A Seriously Tasty Lentil Soup Recipe

Soup is one of the best meals to make in bulk, because it’s quick to throw together, easy to store and (up to a point) tends to get more flavourful with time in the fridge. It’s also a great meal for those chasing down their five-a-day, because you can bundle in loads of veg and blend it up. Take this healthy red pepper and lentil soup as an example. You can knock up a batch of it in under an hour at the weekend and you’ll have four great lunches for the working week. Or, if you prefer bulkier serving sizes, two absolutely massive lunches.

This red pepper soup recipe comes from It’s Pepper Time, a campaign designed to get people in the UK eating more peppers. You’ll find more pepper-filled recipes on the website.

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Ingredients (Serves Four)

3 red bell peppers, deseeded and finely diced
2tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 red chilli, deseeded and diced
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
5 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
100g split red lentils
500ml vegetable stock
80g mixed nuts, roughly chopped
½tbsp soya spread


1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, peppers and carrot and cook for ten minutes until the vegetables have softened.
2. Stir in the chilli, ¾ of the rosemary and thyme, lentils, stock and 200ml water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 25 minutes until the vegetables and lentils are tender.
3. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
4. Tip the nuts onto an ovenproof tray and roast in the oven for eight to ten minutes, until they turn a light golden colour.
5. Remove the nuts from the oven and stir in the soya spread and remaining herbs. Season well and return to the oven for two to four minutes until golden.
6. Blend the soup to create a smooth texture. Divide into four portions, scatter over the nuts and serve.

Jabra Elite Sport Truly Wireless Bluetooth Earphones Review

Ambition should always be applauded, especially when a brand swings for the fences. The Jabra Sport Elite headphones are packed to the gills with impressive and novel tech that allows them to work as a standalone fitness tracker that even coaches you through workouts.

It’s an enticing proposition, although naturally all those extras would be irrelevant if Jabra fluffed the earphone basics of fit and sound. Fortunately, the Jabra Elite Sport are almost perfect as a set of truly wireless earbuds for sport. The fit is as secure as Fort Knox, so they stay put during any type of training, the sound quality is good, and Jabra is so confident about the waterproofing and durability of the Elite Sport that it offers a three-year warranty against damage from sweat.

RECOMMENDED: The Best Gym Headphones

In the box you get three different sizes of both foam and silicone tips, with the former offering an especially tight seal for better noise isolation. There are also three different wingtips. As with all headphones it’s worth spending a couple of minutes figuring out the best attachments for you. With the Jabra Elite Sport this will result in an immovable fit – the buds are light, nestle right into your ear and are hooked in. They aren’t going anywhere.

The tight fit helps to drown out the world around you if you’re in noisy environments, but Jabra’s Hear Through function means that if you want more aural awareness you can have it. At the double tap of a button the Elite Sport will use its microphone to pipe in ambient noise. It’s an excellent feature – perfect if you’re running through busy streets to a park, where you can then switch it off and fully focus on your music.

The sound quality on the Elite Sport isn’t as crystal clear as on the Bose SoundSport Free headphones, which have set a new benchmark for truly wireless buds, but it is good – the bass is rich but not overpowering and vocals sound bright without ever straying into being harsh.

While exercising you can control the headphones using the buttons on each bud, including play/pause and answering phone calls, which sound very clear on the Sport Elite. What you can’t do, however, is skip tracks – an odd omission.

Battery life is good at 4½ hours and the case doubles as a portable battery that will add another nine hours of juice. I’d have liked a bigger battery in the case so it didn’t have to be charged so regularly itself – it seems an easy win but many brands don’t go for it (Sol Republic’s Amps Air headphones, on the other hand, offer 45 hours of juice from the case). The quick charge feature on the headphones delivers one hour of playback from 15 minutes of charge time.

So the fit is superb, the sound is good and the battery is about par for the course, all of which makes the Sport Elite a great package for those seeking sports headphones, especially with the useful Hear Through feature. But Jabra didn’t stop at making a great pair of sports headphones – there’s also a load of fitness tracking tech in the Elite Sport.

It starts with a VO2 max test, which is recommended the first time you sync the headphones to the Jabra Sport Life app. Beyond that you can track your workouts, or use the guided sessions in the partner app where a voice in the headphones will coach you towards certain targets when running, such as pace or distance, or talk you through a circuit of bodyweight and weighted exercise.

You can also set up an entire training plan in the app based around your fitness target – whether that’s to maintain your fitness or improve it. If you want to improve you select how quickly you want to do it – improving gently requires four workouts a week, improving very intensely demands six. The plans are best created after you’ve used the Elite Sport buds a few times, when they have had a chance to gauge your fitness through the VO2 max measurement. Each workout is rated by a Training Effect stat, which tells you how much you’ve improved your fitness.

You can use the built-in heart rate monitor with other apps, like Strava, if you have a preferred tracking app already. This is important, because the Jabra app itself doesn’t play well with many other apps – you can sync workouts to Strava and Endomondo but that’s it, for now at least.

RECOMMENDED: The Best Health And Fitness Apps

All these features are impressive, especially the guided workouts, but don’t always work that well. The first time I downloaded the app it wouldn’t open. After a few days of trying I deleted and redownloaded it, and that problem went away, but it still crashed occasionally.

The extra features push up the price, currently £200 (discounted from the RRP £230) on the Jabra website. They are cheaper on Amazon – usually somewhere in the region of £150-£190 – and if you get them for around £150, I’d say they’re the match of any wireless sports headphones available with the fitness tracking features as an added bonus.

Spending £200 for those extra features, however, is a harder sell. You can get the same feature set on a more reliable wrist tracker for £100, so you’d have to really appreciate the convenience of having them in headphones, and the Jabra app isn’t as easy or fun to use as the well-developed Fitbit or Garmin apps, for example. The whole package on offer with the Jabra Elite Sport buds is unique. I’m just not sure that package is worth £200.

£200, buy on jabra.co.uk, check price on amazon.co.uk

Four Football Shooting Drills To Make You A Better Marksman

There are many ways to improve your game in training, but none of them are as fun as shooting drills. And that goes for you whatever your position is. Practising finishing might be more important for strikers to focus on, but that doesn’t mean left-backs don’t relish the chance to swap sprint drills for blasting balls into the net, or even well wide of it.

Even professional footballers love shooting drills, as this video from Southampton’s training ground shows. Mario Lemina, Sofiane Boufal and Guido Carrillo tackle four shooting drills designed by England FA coach Allan Russell, creator of the Superior Striker coaching programme. One of the drills is an attempt to recreate Lumina’s wondergoal against West Brom from earlier in the season, and all four form a new challenge, Beat The Stat, in Sure deodorant’s Pressure Series.

The Beat The Stat challenge uses data from Opta stats that show how likely a Premier League player is to score from a certain place on the pitch. The challenge is then to score more often than the stat suggests you should. Below you’ll find Russell’s four drills, along with how often they are scored in the Premier League, so you can try to prove yourself the match of a top-flight player.

Make sure you have a keeper willing to take part in the drills – you can’t just roll the ball into an empty net and claim to be the next Harry Kane. The video also shows how Russell has set up his defender dummies to make each drill more realistic. If you don’t have the equipment yourself, or even enough jumpers, just try to make sure you move to the right spot before shooting each time.

RECOMMENDED: 5-a-Side Football Tips, Tactics and Workouts

1. Long Shot

Receive the ball outside the D of the penalty area, take a touch to control it, move to the side of the D and then fire away. Southampton fans – it might be best not to watch Carrillo’s attempt.

Only 8% of these shots are scored in the Premier League.

2. One-On-One

Finishing one-on-one tests your nerve as much as your skill, so it’s harder to recreate in training, but this drill should build the confidence and composure needed to slot home when it really matters. In the Premier League, these chances are finished 50% of the time. Play a one-two that takes you into the box and try to finish. Extra points if you replicate Boufal’s rainbow flick.

3. First-Time Finish

Always harder to pull off than it looks – only 15% of these shots go in in the Premier League – and it comes with the added risk of missing a sitter and looking a fool. Get someone to deliver a few different crosses to just outside the six-yard box and try to finish first time. And if the balls ends up in row Z more times than the net, maybe striker isn’t the best position for you after all.

Bonus Round: Match Mario

Lemina’s thunderous long-range finish against West Brom has been identified as the hardest chance scored in the Premier League this season – with only a 1.06% chance of scoring from that position. Basically, you receive the ball a few yards away from the D of the penalty box and hit it as hard as you can. Aim for the top-left corner to match Mario. Or, dink it into the top-right corner if, like Carrillo, you didn’t listen to the instructions.

The Best Air Fryers To Buy For Healthier Low-Fat Cooking

An appliance that can create crispy deep-fried delights using just a spoonful of oil sounds like the stuff of a George Foreman cheese-fever dream, but an air fryer can do just that by using convection cooking. This works by circulating hot air around food at speed to give it a crisp outer layer as a result of a chemical reaction called the Maillard effect. Which means you can fry chips, pieces of chicken and all manner of things (fried pickles FTW) using around 80% less fat than a deep-fat fryer. And most of these devices can also cook frozen food, roast meat and bake desserts, which makes them a handy addition to any kitchen.

Best For Speedy Frying: Breville Halo Plus Health Fryer VDF105

With its striking resemblance to a Power Ranger helmet, this mighty gadget could look a little out of place in minimalist kitchens. Aesthetics aside, it’s a durable device that can fry 1kg of chips using about half a tablespoon of oil – and Breville claims it cooks 28% faster than the previous model. Its dual heat function allows you to cook more than one thing at a time and the non-stick rotating bowl comes with a handy tilt mechanism that lets it cook food evenly. As well as frying, you can bake, sauté and roast all sorts of dishes in it, and the removable bowl can be popped in the dishwasher after use. £80, buy on Amazon

Best Budget Air Fryer: Tower T17005 Air Fryer

This affordable appliance is a top choice for families with its 3.2-litre capacity (equivalent to roughly five servings). It’s great at producing top-quality fried foods and can crisp up everything from chicken goujons to chips (which are even better when the spuds are parboiled first). It’s sturdy, it’s easy to use and it comes with a temperature range from 80 to 200°C. At this price, it’s a great introduction to the world of air frying. £50 (RRP £130), buy on Amazon

Best High-End Air Fryer: Philips Avance Collection Airfryer XL HD9240/90

This sleek device features a digital display with time and temperature settings and an integrated air filter to minimise lingering food smells. It’s one of the most powerful air fryers you can buy and it heats up in just three minutes. The convex design is said to help circulate the air to provide an even, crispy fry on everything from samosas to sweetcorn fritters. £200 (RRP £250), buy on Amazon

Best All-Round Air Fryer: Tefal Original ActiFry GH840840 Health Fryer

This fuss-free gadget has a capacity of 1.2 litres and is particularly good at churning out healthier-than-average chips and roast potatoes using just one spoonful of oil. An automatic stirring paddle ensures that food is cooked evenly and you can cook two things at the same time using a divider to create separate compartments. The free MyActiFry app is loaded with more than 250 recipes for meal inspiration. £140 (RRP £159), buy on Argos

Easiest To Use: Lakeland Touchscreen Air Fryer

With a large digital LED touchscreen, this compact device from British brand Lakeland is simple to control with an easy-to-use timer and temperature gauge (from 80 to 200°C) as well as an auto-stop function to prevent it being left on by mistake. It’s quiet when in use and any excess oil that escapes during cooking will drop into the tank below. The tank, non-stick pan and basket can all be put in the dishwasher. £80, buy on Lakeland from 7 May

Gousto Recipe Box Review

Recipe boxes exist to make your life easier. You get all the ingredients you need to make your evening meal and clear step-by-step instructions delivered to your door. The reason I mention this is because Gousto’s decision not to separate out the ingredients in its deliveries by meal seems a bit… strange.

I’m well aware this might seem precious given that all the food was delivered to my house, along with instructions, but other recipe box services divide up the ingredients and it does make things easier. Trying to sort through the vast array of spice sachets for four different meals in my Gousto box took a long time – especially when making one of the meals in the new Ten to Table range. Taking five minutes to find the ingredients for what should have been a ten-minute meal rather defeats the point.

However, petty concerns aside, I have nothing else negative to say about Gousto’s meals. Both the ten-minute and regular meals were simple to make and delicious. The recipes were the best-designed out of the six meal boxes I’ve tried, so I never felt rushed or had to juggle cooking several parts of the meal at once.

Both of the ten-minute meals I tried took closer to 15 minutes (plus the five minutes sifting through spice packets), but I took it fairly slow – ten minutes was within reach if I picked up the pace a bit. As you’d expect, these were simple meals – a prawn stir-fry and chicken fried rice – but I was impressed that you got a decent amount of vegetables in both, since sometimes veg are the first to go when designing rapid recipes.

The longer recipes were naturally a little more complex and interesting. I made pulled chicken for the first time, which was exciting, and learned what baharat chicken was.

Gousto changes up its recipe options regularly, and you can pick from 29 different options each week on the website. There are also options that cover most dietary preferences, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free.

Another small thing I appreciated about Gousto’s meals was that, at least in the recipes I tried, there were no premade spice mixes – you got the individual herbs and spices you needed. This means slightly more work – especially in terms of locating the correct sachets and opening them without spraying spices everywhere – but also means you can (whisper it) remake the recipe yourself easily. You don’t need to figure out what went in the spice mix, you just have to buy the ingredients.

A box with four meals for two people costs £34.99 from Gousto, which is cheaper than HelloFresh (£41.99 for the same option) and Mindful Chef, where meals cost £5-£9pp. Obviously using recipe boxes rather than doing the planning and shopping yourself is never going to be the cheapest option, but Gousto offers slightly better value than its main competitors. Perhaps not going the extra mile and dividing up the ingredients helps keep those costs down. gousto.co.uk

Five Exercises To Minimise The Risk Of Shin Splints

Although the benefits of running far outweigh the drawbacks, it is true that it puts your body under a fair bit of pressure, especially when you ramp up the training load ahead of a big event like a marathon.

Of course, that shouldn’t put you off running, but if you get serious about the sport it should motivate you to put in the work to help your body handle the load. While it’s impossible to completely injury-proof your body, the right kind of strength and conditioning work can reduce the risk of picking up common complaints like shin splints, achilles tendinitis or runner’s knee. That’s why we asked Erin Lahay, physiotherapist at Pure Sports Medicine, for the best exercises you can do to minimise your risk of shin splints.

And just to be clear: if you already have shin splints don’t use these exercises to fix the problem. Visit a physio to assess your injury and find out what you should do to deal with it, because shin splints can present in different ways and there isn’t a universal treatment. These exercises are for the runner in good nick hoping to avoid future issues.

Wall squat with calf raise

Muscles worked: Soleus (calf muscle) and quads

Stand with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart in front of you. Slide down the wall until your knees are bent at approximately 90°. Your knees should be directly above your heels. Pushing through your big toes, slowly lift and lower your heels 20 times or until your calf and quad muscles fatigue. Slide back up to return to the starting position. Repeat for a second set.

Bridge march

Muscles worked: Glutes and hamstrings

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Maintain a neutral spine as you squeeze your bottom and slowly roll up (focus on doing it vertebrae by vertebrae) off the floor. Keep your bottom elevated as you “march” your right leg by bringing your knee up towards your chest three times, being careful not to let your right hip drop. Repeat on the left side, and continue to alternate sides for approximately 30 seconds or until your glutes and hamstrings fatigue. Perform two or three sets. Keep your pelvis level and to avoid arching your lower back throughout the exercise.

Side-lying hip abduction

Muscles worked: Gluteus medius

Lie on one side facing away from a wall. Your shoulder and hip should be approximately a fist-width away from the wall, and your bottom knee bent at 90°. Keeping your top leg straight, raise it until the foot is around 15cm above the height of your hip. Push your heel against the wall. Hold this position for five seconds, focusing on getting a strong glute contraction and keeping your hips stable. Avoid letting your top hip open up or roll back towards the wall. Lower your leg back to the starting position and repeat approximately eight times or until your glutes fatigue. Then swap sides.

Hip stability/resistance band side taps

Muscles worked: Gluteus medius

Loop a light resistance band around your ankles. Standing on one leg, drop into a quarter squat ensuring that your shoulder is in line with your hip, knee and ankle. Keeping most of your weight through the heel of the standing leg, tap your opposite toe in to out, maintaining tension in the resistance band. Keep your hips square and avoid letting your or ankle or knee roll inwards. You should feel your glutes working, mostly on the standing leg to stabilise your knee and ankle.

Ankle inversion

Muscles worked: Tibialis posterior (deep-lying calf muscle)

Sit on a chair with your knees slightly bent and your right foot flat on the floor. Cross your left leg over your right leg and wrap a resistance band tightly around your ankles. Keeping your toes pointed towards the floor and without moving your knee, turn the sole of your left foot towards the direction of your instep and point your foot inwards. Hold this position for two seconds, then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for one minute, or until your calf muscle fatigues, then swap legs.

Pure Sports Medicine’s sixth clinic has just opened in Finsbury Square in the City of London

How To Make Junk Food Healthy

For curry go Thai

Instead of going for the traditional tikka masala – heavy on the ghee, and a touch too creamy – pack in veg with a classic Thai green curry. “Marinate a chicken breast in green curry paste – or, if you’re going for yellow, some cod or salmon –then grill it or pan-fry it with a little coconut oil,” says Preechaya Phetprasert, head chef at The Coconut Kitchen. “Add sliced courgettes and baby sweetcorn, as well as some broccoli florets and mange tout to the pan if you want some extra vegetables. Serve it up with brown rice, sesame seeds on top and a wedge of lime.”

For burgers switch to poultry

Fresh chicken mince isn’t always easy to source, but it’s easy to toss a breast or two in a food processor – then just form them into patties and fry on each side for three to five minutes. “Can’t resist adding mayonnaise?” says Jordan Moore, recipe developer at Gousto. “Replicate the creaminess by mashing ripe avocado – it’s high in healthy fats, and perfect served over a chicken burger coated in Cajun spices. Oven-baked sweet potato ‘fries’ are also a better alternative to chips – get the oven and tray really hot before cooking them for maximum crispiness.”

For pizza choose no-dough

The trick to making cheese-wheels less calorific? Surprisingly, it’s all about that base. “Try using a low-carb cauliflower pizza base,” says Jessica Andersson, in-house nutritionist at Gousto. “Simply blend together one cauliflower with 100g of ground almonds in a food processor. Add two eggs and one teaspoon of oregano, spread out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes then add your favourite pizza toppings before returning to the oven for a further ten minutes.” Don’t be afraid to add parmesan – it’s the most protein-packed of cheeses, with 38 grams per 100g.

For kebabs make your own

“Lamb kebabs are a favourite but high in saturated fats and calories,” says Andersson. “Try a chicken kebab instead. Simply thread chicken breast cubes on a skewer with some pieces of red pepper alongside other veg if you like. Season well, drizzle over some olive oil and lemon juice, and grill for ten minutes while turning frequently. It goes perfectly with wholemeal pitta bread and Greek yogurt mixed with garlic. It’s much healthier than a lamb kebab, with a good combination of protein and complex carbohydrates… and tasty too.”

For fry-ups ignore the name

“Even for a classic full English, you want to try and limit the amount of frying you do, because this will reduce the amount of fat you use,” says chef Margie Broadhead, host of the Desert Island Dishes podcast. “Poach eggs with a splash of cider vinegar to make it easier, and bulk out your breakfast with tomatoes and mushrooms – just toss them under the grill for faff-free cooking. Sausages tend to ramp up the amount of fat and salt in a fry-up, so swapping these for veggie versions really cuts back on calories – but if you can’t contemplate a fry-up without meat, switch from pork to a leaner meat like turkey.”

For fish and chips batter up

There’s not much wrong with fish, but the casing it comes in is a deep-fried nightmare. “Instead of heading to the chippy, make your own with tempura batter,” says Broadhead. “Mix 150g of plain flour, 100g of corn flour and 10g of baking powder, then add water a little at a time until the batter will coat your finger. Gently coat your chosen fillet – cod works best – then fry it in oil for a couple of minutes each side. Feeling fancy? Add tartare sauce by mixing yogurt, capers, parsley and lemon, or healthy pea purée by cooking up some peas then blending with yogurt, lemon and mint.” And sweet potato fries, natch.

Three Low-Calorie Meals To Help You Maintain A Healthy Weight

There are a million different diet plans out there and they all have proponents that argue they are the one true path to weight loss, but the fact remains that if you want to lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn off through your daily activity. Naturally it’s important to consider what food makes up your calorie intake because of the varying nutritional values of, say, a carrot and a gummy bear, but your overall calorie tally is still something you should consider.

The recommended daily calorie intakes for UK adults are 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women, which is more than enough to enjoy three square meals and a couple of snacks every day, especially if you use Public Health England’s 400-600-600 rule for your main meals. As you will probably have worked out by now, the numbers refer to the rough number of calories you should eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which will leave men 900 and women 400 spare for snacks and drinks (never underestimate how many calories drinks can contain).

You can of course go far more in-depth with your calorie counting and use apps like MyFitnessPal to tot up the exact energy contained in everything you eat and drink. But there are clear advantages to keeping it simple, the main one being that you’ll be more likely to keep it up in the long term.

Once you start using the 400-600-600 rule you’ll quickly get an idea of what that amount of calories looks like on a plate. We also reckon you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much food you get.

To help get you started with the 400-600-600 rule, try eating these three recipes shared with us by Waitrose. There’s a breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe, and each comes in well under Public Health England’s suggested calorie counts.

Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffin (210 calories)

Muffins for breakfasts, that’s as good as it gets – and an indication of how good it can be on the 400-600-600 plan. In fact, this oatmeal muffin recipe is so low in calories you can have two and only go 20 calories over the recommended breakfast calorie count. And what’s 20 calories between friends?


Lunch: Courgette, Pea And Broad Bean Tortilla (385 calories)

This hearty lunch is packed full of veg, racking up two of your five a day per serving, and it also brings a hefty 9.1g of fibre to the table. It’s healthy, tasty and ludicrously low in calories, so feel free to serve yourself a slightly bigger slice than the recommended serving size – you’ll still be well below the 600 calories Public Health England suggests for lunch.


Dinner: Turkey Meatballs With Tagliatelle, Chilli And Tomato (515 calories)

Round off the day with this quick, protein-packed dinner. It only takes 25 minutes to cook and contains almost 28g of protein, along with just over 10g of fibre if you use wholewheat tagliatelle.


Recipes and images courtesy of waitrose.com

Essential Foam Rolling Exercises For Runners

If you’re a runner but have yet to leap aboard the foam-rolling bandwagon, you are really missing out. Self-myofascial release, as foam-rolling is also known by people who aren’t troubled by difficult pronunciations, is like treating your body to a sports massage: it relieves the tightness in muscles and boosts blood flow so you recover quicker and more effectively from your runs.

Well, we say “treating”, but that’s probably not the right word. Foam rolling isn’t the most pleasant experience if you do it right, but the results are worth it. To make sure you are doing it right, do these foam rolling exercises created and explained by ultrarunner and coach Luke Tyburski, who is an ambassador for Pulseroll, a vibrating foam roller.


Why A big group of muscles that you rely on when running. The hamstrings are key to running uphill, so if you’re smart enough to include hill training pay extra attention here.

How Place the roller under the middle of the back of your upper leg and, using your arms for support, roll forward and back along the roller.

How long Spend three to five minutes on each leg, adjusting your position every minute.


Why These muscles are constantly working whenever you are running or walking and most long-distance runners will experience tight, painful and stiff calves at some stage.

How Find the sore spots on the back of your lower leg and put them on the roller. Cross your legs at the ankles so there is a small amount of weight bearing down on the leg that’s resting on the roller. Take deep breaths, and relax your legs into the roller as you breathe out.

How long Spend three to five minutes on each leg, adjusting your position every minute.


Why Strong glutes will help you on your way to becoming a strong runner. Arguably these muscles are the most important ones used when running. The glutes are your power factory, but running for long periods can mean they get pretty beaten up, so foam rolling the area regularly is important. You need your glutes to be supple, because having tight glutes can start to affect how your pelvis sits, or even potentially twist and rotate your pelvis area.

How Lie back on the roller with a straight leg on the side you are rolling. Your opposite leg should be bent at the knee, with your foot on the floor. Keep your head relaxed and use your hands and the foot on the floor to gently slide backwards and forwards over the roller.

How long Spend three to five minutes on each side, adjusting your position every minute.


Why The quads carry us forwards with each stride, help us up hills, and decelerate us when we are running out of control down hills, so it’s worth spending plenty of time looking after them.

How Lie face down with the roller under your quad. It should feel like your entire body is sinking into the floor. Remember to not hold your breath.

How  long Spend three to five minutes on each leg, adjusting your position every minute.

Upper back

Why There are many things that negatively affect upper back posture – running for many hours, sitting at a desk or in a car all day, or spending long periods of time on your phone. Your chest becomes tight and shortened, and your upper spine can begin to flex rather than extend, which may bring on pain.

Using a roller to lengthen your spine, specifically the thoracic section, has been shown to help with breathing, having a more relaxed diaphragm, and reducing pain in the upper back region – all things that can help a runner’s performance.

How Lie back on the roller which should be positioned around your mid to upper back. Relax your head, and let your hips and bottom rest on the floor while you take deep, even breaths, moving along your upper spine and spending five deep breaths on each vertebrae.

How long Spend three to five minutes rolling your back, adjusting your position every five breaths.

What You Should Do In Your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s And 60s To Stay Healthy

There are some things you should do no matter how old you are, such as being active, eating a balanced diet with plenty of veg (however much veg you’re thinking of, more than that), not smoking, drinking only in moderation, paying attention to your mental health, and spending time with family and friends.

There are some things, however, that become particularly important at certain stages of your life, so it’s worth being prepared and taking preventive measures above and beyond the standard advice.

So we’re thankful to three Bupa health clinic experts – GPs Dr Luke Powles and Dr Ann Robinson, and dermatologist Dr Stephanie Munn – who have offered their advice on the most important health concerns to address in each decade from your 20s to your 60s.

Actually we’re even more thankful that people in their 20s, all aglow with the apparent invincibility of youth, need to look out for a few things too. Strangely, though, there’s no advice later on about combating the bitterness that comes with age – we’ll have to get back to you on that one.

How To Stay Healthy In Your 20s And 30s

Establishing healthy habits is a key concern in your 20s, because you’ll not only reap the benefits later in life but also avoid some of the bigger health risks your age bracket. Let’s start with one of the most obvious places – alcohol.

“Responsible alcohol intake is important throughout every stage of life – the less the better,” says Powles. “Minimising alcohol intake can help reduce a range of health problems including liver disease,  heart disease, obesity and some cancers.”

Continuing the statements of the bleeding obvious, smoking. Cut it out. “As well as the lasting damage it can cause to your health, any amount of smoking can drastically damage elastin in the skin, and smoking in your 20s will mean your skin will age faster as you get older,” says Munn.

And smoke isn’t the only thing that can wreak havoc on your skin. Munn adds that the evidence suggests that extreme sun exposure, including frequent sunburn, before the age of 40 increases the risk of developing skin cancer. “Avoid sunbeds and wear high-factor sunscreen in the summer months and on holiday,” says Munn.

This age group can also suffer from persistent acne, which can be aggravated by whey protein supplements. “If someone suffers from acne, it’s best to cut out whey protein and to use non-pore blocking and oil-free products to avoid long-term scarring or persistent acne,” says Munn.

RECOMMEDED: 12 Physical Challenges Everyone in Their 20s Should Be Able To Do

“Although testicular cancer is  relatively rare – the risk is just under one in 200 in the UK – it appears to be rising, so men need to be more aware of the symptoms,” says Powles. “It can occur at any age but it is the most common type of cancer for men between the ages of 20 and 35.” These are the signs Powles says to watch out for:

  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum.
  • A painless lump or swelling on either testicle.
  • A change in the way a testicle feels or a change in its texture.
  • Sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum.
  • A pulling sensation in your scrotum.
  • A dull ache in your groin or lower abdomen.

The final thing it’s important for this age group to pay attention to is their mental health. “Suicide is the leading cause of death among people aged 20-34,” says Powles, “so it’s important to be aware of your mental wellbeing. If you feel anxiety or stress affecting you, seek help and ask your GP in the first instance if you’re unsure where to turn.”

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How To Stay Healthy In Your 40s

In your 40s, it’s vital look after your head and heart.

“Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for two-thirds of all dementia, actually starts around 20 years before any symptoms appear,” says Robinson. “It’s important to consider how certain life choices can increase the chances of dementia.

“Smoking and diabetes at any age increases our risk, as does high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being inactive and being obese. Essentially, what is good for your heart is good for your brain.”

“There is a spike in deaths related to heart disease from 50 onwards so one of the biggest focuses for men and women in their 40s should be keeping their hearts healthy,” says Powles. Getting a heart health check will identify any major risks and also suggest lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the risk of heart issues.

Keeping a close eye on your weight is also vital in your 40s. Obesity is not only a risk factor for many health concerns, but can also cause other issues like back pain.

“Statistics show that 60-80% of people will get significant back pain in their lifetime, and 95% of cases will be resolved by exercise and managing posture,” says Powles.

Finally, Powles suggests that your 40s is the decade when you should start considering your joints, because they become increasingly prone to injury as you age.

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How To Stay Healthy In Your 50s

Skin cancer can occur at any age, but the most common age to develop this is in your 50s and 60s.

“While we should all keep an eye on our moles, it’s particularly important for those in their 50s,” says Munn. “If new moles appear or they change shape, have different colours, are bigger than the size of the top of a ballpoint pen, become itchy or crusty or start bleeding, make sure you see your GP or dermatologist.”

Whereas you might shrug off minor health issues earlier on in life, in your 50s it’s important to take even small problems seriously. “Act on any niggles straight away,” says Powles. “For example, if you have a cough that persists for longer than three weeks, it’s really important to go and seek health advice – particularly if you smoke or used to.”

And make no bones about it – in your 50s you need to look after your bones.

“It’s important to protect your bones at this age: weight-bearing exercise is a good thing to keep up and try to keep your weight in check,” says Powles.

In terms of taking a holistic view of your health, don’t underestimate the importance of strong relationships with friends and family.

“Stay social,” says Powles. “It’s easy to let regular contact with friends slide as you get older, and family and work pressures mount. However, maintaining these relationships in your 50s means you are safeguarding your mental health for a time when you may not work as much or at all. Evidence shows the quality of our close relationships, be they social or romantic, can be a greater predictor of our health in our older years than certain genetic and lifestyle factors.”

How To Stay Healthy In Your 60s And Beyond

Once you reach your 60s the primary focus should be on your brain health. Dementia is the leading cause of death in women and the second biggest in men. Keeping the brain engaged can reduce the risk.

“Taking care of our brain health should start much earlier in life, but it is still important that during the 60s we keep our brain active,” says Robinson. “This may increase its vitality and it could even build its reserves of brain cells and connections, so you could even generate new cells.”

Powles says crosswords and other puzzles are an excellent way to engage the brain every day. Additionally, learn a new skill, or language, or go to the theatre – these activities can all be fun and relaxing ways of staying mentally alert.

Staying active in your 60s is also important – for both your physical and mental health.

“We know that when older adults lose their mobility their physical and mental health can often follow,” says Powles. “This also applies to older adults who retreat into inactivity in their  later years so it is vital that those in their 60s should try to do something, even if it’s just heading out for a walk every day.”