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Make exercise part of your routine

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Gillian Fitzpatrick spin cycling at Cycle Studio, Stillorgan

Gillian Fitzpatrick spin cycling at Cycle Studio, Stillorgan

‘Love/Hate’s’ Tom Vaughan-Lawlor was joined by Kiki Deegan Hughes (5) to launch Barnardos’ Christmas appeal calling on people to dig deep and give children a happy Christmas. Donate online at barnardos.ie/christmas or call 1850 216 216.

‘Love/Hate’s’ Tom Vaughan-Lawlor was joined by Kiki Deegan Hughes (5) to launch Barnardos’ Christmas appeal calling on people to dig deep and give children a happy Christmas. Donate online at barnardos.ie/christmas or call 1850 216 216.

Patrick Bolger Photogrraphy

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Gillian Fitzpatrick spin cycling at Cycle Studio, Stillorgan

How much exercise should you do to lose weight now that you are following a healthy eating plan?

Michelle Bridges, a trainer in the Australia television version of RTE's Operation Transformation programme, says her magic number for her weight-loss clients is six days a week, ideally for 50 to 60 minutes at a time.

In her book, Total Body Transformation, she suggests that the amount of time you work out every week can unlock a key to weight-loss success that is about more than just burning calories.

"We're setting up habits and rituals. Think about the last time you had to psych yourself up to brush your teeth."

Her reasoning is that when your workout becomes just another part of your day, you're more likely to do it automatically.

She suggests breaking up workouts into three "hard" days of exercise, along with two moderate days and one "passive," or light exercise day.

"You don't have to train like an Olympian all the time, but it's about building in those habits.

"I guarantee that someone who has the habit of training six days a week, even if they miss a couple, is going to be more consistent than someone who only trains three days a week. Regular exercise will do wonders for the body."

Nidgin' around the Christmas tree

‘Love/Hate’s’ Tom Vaughan-Lawlor was joined by Kiki Deegan Hughes (5) to launch Barnardos’ Christmas appeal calling on people to dig deep and give children a happy Christmas. Donate online at barnardos.ie/christmas or call 1850 216 216.

Win an ipad air by nominating 'most reformed commuter'

The closing date is fast approaching for the inaugural Transport for Ireland People's Awards 2014, in association with the Irish Independent.

They're seeking out the superstars of buses, trains, trams, taxis and even walking and cycling - that someone who makes your choice of public transport that little bit easier.

Perhaps it's the taxi driver who trawls through all weathers to bring your elderly relation to collect their pension, or the bus driver who waits that extra few seconds when you're running late. Or do you know someone who's ditched the car in favour of walking or cycling to work for the 'Most Reformed Commuter' category?

There are fabulous prizes (iPad Airs and iPad Minis) to be won, as well as the recognition of going that extra mile! And it's really easy to enter, simply visit www.independent.ie/tfiawards2014 and submit your nomination before this Wednesday, November 19.

Too much oil is bad for the bowels

A spoonful of castor oil used to be mother's cure-all for constipation.

But over-use can damage the bowel muscle, nerves and tissue.

The advice is to increase your daily intake of fibre. You should be eating at least 18-30g of fibre a day. High-fibre foods include fruit, vegetables, and cereals.

Add some bulking agents, such as wheat bran, to your diet. These will help make your stools softer and easier to pass.

Increasing your fluid intake. It is best for you to drink water, and you should be drinking at least 1.2 litres (6-8 glasses) a day.

Getting more exercise by going for a daily walk or run. If in pain take a painkiller. Children under 16 years of age should not take aspirin.

Brusha brusha brusha the right way

Around two million of us are entitled to a free dental examination as part of our PRSI benefits.

But only 298,000 people, or less than 15pc, actually availed of the free annual examination last year.

When it comes to taking care of our teeth, Ireland still lags behind other countries, particularly the United States.

Are you brushing enough? Twice a day is recommended - but three times a day is best. Make an up and down motion.

Should you go electric or manual? It's not the toothbrush, it's the brusher. You should brush for at least two minutes. With electric brushes, you let the bristles do the work and just guide the toothbrush. Some electric toothbrushes have built-in timers and can even track your use patterns by syncing to your smartphone.

Ladies, don't ignore your father's medical history

Around one in 70 women will get ovarian cancer in their lifetime - and for most women with a family history of the disease, their risk will not be much higher than that of the rest of the population.

Nearly 380 Irish women are newly diagnosed with the cancer annually. If a woman has a first-degree relative with ovarian cancer such as a mother, sister or daughter, then the risk may increase to around one in 20.

What is often not known and is important to remember is that an inherited predisposition to cancer, (such as a BRCA gene alteration) can be passed down from your father's side of the family as easily as your mother's side. Therefore women shouldn't ignore a family history of cancer on their father's side.

Recent evidence has suggested that premenopausal women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (which is different to just having polycystic ovaries) may have a slightly higher risk of ovarian cancer

Taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), having endometriosis, being overweight or smoking slightly increase risk.

Did You Know...

People working in factories or on roadworks used to be at most risk of hearing problems. But as health and safety rules have improved and heavy industry  declined, the work environment is less of a potential hazard to hearing.

Nowadays it's recreational loud noise that's the main problem, especially from MP3 players and noisy clubs and music gigs. This is why hearing loss is increasingly affecting younger people.

The risk of damage to your hearing is based on two factors - how loud and for how long.

Health & Living