Posts Tagged ‘Health’

I found a recent article by journalist Polly Phillips in last weekend’s Sunday Telegraph absolutely fascinating, and thought it might possibly contain some useful advice for how we in the UK can become a happier nation.

As we say farewell to a typical wet, windy diet-obsessed January, Polly explained how the Danes ignore the annual fasting to create our ‘perfect’ bodies and enjoy living as they have done for centuries. You can see young and IMG_2189old Danes alike plunging naked into the icy seas around the coast in mid winter and enjoying pastries whenever they want to!

A recent study by the University of Zurich sheds some light on the reasons for such a carefree approach to living. Apparently, Danes are conditioned from a young age not to feel shame. A mere 1.62% of the population suffer from gelotophobia (a fear of ridicule), the lowest figure of any country surveyed. Britain topped the charts with 13%! Danish children do not grow up paralysed by the fear of being laughed at as we do. While we might spend hours locked in gyms on treadmills, the Danes spend hours outside, biking, hiking and swimming – often in the nude (no one is at all worried by the sight of naked bodies as we would be in the UK!).

If you look deeper you can see how different Danes are from the reserved American and British citizen. From communal showers and baths to women’s liberation in the 1960s, Danish society really does accept a different way of life, and perhaps starting at a very young age there is an acceptance that if the rules say you go naked into the showers then this is what you do.

It seems to me that this accepted way of life must contribute to the Danes being one of the world’s happiest nations. Acceptance of who we are naked or clothed and following accepted rules made by society is not a bad way to live.

Is there a lesson here for us Brits, who sadly appear much further down in this league of ‘happiest’ nations?

– Rob Petersen.

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As I really begin to look forward to my annual holiday on the glorious island of Ibiza soon, I read with some sadness and concern one poll survey showing that 75% of SME owners sacrificed their holidays to power through and ensure their business runs smoothly. With the technology available today to keep in touch and good planning most of us can take at least a summer holiday to recharge the batteries and reduce stress.

While others may prefer to have active holidays and explore new places, I prefer a destination which I know well and where I will hopefully get some all important vitamin D and serotonin, the ‘happiness hormone’, from the sun. As I get older I think I will become more prone to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) syndrome so my weeks in the summer are important for my health and well-being.

Even though research shows that those living in some colder climates like Denmark, Iceland and Norway are ‘happier’ than UK citizens in terms of social support, life expectancy, generosity etc and not just wealth and economic prosperity, I strongly believe that summer breaks in the sun have huge benefits in the longer term to my overall happiness so need to find it abroadsadly as I would prefer a ‘stay-cation’ ideally!

Blue sky, warm breeze in the evening, healthy eating and a few glasses of rose really will help me recharge for the winter ahead. Of my 20 statutory days of holiday each year at least 10 must be in the sun. Long live the summer break for SMEs and all of us.

-Rob Petersen

The debate over the pros and cons of assisted dying was once again brought to our attention today with the story of Bob Cole, who travelled to Switzerland this afternoon to end his life.

Sean McCabe with new wife Lisa (left) and urging others not to give up hope (right). Picture credit: Wales Online

But as the country argues the ethics of Bob Cole’s decision to end his life, what a truly heart-warming survival story we had in today’s Western Mail.

The Mail reports on the story of cancer sufferer Sean McCabe who, having been given 2 months to live due to an aggressive form of cancer, planned his funeral in his local church.

In an incredible turn of events and after a bone marrow transplant he beat the disease to the astonishment of doctors and cancelled his funeral, planning instead his wedding to his partner Lisa in front of hundreds of guests. As Sean says, every day to him is a miracle and he is now 18 months in remission.

As someone who has also suffered from a cancer scare, having had a tumour removed from my left lung 2 years ago, I believe survivors like Sean and myself do tend to have a more positive view on life and try to persuade others to enjoy the moment every day as sadly lives can be turned around in an instant by this dreaded disease amongst many others.

So live every day as best you can with a smile on your face!

-Rob Petersen.

How often are we given frightening statistics about our growing obesity problem in Wales, effecting our younger generation as well as older citizens? Awareness of the issue is at an all-time high and programmes are being put in place to help educate our fellow citizens as to the correct way to live our lives, but it appears that despite these efforts obesity rates are not falling quickly enough.

However, it seems now that America, the ‘supersized’ nation of the world is at last slimming down. According to research, the average American has shed 190 calories from their daily diet over the last 10 years, the first sustained drop for 40 years! How has this happened? It appears as though talking about the problem has been a major factor, hence this blog to encourage more debate and action on it.

We have heard talk of a government fat tax and Tesco removing some sugary drinks from their shelves, so action is taking place but too slowly. With the highest obesity rate of any West European country save Iceland and Malta, with 67% of males, 57% of females and more than 25% of children, we must take action in Wales now!

Can we not take some direction from the successful anti-smoking campaign? Let’s keep talking about it, let’s educate our children and adults with the simple message that you can have a super healthy life if you eat well and exercise. This is what our friends in America are doing with great success.

This month we were joined by Chief Executive of Sport Wales, Sarah Powell. Sarah was appointed in September 2013 and is the first female to hold this position within the organisation. She has previously worked on the Sports Council for Wales with the Welsh National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of sport as well as heading the Performance and Excellence department.

Sarah Powell

Sarah Powell

Sarah also authored and implemented Wales’ Elite Sports Strategy which provided the framework within which Welsh athletes broke all records of medals won at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Beginning her address to the Breakfast Club, Sarah stressed the need to embrace sport within Wales and break down preconceptions that “Wales is a small nation punching above its weight.” Wales should seek success, including a bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth games, and “cannot and should not embrace second best.” Sarah pointed to the success of Frankie Jones, the inspirational Welsh gymnast who won gold in her last ever performance during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Sarah also explained that we are currently witnessing unprecedented times in Welsh budget cuts, with sport being one of the areas to be hit the hardest. She said that: “I passionately believe that for too long sport and leisure have been seen as the soft options for cuts. In my opinion this is short sighted when sport and participation have such a vital role in supporting the health crisis.” She also stressed the fact that Sport Wales are still delivering despite these cuts – despite decreasing investment they have hit every target set out over the past 2 years.

Sport Wales is now engaging and working with business more than has ever been seen before. Yet Sarah says there is still a need to do more to continue to develop even stronger partnerships. She also stressed the fact that “it is people we need to invest in, not just ideas.” Steps also need to be taken to make sport more engaging across a wider spectrum of society.

To conclude her talk, Sarah stressed her belief that it is vital to work with the aim of “building a Sportopia – a Wales where sport is valued.” Since the World Health Organisation have cited getting physically active as one of the key steps for a healthier nation, it is easy to see why.

The next Breakfast Club will be held on 20th January with guest speaker Trevor Williams, Chief Economist of Lloyds Bank. For further information and booking details, please contact susannah@petersenspr.com or phone 02920 549597.