British Military Fitness launches the walkfit workout

British Military Fitness, the UK’s largest outdoor fitness provider, has launched a new walkfit workout in eight London parks.

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Walkfit with British Military Fitness (BMF) is a new, fun way to get healthy outdoors in your local park. Led by BMF’s highly trained fitness instructors the class will keep you interested with constant variety, achievable challenges and personal encouragement.


 Retired Major  Robin Cope, Managing Director at BMFsaid: “Many people I’ve spoken to, like to go for a walk but wouldn’t necessarily do it by themselves. Our classes will ensure that the members are with like-minded people and will be encouraged to chat and socialise while they exercise.”


WF Image1 [640x480].JPGWalkfit classes will last for one hour and promise to increase your heart rate, use your muscles and improve your mobility. The BMF instructors will carefully guide you through the activities and exercises of the class, making sure that you work to a level which is right for you. They will encourage and motivate the participants throughout the class so they are fun and sociable and you’ll wonder where the time goes. It’s a whole new type of social fitness – feeling healthier, having fun and making friends.


“We recognised the need for an outdoor exercise class that appealed to a broader audience, focusing on our common goal of getting more people active. We’ve made the classes for everyone, so even if you’re returning to exercise after children, injury or illness, the low intensity class is perfect for you. It’s a totally different experience to a gym or other fitness classes and I can guarantee that you won’t be asked to drop and give me twenty!” says Robin.   


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Walkfit classes are fun, friendly, effective and great for meeting people in your local area. The launch will see classes starting in Battersea, Wandsworth, Dulwich, Peckham, Bushy Park, Hyde Park, Finsbury, and Cheam. To find your nearest Walkfit class or to try a FREE introductory class, visit  


More about Walkfit


  • Walkfit is a new, fun way to get healthy outdoors in your local park, led by highly trained fitness instructors.
  • Classes are designed for all abilities and are taken by highly trained professional instructors who will carefully guide you through the activities and exercises. The class is low impact and low intensity exercise.
  • Walkfit payment options: one class a week is £30 per month, unlimited classes per week is £40 per month and session blocks of 3 and 5 classes are £8.50 each. There is also an over 60/under 21 rate and partner rate of membership. More information on prices can be found at
  • Walkfit classes will run in the following locations: Battersea, Wandsworth, Dulwich, Peckham, Bushy Park, Hyde Park, Finsbury and Cheam.
  • British Military Fitness (BMF), founded in 1999 by Major Robin Cope as an alternative form of fitness training to gyms. Like Walkfit, BMF classes last one hour and are taken by serving or ex-armed forces physical training instructors. The basic principles are the same as Walkfit – motivational instructors, a sense of fun, strong group dynamic and use of the great outdoors.
  • BMF has over 17,000 members training in over 100 parks across the UK. For more information visit




Get lean and mean – eat turkey


London: With the Olympics coming up, Britain’s athletes could find they have a secret weapon for success – a plate of turkey meat.

Eating turkey could enhance an athlete’s performance by up to 20%, according to scientists. Turkey breast contains one of the highest concentrations of the muscle-building dipeptides, anserine & carnosine. When we eat a food containing these dipeptides it is broken down into beta-alanine and histidine. We all have plentiful supplies of histidine in the body, but it is beta-alanine we need to consume to counteract the effect of pH acidity that causes muscle fatigue, as the body is only able to manufacture small quantities from uracil in the liver.

Researchers at the University of Chichester’s School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences carried out tests on the effect of consuming carnosine and beta-alanine on volunteers who underwent muscle biopsies and performance tests. The 800mg beta-alanine supplements they used, the equivalent to 145g portions of turkey breast meat, increased muscle concentrations by 40% and improved cycling performance by 13%.

Research leader Glenys Jones said: “The exciting thing is, I believe we are nowhere near the top. In fact, I suspect if we raise the dietary intake of beta-alanine to 250-300g of turkey a day for 6-12 months we will see a progressive rise in the values of a possible 80% increase in muscle concentrations and further performance improvements, as seen in high-dose/short-term supplementation studies.”

Jones is looking to start a longitudinal investigation into the effect on muscle concentrations of introducing a regular dose of turkey into the diet and the subsequent effect on performance in the very near future.

Sharron Davies, former Olympic swimmer and mother of three, says: “New dietary research is something all athletes welcome – especially when the food recommended is as easy to obtain, cook and eat as turkey. When I was swimming competitively, I always included turkey in my diet because it’s low in fat and high in protein and even today, turkey remains an important part of my balanced diet. But even non-athletes should be interested in keeping their bodies as healthy as possible so this research could have positive benefits for very many people in all walks of life.”

Rowing, cycling, speed skating and certain distances in running are the other disciplines researchers say are most likely to benefit.

The research at Chichester University, overseen by Prof Roger Harris, discovered anserine and carnosine was high in certain muscle meats, including whale, prawns and turkey. The scientists chose to concentrate their research on turkey for practical reasons.

Prof Harris said: “Whale meat is not exactly available, or desirable in the UK, and you would have to eat an unpalatable amount of prawns, which are themselves high in cholesterol, to achieve the same results.”

The turkey is a relatively recent domesticated farm animal and closely related genetically to the wild turkey of North America, one of the heaviest flying birds. The flood of adrenaline that a wild turkey needs to lift its body weight off the ground to escape danger is the key. This involves rapid mobilisation of energy in the wing and breast muscles, and a concentration of histidine containing dipeptides called anserine and carnosine. Our digestive systems split these dipeptides into beta-alanine and histidine, which then reform as carnosine when transported into muscle.

Funding by the British Turkey Federation has allowed Prof Harris and PhD student Glenys Jones to continue their research. Jones is currently evaluating how putting beta-alanine into the drinking water of turkeys increases the concentration in their muscle.

She said: “Our aim is to get the highest concentration of the histidine dipeptides possible for inclusion in people’s regular diets. The implications of which could provide health benefits for the elderly, who suffer a reduced acid-based regulatory system as they get older, and indeed for all individuals who want to maintain an active life is tremendously exciting.”

Interest in the research at International Conferences has been extremely high and supportive. The potential uses of beta-alanine and the dipeptides as supplements led Prof Harris to stating “Literally, the sky’s the limit!”

The British turkey industry has welcomed the findings. Dr Cliff Nixey, a world authority on turkeys, said: “If we can help British athletes find Olympic success we would be delighted. But we are also pleased at the potential health benefits in all walks of life.”

Dr Nixey explains why turkey meat would contain high levels of substances involved in energy metabolism.

“The turkey is a relatively recent domesticated farm animal and as such is closely related genetically to the wild turkey in North America. The wild turkey is one of the heaviest flying birds, with males weighing around 16lbs (7.25kg) and females 10lbs (4.5kg). To avoid danger, they have explosive flight upwards to gain height rapidly and then they glide long distances. The take off of such heavy birds must involve very rapid mobilisation of energy in the wing and breast muscles. It follows that this species has evolved a system to cope with this which logically would involve high levels of substances involved in energy mobilisation.”

Supporting Research:

Influence of b-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle Carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity
School of Sports, Exercise & Health Sciences, University of Chichester, Chichester, UK

Summary: Muscle carnosine synthesis is limited by the availability of b-alanine. Thirteen male subjects were supplemented with b-alanine (CarnoSyn tm) for 4wks, 8 of these for 10wks. A biopsy of the vastus lateralis was obtained from 6 of the 8 at 0, 4 and 10 wks. Subjects undertook a cycle capacity test to determine total work done (TWD) at 110% (CCT 110%) of their maximum power (Wmax). Twelve matched subjects received a placebo. Eleven of these completed the CCT 110% at 0 and 4 wks, and 8 and 10wks. Muscle biopsies were obtained from 5 of the 8 and one additional subject. Muscle carnosine was significantly increased by +58.8% ad +80.1% after 4 and 10 wks b-alanine supplementation. Carnosine, initially 1.71 times higher in type IIa fibres, increased equally in both type I and IIa fibres. No increase was seen in control subjects. Taurine was unchanged by 10 wks of supplementation. 4 wks beta-alanine supplementation resulted in a significant increase in TWD (+13.0%); with a further +3.2% increase at 10 wks. TWD was unchanged at 4 and 10 wks in the control subjects. The increase in TWD with supplementation followed the increase in muscle carnosine.

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 year’s focus on the family means there will be children’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 enter your postcode. If you’d like to take part but don’t have a bike – this shouldn’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 you’d like to organise your own event, log on to 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; it’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, you’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 won’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 UK’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

Nagging health questions answered on new UK government site

London: Got a nagging question about your health? Are you planning a new fitness regime or are you interested in finding out more about a particular condition and relevant treatment options? If you are looking for reliable, personalised information about your health and lifestyle you can now find it at the new website, NHS Choices

Health advice is now the second most searched for subject online so it is no surprise that there is a lot of information of variable quality out there.
NHS Choices is a one-stop shop for all your health information that you can trust and that puts you in charge of decisions about your own health, lifestyle and even treatment options.

See how fit and healthy you are with a quick and easy personal health check and watch short movies from the experts and real people about their experiences of common conditions and treatments. Read honest accounts of how celebrities such as Steve Redgrave, Tricia Goddard, Rosemary Conley and Nik Powell, Richard Branson’s co-founder of Virgin Records have overcome their own health problems. You can even become an expert with access to information only previously available to the medical profession.

Get motivated and take inspiration for a healthy life from Live Well, a series of online magazines featuring up to date articles, short movies and celebrity contributions to appeal to different groups such as women, teenagers, men and families.

Get great ideas for healthy eating with recipes from Emma Bunton, Nadine Coyle, Dannii Minogue and Myleene Klass and watch celebrity chefs cook up simple, healthy meals for the whole family and romantic nights in.

Find inspiration for a fitness regime that works for your age and lifestyle. Get active and take the Chelsea FC challenge, try walking your way to fitness and a great pair of legs or read how Olympic sprinter, Linford Christie has managed to stay fit and lean post retirement and post forty.

Learn our how to stay happy and healthy at work and see what the experts have to say about a mid life crisis. Is your urge for a newer model – car or woman – due to brain or hormone changes or just bad behaviour.

Should you need to go to hospital NHS Choices gives you the information to make an informed decision about where and when you want to be treated. View ratings on hospital waiting times, cleanliness and readmission figures and for the first time what previous patients have to say about their treatment and experiences via immediate online feedback.

It is even possible for you to make your choice of hospital based upon personal preferences such as travelling times, MRSA incidences and availability of single sex wards.

1. The NHS Choices website draws on the combined experience and expertise of, NHS Direct, the National Electronic Library for Health, and the Healthcare Commission.

2. NHS Choices can be found at The site will continue to evolve and significant extensions are scheduled for later in 2007 and 2008.

3. The site will allow patients to access NHS approved information using a number of features under distinct headings:

Live Well
• Information that will help the well to stay fit and assist those who are unwell to manage their condition

• ‘Magazine’ content will reflect the interests and needs of different groups such as teenagers, families and those over 70

Health A-Z
• Access to a vast library of approved medical literature, previously only available to clinicians to enable a deeper understanding of conditions & treatment options
• Easy to understand multi-media guides on the most common procedures e.g. hip replacement
• Detailed guides to living with 20 long-term conditions such as diabetes to help patients manage their condition. Expert opinions from professionals and patients will provide advice and support

Choose Services
• Authoritative, comparative data on the standards and availability of services
• Searchable comprehensive directories e.g. on hospitals, GPs and care homes
• A quality scorecard that will help patients and GPs together to identify the most appropriate clinicians and locations for their treatment

Your Thoughts
• Patients will be able to directly comment and feedback on their hospital experience
• All comments will be pre-moderated and references to named individuals will be removed
• Hospitals will have the opportunity to respond to comments about their services.

Being overweight can be good for your health, says new CDC study

Being a little overweight is good for you, a study suggests, but being very thin increases the risk of death, according to the research.

The findings are the result of an analysis by the US watchdog, the Centre for Disease Control. Considered the most comprehensive ever undertaken, it agrees with several smaller studies in recent months.

All show that those who are a little overweight have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.

As a result, U.S. government experts have dramatically cut the annual number of deaths they blame on people being overweight – from 365,000 to just 25,814.

It means that, officially, more people – 34,000 – now die each year in the U.S. because they are underweight rather than overweight.

Most of these are aged 70 or older. The experts say the definition of a desirable weight range is probably now too low.

They emphasise, however, that there is a difference between being overweight, and being obese – obesity is still a major killer.

Researcher Dr David Williamson, who is overweight himself, said: ‘If I had a family history – a father who had a heart attack at 52, or a brother with diabetes – I would actively lose weight. As it is, I’m comfortable with my size.’ The experts have changed their views on fat and thin people because the new study used more recent data and better statistical techniques, including factors such as smoking, age, race and alcohol consumption.

Based on the new calculations, excess weight drops from the second leading cause of preventable death – after smoking – to seventh.

Biostatistician Mary Grace Kovar said the classification for normal weight is now probably set too low. In addition, ‘overweight’ people are eating more healthily, exercising more, and controlling their blood pressure and cholesterol better than they used to.

The current method of defining obesity calculates BMI, or body-mass index, a person’s weight-to-height ratio. It has been criticised for labelling superfit athletes obese because muscle weighs more than fat.