Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Benefits of extreme temperature workouts – not as great as you might think

Anna Ewa Bieniek/Shutterstock
Lindsay Bottoms, University of Hertfordshire and Daniel Muniz, University of Hertfordshire
First there were heated fitness studios, now the latest trend is working out in frigid temperatures. Although there are some health benefits associated with each of these regimes, there are also some risks. Here’s what you need to know.

Hot workouts

The ideal body temperature is around 37⁰C. When you exercise, your muscles are very inefficient and only 25% of the energy is used for movement. The other 75% of the energy muscles produce is lost as heat, increasing the temperature of your body. If it exceeds 40⁰C, it can be dangereous, so your body tries to keep the temperature at around 37⁰C.

One strategy to prevent body temperature from rising is getting more blood to the skin, which is people’s faces flush during an intense workout. If you exercise in an already hot environment, the difference between body temperature and room temperature is small, and your heart needs to work harder trying to get more blood to the skin.

Another way your body gets rid of excess heat is by warming up sweat to the point at which it evaporates, which then takes heat with it when it evaporates to the air. You can lose up to two litres of water every hour through sweat. As you sweat more during exercise in the heat, it is important to replace the fluid you have lost or your blood can become thicker, which also puts a strain on the heart.

Both ways of keeping the body under 40⁰C add an extra burden on the heart. As a result, cardio workouts are more difficult in hot environments and endurance performance is decreased in hot environments.

But exercising in a hot environment might be good for short activities that need powerful muscle contractions. There is also a school of thought that light-intensity workouts, such as yoga, can benefit because the extra strain on the heart during exercise in the heat can increase the number of calories you burn. But research by Central Michigan University showed that there was no difference in exercise intensity, so the amount of calories burnt doing yoga at 20⁰C and 35⁰C were the same.
Increasing muscle temperature can increase flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. But a hot environment does not necessarily mean increased muscle temperature.

Regularly undertaking workouts in a hot environment can help endurance performance in the heat, but your overall fitness and health may not get anything extra.
Working out in the heat can improve endurance in the heat, but that’s about all. Klemen K. Misic/Shutterstock

Cold workouts

In the cold, your body is hotter than the surrounding environment and can easily get rid of the heat produced in the muscles during exercise. This stops the temperature of the body from increasing during prolonged exercise and performance in your cardio session will usually be better on cold days. Researchers from the University of Aberdeen found endurance to be best at around 10⁰C (compared with 4⁰C, 21⁰C and 31⁰C).

When it is really cold, the heat produced by your muscles is not enough to maintain a core temperature at 37⁰C. The body has ways to cope with extreme cold environments, such as shivering. Shivering is essentially muscles contracting to produce heat, not movement. As with any muscle contraction, shivering requires energy and burns calories, so at rest you may burn more calories in the cold than in normal temperatures.

Another strategy to cope with cold is to use fat to produce heat. Researchers in the US have shown repeated workouts in the cold increases the amount of brown fat in your body. Brown fat is known as “good fat” as it burns calories.

Both shivering and burning fat consume calories, and studios that hold workout classes at 7⁰C have begun to appear, with the idea that they can help people lose weight. Researchers from Spain found that exposure to a progressively cold environment can increase energy expenditure by up to 30%, which corresponds to around 500 calories for 24 hours of cold exposure. This means exposure to cold can help you lose weight faster, but the effect would be small for a one-hour workout in the cold. And feeling cold is unpleasant.

If you want to increase your muscle strength, doing workouts in the cold probably won’t help. Muscles work best at hot temperatures. When muscles get cold, the force they can produce decreases. You are also more likely to get injured in the cold, but the extra risk of injury is reduced if you warm up properly.

Take-home message

The small extra amount of calories burnt in extreme environments (hot or cold) may help you lose weight, but it could be outweighed by the increased health risks and reduced performance. Doing 150 minutes of physical activity a week is the key to good health, regardless of the temperature.The Conversation

Lindsay Bottoms, Principal Lecturer, Exercise Physiology, University of Hertfordshire and Daniel Muniz, Senior Lecturer, Exercise Physiology, University of Hertfordshire
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Summary of campus updates from this year

If you’ve been away for a while, or even just away for summer, you may notice a few changes since you were last here. There have been a number of updates recently on campus, from new buildings to new food. Make sure you’re aware of these changes and how they may affect or improve your experience with us.


Business and Social Hub

Since the start of the calendar year, we’ve been constructing a new building on de Havilland campus called the “Business and Social Hub”. The aim of the building is to create a three-storey building that will provide learning, social and business facilities at the heart of the University’s de Havilland campus.

A fly-through video of the new building is available to view here. Facilities will include:
-      A ground floor social space with both formal and informal areas to encourage collaboration and communication between students, staff and the business community.
-      A first floor with a dedicated Business incubation focus, delivering a facility designed to support business start-ups and graduate entrepreneurs.
-      A new teaching space for students, including Degree Apprentices and MBA students.

The building will be located between the street and accommodation. The construction of the new building is on schedule to be completed in 2020. Check out the latest photos on the building.


New catering on campus

The University has recently formed a new catering partnership with Aramark. Aramark have been changing up the catering on campus quite drastically.

You may have seen on campus already, they have already refurbished the campus shop on College Lane, while refurbishments for the de Havilland campus shop are ongoing. The shop has been refurbished into a Premier shop, it stocks a wide range of food, drinks and other affordable day to day essentials such as household items and stationery.
In addition, you can find:

-      Ready to eat, hot and cold snacks such as Chicago Town pizza, hot dogs and savoury slices
-      The Cool Desserts Co. selling milkshakes, freshly made waffles, ice creams and Tango Ice Blasts
-      Starbucks Grab and Go coffees

Along with this, they have also introduced some new additions to the campus restaurants, to provide more variety and quality into the meals that you eat. Here’s a list of the different options available to you:

-      Start the day on a high note with our selection of freshly cooked traditional breakfast items, choice of cereals, porridge and yoghurt pots.
-      At lunchtime, choose from our Home Favourite counter offering traditional comfort food, to Peel and Loaf where you can select from an array of fresh ingredients to make your perfect sandwich, just as you like it.
-      Try our live station, featuring Gustoso fresh pizza and pasta, cooked before your eyes.
-      The 'Street Food' counter offers a premium range of international local treats, changing daily.
-      Tandoori Club offers a variety of Indian flavours for a wrap with a twist.
-      Joe de Frango offers a freshly cooked range of rotisserie chicken, with a choice of seasonings and side items.
-      In addition to all these options is our salad bar, with a daily selection made from the freshest ingredients


TV screens around campus

Excitingly, we will be upgrading the TV screens around campus. Our old software restricted us from doing a lot of what we wanted to do, for example playing videos. 

Some of the improvements include:
-      Much wider range of content formats, including videos
-      Greatly improved reliability of the TV screens
-      New showcase triple screen in College Lane reception
-      Better targeting of content to specific screens or group of screens

Overall, this means we can make the screens more exciting and relevant to you, so make sure you always check out what’s on when walking past one.

We are still working on designs and how we will lay out the screens, but we are excited to be introducing this to you and sharing screens and videos that we could not previously share with you.


WiFi improvements

July 2019 saw the successful completion of the University’s £2million WiFi improvement project. Over 3,500 high-capacity Access Points (APs) have been installed across the entire UH estate and the infrastructure is now in place so that everyone can enjoy a better WiFi service on campus. See WiFi winners! 

Remember, Wireless Warriors will help you get connected to eduroam. Look out for them at the start of termeduroam is the best choice for you and saves you time by logging in automatically whenever you are on campus. It’s now easier to get set up – see Wireless connections /WiFi set-up


£5 print credit for all students

New for 2019-20! Every UH student will receive £5 credit in their online print and copy account. Previously the University has given a £5 print credit to new students. This year, following feedback and discussion with the Students’ Union, this credit is being extended to both new and all returning students once they have completed registration. 

Find out more about printing on campus  


HertsMobile app improvements

The Herts Mobile app is installed on over 25,000 devices and is a really popular tool for anyone at UH (search for “Herts Mobile" in your app store). Improvements for 2019 include:
-      opening and using the app will feel much faster 
-      new look and feel that now supports both mobile and tablet devices 
-      updated map locations and routing 
-      new library updates and reminder notifications 


More lecture recordings and refurbished teaching rooms

Automatic recordings of timetabled lectures are now taking place in over 60 specially-equipped classrooms. This project will continue in 2019 including the addition of recording lights in class. Find out more about Recording of teaching and learning sessions.

We’ve also installed new furniture and audio-visual equipment in a number of rooms across the FMM, Main and Wright buildings.  


LinkedIn Learning


Say hello to LinkedIn Learning – the Lynda.com e-learning tool has moved to LinkedIn Learning providing all the same great Lynda content with a new look and feel and lots of exciting personalisation features.  Find out more about LinkedIn Learning and how to get the most out of this great resource. 


Friday, 30 August 2019

Introducing your Students' Union officers

As the start of the academic year approaches, we welcome our new Students’ Union officers into their roles. We’ve put this blog together so you can get to know your new elected officers. Remember that they want to make your student experience here at Herts amazing! They represent you and your academic interests; they ensure that if you have any issues on your course or related to your studies that your concerns are heard by the staff. And of course, they organise your club nights at the Forum.



Meet Rida
(Rida Shafqat, President)

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m Rida, the current President of the Students’ Union. I studied Biomedical Engineering here at Herts. I love to play table tennis and watch Netflix whenever I get some free time. One of my favourite TV shows is ‘Friends’!

What do you love most about Herts SU?

I love that the SU represents and puts students first. It’s great to be able to make real change to benefit students’ studies academically and make sure students have the best time at Uni!

What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

Being an International student and what it means to me

Meet Saj
(Muhammad Sajid, Vice President Activities)

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Hi, I’m Sajid, but you can call me Saj! I study Engineering at UH and have taken a year out of my studies to be your VP Activities. I’m an amateur guitarist, globe trotter and enjoy trying different cuisines. I also love making new friends, so feel free to say hi to me if you see me around on campus. 

What do you love most about Herts SU?

I love the friendly environment. I also love that new ideas are always welcomed and appreciated – it’s also a great place to meet new people.

What are you looking forward to the most in the next 10 years?

I’m looking forward to working on my skills, improving myself as a person and working on my start-up.

Meet Farhan
(Farhan Rafique, Vice President Community)

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I have just finished my studies in Law here at UH. I love travelling and was elected three times as your NUS delegate to represent your views and interests on a National level. I hope to carry this on as your VP Community.

What do you love most about Herts SU?

The staff members at the SU are very cooperative and helpful. I’m happy to see that they prioritise students’ issues and take all the reasonable steps to resolve issues as soon as possible.

Small things that make you happy?

Smiling faces and a friendly atmosphere never fail to make me happy.

Meet Amy
(Amy Holloway-Smith, Vice President Education)

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a Law graduate from Herts, and am delighted to be your current VP Education! Anyone who knows me knows I love baking, so you just might be lucky to get a tasty treat if you come into the SU Office to speak to me

What do you love most about Herts SU?

I love the sense of community. The Students’ Union has helped me to feel more integrated in University life, not only by enhancing my social experience but by providing me with volunteering, skills and job opportunities during my time at UH!

What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?

A spa weekend would be perfect. I’m thinking lazing around in a robe, with an all you can eat buffet breakfast followed by lying down all day with the odd break to get in the jacuzzi and go for a massage. And eat some cake. I like cake.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

People with intellectual disabilities are often not told about their medicines and their potential side effects

VonaUA/Shutterstock
Claudia Carr, University of Hertfordshire and Silvana Mengoni, University of Hertfordshire
The 1.5m people in the UK with an intellectual disability experience significant health inequality. Research shows that they are more likely to develop health problems than the general population, they are more likely to have reduced access to healthcare, and they are more likely to receive poorer care.
A 2018 report from the Learning Disability Mortality Review Programme found that people with intellectual disabilities also die a lot younger. On average, men die 23 years earlier and women die 27 years earlier compared with the general population.
Our latest study adds to the evidence of these health inequalities. It shows that many people with intellectual disability, who can make decisions about their everyday life, aren’t given clear information about their medication. As a result, they often don’t understand the drugs prescribed for them or their potential side effects.

Legal consequences

The Accessible Information Standard states that all organisations providing NHS care and publicly funded adult social care must ensure that people with intellectual disability receive information in an accessible format, for example, in easy-read material or pictures. Critically, this also applies to medicines. There are now legal consequences for those who don’t comply.
In 2015, the Supreme Court case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board redefined the law on informed consent, putting the patient at the heart of any discussion with a healthcare professional. The judgement states that all healthcare professionals are legally obliged to ensure that patients with the capacity to consent are made aware of the risks of medical treatments. Healthcare professionals who breach this duty can be sued for negligence. Yet, as our study shows, people with intellectual disability are not routinely told about their treatment or the risks it entails.
We found that people with intellectual disability often don’t understand when and how to take their medication, and they don’t understand the potential side effects. This is a significant problem given that 75% of people with an intellectual disability are prescribed drugs compared with 59% of those without intellectual disability.
It is important that the person who is prescribed the medicine takes it as intended by the prescriber. Taking too much or taking it too often may mean that the medicine will not work as well and can increase the risk of side effects.
Some of these side effects may not be immediately obvious and may only become apparent with regular medical tests. It is also essential that the patient is told how to report any issues with their medicines, which could include the medicine failing to work as expected, side effects and problems in taking the medicines, such as difficulty swallowing, which is more common in people with intellectual disabilities.
The Supreme Court redefined the law on informed consent. Willy Barton/Shutterstock

Reducing health inequality

Some things that people with intellectual disabilities say help them to understand their medication include using simpler language, as well as pictures and videos. This helps people understand why they need to take their medication and how to use it correctly.
The Supreme Court decision in Montgomery specifically states that information must be given to patients in a way that they can understand. In doing so, the patient will be able to understand the seriousness of their condition, the risks of any suggested treatment or alternatives, and then provide informed consent. And it is important that healthcare professionals speak directly to the person with intellectual disabilities, not just the carer.
A key message of our research is to put people with intellectual disabilities at the heart of the health service – a message which is now supported by the law. Sometimes this might mean that healthcare professionals will have to spend longer explaining their medication, use different resources, and explain things in simpler language. This will help improve the lives of more then a million people in the UK with an intellectual disability and make a significant contribution to addressing the current health inequalities.The Conversation
Claudia Carr, Senior Lecturer in Medical Law and Ethics, University of Hertfordshire and Silvana Mengoni, Senior Research Fellow, University of Hertfordshire
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.