Tag Archives: wellbeing

Join a running group to boost your training

I love running but when I go out on my own, I’m a plodder, grinding out the miles while listening to podcasts. Good for the mileage but does little to enhance my run performance.

Hill reps, intervals, power moves would all, I know, help build my speed and endurance, but they hurt. So if I’m going to incorporate them effectively into my running regime, I really need to have someone there making me do them – and making me do them properly. No cheating when it gets tough.

The answer? Get a PT (costly solo solution) or join a running group (less expensive, more sociable). I opted for the latter, a new RunTogether group led by Wimbledon’s enthusiastic and inspirational health coach Anna Desogus, who I already know from my work on the @HealthyMerton healthy workplace programme. The group was set up in association with central Wimbledon yoga studio Jiva Health, so keep an eye out, as there may be some useful run + gait therapy + yoga sessions scheduled soon…

Find out more about Healthy Workplace services here

Runners' feet

Raring to RunTogether: high vis recommended on a frosty Wimbledon night

The first session took place last night. Anna kicked our training off with a 7pm safety briefing, then we took a slow jog to a safe cul de sac where we performed a series of power/strength moves: exactly the kind of thing I would never do when running alone. Duly warmed up, we head for a secluded residential area just off Wimbledon Hill for a hill reps session that challenged every one of us.

It was perfect: better runners could aim for more reps, while the less experienced/ambitious among us could go at our own pace, performing fewer circuits yet still pushing ourselves. No one was left behind, and Anna was super-effective in instruction and motivation. An hour later, we were all back in central Wimbledon for a final stretching session then home in time for supper. Brilliant.

Fancy joining Anna’s weekly Monday night RunTogether session? It caters for all levels of running (you must be able to run for at least 10 minutes), with a varied programme incorporating a dynamic workout as well as pure running, making it the perfect complement to your usual run sessions. Thoroughly recommend.

Find out more (and book your place): Anna’s Raramuri running group
Personalised nutrition, health, coaching services: Anna Desogus Health Coaching

Bravo! ‘mangerbouger’ France

While I was skiing in the French Alps last week, it caught my eye that ads for Coca Cola and Powerade carried a healthy living message – like we see on ads for alcohol in the UK to encourage drinking in moderation.

French Powerade ad

Power up with Powerade France

Intrigued, I did some research, and yep, forget France’s reputation for heart attack cuisine, it turns out the government is pushing nutrition and exercise as a means to improve the nation’s health. And rather than paying for all advertising themselves, they’re are making food and drinks manufacturers push the wellness message on their behalf.

Brilliant huh? As a result, all processed food and drinks products with added sugar, sweeteners or salt, have to display the prominent message ‘Pour votre santé, évitez de manger trop gras, trop sucré, trop salé.’  ‘For your health, avoid eating too many fats, sugar and salt.’ Plus a link to the website www.mangerbouger.fr

The programme for national health and nutrition (PNNS), which is behind the ongoing  campaign, has been in place since 2001 with the goal of improving health among the French population. And it’s scored some fine successes: a reduction in the number of overweight/obese children; a drop in the consumption of salt and sugar; and an increase in the amount of fruit eaten by adults.

But as its name suggests, the mangerbouger campaign doesn’t simply focus on nutrition. Physical activity is the second crucial message it promotes, recommending the equivalent of half an hour’s brisk walking daily for adults (an hour for children and teenagers).

French Coca Cola ad

Buvez, skiez! : Drink, ski!

So rather than attempting to ban or tax ‘unhealthy’ foodstuffs, the French Government is both spreading the message of mindful eating – be aware that this product may be higher in fat, salt or sugar than is necessarily good for you – and that combining exercise with consumption is the best way of improving your health. Plus they’ve roped in the multi-nationals to help pay for it.

Now that’s what I call a bonne idée.