Paul on BBC Essex

Every month I join Tony Fisher during his afternoon show on BBC Essex. We cover everything and anything related to health, fitness and well being. On this page you can find out more on all the topics we discuss and see us in action.

If you have any questions you'd like us to cover on the show you can get in touch at the bottom of this page. Now take a look at everything we covered on the show.

Wednesday 17th July

Here's what we covered on the show this month.

What's the best exercise for your core?

A great question from Alison and before I answer it's important to know what your core actually is. It's the group of muscles that make up your trunk. From the bottom of your breast bone (sternum) to your hips (pelvis). It can even be argued that your bum (gluteals) form a part of your core too.

Now let's deal with a myth. Your core is not your six pack. If you want one of those, well you've already got it. Your six pack is purely the way your rectus abdominus looks. That's the muscle down the front of your torso. We all have one but most of us have ours hidden away under a layer of fat. If you want to see it you should be concentrating on changing your diet (and lifestyle) so you can burn away the fat that's covering it up. No exercise will reveal your six pack.

Finally to answer Alisons question we need to understand what your core actually does. It stabalises your spine and aids movement with trunk rotation while stabilising your spine ... and that's it. So any exercise that causes instability can challenge your core to varying degrees. Even standing up works your core. Otherwise you would fall over.

The exercises that don't work so well are the ones that you often see happening in the gym. For starters forget anything that involves lying down. Why would you start in a position where your core doesn't need to work? Secondly ignore any exercise that only challenges a part of your core (i.e. one muscle only). Your core works best as a team so you'll want to train it to work as a team.

So, any exercises that includes instability is a core exercise. Cross country running, walking on a beach, mowing the lawn, raking up leaves, swimming, standing on one leg, squatting. All great core exercises.

Here are a few links that will help you too:

Three exercises you should avoid.

What's the biggest fitness myth?

How to get your perfect body.

A challenge from Linda

I had this question via Facebook. Linda was looking for a dairy free and gluten free brownie recipe. So I make one for her.

In truth I owe a lot to my friend Nichola Ludlam-Raine (take a look at her website). But I took her recipe to the next level and felt it needed a few tweaks. Anyway, the result is pretty fine. Click here for the recipe.

speaking of which ...

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