Eat better in lockdown

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Food and drink have been one of the few pleasures we have still been able to enjoy during this lockdown and although the odd treat is fine, many of us are finding ourselves eating and drinking more, and have gained a few unwanted inches.

Commercial weight loss programs don’t work long term, with most achieving limited and/or temporary weight loss. So here are a few practical tips to eat better in lockdown.

1. Build your food environment.

The evidence is the rise in obesity is linked with our obesogenic environment. Be aware of the foods around you, and what you put on your shopping list, if you buy those Doritos chances are they will get eaten!

Abi Barclay-Watt, nutritionist

2. Kitchen opening hours.

If you easily succumb to snack cravings, try and stick to 3 meals a day. If you do need a snack have something nutritious on hand. Have a big fruit salad or veg sticks and nuts easily available. Meals can then be social focal points and it will mean less clearing up too!

3. Eating speed.

It has been shown that slower eaters release less of the hunger hormone than faster eaters. So, eat mindfully with your senses and chew well.

4. Portion size.

An obvious one, try and only cook what you need. Try and fill at least a third of your plate with veg.

5. Distraction activity

Are you really hungry, or just bored or thirsty? Try drinking some water first and wait before you grab that snack. Find another activity you enjoy to fill that craving, go for a walk, get lost in a good book etc.

6. Be kind to yourself.

There is nothing wrong in indulging occasionally and it is important to acknowledge resisting what your appetite wants can be a challenge. Try applying the 80:20 rule – eat healthily 80% of the time, it can make you aware of how much better you feel when you eat well but allow yourself the food you enjoy.

Find out more

For more information see my website and please do email any questions

Hypnotherapy sleep tips

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Oxfordshire-based clinical hypnotherapist Linda Flanigan has some help for anyone struggling to sleep in the current circumstances

One of the main impacts of the current situation is that it can disrupt our sleep. When we are stressed and facing dramatic changes, it can make sleep more difficult. Hypnotherapist Linda Flanigan is working to combat those sleep problems with the power of hypnosis, offering a complimentary hypnosis recording, as part of her community ‘give-back’ initiative to help people get through this difficult time. The latest recording is to help people achieve the deep, soothing, healthy sleep that we all want.

She said: “Our everyday way of life has changed dramatically and we are having to deal with emotions and fears that are causing a strain on our mental and physical well-being. As the lockdown continues and anxiety increases, many are finding they are suffering with sleep issues for the first time in their lives, while others who already have sleeping problems are finding they are exacerbated at this challenging time.

If sleep problems are not dealt with it can result in us being unable to sleep at all or to wake up several times during the night

“We cannot function properly without good, quality sleep and by stressing over the current coronavirus situation we are keeping our minds in a constant state of vigilance at night, rather than allowing restorative sleep. It’s natural to be worried but we need to look for ways to manage the stress to reduce the effects of being sleep deprived.”

Linda added: “I teach my clients hypnotherapy strategies that well help them deal with the blocks that are causing them problems. By giving them sleep techniques aimed specifically at calming restless minds and bodies, such as relaxation, focused attention, guided imagery and symptom control, I can ease the worries that are stopping sleep.

“If sleep problems are not dealt with it can result in us being unable to sleep at all or to wake up several times during the night or have more vivid or emotional dreams all leaving us feeling exhausted and irritable and unable to perform or focus the next day. Hypnosis can help with many forms of sleep issues.”

Linda advises sleep hypnotherapy as an alternative to traditional methods that perhaps are not effective with everybody or for those who prefer not to take sleeping pills.

She said: “It is a perfectly natural treatment without any side effects. That endless tossing and turning in bed creates more frustration so I can’t recommend this hypnosis recording enough if lack of sleep is troubling you during lockdown.”

As well as her recording, Linda has some hints and tips to achieve a better sleep:

1. Introduce helpful habits

We are not designed to sit all day in front of a screen, being bombarded with artificial light. Building good habits into the day will train your body to recognise when it’s time to sleep: make sure you get some natural light and exercise, eat healthily and sleep around the same time each night.

2. Let your body know you’re ready for bed

Wind down gently each night by watching, listening to or reading something fun or uplifting before you think about going to bed. Avoid caffeine, mobile phones, computers and late-night exercise – your brain wants to calm down not be stimulated.

3. Learn to switch off

It is important to calm our bodies physically and mentally before getting ready for bed. Do that in a way you enjoy. Have a long, hot bath (that also works to aid sleep as it reduces core body temperature when you get out – beneficial for sleep); do some meditation; focus on your breathing and breathe deeply; listen to some calming music; write down anything that you need to do the next day so that you can then let go of it before you sleep.

4. Make your bedroom conducive to sleep

Keep your bedroom as clear of clutter and work as you can. Keep it as a haven of comfort. Have a look around and see what you can clear out or tidy away. Sometimes just changing things around can make a big difference. Pay attention to the temperature in your room as research shows that we fall asleep a lot quicker if we are in a cool room.

5. Learn not to battle to get to sleep

Don’t watch the clock all night – turn it away from you. Instead of putting your focus on not being able to sleep, focus on how good it is to be simply resting: enjoy the feel of the comfy covers, your head resting on the pillow. Take yourself off in your mind to a nice, relaxing time, a time when it felt good to be relaxing. Put your focus on the positive: tell yourself “I choose to sleep” or “I’m enjoying resting peacefully”.

If you cannot sleep after a while get up and do something that is not too mentally taxing or stimulating.

Health research study

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

People in the Thames Valley can now find more than 100 research studies taking place in the NHS, public health and social care using a new interactive online map.

The map, at thamesvalleyresearch.nihr.ac.uk, features pins that show where studies are taking place at locations including hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes.

Users click on the pin to browse studies at that location. They can also search all studies in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire by medical speciality, location, keyword (for example diabetes), postcode and study name.

After finding a study they are interested in, users visit a webpage for more information including a summary of the study, health inclusion and exclusion criteria and contact details.

The website lists studies supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands.

Prof Belinda Lennox, Clinical Director for the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands, said: “Health research is vital for developing new treatments in the NHS and improving the quality of the care that we provide.

“We rely on the public to take part in this research, which can range from filling out a questionnaire or giving a blood sample to trialling a new medication or treatment.

“This map provides people with the opportunity to actively seek out studies that they could take part in.”

Participating in health research helps develop new treatments, improves the NHS, public health and social care services and save lives.

Studies are offered to NHS patients that are relevant to their condition. Healthy people can also take part so results can be compared to those with a condition.

We rely on the public to take part in this research

2020 trends

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

It’s the new year which must mean it’s time for that ‘new you’ we all search for for a few weeks/months, but trends for 2020 mean it’s not all about sweating it out at a gym and donning your running gear in all weathers, the emphasis is as much on mental wellbeing as it is on physical activity. Here’s a few of things to tempt you this year… 

Wellbeing workouts

More workouts are putting mindfulness and mental health at the fore with spiritual wellbeing and nurturing the soul becoming more important. Expect to find therapies like cryotherapy, meditation, breathing, massages and flotation tanks.

 

Mindful running

This can be a great way to put your worries and stresses to the back of your mind, disconnect from what is overwhelming you and allow you some ‘me time’. Mindful running encourages you to focus on your training and yourself.

 

Mind over matter

New workouts will focus on strengthening your mind as much as your body. The idea is to push yourself out of your comfort zone with bootcamp-style exercises and team competitions. The goal is to build mental resilience, as well as improve fitness levels.

 

Group workouts

2020 is expected to bring a surge in group sweat classes, workouts could replace happy hour and team lunches swapped for team outings to a spin or trampoline class. Working out increases team bonding, productivity and improves culture. It can be a great way to develop friendships too and reduce some of the self-consciousness and anxiety of exercising in a room full of strangers.

Hybrid yoga

Combine the exercise with other practices. Yoga HIIT (high intensity interval training) balances stretches with sharp bursts of intensity, ensuring you use all your muscles and are buzzing with endorphins.

 

Snooze time

Recognition of needing more sleep will be in focus in 2020. Sleep deprivation can impact you at work, your physical appearance and your mental health. There’s more technical equipment that can help fight lack of sleep and more fitness studios are sleep space for after workout rest and sleep pods are popping up for a rest on your lunch break.

 

Shorter workouts

It seems HIIT (high intensity interval training) is not intense enough, say hello to micro HIIT. The recommended amount of HIIT is 20 minutes, three times a day but get set for an even more intense version with two or three minutes’ worth throughout the day! Feel exhausted yet?

 

At-home workouts

The popularity of Peloton, the home-spinning bike sensation shows no signs of abating in 2020. Without having to leave home and in your pjs if you wish you can join in thousands of on-demand classes. Trainers with infectious energy are helping to grow this trend. Look out too for the Peloton Tread (running treadmills) coming from the US including training and recovery tips.

 

Smart boxing

With the increasing use of tech, comes punch trackers. Worn on your wrist, the device will track the velocity and intensity of your punches to measure your progression and see how your right hook compares to your fellow boxers.

ATOM Society

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Where did I put my keys? That’s just one of the issues the ATOM Society of Abingdon will be addressing at their fas cinating and informative talk this month, Victoria Framolina from the society explains more

Where did I put my keys? Who hasn’t felt the frustration of losing their keys soon after putting them down?

This is a common experience due to everyday lapses in attention and working memory – our ability to temporarily ‘hold things in mind’. We rely on working memory every day to hold things in mind, solve problems and to make sense of the continuous stream of perception.

During our October talk, Understanding the Components of Memory, we will talk about what working memory is, and give some examples of the important functions it serves in our everyday lives.
As we age, people often experience their memory getting worse. In clinical settings, we see many people who have no neurological issues, but report having much worse memory problems. We will discuss potential factors that might contribute to these lapses in attention and short-term memory and review some of the available assessments.

The speakers will be Rob Udale and Elitsa Slavkova.
Rob Udale is a Cognitive Psychologist with a PhD in Experimental Psychology.  Rob uses behavioural experiments and computational modelling to understand human attention, memory, and visual cognition.  He is currently working in Professor Masud Husain’s Cognitive Neurology lab at The University of Oxford. 
Elitsa Slavkova is a Clinical Research Coordinator and Cognitive Behaviour Therapist. She has contributed to the research design and clinical implementation of a stroke-specific cognitive screen in the NHS, as well as conducting research with people with subjective and mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Read more

Understanding the Components of Memory takes place on Thursday, 17th October from 7pm for 7.30pm, at King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, 10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA.

Non-members welcome £3 at the door, kids under 18 free. For details and future talks please visit ATOM Society

Health clinic

Karen Neville

Health & Nutrition

A new child health clinic has opened in Reading offering integrated services for families and children under five. 

Weekly well-baby clinics will be held, including advice sessions with the health visiting team, a self-weigh drop in service and  regular health checks by appointment. More services are planned to follow at the old Salvation Army building at the Castle Hill roundabout.

The health visiting service offers a universal programme to all families from ante-natal through to when the child reaches school age including assessments during the first 30 months of a child’s life.

Drop in well-baby clinics are also offered to families with children under five to receive support and advice on child health, growth and development.

The new central clinic in Anstey Road has been created as part of a wider review of the health visiting service across Reading.

Further changes are also planned for Southcote Community Hub, Sun Street Youth and Community Centre, Ranikhet Children’s Centre and Whitley Health Centre, Caversham Children’s Centre and Battle Library – check locally with those.

A duty health visitor telephone/email advice line will operate Monday to Friday. View the button below for a link to online resources.

Lead councillor for health, wellbeing and sport, Cllr Graeme Hoskin said: “The new Salvation Army child health centre will offer Well Baby Clinics alongside a host of other advice and support services for families in a convenient central Reading location.

“The review of the Health Visiting Service has focused on making the best use of limited resources and ensuring that those who need the service most have easy access to clinics either by foot or by public transport.

“The mandated five baby health checks will continue to be held in all our centres and the popular Duty Health Visitor phone line and email will also be available to families as well as support and advice on the Berkshire Healthcare website.”

Active Reading

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

People are being invited to take part in a Reading Council consultation called ‘Active Reading’ in which it aims to help develop healthy, active lifestyles.

One in three adults in Reading do not take part in the minimum recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a week. Obesity – particularly among young people – is a health priority.

As part of the public consultation, the council is asking people what would help them lead more active lives.

It is particularly keen to hear from people who are not currently active to find out what barriers prevent them from leading healthier lives. It also wants to hear from people who are active to find out what works for them and what they think could be improved.

The council is committed to providing modern and much-improved facilities for swimmers, keep fit and sports enthusiasts in Reading including a £30million investment in two modern new swimming pools.

In addition, the council’s recent Public Health Services consultation, which launched in 2018, identified how Reading’s range of parks and open spaces were particularly important in providing a place for people to exercise and improve their well-being and £2.8million will be invested in this over the next five years.

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s lead member for health, wellbeing and sport, said: “One of the most important things we can do is to help people lead more active and healthy lives.

“Lack of physical activity contributes a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as obesity, coronary heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, with obesity now the cause of as many cases of cancer as smoking. It can add to feelings of anxiety and depression.

“We know there are many residents who regularly enjoy sports and being active, whether it’s taking a regular swim or joining in with team sports or working out at the gym. Leisure isn’t just about sport in leisure centres and gyms though. It can be anything from getting out and about in Reading’s many parks and green spaces, walking or cycling instead of using the car, taking part in a dance class or trying a new activity like yoga. Regular exercise helps keep people healthier and happier.”

He added: “As part of the consultation we have launched this week, we are really keen to hear from people who don’t currently lead active lives. If that is you or your family, we want to know how we can help you to get you more active and how can we encourage you to try new sports or activities. If you already take part in sport or physical activity, we want to know what works for you and what you would like to see improved.”

As well as an online consultation, there will be face to face survey work undertaken across the town and targeted work with key focus groups in the community.

All responses received will be used to create a future vision for the sports and leisure offer in Reading.

The results of the consultation will be published in the autumn.

Please help by taking part

Take part in the consultation which runs until 14th August here

Rudridge walk

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Get on the FAST Road to Rudridge and help raise funds for the Stroke Association

We hope we can raise as much money and awareness of the condition as possible and do our bit to support those who have been affected by a stroke.”

Staff from a Farnham company are planning to walk 50km in memory of a former colleague and raise some funds for a very worthy cause at the same time.

Tony Marshall, who worked for materials and groundworks supplier Rudridge, suffered a fatal stroke in 2016 and now the company is hoping to raise awareness of stroke symptoms and support survivors by raising funds for The Stroke Association.

The walk has been called The FAST Road to Rudridge, recognising the acronym that helps identify stroke symptoms encouraging people to act on them – Face, Arms, Speech, Time.

The route they will take on Saturday, 22nd June goes from Southwater in West Sussex to the company’s Farnham depot and includes five walking challenges ranging from 13k to 50k taking in the scenery of the Downs Link Path and the North Downs Way.

Among those taking part will be several of the company’s customers and suppliers who will all be treated to a celebration afterwards at Badshot Lea FC’s new ground in Wrecclesham.

Sales director at Rudridge, Paul Duke said: “Tony was a much loved colleague and he is sorely missed by so many of us here at Rudridge.

To undertake this challenge in his memory will be an honour.

To find out more or make a donation visit Just Giving

Photo (from left):  Tony Marshall with friends and Rudridge colleagues Mark Stacey and Richard May.

Health walks

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Step out and step up your health and fitness with a good walk

Walking, we all do it everyday, but have you ever really thought about all the health benefits and how you can make it really count?

With Walking for Health, the Guildford walks programme, you can take part in a short free walk nearby to get active and stay active at a pace that suits you.

And as well as being active, it’s also a great way to explore what’s around you and make new friends while you walk, you don’t need any fancy equipment and unlike most things – it’s free!

To take part in one of the Guildford Walking for Health walks just pop along to the start point and one of the trained leaders can take your details then you can get involved in as many and as often as you like.

Walks currently take place every Monday in the Guildford area and are due to start on Tuesdays in Worplesdon and Thursdays in Shere. For more information about any of these contact Annelize Kidd on 07554 423010

Shalford area walks can be enjoyed on Wednesdays, contact Georgina Churchlow on 07714 821159

For walks in the Whitmoor Common area on Fridays, contact Roger Philo on 07905 282658

Volunteers are also needed to help the walks happen either as a walk leader or a back marker. If you are interested in helping with the walks, contact Annelize Kidd on 07554  423010

Or email any queries to [email protected]

If you still need convincing, it’s worth bearing these health benefits in mind:

– Help your heart and lungs work better

– Lower your blood pressure

– Keep your weight down

– Lighten your mood

– Keep your joints, muscles and bones strong

– Increase “good” cholesterol

The Walking for Health programme operates around the country helping people to lead healthier, more active lives. To find more walks near you or if you’re not in the Guildford area have a look at walkingforhealth.org.uk

First aid: Shockingly simple

Round & About

Health & Nutrition

Pint of Life volunteer Christopher Tancock offers invaluable advice on how to save a life 

You walk into the lounge to find your best friend unconscious, they’ve turned grey, they’re not breathing – what do you do?  

This scenario may sound unlikely, but situations like this play out every day. You can call an ambulance, but unless you can keep the casualty going in the 8-10 minutes it takes to arrive, they are unlikely to survive. 

Pint of Life aims to help prevent such situations by teaching basic first aid in local communities in a free and innovative way. The sessions demonstrate, for example, that after trying to get a response, you should check the patient’s airway and breathing. If you find they are not breathing, the best thing to do is to dial 999, get hold of a defibrillator fast and start CPR.  

The chain of survival means that for maximum chance of survival, a patient needs fast CPR, defibrillation and hospitalisation – only 40% of casualties receive CPR from passers-by in the UK. Even more frighteningly, fewer than 2% of those who need one get a defibrillator before the ambulance arrives.  

People might be afraid to use a defibrillator as they “don’t want to do it wrong” or are worried that they might get into trouble if things don’t turn out well despite their attempts. The fact is that defibrillators can boost survival rates by a huge amount. We need to overcome our fear of these life-saving devices and get to grips with the simple skills that could very well prove the difference between life and death. 

Pint of Life, run by Oxfordshire volunteer Christopher Tancock, shows communities that using a defibrillator is simple. These amazing machines just need to be switched on, after which they guide you through what you need to do (by verbal commands and prompts). Some models even give feedback about your CPR and beep to show when you need to push. None of these community defibrillators can “accidentally” shock someone who doesn’t need to be shocked, either, so they are safe – and very easy – to use. They’re available in many local communities now – in pubs, restaurants, shops and village halls 

When it comes to CPR itself, it’s just a matter of pushing on the centre of the patient’s chest hard and fast… You should aim for two compressions a second and after 30, give the patient two rescue breaths before returning to compressions. Then continue the same sequence. (With children and infants, it’s important to start with five rescue breaths before doing the 30:2 routine).  

These skills are so simple yet so effective. They could change the situation described above from a nightmare to a survival. So why not help yourself to a Pint of Life and learn how to keep someone’s glass half full!