Leave it to a Japanese professor to come up with a high-intensity workout that appears painless, but is actually gut-wrenchingly difficult. Welcome to Tabata – a hard-hitting interval session that leaves you feeling both exhilarated and nauseous at the same time. The expression ‘every second counts’ could not be more fitting. Continue reading
Performance Enhancing Drugs – Not Just For The Elite
Performance-enhancing drug-use continues to make headlines thanks to Lance Armstrong, the Australian sporting community and now maybe even Oscar Pistorius. And while such professional sportsmen’s furtive actions should be exposed, there is another group of users that often go unnoticed – the everyday person trying to get fit. Whether it’s young kids wishing to boost their self-image or a gym-goer wanting to build body mass, drugs are proving to be prevalent outside of the sporting world.
Hanging upside down in a silk-made hammock sounds like something reserved for acrobat performers – yet in Virgin Active Health Clubs along with several other athletic centres, the everyday sports enthusiast is doing just that. The idea is to improve strength and flexibility. Minutes into an AntiGravity Yoga class, you find your body swinging, then twisting and finally stretching in ways you could never have imagined. Think of a challenging pilates or yoga class, and then place yourself in a hammock. Though make note: do not consume food or drink within hours from the start of class – ‘losing your lunch’ gains a new meaning here. Continue reading
Underwater and Unicycle Hockey
While the National Hockey League (NHL) may be the most popular hockey league in the world – other forms of hockey are also making a name for themselves. Reporter Elisa Iannacone tried underwater and unicycle hockey. Sound a bit crazy? See for yourself here.
Roller derby is the fastest-growing sport in Britain, according to sport analysts. Created in 2006, there are now approximately 90 registered leagues across the country. But this women-only competition still struggles to find acceptance in the sporting world. Reporter Bettina Guirkinger finds out what all the skating fuss is about. Check out our video on You Tube.
Golf is played at over 2,000 courses across the UK. Now throw a football into the equation, and you get Foot Golf. The worldwide sporting sensation started in Holland and went viral on YouTube. And though it just completed its first World Cup last March in Hungary, it has yet to win over the golf community. Zairah Khurshiid tells us a what Foot Golf is, and why it’s all kicking off on the green. Watch our You Tube video to find out more.
Equipment: The Foam Roller
The foam roller is just what the name suggests – typically 12 to 36 inches long and cylinder in shape – its foam-like textured surface aids in creating both a gentle support for the body as well as a myofascial release that improves soft tissue extensibility and helps relax the muscles. Physios, and now trainers and pilates instructors alike, use these for stretching and strengthening, and like the Swiss Ball, it is also beneficial with balance and core work.
While attending a physio session may be costly, these rollers can be found at most gyms or online anywhere from £15 to £25. Be warned: painful yelps are not uncommon when first getting used to their firm exterior. Your muscles will be thrilled however, likening it to a self-imposed intense massage. And if you can manage to balance on your back with one leg up as well – you’re body will be even happier. After all, targeting both deep tissue and core strength with one prop is no small feat!
Traffic Light Test to Help Combat Rise in Liver Disease
Recent statistics show drinking is taking its toll on the nation, with a rise in liver disease higher than ever. Further research assessed up to 32 deaths in the UK could have been prevented if doctors had not missed opportunities to help those with alcohol problems. What if doctors had help in detecting the early stages of liver scarring? A team of specialists from Southampton Hospital’s Liver Unit have created a blood test called the ‘Southampton Traffic Light Test’ that can be used by GPs to help detect scarring in its earlier stages – something that could potentially help save lives. Continue reading
Letting Consumers Monitor Their Own Health
‘The Quantified Self’ or ‘The Connected Self’ are terms heard floating around the digital health circles. From upgraded sleep and stress trackers to creative devices like the HAPIFork that lets you know when you’re eating too fast – technology is empowering consumers to self monitor their well-being rather than relying on a trip to the doctor.
In the US where it is estimated over 25 million Americans suffer from diabetes or the UK where obesity rates have nearly quadrupled in the last 25 years, health costs are skyrocketing without the funds to support it. While most health care is spent on treating long-term illness, why not put time and money into preventative care?
Walter De Brouwer, CEO of Scanadu, said at this year’s Consumer and Electronics Show (CES), “People want to be empowered. They don’t want to be treated like children by the government or institutions.” Hence, the evolution of the term ‘the Quantified Self’ quoted by TechCrunch reporter Matt Burns. In his pre-show write-up, he noted this year’s CES was the first year major companies like Microsoft would not be present nor leading the way in innovation. Instead, smaller start-ups would be showing off more affordable, game-changing gadgets soon to change the way we think of health as we know it today.
In reading over many of the gadget reviews from CES, I found five that exemplified the vanguard Burns was referring to. Continue reading
The Swiss Ball (or Exercise Ball)
Available in sizes 35-85 centimetres, these exercise balls are made of PVC plastic and are used for balance and control, in turn helping strengthen the overall body (in particular the core muscles). Exercises can be as simple as sitting on the ball with an aim to stay centered, or to more advanced moves such as laying on your back in the ‘bridge’ or ‘rollover’ as seen in pictures above.
Originally created by an Italian plastics manufacturer in 1963, the ball was later made famous by British physiotherapist Mary Quinton who was living in Switzerland – thus the creation of the ‘Swiss ball’. They became popular with American physios, and can now be found at most gyms or online for as little as £3.30 each on Amazon. The work-out can be challenging, but is wonderful at keeping your core in check (otherwise it can be a nasty drop!).