#360fit: FitSpiration: Emma Woodcock

FitnessLink 20/07/2015
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Emma Woodcock posing on her beloved bicycle.

FitnessLink’s FitSpiration pieces profile everyday movers & shakers in the UAE health & fitness scene. From local trainers to those that have achieved huge fitness goal, each inspire in their own little way!

After coming to Dubai a few years ago, Emma Woodcock found herself inactive and a victim of the all too familiar ‘Dubai stone’. Today, she is the founder of a ladies-only cycling group in Dubai called Velo Vixens and was recently appointed as the brand ambassador for global cycling brand Liv. All with the help of a newfound passion for cycling!

Here’s what makes Emma a FitSpiration:

My Fitness Background:

I moved to Dubai in 2008, already a comfortable size 14. I’d never been what could be considered a sporty person. An accident aged 12 in which I severed my right quadricep had excused me from school sports for a long time and had left me with pretty poor balance. I’d never been any good at team sports and had never had a gym membership.

I fell right in to the Dubai stone and actually ended up with another couple on top of that. In 2010, I lost my lovely dad and my health spiralled further downwards. I hit 91kg as I turned 41 at the end of August that year.

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The Turning Point:

Imagine my surprise when my husband bought me a bike and an entry to the Dubai 92 Spinneys Challenge for my birthday! I couldn’t even get once around the Ranches perimeter road (10km) without stopping. How on earth was I going to ride 92km in just 14 weeks?

Therein lies the magic of cycling. With the help and support of my poor beleaguered husband, I made it. We joined group rides that built us up gradually to the event. We rode a few times a week, before work. The sound of the wheels on the tarmac is soothing and the endorphins that you get after a ride leaves you energized and happy. It’s transformative. If you could bottle the joy, you’d make a fortune.

Mark and I went on to lose 61kg between us, it really has totally changed our lives.

New Fitness Beginnings:

About two years ago, I formed a women’s cycling group called the Velo Vixens. We are now almost 400 women! My passion for women’s cycling led me to be invited to be Brand Ambassador for Liv, the first women only cycling store in the region. I hope to encourage many more women to get back on a bike.

Ride with your family, friends, kids or come out and ride with the girls. It’s a fantastic way to meet new friends, network and have fun and get fit at the same time.

FitnessLink puts UAE health & fitness at your fingertips and makes it easy to get involved in living a healthy, active lifestyle! Access services and professionals, discover industry events, news & jobs, read articles & take advantage of special offers at your fave local businesses!

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#360fit: 10 Benefits to Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every Morning

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Lemon is one of the few foods that provide your body with more energy.

1) Aids Digestion. Lemon juice flushes out unwanted materials and toxins from the body. It’s atomic composition is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Lemons are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract. The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements.

2) Cleanses Your System / is a Diuretic. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore toxins are released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.

3) Boosts Your Immune System. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds.  They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.

Lemon juice is high in minerlas and flushes out unwanted toxins from the body.

4) Balances pH Levels. Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Sure, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. Disease states only occur when the body pH is acidic. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation.

5) Clears Skin. The vitamin C component as well as other antioxidants helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes and it helps to combat free radical damage. Vitamin C is vital for healthy glowing skin while its alkaline nature kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne. It can actually be applied directly to scars or age spots to help reduce their appearance. Since lemon water purges toxins from your blood, it would also be helping to keep your skin clear of blemishes from the inside out. The vitamin C contained in the lemon rejuvenates the skin from within your body.

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6) Energizes You and Enhances Your Mood. The energy a human receives from food comes from the atoms and molecules in your food. A reaction occurs when the positive charged ions from food enter the digestive tract and interact with the negative charged enzymes. Lemon is one of the few foods that contain more negative charged ions, providing your body with more energy when it enters the digestive tract. The scent of lemon also has mood enhancing and energizing properties. The smell of lemon juice can brighten your mood and help clear your mind. Lemon can also help reduce anxiety and depression.

7) Promotes Healing. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), found in abundance in lemons, promotes wound healing, and is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage. As noted previously, vitamin C also displays anti-inflammatory properties. Combined, vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of good health and recovery from stress and injury.

Lemon provides your body with more energy when it enters the digestive tract.

8) Freshens Breath. Besides fresher breath, lemons have  been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be aware that citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so you should be mindful of this. No not brush your teeth just after drinking your lemon water. It is best to brush your teeth first, then drink your lemon water, or wait a significant amount of time after to brush your teeth. Additionally, you can rinse your mouth with purified water after you finish your lemon water.

9) Hydrates Your Lymph System. Warm water and lemon juice supports the immune system by hydrating and replacing fluids lost by your body. When your body is deprived of water, you can definitely feel the side effects, which include: feeling tired, sluggish, decreased immune function, constipation, lack of energy, low/high blood pressure, lack of sleep, lack of mental clarity and feeling stressed, just to name a few.

10) Aids in Weight Loss. Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. Studies have shown people who maintain a more alkaline diet, do in fact lose weight faster. I personally find myself making better choices throughout the day, if I start my day off right, by making a health conscious choice to drink warm lemon water first thing every morning.

Tim Dorrington is a health and fitness expert who is currently General Manager of Talise Fitness at Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

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Lifestyler with Josie McKenlay: How much sugar are you eating?

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In developed countries people consume around 25 teaspoons of sugar daily.

For years, researchers have found a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pres­sure, high triglycerides, gout and weight gain in people who consume more sugar-sweetened beverages.  Now new studies suggest that our out-of-control sweet tooth is connected to our out-of-control belly fat.  For some time now we have been told that the “apple” shape – those who carry their weight around the waist – are more prone to the above mentioned diseases and it looks as though sugar is the culprit.

When you consider that a healthy amount of sugar should not exceed 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men, when you realise that the average person in the developed countries now consumes more like 25 teaspoons daily, it is easy to see why our waistlines have increased and why there has been a significant rise in these first world health issues.  The following lists are simply an example of how easy it is to consume more than the daily recommended amount of sugar and I think you will be shocked. 

Figures vary depending on sources, but they give a very good indication of just how high some of our favourite foods are.  These examples are taken from http://www.dentalhealth.org and http://uhs.berkeley.edu but you can work out how many teaspoons of sugar there are in your food by looking at the label.  Under carbohydrate, the amount of sugar will be listed per portion or per 100 grams: 4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon which gives a much better idea of just how much you are eating.  Amounts below are also given in teaspoons.

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Sodas

  • Sports drinks ½ litre – 8
  • Tonic water per serving – 8
  • Cola per can  – 7
  • Energy Drinks per can  – 7.5

Cereals (perserving of around 30 grams)

  • Frosted – 3
  • Cocoa Krispies – 3
  • Raisin Bran – 2.5
  • Honey Smacks – 5
  • Muesli – 2
  • Special K – 1
  • Weetabix – 0.5
  • Shredded Wheat – 0

Chocolate Bars

  • 100g Bag boiled sweets – 11.5
  • 58g Mars Bar – 10
  • 58g Milky Way – 8.5
  • Snickers – 7
  • 50g Milk Chocolate – 6
  • 45g Starburst – 5.5
  • 50g Dark Chocolate – 3.5
  • Twix – 2.75

Biscuits & Cakes

  • Chocolate Digestive – 1.2
  • Plain Digestive – 0.7
  • Gingernut – 0.8
  • Jaffa Cake – 3.25
  • Shortcake – 0.5
  • Cinnabon Classic Roll – 15
  • Dunkin Donut Chocolate Chip Muffin – 14
  • Krispy Kreme Chocolate Glazed Doughnut – 6.5

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