Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First

Physical activity from home #thenewnormal

While the ‘stay at home and work at home if you can’ restrictions imposed by Government apply – we have to think of new ways of doing some daily activity.  The need for daily activity has been emphasised by the prime minister and the Chief Medical Officers and it is clear that when we are confined to our homes and daily travel routines are removed we will probably have a lot less everyday activity and more sedentary time.  This little blog is aimed at helping you find some activity to do that keeps the body health and the mind alert.

There are at least two groups that each of us  might fall into.

The first group are those who are missing daily active commuting, exercise classes and gym or swimming sessions- for a short time [we hope] all of these activities need to be replaced by something that is possible from home. The VERY good news is that the restrictions allow leaving the house once a day to walk, jog or cycle – providing you keep two metres away from others, minimise the surfaces you need to touch and wash hands when you get back in the house. So here you are free to do these activities at your own pace – a pace that helps you feel good- and for as long as you feel it is comfortable- there is even a chance that in the coming weeks you could build up and do more that you achieved in the first week – bonus! 

The second group are those who were not doing regular activities but in this situation might find the motivation and time to get started and help your body and mind get the benefits of some daily movement.  Like the first group you can take the opportunity to leave the house once a day – probably to walk- that is the safest and easiest way to get active. Those with disabilities can use support from frames and those in wheelchairs can also try turning their wheels out there. Start small and build up – 10 minutes of walking for the first few days is fine. When that amount of time feels OK- then add another 5 minutes and walk for 15 minutes for a few days. Eventually you might be able over the course of weeks to build up to 20-30 minutes – and some days could be longer walks and other days could be shorter walks.

Both groups – the already active and the would like to get active – also need to think of ways to build strength and to do balance activities at home.  Attached there are 9 exercises that can be done at home – aim for 10 repetitions and if that is too easy aim for 2 or 3 sets of the 10 repetitions. Those that are finding ways to replace gym based or class based activities will be able to find lots of things to follow on line to help with strength and balance also.

A useful tip is to set a goal about when to do exercise each day. This should be a time that makes it most likely you can do it – for some first thing, for others at lunchtime – this will be your new normal for a week or two. The outside exercise can be at one time of the day and strength exercise at another time.  If there are others with you in the household try to do this all together – kids too! 

But we all know how hard it is to be motivated on wet and windy days or days when the news is gloomy – when it seems hard to get across the door step then just do a minimum – something is better than nothing – when the sun is out and you feel more able- do more. The same with strength exercises – every other day is an excellent goal – again something is better than nothing and some days it will feel easier than others. 

Stay active Stay strong Stay safe

Professor Nanette Mutrie, University of Edinburgh March 2020


COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) home test kits​ – caveat emptor!

There has been immense publicity in the last few days that one million home testing kits for coronavirus could be sent out in a matter of weeks. These kits are based upon the analysis of a small sample of blood, taken by finger prick, to detect the immunoglobulins IgM and IgG, antibodies that arise some time after symptoms appear. So, because the tests are detecting the immune response and not the virus itself, they inform if a person has had the condition, if indeed there is a period of immunity after having contracted the disease.  It might be, then, that those who have had the virus could return to their normal routines. 

Continue reading “COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) home test kits​ – caveat emptor!”

A New Normal

It is not the time to be badgering people about healthy living, it’s just about living! It is also time to help create a new normality – maybe not forever, just long enough to make a difference. That difference has the potential to impact upon our family, friends and neighbours and might just help us get to grips with these strange and challenging times.

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Finding a path to less meat: better for you, better for the planet

Processed meat was classified in 2015 by the World Health Organisation as a group 1 carcinogen. Additionally, there is robust evidence from the World Cancer Research fund’s Continuous Update Project that consumption of meat, fish and dairy products can influence cancer risk. There is convincing evidence processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer, with red and processed meat potentially increasing the risk of lung, pancreatic and nasopharynx cancers. Similarly dairy products can reduce the risk of some cancers, however may increase risk of prostate cancer. 

Continue reading “Finding a path to less meat: better for you, better for the planet”

Kindness at work: not always a piece of cake

We’ve just had Valentine’s Day and today (17th February) it’s Random Act of Kindness Day (or Random Act of Kindness Week, depending on the website you look at). Whether you’re a cynic or a softie, these events bring the glow of love and kindness to a gloomy month when coronavirus, flooding and tragedy pervade the news

But kindness isn’t just for February and it’s not just for loved ones; it’s valuable for society and our health, including at work.  Research shows that people who perform acts of kindness are more satisfied with their lives (1), happier (2, 3), and have higher peer acceptance and well-being (4). So, with workplaces increasingly focused on health and well-being, kindness definitely has a role. 

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The power of prevention – stacking the odds in favour of a longer disease-free life

What would you give for an extra ten years of healthy life? A recent BMJ study showed that sticking to just five healthy habits in middle age – not smoking, regularly exercising, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, and limiting alcohol – can earn you an extra ten years of disease free life. This is especially significant given that we are all living longer – but often that longer life is accompanied by one or more chronic health conditions.

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#RecipeForAFuture: a summary

Thank you to all SCPN friends who have shared tasty recipes with us during January and our #RecipesForAFuture campaign. In case you missed any here are all the tasty meat-free recipes we have shared during the campaign:

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Reflections on 31 days of a new decade – one drink at a time

Somewhere in a busy life, someone says ‘try something new’. The someone is me, telling myself ‘Slow down, look around at what you see and think hard about what the next decade could bring – do life differently’.

Continue reading “Reflections on 31 days of a new decade – one drink at a time”

Nut Roast with Veggie Sauce


  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed/olive oil
  • 225 g mixed nuts, i.e. peanuts, walnuts, cashews
  • 100g Wholemeal bread
  • 300 mls Vegetable stock or water
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs or one teaspoonful chopped rosemary
  • I dessertspoon peanut butter
Continue reading “Nut Roast with Veggie Sauce”

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