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Why it’s good to #runandtalk

13/10/2017 Tina Chantrey 0

The latest England Athletics #runandtalk week encourages runners to get their mental health issues out in the openEngland Athletics #runandtalk campaign – supported by the charity Mind – has given an opportunity for their mental health ambassadors (MHA…

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What’s the ultimate way to defy depression, disease and early death? Exercise

03/10/2017 Sarah Boseley 0

As a new report reveals the mental health benefits of just an hour’s physical activity a week, it seems there is nothing a workout can’t cure. Here is why we should all sit less and move more

Are you sitting comfortably? Bad idea. Stand up and walk around the house. Leave your desk and jog down the office stairs. Even better – jog up the stairs. If it’s lunchtime, go and join a yoga class or head for the shops on foot. What’s to lose? You are going to feel better and live longer.

Hardly a day goes by without a new piece of research flagging up the benefits to our physical and mental health of getting more active. On Tuesday, a study of 30,000 Norwegians by the brilliantly named Black Dog Institute in Australia found that even one or two hours’ exercise a week can help prevent depression. On Monday, the Wildlife Trust revealed that two-thirds of its volunteers, digging ditches and building bird tables in the open air, had better mental health within six weeks.

Related: Natural health service: wildlife volunteers get mental health boost

I don’t care how you get hot and sweaty for 10 minutes each day. I just want you doing it

Related: Get up, stand up: including exercise in everyday life healthier than gym, says study

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William Giraldi on life as a bookish bodybuilder: ‘It’s a poisoned way to be a man’

05/09/2017 Jack Urwin 0

As a teenager, William Giraldi would pump himself full of steroids, hit the gym … and secretly read Keats. His new memoir examines the absurdities of modern masculinity and envisages a better world in which his sons don’t get caught in its toxic grip

As a teenage bodybuilder, William Giraldi would hide a battered old Keats paperback between the pages of Muscle & Fitness magazine to read during his evening cardio, a move he calls “a reversal of the classic Playboy mag inside a textbook”. His new memoir, The Hero’s Body, is littered with anecdotes like this: tales of the insecurities and absurdities of masculinity, which document the lengths men go to in order to feel a sense of self-worth in their manhood. Literature, art, music – almost anything that would be of no use on a battlefield – were condemned as effeminate by Giraldi’s family and gym buddies, forcing him to pursue these interests in secret.

“That’s the perfect illustration of the kind of bifurcated life I was leading at the time,” Giraldi says, likening his furtive Keats reading to that of a gay person in the closet. “You’ve got this part of yourself that’s central to yourself, that’s at the hub of you. You can’t express it, you can’t exert it, you can’t walk the way you want to walk in the world because of how you’ll be perceived.”

Related: How a bookish teenager bodybuilt his way to Manville

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The obesity crisis: a healthy population needs a healthy environment | Letters

25/08/2017 Letters 0

Public Health England is not up to the task, says Rob Wheway; we all need to stop eating for winter, says Cian Foley; gardening and tai chi can help older people stay fit, says Louise Ansari; what priority is the government giving to preserving urban open spaces for pleasant walks, asks Mark Bryant

Public Health England (PHE) does not understand health. The letter (24 August) from its chief nutritionist, Dr Alison Tedstone, responding to my article on obesity (Want to fight obesity? Stop shrinking pizzas and let children play, 23 August) proves my point. PHE ignores the fact that for countless millennia children ran around near their own homes every day. Healthy exercise for free. Domination of the car in residential roads stopped this happening and the result has been increases in lack of fitness, obesity, diabetes and mental-health-related issues. We know from zoos that keeping mammals confined to small spaces results in poor physical and mental health, which is what has happened to our children.

In the 1850s Londoners were suffering from cholera and dysentery. Quacks and charlatans were offering expensive treatments, therapies and gimmicks which did not work. Joseph Bazalgette built the sewers, and public health improved dramatically. It can be seen that a healthy environment is the first requirement for a healthy population. PHE has not learned the lesson of the 1850s. It emphasises treating obesity rather than creating the environment that will prevent it in the first place. It resorts to substituting synthetic ingredients into food and gimmicks such as 10-minute exercise cartoons which are doomed to fail. We all, particularly children, need a healthy environment. Public Health England is simply not up to the task.
Rob Wheway
Director, Children’s Play Advisory Service

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6 million middle-aged people take no exercise

24/08/2017 George Sandeman 0

Public Health England’s research suggests large numbers of adults do not walk for 10 minutes at a time once a month

About 6 million middle-aged people in England are endangering their health by not taking so much as a brisk walk once a month, government advisers have said.

Clinicians said such a lack of exercise increases an individual’s risk of prematurely developing serious health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia and cancer.

Related: 20 reasons to be cheerful in middle age

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UK families could get money off shopping bills if they hit exercise goals

22/08/2017 Haroon Siddique 0

NHS ‘healthy towns’ scheme could offer residents rewards in attempt to reduce lifestyle-related illnesses

Families could be offered discounts on their food shopping, cut-price sports gear and free cinema tickets for hitting exercise targets in a drive to reduce the burden of lifestyle-related illness on the NHS.

The proposals, for residents to receive rewards if they walk a specified number of steps, form part of NHS England’s plans for 10 new “healthy towns”, intended to address serious healthcare problems including obesity and dementia.

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