Health Things That Help

Sarah Jane

What are we like?

We are like Sarah Jane Moss who does 6 classes a week for Healthy Generations.

“I became a fitness instructor to help people living with daily pain due to conditions I once lived with. I had lower back pain due to osteoarthritis in the lumbar spine and knee pain. With the right exercises I was able to manage my pain and conditions. I believe strongly in exercise to help manage medical conditions and  improve the quality of life, health and wellness.

I love teaching group exercise classes in the community. It’s a wonderful thing how health charities like Healthy Generations bring people together in a friendly and positive atmosphere. It helps to reduce loneliness in some people and is a good way to keep fit, socialise and meet new people.

Exercise helps with day to day activities improving the quality of life.

I find it so uplifting to see the joy in everyone’s faces as they begin to move their bodies through a series of exercises. I choose to teach face to face classes as I love the atmosphere and togetherness. In a class people connect to with each other which in turn helps with motivation and build relationships; and it’s so much fun! 

When coming to my classes expect to feel uplifted and energised. I will challenge you in a good way and you will leave feeling worked out! My mission is to help Islington’s older generation feel fit, functional and happy.”

This week the highlight is her “Exercise to Music” Class every Tuesday 10.00am at the West Library just off Caledonian Road.

To join click here

And she also does:

Monday Dance Fitness Sundial Centre 2.00pm – JOIN
Monday Older People Strength, Kings Square 12.00pm – JOIN
Tuesday Dance Fitness at Jean Stokes 3.00pm – JOIN
Thursday Seated Keep fit at Light Project 1.00pm – JOIN
Friday Highbury Fields Outdoors Keep Fit 9.45am – JOIN

Health Things That Help


Lactose – The Full Story

65 percent of all adult humans in the world are lactose intolerant. For the other 35 percent the ability to tolerate lactose (called lactose persistence because the ability persists into adulthood) is between 15 to 54 percent in Eastern and Southern Europe, 62 and 86 percent in in central and western Europe and more than 90 percent in the British Isles and Scandinavia. The two other areas with lactose persistence are the Maasai people in Eastern Africa and the Fulani in central and west Africa. All of us have a long history of farming cattle. So us adult Brits have an over 9 in 10 chance of being able to digest lactose.

Maasai herdsman

All human infants are obviously lactose tolerant in order to feed on breast milk but then become increasingly intolerant after weaning and transition to adulthood.

Lactose intolerance is not an allergy – it’s an intolerance. An allergy is an adverse immune response which sometimes happens in response to the protein in milk which can affect between 2 and 3 percent of infants.

Cheese has more or less the same nutritional makeup as milk but has much of the lactose removed. Most of the lactose goes out with the whey which is the liquid part of milk left after milk has been curdled and strained in the production of cheese.

Fulani woman with milk

Lactose levels in milk are around 5 percent and is only 0.07 percent in Cheddar or Parmesan. That is a 70 fold reduction. The softer the cheese the more lactose it will contain. Ricotta can contain 3 percent lactose. Sensitivities to lactose vary so a lot of people who can’t tolerate milk can eat cheese, especially the harder ones. Butter also has very low lactose.

Yoghurt is also easier to digest than milk. The best yogurt for people with lactose intolerance is a full-fat, probiotic yogurt containing live bacterial cultures. The live bacteria helps break down lactose so your body has less to process on its own.

It’s best to look for yogurts labeled “probiotic,” which means they contain live cultures of helpful bacteria. Yogurts that have been pasteurized, a process that kills the bacteria, may not be as well tolerated.

Additionally, full-fat and strained yogurts like Greek and Greek-style yogurt could be an even better choice for people with lactose intolerance because full-fat yogurts contain more fat and less lactose-laden whey than low-fat yogurts. Greek and Greek-style yogurts are strained during processing. This removes even more of the whey, making them naturally much lower in lactose.

Things That Help

Cold Baths

Cold Baths and Showers

Every morning I take a nice warm shower. Then, at the end, I turn the knob to full cold and take a 30 second cold shower. Why? I can only offer this in mitigation and defence: Being a fan of Wim Hof and his breathing it was only a matter of time before the cold showers gradually loomed into view and wrapped icy sprays around my poor body. The ice bath is a little too much hassle. How would you do it? I have one friend who has a tub at the bottom of their garden and once a week pours sacks of ice into it and voila! In they go. But genius Wim Hof does the obvious. He has an old chest freezer in his garage which he keeps filled with water. Every morning he breaks the ice on the top and splosh! In he goes. Who would have thought of that?

But hold on! There is some method and science to this. In Holland research has been done to measure the effects of taking a cold shower every morning and the optimal length to achieve a result. Double blind studies were done between a cold shower group and no cold shower group. They found over a three month period the cold shower group went down with fewer coughs, sneezes, viruses and infections. It seems it is good for you. Then they wanted to know what the optimal length of shower was. Whether it is better the longer the shower lasts. They found that as long as you do 30 seconds you get the same increase in health and ability to throw off whatever is going around as staying under the cold for one or two or even five minutes. So I do 30 seconds.

Aaron Ramsey

But hold on even more!! Read on and discover how top professional footballers use ice baths to aid recovery.

Sitting in a tub of ice cubes is a treatment used by many elite sportsmen, as it helps reduce inflammation in muscle tissues by reducing temperature and blood flow.

Arsenal football club use ice baths and the interesting part is seeing how players react to being dumped into some freezing cold water. Back in 2017 Aaron Ramsey was not the least bit bothered, “I’m from Wales, mate. This feels like a summer’s day to me.” Theo Walcott used the meditative approach, “I am focused… I am relaxed… I am not cold…”

Danny Welbeck was a little more real, “Oh my God, that is cold. I don’t like it… oh, I really, really don’t like it…”

Theo Walcott

Where are they now? Aaron Ramsey now plays for French club Nice. Theo Walcott was just relegated back to the Championship with the club he started with Southampton. And Danny Welbeck just qualified for the Europa League with Brighton and Hove Albion, one of the success stories of this season. Does meditation work?

On the pitch, footballers perform around 700 changes of direction. During the 90 minutes of play they can cover over 10 kilometers. Football players need a large anaerobic capacity to cope with running at high-intensity and sprinting speeds and one strategy to recover from this is cold water immersion in an ice bath.

Danny Welbeck

At the 2013 FIFA sponsored Sports Injury Summit in Wembley, Gregory Dupont of Université de Lille gave a presentation highlighting the strong correlation between fatigue and injury. In fact, the main precursor of injury is fatigue. This became clear in his report that injury rate was 6.2 times higher in players who played two matches per week, compared to those who played only one.

One of the best strategies for minimising fatigue is an ice bath. In fact, not only does it minimise fatigue, but it also reduces the risk of injury and aids recovery.

The recognised therapeutic tissue temperature for ice bath therapy is 12C to 15C, which isn’t achievable in a traditional ice bath, it melts! Also cold water floats to the top of the bath unless the water is constantly moving.

So many clubs use digitally controlled chillers to keep the temperature just right for repair.

Cristiano Ronaldo is renowned for his incredible fitness levels and reportedly once installed a chamber in his own house to keep him in top shape.

His Real Madrid teammate, Gareth Bale, was no stranger to the ‘ice box’, while Leicester’s stars used cryotherapy (cryo – cold)(and I’ll tell you, you take a cold shower every morning and you’ll be crying too) regularly on their way to the Premier League title in 2015/2016 season.

Foxes physios were so impressed with the results they installed a unit inside the King Power dressing room for the players to use pre-match.

Jamie Vardy said: “The cryo chamber that we’ve got at the training ground comes in useful. It’s absolutely freezing but it helps you in your recovery so fair play to the club for getting that in.”

So herewith endeth the lesson. If you want fewer coughs and sneezes and viral diseases take a 30 second cold shower every moaning and you’ll soon be moaning too because you won’t get sick so often.

Things That Help


Chillin’ Is Thrillin’

“JOIN” the “Mindfulness Energy” class every Wednesday morning at 10.00am

You can’t escape it. Doing less is doing more.

Every time and motion research study says the same thing: Taking regular breaks during the day increases productivity.

This is from Dale Carnegie’s book “How To Stop Worrying And Start Living” (yes the guy who wrote “How To Win Friends And Influence People):

“A physical worker can do more work if he takes more time out for rest. Frederick Taylor demonstrated that while working as a scientific management engineer with the Bethlehem Steel Company. He observed that labouring men were loading approximately 12 1/2 tons of pig-iron per man each day on freight cars and that they were exhausted at noon. He made a scientific study of all the fatigue factors involved, and declared that these men should be loading not 12 1/2 tons of pig-iron per day, but forty seven tons per day! He figured that they ought to do almost four times as much as they were doing, and not be exhausted. But prove it!

Taylor selected a Mr. Schmidt who was required to work by the stop-watch. Schmidt was told by the man who stood over him with a watch: “Now pick up a ‘pig’ and walk. … Now sit down and rest. … Now walk. … Now rest.”

What happened? Schmidt carried forty-seven tons of pig-iron each day while the other men carried only 12 1/2 tons per man. And he practically never failed to work at this pace during the three years that Frederick Taylor was at Bethlehem. Schmidt was able to do this because he rested before he got tired. He worked approximately 26 minutes out of the hour and rested 34 minutes. He rested more than he worked-yet he did almost four times as much work as the others! Is this mere hearsay? No, you can read the record yourself in Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick Winslow Taylor.”

If you would like to learn more “JOIN” the “Mindfulness Energy” class every Wednesday morning at 10.00am. We are working directly on relaxing every day, especially when working, and increasing productivity.

Breath Things That Help

Slumbering Diaphragm

The Slumbering Diaphragm

Tibetans have known for a long time and Western science is now discovering that aging does not have to be a one-way process of decline.

The truth is – “Use it or you’ll lose it!”

And regarding breathing most of us spend our lives shallow breathing and not engaging the diaphragm anywhere near fully.

But you can increase lung capacity and two major long-term general health studies found that increased lung capacity was the one metric you could correlate with longevity.

Moderate exercise, walking or cycling, can boost lung size by 15%.

The upper part of our lungs are connected to our sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight mechanisms. When we are stressed we tend to breathe from the upper part of the lungs and breathe more rapidly. Good when you need to quickly run away.

The lower part of the lungs are connected to the parasympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic system is all about slowing down, nodding off, relaxing, meditating, chilling out – rest and digest, feed and breed.

In the next breathing blog we’ll cover some of the simple breathing exercises we can do during the day to connect with the parasympathetic chilled out nervous system – and increase lung capacity.

Exercise Health Things That Help

Muscles and bones

Is bone loss inevitable?

Well here are two stories that say no.

The first is the reason why Healthy Generations began a Remedial Osteoporosis class back in 2016. Loughborough University ran a year-long “Hip Hop Study” measuring the effect of daily exercise in 34 men over 65. They found just two minutes of hopping a day can strengthen hip bones in older men and reduce the risk of fracture after a fall.

Increases of up to 7% were identified in the bone mass of some parts of the outer shell (cortex) and in the density of the layer of spongy bone underneath this. Importantly, there were improvements in the thinnest areas of the bone most at risk of fracture after a fall.

Bones thin with age (lack of exercise), and localised thinning in the hip is associated with an increased risk of hip fracture. The Hip Hop study has shown regular exercise can help counteract the effects of ageing (the effects of not doing enough exercise?) to the bone.

The second story is about Sheila Hancock the famous actress widow of John Thaw.

In her early 80s she couldn’t lift her hand baggage into the overhead locker on a flight. On getting home she found out she needed to do weights in order to tone her muscles and bones.

Sheila said, “I was beginning to notice I couldn’t put my hand luggage above my seat on a plane, and that sort of thing. It was all muscle wastage to do with getting older.”

“But lifting weights has restored muscle that had gone. My bicep is back now. My lower arms are strong. Some people do weights to look toned but I just want to stay strong as I get older. You don’t have to get weak as you get older – I’ve proved that.”

The NHS states that strength training is one of the best ways to improve muscle strength and power, as well as one of the best techniques to help slow down bone and muscle loss as you age.

So if you are beginning to tell yourself, “Blimey I’m getting old.” Forget it! Instead start doing some exercises to gently tone muscles and bones up again. You can start with the Longevity class or Remedial Osteoporosis. Go for it! What’s not to like?

Breath Things That Help


James Nestor’s book ‘Breath’ and why it’s so important

by Peter Crockett

This has to be one of the books of the decade. It explains why breathing through our noses is hugely better for us than breathing through the mouth and how to change if you are a mouth breather.

It has some fascinating stories about therapists who have found ways to help respiratory diseases including asthma and emphysema just with breathing exercises and tells you how to do them.

Below is a short video of James Nestor explaining some of the concepts in the book and if you do buy it and buy it through Amazon, please go through Amazon Smile and select Healthy Generations as your charity of choice. If you go through Amazon Smile each time you login to Amazon everything you buy generates a small donation from Amazon; it doesn’t affect the price you pay.

Enjoy! And happy nose breathing.

Exercise Things That Help


Exercise doesn’t help you lose weight

by Peter Crockett

But it is really good for you. Watch the short video below from one of our favourite Doctors, Dr. Eric Berg, for all the science.

If you want to lose weight the main thing is diet.

Having said that exercise is probably the best single thing you can do to improve your health other than stopping smoking. It will definitely help you live a longer life; next is losing weight.

People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.

And guess what? Weight loss can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Put the two together = Boom boom! Double whammy! Improved odds in maintaining good health. What’s not to like? You know it makes sense. When do I start? Who? Me?!?

Breath Things That Help


Breathing, Cold and Wim Hof

by Peter Crockett

If you come to any of my classes you would have heard me talking about doing Wim Hof breathing for months and more recently a morning cold shower….oooh! No ice baths yet though.

Last week I came across this video from Dr. Sten Ekberg, click here to watch, who explains what happens when you do both – breathing and the cold.

It is the best explanation of how the autonomic nervous system works – the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and how they balance us – I have ever heard.

And why doing the breathing and the cold is good for our bodies and when you should be careful.

Play and learn!

Health Things That Help

Carpal Tunnel

Things that can help – CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

Two simple exercises that really help carpal tunnel syndrome.

Health Things That Help

Morning Exercises

Morning Exercise Routine

In the interests of coming up with the possible, Healthy Generations have put together a short exercise routine that you can do in five or six minutes. Three of the movements are to aid flexibility and large joint mobility. The last four are as a group known as the Nitric Oxide Dump.

The Nitric Oxide Dump is a fast way to increase the amount of nitric oxide in our bodies. The endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels uses nitric oxide to tell the surrounding smooth muscle to relax, resulting in vasodilation, increasing blood flow, and lowering blood pressure. Nasal breathing produces nitric oxide within the body, while mouth breathing does not.

Health Things That Help

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is found in foods in two main forms, mostly as cholecalciferol and in small amounts as ergocalciferol. Vitamin D is converted into another (active) form in the liver and then undergoes further changes in the kidney. In this form it works as a hormone in controlling the amount of calcium absorbed by the intestine. Vitamin D is also made by the action of ultra violet rays on the skin and this is the most important source for the majority of people since few foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D.
Experts say going outside for 10-20 minutes in the midday sun—in shorts and a tank top with no sunscreen—will give you enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of the vitamin.

Sunbeds do not provide you with Vitamin D.

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis consider going to one of our remedial classes Instructor Petra Hind was trained at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London and we originally set the classes up after seeing research done at Loughborough University called the Hip Hop Study. They said, “The findings suggest that exercise could be used to target bone gains in areas of structural weakness. Further study found that the exercises also increased hip bone density in postmenopausal women.” Go to and have a look.

Vitamin D is essential for proper bone mineralisation. Poor diet or inadequate exposure to sun are viewed as the two main factors in Vitamin D deficiency.


(Average adult RDA is 400 IU, or 10 mcg)

FOOD                                    APPROXIMATE CONTENT

                                                (IU PER 3 OZ)

Butter                                      36

Cheese                                     27

Cod liver oil                       10000

Eggs                                        45

Liver                                        45

Milk (fortified)                         36

Milk (human)                             6

Mushrooms                            135

Salmon                                   360

Sardines                                  450

Shrimp                                    135

Sunflower seeds                        83

Tuna                                        225

Health Things That Help

The Anti Cancer Diet

The Anti Cancer diet

David Servan-Schreiber is a psychiatrist who, diagnosed with a brain tumour, was shocked at how little information there was on how to help yourself when faced with a cancer diagnosis.

The book is the story of his search for the science behind the effect of exercise, meditation, support groups, addressing the possible reasons for developing cancer and the best anti-inflammatory foods to eat and the worst foods to avoid.

It also explains how cancer develops and the fact that we all have cancerous cells that most of the time either don’t develop or get wiped out.

It is very well written and a good read beyond the invaluable information. Below are his recommendations for what foods to eat. For brevity I’ve left out why although in the book he explains the science and reasons. 

One thing I will say is this is not ‘woo-woo science hope this helps’. Everything suggested below has been researched and proven to make a difference.  

Green Tea

You can use decaf. Drink 6 cups a day

Olive Oil

Has to be cold pressed extra virgin. Have between half to one tablespoon a day used in cooking, salad dressing or added to vegetables.


Must be mixed with black pepper to be assimilated in the body. Ideally dissolve in olive oil. Mix a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric powder with half a tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of black pepper. Add to vegetables, soups and salad dressings.


Add grated ginger to a vegetable or meat mix while cooking in wok or pan. Or marinate fruits in lime juice and grated ginger. Or cut into slices and steep in boiling water for 10-15 minutes and drink as a tea.

Cruciform Vegetables

Brussels sprouts, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Only steam cabbage and broccoli to preserve necessary chemicals.

Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Shallots, Chives

Eat all cooked or raw every day. (Garlic molecules are released when clove is crushed and dissolved in a little olive oil).

Vegetables and fruit

Carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, certain varieties of potimarron squash (Hokkaido squash), tomatoes, persimmons, apricots, beetroot, and all bright coloured fruits and vegetables.

Tomatoes and tomato sauce

Tomatoes must be cooked to release necessary nutrients. Use canned tomato sauce with olive oil and no added sugar. Or make your own: cook tomatoes in olive oil. Add onions, garlic, tofu or eggs rich in omega 3 along with cumin, turmeric, pepper and seasonings. Avoid cans with plastic linings inside or choose brand in glass jar. Olive oil helps assimilation of nutrients.


Replace conventional milk with soy milk and yoghurt. Soy beans and mung beans can be cooked or sprouted. Also use tofu, tempeh, miso. Tofu can be cooked or eaten raw.


Shiitake, maitake, cremini, portobello, oyster and thistle oyster mushrooms all good. Good for supporting immune system during chemotherapy.

Herbs and spices

Rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and mint.  Also parsley and celery.


Nori,  kombu, wakame, arame and dulse are main seaweeds although there are more – they are all brown seaweeds.


Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries.