My University job is fairly sedentary – I am mostly hunched over my computer with the odd break to get up and fill the kettle or to go to a meeting. I try to manage at least 10,000 steps per day (I wear a Fitbit which bullies me somewhat) – to do this I often go for a walk at lunchtime rather than just eating at my desk – and while it’s easier to motivate myself to do this in the summer than in the winter, it always makes me feel better. The importance of physical exercise for health has again been highlighted in a recent paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Cardiology. This study of almost 500,000 adults without prior heart disease who were followed up for 7.5 years showed that doing an amount of exercise roughly equal to 1 extra hour of brisk walking per day was associated with a significant reduction in different types of heart disease including major coronary events, strokes and cardiovascular disease deaths. The findings were similar for men and women, and for young and old. You can access the paper here. If you don’t fancy running, cycling, football etc. – walking is still really good for you – another really good reason to get out there, whatever the weather, even if only for a short time.
Luckily we’ve had some beautiful, if cold, weather over the last few weeks and Mr McGregor and I have managed some walking……
What could be finer than a brisk cold walk in the winter sunshine, finishing up with a cup of tea and a slice of cherry cake? I used cherries soaked in Kirsch for this recipe, I think they are so much nicer than glace cherries – and obviously you have to lick the juice from your fingers while chopping them…..
Cherry Loaf Cake (pdf Cherry loaf cake)
250g cherries, drained and quartered
225g self raising flour
175g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, softened
60g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
- Preheat oven to 180 fan/160/gas 4. Grease and line a 2 litre loaf tin
- Beat butter to a cream, then add sugar and beat until light and fluffy
- Add eggs one at a time, adding 1 tablespoon of flour with each egg. Mix thoroughly after each addition
- Fold in remaining flour, add vanilla essence and mix. Add milk to a dropping consistency. Finally, fold in the cherries
- Spoon mixture into tin and smooth the surface. Bake for ~50 minutes till skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to fully cool
- Go for a long walk and eat a slice with a cuppa on your return