Weekend Reads: June. Walking, Halloumi and J-shaped Spines

June is one of my favourite months; the days are long, the weather is warm(ish), the festival season begins and I celebrate my birthday.   While I’m sad to see the end of June, I’m looking forward to July.

Here’s my round up of this month’s health news and an update on what I’ve been up to.

 

Health benefits of walking

1. An interesting read, even if I’m not totally convinced: Why Indigenous Cultures Don’t Have Back Pain 

2. Dehydration isn’t causing your muscle cramps

3. Would you try any of these 12 bizarre beds?

4. Love the sound of this Halloumi and lentil salad

5. The Guardian brings us 5 exercises for good posture.

 

 

What I’ve Been Up To

The real highlight of this month was a 6 day break in Dubrovnik.  It is such a beautiful and historic part of the world – definitely comes highly recommended by me!

 

A view of the sunset from Dubrovnik’s cable car:

Sunset view from Dubrovnik Cable Car

 

View over Dubrovnik

 

 

The beautifully clear Adriatic sea.
Very clear Adriatic Sea

 

 

Boat on one of the Elaphite Islands

 

We hosted an E17 Art Trail exhibition at Ashlins which was a lot of fun.
E17 Art Trail 2015 at Ashlins
Had a nice walk along the canal from Hertford to St Margarets where we met this duck and her ducklings.
Duck and Duckling

 

What have you done this month?

Festival Pain Prevention – Essential Stretches iPhone Wallpaper

Are you going to any festivals this summer?  All that walking, standing, camping and carrying heavy bags can quickly lead to neck and back pain.

 

Don’t let it ruin your weekend! I’ve put together a short routine of essential festival stretches to keep you fit and pain free.  You don’t need any special equipment or clothing, just space to lie down and 3 minutes a day.

 

Save the image as your phone wallpaper so you always have it to hand!

Festival stretches for pain prevention - iphone wallpaper

 

Download full size (640 x 1136 px)  With Text | Images Only

 

 

– Do not stretch to the point of pain.  Discomfort during stretching is to be expected but it should not hurt!

– Move slowly and gently when you stretch. Don’t rush.

– Don’t ‘bounce’ during a stretch.

– Perform 2-3 times a day for best results.

– Seek professional advice if you are suffering with back or neck pain.

 

p.s.  how to deal with a bad back at festivals

No Appointments Weds 17th and Friday 19th June

Just a quick note to say that there’ll be no appointments with me available on Weds 17th and Friday 19th June.  I’m taking some time off for a little holiday over my birthday.

I will be back on Monday 22nd June, and Ashlins will be open as usual.  You can ring to make an appointment on 020 8520 5268.

 

 

 

 

3 Minute Office Stretching Routine

Regular stretching is great! It helps keep your muscles lovely and supple and can prevent aches and pains.  Combined with good posture and regular breaks, stretching helps keeps your body in good condition.

I’ve shared lots of stretches on here in the past, many of which are great to do at work.  To make things even easier I’ve created a 3 minute stretching routine.  Book mark it or print it out and repeat every hour or so.

 

 

 

 

Stretching routine for office workers and computer users

 

Try it for a couple of days and see how you feel.  Which stretch is your favourite?

Stretch – Seated Spinal Twist

Here’s another great stretch for those of you who work at a desk.
Stretch your back at your desk

1. Sit upright in a chair with your feet on the floor.
2. Cross your right knee over your left leg. Place your left hand on your right knee.
3. Turn your upper body to look over your right shoulder. You can hold on to the chair or support your low back with your right hand. Take care not to lean forwards or backwards.
4. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
5. Return to your starting position.
6. Repeat on the opposite side.
7. Perform 3 times on each side, once a day.

Notes:

Keep breathing normally while you exercise. Do not hold your breath.

Move gently and slowly. Exercises should not hurt.

If an exercise becomes painful, stop immediately and seek advice from your therapist.

Only perform exercises which have been prescribed or approved by a qualified individual such as your GP, physiotherapist or osteopath.  This information is provided for reference only.

Download a pdf of this stretch ▶

 

If you suffer with neck pain, Osteopathy may help you! Call me on 020 8520 5268 to find out more or to book an appointment at my East London clinic.

Weekend Reads: May.

Welcome to the end of May!  Have you enjoyed the month and its 2 bank holiday weekends?

Read on for my monthly round up of health news.

 

'I believe we've finally located the cause of your back problem, Mrs. Kangaroo.'

1.  What do you think of this seat belt to improve your posture at work?  I’d like to try it, but I think it would be easier just to try and sit properly.

2. I have been enjoying this yoga routine:

4. You get better value spending money on experiences than on more stuff

5. I love the sound of this roasted tomato and quinoa soup

 

 

What I’ve Been Up To

Busy month here – we have booked our wedding venues and chosen our photographer.  We need to give notice next month and we’ll be almost done, leaving a whole year to concern ourselves with making a brilliant playlist and stockpiling prosecco.

 

I went to the Harry Potter experience and was not impressed with the butterbeer.  Here’s a selfie from the great hall:A selfie in Hogwart's great hall

 

I went on a Beginner’s Sewing Class with my friends at Make Thrift London and made this snazzy tote bag and zipped pouch.

Beginner's sewing class with Make Thrift London

 

Had a nice walk in the rain over the bank holiday weekend.
 Canal walk in Hackney
Listening to: Lovely Eggs – Food

What have you done this month?

Glow, Menstrual Cycle Tracker: App Review

Every month I’m testing a health and fitness app so you don’t have to.  This time I’ve been testing Glow, a menstrual cycle and fertility calculator.

Glow Ovulation Tracker Review


App Name: Glow Ovulation Calculator

Platform: Android (Google Play), iOS (iTunes)

Cost: Free on Android and iOS

Size: Varies with device

Tested on: Google Nexus 5 running Android 5.1 (Lollipop)

What they say:

“Glow is the world’s best ovulation calculator, period and fertility tracker. Glow’s menstrual and ovulation calculator help women learn about their fertility, whether avoiding or attempting pregnancy. Glow is a ovulation calculator that also records your period, mood, symptoms, sex, and medications, and assists those undergoing fertility treatments like IVF or IUI.

Winner of 2014 Webby for best Health & Fitness app, Glow is an elegant, data-driven ovulation calculator and period tracker designed to help you take control of your reproductive health.”

Glow   Ovulation Calculator – Android Apps on Google Play

 

What I say:
Pluses:

+ Can be used to aid or prevent conception, or just to monitor your cycle.

+ Very easy to use.

+ Option to track a lot of data, including your mood, physical symptoms, temperature, exercise and sleep.

+ Notifications when you are due to ovulate and when your period is due to start.

+ Helpful daily health tips and reminders.

+ Fairly active and supportive community.

 

 

 Minuses:

– Some of the tips and insights are a bit obvious.

– You need to log daily for it to be most effective.

– There’s a small bias towards encouraging conception, which can get a bit annoying.

 

Glow   Ovulation Calculator – Android Apps on Google Play

The bottom line: 

If you are want to feel more informed and in control about your menstrual cycle, this is the app for you!  It is easy to use and very informative.  I highly recommend it.  Download it from Google Play  or iTunes.

Your Laptop is Wrecking Your Posture…Here’s How To Fix It

Do you work at a laptop?  How often do you get to the end of the day with tired, aching shoulders and a headache?

Fix your Laptop posture

Laptops were designed with portability rather than ergonomics in mind so they are really not great for your body.  They force you to slouch forwards and tilt your head down to see the screen.  The track pad makes you turn your arm inwards, further encouraging you to slump forwards. Carrying your computer from place to place can put extra strain on your shoulders, especially if you use a shoulder bag rather than a backpack.

Luckily there’s plenty you can do to make laptops more posture friendly – here are some ideas:

 

– Use a peripheral mouse instead of the track pad.

– Use a peripheral keyboard.

– Put your laptop on a box or stand to raise the height of the screen.

– Use a peripheral screen.

– Take a break from work every hour (get up from the desk and move around!).

– If you have to carry your laptop around, choose a light model and carry it in a back pack.

 

 

Stretch Your Back – Child’s Pose

If you have ever done yoga before you have probably done this stretch.  I think it is just lovely – relaxing, easy to do and very soothing for tight, stiff backs.

childs pose - an easy and gentle back stretch

1. Start in a kneeling position.
2. Stretch forwards and down, allowing your forehead to rest on the floor with your arms outstretched ahead of you.
3. Rest your buttocks onto your heels if you can.
4. Breathe slowly and deeply. With each out breath allow your spine to relax and elongate.
5. Remain in this position for 10 breaths.
Notes:

Keep breathing normally while you exercise. Do not hold your breath.

Move gently and slowly. Exercises should not hurt.

If an exercise becomes painful, stop immediately and seek advice from your therapist.

Only perform exercises which have been prescribed or approved by a qualified individual such as your GP, physiotherapist or osteopath.  This information is provided for reference only.

Download a pdf of this stretch ▶

 

If you suffer with back pain, Osteopathy may help you! Call me on 020 8520 5268 to find out more or to book an appointment at my East London clinic.

 

Weekend Reads: April. Personality Tests, Popping Knuckles and Parkour

Welcome to the end of April!  How has your month been?  Are you looking forward to the bank holiday weekend?

Read on for my monthly round up of health news.

 

1.  A surprisingly accurate personality test – although it did say I’d make a good accountant so don’t trust it too much.

2. A 1000 year old Anglo Saxon remedy killed MRSA – Fascinating!

3. Looking for a new hobby? Beginner’s guide to Parkour

4. Why do your knuckles pop?

5. What happens when one identical twin exercises and the other doesn’t?

“Identical twins in Finland who shared the same sports and other physical activities as youngsters but different exercise habits as adults soon developed quite different bodies and brains, according to a fascinating new study that highlights the extent to which exercise shapes our health, even in people who have identical genes and nurturing.”

 

What I’ve Been Up To

 

I went to see the excellent Marcus Bonfanti at the Rose and Crown in Walthamstow.

Marcus Bonfanti Poster

Enjoyed  a day trips to Brighton and Colchester.  Did you know that with a group ticket you can go to Brighton and back for £7? What a bargain.

Looked after a cat for a week.  This is Daisy:

Daisy the Cat

And I made a pin cushion in a tea cup with my friend Make, Thrift London

pincushionlogo

 

 

Listening to: Marcus Bonfanti – Devil Girl

What have you done this month?