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In 1972 I launched my very first slimming class. Click here to read how it all began.


When Mary suggested we approach the subject of dementia for this week’s Newsletter I immediately agreed. Having seen my father fall victim to this devastating disease, the more we can learn about how we can minimise our chances of getting it ourselves, the better.

Without question, getting older brings all kinds of issues but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work toward staying as fit as we can and that, in turn, leads us toward being healthier. Being overweight because we eat too much and eating unhealthy foods works against us. Being inactive causes our joints to seize, our heart to be inefficient and our muscles to waste away. It’s a bit like having a wonderful classic car that used to run smoothly and look magnificent. Now it’s in the garage and only comes out on sunny days for a drive. The tyres are sagging, the body is going a bit rusty and the spark plugs are all furred up – and we wonder why it doesn’t run like it used to! The only reason it doesn’t is because we haven’t bothered to look after it!

We must realise that our body is the most valuable asset we will ever possess. We can’t trade it in for a newer model. This really is it! But don’t despair - the good news is that it’s not too late and if we look after this body by exercising it regularly, putting good fuel (food) into it for energy, growth and repair, and putting our heart, lungs and brain through its paces regularly, we will be doing everything we can to live a longer, healthier and much happier life.

To find out more about Dementia go to the Dementia UK website

Recipe of the Week

This cold pasta salad with flakes of pink salmon is super-nutritious and ideal for packed lunches or for an easy-to-prepare lunch for all the family. If fresh salmon is unavailable, canned salmon is a good substitute.

Serves 6
Per serving: 280 kcal/8.9g fat
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

2 vegetable stock cubes
2 x 175g (2 x 6oz) fresh salmon fillets
225g or 2 x Green Portion Pots® of pasta shapes
300ml (1⁄2 pint) virtually fat-free live Greek yogurt
juice of half a lemon
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
pinch of sweet paprika
fresh dill to garnish
  1. Crumble 1 stock cube in a saucepan and add a little water. Add the salmon and poach for 8 - 10 minutes over a low heat. Lift the salmon from the pan and allow to cool. Alternatively, crush the vegetable stock cube over the salmon fillets and cook the fillets in a microwave for 3½  minutes on 'high' then allow to cool.
  2. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water with the remaining vegetable stock cube. Drain the pasta thoroughly and rinse with cold water then transfer to a large bowl. Allow to cool. Add the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, chopped onion, chives and paprika.
  3. Carefully flake the salmon into the bowl, removing any bones and skin. Combine all the ingredients with a large metal spoon, taking care not to over-mix and break up the fish too much. Spoon into a serving dish and chill until required. Garnish with fresh dill.
For more recipes click here to visit the website

Fun, Facts & Fitness from Mary Morris MSc.

They say that if you can't remember where you parked your car then not to worry too much but if you can't remember what colour it is then you have a problem! Now I am sure it is not quite as simple as that but as we age, we do become far more concerned about the health of our brains and wonder what we can do to offset the risk of developing dementia.

I returned to playing the piano at the age of 60, not just because I had happy memories of it from when I was a child but because I had heard that playing a musical instrument can play a big part in reducing the risk of dementia, as can learning a foreign language.  So let’s keep on learning throughout our lives and pull ourselves out of our comfort zone!

The increase in the numbers suffering from dementia does not make for easy reading.  Currently it is estimated that 1 in 14 of us over the age of 65 will get it and that rises to 1 in 6 over the age of 80.  By 2025 that means there will be more than a million sufferers in the UK. The good news though is that research studies have demonstrated numerous times that there is a strong relationship between healthy living and reducing the risk of dementia. If you read this newsletter regularly, it is hoped that you now realise how passionate we are about exactly that!

You will not be surprised to hear from me that for us to lead a healthy life we need to exercise, and we need to do the sort of exercise that feeds the brain.  Our first port of call for this vital area of our health is to keep our heart healthy with plenty of cardiovascular exercise. That’s exercise that gets our heart working harder, pumping our blood all around the body faster and which, importantly, transports plenty of oxygen to the brain, keeping our brain cells healthy.  It even enhances the connections between brain cells, keeping them highly functioning and 'active'.

Cardio training also ensures that we have a low resting heart rate and researchers in Sweden have found a link between our risk of dementia with a high resting rate – that’s anything above 80 beats per minute.  How to test your resting heart rate is described below and it is definitely worth knowing.  Should you find yours is high then try to do more of the activities suggested in our Weekly Challenge this week, and every week, to help lower it.      

Here are a few tips on exactly what type of exercise we need to be doing:

  • Basically, every day we should get out of breath at least once so that we have pushed our cardio system into a temporary 'overdrive'.  It may only last one or two minutes but that will do the job. For instance, we often ask you to go up and down stairs 3 – 5 times consecutively as that is a perfect example of how to push your cardio system into overdrive.
  • Do an aerobic activity where you have to switch moves regularly and learn a routine. Rosemary's exercise DVDs are perfect for this as you are challenged to change direction often and gradually increase the intensity of the moves as the routine progresses.  Go to our shop and look at what's on offer.
  • Find a local class that does the same as the above but you have the added bonus of socially mixing with others.  Another proven way to keep the brain active. This is one of the reasons why Rosemary and I still teach classes.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for brain recovery allowing the brain cells to re-charge. On those days that you are particularly active and spending lots of energy you often find you get a better night’s sleep.

How to test your Resting Heart Rate:

Ideally do this test before you even get up in the morning or at a time when seated and relaxed. Place your index finger and middle finger of your right hand on the thumb side of your left wrist. You should clearly feel the beat from your pulse at this point. Count how many beats for 15 seconds then multiply by 4 for your resting heart rate. Ideally it needs to be between 65 and 75 beats per minute. Lower is excellent – if higher then try to increase your cardiovascular exercise.

The important message is that if we do not remain active in our older age we run a far higher risk of dementia.  'If you don't use it, you lose it!' is my mantra here and there is no age limit on becoming more active.  There is strong evidence that all ages benefit hugely from exercise, as long as it is an appropriate activity and one that you enjoy!! 

This Week's Fitness Challenge

  1. This week challenge yourself to get 'out of breath' every day. however briefly.  Use the stairs or an incline on your 30-minute daily walks. That'll do the job!
  2. Try a new activity to get your heart pumping this week.  On a good weather day get your bike out if you have one or make a visit to the local swimming pool to swim.  Basically, come out of your comfort zone and try something new.
  3. Make sure you don't neglect your strength exercises this week.  There is now a good variety of full-body workouts on the website for either the resistance band or hand weights.  Take your pick. Three sessions each week are just perfect and decide in advance exactly when you are going to do them! 
Did you know...

In the ocean, Pink Salmon are actually bright silver. After returning to their spawning streams, their colouring changes to pale grey on the back with yellowish-white belly (although some turn an overall dull green colour). They only get their name from the colour of their flesh.

Fancy another fish dish? Why not try our
Asian Salmon Steaks with Stir-fried vegetables.

And finally...

It is very easy to start worrying about whether we are going to 'get this or get that’ as we grow older but the universal message of the research scientists tells us that eating healthily, being a healthy weight and exercising regularly is simply the best way to stack the odds in our favour!

Have a great week!

With love and best wishes,

Rosemary Conley CBE DL


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