Author: Dr Juliet McGrattan

School Run Run

My kids are all at secondary school now. My daughter was the last to leave primary school and while I like the fact my work capacity has increased by not having to drive her to school every morning, I do kind of miss it. Her school was in the most fabulous rural location and the school run was really a pleasure. Unless it was icy, when it was a total nightmare! I would often leave the car there and go for a run from her school before heading home to work. I’ve found myself missing those routes so on occasion I’ve been driving up there just to go for a run. When you see the photos from my run the other day you’ll see why I miss it so much! I headed up one Sunday morning when the skies were clear and the wind not too strong as it’s pretty exposed. The route starts on a quiet country road with woodland on one side and views into a steep valley and across to the Lake …

Do You Eat Breakfast?

‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’. It’s impressed upon us from an early age that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet around one in five Brits don’t have breakfast at all and one in three don’t eat it regularly. It’s often midday before people eat at all, with many being fulled by coffee in the meantime. There’s plenty of evidence to show that the brain needs energy from food to function well. Alertness, concentration and cognitive performance all improve after eating. Much of that research has been done on school-age children to back-up the need for breakfast clubs. One in four secondary school kids don’t eat breakfast. It’s hard to learn on an empty stomach. Beyond the brain there’s also great debate about the wider health benefits of breakfast. Some studies show that eating breakfast helps people control their body weight by stabilising blood sugars, reducing cravings and setting circadian rhythms. Skipping breakfast has been associated with obesity, increased risk of heart disease and …

Running Along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

I’ve really been enjoying exploring new running routes recently. It’s helped so much to keep running interesting and fresh. During the lockdowns I’ve found lots of new footpaths and routes locally. One reason I love running so much is that you can grab opportunities to pop on your trainers and explore new places. My daughter was attending a dance audition in Shipley, near Leeds, so I found myself with three hours to fill. A quick look at the map showed me that the dance school was right on the Leeds & Liverpool canal – perfect! I figured I’d just run in one direction for an hour and then turn around and run back. The Leeds & Liverpool canal is 127 miles long and is the longest canal in Britain. I’d seen lovely photographs of it when my friend Jo Moseley (@Healthyhappy50) had paddle boarded along it for her #PaddleboardTheNorth challenge. I was looking forward to some flat running for a change too. My aim was a slow run to just enjoy the scenery. The plan …

Active Women – meet Alison Wren

For many people, the push to exercise comes from a health scare, whether it’s high blood pressure or like today’s guest, breast cancer. The desire to do as much as you can to improve your health can really spur you into action. Alison Wren is the perfect example of even when you can only swim ‘face out of the water’ breaststroke and don’t own a bike, you can begin training for a triathlon! Bringing exercise her life has even led to a redirection in Alison’s career. Read on and be inspired. Tell us a bit about yourself Alison? I’m 58 and live in Manchester with my husband and cat. For most of my adult life I’ve been an enthusiastic watcher of sport but not a participant. I’ve been self-employed since 2002, most recently as a digital marketing consultant specialising in the wedding industry. Running a business can be all consuming and exercise was not usually a priority until I took up triathlon four years ago. I’m now completely hooked! I’m currently studying to become a …

Nature’s Treats: Running in Lockdown

Autumn running is certainly serving me up some treats at the moment. We’ve had endless rain in the NW of England but in between there have been some real gems of a day. After rain, the air is clear, the autumn colours seem even more vibrant and there’s that lovely chill in the air which is just perfect for running. I’m trying to run more consistently, every day if I can, but I’ve dropped my distances to make this doable and kinder on my body. I’ve been doing this since mid September and I can already notice a difference. I feel fitter and stronger and I’m definitely benefitting from a more regular endorphin boost. I’ve also found it easier to fit in my runs. Just aiming for 30 minutes on most days makes it more realistic for me. I can run early before work, in a lunch break or at the end of the day. Consistency really is turning out to be key. I was thoroughly spoiled by Mother Nature this week. I had to …

Face Your Fear!

Do ever dream about living a life which is completely different to the one you’re in? Do you wonder how others achieve things that you don’t seem to be able to? Do you get scared about pressing ‘send’ on an email and worry about the consequences? Do you feel up to what you have taken on? Maybe you don’t put yourself forward in the first place for fear of getting it wrong? We’ve all been there! We’re all human. Fear can hold us back from so many things, from creating the future we want and from enjoying the life that we are actually living. But it doesn’t have to. You can face fear, turn around what it means to you and use it to help you succeed. I’ve been working on a new project with 261 Fearless called the 261 Fearless Forward Wom-inar Series. A compilation of webinars designed to help you overcome fear. Alongside three outstanding women, we’ll tell you about our personal journeys and then delve deeper into how simply moving your body …

Active Women – meet Gemma Hicks

Consistent, healthy choices, every day over time can make a huge difference to your health. In this Active Women Interview, I talk to Gemma Hicks. She discovered that aside from losing weight, becoming active and fit has so many other benefits and it’s opened up a whole new world for her Tell us a bit about yourself Gemma… I have always been overweight. I was a chubby child. I hated any form of exercise and my parents, who are both quite sedentary, were always happy to offer a note to excuse me from PE. I was treated with sweets and chocolate if I behaved. My grandparents, who looked after me while my parents worked, fed me on large portions of wholesome food. If I ate it all, it was always followed by a good Yorkshire-style pudding like rice pudding or sponge and custard. I became an obese teenager. I was relatively academic but never sporting. We never went for family walks or did any sort of sporting activities at the weekend. I continued the cycle …

Project Allotment – an update

I blogged back in May about how we had taken a space on our village allotment during lockdown. It was a way to get us active, working together as a family and of course, grow some fresh produce to eat! So how did ‘grow your own’ work out? Did we manage to actually grow some vegetables? I’m pretty good at planting things but poor at getting them as far as our dinner plates. I badly wanted this to be a success. Seeing the other flourishing allotments around our little patch was encouraging but also rather intimidating. We’ve wandered round and looked at everyone else’s when it’s been quiet so we can get ideas and tips. So, how has it gone? Well I would say pretty well! We’ve had some successes and some failures. Courgettes – these grew really well at first and we harvested six big ones. We should have had twice as many but they went brown on the ends and just rotted. It had been quite damp and the flowers had gone a …

Quick Question – Can I exercise during my period?

Cramps, heavy bleeding, fatigue. Periods don’t exactly make you want to bound out of the door do they? But, is it actually ok to exercise when you have your period? Is it safe to work out when you’re menstruating? Is one type of exercise better than another when Aunt Flo is in town? There are many myths and misunderstandings when it comes to periods and exercise so let’s start with whether or not you should get fit while you bleed. When I was teaching on the topic of women’s health to new running coaches at a 261 Fearless international training course, I received a very important reminder. Women’s health knowledge is not the same the world over. Some people may have looked at the title to this blog and said, ‘Yeah, of course you can!’ But in many parts of India, women are not even allowed in the kitchen when they have their period, let alone out on the street in their trainers. The African and Albanian women also said that it wasn’t widely known …

Come and Move The World with 261 Fearless

I don’t know about you but my running motivation has been lacking recently. I know events are starting to slowly reappear and I’m sure parkrun will be on the horizon soon but there’s nothing like a date in the diary to give you a kick out the door, especially on the endless rainy days we’ve been having up north recently. Thankfully, 261 Fearless has come up with just the thing to ignite our running spark and get us in our trainers. The Move the World running series is a celebration of the power of running to unite people around the globe. In a time when we’re becoming more divided and ‘distanced’, goodness knows we need something to bring us together. I love working for 261 Fearless as their Women’s Health Lead and Master coach, being a Director at 261 Fearless Club UK CIC and coaching at 261 Club Lancaster. It’s pure joy and a lot of hard work but the rewards are great. Seeing the power that running has to create communities and empower women …