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Diet and Lifestyle

Get Fit at Home and beat the Coronavirus

You don’t need machines at the gym to get fit. Your own body weight and gravity can do the job, and you’ll work them with these 15 moves. Not active now? Check in with your doctor first, and if something hurts, stop. You’re on your way to getting into your best shape!

Wood Chop

Your whole upper body gets a muscle-ripping workout here, including the abs.

Your whole upper body gets a muscle-ripping workout here, including the abs. Start with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Attach a band overhead and grab it over the shoulder, trunk angled toward the band. Pull down to the opposite hip, rotating slightly. Slowly return.

Standing Tubing Row

This move hits all the muscles used in a pull-up, as well as all your core muscles.

This move hits all the muscles used in a pull-up, as well as all your core muscles. Grasp the handles with straight arms and tubing taut. Pull the handles towards you and lean back a little. Focus on bringing your shoulder blades back and together. Pause and slowly straighten arms back to the starting position without bending forward.

For safety reasons, do not lean back. Should the band break or come loose, there is high risk of fall.

Circuit Train to Burn Fat

Rapid-fire circuits turn strength moves into calorie-torching, cardio work.

Want to burn fat quickly? Rapid-fire circuits turn strength moves into calorie-torching, cardio work. “If your goal is weight loss, use light weights and low reps,” says exercise physiologist Pete McCall, of the American Council on Exercise. A circuit may include push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches followed by a two-minute run. Repeat or alternate with another circuit of biceps curls, dips, and shoulder presses to target smaller muscles.

Pull-up

Pull-ups work arm and back muscles, giving you great bang for your buck.

Pull-ups work arm and back muscles, giving you great bang for your buck. Having the palms facing you works not just the back, but also targets the biceps. Grasp the chin-up bar and cross your legs to keep the lower body stable. Slowly pull your body up, bending your elbows, until your chin is level with the bar. Pause, then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat.

Wide Grip Push-up

A wide grip makes the chest muscles work a little harder.

A wide grip makes the chest muscles work a little harder. Place your hands outside the shoulders. You should engage your core, thigh, and glutes to get the most out of this or any push-up. As you lift, “Think about gripping the ground with your hands to engage the large muscles of the pectoralis major,” McCall says.

Decline Push-up

This challenging push-up can kick your shoulder strength up a couple notches.

This challenging push-up can kick your shoulder strength up a couple notches. Get into a standard push-up: hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, fingers facing forward, elbows slightly bent, and eyes on the floor. Then place feet behind you on a stair, chair, or bench. Keep your body in a straight line, engage the abs, bend your elbows, and lower your chest towards the floor. Push back to starting position.

Jump Train for Power

Pro athletes train with jumping jacks and other explosive moves to increase muscle power.

Pro athletes train with jumping jacks and other explosive moves to increase muscle power. It helps basketball players jump higher and tennis players get to the ball faster. Jump training is also called plyometrics, and it’s not for beginners or for those with joint issues. But if you have good strength and balance, it can ramp up your game. Try adding plyometric moves to your workout once or twice a week.

Jump Squat

Shift your hips back and down until your heels start to lift off the floor.

Shift your hips back and down until your heels start to lift off the floor. Explode up, swinging the arms overhead as you straighten your legs. Create a straight line from toes to fingers, with your back flat. Land softly on the middle of your foot and sink back into a squat to help absorb the impact.

Jump Lunge

Try this advanced move on grass or another soft surface.

Try this advanced move on grass or another soft surface. Sink into a lunge position with left leg forward, right leg back, and both knees bent to 90 degrees. Swing your arms behind you for greater power as you jump up, using your arms to assist as needed. Keep your back straight, eyes facing forward, and use your abs. Switch legs in the air and land softly, returning to the lunge position. Rest after each set.

How to Trim Belly Fat

To lose belly fat, you'll want a full-body exercise routine that builds lean muscle all over.

To lose belly fat, you’ll want a full-body exercise routine that builds lean muscle all over. Muscle burns calories, even at rest. So having more muscle helps to melt fat all over, including the belly. The best plan is to make cardio, strength training, and a healthy diet part of your daily routine.

Split Squat With Biceps Curl

Rest your right foot on a step, stair or chair well behind you, with your weight on your bent left leg.

Rest your right foot on a step, stair or chair well behind you, with your weight on your bent left leg. Keep your head up, eyes forward, and weights at your side. Very important: Keep the front knee directly over the ankle. Now, slowly lower your hips by bending the front knee. Push back up and pull the weights up towards shoulders, but don’t twist the arms as you lift. Do all reps and switch legs.

One-legged Hamstring Blaster

Strong hamstrings help power your legs.

Strong hamstrings help power your legs. To challenge these muscles, lie with knees bent at a 90-degree angle and both heels on a chair or stair. Cross one ankle over the opposite thigh just above the knee. Now raise your hips as high as you can and keep your back straight — do not arch. Pause at the top and slowly lower hips back to the ground and repeat. Switch legs.

Chair Dip

This simple move tones the backs of the arms.

This simple move tones the backs of the arms. Sit on the edge of a step or chair, palms on each side, and knees bent to 90-degrees. Now, move your hips forward, off the step, until your hands are supporting your weight. Slowly lower your body, keeping your back very close to the step. Bend the elbows until you upper arms are parallel to the floor. Slowly push back up and repeat.

Double Chair Dip

To really challenge triceps, position two chairs facing each other.

To really challenge triceps, position two chairs facing each other. Sit on the edge of one, palms on each side of your hips. Straighten your legs and prop up your heels on the opposite chair. Scoot down until you’re supporting your weight on your hands. Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows until upper arms are parallel to the floor — and keep your back close to the chair behind you. Slowly push back up and repeat.

Love Handles?

Looking to trim your waist?

Looking to trim your waist? Your best bet is to work on slimming down all over with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. You can work on strengthening your core muscles with moves such as wood chops or planks.

Basic Plank

This move strengthens all the core muscles, helping to tone the mid-section.

This move strengthens all the core muscles, helping to tone the mid-section. Lie on your stomach, elbows close to your sides and directly under your shoulders, palms down. Using your abs, slowly lift your torso off the floor, keeping your torso and legs steady. Don’t let your low back sag and don’t hike up your hips. Hold this position for 15 seconds or more — and don’t hold your breath!

Dynamic Plank

Try this advanced move only after mastering the traditional plank.

Try this advanced move only after mastering the traditional plank. Support your weight with chest and forearms on top of a fitness ball. Keep legs straight and toes on the floor and contract the abdominals to help stay balanced. Shift your weight to your left leg as you bend your right knee and bring it up to meet the ball; slowly return it to starting position and repeat. Switch legs.

Two-Legged Hamstring Curl

A slightly easier hamstring challenge uses two legs.

A slightly easier hamstring challenge uses two legs. Lie on the floor with heels and ankles on a fitness ball. Dig your heels into the ball and raise your hips as high as you can, while keeping your back straight — do not arch. Now bend your knees to a 90-degree angle and roll the ball toward you. Pause at the top and slowly lower hips back to the ground and repeat.

Ball Plank With Shoulder Extension

Ready to work every muscle in your body? This move comes close, with a special challenge for the core.

Ready to work every muscle in your body? This move comes close, with a special challenge for the core. Put your chest, stomach, and hands (with weights) on a fitness ball, legs straight to the floor. Slowly raise one arm behind you, toward the ceiling. Contract your abs to keep from rolling off the ball, but don’t forget to breathe. Pause, slowly return your hand to the ball, and repeat with the other arm.

Protect Your Lower back

If you have low back pain, warm up by gently stretching your hips before working out.

If you have low back pain, warm up by gently stretching your hips before working out. Kneel down on one knee with that foot trailing behind you. Keep your legs parallel to each other, hands on the bent knee, and let your hips sink forward to the floor. Don’t lean forward. Your knee can reach beyond your ankle to put less strain on it. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.

Sit Much?

Get up each hour and move a bit, even if you're just walking around the office.

Got a desk job? Get up each hour and move a bit, even if you’re just walking around the office. Watch your posture — your ears, shoulders, and hips should be in line. Gentle stretching can also help you feel better after spending all that time at your desk.

How Many Reps Are Right for You?

For strength and power, aim for three sets of six reps.

For strength and power, aim for three sets of six reps. For general muscle growth and toning, try three sets of 6-12 reps. If you’re striving for muscle endurance, plan on two to three sets of 12 or more reps with 30-second rest periods. Remember, if something doesn’t feel right, stop and check with a fitness expert. Depending on your health and physical condition, some exercises may be better for you than others.

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Diet and Lifestyle

Get Your Gut Back On Track!

An estimated 110,000 people consume antibiotics daily in Ireland, between December/March. (Source: Health Protection Surveillance Centre).

We asked Nutritional Therapist Rosanna Davison for her Top Tips to get your gut back on track after an illness.

1. Take time out

Don’t push yourself too quickly.  Remember your body needs time to rebuild its reserves and regain strength.

Take more rest than usual.  If you need to sleep longer, go to bed earlier.

Cut back on non-essential activities; they can wait until you are feeling 100%.

  1. Embrace fibre-rich foods full of protective nutrients

Fresh vegetables and fruits are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and antioxidants.  Try eating seven to nine portions over the course of each day. Choose different colours so that you nourish your body with a variety of phytonutrients.

Eat a portion of complete protein at each meal, such as poultry, fish, eggs, beans, pulses or tofu.

Consume essential omega-3 fatty acids daily.  Avocados, seeds (flax, chia) and oily fish (mackerel, wild and organic salmon), are naturally rich in anti-inflammatory fats.

  1. Go ‘fermented’

Fermented foods are rich in ‘friendly’ bacteria.  Sauerkraut is simple to make at home or buy kefir or kimchi in your local health store.

  1. Reduce or eliminate sugary foods

Processed foods often contain refined sugars to enhance taste. Excess refined sugar and processed foods may encourage the growth of ‘unfriendly’ bacteria, so aim to buy and eat fresh food.

If you have a sweet tooth, try eating berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries).  They are rich in antioxidants and naturally low in sugar.

If you need a sweetener, try Stevia which is extracted from plant leaves and doesn’t impact blood sugar levels.

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Diet and Lifestyle

Do vegans need to take supplements?

Do vegans need to take supplements

A varied, wholesome vegan diet provides almost all essential nutrients in sufficient quantities. I hear you shouting ‘Noooo! It provides absolutely everything we need!’ and you may be right, but only if you regularly eat certain fortified foods. The sad truth is that modern food production systems and lifestyles make it more difficult for everyone – vegans or not – to get all they need from diet alone. It doesn’t mean a vegan diet is unnatural or unhealthy, in fact the opposite is true. It means that how we grow, produce and consume food has changed and, with an ever-growing population, the demands on the systems that produce our food are so high that certain nutrients become harder to obtain.

Confusion, confusion

I get a lot of questions about supplements and understand why people are confused. Over the years, I’ve worked on many vegan research projects and as science and population studies reveal ever more data, the guidelines and recommendations change and evolve. Hence, what we were told 10 years ago may no longer be up-to-date and that’s why different opinions arise, depending on where and when we got our information. It’s my job to keep up-to-date, so hopefully I can bring some clarity to the supplement discussion!

So what’s needed? The trio of nutrients to keep a close eye on are vitamin B12, vitamin D and iodine. You may not need to supplement with all these, all year long, but it depends on several factors. Read on…

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 naturally comes from bacteria in the soil and both people and animals would traditionally have got it from eating unwashed plants. However, we not only wash vegetables before we eat them (and for good reasons), but food production is now so sanitised that most vegetables are washed in chlorine, or other sterilising solutions, so there’s not a trace of B12 left.

People are not generally aware that most farmed animals are given B12 supplements and this is how the vitamin eventually ends up in their flesh. So, the argument that meat is a natural source of B12 doesn’t really stack up as meat-eaters essentially consume B12 supplements recycled by the animals that were given them!

It is absolutely necessary that we have a reliable source of vitamin B12 for our bodies. We need it to make red blood cells, for a healthy heart and circulation, and it’s essential for the nervous system. It takes years to develop a B12 deficiency, so on one hand, you don’t need to worry about not having taken B12 for a while. On the other hand, you do need to pay attention, as when symptoms develop, it’s usually serious.

Do vegans need to take supplements

To ensure adequate intake, you should have at least 5µg (micrograms) daily from supplements or fortified foods. The B12 used in both foods and supplements is produced commercially by growing bacterial cultures in large vats – and it’s always suitable for vegans.

There are two forms of B12 in supplements – cyanocobalamin (cheap) and methylcobalamin (expensive). Cyanocobalamin is the stable ‘inactive,’ form of B12 and is used in supplements and to fortify foods and drinks. Once ingested, it’s activated by your body so it can be used. Methylcobalamin is the ‘active’ form of vitamin B12 as it does not require any metabolic reactions to be activated. It costs more and is not so stable.

So which one to choose? Unless you’re a heavy smoker, have kidney failure or any other serious condition affecting your metabolism, cyanocobalamin – the cheap form of B12 – is perfectly fine. Intakes up to 2,000µg a day are safe and you can take either a lower dose daily or a higher dose a couple of times a week.

Vitamin D

We need vitamin D for healthy bones, teeth and muscles and it also performs other essential functions in our metabolism. It is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight and this is the main source of vitamin D for most people. However, if you always use sun-block, cover most of your skin or live in a country, like the UK, where we don’t get enough sunlight over the winter, you need a supplement, whether you’re vegan or not.

The UK Government now recommends that we all take a supplement from October to April and, if you protect your skin ferociously over the sunnier spring and summer months, you should take a supplement all year long. Otherwise, just 20 minutes of sunlight on the face and arms is all that is required by the body to manufacture sufficient vitamin D.

Do vegans need to take supplements

Fortified breakfast cereals, bread, plant milks and vegan margarines can be useful sources if exposure to sunlight is not practicable, but may not be enough. When it comes to supplements, there are two types and your body can use both, but it’s advisable to check the source – vitamin D2 is always vegan, but vitamin D3 can be of animal origin. Many vegan foods are fortified with vitamin D2 and labelled so, but if not specified, especially on cereal products, vitamin D tends to be of animal origin. If you choose to supplement your diet, there’s a range of quality and affordable vegan supplements with vitamin D2. There are also those made from algae or mushrooms that contain D3 and these are recommended if you need a higher dose. When deciding on your dosage, 10µg per day is enough and you shouldn’t go above 25µg.

Iodine

Iodine has been a hot topic lately, especially with plenty of tabloid ‘experts’ warning that vegans are missing out. This mineral is necessary for thyroid function and helps to regulate how energy is produced and used in the body.

The amount of iodine in plants depends upon the iodine content of the soil in/on which they are grown. The closer to the sea, the more iodine and therefore vegans can get enough from plant foods, but there’s no guarantee. Seaweed, which of course grows in seawater, is always a good source and includes nori, laver, dulse and the kelp family (kombu, arame, wakame). But be warned – kelp absorbs far more than other seaweeds and you can get too much iodine from it. So, while seaweed consumption is encouraged, kelp should be used only sparingly.

Do vegans need to take supplements

It’s best to use a kelp supplement so you know exactly how much iodine you’re taking – it’s cheap, reliable and you don’t have to worry about taking too much. The recommended daily intake is 140µg and intakes up to 500µg are considered safe. In many countries, iodised salt is commonly used to ensure iodine intake, but it’s not the norm in the UK.

The dairy industry has been boasting about the iodine content of cow’s milk. What they don’t tell you is that it’s not a natural component of milk, but comes from iodinated cattle feed, supplements, iodophor medication, iodine-containing sterilisers of milking equipment, teat dips and udder washes. Cow’s milk is neither a natural nor the best source of iodine, so we can happily leave all that dairy out of our diet.

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Diet and Lifestyle

One Nutrition Revive & Go Ester-C

> Gentle on the stomach
> Supports the immune system
> Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism, and to the reduction of tiredness

One Nutrition Revive & Go Immunity has been specially formulated to increase vitamin C levels to support both to support energy and the immune system. Ester-C
is a non-acidic form of vitamin C that has been designed to be gentle on the stomach. It provides 500mg of vitamin C (625% RDI) in just one easy to take, daily capsule.

How to take: Take 1 capsule daily.

Available as 30 capsules.

Vegan – Gluten Free – Soy Free – Dairy Free

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