Why Women should do weights: August 2016


By Clive Lindley-Jones | July 22, 2016 10:12 am

A summer of change

A lot of changes are afoot  both at Helix House and in public health advice recently. Most notably this July with new governmental advice for us to take extra vitamin D as a supplement.

Vitamin D supplementation

For most people, the bulk of their vitamin D is made from the action of sunlight on their skin. Official estimates, which may well be very conservative, suggest one in five adults and one in six children in England may have low levels.

“What vitamin deficiency affects over half of the population, is almost never diagnosed, and has been linked to depression,  dementia, many cancers, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, chronic muscle pain, and bone loss?

What vitamin is almost totally absent from our food supply? What vitamin do we need up to twenty-five times more of than the government recommends for us to be healthy? What vitamin is the hidden cause of so much suffering that is so easy to treat? If you guessed vitamin D, you are correct”.   Dr. Mark Hyman.

Thus I started my previous blog on Vitamin D back in February 2012. We like to be ahead of the curve! Now, the BBC report that an extensive review of the evidence, carried out by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), suggests everyone over the age of one needs to consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day in order to protect bone and muscle health. And public health officials say, in winter months, people should consider getting this from 10 microgram supplements, if their diet is unlikely to provide it.

Closer to home we are welcoming:

  A new Osteopath to Helix House.

image003Yan-Chee Yu

After a Cambridge degree in mathematics Yan took a masters in osteopathy  and is a graduate of the British School of Osteopathy, is registered with the General Osteopathic Council and is a member of the Institute of Osteopathy. He runs a successful London practice and  says;

As an Osteopath I work primarily using Cranial Osteopathic techniques, integrating Visceral and Structural methods as necessary. I have particular interests in long-standing conditions, such as severe physical trauma, and the effects of psycho-emotional factors, including chronic stress and distress of any kind, on the body’s natural healing capacity.
In addition to my formal Osteopathic education, I have spent over a decade training in Qigong and Meditation where I have learned to directly experience how the physical body is affected by its qi (energy) and by the qi of thoughts and emotions. Through this experience of working directly with the body, emotions and thoughts, I have developed an integrated, holistic approach which enables me to best appreciate each person as a whole and support everybody I treat according to their individual needs”.

If you would like to sample his unique talents you can book a treatment with him at Helix House right now. We wish him well in his planned move back westwards  from London towards his childhood home of Cheltenham and hope he will soon build up a strong following here in Oxford in the coming years.

Why Women should do weights

Just yesterday I was congratulating a teenage patient for all the strong exercise she was taking in her  demanding sport. While it can be tough and time-consuming I highlighted for her and her mother the benefits of such physical training in helping to build up her ‘bone bank’ of strong bones for later in her life.

Osteoporosis is a condition that makes bones more brittle and prone to fracture. Although osteoporosis can effect men and younger people, post-menopausal women are most at risk. One of the best ways to help maintain healthy bones is to exercise regularly – which encourages the bones to absorb calcium and other mineral salts that keep bones strong.

Weight bearing exercises and weight resisted exercises are best for strengthening bones and muscles and as well as helping to keep bones in good health may also reduce the likelihood of falls as you age. Weight bearing exercises are those where your body is supporting its own weight, such as walking or housework or carrying groceries. Weight resisted exercise involves pushing or pulling against an additional weight, like a dumbbell or barbell or resistance equipment in a gym.

The younger you start, the better

Anyone can benefit from weight training but it has been demonstrated that younger women like my young patient who trained using weights have stronger bones later in life, this essentially means that you can bank bone when you’re younger to help prevent fractures later in life – a kind of insurance scheme for your body. A life time of active living not only protects your bones but also keeps your heart healthy and may protect you from other diseases such as cancer and type two diabetes.

But starting at any age will help

Everyone can benefit from increasing their activity levels. Studies have shown that people who have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis can improve their bone health significantly through weight-bearing exercising, the key is getting good advice on how to move well and how to self-manage.

Some more benefits

Strong muscles burn more calories, so if you need to control your bodyweight, lifting weights can help. It also helps with balance and can help you to regulate your sleep patterns.

‘I don’t want to look muscled’

It takes women a lot of heavy weight lifting, and sometimes the use of controlled substances like steroids and hormones, to achieve the physique of the heavily muscled power lifter. Women don’t normally have enough testosterone in their bodies to develop bulging muscles, but can, with regular, moderate training achieve lean, toned and strong muscles.

‘I hate gyms’

No problem. There are plenty of other exercises you can do that don’t involve a visit to the gym. Dancing, yoga, tennis, Pilates, walking, running, gardening and even housework count – all you are aiming to do is increase your heart rate and make yourself feel a little warmer. You can do it in several short blocks of 15 minutes or more but aim for at least a total of 150 minutes per week over at least 5 days per week for the best results. If you’re unused to exercise, start slowly and build up to this target.

I don’t know where to start

This is where your friendly local osteopath can help. We can screen you for any health concerns that might affect your ability to exercise, help to resolve any injuries or pain that might be holding you back and advise you on what exercises might suit your goals best. Many can teach you how to exercise correctly, avoiding injuries and how to gradually build up as your ability and fitness levels improve.