Obesity, is it an epidemic?

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In today’s society becoming overweight or obese seems to be an ever-growing problem. I don’t write this from a judgemental point of view, but more from a worried point and want to discuss why it seems to be more accepted in the current times when it could be seriously damaging ones health.

As I mentioned I am not here to judge. I can take into account the reasons for some people being obese or severely overweight, things such as depression, tragedy, insecurity and so on, and for those people i really do have the deepest sympathies. But for some people I feel it is just either total laziness or lack of knowledge surrounding food? According to the gov.uk report in 2015/16 58% of women and 68% of men were classed as overweight or obese in the UK, there was also 525 thousand admissions into NHS hospitals that same year with obesity linked as the main factor to them being admitted as it causes health issues elsewhere.

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After digging further into research I also found that obesity in children is now the worst it has ever been with 1 in 5 reception children also being classed as overweight or obese. Now from that perspective I personally feel for the children as they are not really in control of what their diet is like and are told what to eat, I understand some children can be difficult and picky with food but that’s no reason to shove fast food down their throat!

I personally am I big believer in balancing lifestyle, it’s not all just healthy living of course you need to eat the things you enjoy in life but keep it to a minimum or wait until you are where you want to be as we all love food of course. But being overweight and obese can lead to so many issues with your health including

  • Strokes
  • Cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Joint problems
  • Lack of energy
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea

Just to name a few!

What can you change?

If you are classed in the categories mentioned it’s almost pretty certain you have been told to make some significant changes in your lifestyle, here some tips to help you get on the right track and make that change which can save/change your life!

  • More exercise/movement- seems pretty obvious right?
  • Work closely with your doctor/nutritionist
  • Go through the journey with someone- You may have a family member in the same situation as you, get them on board on do it together!
  • Avoid junk food/drinks- Fast food, fizzy drinks, alcohol
  • More fruit and vegetables
  • Increase water intake
  • Empty the cupboards! Get rid of anything in the house that may tempt you to go off track
  • Hire a personal trainer

Losing weight can be an extremely difficult journey particularly if you have gotten to the obese stage, make a change before it becomes too late! It wont be easy but you can 100% get yourself back to a healthy weight for the sake of yourselves and your family. I understand this can be a controversial topic and I’d love to know what every bodies thoughts are on this! So leave plenty of comments and I look forward to hearing people’s opinions. Once again thank you so much for reading!

Matt

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Life on the side lines

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Coping with the stress of an injury requires both physical and mental toughness. Sports injury recovery normally zones in on the physical rehab side of things.But it’s also important to include sports psychology techniques so that you don’t suffer mentally as well!

Athletes react to injuries with a whole host of emotions such as denial, anger, sadness, and even depression. People who have suffered with an injury often feel hard done by and can’t really come to terms with it if they are normally fit and healthy. Although these feelings are very much real, it’s important to do your best to get beyond the negative and find more positive ways to cope with the setback you are currently facing.

Here are some tips to try to help you cope with the injury, I have recently tried to implement these myself after finding i really struggled not only physically but very much mentally after my recent injury.

 

Get some support around you

A common mistake people make after becoming injured is to completely isolate themselves, whether that be from family, friends or teammates. It is vitally important to keep in contact with people when recovering as these people can be there for you when you need to vent some anger or you are feeling down about your injury. This can be a real comfort knowing you have a good support network around you.

 

Get more knowledge of your injury

If you know more about what’s actually happened to you, the less chance you have of getting anxious or scared about it all. So ask as many questions as possible when it comes to meetings with the physiotherapist or the doctor! By knowing more about what is expected in the rehab you will feel a greater sense of control.

 

Listen to the experts! Don’t rush back

This is one of the most common and biggest mistakes people make, myself included. How many times towards the back-end of your rehab do you feel like that you are feeling good, and ready to get back into action. Only to find you have rushed back way too early and end up setting your recovery time back even further? which will again make you feel down. So listen to what the doctors tell you and don’t be arrogant and ignore the advise.

 

Keep a positive attitude

Make sure you are doing everything to give yourself the best chance of recovery. Start by being committed to getting better, this begins by being in control of your own thoughts and self-talk. Use things such as imagining good things in your head instead of focusing on the bad things. Focus on what you want the outcome to be rather than the present!

 

Mental health covers a wide umbrella and affects people in all walks of life, it is important to know you can talk to people. Don’t isolate yourself whether it’s in sport or life in general. Anyone who is going through a tough injury at the moment, it doesn’t last forever and you will get back to your best if you follow what you are meant to be doing!

Thank you again for reading 🙂

Matt

 

 

Back pain? Try these exercises!

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Office worker? Driver? Construction worker? The chances are no matter what your occupation you will have experienced some form of back pain in your life. On average 80% of adults have suffered from lower back pain at some point in their life, a pretty staggering statistic! Back pain also contributes to more missed days at work than any other illness/injury. Americans spend approximately $50 BILLION dollars a year alone on just back pain!! So today I’m going to touch on a couple of exercises targeting the Hips, Glutes  and Lower back. Which anyone can do at home to try and hopefully bring you  some relief from that pain.

TIP- Make sure you warm the muscles up prior to stretching

Childs pose

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Child’s pose is a classic yoga rest pose that stretches your upper, middle and lower back, as well as your glutes, which are all part of your hip complex.

  1. Kneel on the floor with both big toes touching and your knees separated about hip-width apart.
  2. Place the glutes onto your heels and lean forward, resting your chest on top of your thighs.
  3. Place your forehead on the floor. Relax your arms alongside your body. Slowly walk the hands forward until they are straight, trying to avoid the shoulders from touching your ears! Hold the stretch for around 30 seconds, repeat as many times as you see fit!

Hip flexor stretch

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A lot of back problems are down to the shortening of the hip flexors from sitting down for long periods of time and so on.This is a great stretch to try and get some release through that area.

  1. Starting in a kneeling position, place one leg up and in front of the other one. Keep the foot flat on the floor, on the leg you have just lifted up
  2. Try your best to keep the knee at a 90 degrees angle. Also ensure you keep the back knee in contact with the ground.
  3. Once in this position lean forward slightly until you feel the stretch through your hips, hold this for about 10-12 seconds and repeat. 

Piriformis stretch

The piriformis muscle is located deep in the area of the glutes. Stretching the piriformis often can lead to instant pain relief if performed correctly!

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  1. Start by lying on your back with both feet flat on the floor and knees bent, this can also be performed with legs straightened out.
  2. Pull the right knee up towards the chest
  3. Grab the right knee with your left hand and pull towards the left shoulder until you feel the stretch.
  4. Hold the stretch and then perform on the opposite side

 Cow cat back stretch

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LEFT: Cow pose RIGHT: Cat pose 

A great stretch to help improve flexibility, posture and stimulating those abs!

  1. Start on all fours, placing the hands directly under the shoulders and the knees directly under the hips, Point the fingertips to the top of the mat.
  2. Have the spine, neck and head in a neutral positon (flat)
  3. Move into the cow pose, inhale as you drop your stomach towards the mat. Lift the chin and chest up and look towards the ceiling. Draw the shoulders away from the ears
  4. As you exhale move slowly up into the cat pose, pull your belly towards your spine so you are engaging your core and round the back towards the ceiling so it resembles a cat stretching
  5. Repeat 10-20 times

So INHALE for cow pose and EXHALE for cat pose.

Other things to consider to prevent back pain-

  • Try and limit the amount of time sat down
  • MUMS: Don’t always carry your children on one side
  • Bending down and picking stuff up properly, bending the knees to lift!
  • Work on your posture  (Sitting and standing)
  • Get a standing desk
  • Take breaks if you drive for long distances
  • Correct form when lifting weights
  • Strengthening your core
  • Activation of the Glutes/nerves

Treatments-

  • GP/Doctor
  • Physiotherapist
  • Chiropractor
  • Massage therapist
  • Yoga
  • Pilates

I have really tried to simplify and pick out some exercises which anyone can do at home no matter what your age or ability. This is really the tip of the iceberg when it comes to back pain, you could go on forever and in so much depth!

Once again thank you for reading! let me know if this was of any help to you. Any comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.

Matt

 

Life’s a beach

So I recently spent ten days on holiday in the USA, 4 nights  for spring break at Myrtle beach, South Carolina….. best holiday I’ve ever had! I then headed to Charleston, South Carolina for the last part of my trip! I am going to tell you all about my experience from flying there to the accommodation to the nightlife! So here goes….

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Airline- Virgin Atlantic/Delta

Virgin Atlantic

My flight was through Delta airlines but the first leg of the journey from Manchester to New York JFK was operated by Virgin Atlantic. I have to say I was extremely pleased with the flight, there was ample leg room and the Air hostess’ were first class! The food was also not too bad as far as airplane food goes! The only complaint I had was that there wasn’t a lot of choice when it came to entertainment, a very limited selection of movies, music etc.! But you can’t be too picky right? Also on my return flight home there was lots of free seats, having spoken to the Air hostess and explaining id not had much sleep the night before ( id been out partying) she kindly reserved a full row for me so I could lay out and sleep all the way home!! So I would highly recommend this airline and will 100% be using them again in the future.

Delta

Once I landed in JFK I then headed to Atlanta on board a Delta airline flight. I have to say I wouldn’t recommend them!! I understand that it is classed as a budget airline but the service as a whole was very poor, from rude staff to inadequate leg room! The main complaint for me was that there wasn’t enough room for every bodies bags in the overhead lockers, meaning that lots of people, myself included had to stow bags under the seat in front….. and without much leg room as it was you can imagine how uncomfortable that was, and thats coming from me who isnt the tallest of people! Least to say I’m glad it was only a two-hour flight!! I also had a flight from Atlanta to Orlando on the way home which again, was very uncomfortable! So choose carefully if you are thinking of flying Delta in the future!

 

Hotel- Sheraton Broadway Plantation Resort, Myrtle beach

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Now I’ve got my little complaint out of the way its time to tell you about our hotel! I can without a doubt say that this is one of the best complexes I’ve stayed at if not the best! This place literally has everything you need for a holiday. First of all the rooms were excellent, very clean and tidy along with large beds and we also had a lovely view from our balcony. The staff were very laid back ,helpful and were very understanding of us guys who were there to party for 4 nights!! They have great facilities such as a hot tub(where we spent most of our time), Indoor swimming pool, Ping Pong and Mini golf, this is just a few of the things they offered. We also made some great friends along the way, including 3 very nice American girls from the room above us! We were only a short walk from all the main nightclubs, bars and shops meaning you can enjoy your time and not worry about having to drive everywhere. So if you are looking for a place to stay at a reasonable price and have a great time this is the resort for you! I have linked in the website in the heading so just give it a click if you want to have a closer look.

 

Nightlife at Myrtle

Close to the complex we stayed at was the main party street called ‘ Broadway at the beach’. Heres a review of the few places we visited.

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Having spent the first night of the trip here I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed with it, We didn’t spend an awful long time in the queue and it was only $10 cover charge. At this point you are feeling pretty optimistic you are in for a great night, however it was fairly expensive drinks which is an off put for any spring breaker as its mainly college students who are tight on cash! It was also very small and packed in not leaving you much room to dance and have a good time… but in saying that we made the best of it and after a few drinks none of it really matters anyway, does it ?!

 

Malibu’s/OZ

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What a nightclub! With OZ and Malibu next door to each you could easily move in-between the two if one room was too busy or you wanted to get served at the bar quicker! Again this place was $10 dollar cover entry but was defiantly worth it, they had great drinks prices(between $3-$6 per drink) and even better music. With more space you could have a good dance without worrying about knocking someone’s drink out their hands or feeling uncomfortable, The door staff/security were also very reasonable considering they were dealing with tons of drunk college kids, so well played! This is the bar to be at in Broadway from my personal experience… we spent nearly every night in here as we couldn’t get enough of it! Again if you want to check out some of the videos/pictures from Spring break the link to the website is in the heading!

Hooters

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I don’t think Hooters needs too much of an introduction? Is a lads holiday to America even a lads holiday if you don’t pay a trip to a Hooters bar?! This was about a 10 minute drive from our apartment, we came here to watch the Champions League football/soccer. It wasn’t on the TV but the staff kindly accommodated us! You literally cannot go wrong with this place if you are with a group of friends, cheap food, Drinks and sports! Amongst other things to look at, but I wont go into much detail about that!!

So there is a couple of things to do if you are thinking of hitting Myrtle beach for Spring break or even just break away!

 

Charleston

IMG_0513.JPGAfter a hectic few days in Myrtle Beach we decided to take the drive to Charleston SC. After hearing many good things it didn’t disappoint. The main highlights of the trip was hiring some bikes from Holy Spokes which are bikes which are in racks all around the city. It only costs $12 dollars for 24 hours, and you can re park them at any station around the city! All’s you have to do is book them online, go up to a bike and enter the code you’ve been given and away you go! we biked approximately 10 miles taking In all the sights of Charleston and stopping for the odd beverage on the way. My bar of choice for the day time/afternoon would be the Fleet landing Restaurant&Bar.

Although this place is very pricey normally as its right by the water front with stunning views, we were fortunate enough to land there on happy hour! Which included $2 dollar beers which as you can imagine, very dangerous!

 

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Not so hostel

So with Charleston being on the pricey side we decided to hostel it! The ‘Not so hostel’ was a short 10 minute walk from King street which is where all the main Bars/Restaurants are based. For $30 dollars a night we really couldn’t complain, the first night we had our own room, we then shared in a dorm for the second two nights! Overall not bad accommodation if you are just passing through for a night or two.

 

Bar/Nightclub of choice

The main place id suggest in Charleston for the night-time would be a club called ‘Mynt’ which is located along king street, although not the biggest of places we had an absolute ball in there! The drinks were of a reasonable price considering it was a Saturday night in Charleston, the music was also pumping! Although If you are looking for something slightly more reserved or fancy there are a heap of bars along King street which would suit you, you wont have much difficulty finding them trust me!

 

I could have gone on all day writing about every single attraction and bars in both of these places, but i would have written about 10 pages, i hope if you are heading over to these destinations you can take some of my advice! Once again thank you so much for taking the time to read, any comments or feedback are greatly appreciated!

Matt

How easy it is to slip back into bad habits!

So today I want to talk about how very easy it is to slip back into bad habits when you are training for an event or trying to be healthier. At the moment I am currently in training for my first ever triathlon sprint in Kendal on the 22nd of April, for anyone who doesn’t know a triathlon consists of a Swim, Bike ride and then a Run(not long to go). Sometimes when you are training for such events  it can be very easy to go off track as you think ‘ill be ok I have plenty of time’ as you are doing this for enjoyment rather than competing, the truth is it soon creeps up on you! Now I understand it can’t all be just flat-out training, you need to spend time with friends, family and enjoy doing things you like. But as the old saying goes ‘everything in moderation’. This past weekend  I returned home to see all my mates and family and to have a bit of a blow out…….

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Don’t let things spiral

So as mentioned above I went for a good old-fashioned blow out, sadly for me this didn’t really go to plan! I spent Saturday night getting carried out of the nightclub and put in a taxi home…. pretty embarrassing? Now there is no problem with letting your hair down from time to time and going a bit crazy, but the key thing is not to let it get out of control, don’t let a cheat weekend turn into a cheat week. One thing that really stood out for me over the weekend was how bad I have felt for days after, Sunday I obviously felt absolutely shite and then that carried on even into Monday and Tuesday! If your body isn’t used to a big night on the town try to be careful how much you put down your neck. My weekend consisted of alcohol, terrible food, waking up late and no training….. this has no doubt put me back a few weeks with my training.

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Forget about it

Although I know myself that I’m now not where I want to be, it’s no good to sit there and feel sorry for yourself or make excuses. At the end of the day its been and gone and there isn’t anything you can change or do about it! So just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and just work your arse off to get back into the position you want to be at. Because when you are training up for an event its you vs you, no one else can get you up out of bed and drag you out for a run or to the gym. So find it within yourself to forget about the weekend just gone and learn some valuable lessons moving forward, and make sure you don’t end up getting smashed every single weekend! otherwise you will see your personal results disappear in the blink of an eye. I’m obviously not telling anyone to never drink or eat something bad again because it  happens from time to time. But if you are really serious about wanting to get into shape or do an event to the best of your ability you need to consider the choices you are making…..

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my post everyone! Let me know any feedback or leave me a comment!!

 

Top tips on working in Australia for backpackers!

Thinking of moving to Australia to work? Here are a few quick tips for you guys travelling out there. After all who wants headaches when you have just moved to a new country?! I hope you find these tips easy to follow and they were helpful too you!

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1.Visa- 417 working holiday visa

I think it’s clearly obvious that you can’t just move to another country to work without obtaining a visa. In Australia you will need a ‘working holiday visa’ in order to be able to work! The work visas in Australia allow you to work for one employer for a maximum of 6 months, then you must move along and find another job! As the main purpose of your visit is a ” working holiday” meaning it’s pleasure first,work second!! To obtain a second year visa you must complete 88 days regional work which varies from working on grape vineyards to helping farmers with their cattle! The maximum stay on a WHV is 2 years from the date you land.  To apply for a visa you can go on the aus.gov website. Agencies and travel agents tend to charge much more!

2.Australian mobile number

Having and Aussie number is essential when applying for jobs so employers/recruiting agencies can contact you easily,Using an English phone number can be pretty pricey as you would imagine! My advice would be to take an unlocked phone then look for the best prices on what the Australians call a “pre-paid” sim-card, this is a pay as you use sim card which you choose how much if any amount of money/credit you’d like to put on every month. The major providers are Vodafone,Optus and Telstra, All doing reasonable priced plans, some even include free international calls.

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3.Tax file number (TFN)

So you are probably thinking what is a Tax File number? An Australian tax file number is a unique number issued by the ATO (Australian tax office), very similar to a National Insurance number in the UK. Getting a TFN straight away is pretty important, if you fail to do so you will risk getting  taxed at a much higher rate when you do start working. Applying for your TFN is pretty straight forward and can take up to 28 days to be delivered. Head over to the ATO website or alternatively head into an Australia Post building when you arrive where you can apply for one.

https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Tax-file-number/Apply-for-a-TFN/

4.CV/Resume

Having a current and up to date resume is vitally important when applying for jobs, so before heading over make sure you have tied up all the loose ends on there! From a personal experience I found the best job site to use whilst in Australia was 100% Seek.com.au. You will recieve plenty of calls from keen recruitment agents trying to get you into work! The main hotspots for work are Sydney and Melbourne so finding a job shouldn’t be an issue,so don’t worry!

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So there are some handy tips for working in Australia- I hope these were helpful and the best of luck to anyone who is making the trip over to this amazing country, Make the most of it and stay safe! Any comments or feedback is appreciated.