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?

Health App Review: NHS Health and Symptom Checker

Every month I’m testing a health and fitness app so you don’t have to.  This month I’m reviewing NHS Health and Symptom checker.



App Name: NHS Health and Symptom checker

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:

“Our NHS Health and Symptom checker app allows you to check your symptoms if you’re feeling unwell. You can get an assessment, information about your condition and advice on how to look after yourself.

Getting health advice really couldn’t be easier! Simply work through one of our clinically tested health assessment tools by selecting your symptoms and answering some short questions about how you’re feeling.

Once you’ve finished, we’ll instantly give you advice on the best course of action and, if you can look after yourself at home, we’ll tell you how.”

 

 

What I say:

This app is just a link to the NHS website.  I can’t see the point in it.  You may as well go straight to the NHS website or google whatever you want to know.

 

Pluses:

+Handy link to the NHS website.

 

 Minuses:

– It doesn’t really do anything.

– You could just go straight to the website.

-Waste of space on your phone.

 

 

The bottom line: 

Don’t bother with this one.

How High Should My Computer Screen Be?

Having your screen too low makes it impossible to maintain good posture.  In order to see clearly you are forced to slouch over your desk, putting pressure on the muscles of your neck and shoulders.

How high should my screen be?

To get your screen at the right height just follow these steps:

 

1. Sit at your computer chair.  Bend your elbows.  Adjust your chair height so that your elbows are level with the top of your desk.

 

2. Make sure your monitor is directly in front of you.

 

3. The centre of your screen should be at eye level.  Your screen might be adjustable, in which case simply raise it up to the appropriate height.  If it isn’t adjustable you can place it on some boxes, books or reams of paper.  For a cleaner look you can buy special screen risers- 1, 2, 3.

Relieve Tension in your Head and Neck

Here’s a bit of self treatment to relieve tension and stiffness in your neck.  This technique can also be useful for tension headaches.  You will need a friend/glamorous assistant to help you.

home-tt-neck-tension

1. Lay down somewhere comfortable.  Rest your head on a small pillow or folded towel.

2. Ask your friend to kneel behind you and place their hands softly on the back of your neck.  See the image above for reference.

3. They should gently cup the base of your head in their hands and use their finger tips to press into the muscles at the top of your neck.

4. Rest in this position for 30 seconds or so.  It may feel a little sore at first, but keep your head nice and relaxed and the discomfort will slowly fade away.

 

Notes:

Keep breathing normally. Do not hold your breath.

If you start to feel nauseous or dizzy STOP this technique immediately. 

Do not allow your head or neck to bend backwards.  

Only perform exercises/self treatment techniques 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 technique ▶

 

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: March. Eiffel Tower, Generosity and Happiness

The end of March has arrived and I am away in Rome for the weekend so this post is scheduled in advance.  Can you believe Easter is next week?  Hope you’ve had a brilliant month and have lots planned for the long weekend.

Read on for my monthly round up of health news.

1.  What Your Bones Have In Common With The Eiffel Tower

2. Why generosity makes you happy - proof that volunteering can be good for you!

4. Are good habits the secret to happiness?

“40 to 45 per cent of what we do every day is a habit—something we do by default. When we wake up, we brush our teeth. We get in the car to go to work and, without thinking, we put on our seatbelt. There’s no decision-making at work. It’s automatic. “If you have habits that work for you, you’re much more likely to be happier, healthier and more productive.””

5. Lack of sleep my play a role in both obesity and diabetes.

 

What I’ve Been Up To

Like I said, I’m away in Rome at the moment so that’s the highlight of my month!  I’ve reopened my Guide unit so Friday evenings are filled with entertaining a group of excitable ten year olds again. Unite Pale Ale for International Women's Day I was also happy to celebrate International Women’s Day at Wildcard Brewery.

Leigh on Sea SunsetWent for a little trip to Leigh on Sea one Saturday – isn’t the sunset beautiful?

 

Listening to: Alvvays – Marry Me, Archie

What have you done this month?

How Can I Remember to Take Breaks From Work?

Sitting at your desk (or anywhere else!) all day is a terrible, awful thing to do to your body.  You should aim to get up at least once an hour, and definitely leave your desk at lunch time.   Short breaks make you more productive as well as healthier so it really is a win-win situation.

 

Stop skipping breaks at work - here's how

I know this can be a tricky habit to develop but it IS possible and it IS worth it.

 

Here are some suggestions:

 

  • Sip water/tea/squash throughout the day so you need to get up and go to the loo.
  • Listen to the radio while you work and have a break when the news comes on every hour.
  • Ask one of your colleagues to remind you when it is break time.
  • Add a break reminder extension to your browser: Timer, Simple Pomodoro, Take a Break, eyeCare (gives you stretches too!)
  • Or on your phone. Android: Break Reminder, Brain Break  iOS: Break Reminder, Stand Up! The Work Break Timer
  • Schedule breaks in your Google calendar.
  • Find some pleasant outdoor space near your work so you actually want to leave the office.
  • Reward yourself every break time with a small treat.

 

Or try all of the above!

 

If you do sit at desk for work, here’s how to do it properly.

If you’re suffering with neck, shoulder or back pain, Osteopathy could help! Call me on 020 8520 5268 to book your appointment.

Daily Yoga: App Review

Every month I’m testing a health and fitness app so you don’t have to.  This month I’m reviewing Daily Yoga

Daily Yoga   Fitness On the Go   Android Apps on Google Play

App Name: Daily Yoga

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

Cost: Free on Android and iOS

Size: Varies with device

Tested on: Google Nexus 5 running Android 5.0 (Lollipop)

What they say:

“Daily Yoga is the world’s most popular yoga coaching app suitable for all levels, beginners, intermediate and advanced, providing 50+ HD yoga exercises and the largest database of 400+ yoga poses, HD VIDEOS, live voice guide, soothing music, social community, and more.”

Daily Yoga   Fitness On the Go   Android Apps on Google Play1

 

What I say:
Daily Yoga   Fitness On the Go   Android Apps on Google Play3

 

Pluses:

+ Lots of routines to choose from; meditation, back pain, weight loss etc

+ Easy to fit in to your routine.  Different durations are available from 10 minutes upwards.

+ Videos and verbal instructions for each posture.

 

 Minuses:

– You have to download each routine separately.

– Some routines are paid.

– Moves quite quickly for beginners.

– Difficult to know if you are doing the poses correctly.

 

 

The bottom line: 

A pretty handy app.  Take it slowly and go through the routines for beginners first.  This app will never be a replacement for one to one or small group sessions but it is a useful way to practice yoga at home.

 

Download it from Google Play  or iTunes.

Do I Need a Foot Rest at my Desk?

Foot rests are affordable, easy to use, widely available and therefore very popular.  Do you need one?  Try this simple test to find out.

Do I Need a Foot Rest at my Desk?

– Sit at your desk in your usual chair.

– Raise up your chair until your arms (bent at the elbow) are level with your desk.

– If your feet can rest comfortably on the floor, you do not need a foot rest.  If your feet can’t rest flat on the floor, you should get a foot rest!

 

It is totally fine to use a ream of paper or an appropriately sized box as a foot rest, but if you’d like a more sturdy solution try one of these:

 

kensington footrest

 

 

 

Kensington Solemate £48.49 from Viking Direct

 

office depot footrest

 

 

 

Office Depot Adjustable Footrest £27.99 from Viking Direct

 

 

 

kensington tubular foot rest

 

 

Kensington Tubular Footrest £17.99 from Amazon

 

 

kensington solesaver footrest  Kensington SoleSaver Footrest £10.95 from Amazon

 

Just as a note – I don’t get any commission from these links.  I’m posting them to be helpful, not because I’ll make money from it.

 

For more guidance, read my post on setting up your workstation.

  *If you suffer with neck or back pain I may be able to help! Call 020 8520 5268 to book your appointment *

 

Stretch your Chest Muscles to Reduce Pain

Do your shoulders curve forwards? Do you spend hours a day leaning over a desk or phone?  This chest stretch is for you!  By stretching the pectoral muscles across the top of your chest you will help your shoulders sit in a more natural position, reducing tension across your neck and back.

Chest stretch for better posture | Osteopathy in East London

1. Sit or stand with good posture.

2. Interlace your fingers behind your back.

3. Slowly lift your hands up behind you until you feel a stretch in your chest, shoulders and arms. Keep your chest out and your chin tucked in.

4. Hold for 10 seconds.

5. Repeat 3 times in total.

 

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 exercisess 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: February. Walking, Coffee and Designing Work Spaces

The last day of February is here and I really can’t wait for Spring to arrive.  I’m looking forward to lighter evenings and warmer days!

Read on for my monthly round up of health news.
Benefits of walking

 

1.  Is saturated fat really that bad for you?  “In the 1970s and 80s, there was a big push away from saturated fats in the US and UK as experts cautioned they were bad for the heart.  Scientists writing in the journal Open Heart have now argued this advice lacked the solid scientific trials needed to back it up.”

2. Apparently drinking up to 5 mugs of coffee a day could be good for you!

3.  Exercise could be better for you when you do it outside.  Give the gym a miss and go for a nice walk or run instead

4. I loved this post on designing a good workspace- so much inspiration!

5. What is it like to have arthritis in your 20s?

 

What I’ve Been Up To

February proved to be quite a fun month!  I took part in a world record attempt at Wilton’s Music Hall, went on a nice walk (12 miles!) from Walthamstow to Alexandra Palace, got excited by the Indietracks line up announcement and saw Ryan Adams at Hammersmith Apollo.

 

Listening to: Ryan Adams – Gimme Something Good

What have you done this month?