Our panel of ex­perts an­swers your ques­tions on ev­ery­thing from core fit­ness, Type 2 di­a­betes, stress at Christ­mas and left­overs for the dog

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Motoring -

FIT­NESS

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).

DIET

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.

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