A Beginners Guide to Cycling

Since the success of London 2012 Olympics that saw the success of many British cycling athletes soar, cycling as a hobby and a pastime has been on the rise. Cycling is a great sport to take up; it can help with fitness and also slash your costs if you decide to cycle to work. Before starting you may want to ask yourself, ‘what is my goal?’ Do you want to be a competitive cyclist? Or is it just going to be a hobby? Either way, here are a few tips that can make your life as a beginner cyclist go much smoother.

Safety First

Life on the road as a cyclist can be dangerous, even on the cycle track and you’re not legally supposed to ride on the pavement, therefore having the right safety equipment is imperative. This is not the time to be fashion conscious; if you fall and hit your head it could be fatal so ensure that you wear a helmet. There are many styles of helmet on the market to choose from. Check out Evans Cycles to view a vast range of designs. They will not only protect you they will also make you look much more like a professional rider. You’ll also need a high visibility jacket and bicycle light if you’re planning to ride at night, but don’t worry Lycra isn’t always necessary.

Protecting Your Bike

Cycling gear can take up a lot of space in your home so it is worthwhile to invest in storage. Bikes can cost a lot of money, so if you’re riding into a city and leaving your bike whilst you work make sure that you have a bike lock. Bike theft is actually one of the most common forms of crime, it is estimated that over half a million bikes are stolen each year; you can read more on this subject and receive advice on how to keep your bike and other items secure on the news page at LockUpGarages.

Get Going

The only way to get better at cycling is to do it, as they say, practice makes perfect. Cycling is wonderful for your health and physique; when cycling you will be tightening and training the majority of your muscles making them become much stronger. It is even said that cycling can improve your immune system and help you to de-stress. Like any form of exercise, it can be tough on your heart and body so if you have had any health concerns in the past visit your doctor before starting.  The NHS actually has some fantastic tips on how to start cycling; this will help you to protect your health whilst embarking on this exciting new hobby.

Cycling is a fantastic activity to enjoy alone or with your family and friends. It is a way to save money, get fit and be kind to the environment. Safety is paramount, so ensure that you research road safety and before you start cycling on busy roads, make sure that you have a safe place to keep your bike and then, finally, you can simply just enjoy the road!

A Guide to Home Exercise Equipment

It’s not always easy to get to the gym in between work and making time for your family, so many of us would like to be able to get a proper workout at home. There are plenty of exercise regimes you can do with no equipment or with minimal equipment, but for those who are looking for something a little more in-depth, here are some of the top options.

Swim

It’s surprisingly easy to get an Olympic-class swimming regime in your own pool at home. It doesn’t even require buying up the neighbour’s houses to get space for a fifty metre swimming pool – just the installation of some very clever technology. The Fastlane by Endless Pools uses hydraulic pump technology to create a wall of water for you to swim against, and it can be fitted into any size pool.

This system is available from Compass Pools in the UK, you can read more about it here.

Cycle

Cycling is really popular right now, thanks to the headline-grabbing successes of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Victoria Pendleton, but the British weather isn’t always conducive to a long or regular cycling regime. If you prefer to exercise indoors, an exercise bike gives you all the benefits of a cycling regime without the disadvantages of the weather – and it also means you can watch TV at the same time, so you can grab a DVD of Le Tour and imagine you’re cycling with the best. Men’s Fitness magazine has a review of the four best exercise bikes on the market which you can read here.

Jump

Trampolines are not just for screaming children or tiny gymnasts; an exercise trampoline can provide you with a surprisingly efficient work out, if used correctly. It’s even said that ten minutes on a trampoline can provide the same workout as running a mile, and as well as being a superior aerobic workout it’s great fun too – just don’t tell the kids! Rebo Trampolines have a trampoline fitness guide which you can read here.

Run (or Walk)

When it comes to large home exercise equipment, a treadmill is one of the most popular (alongside exercise bikes and rowing machines) and there’s a wide range to choose from. They are ideal for even the most sedentary of exercise machines, as you can use them for anything from a gentle walk upwards, and allow you to stop whenever you need to- unlike walking or running outside, you won’t need to worry about getting back home. You don’t have to just walk or run along, either – WebMD have a feature on treadmill workouts which take an hour or less, using intervals and mixing the treadmill with floor exercises. You can read the article here.

Detox Holidays

If you would like to lose a few additional pounds, increase your fitness, give your liver a break, reduce stress or simply have some ‘me’ time, then you should probably consider detox retreats. Just think about it; why not make your next holiday a healthy one!

Before you consider a detox holiday, think about what you want to achieve. First of all, you need to ask yourself, what is it that you would like to gain from your detoxification program, and what are you prepared to commit to. According to many detox specialists, (http://www.spanishdetoxretreats.com/) detoxes can vary from a weight loss and simple relaxation programs to a specific health challenges including detoxification of a particular organs and cells to help you with illness and prevention of disease. So it is important that you are clear on what you would like to gain and prepared to commit during your time of detoxing.

It is also important to prepare yourself for your holiday. Whichever program you choose, do try to reduce your intake of caffeine, and processed sugar a couple of weeks beforehand. According to Laura M. Juliano, neurologists and headache specialist, (check Laura’s article for more information: http://www.livescience.com/35949-caffeine-causes-cures-headaches.html) the sudden removal of both (caffeine and sugar) can cause headaches that can ruin your holiday time. Also, if you can, you should leave your laptop at home, if not then hand it to reception, along with your mobile phone. Constant communication with the outside world can increase your stress levels. That’s why many retreats ban the use of laptops and mobile phones to ensure little disturbance.

Find out what to expect. It is clear that it can take a few days to truly relax, and most individuals make the fatal mistake of filling their days at a retreat, with a thousand activities as if they are back home in the office. For instance, Merope Mills argues that (check her article her http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2012/jul/13/detox-spa-retreat-malaga-spain) you should try taking things slowly, and giving yourself permission to just stop and do nothing. Enjoy the nature in a relaxing location, meet other interesting people from around the world, and have the best time of your life!

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Coping With Sports Injuries

Coping With Sports Injuries
In the wake of a weekend of sport, you can often feel a certain amount of muscle tightness, bone pains and general fatigue in the week. These might just be the wear-and-tear of the weekend’s activities, but if they persist then there may be a deeper lying cause. If you begin to feel the repeated strain, here are a few things you can try that should start to ease your pain.

Massage
It’s possible that your tightness is just that, tightness. In that case, a good massage can be especially beneficial in loosening your muscles. A consistent build up of tension can cause tightness, and repetitive strain on those muscles can then begin to exacerbate the tension and turn it into something more. In that case, seek out professional massage to help reduce the stress on the muscle. Dedicated sports massage therapy is the best for tightness incurred through sporting activity, so you’ll want to go to a specialist like www.massagebenefitslondon.co.uk for that, but with many other options available it’s entirely up to you. You might feel that you’ll better benefit from a different variant. Take a look at www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-85833/There-64-ways-massage–right-you.html  to get abreast of all the available options, and then head to www.massagetherapy.co.uk to find your perfect massage practitioner.Physio
When you feel the problem might be a little more serious, then massage may not fully cut it. If that’s the case then it’s worth looking at some more intensive physio option, so check out www.balancephysio.com and www.physiosure.co.uk if you think a more thorough care is required. Signing up for paid physio can often be better than waiting for the NHS despite the extra cost, as there are no waiting times and you can often receive a greater level of one-to-one care. Nonetheless, it’s worth giving www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Physiotherapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx a read and then following the links through to related items to get the official line on physiotherapy and how it could help you.

Surgery
Your final option is surgery. If neither massage nor physio have helped effectively alleviate your pain then there may be a deeper problem. There’s often no need to worry as the surgery is designed to right a known wrong, and is neither reactionary nor exploratory, so in spite of the potential extent of the injury you are likely to be undergoing what is classified as a routine procedure.  As with massage and physio there are dedicated practices out there for sporting injuries like www.londonorthopaedic.com and www.sportsinjurysurgery.com, who can better understand the nature of your injury due to their specialisation. Check out the video below for a more detailed look at London Orthopaedic.

Sporting injuries can often amount to nothing more than a niggle, particularly for those of us who aren’t professional or playing near full-time. Nevertheless, aches, pains and sprains can happen to any of us and when bed rest just isn’t doing it then it’s important to know what treat is available to you.

Dealing with a Sports Injury

If you are the avid sports player now and again, you are going to get injured. Injuries are inevitable in sport however small or big they are, and sometimes they will come at a very bad time. It can be quite hard to deal with an injury as it may have a huge impact on the sport you are involved in but learning how to deal with it is the key!

Step One:

Acceptance! Accepting the fact that you are quite clearly injured is the first step. Some of us will try and continue despite an injury and quite frankly, that will only make the situation worst. By accepting that you have injured yourself means you can then focus on getting better! Livestrong offer the different steps that you may go through before acceptance is possible which when reading it you realise that you may be at the first step of denial, it may help you see there is a brighter future ahead it is just getting there mentally! For the article – click here.

Step Two:

Go to your doctor! Your doctor is there to help you, and before you take any serious actions like spending money to see a professional, your doctor will be able to give you some kind of indication as to how serious your injury is. This could end in a trip to the hospital or being advised to have a few weeks off with your feet up! Either way it is the first steps towards getting the problem at hand fixed. If you want to check your injury first before you go to the doctors click here for the NHS guide to injuries.

Step Three:

See a physio! At this stage you have either gone straight to the hospital or have been advised to take other actions in getting better. Physiotherapy is a great way to help both your mental state and your physical state improve. Physiotherapy is specialised to deal with such injuries and will give you an individual programme to improve and prepare you to be in situation where you can get back out there and play your sport. Click here for a lead physiotherapist’s practice which offers services for your injury in the present but also a full rehabilitation service to prepare you for getting back into your sport. It is important that the type of physio treatment that is offered to you is correct and that you are comfortable with it. After all you want to be back out doing what you love so listen to the professionals and they will have you ready in no time.

Step Four:

Maintain fitness and nutrition! When people get injured the often let their fitness and nutrition levels slip which will cause weight gain but also make it a lot more difficult when you have fully recovered to begin your sport again. Limit your amount of exercise and work the parts of your body that aren’t injured, for example if it’s your arm that is injured, go walking to maintain your cardiovascular fitness. Also maintaining a healthy diet will make it easier when you are not injured. People often tend to binge and use their injury time as a time out from their sport which only makes it more difficult in the long run. Click here for some nutrition tips to get keep you in tip top condition while you are suffering from an injury.

These are only four steps to help you deal with your sports injury. If you are badly injured it is advisable to take a longer period of time off and rest as much as possible in order to let your body heal. Find more tips on coping with an injury here.

 

Beach Bod Building

Men, with summer coming and that holiday booked there’s probably that nagging thought in the back of your head that you really should tone up, you know, get that beach-bod, or at least lose the last of your winter hibernation gains. Thankfully, help is hand. Well, you’ll still have to go down the gym, but with the help of the right intake you can efficiently enhance the process, leaving you all suitably defined for days spent topless on the beach.

Eat Well
The top priority on your list should regimenting your diet. Your training will help create and ultimately define your muscle mass, but at first this requires the eating of the correct foods to establish muscle protein in the first place. As a rule, portion sizes dictate you should eat like a king in the mornings, a prince at lunch and a pauper in the evenings, concentrating on protein-heavy foods, particularly red meat and eggs. If you’re looking for the best way to improve your build through food, yet still retain a varied diet, take a look at www.menshealth.co.uk/food-nutrition/muscle-foods. Additionally, check out www.musclemeals.co.uk for some protein-packed pre-made meals specifically designed to help you on your body-building quest.

Train Hard
When it comes to training, there’s a myriad of different routines, movements and techniques you can try. Between the hundreds of different options it can be helpful to know exactly what is at the basis of everything you do, so I’d advise casting your eyes over www.brianmac.co.uk/mustrain.htm to get a better idea of the difference categories of training. More than the training itself, it can often be hardest to get yourself motivated, and harder still to sustain that motivation. I’d very much recommend training with a partner as the innate sense of competition will push both of you further. If it’s hard to fit a definitive schedule around one another then why not look at a personal trainer? They combine the fundamentals of muscle training with a tailored approach to you, so it can be worth investigating places like www.upfitness.co.uk. Whatever you decide, you are going to have to invest in a gym membership, so I’d also advise going to www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/cheap-gym-membership to get the best deals around.

Lose Fat
Fat isn’t your enemy. You are always going to need fat in your body and your diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it’s natural that you’ll want to trim it to improve your definition; there’s no point building muscle if it’s hidden behind a layer of fat. Your training will naturally eradicate some of it, but for that extra boost it’s worth heading to www.muscleforcesupplements.com to expedite the process. Ultimately, gaining muscle and losing fat require opposite body states, meaning it’s hard to achieve one without the cost of the other, so such products can really aid with keeping fat down. However, this will need to be augmented by a strong cardio workout to further increases those gains and reduce that fat. Regimes like the one found at www.uk.askmen.com/top_10/fitness_top_ten/8_fitness_list increase your cardio whilst burning fat, meaning you get a stronger, more rounded total workout experience.

Keep It Safe 

It is extremely important when training hard to remember safety should come first! It’s not hard to obtain an injury and it will only take something small to do it. Check out http://www.livestrong.com/article/504510-five-important-precautions-when-working-out/ for five simple but important precautions to take when you are working out. Injuries can cause a lot of stress and depression as you cannot continue to work out to the standard that you will have been at before the injury. Don’t get angry if you do get injured, take it in your stride and for a speedy recovery seek medical advice as they will know what best route to take and will be able to advise you on what exercise and muscle building you can continue with. http://www.carlton-clinic.net/ has a wide range of services for injuries including physiotherapy and osteopathy which is manipulation of muscles by massage. There are lots of different options of helping an injury but the best advice is to gain enough rest so your body can recover fully. Don’t overdo it as your injury will get worse!

Getting in shape will take a lot of hard work and dedication, but it can be done. By the time summer roles around you should begin to reap the benefits of your efforts and notice a difference with your physique, which in turn can greatly boost your confidence. The hardest part after summer is making sure you keep it up!

Finding Your Perfect Gym Partner

Since gyms have existed, people have always had an obsession with keeping fit and healthy. Whether it’s before or after work or sometimes in a lunch break, going to the gym is a big part of many workers lives. It’s not something they’d want to give up, even if that meant losing out on their social life.

But more and more gym-goers are realising that they don’t have to give up socialising in order to regularly visit the gym. On the contrary, due to the increasing popularity of after-work gym sessions, the gym has recently become a social hub of meeting, greeting and getting to know. Maybe it’s something to do with exercising around other people: the activity of panting and sweating on a treadmill looking relatively unattractive perhaps clears the air of all social expectation, meaning that couples can begin without any pretence or pressure to maintain the air of attractiveness. Records have recently shown that weight-losing programme The Biggest Loser has in fact hooked up more on-screen couples than
The Bachelorette, a programme designed to do just that. Read more about the surprising
statistics here, and see for yourself that perhaps seeing your potential partner at their very worst – sweating and struggling to breathe as they have their poorly concealed doughnuts confiscated – sets a better basis for a relationship than the heavily made-up, cocktail-dress sporting line-up presented in programmes like The Bachelorette.

If you are one of the many modern day business woman who barely have time to schedule in lunch before whizzing off to a meeting, going to the gym can seem like the only thing you do with your spare time. So why not use it to your advantage? With more modern gyms and leisure centres that boast all-inclusive swimming pools, saunas, cafes and bars, there’s a lot of opportunity for meeting guys. Visit eHow to find out how to meet the perfect gym partner! It’ll inform you on everything you need to know. There’s just one problem: hooking a guy can often be difficult with mascara running down your face in streams of perspiration. There’s going ‘au natural’ then there’s looking a bit like a post-Hulk Bruce Banner. So what can you do to retain just a little femininity in order to charm your gym-going date?

Firstly, remember that the gym involves sweating. In some cases, lots of sweating. As silly as it would be to deny this, there are certain techniques of avoiding drawing attention to the affected areas. Black or white clothing is best. Fitness clothes made from bamboo are also great because they’re extra breathable, reducing signs of sweating. Visit this website to browse some fantastic bamboo clothing for the gym or yoga mat! As well as choosing the right clothing, you need your hair to be doing the right thing. Straggly and streaming is an absolute no-go – you need sleek, pulled back in a bun. For extra glamour add a small (and I mean small!) quiff with hair grips. Avoid wearing makeup – this will only run. What some women opt for instead is permanent makeup procedures. This way you can achieve the just-out-the-salon look all day every day. Click here to have a look at some of your options for permanent makeup – it’s a Godsend for busy business women!Once you have all these components in place – the hair, the makeup, the clothes – you are set. You can spend your time in the gym exercising and meeting new people without having to feel like you’ve just crawled out of a swamp. Just remember to keep a small can of deodorant on you at all times in case the man of your dreams walks through the door!

Are Cigarettes Becoming Obsolete?

It’s fair to say that the development of smoking has changed dramatically over the decades. Since as early as the 1920’s smoking has been an integral commodity in people’s lifestyles, particularly from a social aspect. According to this historic article I was reading about smoking, tobacco has actually been around for longer than we thought and the tobacco plant originated from Asiatic people around 18,000 years ago. However it wasn’t until the 1940’s that associations with cancer started to arise, causing controversy.

Since the invention of traditional smoking methods like cigarettes, cigars and chewable tobacco, over recent decades the emphasis on improving the nation’s health has become paramount, and for good reason. If you look into the damages a typical tobacco-ridden cigarette can do to the human body, you might think twice about lighting up in future. Of course it’s understandable that tobacco is highly addictive and takes time to wean off, but this is why there has since been a lot of development with various companies sourcing healthier alternatives for people addicted to nicotine content.

Smoking can be attractive but it’s also very expensive. So if you are planning to kick the 40-a-day smoking habit, why not switch to a flavoured shisha cigarette instead? Eshish is a revolutionary type of electronic cigarette which has been brought out buy leading shisha suppliers like E-Shisha Warehouse. They sell a whole range of deliciously fruity flavoured electronic sticks which are convenient to buy online too.

The benefits of choosing this method of smoking are many – there is no nicotine or tar in electronic cigarettes meaning that your lungs will thank you for the lack of smoke inhalation. Also, these are great if you are trying to give up smoking and you can use them whenever and wherever you like. Such an environmentally friendly product is particularly handy what with the indoor smoking ban, right?

By no means is it advisable to take up smoking to begin with, but it’s also extremely useful to know that there have been considerable improvements on the tobacco market aimed at health-conscious individuals.

My Wedding Diet

Every woman dreams of her wedding day since the day she could fashion a veil from an old sheet and hold a bunch of salvaged dandelions from the garden.  I was no different and had very often fantasized about my special day way more than was socially acceptable.  I had envisaged everything from my table settings, my cake and of course, the most important thing of all; the dress! What I hadn’t envisaged was me putting on an extra half a stone in weight in the run up to the wedding.

It must be all the cake and menu tasting!

I was by no means fat, but I was uncomfortable with my new weight and wanted to get back to what I usually weighed before my big day.  I knew if I didn’t, I would feel uncomfortable and I didn’t want anything to ruin my big day trying to squeeze myself into my perfect dress.

I know many celebrities lose lots of weights on stupid crash diets and some even opt for surgery to lose those extra pounds before they tie the knot, but I was determined to lose the weight sensibly through exercise and diet over the next few months.

As regards to my diet, I ate pretty healthily anyway so just followed some of the steps from this article form Shape Magazine, ‘The Do’s and Don’ts For Losing Wedding Diets‘ making sure I ate better portion sizes and cut out my 5 a day sugary coffee habit.  As well as my normal beauty regime, I also added special superfoods to my diet as recommended by Fitness Magazine.  Foods such as blueberries, salmon and kiwis helped improve my hair, skin and nails as well as tasting great and being easily incorporated into my wedding diet too.

After a few weeks of this, the weight was dropping off but there was still a few pounds to go. I had two weeks left and was desperate to lose the last few pounds so I decided to get a personal trainer to help me shift them in time for the big day.  My friend recommended me to Tom Kelly Personal Training who you can find at their website www.tomkellypersonaltraining.co.uk, after she had used him to lose her baby weight that  year.  The sessions were great and he really made me work hard  making it  just what I needed  to lose those final pounds plus a few more extra pounds than I was originally aiming for!

Come my wedding day, I slipped on my dress like a dream and ate my chocolate and cherry wedding cake in copious amounts, sipped champagne to my heart’s content and ate every bit of my five course dinner menu.  After-all, I’d earned it right?!

Making Fitness Fun and Profitable: A Tale of Two Wallys!

Last year my partner and I took part in The London Marathon on behalf of charity. If you’d like find out about earning some hard cash for a good cause, visit The London Marathon website. I can’t say you won’t regret it –about half way through, I admit, I began to, but looking back, it was certainly something to tick off the bucket list and the money we raised was, of course, much appreciated.

To be honest though, my motivation for taking part in The London Marathon wasn’t purely altruistic, and neither was my partner’s; I want an excuse to get into better shape and excuse to spend a few nights at a particular Hotel in King’s Cross, London (actually where my partner and I first met, nearly ten years ago!) and my partner just wanted to get into costume. Then, when my bloke suggested we complete The London Marathon dressed as ‘those guys from the 118 TV adverts’, I knew it was up to me to find our outfits…or face wearing a tiny pair of gym shorts that seemed to cover less than the accompanying stick on mustache. If the thought of surviving a twenty-six mile run didn’t terrify me, the prospect of short shorts did.

Having never been a fan of the fancy dress party (simply because I’m quite shy and prefer to blend in rather than stand out, which can be difficult to do dressed as fruit or a cartoon character etc), dressing up for a charity fundraising event filled me with excitement; I got to dress up and blend in. Every year thousands (yes, thousands) of marathon runners and brave charity fundraising folk put on funny wigs and crazy get-up to take part in the London marathon. Then, all I had to do was find the perfect fancy dress for myself and my guy…who, having even suggested we simply wear our underwear, I knew would be up for anything I chose for us.

Originally scouting out local charity shops, vintage stores and fancy dress hire shops, I realised that making our outfits was way beyond my expertise and that our local fancy dress hire stores preferred customers didn’t return costumes they’d run (and sweat) for over twenty miles in. Fair enough. I can see their point. Then, my efforts were re-directed to the internet. Looking back, Google should’ve been my first port of call. It took me a matter of seconds to type in ‘fancy dress for couples’ and consequently stumble across Bryony Theatrical.

Despite my puffy face, red cheeks and sweaty forehead, I’ve had the picture of my boyfriend and myself crossing the finish line blown up and framed. Sure, I’m proud of what we achieved, finishing the race within four hours (ok, it’s not a world record, but if you ever pluck up the courage to take part yourself, you’ll soon see what I mean) and raising some money for charity, but what makes me smile most is that above the sofa in our lounge is awonderfully bizarre photograph of two grinning Wally’s! I defy you to try and think up a better costume for a relative wall flower.

For anyone who doesn’t remember or know about Wally (shame on you!), he was a character in a book and TV series in which he explored and adventured the world and had to be found among throng and crowds of people and architecture / scenes typical of the country and culture through which he was travelling. Click here to try and find, Where’s Wally? For yourself!