Are Contact Sports Dangerous?

Experts agree that sports and exercise, generally speaking, are good for you. However, different forms of sport have different advantages – and disadvantages. Every sport carries its own risks, and injuries are common. However, whilst a sport like tennis can produce thousands of sprains, scraped elbows and back injuries, it simply doesn’t carry the same risk as contact sports like rugby do.

rugby scrum

One of the biggest concerns in contact sports is the risk of concussion. This was brought to the headlines by the death of teenager Ben Robinson in 2011 during a rugby game at his school in Northern Ireland. His death was found to be the result of “second impact syndrome” caused by suffering a second concussion injury before he had recovered from a first. His father is leading a campaign for more education regarding concussion in the school curriculum, and the Welsh government has recently released new guidelines as a result.

Concussion is a risk at all levels of sport, not just in schools and communities – UEFA is introducing new rules regarding head injuries in football following two incidents during the World Cup – but the facilities available at schools and communities are very different to those provided at top level sporting events. Without team doctors on hand, what can be done at the grass roots level to ensure that these risks are reduced?

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, if a suspected concussion or any other injury is suffered during sports it is vital to get treatment as quickly as possible. Having a trained first-aider on site for every practice and match is a wise precaution and not one that is prohibitively expensive – you can easily get first aid training in Peterborough from organisations like Human Touch, and similar companies operate throughout the UK.

Secondly, it is important to ensure that adequate safety equipment is provided. For rugby players, a mouthguard can be a very important piece of kit, helping in the prevention of concussion as well as protecting players’ teeth. Headguards can also help, providing some vital padding around the head.

Thirdly, it is vital that the sport is played correctly. There are rules against foul play in rugby just as in any sport – making sure that the players know how to tackle correctly, and play in the spirit of fairness and sportsmanship can go a long way towards preventing injuries.

The fact is that while there are dangers to contact sports – as with any sports – they can be managed with the right precautions and the right treatment, so if your choice is rugby or watching TV, the healthy option is definitely still to play sports!

Is Smoking Affecting Your Training?

Are you training hard, putting the hours in at the gym, eating healthily and smoking…? If that sounds like you then take a moment and read on to find out how smoking can seriously affect your training regime and limit your physical performance.


Smoking could really be holding you back, but you will be pleased to know that by quitting you’ll see positive effects almost immediately. Check out the quitting timeline, that explains all the positive effects from twenty minutes after your last cigarette to years down the line.

Here are just a few reasons why any athlete or health conscious individual should quit smoking.

Poorly Oxygenated Blood

The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke binds to the haemoglobin of your blood, that’s the stuff that delivers oxygen to muscles! Your muscles are crying out for much-needed oxygen when you’re in the midst of exercise. Poor oxygenation of blood can lead to muscle cramps, as well as lowering your performance and endurance.

Narrowing of Blood Vessels

When you smoke, you narrow your blood vessels, making it much harder for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. Coupled with the lower levels of oxygenation in smokers’ blood, getting your body the oxygen it needs during exercise is a serious handicap for any active person.

Resting Heart Rate Increases

By smoking you increase your resting heart rate. This is bad news as your heart has to work a lot harder, even when you’re inactive. When you start to exercise your heart will have to work even harder again, which could possibly cause your heart beat to rise to potentially dangerous levels.

Benefit from Quitting Immediately


If you smoke, then your physical performance will improve significantly if you quit. You’ll find it easier to breath, your heart rate will decrease, you’ll generally feel healthier and you’ll also be more resistant to illness.

You’ll feel the positive effects so soon after quitting you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this years ago. Even after three days you’ll notice that your lungs have cleared, you’ll have more energy and your sense of taste and smell will have improved.

Help with Quitting

If you’re struggling to quit through sheer willpower alone then do bear in mind there are plenty of products out there to help you cope with the craving for nicotine. Nicorette nicotine patches and similar products from other well-known brands work well for some people, letting nicotine seep into the blood stream through the skin. If you are only a light smoker, this may be enough to wean you off tobacco.

Electronic cigarettes are touted by many as the ultimate smoking cessation aids. Plenty of e-cig products on the market such as YouCig e cigarettes resemble and feel like tobacco cigarettes, allowing user to experience a sensation very similar to inhaling from a cigarette, but without any of the tar, smoke or other unpleasant chemicals lurking in tobacco.

Kicking the Habit!

If you want to quit, but worry that you’ll struggle to go it alone then there’s help available from the NHS’s smoke free online guide. You’ll find some great advice here, along with coping techniques and support from other people who are also on the road to quitting the bad habit of a lifetime.

Think of the end result , the health benefits, the money you’ll save and the longer life you’ll enjoy. We hope that this will help spur you on to a smoke free future.

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!

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.


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, 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!

Is It Possible to Get Rid of Cellulite?

As women, we tend to have more fat in our bellies, legs and butts. However, additional fat often becomes what is called cellulite a bumpy, dimpled skin that looks unattractive and that is one of the most frustrating aesthetic puzzles for women of all ages and all sizes. I am not an exception. I do have a bit of cellulite on my thighs even though I am not overweight.  So, I have decided to share with you my thoughts about this quite big problem between women and tell you my experience of fighting cellulite.

To begin with, there is a quote which says ‘If you know your enemy you will win the war’, so what is cellulite? According to Medical News Today, cellulite is a condition in which the skin appears to have areas with underlying fat deposits, giving it dimpled, and lumpy appearance.  The causes of cellulite are not well understood, but there are several theories that have been put forward as explanations.

First, many doctors believe that cellulite is caused by genetics and heredity. Your genetic make-up can determine your chance of developing cellulite. Also, cellulite is primary a female issue which effects more than 90% of women. Secondly, it is said that if you drink not enough water, smoke, drink alcohol you can also develop cellulite very quickly. Plus according to Free Acne Book, even such small things as sleeping or contraceptive pills can lead you to cellulite and unattractive skin.

However, there are also many myths regarding cellulite such as improving cellulite by changing your diet.  Some people believe that by eating more green leafy vegetables and drinking more soup will help you to get rid of cellulite. From my personal experience I can say that this is false. I’ve spent two months eating ‘green food’ and it did not help me.  What you should really do is to start exercise, especially work on the most problematic areas. I had problems with my legs, so I started doing squats and jogging. What is more, I decided to treat my problematic areas with special massages. Unfortunately, this didn’t cure the cellulite, but at least it helped me to reduce it. I am really thankful to Kelly Swinson, who is a wonderful nurse and founder of ‘Face Perfect Clinic’ without her I wouldn’t have reached any noticeable results.

It is also important to mention that you should not waste your money on lotions and different creams, because they do not take the cellulite away. I tried to use creams with various ingredients like caffeine, coffee berry etc. but it didn’t work for me at all. I was really disappointed. Even doctors are sceptical about anti cellulite creams. For instance, R. Morgan Griffin a blogger in heir’s article ‘Fighting Cellulite: Jene Therapy to Creams’ interviewed many doctors about the cellulite creams and their opinions were usually doubtful about it.

To conclude, cellulite is one of the hardest aesthetic conditions to treat. Sometimes I have a feeling that it is impossible to get rid of it. However, I truly know that it is possible to reduce it, but in order to do that you have to work really hard; exercise, message your skin and consult dermatologist to evaluate your condition in order to find the best solution for you. Most importantly, do not lose hope!

Enjoying a Healthy Retirement

Most people head towards retirement with a sense of expectation and relief. Soon, the daily grind will be over, there will be no more morning alarm clock to obey. A more leisurely life is about to start.

Some (my dad for one) are filled with dread at the thought of retiring. My Dad simply couldn’t imagine not having a reason to get up in the morning. Work was his reason to be, his daily exercise and chance to socialise with his work colleagues.

Whether we are looking forward to our retirement or worried about what you will do to occupy your time, the quality of our retirement years will largely be governed by our health. The effects of 50+ years of working life may have made our health deteriorate.

This article will explore some of the effects on our health our work may cause and the best ways to protect ourselves.

Health and Safety

Health and safety regulations are blamed for all sorts of crazy prohibitions on everyday life and work practices. Children being banned from playing conkers in the school playground because they were not wearing eye protection, being one example. This ridiculous application of rules under the banner of Health and Safety detracts from the real need for good Health and Safety practice in everyday life and of course in our workplaces.

Every business should have a member of staff who is responsible for the Health and Safety of its employees. If you have any concerns relating to Health and Safety, they should be informed. You should expect an immediate response to your concerns and have the right not to carry out tasks that you believe will affect your health or pose a risk to others. If your company does not take any action and an accident occurs, you should seek advice from your trade union or consider making a personal injury claim with a reputable company.

The effects to our long term health caused by our work activities may not be immediately obvious. This is why it is essential to comply with the rules set out by a works Health and Safety Officer, in particular correctly use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), that your workplace provides.

Effects of Work on Health

Most, but not all, negative effects on employee health come from the heavy industries. Health and Safety regulations 30 years ago were all but unheard of and employees worked in conditions that would not be allowed in this day and age. The following are work related health problems that have come to light in recent years.

Vibration White Finger

This is a problem encountered by employees that use hand held machinery which vibrates. Its symptoms manifest themselves as loss of movement, dexterity and sensitivity in the hands and fingers. It is sometimes known as ‘dead finger’ for this reason.  Further information about this serious condition can be found on this website.

Asbestosis and Mesothelioma

These conditions relate to respiratory and lung problems developed by workers who have been exposed to asbestos dust. There are also other conditions that relate to exposure to asbestos. Asbestos use is not tied to any one particular industry and is still found in many workplaces. Because of the varied nature of the conditions caused by asbestos exposure and the many industrial workplaces that it is used in, it is best to seek help from a specialist asbestos advice company like the asbestos advice helpline.

Repetitive Strain Injury

This injury is cause by long term repetitive activity – usually in the hands. It is most often experienced by people who spend long periods of time using computer keyboards and similar devices to interact with computer hardware. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Blackberry Thumb’ – because of it can be experience by users of mobile phones etc. Some tips for how to prevent RSI can be found here.

These are just three of the most frequently occurring negative impacts on health that can be directly related to work. Of course, this article cannot hope to cover all the possible work related health problems.

Safety Now = Healthy Later

We should all expect to be able to enjoy our retirement, without taking health issues caused by our work-life into it. For the best chances of this, follow all the recommendations given by your works Health and Safety officer and report your concerns immediately.

Tennis Player’s Guide to Apparel and Equipment

Playing tennis is a competitive and physically demanding sport for which you need to be highly physically fit for. In addition to choosing this sport as a great form of exercise it’s also a globally recognised sport which is practised during tournaments all over the world every year. Olympic events like Wimbledon ensure that tennis continues to grow in terms of being a team sport as well as a popular one.

So let’s look into the essentials needed to take up tennis as a new hobby…

Wear the Right Apparel

  • Wearing clothing that is both comfortable and durable is paramount for playing a sport where you have to move around a lot. Make sure that your apparel is loose-fitting and breathable. Also, when it comes to footwear, you need a decent pair of trainers with bouncing soles or shock-resistant insoles at the very least. This is so that the impact from the tennis court will reduce any risk of injury on the ligaments. Playing sport is fun but can also be potentially dangerous if you don’t wear protective clothing designed specifically for playing sport, in this case, tennis.

Invest in the Best Equipment

  • Equally as important as wearing the right type of clothing, tennis equipment needs to be of high quality too. The best thing to do is to carry out some research online to find out the most reputable manufacturers and retailers, and maybe read through some reviews to find out other peoples’ experiences. For example, if you’re buying a tennis racket from My Tennis Store, when shopping for your new tennis racket, it’s important to think about the grip, the size and the strength of the strings also.  Depending on the level of tennis player you are, it’s always better to buy a racket which will suit your particular needs. For example, if you only play tennis every now and then or you’re a beginner then cheap tennis rackets are fine, you can find an excellent cheap tennis store online by following the link. However if you’re a professional tennis player, you may want a racket that falls into the more expensive price bracket. 

Whatever your level of expertise, when it comes to playing tennis don’t forget the above mentioned essentials, have fun and remember, a little competition never hurt anybody.

Keeping in Shape After Pregnancy

During pregnancy you will gain extra weight which can be difficult to shift. Throughout pregnancy the changes a woman’s body goes through can make it difficult to maintain regular exercise and many activities or exercises which are normally deemed as low or no risk become high risk activities when carrying an unborn baby.

After giving birth a woman’s body is still changing and adjusting. Many women, my wife included, are on the lookout for tips and advice to keep in shape after pregnancy. This guide is designed to inspire and provide a few options to help if you want to regain your figure or improve your fitness after pregnancy.


If possible it is best to resume regular exercise soon after birth. It’s recommended to slowly build up the amount of exercise you do at a comfortable pace and not to over do it. Everyone’s limitations are different so make sure to do things at a pace which is personally comfortable to you.

Regular exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. My wife and I went for a walk into our town centre to look for a christening gift for a friend’s new baby. We didn’t find anything in the end but the time we spent trekking around various shops ended up being good exercise. In the end we found a great service online providing personalised christening gifts from Baby Birthplates. We could have started the search online and found what we were looking for but the time spent browsing through the shops was a good excuse to leave the house and get some fresh air and exercise with our newborn.

Walking is a great way to start getting back into regular exercise and can be a great way to get out of the house, get a change of scene and get some fresh air with your baby.  Good exercises to tone up at home include pelvic floor exercises and exercises for your lower stomach muscles.

Over time you will be able to return back to your regular exercise regime and less strenuous exercise is a great way to ease yourself into this. For further info about retaining your figure after birth check out this article from Baby Centre.


After giving birth it is important to keep up and continue a healthy diet to keep yourself fit and healthy. A healthy diet will help to maintain a consistent mood as well as help you get back to your original figure before pregnancy.

A fibre rich diet is recommended and can be obtained by regularly eating fruit and vegetables, healthy cereals rich in wheat or porridge and whole meal bread.

In general it’s important not to skip meals and to keep a varied and regular diet avoiding too many fatty or sugar rich meals and snacks. Make sure to have a decent breakfast and lunch and to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

A good way to start the day would be with a bowl of porridge, Weetabix or Shredded Wheat with a few slices of whole meal toast lightly buttered or with jam or marmalade and a glass of fruit juice. You could also add a cup of tea or coffee with milk and sugar for a few extra calories to help keep you going. A good mid morning snack would be to have some fruit or yoghurt. Bio yoghurt in particular is better for you than normal yoghurts and is easier to digest.


The benefits of yoga during pregnancy are widely acknowledged and this also applies to yoga after your pregnancy. Yoga is a great way to tone your muscles and also to help you feel more at ease. During pregnancy your posture may have slightly altered from supporting the weight of your baby and yoga can be an ideal way to ease some of the tension from your back and shoulders.

Make sure not to try anything too strenuous. You will not gain any benefit from forcing your body into uncomfortable positions so if you feel uneasy or are starting to feel aches and pains think about reducing the force of your movements and remember to take regular breaks.

Combined with meditation regular yoga can be a great way to relax your muscles, improve your health and increase your mood and overall wellbeing. Good things come to those who wait so take small steps each day towards regaining your usual lifestyle and feeling stronger as time progresses.