Nordic Walking

Nordic walking is sports walking with special walking sticks, which brings effective movement and an increase in physical fitness.

During a walk, up to 600 muscles are working – around 90% of the body’s muscles. The consumption of calories increases by up to 40% and the average consumption of around 400 calories per hour.

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It increases aerobic endurance, has a positive effect on muscle imbalances, strengthens muscles in the upper part of the body, improves heart activity and blood circulation. It is also low impact on hip and knee joints.

Everything you need, including poles and equipment, click here Nordic Walking

Get a younger body with stretching – free DVD offer

Stretchworks is an exciting unique approach to exercise for all ages and abilities. Created by Alison Evans based
on 25 years experience, these controlled stretching and strengthening exercises
are used by top athletes including Torvil and Dean and Premiership Football
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We have six DVD’s each worth ÂŁ12.99 to give away.  Please email us at readeroffer@elixirnews.com with DVD in the header and your name and address.  Your name will be put into a draw for the winning entries.  Please note that no cash equivalent is offered and the Editor’s decision is final.  This offer closes on 30th November.

If you would like to Join our newsletter list – we will send you anti-ageing news and special offers and discounts –  not sales promotions! Click here to return to the sign up form on our front page.




The DVD, would make a great Xmas gift, and is now available to purchase on Amazon ÂŁ12.99
or direct from  

www.stretchworks.co.uk

Skipping breakfast – the new rules on fat loss and staying younger!

Let’s get one thing straight….skipping breakfast is fine!!!In fact it is more than fine, it’s the starting point to actually getting you the body you have always dreamed of, according to the authors of a new book.

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Co-authors, Shaun Petafi and Dean Connor BSc, a top fitness trainer and male model, have analysed the latest research on fat, fitness and longevity and come up with a formula that has literally Ripped to Shreds all the diet myths.
The report includes a number of controversial key elements designed to help people achieve their goals.
These include:
• Forget about breakfast – The new law on fat loss
• The amazing benefits of fasting
• Why only fools spend longer than 3 hours a week in the gym
• How to put your fat burning on autopilot 24/7
“I know you have all been brainwashed by the food industry about how important breakfast is and how it ‘kick starts’ your metabolism for the day, this is not actually true,’ writes Shaun in an exclusive article for Elixir.
The latest research shows your metabolic rate is determined by your lean mass (how much muscle you have). Not by how many meals you consume throughout the day.
Eating first thing, especially the usual grains and dairy will certainly put your fat burning on hold for a few hours. This coupled with breakfast bars for your elevenses, before your typical lunch all causing rising and falling levels of insulin.
Instead give your body a break, allow it to process the food from the day before. 
Waiting say for example 14-16 hours after your last meal the night before will allow your body to become a master of controlling Insulin (the key to fat loss), reset the hormone Ghrelin (hunger hormone) and re-programme the hormone Leptin 
(the carbohydrate sensitive hormone). You will now become a fat burning machine when you do eat.
I’m sure you would all love some more time in the morning to yourselves too, an extra half hour in bed perhaps?
Shaun Petafi and Dean Connor BSc, fat loss experts and co-authors of the groundbreaking Ripped To Shreds report have used the latest scientific literature behind rapid body transformation. In their e-book they claim short fasts can actually accelerate fat loss and make you considerably healthier in the process.
Although intermittent fasting research is still only in its infancy and it may well be another 5 years before it reaches the masses and becomes a mainstream nutritional idea, its benefits have already reached almost legendary proportions within many nutritional and dieting circles around the world.
So what is it exactly? Well the term Fasting refers to going long periods without food followed by a period of eating. It is basically what we did as cavemen and women all those years ago. The invention of breakfast is only very recent in terms of human time on this planet, and our greed along with the greed of the food industry has driven this change.
Why do it? Here is a list of all the benefits of following the anabolic fasting approach
NO HUNGER WHEN DIETING
This is a typical criticism of most diets, the person feels hungry all the time. Due to the effect the approach has on the hormone ghrelin (hunger hormone), your body becomes a very stable environment. Plus you get to eat really large meals when you do actually eat, certainly something that was lacking in many other protocols.
ELEVATED LEVELS OF FAT BURNING HORMONES
Intermittent fasting has been shown to produce elevated levels of human growth hormone (HGH). This hormone regulates metabolism, allows us to build muscle, burn fat and reduce the negative effects caused by stress.
INCREASED FATTY ACID OXIDATION
During the fasting hours your body produces a great deal of fat burning hormones, by prolonging this time (to a certain extent) you are prolonging the body’s ability to use fat as fuel.
Now imagine training at this time when all these fat burning hormones are going wild and you can see why the results are so epic.
REDUCED BLOOD GLUCOSE AND INSULIN LEVELS
Both key in setting your body up to be a fat burning machine.
By maintaining low levels of insulin throughout the day, your body becomes very sensitive so when you do feed it with the dreaded carbs of other diets, your body is very sufficient at storing them in the muscle cells. Low levels of both of blood
glucose and insulin are also markers of improved health.
LARGE MEALS – BETTER COMPLIANCE
Gone will be the days of feeling deprived whilst dieting to get lean, you will look forward to your large meals and feel perfectly fine when not eating. This will lead to an easy integration into your normal daily life, you will feel that these 
methods are so easy and you won’t be thinking “I can’t wait to finish this diet.”
INCREASED LIFE SPAN 
The health markers of fasting are also very profound, reduced risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, diabetes etc. Additionally the increase in Growth Hormone production further stimulates cell development, cell reproduction and regeneration, which in turn assists with the anti-aging process.
Ok so you’re sold…what next?
THE STRUCTURE
Typically The R2S (Ripped To Shreds) report promotes an 8 hour feeding window and a 16 hour fast, bearing in mind you will likely be sleeping for around half of the fasting time, it basically equates to skipping breakfast. For most people this set up is quite controversial, however its works best in terms of compliance, fat loss and weight training.
For example feeding window is 12 midday – 8pm, and the fast from 8pm – 12 midday.
The eating period falls into either an 8 hour window (for men) or a 10 hour window (for women) with a 16 and 14 hour fasting period respectively.
For more information about fasting and rapid fat loss visit www.rippedtoshreds.co.uk
The full ripped to shreds report is available for download for just ÂŁ9.99 
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Why its good to exercise gingerly

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New York: Eating ginger can help ease muscle pain caused by heavy exercise, new research from the US suggests.

A daily dose of the spice can helo relieve the aches from sport, or even gardening and heavy housework.

An age-old remedy for a variety of ailments including colds and upset stomachs, scientists have long known it has painkilling properties.

But the new research from the University of Georgia confirms that it is particularly good at preventing muscle pain.

Ginger has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in rodents, but its effect on muscle pain in humans has never been properly studied.

It is known to contain chemicals that work in a similar way to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen and aspirin.

Previous studies have shown it can be effective in relieving the pain of arthritis.
Professor OÂ’Connor directed two studies in which 34 and 40 volunteers respectively took capsules containing two grams of either raw or heat-treated ginger, or a placebo for 11 consecutive days.

On the eighth day they lifted weights to induce moderate muscle injury in the arm. Arm function, inflammation and pain were assessed before the exercise and for three days after. The levels of a chemical involved in feeling pain was also measured before and after.

The studies showed daily ginger intake reduced the exercise-induced pain by 25 per cent. Heating the ginger had no effect.

The research, funded by the McCormick Science Institute, will be published in the September issue of The Journal of Pain.

Model Nell McAndrew reveals core muscle secrets

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Nell McAndrew shows us some simple exercises in this live webTV show tomorrow at 14.00 GMT to explain to women of all ages the benefits of strengthening their core muscles.

For women generally, health and wellbeing is of increasing importance. From step-ups to squats, we know the exercises we need to be doing to keep our body in shape. But one group of muscles often overlooked are our pelvic floor muscles.

Your pelvic floor is a complex network of muscles and ligaments reaching from your pubic bone to your spine, providing essential support for your bladder, womb and bowel. These muscles can stretch and weaken through pregnancy and childbirth, age or lack of exercise. A common side-effect of weakened pelvic floor muscles is bladder weakness – something which affects one in four women over the age of 35 in the UK.

Fortunately almost three-quarters of bladder weakness cases triggered by a weakened pelvic floor can be remedied with simple exercises. The exercises improve core muscle strength, contributing to better posture and a flatter tummy.

Joining us on this live webTV show will be Nell McAndrew who will demonstrate a few of the simple exercises that could make a world of difference to your figure and quality of life. SheÂ’s joined by Gill Brook, a womenÂ’s health physiotherapist who has worked in the specialty for over 20 years.

Nell McAndrew joins us live online at Nell McAndrew’s Core Muscle Exercises

on Wednesday 24th February at 2pm to discuss pelvic floor strength and demonstrate some simple exercises.

About Nell

Nell McAndrew is no stranger to a tough workout regime. The model and TV star and mum of one, has released four of her own fitness videos and makes it her priority to keep fit and healthy.

Click here to submit questions before the chatFor more information visit www.corewellness.co.uk

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Life begins at 69!

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Las Vegas: A 69-year-old doctor has become a pin-up after following a diet and exercise regime that has given him the body of a 30-year-old.

Dr Jeffrey Life, the chief medical officer of the Cenegentics Medical Institute, went from flab to fab on his regime which also included injections of the controversial anti-ageing injection, Human Growth Hormone (Hgh), which helps produce lean muscle.

Hgh, like most of our hormones begins to decrease from about the age of 30. It has been shown in experiments to turn-back-the-clock but may also be associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Dr Life said: “Within the next ten years, maybe less, this is going to be thought of as mainstream medicine prevening disease, slowing the ageing process, preventing people from loosing their ability of take care of themselves when they get older, and ending up in nursing homes.”

Most men want Brad Pitt’s body

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London: More than 90% of males aged 15-40 wish they had better, more muscular bodies, with the majority of men aiming for the physique of Brad Pitt, according to a survey of more than 2000 males.

According to research, more than 90% of males wish they had a better body, with nearly half of the 2027 men polled stating that Brad Pitt’s physique was their desired appearance.

In a study carried out by www.myprotein.co.ukaimed at understanding male perception and ideals, it emerged that only 8% of all males between the ages of 15-40 are content with their bodies, with 92% wishing they were more muscular, and 84% saying they would like to ‘trim body fat. Only 19% said that they were happy withtheir diet.

When asked which celebrity physique they most admire, 49% chose Brad Pitt. The other notables were Will Smith 17%, David Beckham with 12%, Daniel Craig with 7% and Vin Diesel with 5%.

Only 2% stated that they would like the super muscle bodybuilding physique Arnold
Schwarzenegger once had.

When asked which female celebrity body they most admire or find attractive, men were more undecided. Jessica Alba topped the polls with a 21% majority. Here is the top 5:

Jessica Alba 21%
Angelina Jolie 16%
Eva Longoria 11%
Jessica Biel 9%
Jennifer Lopez 8%

Myleene Klass was sixth, with 6% of the votes, thanks to her recent Marks & Spencer advertising campaign, followed by Victoria Beckham and Jordan, with 6% and 3% respectively.

At the bottom end of the scale was Madonna with 0.3% and Britney Spears with just 14 of the 2027 votes, due in likelihood to her constantly changing image.

Oliver Cookson, Managing Director of www.myprotein.co.uk said:

“Given that body image is such a huge issue, we wanted to discover the true extent to which it affects men, whose opinion on body image is often in the shadow of that of the women.

“This research shows that men prefer a healthier, less extreme physique than many would have otherwise imagined. The fact that Brad Pitt and Jessica Alba topped the polls proves that celebrities do not have to be stick thin or hugely muscular to be admired. I think the results of this urvey promote a very healthy body image message.”

FDA investigates anti-spasm toxin in cerebal palsy child deaths

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The US’s Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that it has opened a safety review on reported side effects of Botulinum Toxin for the treatment of a number of non-cosmetic conditions.

Under review are Allergan brands Botox, Botox Cosmetic, and Myobloc, by another manufacturer, privately held Solstice Neurosciences.

All these products are injections of botulism toxins that block nerve transmissions and paralyse muscle. Such treatments can be used in small amounts to relax facial muscles to smooth wrinkles or calm severe spasms, such as those in patients with cerebral palsy.

The FDA said it was re-view-ing deaths and severe side-effects in children, in-cluding respiratory problems requiring ventilators and feeding tubes. The most common side-effects were in children with cerebral palsy.

In addition, the FDA said it had had reports of adult botulism cases, with symptoms such as difficulty holding up the head, weakness and numbness of the lower extremities. No adults had died and none required ventilators or tubes as a result.

The agency said that it was looking into whether these were reactions to “overdosing” and that no evidence linked the cases to “any defects in the products.”

Allergan said the most severe cases were often “severely compromised” children receiving high doses for spastic symptoms.

“We are continuing to work closely with the FDA to ensure they have all the necessary information to formulate their conclusion on the adverse event reports. We fully support the agency’s evaluation of the safety information they receive on our product,” Allergan said.

The company’s shares fell 6 per cent to $63.30 yesterday in New York trading.

Scrutiny over the safety of Botox has re-emerged in the past few weeks. Public Citizen, a US safety watchdog, recently asked the FDA to strengthen warnings on botulism products, citing deaths and fluid in the lungs and other side-effects.

Allergan has said Botox has a long safety record.

Allergan sees additional potential uses for Botox, including injections for severe headaches. It is a blockbuster product with at least $1.36bn in sales expected this year.

National Bike Week – 14-22 June

London: Bike Week, the UK’s biggest mass participation cycling event, is this year challenging families to get out of their cars, step away from the TV and get on their bikes. The call to action is ‘Free the Family’ and rediscover how much fun you can have together on a bike.

From Bristol to Belfast and Edinburgh to Eastbourne, thousands of free cycling events will provide the opportunity for everyone from total novices to passionate cyclists to get on their bikes. This yearÂ’s focus on the family means there will be childrenÂ’s rides, free bike safety checks and advice on getting started.

Andre Curtis, Manager at Bike Week said; “Plenty of parents have forgotten how much fun cycling was as a child. This year’s Bike Week will help to revive those memories and encourage families to spend quality family time together, have fun and get fit at the same time. We hope that taking part in a Bike Week event will act as a catalyst for people to cycle more regularly and enjoy the long term benefits of a healthier lifestyle.”

Why not join the 500,000 people who came along last year? To find out what is taking place in your local area, visit www.bikeweek.org.ukand enter your postcode. If youÂ’d like to take part but donÂ’t have a bike – this shouldnÂ’t stop you – you can simply search for your nearest bike rental outlet on the website. All participants get the chance to win a Center Parcs family holiday – giving another reason to get on your bike!

For further information, or if youÂ’d like to organise your own event, log on to www.bikeweek.org.uk or phone 0845 612 0661 (within UK)

Five reasons to get on your bike:

1. Cyclists live on average at least two years longer than non-cyclists and their fitness levels are equivalent to being ten years younger – so forget nip and tuck, think pedal and push!

2. Cycling is the ultimate family activity; itÂ’s healthy, fun and encourages children to be independent.

3.Twenty minutes of gentle cycling burns up to 100 calories, so if you cycle to work, youÂ’ll be able to have that afternoon treat without feeling an inch of guilt!

4. Studies show that car drivers are exposed to five times as much polluted air than cyclists, making cycling good for the environment, as well as your health

5. In a rush? Cycling is often much quicker than public transport or taking the car – even better, you wonÂ’t spend a penny on public transport, road tax, parking, MOT or fuel.

Bike Week will run from 14-22 June 2008
Bike Week is one of the UKÂ’s biggest annual promotions of cycling and provides a national umbrella for locally organised events and activities up and down the country.

Bike Week began as a grass-roots organisation in 1923 and receives funding from the Department for Transport, Cycling England, Transport for London, Northern Ireland Executive, The Welsh Assembly Government and The Scottish Government. Bike Week also receives funding from the cycle industry via Bike Hub.

The partners that run Bike Week are drawn from the whole cycling community including the cycle industry, Cycling England and Cycling Scotland, Sustrans, CTC and Cycle Campaign Network. More information can be found at www.bikeweek.org.uk

Alcohol and exercise don’t mix – UK government warning

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London: Many people enjoy drinking alcohol and then exercise the following day quite comfortably. While this fact sheet outlines the impact that alcohol can have on the bodyÂ’s performance during exercise, it is not designed to persuade people to change their exercising habits. It is intended to help you understand why you may not perform at your best after drinking.

Key facts from the UK Government’s Know Your Own Limits Campaign

Alcohol can affect your sport and exercise performance in two main ways, due to the effect of alcohol or its breakdown products in your body after drinking, or indirectly because of the effects of alcohol on your sleep, diet, level of dehydration etc, which can also affect your performance and efficient recovery from exercise. Below we have collected key facts from a range of authorities on the subject*:

If you have alcohol 24 hours before exercising you are more likely to develop muscle cramps.

Alcohol affects the body’s ability to create energy therefore it slows down reaction times, increases body heat loss and reduces endurance.

After exercising the body needs to be rehydrated. It’s not helpful to drink only alcohol as it will continue to dehydrate the body further.

If you sustain injury while exercising, and you have had alcohol the night before, or drink any alcohol afterwards [while injured], you are likely to increase your recovery time.

People often reach for vitamin B on the morning after night out. But even small amounts of alcohol reduce the bodyÂ’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals that are essential for converting food to energy, and helping repair body tissue after injury.

Alcohol and injuries

If you sustain an injury while alcohol is still in the bloodstream, even from the night before, the recovery time from the injury will increase.

· If you drink alcohol after sustaining a soft tissue injury, it may take longer to repair. This relates to two key factors:

· increased muscle swelling – alcohol dilates and relaxes blood vessels which increases muscle blood flow, hence the swelling

1 alcohol can mask the pain and severity of an injury, encouraging over-use

If you have been injured, avoid alcohol and seek medical treatment. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) is the best way to reduce swelling and speed recovery.

How alcohol affects you and sport

Speed: alcohol affects you even after you’ve finished drinking. Alcohol affects the central nervous system and slows down the information processing ability of the brain. This in turn slows down your reaction time, hand-eye coordination, accuracy and balance. Even a couple of drinks can affect your performance and perception.

Energy and stamina: the blood sugar that your body needs for energy is produced by your liver when it releases glucose into the blood stream. Alcohol keeps the liver too busy to produce this sugar efficiently. All of this means you have less energy and lower stamina.

No matter how much training and conditioning you’ve put in, a few drinks the night before can really take the edge off your fitness. When it is time to really ‘dig deep’, there might not be anything there.

Cramps: while exercising, your muscles burn up glucose, producing lactic acid as a waste product. Too much lactic acid leads to muscle fatigue and cramps. Alcohol that remains in your system contributes to greater build up of lactic acid. Therefore your risk of ‘cramping up’ increases dramatically.

Dehydration: the ‘dry horrors’ is the term used to describe an extreme symptom of alcohol’s diuretic (increased urination) effect. This extra fluid loss added to what you sweat out, means the risk of dehydration increases.

Performance: when you combine the effects of lactic acid build up, dehydration, and the body converting food to energy less efficiently, your aerobic performance is greatly reduced.

Alcohol and your muscles

Few people realise that consuming alcohol after a workout, practice, or competition can cancel out any physiological gains you might have received from such activities because:

short-term alcohol use can impede muscle growth; long-term alcohol use diminishes ‘protein synthesis’ resulting in a decrease in muscle build-up.

In order to build bigger and stronger muscles, your body needs sleep to repair itself after workouts, and alcohol is widely known to upset sleeping patterns.

* The authoritiesÂ’ information hasnÂ’t been factually verified by Department of Health, but we acknowledge that it represents sensible advice

Cherry juice can improve exercise outcome

London: Cherry juice can increase strength and reduce muscle pain brought about by exercise, according to a new study to be published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Fourteen volunteers were asked to either drink fresh cherry juice blended with apple juice twice a day for three days before exercise and for four days afterwards, or to drink a dummy mixture containing no cherry juice. The blend comprised 12 oz of liquid, equivalent to the juice from 50 to 60 cherries.

The volunteers were asked to hill walk or weight lift – two of the most strenuous exercises for muscles. Tenderness, motion, and strength were assessed on each of the days before and after exercise.

The research revealed that there was a significant difference in the degree of muscle strength between those drinking the cherry juice blend and those taking the dummy mixture.

Muscle strength improved almost after 96 hours in those drinking cherry juice, and the average pain score was significantly less in those drinking cherry juice.

The research also showed that the pain a person experiences after rigorous exercise can also be reduced significantly among people who drink the cherry juice.