Breathe Easy Awareness Week

This blog has been written by Asa Peach, Personal Trainer here at Unique Results Limited.

Breathe Easy awareness week is promoted by the British Lung Foundation and takes place from 17th June to 23rd June this year. The aim of the week is to promote awareness of lung diseases as well as to raise funds for vital research and campaign work the foundation undertakes. The British Lung Foundation concerns itself with respiratory BLF imagehealth problems. The main aim of the foundation is to prevent, treat and cure respiratory diseases. According to statistics provided by the BLF website 10,000 people in the UK are newly diagnosed with a lung disease every week. One in five people have developed asthma, or other Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases. 20,3% of UK deaths are caused by lung diseases according to a poll conducted in 2012. Every five minutes that pass, one person passes away from lung diseases (British Lung Foundation , 2012).

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) are long term illnesses caused by obstruction of the airways (bronchi, alveoli). The two main types of COPD are bronchitis and emphysema. Bronchitis is caused by infection of the airways of which causes inflammation of the bronchi. Emphysema is the inflammation of the alveoli (air sacs within the lungs) of which makes it difficult to expel oxygen within the lungs. Cigarette smoking and air pollution are the main cause of COPD’s due to the chemicals of which are inhaled. Cigarette smoke weakens the lining of the lungs as well as obstructing the alveoli through the intake of tar within the cigarette smoke. According to a recent study conducted by cancer research, 19% of the adult population within the United Kingdom smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is also the main leading cause of cancer within the UK (15%) (Cancer Research UK, 2018).

How to Improve Lung Function:

Singing has been proven to be an effective way of improving lung capacity and respiratory function. Singing promotes slow, deep and controlled breathing.  Singing teaches you to become one with their regulation of breathing. It helps to reduce anxiety and panic by giving you more control over the regulation of inhaling and exhaling. Lastly, singing strengthens the abdominal muscles of which lead to an increase in breathing efficiency and improvements in posture.

Sitting posture that promotes kyphosis (emphasised curvature of the thoracic spine) can people squattingnegatively effect breathing and lung function. A way of correcting postural problems would be to train upper back more so than pushing movements in order to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blades. This will decrease compression of the lungs and diaphragm of which will lead to less obstruction and more efficient breathing. You can improve sitting posture by working on hip flexor and extensor mobility. A simple way of doing this is decreasing the amount of time sitting in a chair, and increasing the amount of time you spend sitting in a deep squat.

This will increase flexibility in the hips of which will lead to less overcompensation in the upper spine when sitting (less slumping and shoulders protracting forward).

Train your heart and your lungs:

Cardiovascular exercise will improve lung capacity as well as functioning of the heart in relation to pumping the red blood cells (of which contain oxygen) to the working muscles. The lungs become more efficient at removing carbon dioxide and transporting oxygen to the working muscles as a long-term health benefit to following cardiovascular exercise. A minimum of 150 minutes is recommended to be undertaken in order to improve lung capacity according to the National Health Services. As lung capacity improves, as does the body’s way of utilising oxygen during exercise and movement due to the increased strength of the heart. This reduces breathlessness, lethargy and premature fatigue during exercise and everyday activities.

Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.

It has been reported that a deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause fatigue, breathlessness and lethargy (to name a few). Consumption of vitamin B12 via foods high in protein or through supplements can improve the aforementioned problems. Liver, beef and tuna are just a few examples of foods high in vitamin B12.  Vitamin D deficiency is closely related to COPD and asthma. It has been recommended to increase your vitamin D intake in order to improve lung function. Fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon of which are good sources of vitamin D. Not only can balanced consumption of vitamin D be good for lung function, it can also lessen the risk of osteoporosis (decreasing of bone density).

Sources of Information

Briani, c. e. a., 2013. Cobalamin Deficiency: Clinical Picture and Radiological Findings. Nutrients, 5(11), pp. 4521-4539.

British Lung Foundation , 2012. Statistics British Lung Foundation. [Online]
Available at:
https://statistics.blf.org.uk/
[Accessed 2 June 2019].

Cancer Research UK, 2018. Cancer Research UK. [Online]
Available at:
http://www.cancerresearchuk.org
[Accessed 3 June 2019].

Zosky, G. e. a., 2011. Vitamin D deficiency causes deficits in lung function and alters lung structure. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 183(10), pp. 1336-1343.

Exercise: Fit For Mental Health

This blog has been written by Aimee Kingsbury, friend and member of Unique Results.

We know that physical exercise can be used to really improve the body’s physical health, but did you know that the impact on mental health could be just as great?

1 in 4 people will suffer a mental health problem at some point in their life. This means that even if it isn’t you, it’s highly likely that you’ll know someone who is. It’s important that people seek the help that they need through professionals such as doctors or therapists – but exercise is something else that you can do to help ease the symptoms for yourself, or for someone else. Continue reading “Exercise: Fit For Mental Health”

Nutrition & Hydration Week

This blog has been written by Nikki Fischr, Personal Trainer and Admin Manager here at Unique Results.

Nutrition and Hydration Week is an annual event which started back in 2012 (11th – 17th March 2019) with a shared objective to highlight, promote and celebrate improvements in the provision of nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and globally.  For more information check out the following website – https://nutritionandhydrationweek.co.uk/Nutrition & Hydration

With the event happening this month I thought it would be a good idea to share some information and useful tips to help you improve your own nutrition and hydration. Continue reading “Nutrition & Hydration Week”

Why ‘WORKING OUT’ isn’t enough when you’re over 40.

This thing that we do (or thing you may be thinking about starting) –  ‘going to the gym or fitness studio’ is given a casual name by many – ‘working out’.

The approximate 87% of the UK population who are not a member of a gym/health club/fitness studio have a view of the type of exercise that goes on in these places as getting hot, sweaty, red faced, tired and sore – maybe that’s what puts them off as it certainly doesn’t sound very appealing.

In November 2018 I attended the Strongfirst SFL course (which is a 3 day Barbell Certification). At one stage over the 3 days the Master Instructor who was leading the Certification (Fabio Zonin) sat down and gave an important talk – some of which is inspiration for this article.IMG_1074

What follows are lessons I have learned from over 20 years in the health and fitness industry working with everyday people (and on myself) In the last decade I have worked overwhelmingly with everyday people over 40. When you’re in your teens & 20s you’re pretty much bullet proof. Life hasn’t taken a toll. You most likely still live with parents, don’t have children to look after or a career or business to dedicate a healthy (or unhealthy) chunk on your life to.

The following 5 Categories of gym session are targeted towards men & women over 40 specifically, although those in their 20s and 30s would do well to get ahead of the curve and adopt some of these practices early. Continue reading “Why ‘WORKING OUT’ isn’t enough when you’re over 40.”

National Breakfast Week

National Breakfast Week is a campaign conducted by The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board. The week takes place on the last week of January and is utilised to raise awareness of the health benefits of consuming breakfast. According to a poll two thirds of Britons do not consume breakfast in the morning.  Consumption of breakfast has been recorded as a positive correlation with academic performance. Some of the most recommended foods to consume during breakfast are eggs, Greek yoghurt and oats. Continue reading “National Breakfast Week”

The importance of 5 a day (No, not pints!)

Now despite a lovely, relatively new member providing us with some rather delicious lemon drizzle cake recently, we can’t count that either. But thank you on behalf of the UR team for the delicacy.

So how are we all with our 5 A Day as part of a healthy balanced diet? I, just as much as you all do my best, but, despite what I do for a living, I’m only human and yes, guilty of slipping and not sticking to it as much as I should. However, I often snack on carrots and tomatoes as I pass the fridge. Continue reading “The importance of 5 a day (No, not pints!)”

Cholesterol Awareness Month

As October is National Cholesterol Awareness month I thought I’d write a blog explaining what cholesterol is and the importance of knowing what your level is.

So lets get started…….

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in our blood, which is produced naturally in the liver. Everyone has cholesterol. We need it to stay healthy because every cell in our body uses it. Some of this cholesterol comes from the food that we eat.

There are two main types of cholesterol – one is ‘good’ and the other is ‘bad’. Having too much ‘bad’ cholesterol can cause problems. It can clog up the arteries carrying blood around your body. This can cause heart and circulatory diseases like a heart attack or stroke.

Cholesterol is carried around the body through our bloodstream by proteins (the building blocks of our cells). When cholesterol and proteins are combined, they are called lipoproteins.  Continue reading “Cholesterol Awareness Month”