Category Archives: Fitness

Fit in my 40s: ‘I can now run for five minutes without wanting to die’

After eight weeks, I have learned what works. Listening to music? Yes. Taking the dog? No

I have reached the end of week four of the NHS’s Couch to 5K programme, although in real time this is week eight. It is like Clive James’s memoir May Week Was In June, except I wasn’t discovering myself, I was just lazing.

But I do have some observations, the first being that this programme is excellent: unlike almost all other advice I have seen on an NHS website, from eating five a day to going directly to A&E, it seems grounded in expertise – and it works. I am making progress, though the idea that I would happily run upstairs remains tragically metaphorical. It started with running and walking in 60- and 90-second intervals, and now I can run for five minutes without wanting to die (with a walk of two and a half minutes after each stint). But I have yet to find real enthusiasm for it and I have never come close to a runner’s high, where you are so alive with endorphins (according to rumour) that you feel as though you can go for ever.

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Source: gad

Running away: the paths of the gods on the Amalfi coast

Offering beautiful views, steep flights of stairs and the option of post-run pizza refuelling, the paths of the Amalfi coast are a trail runners paradise

Who wouldn’t want to walk in the steps of the gods? Or, at any rate, run and/or hike the Path of the Gods. This stunning route winds through and along the sheer cliffs of the Amalfi oast. Around every corner is a view of the sparkling Mediterranean, or a bird’s eye glimpse of the coastal towns and villages, like so many dolls houses interspersed with the dark green of olive tree foliage.

The full path is about 13km (8 miles), and you can travel it in either direction, though the views are better if you go from east to west (starting in Bomerano, ending in Nocelle, just outside Positano). Moving in that direction means the best views are always in front of you, and also means the sun will be behind you in the morning – better for both taking photos and not boiling if you are there in the summer heat. This direction also gives you slightly more downhill, though the trail is technical at times, and there certainly plenty of unrunnable stretches – and why would you want to hurry anyway? Some parts of the path also require careful map reading – for which I thoroughly recommend this guide/leaflet with helpful photos from Giovanni Visetti. This detailed guide is also worth printing out, as it lists some picturesque views/pit stops for water en route.

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Source: gad

Strava suggests military users 'opt out' of heatmap as row deepens

Fitness-tracking company suggests secret army base locations were made public by users, while militaries around world weigh up ban

Fitness-tracking company Strava has defended its publication of heatmaps that accidentally reveal sensitive military positions, arguing that the information was already made public by the users who uploaded it.

Following the revelations, militaries around the world are contemplating bans on fitness trackers to prevent future breaches. As well as the location of military bases, the identities of individual service members can also be uncovered, if they are using the service with the default privacy settings.

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Source: gadt

20 of the best adventure travel challenges for 2018

Marathon cycles meet epic swims and uplifting hikes in our guide to the best breaks that, from the Lake District to the Sahara, will get you off the sofa and into the great outdoors

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Source: gad

Five fantastic mind, body and soul festivals for 2018

Relax, restore and reset yourself at these festivals that feature yoga classes, spa treatments, healthy food, live music – and, yes, occasionally, a little alcohol

Launched last year, Soul Circus offers a programme of yoga and pilates, plus live music, DJs, healthy food supplied by local farmers and thought-provoking talks. There’ll be classes from aerial to blindfold yoga, workshops on topics such as the science of happiness, and the chance to chill in the spa with holistic treatments and lakeside hot tubs. It’s held at picturesque Elmore Court near Gloucester, and the gardens and woodlands are the setting for light shows and parties held long into the night.
17-19 August, tickets £189, soulcircus.yoga

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Source: gad

How to get the best out of exercise

Conflicting theories on how to maximise exercise would stretch anyone to the limit. As New Year fitness plans begin in earnest, here’s a scientific response to some frequently asked questions

You might think it wise to fuel up before a long run or cycle, but the latest research suggests you might be better off ignoring your gut instinct.

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Source: gad

5am ice baths and a strict vegan diet: my year of living (very) healthily

This time last year, I was overweight, out of shape and run down. Could I turn my life around?

This time last year, I could not get out of bed. Just days into January, a New Year resolution to get back into the gym had been rendered laughable by a flu unlike anything I’d ever known. Emergency childcare was marshalled from under the duvet; when it arrived, I had to crawl to open the front door. Friends took one look at the pitiful figure on her knees, clinging to the hallway radiator, and gently suggested I might need to start taking better care of myself.

They weren’t wrong. While I wouldn’t say I had lived a wildly unhealthy life, I’d never been what one would call health-conscious either. Partly this is because I am by nature quite greedy and lazy, and partly because until my 40s my health had appeared to take care of itself. As long as I pottered along to the gym now and then, and kept an eye on my weight, I’d managed to muddle through with no need for spirulina smoothies or a Holland & Barrett loyalty card.

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Source: gad

From quitting smoking to getting out of debt: Guardian readers on the resolutions they kept this year

Ros feels fitter than ever at 71. Julia has found happiness. We asked readers how they ditched their bad habits and formed good ones – here are their inspiring stories

New Year resolutions are made in the hope this year will be different, we’ll have a new start, ditch habits that have been holding us back and take up those that will lead to a happier, healthier life. All too often, though, they have been scuppered by 3 January. But not always. We asked readers about the resolutions they managed to keep in 2017.

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Source: gad