage them to help find the colours.

Top Tip = Eat from the rainbow.

Learn to Love the Freedom of the Outdoors 

Get outside more and fill your lungs with fresh air.

Top Tip = summer is the perfect time to try a new form

of exercise and use up all your newly found energy! Try tennis at Les Quennevais (part of the Active card), a swim in Havre des Pas pool, cliff-path walking, cycling, jogging or try the new Trim Trail at Fort Regent.

Summer Recipes

Mango and Strawberry Fruit Smoothie (2)

1 ripe mango, chopped

6-8 strawberries

1 pint soya milk

4 tbsp low fat Bio or unsweetened soya yogurt

Mixed ground seeds

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. If the consistency is too thick,

then add some filtered water and blend.

Hummus

400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil

120ml tahini (sesame seed spread)

Juice of 1 lemon

Pinch of paprika or cayenne pepper

Freshly ground black pepper

Puree the chickpeas and other ingredients in

a blender or food processor ingredients to make a creamy consistency.

Taste and add more black pepper or lemon

juice if necessary.

Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours

before serving.

Serve with freshly cut carrots, celery, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower or as a spread for sandwiches or tortilla wraps.

Written by Active at 10:49

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Are you dying of thirst?

The bones that support your body are 25% water. The muscles that drive performance are 75% water. The blood that carries nutrients to your muscles is 82% water. The lungs that oxygenate you are 90% water. Your brain that motivates you is 76% water.

People tend to think that it's impossible to drink the recommended 1.5 - 2 litres of water a day. But often these people are having a couple of coffees in the morning, a can of soft drink with lunch, and alcoholic beverages with their dinner. They all provide hydration, but are not as healthy as water.

Substituting these drinks with water will make it easier for you to achieve the recommendations. Start by drinking a couple of glasses when you first get up in the morning and then continue to drink water throughout the day. Keep a bottle of water with you all day and drink plenty before, during and after your workout.

Somewhere between 70 and 75 percent of the earth's surface is covered with water.
Michael Colgan in his book Optimum Sports Nutrition labelled us a "hairy bag of water". Very apt considering the body is approximately 66% water.

Keeping your fluid levels topped up is crucial for optimal performance. The main factors that will negatively affect performance and increase fatigue are insufficient carbohydrate stores and poor fluid intake. Research has shown that even mild dehydration of 1% bodyweight can negatively affect performance.

In an attempt to prevent a rise in core temperature as you exercise, the body tries to get rid of excess heat through sweating and also as water vapour in the air as you breathe out. Unless fluid is replaced, sweating causes a drop in circulating blood volume and a thickening of the blood. When this occurs, the heart has to work harder to maintain blood flow to the muscles, making exercise seem a whole lot harder!

According to Michael Colgan performance literally dries up without adequate hydration.
"Dehydrate a muscle by only 3% and you cause about a 10% loss of contractile strength, and an 8% loss of speed." In an article written by Lee Coyne Ph.D. entitled 'Water for Health and Performance' "Even low levels of dehydration have physiological consequences. A loss of 2% bodyweight (just 1kg for a 50kg person) causes an increase in perceived effort and is claimed to reduce performance by 10-20% A fluid loss exceeding 3-5% bodyweight reduces aerobic exercise performance noticeably and impairs reaction time, judgment, concentration and decision making - vital elements in all sports,from pole-vaulting to football."

Are you drinking enough?
Take the pee test. Sounds classy I know but this provides an easy way to check your water intake. When water losses from the body exceed water intake, the kidneys need to conserve water, making the urine more concentrated and darker in colour. Dark coloured urine is a good indicator that you are dehydrated. If you are drinking enough water then your urine should be almost clear. Please note however that certain vitamin supplements and vegetables such as beetroot can alter this colour.

A healthy person can drink about three gallons (48 cups) of water per day. Drinking too much water too quickly can lead to water intoxication. Water intoxication occurs when water dilutes the sodium level in the bloodstream and causes an imbalance of water in the brain.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
• Headaches
• Dry eyes / Dry mouth
• Drowsiness / Light headedness
• Reduced concentration
• Irritability
• Reduced urine output
• Fatigue
• Muscle weakness
Reduced performance

Soft drinks, coffee and tea, while containing mostly water, also contain caffeine. Caffeine can act as a mild diuretic, preventing water from travelling to necessary locations in the body. From a health point of view these are not the best choices but can contribute towards your daily intake. By the time a person feels thirsty, his or her body has lost over 1 percent of its total water amount.

Recommendations
• Don't wait until you are thirsty
• Sip fluid throughout the day - aim for 8 glasses of good quality water, herbal teas, diluted fruit and vegetable juices
• Remember that a diet high in fruit and vegetables will have a high water content that contributes towards daily intake
• Arrive hydrated to your exercise session
• Exercise can suppress thirst - so get into the habit of drinking regularly during your session
• Take a water bottle with you
• Sportmediceine.about.com recommend drinking 300ml every 10 - 15 mins during exercise
• If exercising longer than 90 minutes then the addition of a sports drink formula can help performance
• Adjust drinking strategy according to heat - training in warm temperatures or outside in the sun encourages more sweat loss - therefore drink more
• Weigh yourself before and after exercise and replace fluid losses - each kilogram of weight loss equates to approximately 1 litre of water
References
www.centralhome.com - 'Water for Health and Performance' by Lee Coyne
The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition Anita Bean
Optimum Sports NutritionMichael Colgan
www.sportsmedicine.about.com

Written by Mandy Bonhomme at 15:50

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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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