Cancer, Exercise, Health, Fitness, Physio

Exercise for Cancer Patients at Personal Health

The Guardian newspaper recently (7-5-18) discussed powerful evidence in relation to the benefits of exercise for cancer patients. The published research is from The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia. This research has helped to launch its position statement on the role of exercise alongside surgery, chemotherapy or radiation in cancer care.

Research gets widespread endorsement

The research is endorsed by a group of 25 influential health and cancer organisations, including Cancer Council Australia. It is the first researcher-led push anywhere in the world for exercise to be an essential component of treatment for cancer. Indeed the statement goes further, suggesting exercise should be prescribed to ALL cancer patients. Furthermore it states ‘not to do so would be harmful’. A definitive and powerful stance indeed.

Why Personal Health provides Exercise for Cancer patients

At Personal Health, we welcome the position taken by the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia wholeheartedly. A number of our cancer patients have had great results with regular intensive exercise. Their positive experiences have included increased energy levels (or reduced fatigue), maintenance of weight and lean muscle mass, and improved mood. Overall there is an improvement in Quality of Life – and this is objectively measured as opposed to mere speculation.

Evidence is indisputable

The lead author of the research, Prof Prue Cormie from the Australian Catholic University, said the statement was based on “indisputable” evidence. “Really we are at the stage where the science is telling us that withholding exercise from cancer patients can be harmful,” Cormie said. Our philosophy in Personal Health has always promoted exercise as a form of medicine and rehabilitation for people living with prolonged health conditions. Our team of Chartered Physiotherapists & Occupational Therapy are passionate about providing insight and support for Cancer patients.

Exercise is Medicine

Professor Cormie is a huge advocate of exercise in general, and elaborated further in relation to cancer therapy. “Exercise is the best medicine someone with cancer can take in addition to their standard cancer treatments. That’s because we know now that people who exercise regularly experience fewer and less severe treatment-related side-effects; cancer-related fatigue and mental distress. They also have a lower risk of their cancer coming back or dying from the disease’,

Lifestyle Change

At Personal Health, we apply the best evidence to help lifestyle change. A simple way to boost cancer survival rates is to improve diet and include regular exercise. It is simple in concept but difficult to implement regularly. We provide a helping hand, a support network at home or in clinic, and a familiarity with the challenges you face. Some patients have had to maintain lean muscle mass in order to optimise chemotherapy/radiotherapy, others have had to improve range of movement post surgery. There are lots of differing angles and solutions.

Professor Cormie agrees …

It seems Prof Cormie agrees with our approach and vice versa. ’If the effects of exercise could be encapsulated in a pill, it would be prescribed to every cancer patient worldwide and viewed as a major breakthrough in cancer treatment,”  

She further elaborated “If we had a pill called exercise it would be demanded by cancer patients, prescribed by every cancer specialist, and subsidised by government.”

Types of Cancer patients in Personal Health

To date we have worked with patients who have had Breast Cancer, Oesophageal and gastric cancer, Prostate and Bowel cancer. Based on the latest evidence above we see no reason to be exclusive just for these types of cancer. Our service provides benefit for all those dealing with the various difficulties on the journey to recovery.

We offer 10 physio-led exercise appointments for 500 Euro in a non-intimidating gym environment. This is covered under Chartereed Physiotherapy in your Insurance Policy.

Call us now to find out more.

01 496 4002

www.personalhealth.ie

Exercise, fitness, ageing, arthritis, Lifestyle, Dublin 6

Motion is Lotion – the benefits of exercise for the over 70’s

All the big Consultants we know very regularly use the phrase ‘wear and tear’! It’s a gentle way of talking about the decline of our once glorious body. Arthritis is not curable but it is absolutely manageable. The trick is to exercise correctly while simultaneously not antagonising the inflammatory joint. Movement is key and motion is lotion!

The over 70s lifestyle

A great number of our patients are of a certain age …. but who’s counting right?

What we can confirm apart from dubious birth certificates is that they are a smiling, well oiled vintage. Many of them are golfers, almost all of them are regular walkers. Some join exercise groups dotted around the community. These people are living busy lives, booking concert tickets on the Ipad, gardening and loving the sport on TV. The Grandchildren are beautiful but exhausting, and often that mayhem is followed by a well deserved glass of wine. Lets’s not forget the odd holiday or three … Vitamin D is good for the joints, the skin and the soul.

Motion is Lotion

There is one shared quality among this group who cross our threshold in Personal Health.

They are keeping active. A former P.E teacher from my schooldays had a phrase referring to healthy joints; ‘Motion is Lotion’. This was as relevant for teenage kids as it is now for the ageing population.  It makes perfect physiological sense. Regular activity at any age helps circulation within our joints. An oxygenated blood flow swishing it’s way through our spine, shoulders, hips and knees is all good news. But it is particularly relevant when we are getting older.

Move More or Move Less? ….Move Clever….

Movement, Hips, Arthritis, exercise, Fitness, Dublin, ageing

The magic of Jimenez…..aaaaaaannnd Stretch !!

With regular movement our joints begin to move more freely – regardless of previous injury or medical diagnosis. Let’s take the hip as an example. It is a joint that regularly succumbs to arthritic change as we get older. The natural tendency is to move less with arthritis present in the joint. This is often due to pain while weight bearing. It is a perfectly natural reaction to move less. Unfortunately this is the completely wrong thing to do and means the joint will only deteriorate quicker. We need to start moving clever without impacting the damaged part of the joint.

Non Impact Movement

One of the best remedies for joint pain is to move the joint in a non weight bearing way. Cycling (indoor exercise bikes or outdoors in the park) allows the hip joint to move without compressing the ‘wear and tear’ we referred to previously. Most importantly, it strengthens and lengthens the muscles that surround the joint. It is a positive cycle whereby the blood flow helps lubricate the joint. This in turn eases inflammation. As soon as we have facilitated greater movement, the joint has greater range. This means the muscles protecting the joint automatically get stronger while stretching and contracting with greater activity.

The Money Deal – How much??

We provide 4 exercise classes and a healthy living workshop every month for €99. We are all Healthcare professionals so your insurance will cover at least half of this if not more.

So €99 can very easily become

€50 for 5 appointments with a healthcare professional once you have your receipts in order (which we will promptly provide).

Surely not I hear you say!

The Solution

Get active!! If you would like to choose Personal Health as your option, we will be waiting with open arms. There are comfy seats and tea on tap (post exercise) to recover and recuperate. We always have time for a few chats too. Hopefully see you soon!

Diabetes, Fitness, Exercise, Physio, Dietary, Dublin 6, Rathmines

The Personal Health Diabetes Programme

Everybody is scared at the start when it comes to embarking on a new journey! The Personal Health Diabetes programme is no different. We thought we were gentle, approachable, understanding and compassionate people!! But what we didn’t consider was that people with Type 2 Diabetes are petrified about making small changes in their lifestyle. Most participants have waited for years before contemplating and finally making some small changes. But they are all delighted once they start and most comment that they wish it happened sooner.

Guilt and Stigma

When we have got to know our participants after a few weeks, often people have mentioned carrying a guilt and stigma with them for developing a condition like Type 2 Diabetes. The condition is lifestyle related, so they feel they have let themselves down in some way. The reality here is that feelings of guilt and stigma are futile. What is important is to take action now and make small but attainable changes to your lifestyle. Former Chair of International Diabetes Federation, Dr Tony O’Sullivan has visited us here to assess the Personal Health Diabetes programme and was impressed, commenting  ‘This programme is suitable for anyone living with diabetes and will really contribute to better control of the condition’.

Sociable and Friendly

Our participants are a lovely sociable gang. 

Diabetes, Health, Fitness, Exercise, Dublin 6, Rathmines

They meet regularly on Tuesday afternoons in clinic and despite the chats and giggles, they get their work done. The fitness levels, size and shape differs from person to person but all are accommodated. The one non negotiable is that they do some good honest work, ending up a little sweaty and breathless (don’t worry nobody crawls out the door!).

What does Type 2 Diabetes programme involve?

Mark Hynes (Chartered Physiotherapist) is running the Type 2 Diabetes programme along with our Dietitian Caoimhe O’Leary. They are doing a brilliant job! 

Dietary, Dietitian, Diabetes          Diabetes, Fitness, Exercise, Physio, Dietary, Dublin 6, Rathmines

The programme involves turning up on Tuesday afternoons at 5pm. Once an initial screening is complete the client is cleared for progress and the fun begins. The exercise classes (4 per month) last approximately 40 minutes in total. Caoimhe also runs a monthly workshop discussing practical and non sacrificial changes to enable healthy eating.

What are the benefits?

Some people choose to test their progress every few months and this has given participants great feedback.  Some see changes in blood sugar levels. Others experience weight loss. Most improve on strength scores and stability. Others feel steadier on their feet and more confident. Most describe greater energy levels. Crucially, as healthcare professionals we see a group reducing the risks associated with the condition. It is a hugely rewarding experience for all concerned.

What do I wear, what do I do, what happens in general??

People tend to arrive a few minutes beforehand in comfortable, exercise clothing. For those arriving from work , there are clean and spacious changing rooms with showers and storage. During each class there is a warm up , some strength training, balance and co-ordination tasks, some short sharp bursts of activity (High Intensity Intervals), some stretching and functional movements, and plenty of advice about pacing yourself. Turn up people! You’ll be glad you did!

Running, Prehab, Physiotherapy, Hip, Knee

Top 10 tips for Runners

Get Started Today to Enjoy a Summer on the Move

Have a Plan:

Whether your aim is to run your local park run every Saturday or to make the Olympics in two year’s time you need to have a plan. There are two options: You can go online to get a generic plan based on achieving a set distance in a target time. Many runners have used them to good effect. The only problem is they might be too advanced or too easy for your running ability. The second option is to get a qualified coach who will tailor a programme to your needs and ability. It is important to have goals with these plans and they range from weekly goals (running 3 times a week) to yearly goals (running  5K in under 20 minutes).

Running gear:

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. This is where so many new runners fall down. The most important piece of equipment is the shoes and it should be first on your list to buy. Nowadays if you go into any sports shop in the country they will do a gait analysis on you to see which shoes would suit you. They video you while running on a treadmill for a few minutes and then the footage is played back in a Freeze by Freeze frame if necessary to assess your foot plant, stride and running pattern. This information can then be used to find the best shoe for you. Also to consider when buying shoes is the terrain you will be running on (Grass, Road, Trails or track).

While hitting the road you will need heavier shoes with more support. While on the track you would be looking for light shoes with little support. The socks are just as crucial as the shoes as you need running specific socks due to the extra padding across the ball of the foot, the toes and heel area. There’s also usually padding or a tighter area through the arch to allow the shoe to fit more closely and add better arch support. Now on to the shorts and T-shirts which is the uniform of all runners around the world. These need to be lightweight, breathable and sweat-wicking. As we live in Ireland it rains or is extremely windy most of the time. So running jackets, base layers and running tights can be your friends in the constant battle against the weather.

Start where your fitness level is:

If you haven’t ran in years or done any cardiovascular exercises you cannot expect to go out and run 30 minutes straight without needing a rest. To get around this start off by alternating running with walking throughout the run (a minute of walking followed by a minute of running). Another way is to just take short breaks when you need it on the run. So if you are starting off, start with the run/walk method – go slowly and don’t run more than 3 times a week. This way you’ll gradually build your pace and distance and prevent injury.

Always warm up, cool down and stretch:

Before every run you should do some dynamic stretches such as rolling your shoulders back, hip circles, lunges and squats. The dynamic stretch should be followed by five minutes of a slow jog. The warm up and dynamic stretches are done to get every muscle in the body ready for the run and to prevent injury. After you run jog slowly for 5 minutes and finish with some static stretching which you hold for 30 seconds (Quad, Hamstring and Calf stretch).

Running, Stretching, Physio, Physiotherapy

10 percent rule:

As you start progressing on with your running and feeling good, it is important not to over do it. That is why there is a 10 percent rule where you are not meant to increase your weekly training mileage by more than 10 percent per week. People who increase their weekly mileage too quickly get injured. The only exception to the 10 percent rule is if you are starting at a single-digit weekly mileage after a layoff, you can add more than 10 percent per week until you’re close to your normal training load.

The Conversation Rule:

Running is not all about going as fast as you can all the time. Especially on easy runs you should be able to have a full conversation with the person you are running with. People whose heart rate and breathing rates were within their target aerobic zones were found to be able to hold full conversations. Those who couldn’t were running faster than their target aerobic zone. The exceptions to the conversation rule are during hard runs, speedwork or races.

The Hard / Easy day rule:

It states to take one easy day after every hard day of training. An easy day is defined as a short run, slow run, a cross training day or no exercise at all. A hard day is defined as a long run, tempo run or speed workout. Apply The hard/easy day rule to your monthly and yearly training plans by treating yourself to one easy week each month and one easy month each year. The exception to this rule is after the most tiring long runs or speed workouts especially if you are older. You should wait for two or three days before your next hard workout.

Don’t delay refuelling after runs:

Making sure you refuel properly after a run is probably more important than the run itself.  Especially if you have done a fast run. Your post run meal is very important because it will aid recovery.  It is recommended that the post run meal contains carbohydrates for energy replacement and a good source of protein for muscle repair as soon as possible. After a run it is important to have that post run meal within the hour of running. For quick energy before having the post run meal have a banana while cooling down and doing your stretches. As it is quick and easy to eat.

Listen to your body:

If something hurts for two days in a row take days off. Two days of pain may be signalling the beginning of an injury. If the pain continues for over a week even with rest days it is probably time to go see your doctor. It’s the same if your body is feeling tired, there is nothing wrong with taking a day or two off to let the body recover from the exertions of exercise. Even if you have to take a week off from running it is not going to have a big impact on your fitness level.

Track every run so you can see your progress and make notes about your workouts:

Apps like Strava and MapMyRun use GPS to automatically store your route, distance, calories burned and your pace so you’ll watch yourself run further and faster over time. These apps also allow you to enter notes about each run so you can see patterns like that the first mile I always feel terrible (going too fast at the start) or you run faster when go first thing in the morning or that you get a pain in your right leg after 3 miles. The apps are also good because you can set up groups with your friends and challenge each other to see who has the most miles in a week .So this adds some healthy competition.

Exercise, Health, Brain, Fitness, Rathmines, Physio

Exercise to keep your Brain calm

Exercise can help your brain slow down….Which is a really good thing!

The quality of blood flowing to and through the brain is affected by exercise. Is your head in a tizzy?? Exercise can actually slow down the speed with which neurons fire in the brain.

This is a good thing! We all need to slow down a bit. Most people reluctantly enjoyed the recent ‘snow holiday’ as we were forced to switch off and relax for a couple of days. Exercise can have a similarly calming effect. When we unplug devices, meditate or walk by the sea, our brain naturally produces good ingredients. Exercise similarly produces a fertile soil for the brain.

Exercise. Brain

Benefits for the Brain

Exercise will stimulate your memory, situated in the hippocampus area. Your capacity to concentrate will improve. It will reduce your mental stress levels due to effective management of the stress hormone – cortisol. In the same way exercise helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, it also reduces the risk of any cognitive decline – such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

How?

Everybody talks about the physical benefits of exercise. The word cardiovascular is synonymous with fitness and heart health. Neurovascular is far less commonly used but is equal in importance when we consider exercise.

Neurovascular applies specifically to the blood flow in the brain. When we exercise we oxygenate the brain’s blood vessels with healthy red blood cells. With greater oxygen to the brain we are calmer, more alert, less impulsive and generally better decision makers. This is so valuable in the modern day pressures of work/life/family demands.

Toothpaste for ‘Brain Plaque’

When I wash my teeth in the mornings I put toothpaste on the brush and fire away. The brushing motion along with the toothpaste itself combats the buildup of plaque on our teeth. The brain produces plaque as we get older too. One of the best ways to replicate the toothpaste analogy for our brain is to exercise. The healthy blood flow derived from exercise can help combat the growth of brain plaque. One of the other most important ways to reduce growth of plaque in the brain is to be sociable! And laughter produces feel good hormones too!

So, get out and meet some new people, or connect with an old friend! Go for a walk and have some fun. You are doing yourself and your brain a big favour.

Running, Prehab, Physiotherapy, Hip, Knee

Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery – PREHAB??

 

Are you on a waiting list for joint replacement?

If so, it is an ideal time to manage your recovery – by starting NOW!

We mean start your rehabilitation before surgery – commonly known as Prehabilitation or Prehab!

The stronger and fitter you are before a major surgery the better your response to general anaesthetic or epidurals. This is a medical/lifestyle issue more than anything to do with your arthritic joint.

In the case of joint replacements, typically the decision for surgery has been made carefully and responsibly between yourself and your orthopaedic consultant based on various issues;

  • excessive pain levels
  • day to day basic activities have been compromised
  • difficulty walking even short distances

As your arthritic joint has deteriorated significantly, so too has it’s range of motion. This means all the surrounding muscles for this joint have become shortened and weaker.

Post surgical rehabilitation of these muscles is a long and sometimes arduous journey.

However, addressing soft tissue (muscle/tendon) weakness now can have really positive effects.

With increased muscular strength around the replaced joint your capacity to bear weight will be optimal in the days immediately post surgery.

Also, you will get a quicker restoration of range within the joint. In the case of knee replacements, you will need to bend the knee beyond 90 degrees in the days immediately post surgery – so your preparation now can only aid this process.

Hip Replacement

In the case of hips, you will need strength in the muscles around the replaced hip joint to ensure there is stability in the joint. This prevents any complications such as dislocating the replaced joint. This type of dislocation can happen when the surrounding soft tissue structures are not strong enough to hold the replaced joint in its new position.

A well prepared patient whose has gone through Prehab, usually means slightly quicker discharge times for those who dislike the hospital setting. Some people go to specialised rehabilitation facilities, while others safely return home and choose to work on their recovery with the support of physiotherapists, family and friends.

Start the Journey Today

Ultimately joint replacement is all about the capacity to regain functional activity. It’s about improving quality of life – whether this is simply to enjoy walking again, or golf, tennis (usually doubles tennis!) and even more personal issues such as improved sex life due to reduced joint pain.

Everybody has a reason, or multiple reasons, to embark on this journey. With the support of your consultant, the hospital staff throughout the procedure, and those who deal with you in the months following surgery, everybody is trying to make this a new lease of life for the patient.

So why not give it your best shot in the lead up??

For more information on Preparation for Surgery contact us now:

01 4964002

info@personalhealth.ie

www.personalhealth.ie

Exercise, fitness, ageing, arthritis, Lifestyle, Dublin 6

How to Exercise with Problem Health Conditions

Have you got arthritis in your knee? Too painful to exercise the way you used to? And now you are putting on weight…and the pain is getting worse?

You are in a very common cycle that you can combat smartly.

There’s always a way – if not 2 or 3!

The most obvious thing to improve arthritic joint pain is to reduce the inflammation which is the main contributing factor. In plain language, you need to stop loading up the troublesome joint.

So for the golfer who plays twice per week and is struggling with night pain after your 18 holes…why not look to getting a buggy for the next few rounds?

Moreover, there is a culture of taking anti-inflammatory tablets like smarties in arthritic patients, but certain brands can be quite corrosive on the stomach. So maybe a safer bet is to get a prescription anti-inflammatory topical gel and use in plentiful amounts on the affected area.

Movement is Key

Keep moving the joint in question – but not while weight bearing. A troublesome knee joint is usually well able to complete a full revolution on an exercise bike.

Most patients protest that exercise bikes = insufferable boredom!!!

 

Well let’s look at the benefits of cycling for 30 minutes on a static exercise bike 5 times per week – IN FRONT of the TV!!!!!

  • Increased range of motion in the troublesome joint (hip or knee). This means less stiffness after sitting in a restaurant or going to the cinema!
  • Increased circulation – lubricating the inflamed area and increasing healthy blood flow – this means your knee can have less swelling, redness and heat through those affected areas.
  • Increased strength in the surrounding muscles which support the joint – helping to unload the pressure that goes through that weight-bearing area. which means walking slopes (up or down hill) will be less problematic.
  • Weight loss – every pound of weight lost is equivalent to 4 pounds less pressure going through the affected joint – so you really only have to lose a couple of pounds to get the effect of losing a stone!!

We do exercise classes for people living with health conditions at Personal Health. These include Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Cancer and Stroke survivors, Diabetes, Cardiology patients, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

For further information please contact:

01 4964002

info@personalhealth.ie

www.personalhealth.ie

Improve your Brain Health – By Marion Slattery

Improve your Brain Health

Over the last number of years, it seems that increasingly in the media we are seeing people live with neurological conditions that affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Stroke and other disorders. At the same time there has never been so much emphasis on the benefits of regular exercise and the optimum diet for a healthy body and brain.

We are being bombarded with information written by specialists, experts, bloggers, and anyone with a social media account. Everyone has an opinion on what good health is but is there a simple one size fits all formula to follow?

Earlier this week, I attended the lecture on ‘Our Beautiful Minds: Our Brains and how they shape our lives’‘ by Professor Shane O Mara, Professor of Experimental Brain Research in Trinity College. I learned that maybe being healthy isn’t as complex as all the newspapers, magazines, and online media make out. The three main points I took from the lecture were simple in their own way. He highlighted the importance of exercise, sleep, and giving your brain a chance to rest. Very simple suggestions but can we actually follow through? Why should we even try?

Stats

Looking at the most recent statistics in Ireland, it is estimated that over 700,000 people in Ireland live with a neurological condition. This represents about 17% of the total population of Ireland. These conditions include acquired brain injury, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and other progressive, intermittent or disabling conditions of the brain or spinal cord. While not all neurological conditions are preventable, there are certain things we can do that can reduce our risk of developing these conditions.

Poor health is never far from anyone’s door and it makes no exception to your social status, religion, race, or otherwise. Last year the infamous Billy Connolly came out to speak about his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. In the last few years the country music singer Glenn Campbell, made known for his hit ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ released the movie of his farewell tour as a result of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Last year Amy Huberman and Brian O’Driscoll  featured on the cover of the Irish ‘Parkinson’s Ireland’ Summer magazine as Amy’s father is living with Parkinson’s Disease. As we are living longer we are also living longer with and developing neurological conditions.

With increasing evidence linking exercise and diet, mindfulness and relaxation to improved health, we need to look at what we can do on a daily basis to maintain good body and brain health. Over the age of 30 on average you lose slightly less than 0.5% of your brain each year. It has now been proven that by exercising alone you can increase the size of your hippocampus, a part of the brain that makes memory.  Research also supports being socially active, it reduces your risk of dementia.

Here are some more suggestions to improve your body and brain health:

·         Exercise regularly

·         Maintain a good sleep routine

·         Give your brain a rest

·         Eat a well-balanced diet

·         Challenging your brain

  • Read a book
  • Do a crossword
  • Travel to new places

·         Learn something new

·         Keep socially active

·         Keep a check on your cholesterol/blood pressure/ weight

·         Adopt a positive attitude

Our generation are living longer. We need to ensure that we’re living Better too. Give yourself the best chance at ageing well.

Cholesterol, heart, diet, dietitian, food, health, fitness

Lowering Your Cholesterol The Healthy Way – Caoimhe O’Leary

Have you had your cholesterol checked?

More people die in Ireland today from heart disease than any other illness. It accounts for 36% of deaths in Ireland. The positive news is that 80% of the incidence of heart disease can be prevented by improving lifestyle factors. Unfortunately, we are not in control of other risk factors such as age, gender and genetic predisposition to illness. We are however in control of modifiable risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking and if taken care of we can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked!

Cholesterol is a waxy substance of which 75% is produced by the liver and 25% can be found in certain foods.

It is essential in producing all the body’s cells and hormones, and is needed to make vitamin D and bile for digestion.  However, when your blood has too much cholesterol this can stick to the walls of arteries. A build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, narrows the arteries restricting the amount of blood flow to the brain and heart. This can eventually cause a blockage leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Lipoproteins

Cholesterol is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins. There are two main lipoproteins: LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). Too much LDL is unhealthy therefore it is referred to as bad cholesterol and should be kept low. HDL is protective however and helps to remove LDL cholesterol. HDL is known as the good cholesterol and should be kept high.

What do the numbers mean?

One of the best ways of taking control of your cholesterol is through a healthy diet and physical activity.

Choosing a healthy diet low in saturated fat (butter, cream, cheese, coconut oil, palm oil, lard, fatty meat, processed meats, confectionary foods) is one way of reducing your cholesterol levels. Aim to consume less than 20g saturated fat per day to help to reduce your LDL cholesterol. When reading food-labels avoid anything more than 5g saturated fat per 100g.

It’s not all about cutting out the bad stuff – the good news is that there are foods you can introduce into your diet that will also help to lower your cholesterol levels.

  • Nuts – with their positive nutrient profile of fibre, falvonoids and monounsaturated fats, have been shown to lower cholesterol by 3-7.5%. They reduce the risk of heart disease by 37% . Aim for 30g unsalted almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts or peanuts per day.

 

  • Soluble fibre – found in fruit, vegetables, oats, beans and pulses. It can lower LDL cholesterol by 5-20% if you consume 15-20g per day. Increase foods containing oat beta – glucan (porridge, oatbran, oatcakes, porridge bread)  and other wholegrains, beans and pulses (aim for 80-100g per day).

 

  • Oil rich fish – a rich source of unsaturated fats especially omega 3 which have heart protective benefits. Aim to have 1-2 servings (140g) per week – salmon, sardines, mackerel, kipper, trout, anchovies, eel, pilchards, fresh tuna, sprats, whitebait, whiting. Other healthy fats include olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds.

 

  • As always recommended, increase your fruit and vegetables to 5-7 portions per day. A portion is approximately 80g per day. Consumption of at least 400g fruit and vegetables per day has been associated with lower incidence of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer and obesity. They are low in calories, high in phytonutrients, soluble fibre, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.

 

  • Plant stanols or sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and are naturally found in a wide range of foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They mimic cholesterol and compete with it for absorption. Most diets provide a small amount of plant stanols/sterols (approx 300mg for average person, or 600mg for those on vegetarian diets) however an intake of 1.5-2.4g per day has been shown to reduce cholesterol by 7-10% over 2-3 weeks. Always check with your GP if you are taking medication for your cholesterol.

 

  • Soya foods – consumption of 15g-25g soya protein daily has been scientifically proven to lower LDL cholesterol by 4-10%. Include more soya products in the diet such as soya beans, soya yoghurts, soya  milk, tofu, edamame beans.

 

For further information on cholesterol and diet why not attend a cholesterol workshop at Personal Health Rathmines carried out by Consultant Dietitian Caoimhe McDonald where she will provide you with practical tips on a cholesterol lowering diet in a supportive environment.

Next Cholesterol Workshop Date: Wednesday 12th April 7-8pm

Book your place now at 01-4964002

Pregnancy yoga Rtahmines

Get your Asana on with Prenatal Yoga at Personal Health – 5 Yoga Poses every Moma-to-be needs to Know- By Cathy O’Grady

Prenatal Yoga

Pregnancy is a truly magical time in any woman’s life, but adjusting to all those physical & emotional changes, can be quite challenging. Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to help Momas-to-be, to find their zen whilst navigating their journey to motherhood.

It’s not all about the asana of course. Learn useful breathing techniques (pranayama), that can be taken with you in your labour bag, to pull out when the big day finally arrives.

Childs pose/ Balasana

Childs pose

From hands & knees, big toes touch, take knees out wide, sit back towards heels, whilst walking hands straight out in front, straight arms. Bring forehead down to rest on mat or support. Inhale walking finger tips away, exhale sitting deeper back towards heels. Repeat. Breathe.

Benefits: Resting pose. Releases lower back pain. Lengthens the spine, allowing energy to run more freely through the entire body. Encourages one to focus, reconnect with the breath & quieten the mind. One to use at any stage throughout pregnancy, labour & motherhood (we all need a little time out by times).

Bound Angle Pose/Baddha Konasana

Baddha

From sitting, bring soles of feet together & draw them as close to the perineum as comfortable. Soften the knees out to sides. Can use props to support knees if hips are particularly tight. Lengthen spine, chin neutral, breast bone reaching forward. May gently press elbows to inner thighs deepening the stretch. Breathe.

Benefits: Lenghtens & releases hip & inner groin muscles. Stretches the lower back & thighs.

Mountain Posture/Tadasana

Stand with feet hip width apart (or wider in latter stages of pregnancy). Root down through 4 corners of feet, micro lift of kneecap, neutral pelvis, soft in tummy, long lift of spine, shoulders set, neutral chin, crown of head drawing up towards ceiling, arms extended away from body, palms facing ahead. Breathe.

Benefits: Strengthens the entire body. Opens the heart centre, stabilising the shoulder blades, encouraging good posture. It’s useful in releasing tension/tightness, especially from the shoulders.

Garland pose/ Malasana

Step feet out to mat distance apart pointing at 45-degree angles. Hands to heart centre. Inhale lengthen, exhale squat down, bringing elbows to inner thighs, heels may lift (can place blocks/supports under heels if lifted). Eye gaze straight ahead, chin neutral. Breathe.

Benefits: Hip opener, leg strengthener, encourages baby deeper into pelvis (particularly beneficial in the latter weeks of pregnancy/early labour).

Corpse pose/Savasana

Lie on left hand side, with support under the head to keep head & neck in line. Keep left leg straight & bend right knee at 90-degree angle, resting it on top of a bolster/support. Relax arms/hands in comfortable position. Teacher may assist by placing a support behind the back. Breathe naturally. Let go.

Benefits: Encourages deep rest & relaxation. Left lateral lying also encourages maximum blood flow to the uterus & baby.

*You can attend our Midwife led Prenatal Classes here in Personal Health with Cathy O’Grady on Tuesdays at 7pm and Saturday’s at 10.30am. Pre booking is necessary. €90 for 6 week course- 01-496 4002