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October 10th, 2007

A recent article in the Daily Mail highlighted how personal trainers can harm your health.

It’s a serious concern when you’ve put your faith in someone and they end up injuring you which requires expensive physio treatment. As a fully qualified level 3 Fitness Instructor, I thought I’d take a few moments to explain how you should select your Personal Trainer.

Before you decide on getting a Personal Trainer, consider why you need their services. Are you wanting to improve your general fitness or do you need a someone with specialist knowledge such as triathlon training?

You should always meet your Trainer in person before you agree to follow a structured programme.

Most good Personal Trainers will offer a free consultation and health check before they start working with you. They will ask you to fill out a health questionnaire and may perform some basic fitness tests or check your weight, body fat and blood pressure. Once they’ve done this, then get them to explain how they’re going to help you with your objectives.

You should also ask to see an example training workout that they’ve done for other clients. If nothing is written down, then the chances are that the person is making it up as they go along and you’re not going to follow a structured programme.

Always check that the Personal Trainer is a member of The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). REPS is a self-regulatory body that has been set up to help safeguard and to promote the health and interests of people who are using the services of exercise and fitness instructors, teachers and trainers.

reps-card.jpgThe Register recognizes industry-based qualifications, practical competency, and requires fitness professionals to work within a Code of Ethical Practice. Members of the Register are given a card and registration certificate to prove their qualification and membership. Don’t be afraid to ask to see this documentation.

A good Personal Trainer should keep you motivated and help you to achieve your health and fitness goals. You should feel comfortable in their company and the Trainer should be professional at all times.

Health news

October 1st, 2007

Heart damage ‘may boost defences’ reports the BBC. The damage caused by heart disease may make the organ cope better with the dangers of surgery, say researchers.

The BBC also report that “Chocolate ‘aids fatigue syndrome’“. It’s believed that a daily dose of specially-formulated dark chocolate may help cut chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.

Patients in a pilot study found they had less fatigue when eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa content than with white chocolate dyed brown.

Researchers from Hull York Medical School said the results were surprising but dark chocolate may be having an effect on the brain chemical serotonin.

Elsewhere, the Guardian highlights that the Smoking ban benefits bar staff. The Independent also takes up the story by stating that Bars prosper and staff are healthier after smoke ban.

Fit? Half of us can’t even touch our toes

September 27th, 2007

Our fitness levels have reached an all-time low, a survey reveals.

It found that half of us cannot touch our toes - and the majority could not cycle for 20 minutes or manage 20 sit-ups.

Although none of this may sound life-threatening, experts believe there could be serious consequences.

Fred Turok, chairman of the LA Fitness gym chain which commissioned the research, said: “Fitness levels in this country are reaching danger levels - not being able to touch your toes sounds laughable, but it is really a national tragedy.

Click here for full report.

Mixing coffee and paracetamol ‘could cause liver damage’

September 26th, 2007

Consumers have been warned that drinking coffee while taking paracetamol could increase their risk of liver damage

Scientists found caffeine triples the amount of a toxic by-product created when the pain killer is broken down. The toxin is the same as the one responsible for liver damage and liver failure in toxic reactions involving alcohol and paracetamol.

Health experts have warned for years that drinking excess alcohol while taking paracetamol can trigger a toxic interaction and could cause liver failure, or even death. Click here for full report.

Flu jab may not work for oldest patients

September 25th, 2007

Flu vaccination, which costs the government around £150m a year, may not after all save the lives of the older people who are the target of intensive annual campaigns, according to scientists.

A major review published online today concludes that flaws in the studies of the flu vaccine have led them to “greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits”. The authors of the report, in the medical journal the Lancet Infectious Diseases, add that there is not enough other evidence to work out to what extent flu jabs cut the death toll, if indeed they reduce it at all.

The annual flu vaccination campaign, which begins this month, targets people over 65 and those who have long-term health problems. Flu deaths usually peak in January or February.

It is usually claimed that flu jabs halve winter deaths among older people. But Lone Simonsen from George Washington University in Washington DC and colleagues write today that this statistic cannot possibly be correct. Flu is only responsible for 5% of winter deaths in older people. Click here for full report

Bad sleeping “doubles heart risk”

September 24th, 2007

Researchers say both too much and too little sleep is linked to a doubled risk of fatal cardiovascular disease.

Teams from the University of Warwick and University College London examined sleep patterns and death rates over two decades among 10,308 civil servants.

They found a doubled risk among those who cut their sleeping from seven to five hours a night compared to those who stuck to seven hours a night.

The research, to be presented to the British Sleep Society, was based on data taken in 1985-88 and on follow up information collected in 1992-93. Click here for full report.

Study: Soccer beats jogging for fitness

September 21st, 2007

A friendly game of soccer works off more fat and builds up more muscle than jogging, new research shows.

Danish scientists, who conducted their research on 37 men, also found the soccer players felt less tired after exercising than the joggers because they were having more fun.

This is good news for men who prefer to play football (soccer) with their mates,” said Dr. Gary O’Donovan, a sports medicine expert at the University of Exeter who was not connected to the study.

To measure how hard the men were working out, the researchers strapped heart monitors to their chests and compared blood samples and muscle tissue before and after matches and jogging sessions. Click here for full report.

London 2012 announce adidas as Tier One Partner

September 20th, 2007

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and adidas today announced that adidas has become the latest Tier One Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games – becoming Official Sportswear Partner.

A host of international sports stars attended the central London launch including World sprint Champions Tyson Gay and Allyson Felix alongside legendary Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, British sprint hopeful Craig Pickering, gold medal winning decathlete Daley Thompson, Paralympic hopeful Shelly Woods and BMX rider Shanaze Reade.

gymnastics-at-marble-arch.JPGTo celebrate the announcement adidas turned various parts of the capital into unexpected sports venues. The Millennium Bridge became a 100m track, there was pole vaulting over London buses in Horse Guards Parade and Olympic 2012 hopeful Louis Smith hung under Marble Arch. Flash Judo sprung up in Covent Garden, there was fencing on the Centre Point and BMX bikes raced around a track floating on the Thames. Read more »

The virtues of Vitamin D: It’s time we saw the light

September 18th, 2007

It may not be the first supplement to be called a “wonder vitamin”, but it is one of the few to have lived up to the name. Last week, the biggest review of the role of vitamin D in health found that people who took supplements of the vitamin for six years reduced their risk of dying from all causes.

Overall mortality

It was the proof that researchers had been waiting for. Earlier studies had suggested that vitamin D played a key role in protecting against cancer, heart disease and diabetes – conditions that account for 60 to 70 per cent of all deaths in the West.

The new study, by scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon and the European Institute of Oncology in Milan and published in Archives of Internal Medicine, shows that it does.

The review of 18 trials involving 57,000 people found that those who took the supplements had an 7 per cent lower risk of death overall during the six-year period of the study. Click here for full report.

Brits ‘dying not to do exercise’

September 17th, 2007

Most UK adults are so unwilling to exercise that not even the threat of an early death is enough to get them off the sofa, a survey suggests.

Only 38% of people questioned by YouGov said they would do more exercise if their life depended on it.

And British Heart Foundation figures show only a third of people manage to do enough exercise to achieve the minimum recommended amount.

Experts warned inactivity is dangerous even in those who are a healthy weight.

Click here for full report.

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