Edwin Huxley - Friday 19.12.14, 13:40pm
Think brains and brawn are mutually exclusive? Think again. Scientific research is beginning to confirm something many athletes and fitness gurus have known for a long time: playing sport not only makes you stronger – it also makes you smarter.
From running, cycling and other cardiovascular activities to heavy weight training, engaging in intense exercise on a regular basis improves your ability to focus and concentrate, reduces “brain fog” and makes you more productive.
We spoke to the tennis experts at WimbledonDebentureHolders.com to learn more about how sports and exercise play a major role not just in your physical health, strength and performance, but in your mental and psychological health.
Sport releases growth factors that improve mental performance
According to research by the Boston University School of Medicine, engaging in regular exercise results in the production and release of growth factors that are used by your hippocampus – the part of your brain responsible for learning.
Increased levels of growth factors, which can be measured in your blood hormone profile, are thought to directly lead to an improved ability to learn new skills and memorise processes.
BNDF – brain-derived neurotrophic factor, one of the growth factors – is also linked to the creation of new neurons through neurogenesis, improving brain performance throughout your life.
Working out frequently reduces the risk of developing depression
Mental health, long thought to be something that our environment had little control over, is now closely linked to the places we spend our time and the activities we take part in.
Scientific research shows that exercise reduces your risk of developing depression and other serious mental disorders. That “runner’s high” you feel after a jog around the park isn’t an illusion – it’s endorphins influencing your brain chemistry.
In addition to fighting off depression, regular exercise increases your ability to sleep deeply, giving you more energy and greater mental clarity during the day. It also has a positive effect on stress levels, lowering the level of cortisol in your bloodstream.
Sunlight exposure improves productivity and mental focus
The mental benefits of exercise aren’t purely due to the strain it puts on your body’s muscles – they’re also because of the environment it places you in. Regular sunlight exposure – whether on the golf course or tennis court – improves your productivity.
Just like dark work environments with poor air circulation lower our productivity at work, spending time in brightly lit, sun-filled environments make you more capable and focused during your workday.
The next time you’re late back to the office after a lunchtime workout, let your boss know that your midday run or weight training session will give you extra focus and productivity throughout the afternoon.
Frequent aerobic exercise improves your working memory
Studies of the effects of exercise on children reveal that your working memory – the part of your brain responsible for storing information in the short term – improves when you engage in regular aerobic exercise.
The cardiovascular health improvements offered by running, cycling, swimming and other aerobic activities improve blood flow throughout your body and increase your brain’s ability to block out disruptive impulses.
According to a recent article in Business Insider, aerobic exercise also improves your ability to multitask – studies show that people who exercise find it easier to do two things at once, such as cross a busy street while talking on a cell phone.
What’s your excuse for not exercising and playing sports?
It’s easy to write off exercise as something you “don’t have time for”, especially if your professional schedule is demanding. But spending an hour a day exercising could be just what you need to make your professional life more manageable.
From improving your workplace productivity to increasing your capacity to learn and memorise new details, playing sports not only makes you fitter and healthier – it also makes you a smarter, more focused and more successful person.
Edwin Huxley - Wednesday 13.08.14, 19:10pm
Shoot in the ‘70s
This week, 45 years ago, the first ever issue of the iconic football magazine, Shoot, hit the newsstands. Today, to coincide with that anniversary, online vintage football publisher, Soccerattic.com, launches a brand new digital magazine app, Shoot in the ‘70s. The football classic of the 1970s has been re-created electronically for tablet, smartphone or PC, exactly as it was first published enabling football supporters and historians to reawaken memories of following 1970s football by reading it all over again.
That first ever issue of Shoot Magazine from 16th August 1969 comes free with the app which is available to download for Apple, Android, Kindle and PC. Currently, every single issue of Shoot from August 1969 to December 1971 is available to read via this unique app. All issues from subsequent years from 1972 to 1980 will be added on a regular basis. No need to rummage through dusty old boxes tucked away in attics. The archive is available to download from the cloud and read electronically – wherever and whenever required.
Anyone who remembers their 1970s footballer as having a penchant for steak and chips, driving a Ford Capri and relaxing to the sound of Shirley Bassey will doubtless remember reading Shoot from that era and will relish the chance to re-visit a piece of their football supporting history.
On a more serious note, reading it now recalls memories of a very different era in the game. Attendances were falling, hooliganism was prevalent in grounds, England failed to qualify for two World Cups and foreign players rarely played in the English or Scottish leagues.
Shoot is still published as an online magazine today and current deputy editor, Dan Tyler, said,
“These fantastic digital versions of the 1970s editions reflect the same values and innovations that the modern day fan experiences through our excellent current Shoot online monthly magazine.”
Andy Zienkiewicz, director and co-founder of Soccerattic.com, says,
“The classic colour pictures of teams and players, Bobby Moore’s column, You Are The Ref!, Focus On and Readers’ Letters etc. are all there just as they were written, and how you remember them, from the 1970s. But, additionally, Shoot in the ‘70s is a snapshot of football history from an era that gave rise to much of what we see in the modern game but from a time when, at least, you might have seen your team’s players in the same pub as you.”
Simon Hollingworth, co-director, of Soccerattic.com says,
“We were extremely pleased with the app of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly from the 1960s that we released earlier this year. Shoot in the ‘70s is an impressive addition to our repertoire of historical football magazine content. And there’s more to come.”
To download the free Shoot in the ‘70s app, which includes the free issue, follow the relevant link below:
Terry Lane - Monday 11.08.14, 19:36pm
So, with the English football league season already under way, the new FA Premier League 2014/15 season returns this weekend; and there’s plenty of reasons to believe it will be as exciting a season as the last.
After ostracising the fans favourite, I believe Jose Mourinho will sink or swim by his decision to sell Juan Mata to arch rivals Manchester United while welcoming former Arsenal & Barcelona attacking midfielder Cesc Fabregas. Chelsea threw away the title last season with some sloppy defeats against the likes of Sunderland, Aston Villa & Crystal Palace; a failure to hold on to a lead and close out a game; and above all, a lack of goals and inform goalscorers. For the latter, Jose Mourinho has added two strikers to his squad – Diego Costa last seasons’ top scorer in La Liga and the return of Didier Drogba. Fernando Torres stays at Chelsea, while Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba & Romelu Lukaku have all been moved on.
The defending Premier League champions, Manchester City seem more concerned with balancing the books this summer than splashing the cash. That said, today they have shored up the defence by completing the signing of French central defender Eliaquim Mangala from FC Porto for a reported £32 million. This, along with the six months loan signing of Frank Lampard alone means they have strengthened their squad.
Arsene Wenger has once again shown Arsenal fans that he is happy to spend big if the right player is available for the right price by signing top striker Alexis Sanchez for £30 million from Barcelona. But I feel Arsenal will once more start well but peter out in the New Year, unless they continue to strengthen, what is in comparison to the other teams competing for both the Premier League title and the Champions League, a very good first eleven, but a squad that lacks depth.
Liverpool was quite possibly the most exciting team to watch in last season’s Premier League. But they fell at the final hurdle, by possibly losing focus when it most counted. This season they will need to keep up appearances without the bite of Luis Suarez who has bolted for pastures new. That leaves Raheem Sterling & Daniel Sturridge the chance to prove they can lead the line for Liverpool, who have strengthened their attacking options with the arrival from Southampton of fellow England internationals, Rickie Lambert & Adam Lallana. Southampton are going to struggle this season after selling six of their first team players; and none better than Adam Lallana, who I believe is a future Liverpool and England captain.
Last but not least, what of Manchester United. After their worst season in the Premier League, Manchester United will clearly bounce-back under the ruthless and authoritative leadership of Louis van Gaal. I think there is still a lot of business to be done before the end of August at Old Trafford. If they manage to offload the likes of Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Wilfried Zaha, Javier Hernandez, Nani & Anderson then I’d expect them to be replaced with two or three world class players who will push for first team starts, rather than be ubiquitous squad players to be given a run out in the League Cup & Europa League.
Depending whether Louis van Gaal can improve his squad by the end of the summer transfer window, will have a bearing on where Man Utd finish this season. One thing’s for sure, they won’t be seventh!
With no involvement in the Champions League, Manchester United will be able to focus solely on winning the Premier League; and for this alone, I believe they will finish in the top three, possibly second. But barring injuries, I believe Chelsea will win the Premier League this season. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Jose Mourinho is sacked before Christmas, if results don’t go their way.
Terry Lane - Saturday 10.05.14, 16:41pm
Tomorrow sees all 20 teams kick off simultaneously at 3pm for the last round of matches of the 2013/14 Premier League season; and what a vintage season it has been. It started with all top 3 teams from last season, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United changing manager and ends with Manchester City only needing a draw at the Etihad Stadium against West Ham United to win their second Premier League title in three seasons. Along the way, City have scored 100 goals and, with Liverpool, played the most exciting cavalier football throughout the season. Liverpool have scored 99 goals going in to their last match, at home to Newcastle, who I predict will be looking for a new manager this summer. I predict both Man City & Liverpool will win by four or more goals.
This season, Arsenal fell away in traditional fashion at the start of the year as did their star summer signing Mesut Ozil. While Jose Mourinho claimed while he had no in-form strikers Chelsea had no alternative but to park buses and play the kind of negative football that allegedly got him sacked the last time round by Roman Abramovich. There’s no doubting Mourinho’s coaching and tactical genius. But the amazing feat of taking 12 points from Liverpool & Man. City this season wasn’t enough for a victorious Premier League return for the so-called ‘Chosen One’, as Chelsea lost to the likes of Aston Villa, Crystal Palace & Sunderland; though the bitterest pill for Mourinho & Abramovich was being completely out-classed by Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the Champions League. Next season I believe Chelsea will be a differently animal altogether as they go all out this summer to bring at least one if not two top in-form strikers to Stamford Bridge. Diego Costa and possibly Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint Germain) or Radamel Falcao (Monaco) with Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto making way.
As for the reigning champions, Manchester United, it was always going to be a tough gig following Sir Alex Ferguson who managed to bail out gracefully by winning the Premier League last season with a tired looking, aging and below par Man Utd team. But with each loss the pressure mounted on successor and ‘Chosen One’ David Moyes, who was eventually sacked in April. Manchester United will finish a lowly 7th unless they beat Southampton and Spurs lose their final home game to Aston Villa. A match that will probably be manager Tim Sherwood’s last.
So, over the course of the season, the best two teams will fight to the finish; and though both managers have played a significant part in their teams’ success, I believe Manuel Pellegrini and Brendan Rogers achievements come second to the magnificent job Tony Pulis has done at Crystal Palace. Not only has he managed to avoid relegation, but taken the team from 20th to 11th and caused some shocks along the way; none more so than beating Chelsea and forcing their way back from 3-0 against Liverpool.
Tomorrow I will be having an accumulator bet on wins for Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Southampton, Crystal Palace & Sunderland; and next weekend tempted to go with Hull City causing an upset against Arsenal in the FA Cup final. In the meantime, you may want to have a gamble or two on casino games at euro palace before looking forward to the World Cup which starts on 12th June.
Edwin Huxley - Wednesday 02.04.14, 18:33pm
It’s been a difficult first season at Old Trafford for David Moyes but as yet, the club haven’t pressed the panic button and looked for a managerial alternative.
The former Everton man remains under pressure however, and if – as seems probable – he fails to qualify for the Champions League, then Manchester United’s owners may potentially appoint a successor after the World Cup.
David Moyes is available at 4.40 with Betfair to leave before the end of next season but does he deserve a second campaign and if not, who is set to come in and replace him?
The case for the defence
It’s said that a manager is only as good as his players and while Moyes retained the core of the squad that won the league in 2012-13, many have seriously under-performed. Defence has been a real concern and while David De Gea has improved after an uncertain first season, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand have all had issues with form – both individually and as a collective back four.
Paul Scholes is one of a number of former Man Utd players who claim that Moyes deserves a second season and a summer where he is able to buy and sell to address the problem areas in the side. That’s a logical assessment but the Scot’s detractors will point to Marouane Fellaini and suggest that the manager shouldn’t be trusted with a sizeable transfer kitty.
United might however, look back to the start of Sir Alex Ferguson’s career, which wasn’t exactly glorious. Fergie turned it around but will David Moyes be given a second chance? If not, just who will come in?
Louis Van Gaal
62-year old Van Gaal is expected to leave his post as manager of the Netherlands after the World Cup in Brazil and although he had been tipped to take over from Tim Sherwood at Tottenham, a vacancy at Old Trafford is likely to appeal more.
“I have said before that a challenge should be a club in the Premier League. That’s a challenge,” The Dutchman told the Guardian back in February.
Van Gaal’s credentials are seriously impressive. He’s won the Dutch Eredivisie with two different clubs, claimed two La Liga titles with Barcelona and the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich. His availability could come just at the right time for United and there can be few better managers around.
There is a theory that Borussia Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp is being groomed as the ultimate successor to Arsene Wenger at Arsenal but at 46, he could represent a better long-term solution than Van Gaal for the Old Trafford hot seat.
Klopp was among many managers to be linked with the job in the brief period following Ferguson’s retirement and Moyes’ appointment, after steering his current club to back-to-back titles prior to Bayern Munich’s dominance.
Juventus boss Antonio Conte is set for a Serie A and Europa League double but while he remains as one of the leading contenders to take over from David Moyes, an unexpected exit in the group stages of the Champions League could count against the 44-year old.
Conte steered Bari to a Serie B title and has won two Serie A titles since taking over at Juve, but until he proves himself on Europe’s biggest stage, the Italian will not be considered amongst the world’s top managers.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Fergie is tipped in some areas for an unlikely return to the Old Trafford hot seat in an attempt to steady things while the club looks for a more permanent successor.
Sir Alex attends United games while fitting in his horse racing interests but at 72, will he really be tempted to come out of retirement and handle all that pressure again?