women

Mindfulness

Description: Live for the moment - and adopt a sunny altitude

Live for the moment - and adopt a sunny altitude

For people who suffer from repeated bouts of depression, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can be transformative. MBCT combines meditation that involves being fully aware of what’s happening in the present moment without judging it, and cognitive therapy, which helps you change the way you see your life. Research shows that MBCT halves the rate of relapse among people who suffer from recurrent depression.

Never too late

Calling all couch potatoes! It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how inactive you have been, just doing a little bit of exercise right now can make a massive difference to your health. German scientists found that even people who did no exercise before their 40s could cut their risk of heart disease by 55% by taking up regular activity. Build up to an hour a day and you can really help turn back the clock – US scientists as the Dallas Exercise Institute found that when they put a group of 50-somethings on to a regular hour-a-day exercise programme for six months, they managed to achieve the same fitness levels that they had some 30 years earlier.

Osteoporosis

Did you know that being a little overweight and enjoying the occasional glass of wine can actually help keep bones strong? And while calcium and vitamin D are vital for bone health, a diet that’s low in salt, and high in fruit and veg, can be protective, too. ‘We know that salt is bad for bone – of you eat a high salt diet, you lose far more calcium in your urine,’ says Professor Susan Lanham – New of the University of Serrey. ‘eating lots of fruit and vegetables may be important as well because they create an alkaline residue in the body that helps conserve bone by preventing calcium being leached out.’

Posture

Description: Posture

‘Changing the way you stand won’t just transform your appearance, it can also benefit your long-term health,’ says chartered physiotherapist Sammy Margo. Here are her steps to perfect posture: Stand Tall Stand evenly on two feet, with your back straight, knees soft and buttocks squeezed. Imagine a string in the middle of your head pulling you tall. Lengthening your spine instantly adds a few inches, making you look longer and fitter. It also reduces abdominal bulge and the possibility of low back pain. Don’t Slouch Many of us clump with our shoulders rolled forward – especially sitting at a computer. Stand or sit up straight, push your shoulder blades together and down. Increasing the width between your shoulders can make your waist look thinner and reduces the risk of neck and shoulder pain.

Quick Fixes

Even fidgeting counts when it comes to staying in shape, so incorporate these simple moves from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapist (CSP) into your day:

·         Before eating, sit down and then stand up again; repeat 10 times. This helps burn calories and strengthens thigh muscles.

·         When loading and unloading the washing machine, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your back straight, hold in your tummy muscles, bend your knees in a squat, then straighten again.

·         When vacuuming , use long, drawn-out movements using your whole body instead if just your arm.

·         For firmer triceps (rear upper arm muscles), hold a bottle of water above your head with your arm straight, then bend at the elbow to lower the bottle towards your shoulder. Repeat 10 times, then swap arms.

Relaxation

Description: Relaxation

Everyone needs it but too many of us rarely manage it, so schedule 15 minutes’ quiet time into every day. Find a peaceful space, sit up straight and close your eyes. Focus on the rise and fall of your breath, counting as you inhale and exhale, visualize the breath coming from your abdomen and being expelled through your mouth. Do this 10 times and then give yourself time to ‘come to’ before getting back to normal life.

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