Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Copy of 600pix-kike-vega-F2qh3yjz6Jk-unsplashUsing exercise as medicine (plus literary events from 11 Feb onwards)

We are so familiar with the old saying that exercise is good for you that we no longer pay any attention to it. But it’s true! There is a deluge of recent research demonstrating the benefits of exercise – a wonder drug, they say. Exercise benefits both our bodies and our minds. Makes us live longer, feel more cheerful, sleep better. Angela J. Phillip goes in search of some books that offer information and guidelines about how to move more and move better.

Well, I don’t think I’m going to look like the woman in the pic above, but I put her there as an inspiration. Anyhow, there’s walking and that’s a good way to start getting fit. Slow and steady to begin with. Don’t need to tell you that we live in an area of extreme beauty, but researching this post has literally opened my eyes to the many places nearby that I rarely visit. Good job I’ve got some good walking boots (and I have – they’re MOABs – mother of all boots – I liked that name and so far, they’ve lived up to it).

220pix-1066-walksin hastings1066 Walks
This is a free online site that includes guided walks in Hastings, Bexhill, Tunbridge Wells and more. Or you can go on a Fungi Foraging Workshop near Brede. Or Beginning Birdwatching in Winter in Rye Harbour.

The site offers suggestions. There is the Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve, Alexandra Park, The Stade Trail and many more. Then there are walks in Bexhill, Battle,  Bodiam, Camber, Pevensey, Rye, Winchelsea. On each page there are maps and information.

220pix-Long Mans WalksHastings & Rother Walks (Longman’s Walking Guide to Sussex).
For each walk there is a free pdf download. You can choose a long or a short walk with distances given or you can opt for a cycle ride. Details of pubs, tearooms and other buildings of interest are given. The picture (right) is for Winchelsea.

Men’s versus Women’s Exercises
Opinion is divided as to whether women should exercise differently from men. From what I’ve read, it seems that women’s bodies are less efficient than men’s in making use of high intensity training, but women’s bodies generally have more stamina. It’s obviously true that there are physical differences between men and women but I leave you to draw your own conclusions on what this means for exercise. Obviously, we need to use our common sense, but some information can be helpful.

220pix-Big Book ExercisesWomen’s Health – big book of exercises by Adam Campbell
This book is aimed at both beginners and for those who are already fit. The exercises claim to be backed by scientific research and there are plenty of exercises that do not need equipment. I haven’t used this book but most reviewers said it was easy to follow and to use. A few said that it was too ‘wordy’ so not ideal for beginners. There is also a companion volume (actually, this one is the companion volume because the men’s book came first). It is the Men’s Health – big book of exercises by the same author.

220pix-CardioWhich comes first, cardio or weights? by Alex Hutchinson
This is primarily a book to expose myths and it offers scientific information. There are questions such as the following: ‘Should I exercise when I’m sick? – Do I get the same workout from the elliptical machine that I get from running? – What role does my brain play in fatigue? – Will running ruin my knees? – To lose weight, is it better to eat less or exercise more? – How should I adapt my workout routine as I get older? – Does it matter what I’m thinking about when I train? – Will drinking coffee help or hinder my performance? – Should I have sex the night before a competition?’

And what about breathing? Patrick McKeown claims that we spend time trying to eat properly and exercise in the most efficient way but neglect breathing. Here is a video outlining the five main ideas in the Patrick McKeown book, The Oxygen Advantage. You need to be aware that this video is an advert for McKeown’s book.

220pix-OxygenThe Oxygen Advantage (2016) by Patrick McKeown
The book claims that one of the biggest obstacles to health and fitness is not knowing how to breathe. The book explains why breathing is important and offers exercises. Correct breathing will improve your BOLT score, McKeown – and reviewers of the book claim. Apparently, your BOLT score is ‘not a test of how long you can hold your breath or your willpower. It measures the sensitivity of your carbon dioxide receptors and the time it takes for your body to react to a lack of air. … Breathing exercises will improve your sleep, health and fitness levels.’ Daily Mail, 21 Sep 2015

220pix-SparkSpark: the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain by John J. Ratey
Of course, it’s not just the body that exercise makes to work more efficiently. It’s our brains. Since we are one holistic organism that makes perfect sense. Spark gets an average of more than 4 stars from 753 readers’ ratings. One reviewer said that they had started to enjoy exercise for the first time ever (presumably because the benefits it would bring were now fully appreciated). ‘We all know that exercise is good for you and I wondered what this book could tell me that I didn’t already know, but it had much more of an impact than I ever thought it would. Well worth a read if you suffer with anxiety, depression and ADHD especially.’

220pix-Yoga as MedYoga as medicine by Timothy McCall
A long time ago in Papua New Guinea, an American friend of mine taught me a couple of yoga exercises. She’d just started going to yoga class but I lived too far away to join her. Since that day, I’ve done these exercises every morning. Any person who knows yoga wouldn’t recognise them, and I’ve long since forgotten what they were called. But they’ve done me good. In the times when I’ve lapsed, I’ve noticed the difference. So how much more powerful must a proper practice of yoga be! One of the reviewers of this book writes, ‘It is very easy to read and full of information complete with suggestions and photos of poses that will help certain conditions.’ Please see below for details of local yoga classes.

220pix-The Body copyThe Body: a guide for occupants by Bill Bryson
Finally, a meticulously researched book by Bill Bryson, written with the same wry wit as ever but with careful regard to his subject matter. His opinions are informed by a great deal of reading as well as by interviews with medical experts. It is an account of the wonders of the body as well as Bryson’s opinions on how badly we often treat our bodies. He advises us to eat less and move more – but there is much more to it than that. As he says, ‘The more exercise we do the more our bones produce a hormone that boosts mood, fertility and memory – staving off frailty, depression and dementia.’ If you want to know how it all happens, read the book. Highly recommended.

Please buy books from our local independent bookshops if at all possible.

1066 Walks
Longman’s Walking Guide to Sussex
Women’s Health – big book of exercises (2017) by Adam Campbell
9 Reasons why women should not train like men – Menno Henselman’s
Women and men should train the same – Women’s Health Mag
Men’s Health – big book of exercises by Adam Campbell
Which comes first, cardio or weights? (2011) by Alex Hutchinson
The Oxygen Advantage (2016) by Patrick McKeown
How to breathe yourself slim (2015) Daily Mail
Spark: the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain (2010) J. J. Ratey
Yoga as medicine (2007) by Timothy McCall
The Body: a guide for occupants (2019) by Bill Bryson

Local Yoga classes (and there are many more)
Old Town Yoga – 2 Croft Road tel  07947 552414 see website
St Leonards Studio – 3 Grand Parade tel 07722 868397 see website

top image – Kike Vega,

other images – tourist websites 
book covers – Amazon

The companion pieces to this post are:
How to use food as medicine (1) – heart health and strong bones
How to use food as medicine (2) – ward off Alzheimer’s and lower blood pressure

Thursday 20th February 6 pm – Sheer Poetry at Bookbuster’s 39 Queens Rd, Hastings £3 on the door

Thursday 13th February 7 pm – Write Night with Danuta Kean hosted by Wayne Herbert on behalf of New Writing South Tickets £5/£3 see details

Saturday 22 February 5 – 7 pm Dhanmondi Road by R.H. Young at Bookbuster’s 39 Queens Rd, Hastings

220pix-Dhanmondi Road coverThe year is 1973. The Bangladesh war of independence is over but the country remains in chaos. Gareth McKinley, a young Australian arrives in the country to work on a project set up to care for destitute children. He quickly learns that living and working in a post war environment can be dangerous.

A crisis emerges when some children involved in the project cannot be accounted for. Does the explanation lie in a mysterious letter that seems to have been sent from Dubai? Dhanmondi Road sensitively captures the atmosphere of a country in turmoil and charts Gareth’s progress towards increasing self knowledge and awareness in ways he could not have dreamed of before setting out on this journey.

Wednesday 1 April  6 – 7.30 pm Reading & music from Clive Parker-Sharp’s novel ConeBoy at Printed Matter Bookshop 185 Queens Rd, Hastings TN34 1RG

Coming soon. Staglit Tuesdays at the Stag Inn in the Old Town 6.30 – 8.30 pm  A chance for writers to read short extracts from their work and sell their books – and for readers to listen & comment. If you would like to read from your work or if you would like to be included on the email list for these events, please contact Angie

CALL FOR EVENTS INFO – please contact me directly if you would like your event to be included in the HOT weekly Bookchat column. Please write to Angie

Writers’ Groups

Hastings Writers’ Group meet fortnightly on Mondays 7.30 – 9.30 pm at the White Rock Hotel. Membership is subject to vacancies and costs £80 per yr (or £40 per half year). For more details please see the website.

St Leonard’s Writers  meet on Wednesdays 1 – 3 pm at St Ethelburga Church in St Saviours Rd. There is a small joining fee and weekly contribution (see website for details). Contact person: David Edwards For more details please see the website

Shorelink Writers meet most Monday evenings between September and July  in the Tesco Community Room, Tesco Extra, Churchwood Drive, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN38 9RB. Small donation for each meeting. Membership is subject to vacancy so please get in touch first. Contact /
For more details, please see the website.

The Literary Shed Writing Circle
Weekly. Thursday, 10–12. Café sessions free. Workshop: £8
Contact: Aruna – e:

CALL FOR WRITING GROUPS & BOOKGROUPS TO GET IN TOUCH – Do get in touch if you would like your group to be listed each week in this Bookchat column. Please write to Angie


Bookbuster 39 Queens Rd, Hastings
Go to Bookbuster’s Facebook page to see more.

Printed Matter Bookshop 185 Queens Rd, Hastings TN34 1RG
Please see Facebook page for more details of these and other events.

The Bookkeeper Bookshop 1a Kings Rd, St Leonards
Come and look at the Bookkeeper Bookshop Facebook page to see more.

The Hare & Hawthorn Bookshop 
51 George St, Hastings Old Town
For more information see the Hare & Hawthorn Facebook page

600pix-AJP-sky banner-squashed

Hi there – as you can see  from the above, I’ve got a new banner but this is likely to change again. I liked the old one, but it belonged to the WordPress theme I was using so I thought it would be safer to be independent with my own. I’ll keep experimenting. So far, I’ve discovered that a banner needs to be clear but not too eye-catching – otherwise it distracts from the stuff on your page that you want your readers to look at.

The Big Happiness-Book-220pixAnd here it is – the proof copy of The Big Happiness. The paper and the binding are lovely. I sent off for two copies so that I could compare matte and glossy. There is a band of print over HAPPINESS that says it’s not for resale. That’s why that bit looks a bit blurred. One proof copy cost just over £6 including the p&p (although the cost will vary slightly according to the number of pages). Isn’t that amazing?

I’m thrilled with it – a real book at last!

Now I’ve got to decide whether to hold publication until the other three novels in the series are ready to publish. They need final proof-reading but that might take another month because the final edit always takes longer than you think.

Anyway, it’s exciting! Now there are new questions. Always more decisions to make.

My questions are:
Is my book the right size? (I’ve chosen 5.25 x 8 inches)
Which two genres do I choose?
What about keywords?
How do I write good blurb for the other three books?

I’ll post on my site about these questions and send out my thoughts in the next Newsletter.

Thank you to those of you who have signed up for the Newsletter. If you haven’t, I would be so pleased if you did.

Please see: The Newsletter signup form is on the right-hand side as you scroll down.

Comments and suggestions on anything and everything are always welcome.

Thanks so much for reading.


Angela J. Phillip

Posted 09:00 Tuesday, Feb 11, 2020 In: Hastings Bookchat

Also in: Hastings Bookchat

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