Ensuring we are adequately hydrated when exercising is essential – it is important to not rely on thirst alone to tell us how much to drink.
Benefits of drinking enough fluid:
Here are some tips to follow:
Plain water is best for staying hydrated. Sports drinks and diluted fruit juice can be beneficial when taking part in endurance events. They will usually contain some carbohydrates as fuel as well as electrolytes to help replace those lost during longer more intense periods of exercise. As these types of drinks are sometimes costly, you could try making your own. Recipe: Add around 200ml of fruit juice or squash (not sugar-free) to 800ml of water, along with a generous pinch of sea salt.
If the taste is an important factor in helping you drink enough, diluting fruit juices or sports drinks in water is fine – especially if it means you will be keeping yourself well-hydrated.
Although other factors can influence this, a good indicator of whether you are adequately hydrated is monitoring the colour of your urine. It should ideally be a pale yellow colour, not clear.
Staying hydrated when exercising is a very important – yet too often neglected – part of ensuring we feel well and perform our best during physical activity.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
“Hello! I hope you are all keeping safe and well. Let me introduce myself, my name is Claire and I am a Mental Health First Aid England Instructor, founder of The Mind Map project and The Anxious Exercise Club and, programme lead for the Tricky to Talk programme at Nottingham Forest Community Trust.
I also live with a long-term anxiety condition which I manage day-to-day. Back in 2015, I had a relapse in my long term anxiety condition, which made leaving my home very difficult. Some days, it took all my strength to walk to the car to be able to go to work, and that did not leave me very productive for the rest of the day! I knew that activity and exercise were good for me and that it would ease the symptoms of my mental ill-health. But the anxious voice in my head was a lot louder when telling me that the outside was scary and there was no point in even trying.
Towards the end of 2015, I became more and more unwell, with long-term pain, muscle stiffness and overwhelming fatigue. I was referred to the hospital and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was given guidance on how to manage my condition and one of the overwhelming pieces of advice was to do more activity. I knew I had to listen to the doctors, but I also still had the anxious voice.
So I made a compromise. I walked to the post box and back. It was about 500 yards and I started doing it once a day. Then I walked to the church just next to the postbox and then onto the bench. Every week, I added a small chunk onto my walk and it didn’t feel unmanageable, even the anxious voice quietened down. I began a circuit each evening, I simply did three or four rounds of the circuit.
This simple activity allowed me to rebuild my life. It wasn’t instant, there wasn’t a miracle cure. I still live with a long term anxiety condition that I manage each day. But I do experience the benefits of what activity can bring to my life and how it helps me to manage my anxiety.
The reason I am talking about this today is that I am finding myself in a very similar situation as we live in the current lockdown situation. I’ve found exercising very difficult due to fear and anxiety. So I wanted to take some time to talk about getting active whilst living with a mental health condition and whilst living in lockdown.
Today, I went for a small walk.
It took some bargaining with the anxious voice, but I felt able to get up a little earlier and take a few steps outside. It wasn’t about distance or the number of steps I completed, it was about breathing and feeling the sunshine. It was about letting my whole body know that whilst these are extremely frightening times, these few small steps can benefit our mental wellbeing and help us to get through this time.
There is lots of information out there currently about how we can get active in our homes, which is fantastic. But it can also be overwhelming, so I hope this post, and future ones, will let you know you are not alone.”
I spotted the “BOOK VIRTUAL” button on the app a while ago and wondered what a Wellbeats Customer Choice class was, so last week I booked to find out and to be honest, it’s exactly what it says on the tin!
You simply book a class, and when you get in the studio space, you choose from a massive range of different digital workouts, via the touch screen on the wall, and the fitness class plays out on the big screen in front of you. Simple!
There are so many classes including core strengthening, dance, meditation, yoga, you name it!
If there are a few people booked in the session you do need to decide between yourselves which class you’re going to play on screen, but there are lots of short routines, so you could do more than one in the session, which would please everyone!
I love the idea of getting together with some friends and having a bit of giggle too!
The videos are well-produced and offer both high and low-impact moves, so you don’t need to worry about it being too difficult.
You can bring your own equipment if you like, such as weights or a mat, but these are available at the centre.
Sessions are free as part of my Active Nottingham monthly membership, but can also be booked as a “pay as you go” customer.
To see what sessions are on and have a go yourself look for the blue “BOOK VIRTUAL” button on the app, book online or call the Customer Contact Centre on 0115 8761600.
From living in a tent in the woods to being employed by the City Council as a Fitness Advisor, life really does begin at 40 for Tony!
Tony who has been profoundly deaf since the age of seven, was referred to Nottingham Community Housing Association through the Deaf Society two years ago. His Support Worker Pete explains, “Through no fault of his own, Tony found himself living rough after being kicked out of his shared housing by his housemates. Pete worked alongside Tony to make sure he was receiving the right support and ended up getting sole tenancy of the property. “It meant I could see my daughter again”, says Tony.
Although Tony is no stranger to a gym, having trained on and off throughout his life; the experience of homelessness left him feeling defeated.
“When the opportunity came up to access the leisure facilities in a free three month trial, it was like a light bulb moment for me. I suffer from anxiety when I’m out and about so I started to use the sauna to wind down or would let off some steam in the gym where I’m surrounded by my medication – my dumbells!
“My dad was diagnosed with Cancer and I lost him in October. I’ve learnt how to talk about my feelings and share my own experiences of mental health disorders and cancer with others – so I’ve also gained some counselling skills too!
“I trained to become an instructor a while ago but missed out on a qualification by a couple of points. When the Instructability course was mentioned to me, it seemed like another chance and meant I could transform my troubles from grief into drive.
Tony admits it was difficult to go back to a learning environment when he started training at Clifton Leisure Centre but found it helped his mental health and built his confidence. “Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations helps you to grow mentally, which is just as important as physical fitness.
“I had a great tutor who waited for me to write up my notes and gave me visual handouts to help with the learning process so it was a bit of a blessing.
“After I finished my training I had a three month placement as a volunteer but there was no guarantee of a job at the end of the 12 weeks, so I could have stopped, but I continued to volunteer.
“I’m on the payroll now but I still keep my voluntary shifts – I’m paid spiritually for that!”
“The best thing about it is I can go up to and talk to anyone now, that wouldn’t have happened before. I’ve got disabled clients being referred to me. Being able to relate to and help others – it makes everything I’ve been through all worth it.”
Tony is also having a huge positive impact on others. When the Instructability scheme reopened, he referred people to it who he thought would also benefit. “Rob doesn’t like new environments and would have panic attacks”, Tony explains, “so I would help diffuse situations when I realised he was about to have an attack by taking him outside and getting him to breathe to open up his airways.”
He is also getting some sign-ups from patients being discharged from Highbury Hospital. “One of the guys I’ve been helping is thinking about becoming a Personal Trainer.”
Tony cites the support he’s received from the team at Ken Martin as being a key part of his success.
“The team have been really understanding and have allowed me to swap shifts when I’ve needed to because of my mental health and were really flexible in allowing me to complete my 1-2-1 in house qualification.
“It’s very difficult to see an opportunity when you are depressed or get anxious,” says Tony. “But there’s lots of things you can do. Talk to people around you, you might find someone in a similar boat. Walking can help by giving you thinking space. Oh and anyone with a dog, it’s like a gym on legs!
“Finding a gym buddy will help motivate you but group activities is another option worth trying. Classes get your endorphins going and you push yourself a bit harder. I think routine is important, but don’t beat yourself up. Plus, sometimes it’s just about coming along, just being here is an achievement.
“People can have a negative view of the gym but Ken Martin and other council leisure centres are so friendly. We even adjust the music to make sure we cater for different groups depending on the time of day.”
Tony added, “For some it’s a social experience, others it’s a lifestyle choice. Whatever the reason, it’s important to look after your heart and general well-being and just be happy.”
A trial partnership is helping up-skill Nottingham City Council employees to make exercise in Nottingham City more inclusive.
Community Activators have been working across the city for the past sixteen months, signposting people with a disability or long term illness into activities in the community or at one of the city’s eight leisure centres. One of these people, Kelly Evans, has embarked on a newly launched Level 3 Qualification delivered by HFE, the UK’s leading provider of personal training courses and fitness qualifications.
The Level 3 Award in Programming and Supervising Exercise with Disabled Clients, or simply Level 3 Exercise for Disabled Clients, is nationally recognised and awarded by one of the industry’s oldest awarding bodies, YMCA Awards. This means there’s a wealth of opportunity for Kelly to use this course up and down the country .
As one of the very few providers in the country who deliver this course, HFE are well placed to support Nottingham City Council in this new venture to up-skill their staff and serve a demographic that is currently greatly under-represented. Reports suggest that 1 in 5 people in the UK has a disability, which equates to nearly 11 million people. Unfortunately, only 18% of disabled adults undertake physical activity lasting longer than 30 minutes a week and this is compared to 38% of non-disabled adults.
Disability sport is highly important to Nottingham. Developing disability sport is a significant priority in the city’s Sport and Physical Activity Strategy (2015-2019); outlined in this is the aspiration to become ‘the fastest growing city for disability sports (physical activity) participation’.
To engage more people living with a disability or long term health condition, Nottingham City Council have taken bold steps in improving accessibility to leisure centres and enhancing the existing swim, gym and fitness offers to be more inclusive. To add to this, leisure centre staff have also taken part in some entry level disability confidence training to enable them to better advise customers who might require additional support.
Clearly, even more can and should be done to encourage disabled people to exercise and that’s why HFE have partnered with Nottingham City Council’s Active Nottingham to help up-skill staff and provide even more inclusive opportunities across their eight leisure centres.
Speaking about the potential of this partnership, Colin Eley said: ‘Working with HFE means we’re able to equip our staff with a more comprehensive knowledge-base to better support people accessing our service. We aim to empower citizens living with a disability or long term condition to feel confident when accessing our services while forming sustainable physical activity habits.”
Kelly, whose Community Activator role covers the Bulwell, Bulwell Forest, Bestwood and Basford wards, is the first Active Nottingham member of staff to take part in the new initiative, and she outlined how excited she was to start a new fitness journey:
“Having always been involved in fitness and sport I am very aware of the mental and physical benefits that exercise can have on people, regardless of where they currently are in their fitness journey.
“I am currently working with individuals who want to become more physically active but who find their long term conditions or disabilities a barrier. For them this means sessions that are perceived as a ‘mainstream’ exercise for all are not always suitable for their needs.
“During this course I am looking forward to learning new skills and broadening my knowledge base so I can better support individuals who have a broader variety of needs with exercise . I am hoping to be able to share this experience and outcomes from the course with other members of my team, so we can adapt and provide a more suitable/focused service for individuals with long term conditions or disabilities in the future.”
The council has just launched a new campaign – It’s For Me – to provide information about the accessibility, suitability and affordability of leisure provision in the city, reassuring citizens that they will be adequately provided for when they visit the council’s leisure facilities and take part in activities.
Jack, aged 25, who has been visually impaired from birth, travels to the Nottingham Tennis Centre once a week to play Visually Impaired Tennis and train for Regional and National tournaments around the Country.
“Give it a go, you might be better than you think.”
The Friday evening session that he attends from 6-7pm is open to all ages and abilities, with the youngest player being just ten years old.
You don’t have to be a member to play and you don’t need any expensive equipment either, as the centre provides rackets and an “audible” foam ball, which is attached to a bell to help you find its location.
In many ways, the game is the same as the national game played by the likes of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, it’s just played on a Junior Orange court with a lower net.
Jack and his fellow players are allowed one to three bounces of the ball, depending on their visual impairment, of which there are five categories: B1 (blind) through to B5 (almost fully sighted). Jack falls under B3, and so gets two bounces of the ball.
“It’s great fun and I’d love more people to play as it would give more variety at the tournaments I play in.”
Jack was just four years old when he started playing tennis after his Dad searched for a sport that they could play together. He’s really keen to create a legacy and encourage others to try it out too, at least once.
He’s so keen he even offers to mentor anyone who’s nervous about doing something new – offering to meet them at the Tennis Centre to welcome them and put them at ease.
For the last five years, Jack has regularly travelled to play both singles and doubles matches competitively in tournaments at Loughborough, Birmingham, Newcastle and London. His proudest achievement so far has been his recent reaching of the quarter finals, but he claims it’s not about winning – it’s about taking part and being active.
“There’s always someone better than the person at the top, they just may not have started playing yet.”
Besides playing tennis and studying for his PHD at Derby University, Jack also loves walking and enjoys playing chess – something he modestly admits to being fairly good at, as he was once within the world’s top 7000 players.
Visually Impaired Tennis is just one of our specialist sessions. Visit our Disability Activities page for other activities you can take part in.
If you live in Nottingham City and have a registered disability you can save up to 50% discount off activities, so join Active Nottingham today!