Health & Fitness Tips

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Top 5 Injury Prevention Tips

Whether you are an experienced gym user or a complete newcomer, our top 5 Injury Prevention Tips will help you perform to the best of your ability.

1. Stretch

It doesn’t matter what sport you are doing, stretching should always have its place in your schedule. Try taking a yoga class once a week and you will feel the benefits quickly.  If yoga isn’t your thing then make sure you have a stretching routine that will benefit your training plan.

2. Warm up

Warming up before a workout will not only help prevent soft tissue injuries, it will ease you into the workout and reduce stress on the heart. The warm up should engage the muscles you will be using that day and bring your heart rate up.

3. Overtraining

Most people think they are doing good by adding in more training sessions which will then lead to over training. Always listen to your body and take a rest when it’s needed.  It’s during the rest period that your body recovers and rebuilds.

4. Under Eating

When training hard, nutrition will play a massive part in keeping yourself injury free and help speed up recovery time. Even if you are trying to lose weight, you still need to make sure you are hitting the minimum requirements for carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats.

Our tailored four-week healthy eating plans are perfect if you want to lose weight, gain weight or just clean up your diet. 
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5. Incorrect Form

Lifting repetitively with incorrect form can cause serious muscle damage. If you are ever unsure about the correct form of an exercise, just ask one of our personal trainers who will be happy to help.



Top 5 Cardio Exercises

Cardiovascular exercise is any movement that gets your heart rate up and increases blood circulation throughout the body.  Most people performing cardio are doing so to burn off excess calories and as fat loss does depend on calories burned versus calories consumed it is a step in the right direction.

1. Cycling (Burns Around 600 Calories Per Hour)

Using similar muscles to running but with the added benefit of being lower impact makes Cycling an excellent choice of cardio for almost anyone.  Cycling can be done indoor as well as outdoor making it suitable all year round.  An added benefit is the muscle you will build in your quads which will improve your performance in many sports.

2. Running (Burns Around 600 Calories Per Hour)

When it comes to losing weight it’s hard to beat running.  Anyone can start off by walking and be running a good distance in a matter of weeks.  A perfect low body workout that will burn loads of calories quickly.  Try setting a distance goal with running and it will help keep you motivated every day.

3.  Rowing (Burns Around 840 Calories Per Hour)

Rowing is higher impact than walking but not as high as running. This makes it an excellent choice of cardio.  By using all the main muscles of the body, rowing burns more calories than any of the other common aerobic methods.


4. Swimming (Burns Around 600 Calories Per Hour)

With very little risk of injury, Swimming is a great choice for people of all fitness levels and age.  As a total body workout, you can burn hundreds of calories whilst building muscle.  Swimming is the cardio of choice for many of the elderly group as it’s the lowest impact and you can go as slow as you want and still burn a lot of calories.


5. Skipping (Burns Over 1000 Calories Per Hour)

Skipping burns loads of calories per hour and even more than rowing.  It is very high impact and not suitable for people just getting into fitness.  Calves are a tough area for many to build muscle but skipping can help define them in no time.  Skipping is a plyometric exercise and will help improve your explosive strength, stamina and speed.


Top 5 Sleeping Tips

A good sleeping pattern is vital to health and fitness. Read our top 5 sleeping tips below to help you optimise your sleep and reach your goals faster.

1. Leave your phone outside the bedroom

Keeping your phone beside you at night is will make you restless and disturb your sleep throughout the night. Try not using your phone for at least an hour before you plan on sleeping to give your body a chance to wind down.  Most people use their phone for an alarm but invest in a real alarm so you have no excuse to have the phone in your bedroom.

2. Keep your room cool

Your body temperature naturally drops as you drift into sleep, so cooling down your bedroom can jump start the process and make it easier to doze off. When you wake up in a cool room you will feel much more refreshed and ready to start your day.


3. Get out of bed

If you’re having a restless night and can’t get to sleep, get out of bed for a while. It sounds like the wrong thing to do, but all the pressure and concentration you’re exerting trying to drift off may actually be keeping you awake.


4. Regulate caffeine intake

Having a coffee in the morning is a great way to wake you up but try not to have much caffeine late in the evening.  Caffeine will boost your metabolic rate helping you burn fat so don’t worry about cutting it out completely.

5. Sleep at regular times

Try and get yourself in a set routine of sleeping and waking up at the same time every day. Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night. By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule.

Top 5 Motivation Tips

1. Set a goal
Writing down your goal and putting it somewhere you will see it every day is the classic motivational tool.  Having something to aim for will keep you focused and give each workout a purpose.  Looking at your goal every day will help you see how far you have come and let you know you are doing things the right way.  Setting a goal is the most important tool in terms of motivation and longevity in fitness.


2. Get a gym buddy
Visiting the gym with a friend is a great way to keep you motivated and you are much more likely to stay committed if you think you will be letting someone down. This tactic will be very effective and can make you enjoy the fitness activity a lot more.

3. Drink a lot of water
When you wake up you are already about 1% dehydrated, and most of us never fully hydrate. Even mild dehydration leads to loss of focus, decision making, creativity and energy.  Drink water as soon as you wake up and make sure you drink plenty throughout the day.  To give your water some flavour, try adding sliced lemon or any other fruit.

4. Planning
Plan out your full week in advance including workouts, food and sleep.  If the only time you have to workout is before work in the morning, make sure you are going to bed early and getting a good sleep.  Preparing your food days in advance will make it much easier to stay on track and you will be less likely to come up with an excuse not to stick with the healthy options.

5. Reward yourself
If you feel you lack self-motivation, a reward approach may be right for you, especially if you need a little something extra when you’re just starting a routine.  You might want some new gym gear or a night out for dinner at the end of the month.  Whatever you choose as a reward, it will give you some extra motivation and help you successfully form new habits.

Top 5 Fat-Loss Tips

1. Cut out junk food

Cutting unhealthy processed foods like crisps, fizzy drinks and fast food out your diet could make a massive difference when trying to lose weight.  Swapping these foods out for healthier options will cut your calorie intake and give you more essential nutrients. The lesson is to reduce calories gradually, and the first action is to eliminate junk food wherever possible.


2. Reduce alcohol

Having a couple of beers at the weekend won’t destroy your weeks work but drinking regularly can. Alcohol turns off your fat burning as it is the primary source of energy and meaning anything you eat is stored as it is surplus calories.

When you do decide to have a drink, try eating healthy over the course of the day and stay away from the fast food at night.


3. Do cardio after weight training

Your body doesn’t tap into fat stores until about 15-20 minutes into a workout so if you weight train before doing cardio you will get into the fat burning mode quicker which makes your cardio session more efficient and effective.

Try weight training at least three times per week followed by cardio. More training is recommended but be sure to give yourself one or two days off so your body can recover.

4. Avoid refined carbs

When preparing your meals, try and stay away from refined and processed carbohydrates such as white bread and white pasta. These are low in fibre and digested quickly so they can cause major swings in blood sugar levels and contribute to overeating.

Try choosing carbohydrates made from whole grains or vegetables.  Doing this will keep you fuller for longer and give your body much more essential nutrients.

5. Plan your week
Take some time once a week to plan your meals for the next 7 days and make sure your cupboards are stocked with healthy options. This will make you less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack. Give yourself one or two meals throughout the week for eating out and don’t worry if you overindulge, just make sure you get back on track the next day.


If you would like to get your nutrition on track NL Leisure can show you the way! For details on our exciting new product NLL Nutrition can be found here


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NL Leisure is a registered Scottish charity, regulated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). The purpose of NL Leisure is to deliver sport, recreational, health improving and social welfare services to the community of North Lanarkshire. NL Leisure is a not for profit company (NPDO) which is limited by guarantee.

NL Leisure's vision is to provide exceptional customer service and value for money experience through the provision of a range of high quality sport, recreational and health improving activities




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