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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Health"

Here’s why seniors should join a Zumba class, according to a local instructor

Westlake Legal Group Zumba-Gold-instruction Here’s why seniors should join a Zumba class, according to a local instructor zumba gold Zumba workouts workout wellness strength seniors senior-based workouts Senior Living health and wellness Health gyms Fitness Features fitness exercise balance
Anya Avilov (left) teaches a weekday Zumba Gold class in the Reston Community Center. (Photo courtesy of Anya Avilov)

On a weekly basis, you’ll find NoVA resident Anya Avilov in one of the many fitness studios in Fairfax County—including Reston Community Center, the Providence Community Center and Onelife Fitness Reston—teaching Zumba Gold classes to local community members. 

While Zumba combines dance and exercise into a high-intensity routine, Zumba Gold is designated specifically for older adults, ultimately building cardiovascular health and working the muscles of the hips, legs and arms with easy-to-follow dance instruction.  

Avilov is a certified instructor who has been teaching this fitness regimen for seven years, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Here, Avilov shares exactly what her experience in fitness has been like in Northern Virginia, and why Zumba is a great workout for those over 55.

Walk me through what one of your typical Zumba Gold classes is like and how it differs from traditional Zumba.

Music-wise, it’s Latin-inspired and there are dance moves involving, cha-cha, merengue, salsa. But also we add songs from the 50s,’60s and 70s, so people recognize and enjoy it. Music was such a big part of the youth of my students, and hearing those familiar sounds brings them joy. 

A normal Zumba routine has eight to 10 different moves where you add arm variations, and I normally include up to six moves for each song that are similar to one another. We review them from the start, rather than introduce them as we go like a regular Zumba class. Voice-over is also very important, as they like to hear what is coming next and what we are going to try. In regular Zumba, there is often no talking. I find they enjoy commentary and voice-over instruction. Plus, the overall intensity is definitely lower. 

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What are the some of the benefits seniors can gain from these classes?

It definitely protects your joints and muscles. Once you stop regularly moving, you stop utilizing specific muscles and they get weaker and eventually disappear. It happens much faster for the older generation, so when they practice Zumba there is constant movement and practice. It improves posture, coordination, balance. I tend to incorporate lots of balance movements for these classes, because it’s a key point in preventing falls and leading an active life. 

In terms of mental benefits, I’m a strong believer that laughter makes you stronger. And when these people work together for movements and they make a small mistake, they laugh like crazy. I really think laughter boosts mental health for older adults and for everybody. When they watch others in the room mess up, it increases their confidence and willingness to try new routines. They love dances they are familiar with, but they also really enjoy trying more complicated steps, ultimately improving concentration and memory. 

Westlake Legal Group zumba-gold-dancing Here’s why seniors should join a Zumba class, according to a local instructor zumba gold Zumba workouts workout wellness strength seniors senior-based workouts Senior Living health and wellness Health gyms Fitness Features fitness exercise balance
Photo courtesy of Anya Avilov

Do most students make it a habit to come on a regular basis?

There are about 35 to 40 people that come every week to learn from me. The social aspect of this workout is amazing. They often come about 40 minutes before the class to chat with one another and they really look forward to this part of it. For some of the classes, I have to start music for them to really focus on the routine. 

What are some of the challenges involved in teaching these classes?

I think it’s very important for a Zumba Gold instructor to try and find out about previous health issues their students have, and ultimately understand alternative moves they can utilize. If there was a hip issue for example, you don’t cross your legs completely. With neck rolls, you make sure they don’t bend too far. The main challenge is seeing everyone and explaining carefully that it is okay to substitute moves, and that listening to your body is essential. Sometimes they really don’t want to. I always emphasize the importance of listening to your body. It’s never you can’t do it, just try it another way. 

What’s your favorite part of teaching these workouts in NoVA?

I just love when my students get better and enjoy life. They are like family to me at this point after so many years. For example, two friends who met in my class recently went to Australia with their families. They came back to tell me they were faster than some of their grandkids, and they told me they wouldn’t have been able to do it without my classes. Another student uses her cane less in day-to-day life now. And just recently, one of my newer students said she can bend down to get a toy for her dog and not worry about falling over, which she couldn’t do before starting my class two months ago. The entire experience is so rewarding. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Here’s why seniors should join a Zumba class, according to a local instructor

Westlake Legal Group Zumba-Gold-instruction Here’s why seniors should join a Zumba class, according to a local instructor workouts workout wellness strength seniors senior-based workouts Senior Living health and wellness Health gyms Fitness Features fitness exercise balance
Anya Avilov (left) teaches a weekday Zumba Gold class in the Reston Community Center. (Photo courtesy of Anya Avilov)

On a weekly basis, you’ll find NoVA resident Anya Avilov in one of the many fitness studios in Fairfax County—including Reston Community Center, the Providence Community Center and Onelife Fitness Reston—teaching Zumba Gold classes to local community members. 

While Zumba combines dance and exercise into a high-intensity routine, Zumba Gold is designated specifically for older adults, ultimately building cardiovascular health and working the muscles of the hips, legs and arms with easy-to-follow dance instruction.  

Avilov is a certified instructor who has been teaching this fitness regimen for seven years, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Here, Avilov shares exactly what her experience in fitness has been like in Northern Virginia, and why Zumba is a great workout for those over 55.

Walk me through what one of your typical Zumba Gold classes is like and how it differs from traditional Zumba.

Music-wise, it’s Latin-inspired and there are dance moves involving, cha-cha, merengue, salsa. But also we add songs from the 50s,’60s and 70s, so people recognize and enjoy it. Music was such a big part of the youth of my students, and hearing those familiar sounds brings them joy. 

A normal Zumba routine has eight to 10 different moves where you add arm variations, and I normally include up to six moves for each song that are similar to one another. We review them from the start, rather than introduce them as we go like a regular Zumba class. Voice-over is also very important, as they like to hear what is coming next and what we are going to try. In regular Zumba, there is often no talking. I find they enjoy commentary and voice-over instruction. Plus, the overall intensity is definitely lower. 

Interested in receiving similar content directly to your inbox? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters. 

What are the some of the benefits seniors can gain from these classes?

It definitely protects your joints and muscles. Once you stop regularly moving, you stop utilizing specific muscles and they get weaker and eventually disappear. It happens much faster for the older generation, so when they practice Zumba there is constant movement and practice. It improves posture, coordination, balance. I tend to incorporate lots of balance movements for these classes, because it’s a key point in preventing falls and leading an active life. 

In terms of mental benefits, I’m a strong believer that laughter makes you stronger. And when these people work together for movements and they make a small mistake, they laugh like crazy. I really think laughter boosts mental health for older adults and for everybody. When they watch others in the room mess up, it increases their confidence and willingness to try new routines. They love dances they are familiar with, but they also really enjoy trying more complicated steps, ultimately improving concentration and memory. 

Westlake Legal Group zumba-gold-dancing Here’s why seniors should join a Zumba class, according to a local instructor workouts workout wellness strength seniors senior-based workouts Senior Living health and wellness Health gyms Fitness Features fitness exercise balance
Photo courtesy of Anya Avilov

Do most students make it a habit to come on a regular basis?

There are about 35 to 40 people that come every week to learn from me. The social aspect of this workout is amazing. They often come about 40 minutes before the class to chat with one another and they really look forward to this part of it. For some of the classes, I have to start music for them to really focus on the routine. 

What are some of the challenges involved in teaching these classes?

I think it’s very important for a Zumba Gold instructor to try and find out about previous health issues their students have, and ultimately understand alternative moves they can utilize. If there was a hip issue for example, you don’t cross your legs completely. With neck rolls, you make sure they don’t bend too far. The main challenge is seeing everyone and explaining carefully that it is okay to substitute moves, and that listening to your body is essential. Sometimes they really don’t want to. I always emphasize the importance of listening to your body. It’s never you can’t do it, just try it another way. 

What’s your favorite part of teaching these workouts in NoVA?

I just love when my students get better and enjoy life. They are like family to me at this point after so many years. For example, two friends who met in my class recently went to Australia with their families. They came back to tell me they were faster than some of their grandkids, and they told me they wouldn’t have been able to do it without my classes. Another student uses her cane less in day-to-day life now. And just recently, one of my newer students said she can bend down to get a toy for her dog and not worry about falling over, which she couldn’t do before starting my class two months ago. The entire experience is so rewarding. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How healthy were 2019’s trendiest diets? A local expert weighs in

Westlake Legal Group trendy-diets-2019-Maksymiv-Iurii How healthy were 2019’s trendiest diets? A local expert weighs in wellness vegetarian nutrition tips Nutrition Features nutrition New Year's Resolutions Keto Diet intermittent fasting healthy eating health and wellness Health fitness expert advice eating diets dieting diet
© Maksymiv Iurii / stock.adobe.com

We live in a culture where brands like Weight Watchers and SlimFast are household names. 

Dieting is part of the social scene, and it’s not surprising with our reliance on social media how quickly new diets can seemingly pop up (and transform news feeds) almost instantaneously. 

In 2019, we saw the rise of the ketogenic (keto) diet, a low-carb and high-fat diet regimen that supposedly forces the body to burn stored fat rather than carbohydrates. We also saw the resurgence of Whole30, based on the New York Times bestselling cookbook, and a transition into flexitarian dietary patterns rather than strictly vegetarian or vegan. And who could forget intermittent fasting

To take a look back at this year’s trendiest diets, we spoke with Joanna Pustilnik of Mind Body Health LLC in Arlington, a registered dietitian and nutritionist. Find highlights from our conversation below. 

As a dietitian and personal-health professional, how do you feel about so-called “trendy” diets?

I usually have a healthy amount of skepticism when evaluating a new diet.  By definition, to be trendy or faddish is to be “intensely fashionable for a short time.” Humans are naturally drawn toward novel experiences, so trendy diets, offering promises of extreme or easy weight loss, are appealing. Clients often approach me with the desire to start their weight loss journey utilizing trendy diet guidelines, and I always share the research and try to encourage a more balanced, sustainable approach, such as intuitive eating. The problem is, traditional advice to “eat less and move more” is too vague for most people.

Unfortunately, trendy diets don’t come through on their promises and usually do more harm than good. In half of dieters, for example, post-dieting binges occur as a reaction to the diet-induced feelings of deprivation. In both my clinical experience, as well as what the research shows, dieting usually causes a slowed or sluggish metabolism leading to post-diet weight gain, less trust in our bodies, feelings of confusion about what or how much to eat, worsened body image and increased risk of disordered eating.

Do you find that those who jump on the bandwagon and start a trendier diet are successful, or does it fade away and people revert back to their old eating habits?

There is a plethora of anecdotal evidence supporting dieter’s success. On social media or Facebook, you are likely to find examples of people who have been “successful” on any particular diet, but we must exercise caution in how we define success. For example, imagine an image where there is a before and after picture, and the person has lost significant weight and looks happy. This is defined as dieting “success”, but weight change does not necessarily equal health or happiness. Research tells us that most people gain the weight back, and possibly more, after a year to a few years. In fact, dieting is found to be a consistent predictor of weight gain in long-term studies. Dieting can also cause bone loss, decreased muscle mass and metabolic issues. And often, the whole story isn’t shown in the photo. We can’t see if that person has developed hidden disordered eating patterns or increased anxiety surrounding meal choices or body image, which often occur when going “on a diet.”

Also, a thinner weight does not always equal a healthier person. We can be healthy at any size. People do usually return to previous eating habits, possibly with new onset bingeing or last-supper-type eating, and this yo-yo dieting increases risks for chronic diseases and a worse relationship with our bodies and our food.

What actually falls into the framework of dieting and what should readers know about it?

There is a difference between what we consider dieting and following a dietary pattern. A dietary pattern is a way of eating that is sustainable over a lifetime and typically doesn’t arbitrarily exclude whole food groups or dictate a caloric level. Dietary patterns are well-studied, and certain dietary patterns can be a successful way to improve our health. A recent study, for example, found Seventh-day Adventists, who follow a plant-based dietary pattern, have 30% lower risk of early death as well as a 30% lower risk of cancer. They also have a lower average BMI compared to the general population. The Mediterranean dietary pattern has also been shown to help decrease our risk of heart disease and cancer. Trendy diets usually don’t have the same level of evidence to support them. 

Potential benefits to dieting, however, are usually short term. Many people are motivated and excited when beginning a diet, full of hope and expectation. Dieting may also help people begin an exercise program as part of this enthusiasm. There also may be initial weight loss accompanying the diet, and for some, weight loss may be significant.

Diets center around deprivation which taps into primal hunger which often causes overeating, binges, cravings and subsequent guilt when we can’t “stick to the diet”. We are biologically wired to resist this deprivation so our metabolic rate decreases and hunger hormones increase. These changes don’t subside after we return to our regular eating so weight regain is the norm. 

Let’s break down the trendy diets of 2019. What is your take, and is any particular diet beneficial?

  • The keto Diet (also known as the ketogenic diet): The keto diet is 70% fat and less than 10% carbohydrates. It has been found to be beneficial for those suffering from epilepsy under the watchful eye of a doctor, but for long-term, successful weight loss, the evidence is just not there yet. I have many concerns about this diet, and I don’t believe it is a long-term solution. This diet is so low-carb that it triggers our body to use fat in the form of acidic ketone bodies, as well as protein from our muscles. This causes an acidic environment in our body which can be dangerous to our organs long term, and it can also cause muscle loss which will increase the risk of weight regain due to a decrease metabolism. Side effects of low-carb diets include fatigue, anxiety, depression. We need carbohydrates for energy, so this diet is hard to follow due to the cravings it naturally creates for these energy-producing foods. It is very difficult to follow for this reason and unappealing for many. High fat diets can also trigger insulin resistance.
  • Intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting cycles between having  one or two days a week with only 500 calories (“fasting days”) and normal intake days where you eat what you want. Another approach is to only eating within an eight-hour period, and still another option is to fast for a full 24-hour period about once or twice a week. Fasting appears to be as beneficial as caloric deprivation on fasting insulin levels, and some research suggests it preserves lean muscle mass better than a low-calorie diet, but evidence is mostly in animal studies and not generalized. Anecdotal evidence from proponents of fasting diets suggest it is easy to follow, helps with increased energy levels and causes weight loss. Micronutrient levels may be difficult to reach, however, and side effects such as irritability, difficulty concentrating and fatigue are common on fasting days. Increased thoughts about food are common and distracting for many. Those at risk of eating disorders should steer clear. Socially, it can be very hard to follow.
  • The Mediterranean diet: I view this as a dietary pattern more than a diet. It has a large body of evidence supporting its use to prevent heart disease. It doesn’t cut out any foods or food groups, but it encourages fish, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, olive oil, and in moderation suggests low fat dairy and poultry. It limits added sugars and red meat as well as processed foods and other sources of saturated fat. It has been found to decrease inflammation and can cause weight loss due to its high fiber content. It is a balanced dietary pattern that doesn’t typically trigger feelings of restriction or a sense of being “on a diet.” Mediterranean cookbooks are full of satisfying and balanced plant-based meals with a focus on healthy fats. This is a way of eating with staying power, not a trendy diet.
  • Flexitarian diet: A flexitarian diet is a semi-vegetarian diet, and there is emerging evidence that it can help decrease body weight, improve metabolic health and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Plant-based dietary patterns such as this, as well as the vegetarian or vegan dietary patterns, are actually different levels of restriction within the plant-based dietary pattern. Vegans eat no animal products, vegetarians consume some eggs or dairy, and Flexitarians may eat some meat. The most important aspect of any of these is to utilize whole plant foods to obtain the plant chemicals, fiber, vitamins and minerals associated with greater health. Both veganism and vegetarianism are considered appropriate across the lifespan if planned well. We do not need animal products to meet our needs, and vegetarians and vegans have lower body weights as compared to meat-eating controls. Plant-based diets can improve mental health, positively impact our gut health, cut cancer risk, protect our heart, improve our blood sugars and they are also better for the planet. I routinely see my clients improve their health in all categories when they switch to a more plant-based diet. But we shouldn’t look at plant-based eating as a diet. How we think about our eating is important, and choosing to eat more plants and whole foods should be viewed as a lifelong goal instead of a trendy diet. Viewing it as a diet may trigger the same feelings of deprivation as other diets
  • Whole30: There isn’t much evidence to support this diet. It limits fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and is very high in meat for this reason. It can be difficult to follow and creates confusion about how to eat after the 30 days. I don’t view it as a way to “transform” our diet, because it isn’t a diet that considers our preferences, supports balanced intake or considers our ability to follow it long term. It is more a diet to promote short-term weight loss that, again, has all the risks of dieting—lowered metabolic rate, increased cravings, risk for emotional eating and weight regain. This fast-fix diet mentality is dangerous. I’ve had clients who have been on and off diets for decades with the resultant low self-esteem and yo-yo weight cycling only to finally hit rock bottom and decide they need to come face-to-face with the real problem—their expectation that diets work. There is no fast fix to health. We all need to examine our intake and life habits and make the needed changes over time to achieve weight loss and vitality.

When it comes to trendy diets in 2020, how should readers react and what should they know?

We should give up the idea that diets are a good idea. If this is difficult, I absolutely encourage finding a professional who is grounded in an intuitive eating, non-diet approach to help heal our relationship with food and come to a place of body positivity and health. If something is new and trendy, promising a quick fix, we should always use skepticism. 

What is your hope for readers and clients for a healthier 2020?

I hope we all begin to feel more confident in our bodies. I hope we are able to enjoy our foods and live in our bodies without guilt. I hope we can appreciate that health is independent of weight, and we should focus more on how we feel, not what we see on the scale. I also hope we will continue to value a planet-friendly, sustainable way of eating. 

Is there anything else readers should know?

The way we eat is very emotional, very visceral. We make food choices based on habits and history, but also on false ideas and untested theories. If you find yourself using words like “should” or “hate” in relation to food, I encourage you to reevaluate your overall relationship with how, why and what you eat. Often, it is not a new, trendy diet we need, but an honest assessment of how we feel about our food and our related beliefs.

For more health-related content, subscribe to our weekly newsletters. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

TC Williams High School alumnus Noah Lyles looks to 2020 Olympics

Westlake Legal Group noah-lyles-notes-feature TC Williams High School alumnus Noah Lyles looks to 2020 Olympics Track & Field T.C. Williams High School Sports running Profiles Olympics Noah Lyles News & Updates health and wellness Health fitness Faces Culture Features Culture alexandria #culturedbeef
© ASSOCIATED PRESS – Photo by Ulrik Pedersen

Track star Noah Lyles always knew he wanted to be one of the fastest runners in the world—and he’s already done it at just 22 years old. The T.C. Williams High School graduate raced his way to two gold medals at the 2019 World Athletic Championships in Doha, Qatar in October, where he became a world champion in the 200-meter sprint in an astonishing 19.83 seconds.

The Washington Post dubbed him “the star that track and field needs,” and a record-rival of Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. Recently, he took a break from the track to visit his alma mater in Alexandria. We caught up with him there and asked Lyles about his dedication to the sport and his most successful year yet.

What inspires you to run?
For me, it’s about the feeling of breaking my body down to make it better. I love working out. And I love having fun. I only do things that, basically, I like to do [which include running, painting, making music and more]. I enjoy every day of my life because I get to do what I love.

How did your time at T.C. Williams influence your running career?
Most of the things I do today are because of what I learned in high school. We learned how to visualize, how to prepare days in advance for track meets, how to travel and how to be on time. Those were all things that we had to learn that when we were going pro, I already had this stuff and I was just taking it along with me and building upon it.

What was it like to step on the gold medal podium in Qatar?
It was the first time I felt a little sense of nervousness again. I knew that something great was going to happen and I just wanted to make it happen as soon as possible. Stepping onto the podium, honestly, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Everything that’s happening is there for you. They’re playing the national anthem for you, because of something you did.

This post originally appeared in our December 2019 issue. For more local coverage, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Treat yourself with holiday-inspired spa treatments in NoVA

Westlake Legal Group holiday-spa-treatments-feature Treat yourself with holiday-inspired spa treatments in NoVA wellness spas spa treatments spa day spa Northern Virginia Spas massages holidays holiday season health and wellness Health facials christmas Beauty
© Pixel-Shot / stock.adobe.com

Admit it: you need a break. 

Between holiday shopping, family scheduling and party appearances, you could use the chance to kick off your shoes, get a massage and treat yourself before more of the holiday madness begins. 

Lucky for you, Northern Virginia is home to more than two dozen spas that are ready to take care of you, whether it’s with a cleansing facial, a deep tissue massage or the perfect mani-pedi. Here are three of our favorite holiday-inspired treatments for the season.

To stay up to date on all things NoVA, subscribe to our weekly e-newsletters. If you’re looking for more holiday content, be sure to check out our Holiday Headquarters

Fountains Day Spa
The cold temperatures have arrived, and if you’re looking for the best way to warm up from your head to your toes, get a Hot Toddy for Your Body, from Fountain Day Spa. An 80-minute hot stone massage paired with an ulta hydradermie facial will have you feeling warm, cozy and rejuvenated to take on the rest of the season. The Alexandria-based spa is also offering a Spahh-liday package including a gingerbread mini massage with essential oils (hello cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg!), a 25-minute reflexology treatment and sole relaxation. Now through Tuesday, Dec. 31, find special discounts on holiday packages, making the season even sweeter! // Fountain Day Spa: 422 S. Washington St., Alexandria; $188.10-$321.30

Salamander Resort & Spa
When it comes to winter-inspired ingredients and self-care experiences, Salamander Resort & Spa wants to treat you for the holiday season. Take care of your toes by indulging in a peppermint and chocolate pedicure (the peppermint scrub will help invigorate and nourish your feet, while you sip on a cup of hot chocolate), or calm dry skin with the Winter Essentials facial. The deep exfoliating chemical peel will help your skin feel in tiptop shape for every must-attend event of the season. Looking to start your new year off right in 2020? Be sure to book a winter aroma massage (a Swedish-inspired massage with essential oils), and check out all of the new offerings coming to the space. // Salamander Resort & Spa: 500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg; $80-$185

Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa
Starting on Saturday, Dec. 21, the Kimpton Lorien is celebrating the rush of the holiday season (and the relaxation that follows) with a winter warming body wrap, using warm and hydrating essential oils and shea butter that will keep your skin smooth and hydrated for the winter. If you’re looking to lose the knots and tightness in your muscles, book a cranberry and pomegranate Holiday Bliss massage, an aromatic massage meant to relieve tension in the body (let go of those stressful family moments!) and offer a customized blend of essential oils to leave you feeling relieved and ready to take on the new decade. // Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa: 1600 King St., Alexandria; $110-$125

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

James Cleverly: We need one last push, with your help, to deliver Brexit, stop Corbyn – and win

James Cleverly is Chairman of the Conservative Party, and is MP for Braintree.

On Thursday, voters will go to the polls in an election unlike any I have seen before. The stakes are high. The choice is stark. And we have just five days to secure the result we need.  Nine seats stand between us and the majority that would allow us to get things done. To deliver Brexit, bring the country back together and move forward.

All 635 Conservative candidates will back the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal – that’s the deal, by the way, that we were told he’d never get. We will re-introduce the Withdrawal Agreement by Christmas and leave the EU in January.

Just think what we could achieve then. We’d be able to refocus the efforts and energy of Government and Parliament on the ambitious agenda the Prime Minister presented in our manifesto. On levelling up education funding, helping families onto the housing ladder, supporting local businesses and boosting the number of nurses in our NHS.

A vote for any other party is a vote to put Jeremy Corbyn in Number Ten, leading a chaotic, Remain alliance propped up by the Liberal Democrats and the SNP. His promise to respect the referendum result in tatters. His flimsy commitment to the Union predictably abandoned at the first sniff of power. 2020 squandered to two divisive referendums.

Voting Conservative is the only way to end the paralysis that has characterised the last three and a half years and restore faith in the democratic system we all live by. Voters told us what they wanted in 2016. It’s a shocking indictment of contemporary politics that we are the only major party prepared to deliver it.

But the threat of Corbyn goes beyond the damage he would do to public faith in democracy. It goes beyond, even, the economic damage he would inflict on hardworking families and vital public services. Corbyn would fail in Government’s primary responsibility – which is to keep its people safe.

Whereas Labour’s post war Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, saw NATO as embodying the ‘spiritual union’ of the west, Corbyn has said the peacekeeping alliance should be scrapped. No matter that over the last 70 years it has halted Soviet aggression and helped to prevent a third world war.

He would undermine our armed forced, disempower the police and inflict irreversible damage on our closest security alliances. Under Corbyn’s leadership, Labour has turned its back on the party’s traditional support, mutating into something which an ever-rising number of former Labour MPs feel compelled to urge the British public to vote against. As Ivan Lewis put it last week, it’s not the Labour party of our parents or grandparents. And it’s led by a man entirely unfit to be Prime Minister.

Since becoming Party Chairman, I’ve visited candidates and spoken to constituents up and down the country. The fear people feel at the prospect of a Corbyn premiership is palpable. And we have five days to make sure that doesn’t happen.

We didn’t want this election, but we do need it. And we need to win it. We can’t do that without you.

General elections require a special kind of commitment from members and activists. General elections in deepest winter event more so. I’ve seen first-hand the dedication of our associations and supporters over the past five weeks, but as we enter the final five days we need one last push.

In 2017, 51 MPs were returned with majorities of less than a thousand. That’s 51 results potentially determined by an extra hour on the doorstep, an extra evening delivering or telephone canvassing. In a tight election, these ‘extras‘ makes all the difference. We need just nine more seats to get Brexit done and move our country forward.

So here’s my ask to you. I need you to find the time for just a couple more hours leafletting and on polling day to work with our candidates. Whatever you can give our candidates across the country. When we work together, the Conservative Party can deliver incredible results. Just look at the famous victories of 2015 or 1979.  Those victories were not just delivered by our Party’s leaders or manifestos.

They were delivered by you, our members. Taking the argument to the doorsteps of the UK and making the case for a Conservative majority government. I don’t want any of us on Friday thinking, ‘what more could I have done?’ as we look down the barrel of years more in-fighting, dithering and delay.

Like our candidates, I will be pounding the pavements. Like our councillors, I will be wearing my knuckles out knocking on doors. Like our association chairmen, I will be making sure that come December 13th we have the majority we need to take our country forward.  I hope you will join me.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Myth or fact: Do we feel hungrier and eat more in the winter?

Westlake Legal Group winter-eating-Pixel-Shot Myth or fact: Do we feel hungrier and eat more in the winter? winter wellness weight loss Nutrition Features nutrition advice nutrition health and wellness Health healh fitness expert advice Eating Habits eating
© Pixel Shot / stock.adobe.com

With winter comes the holiday season, and pantries stock quickly with canned soups, boxes of pasta, treats to satisfy sweet tooths … and let’s not forget the leftovers.

There’s nothing wrong with consciously indulging during the holidays, says Debbie Jeffery, RDN, LD, of Fairfax Nutrition. But what about that lingering hunger that seems to make an appearance every few hours during the wintertime? 

“There’s speculation that part of it might be our caveman-type of gene, maybe that we’re storing extra energy, whereas other people speculate about daylight hours and serotonin,” says Jeffery, who has more than 20 years of experience in the field. “Serotonin boosts our mood, and carbohydrates have that same effect, so some people think that feeling can result in us craving carbs. Less exposure to sunlight [from daylight saving time] can mean we turn to those carb-heavy comfort foods too.” 

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Aside from the holiday season influencing self-critical behaviors, binging or other unhealthy tendencies, winter eating habits can change for a variety of reasons. 

“There’s a difference between people who are hungry, and then people that just want to eat. People eat for many reasons that do not have to do with nourishing their bodies,” says Jeffery. “It might be because they’re bored, more stressed, the longer and darker days … and then they’re eating, but not necessarily from the point of hunger.”

One of Jeffery’s theories on how most people add on a few extra pounds also has to do with winter fashion. 

“In the winter, we wear much heavier clothes, such as sweaters, and our bodies are covered, so we are not as keyed into it as we are in the summer,” says Jeffery. “We don’t notice those couple of pounds, and all of the sudden spring comes.” 

Luckily, there is a way to avoid stress-induced, boredom-induced and, of course, cold-weather-induced eating habits: awareness.

“If you’re eating at times other than you normally would, ask yourself, ‘Am I hungry, or am I just having that need that I want to eat?’,” says Jeffery. “Focus on eating different types of food, and don’t go for the high-calorie comfort food [when you’re feeling extra hunger pains] so you can make sure to balance. If you cut out too much [comfort food], you may really want to binge, and you don’t want to get into deprivation. Just be aware, look at what you’re doing and maybe get on the scale periodically, say once a week, and adjust accordingly.” 

If pangs of hunger or a few extra pounds have you considering a drastic New Year’s resolution, Jeffery says it’s better to start out with smaller lifestyle changes. 

“You can’t diet, lose the weight and then go back to the way you were eating,” says Jeffery. “Have incremental steps each day, and have the resolutions be specific, such as eating two servings of vegetables a day rather than just saying, ‘I want to eat healthy.’” 

Otherwise, try to keep yourself exercising and get outside in the sun for some much-needed fresh air and full-body movement. And remember, it’s OK to enjoy the winter months, even with more opportunities to snack or splurge. 

“If you want ice cream, go to the ice cream shop. Don’t have it in your house,” says Jeffery. “That way, you’re not going to overindulge and you can still have it.”

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Expert tips on running and biking in the winter

Westlake Legal Group running-and-biking-winter-tips-feature Expert tips on running and biking in the winter winter wellness running tips running run health tips health and wellness Health Fitness Features fitness exercise biking tips biking bikes Bike arlington
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Yes, it’s cold. And it’s probably going to get colder. That doesn’t mean you should stop outdoor exercise altogether, says Henry Dunbar, director of BikeArlington

“Be flexible, have the layers and push yourself a little bit,” says Dunbar. “It’s OK to be a little cool to start out, but you’ll warm up pretty quickly.”

To help you tackle winter exercising with ease, we spoke with year-round cyclist Henry Dunbar of BikeArlington, and Dave Ringwood, training program coach at the Formula Running Center in Clarendon. Below, find their best tips for beating the cold and staying active while waiting for spring to arrive.

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Let’s start by discussing the challenges of biking and running in the winter. Other than the cooler temperatures, what makes this time of year more challenging?
HR: One of the challenges is really just the amount of planning you have to take into account. The weather in this region can be anywhere from 10 degrees to 50, and with many cold-weather activities, the key is layers. You have to be able to adjust to what the temperatures may be at any point in the day.

DR: Winter mornings provide anything but a warm welcome to us runners. We get up those mornings and know what’s on the other side of the front door: any combination of freezing temperatures, darkness, snow and ice. By contrast, we could remain inside with the ability to turn up the heat, turn on Netflix and tell ourselves, “I’ll get my run in later.” But laying out your outfit the night before, planning to run with a friend or group and preparing a post-run meal are all valid ways to increase your motivation to run on those mornings. The more consistent you become with your morning routine, the easier it becomes. 

If you’re someone who already has a biking or running schedule during the warmer months, should you readjust it for winter?
HR: As a year-round cyclist, I would stick to the same time frame, but the light changes, so make sure you have good light on your bike and reflective equipment. Being able to see and be seen are essential.

DR: I strongly recommend adjusting one’s training to account for winter obstacles. Freezing temperatures, darkness, snow and ice are just a few aspects of winter that impact one’s running. With that said, I have several recommendations. First, focus on effort and time over speed and distance. Instead of mapping out a specific distance run to be covered at a certain pace, consider how long that would take in ideal conditions and then run on that length of time for the same effort. You’ll get the same aerobic benefits as you would any time of year, despite the wintry conditions. Second, allow yourself flexibility with your schedule! No training plan should be absolutely set in stone, especially when winter elements can be so unpredictable. While braving a blizzard to get in your long run might make for a cool story, staying healthy and setting a new PR makes for an even better one. 

What are some tips you might suggest to someone who is just starting out this winter, or who is looking to add biking and/or running to their New Year’s resolutions?
HR: Biking offers transportation flexibility and the opportunity to not be locked into one particular mode of getting around. The exercise benefits are the same as in the summer too. But I would say the secret to starting is having that windproof outer layer. That really goes a long way in keeping warm. I find that I don’t have to wear that much clothing if I have that shell. Also, waterproof gloves. The other thing is, even if you don’t want to ride when it’s under 40 degrees, you can still ride some days throughout the winter. Even if it rains on Monday, you could be guaranteed perfect riding conditions for the rest of the week. The weather will change.

DR: I think the most valuable advice I can give to a beginning runner (or one getting back into the game) is to find your support system. This could be family, friends, a running group, heck … even pets make for a great support system! As long as you feel supported and held accountable, you’re setting yourself up for success. As for tips, I definitely have a few that I have learned from personal experience. First, it can be easy to overdress for the cold. A general rule of thumb is to dress for 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature, as your body will naturally warm up throughout the run. Second, make sure you continue hydrating. Despite the colder temperatures, we still sweat while running. Third, shorten your stride to stabilize your center of gravity. This becomes especially important when running on uncleared sidewalks. You have to stay on your feet if you want to keep running!

Are there any equipment tips you might you offer to runners and bikers for the winter?
HR: The real secret for me was when I discovered Bar Mitts. They’re big, mitten-like things that fit over the handlebars. Those are the only things that truly made the difference in making sure my fingers didn’t freeze. 

DR: Warm up before you head out the door. A dynamic warmup routine should be performed inside to ease the transition from your warm house to the cold outdoors. Understand the purpose of each clothing layer to stay warm. Your base layer should be made of a fitted, dry-wicking material to retain heat while allowing moisture to escape. A second, middle layer can be worn depending on how cold it is. This is looser fitting and can even be fleece material. A jacket should be worn on top to both retain heat and block the wind. For safety, reflectors should be your best friends. Running out in the brisk winter air is a great way to feel alive, while remaining visible to vehicles is a great way to stay alive. Finally, gloves are good, but mittens are better! When you’re out on a run, your body is the lone source of your warmth. While gloves prevent the colder elements from reaching your hands as quickly, they also prevent your hands from warming themselves. Investing in a quality pair of running mittens was one of the best running-gear purchases I’ve ever made! 

And if it’s just too cold outside, any suggestions?
HR: Everyone has to make their own choice. I don’t ride when there’s ice, but that’s where Capital Bikeshare can come in handy. Those bikes are very sturdy and forgivable, even in bad conditions. I know a lot of people won’t ride their own bikes when it’s slushy out, and the local bikes are designed to withstand weather conditions. 

DR: I’m a strong proponent of treadmill running, especially during the winter months. Treadmills provide a control of external variables in such a way that can’t be replicated outdoors and, as a coach at the Formula Running Center, I’ve seen runners of all abilities benefit tremendously from that control. 

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16 healthy things to do in December

Westlake Legal Group salad-bowl 16 healthy things to do in December wellness Things to Do nutrition mental health health and wellness Health gyms Fitness Features fitness Events
Photo by Brooke Lark

Those holiday cookies and cocktails are tempting, but sticking to your health goals through December isn’t impossible. Offset all those extra calories, or just go have fun, at these 16 events around town. From workouts to mental health seminars, they will help you get your body and mind right, just in time for the new year. 

Polar Bear 5K
Sunday, Dec. 1, 9-11:30 a.m.
Occoquan’s official Polar Bear 5K is a fun and healthy event for all ages. Take the 5K race course by storm, winding through the Occoquan Regional Park as you look out at the scenic Occoquan River. Race participants will receive a free race mug and a coupon for a free hot chocolate. // Occoquan Regional Park: 9751 Ox Road, Lorton; $15-$30

Yoga Alignment 88
Sunday, Dec. 1, 10-11 a.m.
Learn 14 new yoga poses and build them into a flow at this yoga class hosted by Sand & Steel Fitness at Aslin Brewery. One ticket includes the yoga class and one Aslin beer. And, the first 20 registrants will receive a gift certificate for a free class at Sands & Steel. If you have a yoga mat, bring it, but if not mat rentals are available for $5. // Aslin Beer Company: 847 S. Pickett St., Alexandria; $20-$25

Zumba at Eavesdrop Brewery
Sunday, Dec. 1, 11 a.m.-noon
Get your Zumba on at this hour-long event to burn off that Thanksgiving meal. Each ticket includes access to the Zumba class and one beer, wine or cider at the end. Plus, enjoy $1 off all drink purchases. // Eavesdrop Brewery: 7223 Centreville Road, Suite 115, Manassas; $13-$15

Monthly Community Wellness Event: Seasonal Flavors
Sunday, Dec. 1, 3-5 p.m.
Ekoe Health owner Lynn Westine, M.S., DCN-c, will share small-bite recipes featuring nutrient-dense, seasonal foods. Learn how to chop, roast, sauté and simmer in your own kitchen for the winter months. // Ekoe Health: 254 N. Washington St., Falls Church; free

Community Sunset Sip + Stretch
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 5-6:30 p.m.
Take a deep breath ahead of the holidays that often bring stress as an unwanted side effect. Watch the sunset as you practice yoga and relax during the guided meditation. Select tea will be provided by Elden Street Tea Shop after the class. // Rowan Tree: 280 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon; free

Healthy Holiday Meals
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 7-8:30 p.m.
This educational lecture will address how to cook healthy meals that are traditionally calorie-heavy during holiday parties and get-togethers. After, there will be a 30-minute Q&A session. // Roselle Center for Healing: 8500 Executive Park Ave., Suite 300, Merrifield; free

Run RTC: lululemon Run Club
Every Thursday, 6-7 a.m.
Bundle up and hit the pavement with lululemon’s Run Club. Each Thursday morning, the group meets outside the Reston Town Center location for a 25- to 45-minute run. All running levels are welcome. // lululemon: 11957 Market St., Reston; free

Eat the Frog Fitness Broadlands Grand Opening
Thursday, Dec. 5, 5-7 p.m.
The first-ever Eat the Frog Fitness location in the DMV is officially open. Head to its grand opening event for music, spirits, hors d’oeuvres, giveaways and more information on the unique workouts offered there. // Eat the Frog Fitness: 43170 Southern Walk Plaza, Suite 104, Ashburn

Sahaja Yoga Meditation
Every Thursday, 7-8 p.m.
Sahaja Yoga was created in 1970 to help participants “breakthrough in the evolution of human awareness.” It is practiced in over 100 countries and focuses on reducing stress and anxiety, improving creativity, building up self-confidence and bringing overall peace to the mind. // Herndon Fortnightly Library: 768 Center St., Herndon; free

Introduction to Essential Oils
Saturday, Dec. 7, 2:30-4 p.m.
Want to learn more about essential oils and how they can help reduce stress, soothe muscles, improve sleep and help alleviate other common health issues? Head to Ekoe Health where two special guests will be discussing the benefits of essential oils. // Ekoe Health: 254 N. Washington St., Falls Church; free

Sunday Sweat Series
Sunday, Dec. 8, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Lace up your sneakers and head to lululemon’s Clarendon location for a Barry’s Bootcamp class, which will feature high-intensity interval training to tone muscle through a combination of running and weight lifting. // lululemon: 2847 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 150, Arlington; free

Baby Goat Yoga Pajama Party
Sunday, Dec. 8, 1:30-2:30 p.m. & 3-4 p.m.
Get happy with goat yoga. Friendly goats from Walnut Creek Farm will freely roam around as participants enjoy a casual yoga practice, with plenty of time for goat cuddles and photos afterward. // Faith Lutheran Church: 3313 Arlington Blvd., Arlington; $35

Sweat and Shop
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 5-8 p.m.
Head to lululemon’s Mosaic District location to work up a holiday sweat before diving into that never-ending shopping list. // lululemon: 2920 District Ave., Suite 105, Fairfax; free

Health Empowerment Expo
Saturday, Dec. 14 and Sunday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Shop over 30 vendors at this expo, featuring health and wellness products, beauty products, clothes, accessories and more. There will also be consultations with fitness professionals, free health screenings and opportunities to meet health care providers. // Springfield Mall: 6500 Springfield Mall Town Center, Springfield; $0-$600 

DIY Bath Bubbles and Bath Salts
Sunday, Dec. 15, 2-4 p.m.
Itchy skin and dryness are common in the winter months, but there is a way to combat those symptoms. At this workshop, learn how to make your own bubble bath and bath salts with essential oils to create hydrating products for your skin. // Hambrock Holistic Healing Center: 297 Herndon Parkway, Suite 105, Herndon; $15

Yoga Saturdays
Saturday, Dec. 21, 9-10 a.m.
Unwind before Christmas at this yoga class designed for all levels. Be sure to bring your own water and mat. // Prince James Clubhouse: 5900 Prince James Drive, Springfield; free

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Sejal Bhansali: Labour’s pledge of free dental check-ups is a costly gimmick

Dr Sejal Bhansali is Chairman of Conservative Dentists.

Last week the Labour Party announced, that if elected, everyone will be entitled to a ‘free teeth MOT’. What has not been reported is that under the current Conservative Government, check ups are already free for:

  • Children (but less than 40 per cent of the population attend the dentist);
  • Students under 19;
  • Pregnant mothers or those who have had a baby in the previous 12 months;
  • In-Hospital patients;
  • The unemployed or those on Income Support.

Cost is not the barrier to dental treatment. The challenge is, more so, access to dentists and the size of the profession willing to work with the NHS.

A previous Labour government introduced the current dental contract in 2006, whereby dentists are paid by UDAs (Units of Dental Activity). If a patient needs ten fillings or one, the dentist is still paid the same, which is a ‘Band 2’. The contract does not take into account the growing cost of materials, practice management or the cost of auxiliary staff, for example dental nurses and receptionists. It often costs a practice more to treat NHS patients then what they receive for doing so.

The contract has forced a number of practices to become solely Private Practice. Working within the NHS is no longer financially viable for many dentists. This in turn, has led to challenges of access, whereby many areas of the country lack a single NHS dentist.

The Labour policy has not discussed what happens if, after the free dental examination, the patients need treatment. Who is going to pay for this, the ‘Unicorn of Dental Activity’? Offering free examinations only works if the patient has a stable mouth.

When studying to become a dentist, the one phrase I was taught very early on was, ‘prevention is better than cure’. It is with dismay, so far, that I note the Labour Party has not mentioned anything about prevention.

Dental decay is 99 per cent preventable. Currently, oral health disease is the third most expensive healthcare condition behind diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Oral health disease places a significant burden on the NHS. Between April 2015 and March 2018 there were over 100,000 hospital admissions due to tooth decay among children. One in four children have dental decay by the time they start school.

The whole focus of Matt Hancock and the Conservative Government is on prevention. A commitment has been made to roll out improved toothbrushing schemes in nurseries and schools across England, and to produce proposals for supervised toothbrushing programmes that can reach 30 per cent of the most deprived 3-5 year olds by 2022.

A position on water fluoridation has also been taken, with Whitehall instructing the NHS to work more closely with local authorities to implement water fluoridation schemes. A sugar levy has been introduced and there is strong evidence it is working.

More needs to be done on prevention. Introducing the subject of oral health on the the Early Years Curriculum; increasing the number of advertisements that incorporate the importance of oral health and correct meal choices for children; encouraging the availability of more healthy, better and cheaper food and encouraging schools and nurseries to go ‘sugar free’, are all examples of good behaviour.

By contrast, Labour’s promise is just another ill-thought-through election gimmick.

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