Our panel of experts answers your questions on everything from core fitness, Type 2 diabetes, stress at Christmas and leftovers for the dog
QIlike doing floor exercises to improve my core fitness. Do you recommend any inexpensive gadgets to help with this? TONY GALLAGHER WRITES: fitness means the ability to use efficiently both internal and superficial muscles that aid you in stabilising, aligning and moving your trunk. It helps keep your spine aligned, permits you to stand upright, control movement and shift body weight. The concept takes a more holistic view of fitness rather than just honing specific body parts and professionals such as physiotherapists have been advocating and using core-strengthening techniques for some time to help in clients’ rehabilitation. There are inexpensive floor gadgets that you can use, but don’t overdo it. Always prepare to focus on quality of movement rather than quantity. You can find a wobble board for less than £20 at www.gizoo.co. uk. There are lots of different
ACoreexercises you can do on it to help you improve your balance, core strength and rehabilitate after injury. The board is also adjustable by degrees, allowing you to increase your difficulty setting as your balance and core stability improve. You might try Golds Gym Exercise Wheel (currently available for under £10 at www.amazon. co.uk), which uses a forwards and backwards movement that works your abdominals. Alternatively, try the Power Push Up (also currently available for under £10 from Amazon). Relatively cheap exercise balls (available everywhere from Argos to sports shops) are useful too. Prior to purchasing you will need to make certain it is the correct size for your height (when sitting on the ball your hips should be level or slightly higher than the knees).
QMymother was this year diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I’ve read up on it, but I want to be very careful during the Christmas period, when the normal rules seem to go out the window. What should I be aware of? SARA STANNER WRITES: with diabetes need to eat a healthy, balanced
APeoplediet similar to those without diabetes – that is, a diet based on starchy foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables, which also is low in fat, salt and sugar. It is important at Christmas that people with diabetes don’t indulge too much. Encourage your mother to start Christmas Day with a highfibre (wholegrain) breakfast cereal or wholemeal toast with low-fat spread, or a proteinrich meal such as scrambled egg with smoked salmon or baked beans on toast (this will help curb her appetite in the morning so she doesn’t want to snack before lunch). Simple things you can do to make Christmas lunch healthier include taking the skin off turkey, not adding butter to vegetables and serving Christmas pudding with plain yogurt rather than cream. There is no need to purchase special diabetic treats. People with type 2 diabetes can eat traditional Christmas food such as mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, but as these are high in fat, sugar and calories, you should discourage your mother from eating too many or large portions of these. Keep healthy snacks available throughout the day so she is not tempted to snack on chocolates or crisps. Some form of activity after lunch will help use up the extra energy she has eaten and control her blood glucose levels and prevent that bloated feeling experienced after heavy meals. It is also very important to make sure that she doesn’t exceed sensible drinking guidelines (2-3 units of alcohol per day). Alcohol stimulates the appetite and provides extra calories. Encourage her to eat healthily on the days between Boxing Day and New Year and be as active as possible.