Monthly Archives: April 2013

Can you stop ageing by fasting?

Eat, Fast and Live Longer – A BBC documentary about intermittent fasting

Maybe not hot-of-the-press-news but I just saw Michael Mosleys BBC documentary about fasting. Michael sets out to investigate if periodic fasting can slow down ageing and give you a healthier lifestyle.

Intermittent fasting
One of the latest diet trends is intermittent fasting; short periods of fasting alternated with non-fasting. The fasting periods can be everything from 12h to a couple of days. One of the more extreme versions is Alternate Day fasting (ADF). The idea is that you starve yourself one day and gorge the next. Another version is the 5:2 diet. In 5:2 you eat normal for five days and then a calory restricted diet for two days (600 calories for men and 500 for women). Michael tries both diets but in the end get hooked on the 5:2 diet.

The force of hunger
Even though these kind of diets seem to work, at least for Michael, I’m slightly sceptical to whether this is a sustainable lifestyle you can maintain in the long run. Hunger is a strong force and I wouldn’t want to face starving for two days every week.

Personally I eat a low carb diet with plenty of protein, mainly from vegetable sources but also meat and fish, as well as above ground vegetables and healthy fat, (real butter, olive- and coconut oil).

Have a look at the documentary and see for yourself. Is fasting something you would try or already are practicing?


Eat, Fast & Live Longer HD

Standing Glues Strech – Treat your back pain while waiting for a train

glutes stretch illustration

Mel is stretching her glutes and practing balance while waiting for a train.

Experiencing pain in your lower back or hips?
You are not alone and tight glutes may be one reason for this. The glutes, or gluteus maximus as they are called are basically your butt and they tend to get tight if you sit down a lot, and especially if you sit with your legs crossed. You should as often as possible stretch your glutes to open up your hips.

The standing glutes stretch might be a difficult exercise, but it’s also one of the most versatile exercises there are since it not only stretches your glutes, but at the same time includes balance in the exercise.

HOW:
Stand on your left leg and place your right ankle on your left thigh. Lower yourself down as you push your hips back to a seated position. You will feel tension in the right side of your butt. You can keep your hands at your hips or help the stretch by gently pressing on the right knee. Hold the position for the desired amount of time and then switch to the other side. Remember to breathe during the stretch. If you have trouble keeping your balance you can find something to hold on to.

Try this exercise when waiting for a train or maybe when waiting for water to boil in the kitchen.

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Lying quad stretch – Get toned & flexible legs in bed.

quadriceps stretch illustration

Mel is stretching her quads in bed.

There are many reasons why you should stretch your quadriceps, the large muscles on the front of you legs. Pain in the knees, bad back, or poor posture from having spent a lot of time sitting down are just a few reasons. It’s very common to have tight quadriceps and it takes a bit of time to get them loosened up. There are several ways to stretch your quads and the lying side quad stretch is on of the easiest and most effective versions. This stretch works just as well in the bed as in the sofa in front of the TV.

HOW:
Lay on your left side and place your right hand on your right ankle while flexing your left leg slightly. Tense your butt and pull your right ankle up towards your butt and at the same time gently extend your leg. Don’t pull your heel all the way up to your butt because this puts too much force on you knee instead of stretching your muscles. Hold the position for the desired amount of time and then switch to the other side. Stop if you experience pain in your knee.

An alternative is to use a towel for help. Lay face down on the bed with one leg standing on the floor. Wrap the towel around your ankle and pull above your head. This version reduces the strain on your knees and is to be preferred. If you can reach you can use your hand to pull instead of a towel.

You can also do the good old standing up quad stretch but it’s not as effective as the ones where you lay down. If you do a standing quad stretch, lean forward to get a good angle on the stretched leg and avoid injuring your knees. Use the opposite hand to hold the foot to deepen the stretch.

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