Category: Mind and Body

Why you should listen to music when you work out.

Why you should listen to music when you work out.

We’ve all been there when you’re in the middle of a run and the perfect song comes on and gives you an extra spring in your step. But there are actual scientific reasons why you should listen to music when you work out. 

 

Music is a mood booster.

It has been proven that music, especially our favourite songs, have the power to make us feel good. Listening to music when you work out can dissociate you from the pain or effort of exercise, and instead, tune in to good feelings and happy memories meaning that you don’t give up so easily. 

 

It can enhance performance.

It is in our human nature to sync our movements up with a beat. You will probably have noticed this if you are running and your steps match the song.  By listening to a high tempo song (120 beats per minute or more), we will increase our output more than we would without music, to match the fast beat.

Reduces perceived exhaustion

Music promotes internal motivation that makes vigorous exercise seem easier and less arduous. By creating a positive association with music it makes the whole process of deciding to work out easier in the future, as we don’t have those negative associations holding us back. 

 

Optimises Oxygen usage

Music improves physiological efficiency by increasing blood flow and reducing the amount of oxygen intake required to perform at the same intensity without music. Meaning our body can work harder without paying the price.

So put your headphones on and get moving!

 

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5 reasons why rest days are important

We all want to see results from the gym, and it may be tempting to go hard every day in hopes that those all-important goals are reached quicker. But it is important to schedule rest days into your weekly routine. Here we explain 5 reasons why rest days are important.

 

1. To rest your muscles

Most of you will already know that when doing strength training and lifting weights, you are tearing your muscle fibers with the strain. The mending of these torn muscles builds them stronger. Without a time of rest between sessions for this repair to happen, you aren’t going to see results. This is also why is best to vary the muscle groups you are working on, on separate days, so they have a chance to rest, heal and grow. 

 

2. To prevent injury 

Rest days are important for injury prevention, and it’s better to choose to rest to prevent injuries than be forced to rest for weeks because you have caused yourself damage.  Whether you lift weights, run or play tennis, extended use of a particular muscle, puts a strain on your body and the repetition without a rest day can cause muscle and joint damage and that is when injuries occur. In order to avoid any long term problems and avoid injury, schedule in rest and allow your body to recover. 

3. Improve sleep

We all know exercise is excellent for your health and overall wellbeing, but too much exercise can put your body in a constant state of adrenaline and endorphins, causing restlessness and difficulty sleeping. If you have a high resting heart rate, this is a sign that your body is in a high alert state and may be causing you difficulty in getting to sleep. Taking rest days is important to calm down your heart rate and alertness which can help get you a night of sound sleep. Getting a night of good solid sleep on a rest day will also help you to do a stronger workout the next day as you won’t be fatigued. 

 

4. To strengthen the immune system

During periods of intense or daily exercise, our immune system is constantly working to repair the muscles and joints that are being used. Your immune system is not only having to fight off everyday viruses but also work extra hard to make the repairs your body needs. Without a rest day, your immune system is under constant strain and will struggle to catch up on the repairs. A low immune system can lead to you getting colds, flu, and injuries, which will put you out of your routine for much longer than a rest day. 

5. For your mental health

It can be hard to let yourself take a day off. Rest days can feel counterproductive when you could be working on your goals, but it is important to know that you can take days off and that it is good for you. From a psychological view, exercise can become all-consuming, a rest day allows your mind to take a break from the focus of exercise. Mental tiredness can be every bit as problematic as physical, and taking a rest day helps to recharge your brain. Also take the day to catch up on other hobbies in your usual gym time such as seeing family, reading a book or getting ahead with work. 

 

It is important to note that you should not worry that you will lose your your performance by taking a rest day.  It takes almost two weeks of non-activity for your performance to start dipping, so one or two days off will not set you back, it is only beneficial!

 

 

 

 

How to choose the right personal trainer

When the going gets tough (rather than the tough get going, as Billy Ocean once stated) it’s a great idea for you to get a personal trainer. When you find a good one, they are is worth their weight in gold. If you find a bad one, well, a bad one will do more harm than good. If you’re after insight into the world of fitness, then a Personal Trainer (PT) is just the ticket. Within a gym environment, a PT can do many things. They can show you around the equipment. Give you advice into exercise routines designed specifically around your goals and ambitions. They can show you how to carry out certain exercises correctly and safely and give you confidence; not to mention set you up for a fit future. But, when it comes to it, how do you find the right one for you?

If you head into any gym right now, especially at the beginning of the year, the number of PT’s is almost overwhelming. A gym will figuratively be swarming in them; despite the numbers, there are a few pointers you can keep in mind to help narrow down the list, and at Write Up, we’ve lined them up for you.

personal trainer

1. Certification

One of the sure-fire ways to know that a personal trainer you’re about to consider is made of the right stuff, is to consider their qualifications. This depends on the training and subsequent certifications they possess. From this you’ll know if they are trained correctly to be able to teach you. Currently, to be qualified as a personal trainer in the UK, they’ll need the following things: First Aid Certificate, Personal Trainer Insurance, Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification and Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification. Although, many PTs have varying areas of expertise, some will also have additional skills in other areas/sports – like Boxing, for example – and all of this should be accounted for in your selection process.

2. Experience

Before choosing that PT for you, it’s a good idea to know their background and history – which ultimately makes up their experience. It’s in your best interest to know this before signing up to anything. Ask questions like their education and qualifications (like above), how long they’ve been a PT etc. If they have a presence online, try looking them up to see if they have any references – and whether these are positive. Slowly but surely, you’ll begin to see how they are as a Personal Trainer through your research and whether they’ll work for you.

3. Connection

It is extremely important, in addition to that the fact that your future PT is qualified, that you get along with them. You should feel that you can communicate and are well-suited. After all, you’re not going to learn off someone you don’t like. In order to get the most of your time and money, you should feel comfortable and – most importantly – motivated.

personal training session

4. Lifestyle

As aforementioned, some personal trainers are associated with a gym. Others are not and they’ll be able to meet you at your home, or in parks etc. Another important aspect for choosing the right PT for you is to choose one that works around your lifestyle. If you can’t make it to the gym after a hectic day in the office, then opt for one who can train you at your home, and vice versa. After all, if it doesn’t work within your lifestyle, its not the right fit.

5. Money

Personal trainers are not the cheapest way for you to get fit. And if money is a slight limitation for you then be honest up front while searching for one. There could be other options for you instead of the advertised ones with your prospective trainer. If they’re the right for you, while discussing it you’ll soon find a common plan that works for both for ultimate success.

All-in-all, a personal trainer can either be the best the decision you’ll make or a costly one. But by following the above points, you’ll find the right one for you. There’s, as they say, somebody out there for everyone.

Disclaimer – Although we always endeavour to deliver accurate and insightful information, if you are seeking specialised fitness advice, please speak to a relevant professional. All opinions within this blog are the writer’s, should you identify content that is incorrect, please get in contact.

4 Feel good ways to help you reach your healthy goal weight

The dieting world can be a minefield. In the 90s, Kate Moss popularised “heroin-chic”, a reaction against healthy looking models at the time, which championed a low-weight skinny, angular body – and the media’s perception of a desirable figure shifted irrevocably. Gone was the perception that curves were desirable, replaced with a lust for skin and bones. Thankfully though, this idea recently has begun to undo itself. Body positivity models are springing up to advocate having a healthy and comfortable relationship with your own body.

Thing is, if you’re looking to lose some weight, it can be hard to separate the healthy tips from the unhealthy ones.

At Write Up, we support healthy and harmonious weight loss, for no reason other than being satisfied in your skin. We thought we’d bring you some tip-top manoeuvres for your mindset, to boost a healthy mind for your new healthy goal weight.

Healthy lifestyle

1. Don’t think of your changes as a temporary solution

The number one tip we have for to reach a healthy goal weight is to think of your changes as a permanent, not a temporary solution. We all know that it’s hard to lose weight, and that it’s even harder to keep it off. When you start your weight-loss journey, it helps to educate yourself about nutrition. A good place to start is the British Nutrition Foundation, who have an encyclopedic resource of nutrition information on their website. It’s certainly true that knowledge is power, and once you know exactly what different foods provide you, you’ll be able to have a think about exactly which ones you need.

This paradigm shift towards a healthier, happier lifestyle is something that again is reflected in our modern sphere of influence. Supermarkets have begun to cater for healthy diets, and the popularity of January’s Veganuary has spiked the number of people learning what they put in their bodies, where it comes from, and making decisions about if they need to eat it.

Healthy food

2. If you choose to do exercise, make sure it’s something you love

Any good personal trainer will tell you that the key to losing weight with exercise is to find something you love.

Sure, your resolve to hit the gym at the start of the year is strong, but life has an annoying habit of getting in the way. If you find something that you love, you’ll remove the idea of exercise as a chore, and instead, it’ll become the highlight of your day. If you enjoy having time to think, then why not take up running?

The Couchto5k App is a good place to start. It’ll build up your stamina and pace slowly and allow you to go from sedentary to running for a full half hour. If that doesn’t float your boat, how about Zumba? The Latin-inspired dance class helps you keep fit whilst busting some killer moves. If you find a way to exercise that you love, then it’ll never seem like a chore. The weight will melt off, you’ll meet new people, and you’ll develop a new hobby that’s utterly and completely you.

exercising

3. Don’t think about how many calories the food has in it

This one is kind of related to nutrition, but we need to talk about it separately. Truth is, many of the foods we love to indulge in are addictive. In fact, in a recent study, it was found that cheese actually triggers the same part of your brain as opiates do. When you stop eating foods that aren’t good for you, there’ll be a period of a week or so when you’ll feel like you have the flu. Fight through it though, as after this point, you’ll be way more in tune with your body. And this is where our third point comes in.

A top tip trick to reach your healthy goal weight is to think about how the food you’re eating makes you feel. The “Carb Coma” is a well-documented phenomenon, as is the effect of diary, if you have stomach trouble. Did you know that most of Asia is intolerant to diary? If you find your body copes better with sushi, miso, ramen and tempura – then this might be the same for you. Food takes about six hours to start passing through your stomach, so make note in the evening of how your lunch choice affects your chill time. We’re going to ruin your surprise here, and let you know that healthy food will be your champion.

Healthy attitude

4. Remember, Photoshop exists.

Lastly, remember Photoshop exists. Every professional image you’re bombarded with from every angle, all hours of the day, is enhanced in some way. We live our lives behind filters, airbrushes, and FaceTune – and it’s easy to spend hours comparing ourselves to the doctored images of our favourite celebs.

Again, Plus Size models are leading the way to the destruction of this unhealthy obsession with airbrushing; but when trying to reach a healthy goal weight – don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, take a picture a week to track your own progress to your healthy goal weight. You’ll keep your motivation and focus way longer.

Convinced? Why not tell us what you’re about to take up? When you’re leaning more toward playing, rather than watching, your new passion; why not download Write Up – the app that lets you read, rate and review everything fitness related.

Disclaimer – Although we always endeavour to deliver accurate and insightful information, if you are seeking specialised fitness advice, please speak to a relevant professional. All opinions within this blog are the writer’s, should you identify content that is incorrect, please get in contact.

21 Superfoods and their vitamins

Superfoods. It’s the hip term that we’ve all heard bouncing about. But, what exactly are they? And how do superfoods and their vitamins actually help us?

A superfood is any food that is considered nutrient-rich, that’s especially good for health and wellbeing. It’s a food that makes your body sing. Thing is, you have so many to choose from, where do you start? Well, we at Write Up have picked twenty-one of our favourites.

Superfoods and their vitamins:

1. Greek Yoghurt

Because of how it’s made, Greek Yoghurt is full of protein and probiotics; which are essential to aid digestion and form muscle.

Greek yoghurt

2. Quinoa

Not only is it wheat-free, this snazzy little grain has protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, fibre and more. It was a staple diet of the Incas, the largest native empire in the early 16th Century. It seems people have known about superfoods and their vitamins for quite a while now!

Quinoa3. Kale

Kale offers more iron per ounce than beef! It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as a whole heap of antioxidants. If that wasn’t enough, it can help prevent UTIs too!

Kale4. Chia

Chia seeds can help to reduce type 2 diabetes. Yes, you read that right. They’re also tasteless, easy to digest, and super dense in nutrients. It’s no coincidence their name means “strength” in Myan!

Chia

5. Oatmeal

Oatmeal lowers cholesterol which helps heart disease. Its high fibre content gives you more energy, and helps you feel fuller for longer.

Oatmeal6. Green Tea

Although technically a drink, and not a food, we couldn’t resist including green tea. This tasty alternative to caffeinated chaos is full of antioxidants, protects against damage to DNA, and can help you lose weight.

Green tea

7. Broccoli

Broccoli is one of, if not the, healthiest vegetable. It’s chock full of vitamins, minerals, and provides the right vitamins to build up your bones and lower cholesterol.

Broccoli8. Chilli

Incredibly, chillies contain more Vitamin C than strawberries and oranges. Capsaicin, the thing that makes your chilli hot, is an anti-inflammatory; which means if you suffer from any chronic inflammatory conditions, chilli helps you battle the bloat.

Chilli9. Garlic

Unless you’re Bella Lugosi, garlic is a great boost to your immune system. It has been used through the ages to aid the resolve of intimate conditions, but it also helps heart disease, cholesterol and blood pressure.

Garlic10. Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass, as long as it doesn’t have its seed still attached, is gluten-free. It’s the healthy choice of our two-legged friends as well, as it contains live enzymes and amino acids that aid digestion.

Wheatgrass11. Goji Berries

Goji berries are great for your heart. They also boost your brain, help your immune system, and are full of a whole heap of vitamins and minerals.

Goji berries12. Walnuts

Walnuts are the highest antioxidants of all the nuts, meaning they protect against DNA damage. They’re also full of Vitamin E, which, as the image suggests, is great for the condition of your heart.

Walnuts13. Tomatoes

Tomatoes support the immune system and help maintain healthy skin and tissue. One medium sized tomato provides half of your daily Vitamin C! They’re also excellent for circulation.

Tomatoes14. Apples

Apples aid weight loss and help fight obesity. Their skin contains Quercetin, which science boffins think help stop pesky free-radicals from destroying your brain.

Apples15. Salmon

Most oily fish have a high-level of omega-3, a fatty acid that helps your brain and heart. Salmon itself has a positive effect on glucose and metabolism, helping you fight against type 2 diabetes.

Salmon16. Avocados

Avocados are the superstar of the vegan revolution. If you’re not yelling “FREE SHAVACADO!” right now, where have you been? (volume up). Thing is, it lives up to its reputation. Avocado is full of fibre, folate, potassium and Vitamin E. It also has a whole heap of good cholesterol, without the artery blocking side effects.

Avocados17. Pomegranates

Pomegranates have Vitamin A, C, E and Iron. Again, they’re packed full of DNA protecting antioxidants, and can strengthen your bones.

Pomegranates18. Blueberries

Blueberries are anti-inflammatory, which makes them great for chronic disease sufferers. Incredibly, they can also boost your mood. They’re high in flavonoid, which has shown an ability to lift mood when eaten over a long-period of time.

Blueberries19. Beetroot

Beetroot contains vitamins that help lower blood pressure, prevent dementia and boost your performance in sport. It’s rich in nitrates, and there’s some evidence it might even help increase blood flow to the brain.

Beetroot20. Seaweed

Seaweed is very dense in nutrients. Its chemical composition is near to the plasma in our blood, which means it helps fight toxins and purify our life-force. The chlorophyll it contains is also a powerful detoxifier, helping to rid your body of waste.

Seaweed21. Cacao Powder

Wait! Don’t go rushing for the chocolate bar just yet. Raw cacao powder is what we’re talking about here. It has 40 times the antioxidant power than blueberries, and is full of magnesium to ease the heart, brain, and any feminine ailments.

Cacao Powder

Tummy rumbling? What’s your favourite superfood? Why not download Write Up? The app that lets you read, rate and review everything fitness related. Makes sense, right? Right. Write Up. Right on!

Disclaimer – Although we always endeavour to deliver accurate and insightful information, if you are seeking specialised fitness advice, please speak to a relevant professional. All opinions within this blog are the writer’s, should you identify content that is incorrect, please get in contact.

4 Ideas for healthy work snacks that are temptingly good

Hours in front of the computer in an office job can be draining, especially when you need your mind to be focused. If you feel like your mind is beginning to wander, and your stomach beginning to rumble, it’s time for some refuelling to avoid that afternoon slump. So, when the munchies take hold of you, don’t despair, and certainly don’t ignore them. To help keep your energy levels up during your working afternoon, we’ve cooked up this list of healthy work snacks. So, you can continue your work, satisfied that your munchies have been sated and your body fuelled.

healthy work snack

Healthy Work Snacks:

1. Cucumber-Feta Bites

Refreshingly light and delectably moreish. These tasty treats are the perfect healthy work snack for that 3pm dip in energy. What’s more, you can finish off the top of the cucumber chunks with a filling of your choice – be it feta cheese or non-fat Greek yoghurt – before delicately sprinkling your snack with walnuts for that added crunch. We’re hungry just at the thought of this, is it 3pm yet? If your salivating at the thought of it too, get the full recipe here.

2. Instant Oatmeal

Woah, before you start shaking your head in breakfast-at-3pm disbelief, hear us out. Instant oatmeal is a great way to fill yourself up and have that feel-full-for-longer feeling. Even better, when the munchies set in, instant oatmeal is extremely quick to fix up. So, your colleagues don’t have to face the hangry version of you. And if you’re anything like us…well, let’s face it, it isn’t our best side. Jazz up your oatmeal with a handful of berries of your choice as another, sweeter, way of reaching your fruit intake for the day. Interested? Check out how to shop for healthy instant oatmeal here.

3. Hummus with Crudités

A classic in healthy snacking heaven. Is it possible to beat hummus with vegetable crudités? We’d argue not! A versatile healthy work snack, it is also child-friendly. So, bulk big on vegetables and hummus, and feed the whole families cravings with this healthy, and filling, snack idea. Check out this blog on child friendly hummus with crudités as a source of healthy inspiration.

4. Peanut Buttered fruit

Do you have a sweet tooth? Then why not try peanut butter with fruit – popular choices include slabbing your peanut butter on either bananas or slices of apples. While peanut butter provides you with protein, the banana (if this is your fruit of choice) gives you some essential carbs. After snacking on this sweet tasting snack your energy will be humming along for hours to come, and even into the gym after your working day. Which works out, literally, as this snack is also great before or after a workout. Check out this blog for more nutritional information on the better half of this marriage of healthy snacks. If you happen to be short of a bananas or apples though, you could always just have a spoonful of the stuff – we’re not going to judge.

Remember eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to cut out snacks. Oh no. If you find your stomach rumbling when the clock strikes mid-afternoon at work, and your attention to detail is beginning to flag, don’t hold out. Indulge your taste buds with these healthy work snacks. And while eating healthily at work will always be hard, with these ideas, your snack drawer – or fridge – will never be empty.

5 Five-Minute Meals Under 500 Calories

It’s far too easy nowadays to reach for those pre-packaged, unhealthy foods with a catastrophic number of calories and naughty nutritional value. They’re tasty, but they won’t keep you full for long. If you’ve developed this all-too-easy-to-fall-into habit, we’ve put together 5 five-minute meals that are calorie conscious, and coming in at 500 calories, or less! We’ve covered it all, and thrown in a veggie, vegan, gluten-free, meaty and a creature comfort option for your dietary diversity. This makes sure all eats are explored and in the healthiest, and quickest, way possible!

Chicken noodle salad

1. Protein Power (Chicken Noodle Salad)

Kicking off the conversation into five-minute meals is the classic Chicken Noodle Salad. While low in calories, its packed with approximately 2.5 grams of protein punch. It’s no surprise then that this classic remains a powerful choice for weight-loss legends all around the world. Chicken noodle salad gives you cacophony of carbohydrates and full fill of fat, to help strengthen your tissue formation. While boosting your bowls with extra veggies for that classic crunch; choose skinless breast over chicken legs to keep the calories even lower down. For a simple spin on this powerful protein performer, click here.

2. Perfect Plants (Veggie Poached Egg & Avocado on Toast)

As a wellness warrior, you may well take a punt on a plant-only diet. For the five-minute veggie meal, we’ve chosen a protein and potassium leader, poached Egg and Avocado on Toast. No doubt you’re already part of the avocado army, but did you know this little fruit also helps lower cholesterol and all the while containing up to 20 vitamins and minerals? Combining it with poached eggs to consume a complete source of protein. You can also switch to sourdough toast for an easily digestible meal, or up the calorie content using eggs that have been scrambled. Wondering how to poach to perfection? Follow the link for easy instructions. Your body might be a temple, but do you ‘ave a car though? Click here for the full recipe & poaching instructions.

3. Vegan Virtue (Vegan Scrambled Tofu)

The restrictions of a vegan diet can often be frustrating when strapped for time. If your diet anchors itself away from animals, tofu can be scrambled in place of the more traditional egg. The trick to this tofu temptation is perfect prep – make sure you drain the tofu as directed. Tofu is a great source of amino acids, which aids weight loss. It also contains low levels of cholesterol, handy for those of you giving your heart some health time. Serve it solo as a snack or slap it in a wrap for a heartier meal. A saviour to unscramble your sanity! Find the five-minute fantasy here.

4. Gloriously Gluten-Free (GF Pan-Seared Salmon and Tomato over Quinoa)

A wellness warrior knows one thing, to see results, you just have to keep swimming. Your calorie conscious gluten-free meal is Pan-Seared Salmon and Tomato over Quinoa. No matter how it’s pronounced (KEE-NOAH? KEEN-WAH?) the quinoa grain has become a clear champion with the gluten-free crowd. As a substitute for couscous, it contains durum wheat, which GFers are able to digest. Here, it’s paired with pan-seared salmon, that contains a high level of fatty acids that’s good for the heart, brain and joints – helping to boost you up into a brain box. Tomatoes are a vitamin-rich, containing high levels of Vitamins A and C, and free radicals, which are said to slow down cell damage, keeping you looking as young at heart as you feel. See how to cook it here.

Salmon meal

5. Delicious Dessert (Skinny Mug Brownies)

Just because you’re dieting, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have delicious things. This skinny microwave brownie is perfect for a midnight marvel and another great addition to our five-minute meals collection. Throw the four ingredients into your favourite mug and nuzzle down into a chocolate caress. Treat yourself to a trusted topping, or eat it as is. Dark chocolate lowers your blood pressure, so don’t wind yourself up again by worrying! Do you want the recipe? Sure, you do. Like dessert, you deserve it. Here.

Stomach rumbling? Why not tell us what you’re going to eat tonight? When you’re leaning more toward playing, rather than watching, your new passion; why not download Write Up – the app that lets you read, rate and review everything fitness related.

5 Habits of a healthy diet

Healthy living and eating is all a matter of routine. These practises can be learned and acquired through repetition until they become second nature. Making these habits part of your everyday schedule will make maintaining a healthy diet so much easier as it’ll no longer be something you’ll have to consciously think to do, it’ll be automatic. A healthy diet will become your normal diet, so much so that you won’t have to think twice about. Habits take time to integrate and doing so requires patience as it isn’t always easy. Trust us though, it’s worth it and your body will thank you.

healthy diet

1. Be exciting

A healthy diet doesn’t have to equate to an uninspiring menu. Your meal palette can be an explosion of colours and flavours. Try new things and experiment with combinations and fusion dishes. Allow a sense of adventure to fuel your kitchen exploits. There’s only one rule: keep it healthy. You might even be amazed at the extraordinary tastes you can experience without ever breaking that rule. Only a little online research would be necessary to open your eyes to the whole world of gorgeous-and-good-for-you dishes out there.

2. Have a plan

Don’t leave it to the last minute to decide what to have for your meals. This encourages taking the easy option, which is often the least healthy and most boring. If time is a precious commodity, when you do cook make extra portions and store them to provide a quick fix in the future without compromising your healthy diet. Having a meal plan makes you feel secure in your diet and eases the pressure of having to improvise healthy meals without any time to prep.

3. Know your vitamins

Vitamins are good for you. But which vitamins are good for what? And which ones are you already getting enough of, or not? This guide to common and important vitamins and minerals is a great way of familiarising yourself with them. Understanding your vitamins and minerals is all part of effective food label reading. So then, a thorough grasp of what’s what with food labels is vital, as is regularly checking the labels of everything you eat.

4. Limit alcohol

Don’t worry, you can still have your fun. You don’t need to go tee total to enjoy a healthy diet. Drinking in moderation is important though. Adult men are recommended to not regularly exceed two drinks a day, and one for women. Aside from the more obvious and critical damages to your health that result from long term overconsumption of alcohol, there are also lots of more immediate dietary impacts that come with drinking. Lagers and ciders conceal much higher sugar levels than you may expect and can be fattening. Equally, the mixers with which spirits are often drunk are usually unhealthy carbonated beverages.

5. Be grain savvy

The more of the grains you consume that are whole grains the better. Whole grains, such as whole barley, wheat and oats retain far more of their natural nutrients and fibre than refined grains. Refined grains and processed wheat are often referred to on packaging as ‘white’ or ‘enriched’ flour. Look for products that state that they are 100% ‘whole grain’ or ‘whole wheat’. Also keep an eye out for the voluntary Whole Grain Stamp on certain products.

A healthy diet is a relative concept. You know your own body better than anyone and what a healthy diet means for you. Whatever that is, it’s all about making those things a habit and a consistent part of your life in order to benefit from the effects of it.

Disclaimer – Although we always endeavour to deliver accurate and insightful information, if you are seeking specialised fitness advice, please speak to a relevant professional. All opinions within this blog are the writer’s, should you identify content that is incorrect, please get in contact.

11 Essential vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy body

When we eat, we convert our food into vital vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy body. These days though, it seems like every little thing is being called a vitamin and mineral master. With so many different letters being thrown about, it’s hard to know which one, if any of them, you need to be looking out for.

vitamins and minerals

At Write Up, we’re always here to help. So, we’ve outlined 11 vitamins and minerals we think are essential to keep your body tip top and healthy. So, you’ll know what your gran means next time she throws your ABCs at you.

Vitamins and minerals:

1. Iron

Iron helps your red blood cells make haemoglobin, which helps carry oxygen through your body. Without it, your body won’t get enough. It’ll be exhausted, which will affect its ability to fight infection, feel awake, and make skin and hair cells. It’s especially important during pregnancy, where it will help your baby to be born strong and the right size.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which means it helps prevent cell damage. It helps you to repair and rebuild tissue, fights heart disease, and even aids your absorption of our number one, Iron. It also helps boost your immune system, so stick to your habit of taking its effervescent form when you’re sick. Back in the days of swashbuckling buccaneers, a lack of Vitamin C would cause the Pirate’s disease, Scurvy.

3. Calcium

Calcium is an essential vitamin, because it helped build you! It’s responsible for your big strong bones. Our bodies can’t make it ourselves, so it’s important you eat a lot of it. Alongside helping your bones grow, it also helps your blood to clot, and your nerves to send messages. There’s also evidence that it actually reverses nerve damage; an exciting breakthrough, as your brain is made up of a large number of nerves!

4. Zinc

Your body needs zinc to make proteins and DNA. It’s the sidekick of its partner calcium, but where calcium builds your body, the DNA made from Zinc customises it. Again, it’s got many other functions, which include an immune system boost, and to help heal wounds.

5. B Vitamins

There’s a whole family of B Vitamins! B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7 and B12 are the most important ones. They help you produce new cells, be less stressed, manage good cholesterol, improve your skin, sleep better, control blood glucose, and fire up the other members of its family. Not only this, but B12 has also been linked to mood and your coordination.

6. Chromium

Chromium is a subtle beast. You only need it in very small amounts, but rest assured, you do need it. That’s because it helps you perform essential body functions linked with digestion. It’s responsible for the process that regulates your blood sugar, enhancing how your insulin works. If you’re deficient in it, you’re more at risk to develop type 2 diabetes.

7. Vitamin D

You get 90% of your Vitamin D from going out in the sun. Your doctor has known for a long time that it helps calcium absorption and prevents rickets, but recent research has shown pretty much everyone in the UK is Vitamin D deficient. It helps lift your mood, prevent against damage to your DNA, and bring down your blood pressure.

8. Folic Acid

Folic acid is synonymous with pregnancy. It’s well known that when you are pregnant, you need to take a Folic Acid supplement to help your baby grow. It’s especially important if you are a woman, as it will help you regulate your blood pressure and prevent you from having anaemia. There’s also evidence it protects your DNA!

9. Vitamin E

By now, you will probably notice there’s a lot of DNA protection going on. That’s because it makes you uniquely who you are! We’ll fight a lot for the right you have to be an individual; and so too will your body. Vitamin E is also in your DNA protection army. It’s great for skin, nails, hair, and to reduce the signs of ageing on your skin. If your grandma has a habit of putting egg white on her face, she’s learnt to benefit from the Vitamin E in eggs. Older people have great beauty secrets – you should trust them.

10. Vitamin A

Another thing grandma has probably told you is, eat your carrots and you’ll see in the dark, right? It’ll shock you (and her) to know there’s science behind that saying. Carrots are full of Vitamin A, which does support your vision. It does everything to do with the eye – retina health, light absorption, growth, everything!

11. Vitamin K

Last but not least, Vitamin K. It helps heal any wounds you get. The cool thing is, any that’s in your body that you don’t need on an immediate basis, gets stored in your body for future use. Without Vitamin K, you won’t heal on demand. As with our emotions, we all need to heal, and that’s why we need Vitamin K.

Convinced? Why not tell us what vitamins and minerals you love?. Then why not download Write Up – the app that lets you read, rate and review everything fitness related.

Disclaimer – Although we always endeavour to deliver accurate and insightful information, if you are seeking specialised fitness advice, please speak to a relevant professional. All opinions within this blog are the writer’s, should you identify content that is incorrect, please get in contact.

4 Reasons why you should learn a new sport

Every New Year brings with it new aspirations. Largely these revolve around fitness, and trying something new. Well, why not combine these particular goals by trying a new sport? Getting involved in a new sporty hobby has many benefits. To this end, we’ve put together a list of why you should learn a new sport, the number of benefits it leads to, and ultimately, why it’s the best way to reach your goals.

1. Make new friends

When trying anything new, you’re thrown into new situations with new people. This will eventually lead to new friendships. By signing up and learning a new sport – especially if its one you’ve been harbouring an interest for already – you’ll meet like-minded people with the same interest. You’re then put into team-building training scenarios, and maybe even matches, where a likely outcome is friendship. Team-based sports, such as Rugby, Hockey or Football, focus on you and your other team members working together. How well your team does largely counts on how successful you are as a team. This reliance, and relationship on the field, is naturally applied off the field too. Sport relies a lot on trust, a trait necessary for friendships. The two go hand in hand.

2. Learning something new

Learning anything new is exciting, not to mention good for you, and your brain. It challenges you, and improves cognitive functions. We, as individuals, are made to be challenged. It helps us problem solve, in addition to teaching us new skills. Our advice? Pick that one sport that you’ve always liked the idea of, and go for it, without holding back. You’re sure to make mistakes in the beginning (it’s the only way to learn) but it’ll leave you a more rounded, stronger person.

3. Getting yourself out of your comfort zone

Your comfort zone is what it says on the tin: comfortable. While sometimes, it’s great to be comfortable, it’s also great to step outside of this zone, and be uncomfortable. Stepping out will teach you to reimagine your comfort boundaries in addition to making you empowered. Two very good ripples! Learning a new skill, like a new sport, does exactly this. It lifts your spirits, and helps you get out of a rut, as well as widening your horizon.

4. It’s fun

Life can sometimes fall into periods of routine. By trying something new you add some much-needed zing to your life. By trying a sport you’ll be doing this in a healthy way, learning many new techniques, and with every game making friends. While the gym offers an environment for getting fit and healthy, it doesn’t offer an environment to play a game, and have fun while doing it.

While there are many reasons for you to try a new sport, namely, it’s a great way to improve your stamina, flexibility and general wellbeing. In addition, it helps you make new friends by learning something new – something which is well out of your comfort zone. All in all, it makes you a happier and healthier individual.