Ways To Support Your Immune System

It’s well known that taking vitamin C can be one of the most simple and inexpensive ways to support your immune system to prevent illness and shorten the duration of colds and flu. In the wake of the recent spread of coronavirus, many people are wondering what they can do to protect themselves.

The minimum daily recommendation for Vitamin C is about 75mg for adults (the amount in one medium orange) and 15mg -25 mg for children under the age of 12. Under times of stress and to prevent illness, the requirements for Vitamin C increase and higher doses are well tolerated. You will surely know when you have reached your tolerance for vitamin C since the side effect of a larger than needed dose of Vitamin C is diarrhoea. If you get diarrhoea from taking higher doses of vitamin C orally, the dose can be cut back to half the amount you were taking, but it is safe to continue taking it.

Recommendations for higher doses of Vitamin C orally range from 1000-3000mg or more daily in divided doses at the minimum for adults. Vitamin C can be given in higher doses intravenously without getting the side effect of diarrhoea. In most adults, doses of 25-50 Grams can be given in one intravenous treatment. Treatments over 5 grams intravenously require that you have a G6PD level tested before increasing the dose since a person with a deficiency in the G6PD enzyme cannot tolerate high doses of Vitamin C.

In addition to the recommendations for Vitamin C, other supplementation can be considered including, Vitamin D, zinc, selenium, magnesium N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and mushroom complexes. Another therapy which can help support the immune system is Intravenous Ozone. Ozone, when given intravenously, can stimulate the production of cytokines, which stimulate our other immune cells as well as prevent the replication of viruses by disruption of the viral capsid and increasing oxygen in the body. In other words, ozone is a powerhouse for the immune system.

At Thanyapura Integrative Health Centre, we practice Lifestyle Medicine. We recognize that in order to prevent any virus or illness, we must take measures in our everyday lives to ensure that we have optimum health. In addition to supporting the immune system with supplementation, we cannot overlook the importance of good sleep, (8 hours for adults and up to 10 hours for kids) for the restoration of the immune system. Nutrition is also a key factor. Avoiding sugar, fried foods, and processed foods will help as well as eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Simple measures such as washing hands and wearing a mask in crowded places can also prevent the spread of the virus. Stay home if you are not feeling well and drink plenty of fluids. It is advised to be screened at the hospital if you develop a fever, especially if you have been potentially exposed to the virus.

The worry of coronavirus can add additional stress no doubt, fortunately, supplementing with Vitamin C has an additional benefit in times of stress. Vitamin C will block the negative effects of cortisol produced by the adrenal glands and offers additional support year-round to keep your immune system robust.

Tired All The Time? It Could Be Your Hormones

Are you getting your eight hours every night but still feel sleepy throughout the day? If so, you might be one of the millions of people worldwide suffering from a hormone imbalance.

Dr. Pavinee Maneepairoj, a wellness specialist at the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort recommends that people who feel “tired all the time” get a thorough work up from a physician who understands fatigue management.  “Conventional medicine often lacks the time and patience to sift through the issues to get to the root cause of the problem,” she says, “and often discounts the critical that role, exercise, stress and diet play in hormone balance.“

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers and the endocrine system is the factory that produces them.  Hormones regulate everything from sleep to menstruation to mood, and if if you have a hormone imbalance, then chances are your mood, sleep patterns, libido, appetite and energy levels are out of balance too.

One of the most common symptoms of hormone balance is fatigue.  According to a report in the New York Times, fatigue was either mislabeled or misdiagnosed up until the 1980s.  Today, researchers and doctors alike recognize the correlation between our fast paced, always-on, urban lifestyles and the rise in conditions related to hormone imbalances.  Key hormones that affect mood and energy levels include:

Cortisol

This is the body’s stress hormone and having the right balance of cortisol is crucial to keep your energy levels in check. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that chronic stress was more likely to blame for cortisol imbalances than a problem with the adrenal glands that produce it.  This research clearly points to lifestyle, especially stress, as a culprit for adrenal fatigue.

Thyroid

An overactive or underactive thyroid can often be the underlying cause of fatigue, particularly in women. This hormone controls the body’s metabolism (how food is converted to energy). Just like a car engine, an overactive thyroid will cause you to burn out and an under active thyroid won’t get you started.

Testosterone

Testosterone is best known for its role in developing male sexual characteristics, such as hair growth, muscle mass and libido, but it is produced (in smaller amounts) by women too, and low levels of production have been linked to both fatigue and weight gain.

Estrogen

Estrogen comes in three forms – estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3). Maintaining the correct ratio of these three elements is important for both men and women, although women are more susceptible to estrogen imbalances. Studies have linked low estrogen production to certain types of cancer and heart disease, although more common symptoms include hot flashes, insomnia, painful sex, night sweats and fatigue.

Dr. Pavinee says that fatigue or ‘low energy’ is a common complaint of people these days, and while not life threatening fatigue affects quality of life and should be addressed sooner rather than later.

If you are not feeling your best, make an appointment to visit the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort.

Seeking Balance Amidst the Chaos: Make Your 2019 Wholesome

As we settle into the year 2019 and our initial New Years Resolutions start to become a little more routine to us, now feels like a suitable time to reflect on our intentions for the upcoming months to ensure that we gain maximum results from our hard work. ‘Tis the season to be plagued with quick health fixes that will magically catapult us towards our own ideals, or that big new diet that will help us immediately shed weight and miraculously perfect each of our organ’s functionalities. This article doesn’t promise either of those things. Instead, its aim is to offer a few pointers that should help you in achieving a happier, more balanced 2019.

Taking care of your brain. Our brains are important. Very important. They are the gatekeepers to our personalities, our unique approach to life, and all of our memories. We are processing an exorbitant amount of information each day through the use of social media and the internet, and are flooding ourselves with stress-inducing information each time we make the mistake of checking the news. Let’s face it: the world is a complex, messy place, and we are exposed to the uglier parts of humanity every time we go online. We know that today’s world is having a huge impact on our mental health, and with half of all mental illness beginning by aged 14, it starts early.

Meditation. Meditative techniques have been used by humans for thousands of years, and is a powerful tool to help us develop a heightened awareness of our thoughts and actions. Through this awareness we are better able to understand how and why we react to situations, and encourage positive changes within ourselves. Taking as little as 5 minutes each day to meditate can provide valuable results to the individual. The Insight Timer is an excellent resource for those starting out.

Switching off. As much as we loathe to admit it, we have an unhealthy relationship with technology. Our devices have become an extra limb to us; an appendage that we reach for, on average, every 12 minutes. Designating tech free spaces in the home or digital detox times throughout the day go a long way towards looking after our mental wellbeing.

Checking in. Taking the time to catch up with friends and family is therapeutic for both parties. Arranging a coffee date or picking up the phone to see what a loved one is up to, sharing in their highs and lows, or even discussing a terrible movie you have both seen recently, satiates our need for authentic human interaction. We are a social species, and are of immense value to one another. If there is someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, take 2019 as an opportunity to reconnect with them and see how they are doing.  

Taking care of your diet. Nourishing yourself with foods that are packed with the appropriate nutrients and vitamins is essential to maintaining a healthy body. The world of nutrition can be a daunting place, so it is important to navigate it in a balanced, non-addictive way, asking for help from a professional nutritionist when needed. Here are a couple of positive changes you can make that will give you a healthier relationship with food.

Whole foods, plant-based. There is a diverse range of evidence available that shows a well planned plant-based diet to be highly beneficial for our health. A whole foods plant-based diet encourages the consumption of grains, nuts and fruit, and avoids animal products, processed foods, artificial fats and sugars. If this type of diet is very different to the one you currently follow, allow the space for transition and learning; take the time to discover what works best for your body and lifestyle. A good place to start is with Forks Over Knives.

Eat the rainbow. No one likes a beige plate. While there are a variety of reasons behind the colour differences in food, eating a diverse range of tones and colourations ensures that your nutrient consumption also varies. Foods with a red, purple or blue tone tend to offer antioxidative benefits. Orange and yellow tones commonly contain vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and bromelain. Green tones are rich in vitamin A and calcium.

Taking care of your heart. Aerobic exercise is the best way to improve your cardiovascular health. Workouts not only increase brain function and improve mood; they boost the immune system and protect the heart. Frequent aerobic exercise will help to lower blood pressure and strengthen the muscles – especially the heart. Cardio workouts can take on many forms, including running, swimming, cycling, team sports and brisk walks. Depending on where you live, taking your workout outside in nature offers the added benefit of fresh air while enjoying the local wildlife.

Taking care of your muscles. Don’t underestimate the awesome power of stretching each day. It is not only an important action for runners and athletes; stretching protects our mobility and independence as we get older. Daily stretching exercises improves flexibility and strengthens the muscles, and reduces the risk of injury when performing other tasks. Many of us lead sedentary professional lives, sitting at desks or in the car for much of the day. Over time, our muscles tighten which can limit our movement and make certain actions painful. Frequent stretching ensures we stay limber for longer. Here is a link one of the many 5-minute stretching routines that can be found online.

Taking care of your environment. Around this time after the festive season finds many of us horrified at the sheer amount of stuff we have. The dreaded aftermath of receiving items that we really don’t need – especially if we have children. Our society is becoming more conscientious of how much waste we create, and the devastating impact our throwaway mentality is having on the environment. This year, why not take steps to change your own habits and outlook by taking greater action to safeguard the planet.

Gift experiences, not things. Physical items may be nice, but experiences mean cherished memories and new knowledge. Gifting loved ones subscriptions or memberships can provide exciting adventures to undertake and new discoveries to make. Planning a meal out or excursion somewhere offers a shared experience and valuable time spent together. Donating to an animal shelter or another charity in someone else’s name shows you care and gives your money to organisations that are in desperate need of funding.

Reducing over recycling. Opting for bamboo or metal straws over plastic ones, using canvas bags in place of single-use plastics, and carrying a reusable coffee cup in your bag are all positive steps – but they are a mere part of the bigger picture. We can do so much more for the environment. Shopping at a zero waste shop or bulk store that allows you to bring your own containers is an excellent way to reduce your reliance on packaged goods. Shopping at farmers markets ensures you support local businesses, and eating a seasonal diet reduces your demand for food that has a higher carbon footprint due to its need to travel long distances.

Here are a few pointers for any individual aspiring to minimise how much waste they create:  

  • Bring a reusable water bottle, coffee cup and a bamboo/metal straw with you wherever you go
  • Take enough canvas shopping bags and produce bags with you when heading to the store
  • Opt for shampoo & conditioner bars over bottled hair products
  • Put on or take off a couple of layers before resorting to heating or air-conditioning
  • Minimise food waste in the home
  • Say no thanks to free samples
  • Recycle as much as you can

The late great Maya Angelou once wrote, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” This 2019, be patient in your intentions, show compassion towards yourself and others, and keep learning. But, most importantly, be kind, and have a wholesome 2019.

Shining a Global Light on Mental Health Awareness

We are all human. We place value on our health and wellbeing, and strive to live in contentment. Sometimes we get sick and then, hopefully, we get better again. While physical sickness comes in many visible forms, mental sickness can be a much more concealed, conniving and consuming creature.

On 10 October each year, World Mental Health Day sheds light on the stigma that still surrounds the topic of mental health. It provides an opportunity for individuals, groups, and organisations working in the expansive field of mental health to discuss their work and promote the importance of mental health care for people around the world. This year, the World Health Organisation has highlighted Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World as the focus topic.

Regardless of an individual’s background, adolescence and young adulthood is a critical time of transition and change, often bringing with it uncertainty and stress. Events like moving house, changing schools, leaving a familiar area, living away from family for the first time, or even moving to another country can adversely affect a person’s mental wellbeing. For youths living in destabilizing environments resulting from natural disasters or active conflicts, mental wellbeing is particularly at risk. And seeking balance in a world overflowing with technology is an additional cause for concern amongst young people. The pressures that come with social media (striving towards a perceived ideal, cyberbullying, fake friends made online and not enough real life interactions) can have a huge impact on mental wellbeing.

Poor mental health frequently has a knock-on effect for other health and developmental issues in young people, from lower achievement scores due to depression, to hospitalisations as a result of struggling with an eating disorder. Substance abuse can also often go hand in hand with mental illness. This can create a co-occuring disorder situation, where the individual finds themself having to deal with two illnesses at the same time.

According to the World Health Organisation, half of all mental illness begins by aged 14, but the vast majority of cases go undetected or untreated. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents between the ages of 10-19, and mental health disorders take 2 of the top 5 causes of ‘years lost to disability’ in 10-14 year olds. Mental health is not yet getting the global action it so desperately needs. The shocking reality is that mental health disorders affect 1 in 10 children in countries like the UK, commonly as a direct response to an external event affecting their lives, but up to 70% cases go without treatment.

Thankfully, we are a far cry away from our historical ways of treating mental illness. We no longer label people suffering from a mental illness insane, throwing them into a lunatic asylum where countless lobotomies and electroshock therapies were performed. Our understanding of mental health and psychiatry as a whole continues to develop exponentially, and new treatments are tested every day to aid those that are in need of them. But our collective effort to break down the stigma surrounding mental health still has a long way to go. Public stigma (prejudicial attitudes towards a sufferer) and self-stigma (internalizing those perceptions of prejudice) are still incredibly common, and can prohibit an individual from seeking the help they need.

Schools play an essential role in the development of young people, and many have created strategies to help their students adapt to the pressures of an ever more complicated world. With the mental health of young people considered a global public-health challenge, key skills like adaptability and resilience are important to develop from a young age within the school environment. Some schools have integrated mental health into the curriculum, ensuring that there is a suitable environment where the topic can be discussed and unpacked. Others have developed additional educational components dedicated to social emotional development, which can take on the form of mindfulness practices, group counseling sessions and safe spaces. Many schools are striving towards making the discussion of mental health an open and honest one, and many educators are now receiving basic training in mental health support.

For parents, noticing that their child may be suffering from mental illness can be difficult to determine. Behavioural changes like a lack of motivation, depleted energy levels, avoidance of family and friends, difficulty in concentrating, persistent physical symptoms or bullying others can be key indicators of an undiagnosed mental illness. Ensuring children have a safe environment where trust and open-mindedness are valued is crucial when addressing these issues.

It is important to remember that a person’s mental health can be impacted at any point in their life. Mental illness can arise from unforeseen circumstances like traumatic events, or develop from repeated stresses found in environments like the workplace. Our mental health should be taken just as seriously as our physical health, and we need the support to ask for help when we need it. If you or someone you know is struggling, there are wonderful charities like Mind that can help.

Weight Loss, Without The Fluff

Whether you are looking to shed a couple of pounds or a substantial portion of weight, the sheer amount of information on weight loss that is available online, in magazines and within grocery shops, can be overwhelming. This article aims to act as an introductory guide for healthy weight loss by minimizing the jargon and offering a few pointers to help you get started.

Our initial premise isn’t exactly sexy, and won’t be winning us any marketing awards for its catchy wording, but weight loss and gain ultimately depends on our calories in vs. our calories out. The more calories we consume, the more we need to exercise in order to burn off those calories. It is widely recognised that the daily recommended intake for women sits at around 2,000kcal, and 2,500kcal for men. But these values can vary depending on age, metabolism and physical activity.

In order to undergo effective, healthy and sustainable weight loss, it is important to first understand the body. Whilst our basic biology stays the same, we are all a little different when it comes to our needs. For some, a diet that focuses on reducing the number of complex carbohydrates results in effective weight loss, but for others it can have the opposite effect. And when we start to dig a little deeper into the more popular diets out there (Paleo, Raw Food, Ketogenic, Atkins, Zone, …) we often have to purchase special books or subscriptions and learn new vocabulary – almost a new language – before we can get anywhere.

It is also important to note that your weight is not a direct indicator of health. Many refer to their BMI (Body Mass Index) to determine whether they are at a healthy weight, which estimates fatness based on an individual’s weight and height. A BMI that sits between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy. However, BMI doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle; muscle is 18% denser than fat and bone is denser than both fat and muscle. So having strong bones and muscles may label you as ‘overweight’ by BMI standards. It also cannot distinguish between visceral fat and subcutaneous fat.

For so many, dieting is an infinite rabbit hole filled with endless online health coaches offering conflicting opinions, advice and recommendations on the ideal weight loss programme. In reality, what is truly needed is a strategy that works with the individual in mind, offering sustainable, long-term results and not compromising a person’s happiness and wellbeing. It may sound like a cliché, but moderation really is key. Flooding your diet with healthy, whole foods whilst ensuring that you are not depriving yourself fully will make the process a more enjoyable one. The occasional cheat meal or lazy day will not undo all your hard work, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Life is for living, and the journey should be valued just as much – if not more – than the outcome.

5 Simple Steps for Healthy Weight Loss

  1. Get to know you: Take the time to understand what works well for your body and what doesn’t. This may include replacing certain foods with others to reduce bloating and improve energy levels. It is also highly advisable to visit a licensed nutritionist before beginning your weight loss journey.
  2. Eat the rainbow: Aim for 10 portions of fruits and vegetables each day, but be mindful of your fruit consumption due to its sugar content.
  3. Plants over Animals: Meat, while tasty, is unnecessary and doesn’t offer substantial health benefits. If you are in a position to do so, reduce your meat consumption by finding healthy delicious alternatives made from tofu, beans and legumes.
  4. Hydration Matters: Ensure you are drinking enough water each day by tracking your consumption through a reusable water bottle. Starting your day with a large glass of cold water is also the best way to kickstart your metabolism.
  5. Get Active: No matter your age, ability or interests, make sure you take the time each day to exercise. Embrace being active by running, walking, cycling, stretching or gardening. Exercising for 40 minutes a day will strengthen the body and improve mood.

Finally, try not to compare yourself to others. Whilst the internet offers us a world of knowledge at our fingertips, it also causes us to constantly measure ourselves against our perceived ‘ideal’. Instead of bombarding your mind with everything you feel you aren’t, take the time to appreciate your uniqueness and your own journey. Because chances are you are more marvelous than you know.

Hot vs Cold – When Should We Use Which?

When you are injured, or when you experience soreness or chronic pain, you may receive conflicting advice about what to do. Should you apply heat? Apply cold? Below is an overview of how to effectively use temperature in the healing process.

Cold

What is a cold pack?
Cold packs include blue gel packs that are kept in the freezer, coolant bags that become cold when you punch them so you don’t need to keep in the freezer, and self-made cold packs that can be constructed from a zip-lock filled with crushed ice and a bit of water with the air taken out and then wrapped in a damp towel.

When should you use a cold pack?
Cold therapy can help individuals that are experiencing acute injuries like ankle sprains, muscle or tendon strains, swollen areas or bruising.

How does a cold pack work?
When damage occurs in soft tissue, such as muscle tearing, blood vessels may rupture within the muscle and the injury site begins to bleed internally. This increase in blood volume in the area can cause cell death by what is known as secondary hypoxic injury. Thus, every effort should be made to control excessive bleeding. Following this, the human body’s response to injury is to start the repair process immediately by protecting the damaged tissue (by increasing pain and swelling) and producing a fluid called exudate fluid that carries all the cells and chemicals in the area to repair the damaged tissue (the body’s own type of emergency service). Damaged cells release a chemical that starts this process, and it is essential for healing. If this can be limited then recovery times will be shorter. This process is called inflammation and is vital to tissue healing.

Cold packs are very effective at reducing swelling and numbing pain. An injury swells because fluid leaks from blood vessels; cold causes vessels to constrict, reducing their tendency to ooze. The less fluid that leaks from the blood vessels, the less swelling results. Cold also eases inflammation and muscle spasms – two common sources of pain.

The sooner you apply an ice pack to a sprain or strain, the sooner it can do its job to reduce pain and swelling. For chronic problems such as low back pain or muscle spasms, a cold pack should be applied whenever the symptoms start up.

How long should you use a cold pack for?
Apply cold packs for periods of up to 15 minutes, 2-3 times per day. Do not leave the ice on for more than 15 minutes as you could cause an “ice burn”. Take additional precautions when using cold packs if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

  • Hypersensitivity to cold or cold intolerance
  • Cryoglobulinemia
  • Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria
  • Raynaud’s Disease
  • Syncope/Cold allergy
  • Over regenerating peripheral nerve
  • Poor circulation/PVD
  • Angina pectoris/cardiac dysfunction/respiratory complications (avoid generalized cold)
Heat

When should you use a heat pack?
Heat packs are used to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain and sore or tight muscles (i.e. pain in the neck or lower back).

How does a heat pack work?
Heat can increase blood flow and help to restore movement to injured tissue. Warmth can also reduce joint stiffness, pain, and muscle spasms. Apply a heat pack for periods of up to 20-30 minutes, 1-2 times per day. Take additional precautions when using heat packs if any of the following conditions apply:

  • Over areas of impaired sensation
  • Pregnancy (avoid generalized heating – no heat pack on abdomen or Jacuzzi)
  • Poor thermoregulation (very young or very old)
  • Edema
  • Cardiac insufficiency (avoid generalized heating)
  • Over open wounds
  • Impaired cognition
  • Over areas where topical counterirritants have been recently applied

When should you switch from a cold pack to a heat pack?
Observe by ‘Pain-Swelling-Redness-Hot.’ If you still have these four symptoms together, you apply cold to the affected area. If you have just one of the symptoms and it’s been more than 3 days, you apply heat:

  • Pain – feel pain
  • Swelling – touch around and compare to other side
  • Redness – look red just only that area
  • Hot – touch around and compare to other side

In addition to the ‘Pain Swelling Redness Hot’ approach, you can also apply “PRICE,” which should be carried out as early as possible after injury and continued for a minimum of 24-72 hours:

  • P = Protection (i.e. support, taping)
  • R = Rest – This does not only refer to the prolonged period of time that the athlete will be out of action, but also to the immediate period after the injury. There are a number of different degrees of rest and this depends on the severity of the injury and the type of tissue damaged.
  • I = Ice – Usually applied to the injured site by means of a zip-lock filled with crushed ice which is then wrapped in a damp towel for 15 minutes.
  • C = Compression – Wrap it up.
  • E = Elevation – Allows gravity to drain the fluid away from the injured site. This aids in decreasing the swelling, which in turn may decrease the pain associated with the swelling.

This principle plays an important role in limiting swelling and decreasing pain around the injury and therefore speeding up the healing process.

Perseverance is key to effective hot/cold therapy. If you’re seeing benefits, keep up the treatments until you are fully healed. Get better soon!

The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

Yoga isn’t just for the young and fit, but for everyone who wishes to reap the wonderful benefits of this long-standing sport. It is never too late to begin a journey towards a healthier you, and you are never too old to exercise. Gentle practices at an older age can do wonders in keeping your physical and mental health in the best shape, for as long as possible.

Getting old grants many gifts – grace, wisdom, and experience to name a few. It also poses many challenges. Many health issues can surround older people. As you move towards aging, it physically becomes harder to carry any extra weight. According to sources, one third of people at the age of 65 or above are obese. Osteoarthritis and other kinds of pain also begin to surface. The risks of developing a life-threatening illness, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and similar problems increase. Reports indicate that seniors also experience a higher rate of mental stress and memory loss.

Senior citizens are more prone to diseases than younger members of the population. If you are looking to maximise your moments of enjoyment, whilst feeling younger, then practice yoga for seniors. Know which yoga poses work best for your body and utilize them to nourish your well-being. Older beginners can start the practice in the vicinity of their homes, or in private classes, to explore what suits them best. The art of yoga offers an range of benefits for the body, mind, and soul.

Here are seven best yoga benefits for seniors:

Improved balance and Stability
As a person ages, they start to lose their strength, and lose their balance. Many yoga poses focus on building strong muscles that, in turn, help to improve balance and stability within the body. It also decreases the likelihood of falls.

Increased Flexibility
Several senior citizens complain about aches and stiffness in their bodies due to reduced flexibility. Gentle yoga practices are a great option to increase flexibility in elderly citizens. Yoga loosens and tones the muscles and provides many therapeutic benefits.

Improved Respiration
Growing old introduces respiratory limitations and a reduced tolerance to physical exertion. A person can go without food for days, but can’t go more than a few seconds without breathing. A lack of oxygen in the respiratory system can have a negative impact on the mind and body. The science of yoga incorporates many breathing techniques and several yoga postures to naturally improve the respiratory system.

Helps to Fight Arthritis
Older people can suffer from osteoarthritis, and they are the ideal candidates for the practice of yoga. Various yoga asanas are effective in relieving the pain of arthritis without the risk of injury. Hatha and Iyengar are some of the yoga styles that are effective for senior people.

Reduced Hypertension
The risk of high blood pressure increases with age, and practising yoga puts less pressure on the heart and decreases the diastolic pressure number. Pranayama and meditation techniques are also beneficial.

Relief from Anxiety
Yoga is calm and restorative, and benefits the physical and psychological health of a person. It soothes the nervous system as the disturbed nervous system creates havoc in mind.

Mood Lifter
A daily yoga practice provides tranquility to the soul and various breathing techniques, making you more aware of yourself, resulting in a happier state of mind.

yoga retreat phuket

It is well accepted that yoga offers benefits to all – both young and old. So take up yoga for seniors for a more soulful life.

5 Essentials for Staying Healthy When Working From Home

5 Essentials for Staying Healthy When Working From Home

Working from home can be a great opportunity, but it does require plenty of self-discipline to stay healthy. When stuck in your chair for too long, it can start to accrue negative effects on the body. Because of that, it’s important to find ways to keep your health in check as you work.

To help you, we’re going to offer 5 things to do regularly to keep your body and mind healthy. These tips can help keep you from burning out or experiencing nasty effects on your health later on. Enjoy!

Maintain a Routine

Keeping a routine can help you get everything into your day that you need. That includes setting aside hours for work, breaks, handling other household needs and even a little you-time. If you’re looking to keep a full time schedule, it will include making sure you work eight hours a day.

Unless you have set hours for your job, then you’ll have the freedom to arrange these working hours as needed. That means if you tend to need more frequent breaks, you can build those into your schedule. Overall, having a routine will help train your brain to know when to settle into work and when to relax. It can be hard to develop and stick to a routine with all the distractions that can occur at home, but it’s worth your effort!

Take Breaks

Just as it’s important to plan your working hours, it’s also important to plan breaks, free time and time off. You should set aside a few minutes as often as you need to help keep yourself from exhausting yourself if you need frequent breaks throughout the day.

Here and there, plan a day off so you can have freedom to relax and recover from your work schedule. If you can plan for a whole weekend, then do it! Spend some time taking care of other household errands, go on a short vacation, or just spend some time relaxing and decompressing. Having a good balance of work and free time can keep you from burning out, or having health problems due to work stress.

Eat Well

It can be easy to find yourself grazing throughout the day if you’re working from home. Ultimately, this can cause you to rely on snacks too much rather than creating real meals. Make sure to keep plenty of nutritious food items around the house. It’s common for people to tend to reach for what is easiest, so if you have a lot of healthy food around it will ensure you aren’t snacking on junk food all day.

Planning meals is also important. You can save time and money by keeping a plethora of crock pot recipes that you can use for easy, healthy meals.

Get Exercise

Exercise is key for keeping yourself in good health. That is especially true when you’re confined to a desk for most of the day. If you can, it’s a good idea to get out and go for a walk or run outside. Otherwise, you can use a spin bike or treadmill for an easy at-home method. If you are looking for an affordable machine, Comparoid provides an interesting review about the best spin bikes to use at home.

It can be too easy to pack on the pounds when you spend hours sitting throughout the day, so adding a regular exercise routine to your day can help you to maintain or lose weight depending on what your body needs.

Know When To Call It a Day

Working yourself for endless hours every day can wear you out quickly. While sometimes it might be necessary to work more than eight hours a day in order to meet a deadline, it’s a good idea to try to stick to an eight hour limit.

By having at least a couple hours in the evening to relax, you can rest your mind and help yourself to prepare to be productive the next day. Stress and frustration can easily build when you’re forced to work hours that are too long, and those can result in health problems for the long term.

 

Conclusion

Overall, the key to staying healthy when working from home is to make sure you have a schedule that not only includes work, but breaks, free time in the evenings and days off as needed. It’s also a good idea to make sure you get regular exercise as well.

Knowing how to keep a healthy balance of work, play and other household needs can ensure that you stay healthy. It can also prevent you from getting too worn down to work productively. Planning healthy meals can also help to keep you energized and able to be productive. So make sure you plan a schedule with a good balance and get the full benefit of working from home.

The Effects of Stress on Your Body

You’re sitting in traffic, late for an important meeting, watching the minutes tick away. Your hypothalamus, a tiny control tower in your brain, decides to send out the order: Send in the stress hormones! These stress hormones are the same ones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles ready for action. This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. But when the stress response keeps firing, day after day, it could put your health at serious risk.

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. It can help you cope with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.

Yet if your stress response doesn’t stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival, it can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being. Symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • headaches
  • insomnia

Central nervous and endocrine systems

Your central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of your “fight or flight” response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rev up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most in an emergency, such as your muscles, heart, and other important organs.

When the perceived fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to normal. If the CNS fails to return to normal, or if the stressor doesn’t go away, the response will continue.

Chronic stress is also a factor in behaviors such as overeating or not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal.

Respiratory and cardiovascular systems

Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.

Under stress, your heart also pumps faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles so you’ll have more strength to take action. But this also raises your blood pressure.

As a result, frequent or chronic stress will make your heart work too hard for too long. When your blood pressure rises, so do your risks for having a stroke or heart attack.

Digestive system

Under stress, your liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to give you a boost of energy. If you’re under chronic stress, your body may not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge. Chronic stress may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The rush of hormones, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate can also upset your digestive system. You’re more likely to have heartburn or acid reflux thanks to an increase in stomach acid. Stress doesn’t cause ulcers (a bacterium called H. pylori often does), but it can increase your risk for them and cause existing ulcers to act up.

Stress can also affect the way food moves through your body, leading to diarrhea or constipation. You might also experience nausea, vomiting, or a stomachache.

Muscular system

Your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury when you’re stressed. They tend to release again once you relax, but if you’re constantly under stress, your muscles may not get the chance to relax. Tight muscles cause headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body aches. Over time, this can set off an unhealthy cycle as you stop exercising and turn to pain medication for relief.

Sexuality and reproductive system

Stress is exhausting for both the body and mind. It’s not unusual to lose your desire when you’re under constant stress. While short-term stress may cause men to produce more of the male hormone testosterone, this effect doesn’t last.

If stress continues for a long time, a man’s testosterone levels can begin to drop. This can interfere with sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction or impotence. Chronic stress may also increase risk of infection for male reproductive organs like the prostate and testes.

For women, stress can affect the menstrual cycle. It can lead to irregular, heavier, or more painful periods. Chronic stress can also magnify the physical symptoms of menopause.

Immune system

Stress stimulates the immune system, which can be a plus for immediate situations. This stimulation can help you avoid infections and heal wounds. But over time, stress hormones will weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s response to foreign invaders. People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections. Stress can also increase the time it takes you to recover from an illness or injury.

5 Ways Mindful Living Can Empower Your Career

Is stress leaving you feeling stagnant in your career? If so, it’s time to become mindful in your work life. Here are 5 unique ways mindful living can recharge your career goals.

What is mindful living?

80% of the American workforce says they’re incredibly stressed out on the job, while 51% of Europeans say they also experience work-related anxiety. In addition, many people say that their anxiety levels have prevented them from advancing in their careers. Mindful living can help you to overcome this sense of anxiety, and ensure that you keep climbing up the ladder of success. Within this article, we detail four of the many ways mindfulness can help you to be your best self in the boardroom – and beyond.

Better focus

When you’re stressed out and thinking about all the things you have to get done during the work day, it can be almost impossible to complete even a single task. Instead, your mind frantically jumps from one responsibility to another, and you often make mistakes and confuse projects. Mindfulness replaces the distraction-driven idea of “multitasking” with the idea of hyper-focusing on one project at a time. It helps you to become more methodical in your approach to work, meaning you’ll actually be able to cross things off your to-do list instead of having them hang over your head the next day.

Less anxiety

Mindfulness in the workplace can do wonders to lower your anxiety levels and, as a result, boost your productivity. Anxiety doesn’t just cost you productivity, it fuels the vicious cycle of staying late at the office and staying up late worrying about incomplete tasks. It can also have serious health consequences. Anxiety increases your risk of heart disease, depression, and can cause your blood pressure to go through the roof. When you’re not feeling your best, you certainly won’t be able to do your best work. Mindful living can help to ease this anxiety, helping you to put your best ideas on the table.

Approachability

Whether you’re in a leadership position or an entry-level one, no one wants to communicate with a person who seems ready to blow a gasket at any moment. Mindful living helps to make you become more approachable to your coworkers and more relatable to your clients. It does this by boosting your emotional intelligence. You’ll be able to better read the emotions of those around you, emphasising with how they are feeling, and adapting your sales pitch – or tone of voice – accordingly.

Thinking creatively

Tapping into your creative abilities can help you to generate fresh ideas that will benefit the whole company — and will definitely get you noticed by those holding higher positions. Once you start living mindfully, you will notice that the frantic thoughts that once plagued your mind have been replaced by possible solutions to workplace problems. And with a clear head, you’ll be able to evaluate the situation from multiple perspectives. Especially if you need to diffuse a tense situation with a client, or come up with a way to get the upper hand on your competition, this sense of creative focus is incredibly valuable.

Jumpstarting your mindful living journey

loving kindness - Thanyapura Health & Sports ResortMindful living can seriously boost your power in the office. And whilst we recognise its importance, the truth is that it can be tough to stay mindful when you’re stuck in the same hectic, competitive workplace environment day in, day out. To ensure that you continue to reap the benefits of living a mindful life, sometimes you need to hit the reset button and get away for a little while. Today, many destination wellness centers offer mindfulness coaching in combination with other health and wellness practices. Whether you’re based in Europe, North America, or anywhere else in the world, we can all benefit from getting away from time to time. Spending a week or so at one of these retreats is a wonderful way to jumpstart your journey. They help to ensure that the effects and techniques you’ve learned continue to serve you once you’re back in the real world – and back at your desk.