Searching for blog posts tagged with 'daro'

No Boundaries?



Limbering up for the Boundary Walk - kicking off my Commit to Get Fit regime.  But when oh when shall I eat my lunch?  Day One and I'm already obsessed with food consumption!

I feel like Julie Andrews



It became clear yesterday that the Commit to Get Fit challenge was getting serious when the office biscuits were replaced with a tub of tangerines. I have decided not to be down beat about this, and, in the positive spirit of Girl Power, will tell myself that I don't want biscuits...what I want, "what I really, really want", is a piece of fruit!

The Boundary Walk yesterday was also a great way to kick off my health regime - if I didn't feel like Julie Andrews surrounded by all those hills, I definitely should do today when I hope to be blithely cycling through the countryside.  If the DARO team would  join me in singing about our favourite things, it would be perfect! X



DARO commits to Commit to Get Fit - the official'ish blog



Our whole team have commited to the programme and even before it starts the well being levels have increased.  First, we've had the 're-tox before the de-tox' weekend, whole heartedly embraced by all.  Tomorrow our campaign starts in earnest for our very mixed group of individuals.  We have on our team someone who completed the Brighton marathon recently, some who regularly partake of the Sports facilities on campus, others who limp into the office after off-campus sports and a few who need to challenge their comfort zones and get their bodies moving in unfamiliar ways.


 DARO re-tox before the de-tox

DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Official'ish blog #3



Wow.  Mountain biking up over the Downs above campus today was amazing.  Eight of us went with Jenny from Sports as our cheerleader.  Six formed the scouting party that went on ahead and graciously waited at certain points for the two laggers whom Jenny was cheering on.  It was almost complete relief when Jenny got a puncture and had to change the inner tube as the laggers got to stand around looking helpful whilst gulping in fresh air.  

One of the advance party has only ever cycled on roads and he found the fast downhill pace over loose flint more scary than the Lewes Road.  The bikes provided by Sports are great quality with them being new aluminium, so, easy to push uphill with one hand on the bike and the other massaging the stitch.  The helmets are cool if you like to look like a chipmunk but ESSENTIAL when you consider the terrain.

DARO is looking at Sussex research and will be putting into practice the findings that will help with the Commit to Get Fit programme.  One of the research teams found that an effective way to deal with stress was reading which reduced levels by 68%.  Obviously reading the research helped there then.  The next most effective tool is to listen to music which can reduce stress levels by 61%, followed by having a cup of tea of coffee (54% reduction) and finally, a walk lessened stress by 42%.

Our SurveyMonkey results have shown what the most popular sports for DARO are and we're all booking ahead as soon as we can.

DARO is committed to Commit to Get Fit - the official'ish blog #2



The DARO team has three goals to complement its member's individual goals.  A 'naive art' poster on the kitchen wall lists them in highlighter pen:

  • NO more cake or biccies in the office
  • ADOPT N.E.A.T. - non exercise activity thermogenesis
  • ENJOY our team challenge

Amazingly, before the poster was put up, the least likely candidate in the office brought in a box of tangerines.  It looked as though he was walking in with a box of KFC in a carrier bag, so no shock there, but, when the office found out who had contributed the lovely fruit, shock ensued, no-one had ever seen him eat fruit and he wasn't going to partake of his own offering either.  Such a lovely gesture and gratefully devoured.

In a similar vein, it turns out that some plants adopt thermogenesis themselves, namely the Skunk Cabbage, Voodoo Lily and Corpse Flower, hmmm.

Team DARO, bar one member manning the phones, all enjoyed the Boundary Walk yesterday and were inspired to see the Good Ship Bramber, our home, sailing towards the sun and the sea through the Downs.

Not on the road to Rio



Feeling a bit sore but physically well (except for a few bruises) after a very vigorous bike ride yesterday.  I think that those who saw me trying not to fall off my bike and not lag too far behind my colleagues would say I am not the nation's next great Olympian.  I'm sure though, that with experience, this is a really good way to exercise.

I definitely felt a sense of achievement at the end and really want to thank Jenny, whose encouragement spurred me on to the finish line.  I am only sad that I let Julie Andrews down - the effort of straining to drag myself up hills left me in no mood for singing.

DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Official'ish blog No.4



Some of us went to the Sussex Sports Centre today for a tour and guidance on how to use the equipment.  The Admissions Team were in there pedalling and rowing to Mordor on various machines, boy are they keen?!  The Zumba going on downstairs looked full on too, we couldn't hear yelps of pain as the music was too loud, is that by design?  

We were shown the machines and a variety of free weights and resistance exercises by Mark Beresford. We'd already been royally greeted by Karen Creffield and Sam Fuller in Reception so we felt most welcome.  Mark gave great explanations of the best exercises and regimes for us and he obviously keeps up to date with the latest science.  The advice and tips given were extremely balanced and completely practical to fit into a working life on campus.  It was a bit embarrassing to find out that these resources and experts were a surprise to us all.  We all know where the cafes and bars are, why didn't we know there was something so good for us too?!  

Small changes hopefully making a big difference



It was really good to see the many resources offered by the Sports Centre last Friday.  I particularly liked the rowing machines and exercise bikes and would definitely use these as they lend themselves to bursts of activity which are short but physically effective and so are not too difficult to work in to your day. To that end, I will try to make going to the gym a regular part of my week, and so far, so good - I will be power-hooping tomorrow!

The ‘Eat Well, Feel Better’ nutrition talk was also good.   It reminded me of nutrients I was missing out on but could so easily be added to my diet e.g. omega 3 fats, which are not only found in oily fish but can be taken in supplements or by eating eggs or yoghurts to which these fats have been added.  Also, just a handful of almonds provides fibre and numerous minerals.

I just hope I can keep to my good intentions.   If I do, I will be healthier and sportier, although I am already starting to feel sportier as I now say things like, “I’m just going to get my gym kit on” rather than "I’m just going down to Eat Central for a coffee and a sticky bun".  So much better.

DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Official'ish blog #5



DARO is a large group and since every member of the department has committed to CtGF the programme has really been taken to heart.  There is an awful lot going on and even though there are work trips abroad and some holidays during May, everyone is partaking and contributing.  

In the last week alone this is what has been enjoyed by DARO:  netball, gym, boxercise, walking, swimming, yoga, badminton, paragliding, jogging, running, allotment, British Military Fitness, football, kayaking, handball, cycling.  

The impact of CtGF has been not only to facilitate us doing new things but also to prompt actually doing what we've long been thinking about.  People have moved more, taken on new challenges and bonded with their team.  Bad old habits have been challenged and new better ones are being tested.  New bikes have been bought, kayaking courses signed up to and good yomps undertaken with colleagues.

In particular, using CtGF and Sussex research, we have been taking a break from our desks in our own time for lunch.  Sussex research found that leaving the office to eat lunch increases general wellbeing and makes employees look more favourably upon their job.  Those that eat at their desk are more likely to feel miserable and this may impact upon their productivity.  The first best place to eat lunch is on the beach so we have to settle for the second best which is sitting on a bench in a green space.  We're incredibly lucky to work on the unique Sussex campus surrounded by the Downs and CtGF has shown some of us how truly beautiful our locality is.

The office biscuits and cakes have gone from the kitchen and were even replaced with quinoa at the team meeting - yes QUINOA!  I made two versions, one with pumpkin, poppy and lin seeds, the other with sprouted beans.  Those returning from trips have refrained from buying the local delicacies or have kept them back for after CtGF.  People have adapted the lunches that they've brought in, so much so that our fridge would make Gwyneth Paltrow proud...Goop indeed...see photo below - the jar is a home made nettle pesto made with walnuts, pecorino cheese, olive oil and garlic.

The range of change is naturally across the spectrum with some changes bigger than others.  One notable win is a favourite snack of a Mars Ice Cream being substituted with Total 0% with mixed berries.  In the middle there are a lot of people cutting down on caffeine and lowering sugar intake.  At the far end is the non fruit eater buying fruit, the next few weeks might even progress to consumption of it.  

The best bit is people sharing their experiences so that the whole team benefits.  A few of us made Terry Cooper's Eat Better, Feel Better seminar and we've shared the knowledge with everyone.  Well, the sharing was prompted on our return by 'did he mention quinoa?' and 'Terry!  Did he mention quinoa?' which then led us to share the rest.  The Omega 3 and 6 balance seemed to resonate the most strongly.

Quinoa and other healthy things



My shopping basket had a very different feel on Saturday as I went about my weekly shop. Like many of my colleagues, I had made a conscious effort to incorporate oily fish, nuts, and of course, quinoa, which has become the fashionable, must-have food amongst those in the know...I also bought more fruit and now have a fruit bowl which is both healthy and a work of art all at the same time.

I had the opportunity to take a boxercise class last week, quite unexpectedly, after the power-hoop class I had intended to do was cancelled.  It was very energetic, and gave me the opportunity to try something I probably wouldn't have thought of doing otherwise.  Indeed, I had never thrown a punch until this class, yet by the end I was giving as good as an angry John Prescott.   All in all, it was high energy, and definitely a good work-out.







DARO Commit to Get Fit - Official'ish Blog #6



We've just had a great Well Being lunch in DARO, eleven of us enjoyed a poetry reading whilst we were eating (good food), followed by a juggling session.  Other members of the team enjoyed a yoga class and some went walking.

The poem read to us was truly in the spirit of the CtGF campaign - The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, a lamentation of physical and intellectual inertia of someone who had the ability to change but lacked the courage to do so.  First, we must commend the courage of our reader, Sarah, to face her colleagues and present the poem, and so beautifully read too.  And second, for choosing such a fitting poem for our current situation or predicament.

The juggling was great fun, thanks Michael, and led to some very competitive characters immediately logging onto Amazon in search of flammable juggling balls.  By the end of the month we hope to have honed our individual juggling and we'll compete amongst ourselves to find a winner.  In the meantime there is a challenge to Declan to 'release his third ball', a metaphor we'll all be chanting I think.  Your euphemisms can be added to the comments box below.  Is there a site moderator?  I got 'bum' into one of my own blogs so perhaps I can get away with saying that all I ended up juggling were my own breasts.

Let DARO leave you with some words of T.S. Eliot to capture the CtGF challenge:

'And indeed there will be time

To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"

DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Official'ish blog #7



Talk started today of the 1st June and what will happen in the DARO kitchen, exactly half way through CtGF and the biscuit tin is pining for contents and it seems so too are CtGF'er tummies.  A previous biscuit eater was asked 'what are you doing for snacks now' and the reply was 'being hungry, very hungry'.

CtGF is an integral part of being on campus for some of us now.  You have to be fast to get first dibs on the Stationery Cupboard to change into your work-out gear these days.  Pity the person already doing some photocopying when a keener bounces in and strips off.

DARO members continue to try new activities and to set new challenges for themselves.  Our Brighton Marathon runner has signed up for the Boundary Run and there are a couple on the Boundary Fence humming and hahing about whether to join in too.  Many classes have been booked and fingers crossed to get off the waiting list and into the Fencing class.

Our poetry and juggling lunch experience lives on.

Obviously the photo is blurry due to the speed of expert juggling.




Today was the first time I have ever tried yoga and I'm so pleased I did; it was an excellent class given by Karen.  I felt really relaxed afterwards and realise that I do not stretch out my body enough - and I should - because I feel a lot better from doing so.  This is one of my favourite Commit to Get Fit activities so far, and I will definitely be going back.

I am pleased to say that my back trouble (too much mountain biking pleasure) which had slowed me down last week is on the mend, so it should be onwards and upwards from now on!

Get that shell off my back



The Core Training seminar on Tuesday reminded me to sit up and straighten out.  Looking like a tortoise is not a good look.  This is where my renewed commitment to exercise comes in of course.  I will keep the tortoise at bay!

I am pleased to say that I have kept up my exercising in to the weekend and have been walking, dancing, and cleaning my house.  On the topic of housework, I must pass on the benefits of hoovering to you all.  After a vigorous hoovering session on Saturday, I now have a clean house, have burned calories, and achieved a healthy radiant glow.  In fact, I would recommend hoovering before a date.

TOP TIP: hoovering + radiant glow = goddess.  Don't doubt it; this tortoise knows!

More active lunch hours (hurray!)



 My lunch hours have become much more energetic since the start of Commit to Get Fit. 

I am so pleased to have discovered the health benefits of yoga and went to my second class on Tuesday.  This class was a bit different as it was ‘dynamic yoga', which is a combination of aerobics with yoga during which the body's temperature is raised; it feels a bit more like a gentle work-out.  It was good fun and I felt really well afterwards.

Some yoga poses are a bit tricky (the lotus position, which involves sitting cross-legged with each foot resting on your thigh requires practice) but many are manageable and really help to strengthen and balance the body. I will definitely be sticking with this one beyond May!

Yesterday involved another lunch time visit to the Sports Centre as seven of us from the DARO office joined together to play badminton.   Although I hadn’t played before, the tips from my colleague Sally (a seasoned badminton player) were setting me on the road to improvement. I enjoyed this so much, not just because of the games but because it was so nice to be using our time to have fun and socialise as a team.  As Sally said: “…we should do this more often!!”

There was also more good news when I got back to the office. While we had been playing badminton, another colleague, Declan, had completed the Boundary Run, and I was reminded by Jane ( aka the DARO tsar of Commit to Get Fit) of my non exercise activity thermogenesis  (energy expended through non-exercise activity) which I obtain by taking regular walks down to Sussex House as part of my work.  I don’t tend to think of this as exercising but it is, and well…it does all add up…If I wore a pedometer, I’m sure I would shock myself!

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen



I have very much enjoyed the sporty month of May and made changes in my life which I know will make a difference going forward.  I am now eating more healthily and exercising more.  Indeed, I will be officially joining the gym tomorrow! For me, Commit to Get Fit has been a really positive experience, and long may the positivity continue!

As I endeavour to stick to my good intentions, I have found some words to inspire me from Baz Luhrmann's,  "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)" which dispenses some timely advice on well-being.  My favourites are:

"Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone"

 "Enjoy  your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it,  or what other people  think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own..."

"Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room".

"If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be  it."

Rest assured, I will be following these tips, especially the one about my knees - very worrying...As for sunscreen, the fair-skinned amongst us know that sunscreen is not just a freedom, but an absolute necessity!




DARO Commit to Get - officially number eleventeen



Thank you Sports for extending the Blog deadline to today, it may be the end of CtGF but its definitely great to report on a new dawn.  Invigorated by all the activities of the past month most DARO members have made notable efforts today to carry on in the new direction.  

Sally cycled from Ringmer to campus, mostly uphill she reports so she's looking forward to the ride home, no doubt with her feet out at the side and shouting 'wee' at the top of her voice.  Declan shared his Boundary Run results, surprising himself and impressing the rest of us with his middle placing.  So delighted is he that he'll be running to work tomorrow.  Clare went to Karen's yoga class.  Jemma and Luci started boot camp and Sephie will start tomorrow.  Alex cycled into work and Tom is continuing his work out in the gym every working day.  Michael, Mark, Sarah and Jane went for their own walkies in the natural light at lunch instead of basking in the blue light of a PC monitor.

Three of our six remaining team members are on holiday and all are either hiking or walking.  The other three have serious work constraints and keen not to miss out on the CtGF buzz they're delighted that DARO has committed to keep getting fitter.

There is a new poster on the wall and no biscuits in the tin.  As DARO will carry on with team sports, badders will be our next activity and of course the Uni rounders too.  Every single one of the 18 member DARO team has taken part in a CtGF activity and unanimously agreed to keep on with the cause as a team.  Individually too everyone feels invigorated by the past month and most are investigating what level of Sussex Sports membership to take out.  But, its not just that what happens in CtGF stays on campus, it has pervaded all aspects of life, we think that it was the educational aspect running in parallel to the activity programme that is the key.  Cheers to you all, fare thee well till we meet again.  X


DARO Commit to Get Fit - The Biscuit Blog - Part One



The biscuit issue in DARO warrants its own blog.  There was a yelping distress call in the office yesterday from Luci.  She just wanted a biscuit but wasn't going to go out and buy one so just whimpered instead, for quite a while.  She couldn't be distracted by alternative foods and was quite stubborn to be honest.  Eventually she settled down when all the pyschology had been explored.

This exploration was extended to everyone else in the office at the time and whilst most people had missed 'The Biscuit Tin', no one actually wanted it's contents re-instated.  Its interesting that not one person intended to keep their own biscuit supply at their own desk either.  All focus was on the office communal biscuit supply as it seems to be a thing of solace. Just as the nibblers find comfort in its contents it appears that the feeders draw a certain security from knowing they've replenished supplies.

Sharing food is a social and bonding behaviour so did DARO, whilst the biscuit supply was stopped in the spirit of CtGF, have its bonding and communication enabled through sports and activities instead?  There has certainly been a much greater bonding and lifting of spirits throughout May so maybe 'The Biscuit Tin' won't need dusting off in June.  But, why biscuits?  Why not something else?  Quinoa didn't cut it as an alternative social food.  Is it because biscuits are naughty and being naughty is only really fun with other people?  Time will tell.  DARO will continue by popular concensus to carry on being active as a team and Part Two of The Biscuit Blog remains to be written...der der der...

DARO Commit to Get Fit - Officially Bashfully No.10



DARO badminton was a great success today.  Sally booked two courts and seven colleagues had a good knock-about.  When they got back to the office and were asked who won, the reply was 'we're all winners'.  It might be that this is the activity that continues to unite as we will most probably take this forward as our team sport.  Our Survey Monkey poll had this as a popular activity at the outset so its interesting that it meets expectations in the end.  Sally plays badders regularly and she was able to pass on some tips that were clearly effective within 20mins.  Mary seems to be able to turn everything into an art form as shown in her balletic poses in the warm up captured in the third mini photo.  No injuries or mishaps to report, just positivity.


The Boundary Run was also a great success.  Declan reports himself being the only person who had people cheering him on during the course and is extremely happy not to be last.  We'll report on his placing later but its so exciting what he has achieved that we had to write about it whilst he's still glowing.  All his previous running has been to sustain endurance for the Brighton Marathon and he only warms up to a faster speed after six miles or so.  Running 2.5 miles on the Boundary for a speed placing was a challenge, as was the terrain.  Two weeks ago Declan had to walk part of the course but today, with appropriate training, he ran the whole way.  He thinks that walking the Boundary at the start of CtGF helped him and achieving a good run today has spurred him on to committing to a daily commute run of 15 miles from his new pad (don't forget the house warming party).  Again no injury to report, the knee support is always worn when its not loitering on his desk.

Volleyball is still evil for some.  This is from the class last week and apparently the bruise has gone through every colour before peaking today.


Addendum:  Quinoa served in Dine Central these days!

DARO - Commit to Get Fit - Officially No.9



The Wall.  Has been hit.  Nearly with tears.  CtGF nadir.  The DARO office still hasn't had biccies, choccies or cake brought in despite meetings, birthdays and sugar cravings.  This has been a major commitment by all the team, some of whom are still committed outside of the office.  Mr Kipling has been shut out and replaced with yoghurt and fruit or weekday denial has been balanced with just a weekend indulgence.

Many miles have been covered through walking, cycling, footie, cross trainer, exercise bikes, pooch walking and running by most of the team.  Also, different classes continue to be enjoyed, including zumba, spinning, circuits, yoga, metabolic, core strength and volleyball.  

Yikes.  Volleyball has proven to create the most mixed of experiences.  Michael found it fun even though he didn't get to try much in the way of 'digs 'n spikes', Aga loved doing something she'd really enjoyed at school and Sephie enjoyed it enough to think about trying basketball.  However, Jemma considered it evil and top of her list of things never to do again, she hated having lobster red skin and throbbing running up her arms and across her shoulders.  Luci was out after the first couple of minutes and left with a huge purple bruise.  They think that anyone who enjoyed it was more hardcore than them, so they've only both gone off and signed up to morning bootcamp in June!

Team DARO chilled and looking forward to volleyball, grrr: 

Team DARO warming up nicely:

Calm before the storm:

Uh oh, time for action:

Volleyball EVIL:

For our CtGF swansong week DARO have booked a few courts to play badminton next week.  Its great to do things as a team and to meet members of staff from elsewhere on campus, particularly including the sports staff.  We're looking forward to next week, have a great long weekend everyone.

DARO - Rockinghorse cycle challenge



Glamour and Look magazines with the radio are accompanying our departmental cycle challenge for the Rockinghorse charity.  Apparently Sussex Life wasn't inspirational enough and didn't come with a free nail varnish.  Those that have completed their part are sporting a lovely rosy glow on their cheeks...

DARO - Rockinghorse cycle challenge - our bike not calibrated



Sorry Luci, we all ignored your protestations about the bike not showing the 'real' miles you cycled, Terry has sorted the bike now and turns out you were right, many congratulations on your ten miles and choccy biccies in the kitchen for you!