Category Archives: Health & Fitness

The structure and function of the digestive system

Although nutritional quality and quantity are central to optimal health and well-being, a functioning digestive system is pre-requisite for these benefits to take full effect. Failure of a single part of this system will compromise the amount of nutrition entering the body.

The stages of the digestive system are as follows:

-The mouth is the first part of the digestive system, the place where food in received. The roof of the mouth is formed by hard and soft palates and the anterior two-thirds of the tongue fill the floor of the mouth. The tongue is a muscular organ which is attached to the hyoid bone and mandible. Read More

Types of muscle tissue

There are three types of muscle tissue and each one has a different structure and function.

The three types are:

  • Smooth muscle, e.g. the digestive system
  • Cardiac muscle (myocardium), e.g. the heart
  • Skeletal muscle (striated), e.g. the hamstrings or triceps

Smooth Muscle

Smooth muscles are described as involuntary. It is not under conscious control but is controlled by the automatic nervous system. Smooth muscles, are found within the digestive system, the blood vessels, the urinary system and the reproductive system. It is used in all processes that maintain the body’s internal environment. E.g. blood vessels constrict and dilate (narrow and widen) to alter the flow of blood, and the muscles of the digestive tract contract to move food through the body. Read More

The Stages of bone repair

The grounds reaction applied to the body when jogging can be up to two and a half times its weight, which can actually rise up to 10 times if you factor in all other potential forces. Human bones are immensely strong and can deal with this, however as strong as they may be, they aren’t indestructible.

Bone damage can be referred to as a fracture. There are multiple types of fractures (e.g. greenstick, simple and compound). Although healing will depend upon the severity and complexity of an injury, they will all follow the same 4 stage healing process. Read More

Pre, During and Post exercise nutrition

Fuelling yourself for exercise is vitally important- whether it’s a pre-exercise feast to prepare you, or a high protein post meal to re-energise and repair your body. Eating the right food provides a great starting point to building your perfect body- Just what is the right foods to be eating?

Pre-exercise meal

It has been quoted that the perfect pre-exercise meal should be made of low glycaemin index foods. The rationale is that if a high carbohydrate meal is consumer pre-workout the relatively rapid rise in blood glucose will cause a release of insulin and a rapid fall in glucose levels, possibly even before the exercise session has begun. A pre-exercise meal featuring a low GI level should be consumed 1.5- 2 hours prior to exercise, and a high GI meal should be consumed as close to the session as possible. Read More

The respiratory system explained

The functions of the respiratory system:

The respiratory system is responsible for the intake of oxygen from the air into the body and the removal of carbon dioxide from the body into the air.

All body functions require oxygen, so respiration and the exchange of gases (taking in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide) happens continuously without conscious thought or control (involuntarily). However, as we can bring our breath under conscious control; disciplines such as Pilates and yoga use breathing techniques as part of their practice. Read More

The relationship between nutrition and physical activity

Good nutrition and adequate physical activity are important throughout our lives.

The amount of exercise an individual gets affects their nutritional status and overall health. In turn, diet and nutritional status can influence exercise performance.

A good level of fitness reduces the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. Whether your goal is to maintain your health or to compete in an athletic event, good nutrition provides a launching pad from which physical fitness can be improved. Read More

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is the standard measure used for clinical diagnosis of obesity.

It predicts health risks for most people accurately. It is not a reliable indicator for strength athletes and body builders (around 2% of the population) because it only takes height and weight into account – not body composition. Bodybuilders with very low levels of fat are often classified as ‘obese’ by this method.

BMI is a quick and easy gauging method. A BMI reading of 30 or more is classified as obese.

Below is a guide to BMI readings:

– < 18.5 = Underweight

– 5 – 25 = Normal

– 25-30 = Overweight Read More

New Year, New Diet – The basics of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the perfect source of energy for the body. They can be converted much more easily (than proteins or fats) into glucose. Which is the form of sugar transported and used by the body.

Carbohydrates are often thought as the primary source of energy for the body. However, this isn’t strictly true. It depends on what the body is doing to determine the best energy source. During normal daily activities, both fats and carbohydrates contribute significantly to the energy requirements. As activity intensity may increase, the contribution of fats decreases and carbohydrates do become the main energy source. Read More

The truth behind healthy eating labels

Over the last 10 years the rapid increase in media has played a vital role in showing us factors of a healthy lifestyle. With many food manufacturers understanding our desire to become a healthier individual, their packing terminology has now changed to reflect this.

Manufacturers work hard to ensure their healthy labels attract the eye of the fitness crazed consumer. We are increasingly shown these phrases of ‘low in salt’, ‘low in fat’ and ‘sugar free’ to name but a few. They seem like they are promoting a healthy meal, but what do they actually mean? Read More

The importance of healthy eating

Nutritional fitness is a key component of health and total fitness.

The foods eaten as part of the daily diet influence energy levels during exercise and affect overall health and wellbeing.

Fitness professionals are often asked for advice and support in helping clients to achieve goals that require them to change their eating habits. It is important to respect professional boundaries when providing information or advice relating to nutrition. Only state-registered dieticians are qualified and insured to provide detailed, specific nutrition advice and diagnose nutrient deficiencies. When providing nutrition information to clients ensure that only evidence based guidelines are referred to and focus on using a coaching approach to help clients adopt and maintain the healthy eating approaches they suggest for themselves. Advising a client to follow a specific diet or take a specific supplement could lead to illness and constitute negligence. Read More