Higher Tone

Variety is the spice of life and the fuel for fitness


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The Art of Kicking Ass

Martial Arts have an impressive number of exercise and health benefits as well as being great forms of self-defence, stress relief and a boost to confidence.

martial arts

Benefits

1) Cardiovascular health- high intensity martial arts exercise programs and fights will significantly increase your heart rate and test your rate of recovery.

2) Reflexes– to be a good martial artist, you must have very fast reflexes. Research has found that by participating in martial arts, you not only improve your reflexes while performing the activity, but actually experience faster reaction times in other every day activities.

3) Increased muscle tone- by participating in martial arts, you can greatly improve the amount of muscle mass in your body and consequently look more toned.  The higher your muscle mass, the higher your metabolic demands will be which means you will burn more calories each day.  High levels of muscle mass also lead to increased agility.

4) Weight Loss- during martial arts classes and fights you will burn a high number of calories with the diverse range of movements and footwork.

5) Improved Mood-  you will definitely leave any martial arts class on a high.  Performing martial arts is a great way to relieve stress and frustration.  The endorphins released by physical activity appear to be active in your body for as many as four hours after exercise.

kickboxing-woman-abs

With so many different types to choose from how do you decide?

Unarmed martial arts can be broadly grouped into techniques focused on strikes and grappling:

1) Strikes: Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Karate, Capoeira and Boxing

2) Grappling: Jujutsu, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling etc

It’s also a good idea to decide whether you just want a good workout without learning any intricate moves of techniques.  If this is the case then it might be better just to try a Kettle-bell workout class or cardio kickboxing.

If you want to be the next Jade Jones (2012 Olympic gold medallist), then try:

TAEKWONDO

Olympic Games 2012 Taekwondo

Jade Jones (blue) won the 2012 Olympic gold medal in Taekwondo and the BBC Cymru Sports Personality of the Year

Translated from Korean, “TAE” literally means to jump, kick or smash with the foot, “KWON” means to punch or destroy with the hand or fist and “DO” means art, way or method.

This sport will really improve your co-ordination and flexibility.  Many of the moves require core and spinal strength for upright kicking moves. Range of hip and shoulder motion is also important, as is balance. Whether balancing on one foot, performing a front or side kick, or striking, many moves require your legs and arms to work together to either defend or attack.

Taekwondo is all about the kicks, so it is really important to target, strengthen and stretch your hamstrings.

One Leg Dead-lift Balance (from about.com):

onelegdeadliftbalance

  1. Stand on the left leg with the right foot slightly back, resting on the toe.
  2. Hold a weight or barbell in front of the thigh and tip from the hips, keeping the back straight and the abs braced, bring the weight towards the floor.
  3. At the same time, lift the right leg up as you lower the weight, taking the leg up to hip level.
  4. Squeeze the glutes of the left leg to pull back up and repeat for 8-16 reps before switching sides.
  5. Keep the move slow and controlled and concentrate on keeping your balance at the same time you keep the core braced. If you feel wobbly, keep the back foot on the floor.

Taekwondo classes in Cardiff:

United Taekwondo International Wales: Wednesday and Fridays at 6:30

St Peter’s RFC, Minster Road, Roath

Cardiff North Taekwondo

http://cardiffnorthtkd.com

Training at Heath Sports and Social Club, Heath Park on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Cardiff Martial Arts

Training at Channel View Leisure Centre, Llanrumney High School and Pontprennau Community Centre

http://www.cardiffmartialarts.com

KICK-BOXING

kickboxing

Kickboxing is a great way to target your core muscles

This will really knock out the boredom from your workout and blast body fat fast with a range of toning and body-sculpting moves.

Kick-boxing burns an average of 500 calories an hour, some estimate 810.  The exercise targets your arms, shoulders, abs, thighs and bum all in one workout.  It is also an incredible form of stress release.

Kickboxing keeps you moving at an intensity that you probably not be able to replicate while doing cardio exercise on your own, so take advantage of the group energy of the workout to get the most out of this form of exercise.

Roundhouse Kick

kickboxing

Warning: Do not perform this move without first thoroughly warming up and stretching

The roundhouse move is a as your leg moves in an arc.

  1. Stand with right foot forward in fighting stance.
  2. Bend your right knee bringing your heel towards the glutes and pivot on the left foot, turning your hips to the left.  This is not shown in the picture.
  3. Strike from right to left in an arc with right foot, extending kick from knee, toes pointed.
  4. Retract and return to fighting stance.

Classes in Cardiff

Vitality Gym:

Wednesday 20:00-21:15

http://www.vitalitygyms.co.uk

This class will really help you to bring strict discipline to your everyday life.

Cardiff Karate and Kickboxing Academy

http://cardiffkarateandkickboxing.com

These award-winning classes are designed for men and women of all abilities and ages.

Boxing and Boxercise

Boxercise is an addictive exercise class based on the training concepts boxers use to keep fit.  A typical class may involve shadow-boxing, skipping, hitting pads, kicking punchbags, press-ups, shuttle-runs and sit-ups. Most boxercise classes are aimed at men and women of all ages and fitness standards.  It is a fun, challenging and safe workout because no class actually involves hitting an opponent.

Woman boxing and exercising

Bonus:

Increased mental agility and decision-making

Improved hand-eye coordination

Increased stamina: High-level boxing boxing is around 70%-80% anaerobic (high-intensity) and 20%-30% aerobic, therefore training increases stamina in heart and lungs

Raised core strength: To take a punch and hold your balance, your abdominals need to be strong and toned – this strong core stability can reduce the risk of back pain and improve posture

Arm Exercise

Strengthen your upper body and blast those bingo wings with:

Tricep Dips:

  1. Sit with your back to a bench or chair and have your legs either bent (beginner-shown in picture) or straight (advanced)
  2. Place hands on the bench so they are pointed towards you
  3. Raise body up into a seated position
  4. Bend elbows out behind you to lower your bum to the floor
  5. Push back up until arms are straight
Classes in Cardiff:
Elite Fitness       http://www.elitefitness.co.uk/
Boxercise– punch your way through a variety of pad work and bag exercises.
Friday 17:30 with Kyle
Pads and Abs– a studio based women’s only boxing and Ab’s workout with pumping music.  Get ready for your summer vest top and leave on a high.
Tuesday 17:30
Boxfit Express– Learn to box and get your body fighting fit.
Monday 18:45
Or
Vitality Gym
Boxercise 17:15
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RESULTS: BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year

WINNER: JADE JONES 

Won Britain’s first Taekwondo gold medal

Jade Jones

The 19-year-old really put Wales on the map when she kicked ass in the 2012 Olympics, beating Yuzhuo Hou 6-4 to take the women’s 57kg title in Taewkondo.

Her courageous win was Great Britain’s first Olympic gold in the sport.  Born in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, Jones managed to give us one of the most iconic moments in this year’s Olympics.

“I’ve already started thinking about defending my title in Rio de Janeiro [at the 2016 Olympics]. I’m not competing again until next year and my coach has given me until January to be a normal person.”

Jade Jones

2nd Place: Dan Lydiate

Dan Lydiate

The Newport Gwent Dragons blind-side flanker was also named the Six Nations Player of the Tournament.  This was after featuring in every game except the opener against Ireland and receiving man of the match awards against Scotland and France.  

“To be part of such a talented Wales team and win the Grand Slam in Cardiff was incredible in itself but to then be voted player of the championship [was] absolutely unbelievable.”

3rd Place: Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas

Cyclist Geraint Thomas became one of only four Welshman to win multiple Olympic gold medals when Great Britain’s team pursuit quartet smashed the world record at the 2012 Olympics in London.

“It was a lot of sacrifice, I missed a lot on the road and put all my eggs in one basket… the Olympics was everything.”

Lifetime Achievement Award: Lynn Davies 

Lynn Davies

‘Lynn the leap’ won the Olympic gold medal for long jump in 1964 with an impressive leap of 8.07m.  He also competed in the 100m and 4×100 relay.

He became the first man to win two long jump titles at the Commonwealth Games in 1966 and 1970.

Daves was also a two-time winner of the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year award in 1964 and 1966.

Team of the year: Welsh Rugby Team

wales-rugby_2151012b

Winners of the male and female Carwyn James Award (Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman)

Ieuan Lloyd: He competed at the 2012 Olympics in the Men’s 200m freestyle event.

Leuan Lloyd

Elinor Barker: won a silver medal in the junior women’s time trial at the 2011 UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen.  She was promoted to the Great Britain senior squad for the Glasgow round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup series

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - JUNIOR WOMEN TT

Unsung Hero Award: Arthur Wood

Long-term volunteer at the Swansea Rifle Club has been honoured with this grassroots award.

arthur


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BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2012

2012 has been hailed as one of the most memorable years in the history of sport for the UK.  How will Wales decide their most deserving winner with a list full of successful Olympians, Paralympians and even an Ironman winner?

Venue: Cardiff Millennium Stadium

Date: Tonight: Monday 10 December 2012

Coverage: Awards live on BBC Radio Wales from 7:30, live reports on Radio Cymru and this blog

chaz-davies-wales-sports-personality

Chaz Davies won BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year in 2011

Contenders:

1) Gareth Bale: Footballer

  • baleBorn: 16 July 1989 in Cardiff
  • Became youngest Wales international as a substitute against Trinidad and Tobago in June, 2006
  • Named 2009 Wales Footballer of the Year
  • Voted 2010 BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year
  • Named 2010-11 PFA Player of the Year

2) Leanda Cave: Ironman Winner

  • Leanda-Cave_300134kBorn: 9 March 1978 in Louth, Lincolnshire. Her mother is Welsh
  • Won triathlon silver for Wales at the 2002 Commonwealth Games
  • 2002 World Triathlon champion
  • Finished third in the 2011 Ironman World Championship
  • Wins both the Ironman and Half-Ironman World Championships in 2012

3) Nathan Cleverly: Boxer

  • Nathan Cleverly v Shawn Hawk WBO Light-Heavyweight TitleBorn: 17 February 1987 in Caerphilly
  • Makes professional debut in July 2007 with four-round victory over Ernie Smith
  • Wins interim WBO light-heavyweight title against Nadjib Mohammedi in 2010
  • Awarded full WBO light-heavyweight belt and makes first defence against Aleksy Kuziemski in 2011

4) Mark Colbourne: Cyclist

  • Mark ColbourneBorn: 9 November 1969 in Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent
  • Wins C1 Time Trial silver at 2011 Road World Championships in Roskilde, Denmark
  • Takes C1 3km Pursuit gold and C1 1km Time Trial silver at Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles, USA
  • Enjoys a stellar 2012 Paralympics, winning track C1 3km Individual Pursuit gold, track C1-3 1km Time Trial silver and road C1 Time Trial silver

5) Aled Sion Davies: Field Athlete

  • aledBorn: 24 May 1991 in Bridgend
  • Claims double shot put and discus gold at 2010 World Junior Championships
  • In 2011 wins gold and silver in the shot and discus at the World Athletic Championships in New Zealand
  • Breaks F42 shot put world Record in April 2012 with a throw of 14.56m at the CP Grand Prix in Gateshead
  • Wins Paralympic gold in the discus and bronze in the shot put at London 2012

6) Tom James: Rower

  • tom jamesBorn: 11 March 1984 in Cardiff
  • Makes senior GB debut in 2003 and is part of eight that took bronze at World Championships
  • Wins 2007 Boat Race with Cambridge eight, graduates with engineering degree
  • Wins first Olympic gold medal as part of GB coxless four
  • Wins gold at 2011 World Championships
  • Wins second Olympic gold medal as GB coxless four triumph at London 2012

7) Jade Jones: Taekwondo

  • jadeBorn: 21 March 1993 in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire
  • Wins gold at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010.
  • Claims first senior title by winning -62kg gold at US Open in 2011
  • Takes silver at the 2011 World Championship in South Korea
  • Crowned Olympic champion after winning -57kg category at London 2012

8) Dan Lydiate: Rugby player

  • DanLydiatePTC1SBBorn: 18 December 1987 in Salford, Greater Manchester
  • Wales Under-20 ever-present in 2007 Six Nations
  • Battles back from career-threatening neck injury suffered in October 2007
  • Makes Wales debut off bench in 2009 autumn series against Argentina and first start a week later against Australia
  • Voted 2012 Six Nations player of the series as Wales win Grand Slam

9) Josie Pearson: Rugby and Discus

  • Josie PearsonBorn: 3 January 1986 in Bristol
  • Becomes first woman to play Paralympic wheelchair rugby for Great Britain at Beijing 2008
  • Switches to athletics and finishes fifth in both the T52 100m and 800m at 2011 World Championships
  • Another change of sport reaps rewards at London 2012 with Paralympic gold in the F521 discus

10) Geraint Thomas: Cyclist

  • geraintBorn: 25 May 1986 in Cardiff
  • Wins World Championships in Mallorca in 2007 as part of GB team pursuit
  • Makes Tour de France debut in 2007, becoming first Welshman to ride the Tour for 40 years
  • In 2008 as part of GB team pursuit wins first the World Championships in Manchester before striking Olympic gold in Beijing
  • Wears the white jersey for best young rider over the first seven stages of the 2011 Tour de France
  • Another World Championship and Olympic gold medal double in 2012 as part of GB’s team pursuit

Other awards to be announced:

 1) Team of the Year

2) Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year

3) Lifetime Achievement

4) Unsung Hero

The panel of experts who had the difficult task of selecting the shortlist in November  were:

Nigel Walker, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, David Davies, Non Evans and Jayne Ludlow.


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Is Cardiff due a diet?

Cardiff is facing a health epidemic as more than half the population are obese or overweight and a third of people do no sport or exercise each week, according to research from the Cardiff Health Alliance.

These shocking figures may come as a surprise to some, especially after Cardiff became the first Welsh city to be awarded WHO Healthy City status in 2009.  Nevertheless, these factors contributed to Cardiff scoring badly for health in a PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Good Growth for Cities report released in November 2012.

burger king

Is Cardiff a healthy city?

The announcement by Welsh Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths on December 3 to launch an £82 million support fund shows that cities in Wales are clearly struggling, with Cardiff as a prime example.

A healthy and active lifestyle incorporates a variety of factors, but I will be focusing specifically on:

  • Nutrition and the issue of obesity
  • Exercise and physical activity
  • The impact of alcohol on health and sports performance

Obesity 

photo

Obesity presents an increasing public health challenge for Cardiff.  The Cardiff Health Alliance reported that 53% of adults in Cardiff are overweight or obese, a statistic expected to dramatically increase unless action is taken.  Obesity can leave people with chronic health problems like type 2 diabetes, cancer and osteoarthritis as well as increasing mortality from heart disease and strokes.  The issue of obesity has been prioritised and Cardiff is trying to tackle the problem by implementing initiatives such as Change for Life and the All Wales Obesity Pathway.

Dr Nadim Haboudi, chair of the National Obesity Forum for Wales, said:

“The problem is huge, massive, worse than England, worse than anywhere in the UK and among the worst in the western world.”

Catherine Evans, the co-ordinator for the Physical Activity Network for Wales highlighted community initiatives that are taking place in Cardiff such as fruit and vegetable co-operatives, local cooking classes and the MEND (mind, exercise, nutrition, do it) childhood obesity programme.

Here’s an interview with Catherine Evans in which she discusses the problems caused by obesity and physical inactivity in Cardiff:

Exercise

One in three people in Cardiff take no exercise at all and only 27% actually meet exercise recommendations according to a survey by the Cardiff Health Alliance.  This figure is shocking and does go some way to explaining the high percentage of obesity in Cardiff.

Former Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Jewell, introduced new exercise guidelines in 2011, which advised that all adults should exercise for at least 150 minutes each week rather than 30 minutes on 5 or more days each week.

How much exercise do you think you manage to fit in each week?

There are several exercise initiatives in Cardiff which aim to encourage individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds to become more involved with sport and exercise.  There is a serious issue with health inequality in areas of Cardiff, such as Ely, Splott and Adamsdown.  Programmes such as ‘Communities First’ are essential for improving exercise participation and giving nutritional advice for people in poverty-stricken areas.

Venture Out Cardiff

Picture provided by Venture Out Cardiff

The Venture Out Cardiff programme offers a range of activities such as kayaking, horse riding and sailing for disabled people

The Venture Out project was founded to develop opportunities for disabled people to participate in outdoor exercise in Cardiff.

Jonathan Lee the Venture Out Cardiff Project Officer said:

“We aim to offer weekly activity sessions for disabled people, particularly adults with learning difficulties. Through the sessions we help people develop their confidence, social skills and specific skills related to the activity. We also see huge benefits to their overall fitness and well-being.”

“We use green spaces within the city to deliver most of our activities.  We have found that our outdoor activities help to reduce challenging behaviour and help people to sleep better, so the beneficial effects last beyond the duration of the session.”

Volunteers with learning disabilities also take part in an environmental group to conserve and manage local parks

Volunteers with learning disabilities also take part in an environmental group to conserve and manage local parks

There are a number of other campaigns in Cardiff, including:

The Cardiff Max Active card also helps to promote physical activity as if gives people the chance to take part in a wide range of discounted activities suited to all ages and abilities at leisure centres around Cardiff.

This map shows the locations of all the Cardiff Council leisure centres as well as community sports facilities:

Alcohol

Alcohol and exercise do not mix.  In the short term, drinking alcohol will seriously affect sports performance in terms of poor co-ordination and concentration.  Long term effects of heavy drinking include heart disease, some cancers, liver disease and there are also links to obesity.

A study commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government has found the NHS in Wales spends over a £1 million a week on treating health problems caused by alcohol misuse and a further £1 million each week on treating obesity.
A graph showing hospital admissions due to alcohol in Cardiff and Wales
graph

Cardiff has a significantly higher hospital admission rate due to alcohol compared to Wales.  These figures were provided by the Cardiff Health Alliance.

This graph shows that Cardiff has a significantly higher hospital admission rate due to alcohol misuse than the average for Wales.  The Cardiff Health Alliance reported  2024 male hospital admissions in Cardiff, this is much higher than the average value for Wales which is 1140.

Following Alcohol Awareness Week which ended on November 23, Alcohol Concern Cymru has launched a Dry January campaign to encourage people to stop drinking for a month.

Here is an interview with Andrew Misell from Alcohol Concern Cymru about the relationship between sport and alcohol and the Dry January campaign.

Find out more about the Dry January campaign on the Alcohol Concern website:

http://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/projects/alcohol-concern-cymru

Does Cardiff deserve the title of a WHO (World Health Organisation) healthy city?

Cardiff was granted this accolade in 2009 joining 13 other cities in the UK.  Since then it has sought to advance the public health agenda through nutrition and physical activity initiatives and promoting healthy urban design, but has it worked?

bute

Two ramblers in Bute Park, one of Cardiff’s ‘green lungs’.

Councillor Luke Holland, Cabinet Member for Social Care, Health and Wellbeing discusses key aspects of the WHO Cardiff Healthy City Programme.

This video explains the Cardiff Healthy City Model and the complex issues which affect people’s health and wellbeing.

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 21.09.24

 

If you have been inspired to make a change relating to exercise, nutrition, alcohol or health this December, then please post your pledge as a comment below.

My Health Pledge: To try a different exercise class every week for the next 2 months.

What’s Yours?


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Cathays Community Centre applies to Sports Wales for funding

Cathays Community Centre has applied for more than £1 million to fund the regeneration of its current facilities and provide residents with more opportunities to participate in sport and other activities.

Image

Cathays Community Centre will double in size if it receives the funding

The Cathays and Central Youth and Community Project (CCYCP) independently runs the centre on Cathays Terrace.  Their current plan is to develop the old Triple Crown Bingo Hall, which will double the space available for a multi-purpose sports community hall and informal area.  The centre has applied to the Sports Wales ‘Calls for Action’ programme, The Big Lottery Fund, the Community Facilities and Activities Programme (CFAP) and The Co-operative.

The community centre feels the need to expand because at prime time there is high competition for use of rooms and practice space.  The project hopes to draw in more people and new groups with improved facilities.  The centre is already home to groups such as, Breakdance4Beginners, Cathays BBoys, Freestyle Disco & Commercial Street Dance as well as the Cardiff University Students Union Pole Dance Society.  It is hoped that the funding will enable space for new fitness and dance classes.  There has also been a lot of interest in a sports hall to accommodate Badminton and Cricket.

A lot of dance and hip hop events take place at Cathays Community Centre

The Cathays Community Centre Clerical Officer, Joanne Sutton, said: “we are really trying to encourage as many people to get involved as possible.  It would be great to see new fitness classes where independent instructors can come in and hire the space.”

The ‘Calls for Action’ programme has been specifically developed to achieve the outcomes within the Community Sport Strategy, including growing participation particularly among under-represented groups.

Sports Wales ‘Calls For Action’ programme

The Cathays Community Centre Development Officer, Amelia Thomas commented that: “we are really aiming to encourage more females into sport, as well as people from a poor or ethnic minority background.”

The centre held a well-attended community consultation on September 22 to allow local residents of all ages to contribute their ideas to the future regeneration.  The largest majority of participants in the open day voted for sport as their highest priority for development and use of space.  The Sports Wales ‘Calls to Action’ funding option would be able to provide indoor sports facilities for activities such as badminton and 5-a-side football.  As UWIC prioritise their students, there are currently no local facilities for people wanting to play these sports.

Cathays residents also wished to see more informal areas for socialising, eating and drinking.  Space for a recording studio and music performance was also high on the list of priorities.