Do you ever pressure yourself into going to the gym after a rubbish day at work? It’s one of those days where nothing goes right for you. You missed your bus, forgot your lunch and the rain hasn’t stopped pouring all day.
But you still drag yourself to the gym even though all you want to do is curl up on the sofa and watch Parks and Recreation for the evening.
And that’s exactly what you should do.
A new study has found that exercising when you’re in a bad mood is actually dangerous.
The Heart Association revealed that working out when you’re in bad can increase your chances of heart attack.
The researchers analysed 12,561 patients who had suffered heart attacks. The results of their research showed them that one out seven patients were upset or worked out just before they had a heart attack.
They also found that people were three times more likely to suffer a heart attack if they were feeling sad or exercised strenuously an hour before.
So sweating out your anger and frustration isn’t the best move at all. We all know that regular exercise is key to being happy and healthy, but skipping the gym every so often isn’t the end of the world.
If you’re feeling a little grumpy or cranky then take it easy and head home instead.
Commuters are being encouraged to add walking to their daily commute.
The National Transport Authority and Healthy Ireland are launching a new pilot campaign today to help commuters achieve a healthier lifestyle.
The campaign is a first step in taking a more joined-up approach across Health and Transport, linking health and sustainable travel policy together for the benefit of the commuters. The pilot will be assessing what it is that will motivate commuters to introduce more physical activity into their daily routines.
By getting off a stop early or walking to a further stop while taking the bus, Luas, or train, commuters can add a ten-minute walk to their morning or evening routes. The short-term benefits are potentially reduced stress levels, a boost in energy, and improved concentration and mood.
Shane Ross TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said: “I’m delighted to support this initiative. Small changes can make a big difference and making a small change in our daily commute can help us all to achieve a healthier lifestyle.”
Minister Simon Harris TD, added “The health benefits of walking are well-known and weaving a walk into your daily commute is the best way to make a habit of it and to make sure you’re fitting in your daily 30 minute recommendation. I encourage everyone to try to get on or off one stop earlier.
“I would like to acknowledge former Irish Heart Foundation CEO, Paddy Murphy and to thank him for initially bringing this idea to my attention. Paddy has long been an advocate for promoting healthier lives and initiated the well-known Sli na Slainte walks and we look forward to assessing the progression of this concept.”
Increasing physical activity can seem like a daunting task, especially in the colder months, but when you’re already out and on the way to work or college, it’s easier than you think to make small changes to established routines.
The pilot campaign will be found on transport advertising carried on bus, train and Luas routes throughout the greater Dublin area from November 3 to 16. The feedback from the pilot will inform further campaign activity.
More information can be found on Transport for Ireland’s website here.
Gemma Atkinson’s latest post has reminded us of how powerful our bodies are.
The new mum shared three shots, one taken during her pregnancy, one taken six weeks after she gave birth and another taken 15 weeks postpartum.
The actress opened up about the importance of staying fit and healthy as a mum.
She wrote, “Dear body, Thank you! 5 months pregnant / 6wks PP / 15 wks PP. All different but all for a purpose. Growing my baby, feeding my baby, becoming strong and healthy again to be there for my baby.
“My training has even more purpose now I have Mia. I’m her role model! My health and mentally feeling good was always my priority with exercise,” Gemma shared.
“It was never to compete on stage or to chase a certain physique. It was just to be the best version of ME! By making good nutritious choices with my meals without depriving myself (hello once a week cheesecake & pizza) I’m slowly getting back into it,” she continued.
Gemma had to have an emergency C section so the mum has to be cautious when it comes to pushing herself too much.
“I started with just cardio around 8wks PP and last week I had my first session back in the gym. It was tough and I had to go back to basics but afterwards I felt amazing! It’s always worth it once those endorphins kick in,” Gemma shared.
Gemma said her mental health is already benefiting from exercise, “Despite being physically weaker in the gym after time away, I feel mentally stronger than I ever have going through what I did to bring Mia into this world.
The vlogger has now released a shocking video of a diet pill company using footage of her as part of their horrendously shameful advertising campaign.
After returning from a sportswear photoshoot with iconic make-up guru James Charles, the model discovered a video selling diet pills which utilised images of her as their 'before' template, and she's understandably fuming.
CarbonFire 213Complex makes it ridiculously difficult to find reviews of it online, but the video proclaims the product to be a certified miracle for anyone who wants to lose weight.
Diet pills have entered the media for an assortment of reasons over the last few years, with activists and public figures such as Jameela Jamil slamming weight-loss products which do more harm than good.
The Kardashians are renowned for selling appetite suppressants and weight-loss consumer goods, much to the dismay of many body positivity figures and health experts alike.
There are an array of dangers associated with items such as these, which are essentially glorified laxatives.
The advertising campaigns in the media are arguably as harmful, telling women their weight creates everyday problems such as finding a husband, having failing health and being embarrassed to look in the mirror.
No. Fuck off. No. You terrible and toxic influence on young girls. I admire their mother’s branding capabilities, she is an exploitative but innovative genius, however this family makes me feel actual despair over what women are reduced to. pic.twitter.com/zDPN1T8sBM
Loey Lane shows the video advert to her following, and it's one of the worst examples of body-shaming we've seen yet. It opens with a beautiful, pale-skinned blonde woman gazing at silk wedding gowns, after her friend asks her to be her maid-of-honour for a wedding.
"How I Fit Into My Wedding Dress" is the video's apparent title, despite the fact that it's NOT HER WEDDING. The problems aren't hard to spot throughout the disgraceful imagery.
The blonde woman looks into the camera lens, and the words; "Believe me, I wasn't always this way. This was me before losing all that weight," flash across the screen.
Lo-and-behold, the woman is now Loey Lane, allegedly the same person as the blonde woman.
Alright then, at this stage we've lost count of the issues within the video, and it's only about ten seconds in.
As if the ad itself isn't traumatising enough to watch, actual graphics for OTHER diet pill companies and body-shaming articles pop up on the side of the screen. An assault is what that is.
"I'm going to share my secret so that it can be easy for you!" the advert claims. Thank God for that.
"A few months ago, one of my best friends from high school texted me. She was getting married and she wanted me to be her bridesmaid. I was SO excited, but there was just one thing… I was SO overweight," the video continues. Wow.
"I couldn't go to the wedding like this, I was so pretty in high school and I would be so embarrassed looking like this. I wanted to go to the wedding and look like I did when I was 18. You know- slim, pretty, looking great in some heels." *Sharpens pitchfork*
"I cut out all junk food. I worked out every single day. After four months, I was still embarrassed to look in the mirror…my personal trainer friend said if I wanted to lose weight fast, I had to supercharge my metabolism."
Classic *insert scientific words here to fumble the consumer's brain* tactics.
"At this point I was desperate…time was running out." This isn't dismantling a bomb, you won't die if you attend your best friend's wedding at ANY weight.
"How could I show my face at the wedding looking like this?" Looking like.. a human woman? *Gasp* "I was even considering not showing up." Priorities aren't in order there, love.
"CarbonFire Complex claimed to boost metabolism using only the healthiest ingredients, they looked very professional." Yes, and Donald Trump looks very diplomatic.
"After only a few days, I dropped a dress size. Ten days later, I lost two dress sizes. I felt lighter on my feet." Because your digestive system has just wasted away, perhaps?
"After another week, I was down three sizes. By the time the wedding came around, I lost seven dress sizes. I was getting a LOT more attention from guys, I almost felt bad for the bride, because I was getting so many compliments."
Male attention should be the motivational factor for every woman, after all.
I hate how the fitness industry tricks people into believing there is a magic pill to give people the results they desire. Fit tea and diet pills are dangerous and the people selling them are only interested in your money. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR HARD WORK AND GOOD NUTRITION.
This all comes at the reasonable price of ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS, by the way. You can buy happiness, male sexual attention and confidence all at this lovely sale.
The blonde woman in the video revealed herself as Amanda John, and she also did not consent to be used for the branding.
So they effectively stole imagery from two women without their permission and used it to scam vulnerable, hard-working people online with low self-esteem because of ads exactly like this, shaming their weight. As if a weighing scales can tell you your worth.
We hope Loey Lane and Amanda John take legal action against CarbonFire Complex, Lord knows they deserve it.
A reminder, there is no such thing as a magic pill. Your worth encompasses your hopes, fears, intelligence, beliefs, morals, family values, friends, career and everything in between, not just your appearance alone.
You can't lose weight and discover joy at the end of the scales.
Take a look at Loey Lane's original video below for some fresh morning rage;
Let's face it, most of us would benefit from a little extra time outdoors, but busy schedules and work commitments don't make it easy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy adults should should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day and while it can be hard to set aside half an hour of your time, there are little ways you can increase your activity throughout the day – and you won't even know you're doing it.
1. Stop meeting for lunch
For many of us, lunch dates are our go-to way to catch up with friends with haven't seen in a while.
We're not saying you should completely cut it out of you routine, I mean who doesn't love a good moan while enjoying a flat white and tuna melt?
But the next time your mate asks you to meet up, why not suggest something outdoorsy and active like going for a hike, walking your dogs or you could even try your hand at rollerblading? (can you imagine the lols?)
2. Cycle to work
OK, so not everyone will be in a position to do this one, but if you do live close enough to your place of work, why not give it a try?
You'll save money, gain fitness and probably shed a few pound while you're at it.
Bikes can be pretty costly investments, but have a look around online – you'll be surprised at what you can get second hand.
3. Park farther away
If driving is a must for your daily commute, make a conscious decision to park farther away.
The extra few steps may not seem like much, but they all add up.
4. Get out of the office
Even if it's end of the month or a 'sad desk lunch' kind of day, make the effort to step away from your station for a while.
You don't need us to tell you just how bad sitting at a desk all day can be for your health, and getting out into the fresh air, even just for a few moments, can be hugely beneficial for both your mind and body.
5. Laugh more
Studies have shown that laughing for just a few minutes per day can burn up to an extra 40 calories – that's about 12 grapes for reference.
So, binge-watching that hilarious Netflix series may not be so bad for you after all.
The United Kingdom is currently facing a mental health crisis, one of which the country has never seen before. Two committees of MPs recently warned that the current support available on the NHS is inadequate and runs the risk of failing a generation who desperately need help.
The average Brit works 43.6 hours a week, with more than four million workers spending more than 48 hours a week in the workplace. British workers also face an average commute to work of 54 minutes, almost 20 minutes more than the EU average.
This means that Brits are struggling to find a work life balance, which some experts believe is fuelling the mental health crisis in the UK and increasing levels of obesity as workers have less time to live a healthy lifestyle.
Did you know? In France there is a law allowing workers the ‘right to disconnect. Employees in an organisation of more than 50 people are forbidden from sending or receiving work emails outside of their standard working hours.
Why is a work-life balance important?
If you are one of the workers that is dedicating nearly 60 hours a week to work, you are at serious risk of burn out. Living in a bubble of all work no play can lead to a disconnect with the world around you and cause you to ignore your mental and physical health.
Although there are no direct figures for work-related suicides in the UK, suicide rates have risen markedly among young people in recent years. Reports suggest that certain occupational groups such as doctors, nurses and farmers are deemed to be at high risk of work related suicide – due to job pressure and the isolated nature of their work.
That might be hardly surprising when you consider that in these professions 60+ hour weeks are the norm. So finding ways to unwind and relax in your spare time are vital to your physical and mental wellbeing.
But what are the best ways to relax outside of work?
1. Go to the gym
Finding the time to go to the gym is often difficult for those in busy occupations, but it can be done. The vast majority of gyms offer guided classes in the evenings and at weekends to appeal to those with a busy lifestyle.
The benefits of going to the gym are tremendous. Firstly, your physical health will improve dramatically as a result of increased physical exertion. Secondly, attending classes or regularly visiting the same gym can broaden your social circles, opening your horizons to future social activities.
Most importantly, exercise has been proven by scientists to improve mental wellbeing. The NHS recommends regular exercise as a way of combatting mild depression and warding of the sceptre of anxiety.
2. Practise mindfulness
Mindfulness is a mind-body based approach that helps people to process their thoughts rationally and reconnect with the world around them.
If this sounds like a new-age, hippy technique then simply think of it as unwinding. It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of becoming too involved with the day-to-day processes of going to work, eating, sleeping and avoiding your emotions. Mindfulness can take as little as 10 minutes a day and allows you to unwind, evaluate your emotional state and relax.
Did you know? Mindfulness has been proven to decrease depression by 63%, anxiety by 58% and perceived stress by 40%.
3. Play poker
Playing games with people – such as poker – requires social interaction on some level, and it’s a popular way to meet people and socialise with existing friends.
What makes poker so popular is the relative ease you can play the game. The strategy involved in poker can improve your mental agility and provide a distraction to take your mind firmly away from work.
But if you don’t fancy going to a casino, or you don’t live near one, don’t worry. Gamblers are increasingly going online to play their favourite games. Playing online is so much more convenient than having to find your local land-based casino – as you can play from the comfort of your own home, or if you’re on the move.
What’s more, online casino technology has evolved so much that the games feel as immersive and engaging as they would do in a real casino experience. One option out there for online gamblers is video poker. With its cool retro style and simple gameplay, video poker is an entertaining way to unwind – and it gives you a great opportunity to get your game up before playing against other competitors for real.
Check out this video poker game and you’ll put yourself in the frame for all these benefits, plus one more: winning a huge jackpot.
4. Ditch the phone
Mobile phones have revolutionised the world and given people almost everything they’ve ever wanted at the tips of their fingers. Yet overuse of mobile phones and tablets has been proven to negatively impact on people’s mental wellbeing and social lives.
Putting your phone down for an hour a day and interacting with those around you can have huge benefits to your life. You will develop more meaningful relationships with the people around you and avoid the social isolation that social media can cause.
Added to this, time spent away from social media can be beneficial to your mental outlook. Scrolling through Instagram and Facebook can be chastening as you are constantly confronted with images of people’s successes.
It’s easy to forget that you are only seeing a glimpse of someone’s life, the best bits, and unfairly judge yourself against other people. Take time away from social media and viewing other peoples amazing lives, and instead make memories of your own.
Did you know? Teens in the US using their phones for more than five hours a day were 70% more likely to have suicidal thoughts than those using their phones for one hour a day.
5. Join a social group
Regardless of who you are, you will have your own interests and hobbies, and it’s important to continue those hobbies, preferably with other people. If reading is your number one relaxation technique, then you can join a weekly book club and use your passion to expand your social circle.
Likewise, if you’re a sports fan there are a plethora of amateur sports clubs that you can join to expand your social circles, as well as improving your physical well-being.
A work life balance is important to your mental and physical well-being, and it’s too easy to neglect that fact in modern life. Taking steps to improve your mental wellbeing, physical health and social life are all important factors in having a healthy life.
Take the time to look at your life objectively. Imagine you were talking to a friend and giving them some advice, what would you say to them? Slow down, take a break, do more of the things you enjoy? Whatever it is you would say, apply that advice to yourself.
Pippa is reportedly due sometime this October and wrote in her Waitrose Weekend column about her new workout routine:
"I feel far from a ballerina, but I'm equally determined not to break into a penguin-style waddle and plod around with bad posture."
The 35-year-old explains how she hopes the inspired-ballet workout will keep her muscles tight and toned.- Honestly, she's incredible.
"I've continued to embrace barre-inspired workouts throughout pregnancy—a form of exercise taken from ballet which involves the small, isolated movements that develop flattering muscle tone—or so I hope."
It's time to get off the couch and make an effort, according to this study.
Our lives of inactivity seem to be catching up with us, as a quarter of the world's population is becoming less and less active.
The figures on global inactivity have been released after scientists studied data collected by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – and it's not good news.
Researchers analysed data from 358 surveys across 168 countries, including 1.9 million participants.
They investigated trends in inactivity worldwide from 2001 to 2016.
And as you can probably guess, we didn't do so well.
Shockingly, almost 40 percent of Irish women didn't get enough physical activity in 2016.
The lads did only slightly better, with 30 percent of them not moving enough.
This is compared to global figures in 2016 with indicates that 27.5 percent of the world population aren't getting enough physical activity.
There is an eight percent different between men and women. Almost 32 percent of women do insufficient exercise, compared to 23.4 percent of men.
Sufficient exercise was classified in the report, as an individual doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or any equivalent combination of the two.
The surveys took note of physical activity in work, at home, for transport and during leisure time – so we have no excuses.
Although Ireland didn't do so well, women in Latin America and the Caribbean had some of the highest levels of inactivity in 2016.
Some 43.7 percent of the their females populations weren't getting the required exercise.
The study suggests that living in a high income country, you're twice as likely not to get the exercise you need (36·8 percent), than in a low-income country (16·2 percent).
Additionally, it reports that insufficient activity has increased in high-income countries since 2001.
Our inactivity could be having serious health implications, according to the researchers.
The report published in The Lancet Global Heath journal, says: "Insufficient physical activity is a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases, and has a negative effect on mental health and quality of life."
It warned if our current habits of insufficient activity continues, we will not reach our 2025 target.
"If current trends continue, the 2025 global physical activity target (a 10% relative reduction in insufficient physical activity) will not be met."
"Policies to increase population levels of physical activity need to be prioritised and scaled up urgently," it added.
Every little bit of movement makes a difference, so grab a friend or your favourite playlist and get out and about!
Or challenge yourself by joining a class or a team sport, you'll have some fun and might even make some new friends.
Our love/hate relationship with the first meal of the day is all too real.
However, this latest study has shown that chowing down in the morning before hitting a workout can "'prime" the body to burn carbs.
The findings also suggest that fuelling your workouts will allow the body to digest your post-workout meal much more efficiently.
The research was conducted by scientists from at Department for Health, in collaboration with experts from the universities of Birmingham, Newcastle and Stirling.
As many fitness junkies will know, fasting is becoming a hot trend amongst the Insta-fit population.
The scientists have taken note.
The researchers tested the blood glucose levels and muscle glycogen levels of the 12 healthy male volunteers who took part.
Participates were split into two groups, those who ate breakfast and those who were fasting overnight.
The scientists studied the volunteers before and after an hour’s cycle.
Those who ate brekkie were treated to porridge made with milk two hours before exercise.
The results were in and it's time to kick fasting to the curb.
Their evidence shows eating breakfast increases the rate at which the body burnt carbohydrates during exercise.
Furthermore, it boosts the rate at which the body digests and metabolises food eaten after exercise too.
Dr Javier Gonzalez, senior lecturer in the Department of Health who co-led the study, said:
“This is the first study to examine the ways in which breakfast before exercise influences our responses to meals after exercise.
"We found that, compared to skipping breakfast, eating breakfast before exercise increases the speed at which we digest, absorb and metabolise carbohydrate that we may eat after exercise.”
Rob Edinburgh, PhD student also in the Department who co-led the study, said:
“We also found that breakfast before exercise increases carbohydrate burning during exercise, and that this carbohydrate wasn't just coming from the breakfast that was just eaten, but also from carbohydrate stored in our muscles as glycogen.
"This increase in the use of muscle glycogen may explain why there was more rapid clearance of blood sugar after ‘lunch’ when breakfast had been consumed before exercise."
If this study is anything to go by, it's time to become well acquainted with breakfast again.
Nevertheless, my fellow fitness fans will know we are constantly bombarded with conflicting evidence.
This study shows that fasting before exercising can lead to burning extra fat during a session.
If you're undecided, it's best to speak to your doctor before embarking on a new diet or exercise plan.
Working out may be the last thing on your mind when you're feeling a bit down on yourself, but research has suggested that even a small about of exercise can have a hugely positive effect on a woman's body image.
A study published this month in the journal, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, found that just 30 minutes of exercise left women feeling slimmer and stronger afterwards.
Researchers gathered 75 college-aged women who said they were unhappy with their appearance in order to test exercise's effect on body positivity.
Participants were given a questionnaire that asked about their exercise habits, energy and stress levels, as well as how they felt about their appearance and how much they enjoyed working out.
The group were then divided in two, with one half instructed to exercise on a stationary bike for 30 minutes, while the other half sat in a room reading a National Geographic magazine.
When the 30 minutes were up, the participants repeated the questionnaire directly after the workout, and then again 20 minutes later.
Interestingly, the women who worked out showed signs of improved body image in both questionnaires when compared to those who didn't.
The authors of the study reckon that the positive effect could last beyond the 20 minutes mark – although they did not test for that.
What's more, the results could suggest that physically active people have better self image, regardless if there's a change in their appearance.
The study adds to the growing body of research that indicates exercise can have a positive influence on a person's mental health and body acceptance.
So, the next time you find yourself in need of a little confidence boost, why not get that heart rate going?