Grab life by the boobs!

October is breast cancer awareness month, an annual campaign supported by all major breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease. To highlight the importance of checking your breasts regularly, promoting early detection of changes and offering information and support for those affected by breast cancer.

Breast cancer stats & info

  • Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK.
  • 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer across the UK – there’s a good chance of recovery if it’s detected in its early stages.
  • A screening to check the breasts is called a mammogram – all women between the ages of 50-70 are invited for breast screening every 3 years.

Causes of breast cancer

The exact causes of breast cancer are not fully understood. However, there are certain factors known to increase the risk of breast cancer, these include:

  • Age – the risk increases as you get older;
  • a family history of breast cancer;
  • a previous diagnosis of breast cancer;
  • a previous benign breast lump;
  • being overweight or obese;
  • drinking alcohol.

Click this link to read more about the causes of breast cancer

Get clued up on the signs and symptoms…

  • A new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before;
  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts;
  • bloodstained discharge from either of your nipples;
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits;
  • dimpling on the skin of your breasts;
  • a rash on or around your nipple;
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast.

Click this link to see further info on the NHS website

Give your sisters a squeeze

Get into the habit of checking your breasts regularly – be breast aware and get to know what’s normal for you; so that you’re more likely spot changes and quickly…

Check out the Coppafeel website for lots of information on how to check your breasts – you can sign-up for regular boob check reminders too!

Have a watch of this Coppafeel video on how to check your boobs

Preventing breast cancer

As the causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, it’s not possible to know if it can be prevented. If you’re at increased risk of developing the condition, some treatments are available to reduce the risk.

Studies have looked at the link between breast cancer and diet. Although there are no definite conclusions, there are benefits for women who: maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, have a low intake of saturated fat and reduce or stop drinking alcohol.

It’s been suggested that regular exercise can reduce your risk of breast cancer by as much as a third. Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can also improve the outlook for people affected by breast cancer.

How can exercise help after your diagnosis and as part of recovery?

  • Exercise can help recovery from negative side effects of cancer and cancer treatments.
  • Patients who exercise regularly after cancer treatments have a better quality of life, have a lower risk of side effects and have a lower risk of the cancer returning.
  • Exercise can help survivors regain their ability to perform activities of daily living.
  • Exercise can reduce stress and fatigue
  • Exercise is social and can help normalise life, helping to prevent isolation, build confidence and strength in mind and body.

Over the summer I have been studying to further my knowledge, qualifications and areas of expertise, and have successfully completed a Level 4 qualification in cancer rehabilitation through exercise referral. This means I am now able to offer specialist personal training to clients that have been diagnosed with cancer both prehab (before any treatment) and rehab (after treatment) providing they have been given the go ahead by their medical specialist.

It’s vital that after a diagnosis of cancer any exercise intervention is prescribed by a qualified professional and is tailored and individualised to meet the needs of each client; support, guidance and prescription of suitable exercises is paramount.

If you have any questions or would like further information about this specialist exercise service I offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Ruth x


Useful information & links

Information throughout this blog has been taken from websites listed below. Follow the links for further information about breast cancer:

macmillan.org.uk

NHS

Coppafeel.org

If you notice any changes to you breasts or have any concerns, you MUST contact your GP and get it checked out ASAP… no hesitation or delay!

Call Ruth on: 07891092893

Email us: hello@brooks-fitness.co.uk

Alternatively fill out the contact form below and Ruth will be in touch.

You can also follow on Facebook, check out our page and give it the thumbs up: Facebook.com/BrooksFitnessPT


Pre & Postnatal Bootcamp FAQ’s

I’ve been asked a fair few questions about my pre and postnatal bootcamps over the last few months, so I thought I’d write an FAQ blog to answer some of the most frequently asked questions…

If you have a question that I haven’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to ask… there’s no such thing as a daft question! Ask away…

Prenatal – Mum-to-Be Bootcamp

Is it OK to exercise when pregnant?

A massive YES… so long as you don’t have any complications/contraindications (haemodynamically significant heart disease, restrictive lung disease, incompetent cervix, multiple gestation, persistent bleeding, placenta previa (after 26 weeks), premature labour, ruptured membranes, pregnancy induced hypertension or pre-eclampsia), and most importantly you feel up to it – then exercise is A-OK! More than OK… it’s so beneficial for you and baby. Staying strong and active through pregnancy can help reduce the associated aches and pains (hips/back), helps you to stay strong physically and mentally, gives you an energy boost (as tired as you feel, you will feel energised and empowered after a workout, endorphins are literally amazing!), you will be strong for labour (you need energy and strength for that marathon you are going to endure), you will recover from labour quicker/better, generally speaking, (the fitter, stronger, more active you are, the quicker you recover from most things your body is put through). If I had a £1 for every time a mum said she wished she’d trained through pregnancy or will be doing for the next… I would be very wealthy! 😉

When can I start classes?

After your 12-week scan, as before you begin there is a form that must be completed by yourself and signed by your GP or midwife to give the OK to exercise. I’ll email over forms once you get in touch to say you’d like to take part.

Are all women at the same stage of pregnancy in classes?

No… not always, women are at different stages and that is OK, nice in lots of ways. So that you can share the journey, your experiences and support each other throughout. All exercises can be/are modified and adapted for your stage and ability.

I haven’t exercised in a while; will I be able to do it?

Yes… no question or doubts about it… all exercises are modifiable; I always offer variations and adaptions to make exercises easier or harder. Everyone works within their own comfort levels and abilities. I demonstrate all exercises and give technique pointers and tips throughout (a lot… you’ll hear me talk about posture and engaging core non-stop 😊).

Bootcamp sounds intense… are classes military style?

Not at all, there’s no crawling around army style or shouting of orders from me. No high-impact or fast paced, which isn’t suitable for pregnancy. These sessions focus on strength predominantly, using a variety of different equipment, weights and bodyweight; all of which can be adapted for all abilities, with different weights/exercises etc. We focus on building/maintaining strength through the posterior chain (muscles at the back of the body), core and pelvic floor. You get a good workout, that is completely appropriate for pregnancy!

What do I need to bring / wear to classes?

Comfortable and suitable exercise/gym wear and trainers – there are some great brands that do maternity gym wear, equally supermarket kit is blummin good… ask many people and they will tell you I am Tesco’s biggest fan at the minute 😊. Bring a towel and water bottle with you to class, to ensure you stay hydrated (I go on about drinking plenty of water a lot too!).

Postnatal – Mum & Baby / Buggy Bootcamps

How soon after having baby can I exercise and join classes?  

When you have been signed off by your GP or midwife, this is usually around 6-12 weeks depending on whether you had a normal or C-section delivery, and if you had any complications. Most importantly however, it’s when you feel up to it… don’t put pressure on yourself or start too soon.

I’m so unfit; I’m going to wait until I get fitter or lose weight to join classes?

This is something I have heard a million times, and not just from new mums, but from so many people that want to start exercising or going to the gym. There truly is no need for this or to think this way. Every exercise can be modified for all abilities and fitness levels, equally there is zero pressure in class, not from me or anyone else in there. It’s a supportive and totally relaxed environment. Everyone there is focused on their own workout. All shapes, sizes, abilities, fitness and experience levels… Take a minute and rest as and when you need to, work at your own pace, focus on you – always!

What shall I bring with me to class?

The kitchen sink… everything and anything you need for you and baby. Water bottle and towel for you; toys, drinks, snacks (to use as bribes for babies 😉). I lay out mats for babies to lie / play on, but by all means you can bring play mats too. Some mums also bring Bumbo seats to sit babies up and others leave babies in prams and car seats. Bring whatever you feel you’ll need, always better to over prepare.

What happens if my baby cries / kicks-off 😉 in class?

It’s highly likely that this will happen, all mums experience a meltdown… either in the first session, few sessions or at some point – it’s completely fine, nothing to worry or stress about! I’m there to help too, when I’m not demonstrating exercises, I’m entertaining / cuddling babies, so that you can get a workout. If you need to take five to comfort or feed baby, that’s fine too. We go with the flow and make it work… believe me when I say it is a relaxed and supportive atmosphere, all other mums muck-in too and share the snacks (best baby bribes).

Buggy Bootcamp specific FAQ’s

What happens if/when it rains?

If it is a bit drizzly, we will do the workout outside; it’s so nice being outside in the fresh air and greenery, amazing for well-being, mind and body. If it is torrential, we do the workout inside the gallery at The Whitaker, surrounded by stunning works of art. If/when we do go inside, I usually do a circuit style session, which works best in that space. The park and gallery/museum are so lovely!

Do I need a special type of pram/buggy?

No, any pram/buggy is fine to use. We don’t run with them and so any is fine to use. There are paths all around the park and we only go on the grass when it’s dry. Just bring a rain cover and layers/blankets for babies, so that they are snug whatever the weather.

What do I need to bring / wear to exercise outside?  

Wear comfortable exercise clothes, light/warm layers that you can add/remove as and when you need to, a waterproof in case it rains, sunglasses (because the weather changes at the drop of a hat), suitable/comfortable trainers for outdoor use.

What facilities are there at the park?

The facilities and setting are fab, which is why I went for and love this location! There’s plenty of free parking on-site, there’s toilets and baby changing in The Whitaker, as well as a lovely café / bar / restaurant. I encourage the social after classes too, coffee and/or lunch, lots of mums stop on after. All my classes are as much about the socialising as they are the exercise, lots of great friendships have been formed through classes.

 

I can’t stress enough how relaxed all of my classes are… I’m easy-going, friendly and try my best to make classes enjoyable and fun. There’s no pressure in any class, you work within your own abilities and we just go with the flow. All exercises are suitable for pre or postnatal stage, and all exercises are modifiable for ability – you CAN do it and we always make it work. I encourage the social aspect too; classes are as much about meeting other pregnant women and new mums to share the journey and make friends as they are the exercise.

If you have any questions that I haven’t answered here, please do get in touch and ask away…

Kate x

Call Kate on: 07875584383

Email: hello@brooks-fitness.co.uk

Alternatively fill out the contact form below and Kate will be in touch.

LikeStickersSparkle You can also follow on Facebook, check out our page and give it the thumbs up: Facebook.com/BrooksFitnessPT


Exercise Referral – health-related fitness

Exercise referral is a qualification specialising in health-related fitness. Many GP’s and health professionals are now prescribing exercise, as well as or in many cases instead of, medication. Referrals are then made and passed on to specialist exercise referral fitness professionals, who then devise tailored exercise programmes specific to an individual’s needs.

The benefits of exercise are profound, it’s acknowledged that there is a positive relationship between exercise and the reduction in developing chronic diseases and supporting living and coping with existing conditions. People of all ages can benefit from improved health and quality of life by taking part in regular physical activity, which in turn can help reduce the risk of major chronic diseases, such as:

Cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease: Physical activity at an appropriate intensity helps reduces the risk and can slow down the progression of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. It helps to improve the function of your heart and circulatory system.

High cholesterol: Physical activity and exercise has a positive effect on lowering total cholesterol; high cholesterol is a major factor for developing angina and heart disease. Exercise helps to increase your levels of good cholesterol.

High blood pressure: There are many factors that can contribute to elevated blood pressure such as high BMI, obesity, poor diet and inactivity. Physical activity will improve circulatory health which will help to lower blood pressure.

Strokes and neurological conditions: Physical inactivity is a risk factor for strokes, exercising can help prevent stokes. Aerobic exercise has been found to promote cognitive recovery in stroke survivors and increase blood flow to the brain. Exercise can help prevent neurological conditions and support people living with existing conditions, it also helps improve memory, which is something we could all do with! 

Diabetes type 1 & 2: Physically active people are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, exercise can help people living with type 2 diabetes manage the condition and avoid further health complications. Insulin dependent diabetics will benefit from exercise as it makes insulin more effective.

Mental health and well-being: There’s a strong link with being physically active and having good mental well-being, exercise releases the bodies endorphins that naturally make you feel better. Exercise can increase self-esteem, increase your energy levels and positively change your mood. Exercise can help us cope better with life’s stresses.

Obesity: Obesity puts people at increased risk of developing chronic diseases. Exercise can help with weight management and reduce these risks. Excessive body fat puts stress on the body’s internal organs, bones and joint structures. Exercising helps decrease body fat, burns calories and helps increase your self-control, which will help you implement and adhere to long-term change.

Arthritis and osteoporosis: Exercise promotes production of synovial fluid which will help lubricate your joints. Exercise also helps reduce pain and stiffness in the joints and increase flexibility and range of movement. As we age our bones can become weak and decrease in density, exercise can help decrease muscle wastage. Resistance exercise will help strengthen at risk sites, improving strength, balance and posture which will help prevent falls in later life.

Top tips to make a change:  

  • Aim to spend less time sedentary – sit less and move more!
  • Stay as physically active as you can
  • Stay socially active with friends, family and within your community
  • Get regular check-ups to ensure everything is running as it should, you might catch problems before they take hold
  • Eat a healthy, well balanced diet and stay hydrated
  • Get the correct amount of sleep your body needs
  • Make small manageable changes, gradually increasing activity levels

Take care

Taking care of yourself is crucial! Be active, live well, do what you can to minimise risks of chronic diseases, and exercise to help manage and improve existing conditions. Government guidelines say we should be doing 150 minutes of exercise per week to include cardiovascular exercise, muscular strength and endurance and flexibility. A good way to approach this is to do 30 minutes of activity 5 times per week.

There are lots of exercise referral schemes across Manchester, most local authorities run these schemes. I specialise in this area of exercise and offer this service in personal training; alongside work I do for a number of referral schemes. If you have a health-related condition and feel this is something you could benefit from, speak to your GP and get in touch for more information – click this link to head over to my exercise referral PT page to find out more about specilist PT services.

Ruth x


Useful Information

The British Heart Foundation is my go-to website, it has excellent free advice and information on a variety of conditions bhf.org.uk.


SOCIAL SWITCH-OFF!

Summer’s here… wahoo! Hands up who’s off on their jollies soon? We are!! 😊

Holidays are a time to switch-off, relax (as much as you can if you have kids 😉) and go off-grid! But how off-grid will you go… when you always have your phone to hand?

We live in a world where our world is now in the palm of our hands, we can do pretty much everything at the touch of a button! As you put your out of office on and that smirky-smile appears across your face as you skip out the door… consider having a total digital detox for a wee while too.

Here’s 3 reasons why…

Disconnect to reconnect

Reconnect with the real world; interactions with people, friends, family, in-person are priceless! We are so obsessed with capturing the action on camera and sharing for the masses to see and for our own online memories, that we are only really focussed on ourselves, our social media pages, the perfect post, pic for the gram (taking a hundred pics for the perfect shot), to show our best bits!

I’m not implying social is all bad, it has its benefits for sure… I’m sharing this piece on my business page and it is great for that reason… but as the saying goes the best moments don’t make it to social media. Make memories and then tell people in person about them. Remember the days of the disposable camera, the best bit was not knowing what the hell you had captured on film until you got them printed, and what a laugh it was looking through them… worst shots ever, no filters, funny! Take your snaps and go with the first one… don’t feel pressure to share all, with all, in an instant.

Ease anxiety and RELAX

Ease off the emails… get out of work and everyday life mode for a while, it’ll do you wonders. Because we can do work and life from anywhere (all times of day), do we ever really switch off? So many communications channels to check a hundred times a day and no real reason to not reply… but there is… you are on holiday, you have got away to get some all-important downtime… so down ALL the tools and kick-back and truly RELAX! Put your ‘out of office’ on ALL channels! Read a book, build a sandcastle, enjoy a cocktail or two… let the ocean breeze put your mind at ease! 😊

Feel the freedom – be present 

The fomo factor has got a grip on us all… we don’t want to miss a thing, people are posting on multiple channels, multiple times per day and we want to be up-to-speed with it all! We know everything about everyone on social media, don’t we? The highlights that people want us to see anyways… we feel like we have to post, share and be part of the social scene to be in the know, to be connected, socially. It’s tiring trying to keep up… keep up with everything that is going on with everyone else, posting everything that’s going on with ourselves… so many channels to share and see, so many times per day… so stressful! Be free…

peace out 350 pix

PEACE OUT! You’ll hear from us in a week…


ANXIETY – COME AT ME!

mermaidI read an article the other day that talked about fitness trends for 2019… HIIT is still having its day, and there’s currently big debate about whether cardio or HITT is best?! However, it said focus is going to shift to exercising for mental health and well-being, and LISS (low intensity steady state) exercise (walking, jogging, plodding). Mental health and well-being are being discussed more openly, in the media, in workplaces, in general person to person, it’s less of a taboo topic, which can only be a good thing! Going for counselling, seeking alternative therapies, meditating, mindfulness and so on is the new norm. Promoted, encouraged, more accessible and readily available.

As a PT I’ve found more clients have come to me with mental health and well-being being the main driver for them to exercise over aesthetics, to help with anxiety, stress and depression. And this is something I can relate to personally, as this has been my main driver (and saviour in many ways!) over the last 6 months. Exercise isn’t the sole answer, I’m not about to spout that, but it can have a huge impact on your state of mind, endorphins are utterly incredible!

I came across this picture (top of the blog) on Pinterest the other week and it made me smile, as this is how I’ve described my anxiety so many times; like a huge wave is coming at me, I’m just there waiting to be wiped out, pulled under and I can’t get my breath. If it hits me (it hasn’t yet), it’s going to floor me! But in this picture, there’s a mermaid, and I’ve always likened myself to a mermaid… I LOVE the sea, always been a water baby and I’m an alright swimmer… What would a mermaid do? She’d swim right through! Now I may be the mermaid, but admittedly I have a mouth like a sailor… so now when that wave starts rolling towards me, I picture me as this mermaid, but not quite so angelic. I’m the mermaid giving the middle finger, saying some of the most offensive swear words you can string together… So, swear word, swear word, swear word, come at me… I’ll swim right through you!

Mental health benefits of exercise

  • It’s an awesome mood-booster; get out of your mind and push your body.
  • Relieves tension and stress; the more stressed you feel the more you need to workout, you’re better able to control cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
  • Calms the mind and helps you to think clearer; switch off altogether, calm racing thoughts. As your body tires, so does your mind.
  • Reduces risk of depression; exercise can reduce the risk by 20%.  
  • Reduces and eases anxiety; when those awesome endorphins kick in (applicable for all of the above!).

Going back to the first point about the best exercise to do; ultimately it’s what works best for YOU! What you enjoy doing, what makes you feel the best. If you don’t enjoy it, it won’t work because it won’t last… do something you enjoy, and you’ll want to do it often. Those endorphins are addictive!

With regards to exercise being the sole answer to improving mental health, this isn’t so… this is something you have to delve into deeper. Look at the root causes creating issues, anxieties and so on, and address it/them. Admittedly this is something I haven’t done myself, up until recently. I just tried to push it to the back of my mind, put it in a box… but unless you address it, it will keep coming back, louder. This is where health and well-being support services and alternative/complimentary therapies come into play. Depending on your issue/s and situation, I suggest you research, reach-out and explore the above. Something I am doing, and so far have been to see a spiritualist (may be too out-there for some) but this helped me a lot, something I have never tried before through fear of what I might be told, but this brought me calm (at the worst point of my anxiety, I’m talking I was convinced I was near heart attack stage, something a spirit confirmed!!) and assurance, and a lot of what I was told has and is coming true… mind-blowing even!! I am going to try Reiki and have started to explore crystal healing, and have referred myself for counselling, through Bury Healthy Minds, something I knew I needed and have been recommended by my doctor, colleagues and friends. Writing this blog is a form of therapy too, writing thoughts and feelings down gets them out of your head and on to paper.

This is just me sharing my journey to address my mental health and well-being, to help me swim through that wave, without getting wiped out! This is not necessarily the course of action and answers for you.

Delve into that box at the back of your mind, speak-up/out, research and reach-out!

Here’s a few links to further information on the benefits of exercise for mental health and well-being, and mental health support services.  

Mind

Mentalhealth.org

Rethink.org

NHS

This is something we should be talking about more frequently and openly, remove stigma altogether, share experiences and support one another. I hope this helps 🙂

Kate x

Healthy Body = Healthy (Happy) Mind