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.


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)

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!

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.



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.

Stress Management

What Is Stress?

Stress is your body’s response to certain situations. Stress is subjective. Something that may be stressful for one person — speaking in public, for instance — may not be stressful for someone else. Not all stresses are “bad” either. Graduating from college, for example, may be considered a “good” stress.

Stress can affect your physical health, your mental health, and your behavior. In response to stressful stimuli, your body turns on its biological response: chemicals and hormones are released that are meant to help your body rise to the challenge. Your heart rate increases, your brain works faster and becomes razor sharp, you have a sudden burst of energy. This response is natural and basic; it’s what kept our ancestors from falling victim to hungry predators. Stress overload, however, can have harmful effects.

We cannot eliminate bad stress from our lives, but we can learn to avoid and manage it.

Is All Stress Bad?

No, not all stress is bad. In fact, it can be healthy because it helps us avoid accidents, power through unexpected deadlines, or stay clear minded in chaotic situations. But stress is meant to be temporary.

Once you passed the “fight or flight” moment, your body should return to a natural state. Your heart rate slows, muscles release, and breathing returns to normal. But the circumstances of chronic stress so many of us face as a result of the pressures and demands of our modern lives means our bodies may frequently be in a heightened state with our heart pumping hard and our blood vessels constricted. Over time, these physiologic demands begin to take a toll on the body. This is the unhealthy side of stress.

Types of Stress

Acute Stress

Acute stress is your body’s immediate reaction to a new challenge, event, or demand — the fight or flight response. As the pressures of a near-miss automobile accident, an argument with a family member, or a costly mistake at work sink in, your body turns on this biological response. Acute stress isn’t always caused by negative stress; it’s also the experience you have when riding a roller coaster or having a person jump out at you in a haunted house. Isolated episodes of acute stress should not have any lingering health effects. In fact, they might actually be healthy for you — as these stressful situations give your body and brain practice in developing the best response to future stressful situations.

Severe acute stress such as stress suffered as the victim of a crime or life-threatening situation can lead to mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or acute stress disorder.

Chronic Stress

If acute stress isn’t resolved and begins to increase or lasts for long periods of time, it becomes chronic stress. Chronic stress can be detrimental to your health, as it can contribute to several serious diseases or health risks, such as heart disease, cancer, lung disease, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.

Managing Stress

First, recognize stress:

Stress symptoms include mental, social, and physical manifestations. These include exhaustion, loss of/increased appetite, headaches, crying, sleeplessness, and oversleeping. Escape through alcohol, drugs, or other compulsive behavior are often indications. Feelings of alarm, frustration, or apathy may accompany stress.

If you feel that stress is affecting your studies,
a first option is to seek help through your educational counseling center.

Stress Management is the ability to maintain control
when situations, people, and events make excessive demands.
What can you do to manage your stress?
What are some strategies?

Look around
See if there really is something you can change or control in the situation
Set realistic goals for yourself
Reduce the number of events going on in your life and you may reduce the circuit overload

Exercise in stress reduction through project management/prioritizing

Remove yourself from the stressful situation
Give yourself a break if only for a few moments daily
Don’t overwhelm yourself
by fretting about your entire workload. Handle each task as it comes, or selectively deal with matters in some priority

Don’t sweat the small stuff
Try to prioritize a few truly important things and let the rest slide
Learn how to best relax yourself
Meditation and breathing exercises have been proven to be very effective in controlling stress. Practice clearing your mind of disturbing thoughts.

Selectively change the way you react, but not too much at one time. Focus on one troublesome thing and manage your reactions to it/him/herChange the way you see your situation; seek alternative viewpoints
Stress is a reaction to events and problems, and you can lock yourself in to one way of viewing your situation. Seek an outside perspective of the situation, compare it with yours. and perhaps lessen your reaction to these conditions.

Avoid extreme reactions;
Why hate when a little dislike will do? Why generate anxiety when you can be nervous? Why rage when anger will do the job? Why be depressed when you can just be sad?

Do something for others
to help get your mind off your self
Get enough sleep
Lack of rest just aggravates stress

Work off stress
with physical activity, whether it’s jogging, tennis, gardening
Avoid self-medication or escape
Alcohol and drugs can mask stress. They don’t help deal with the problems
Begin to manage the effects of stress
This is a long range strategy of adapting to your situation, and the effects of stress in your life. Try to isolate and work with one “effect” at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself. for example, if you are not sleeping well, seek help on this one problem.
Try to “use” stress
If you can’t remedy, nor escape from, what is bothering you, flow with it and try to use it in a productive way

Try to be positive
Give yourself messages as to how well you can cope rather than how horrible everything is going to be. “Stress can actually help memory, provided it is short-term and not too severe. Stress causes more glucose to be delivered to the brain, which makes more energy available to neurons. This, in turn, enhances memory formation and retrieval. On the other hand, if stress is prolonged, it can impede the glucose delivery and disrupt memory.”
“All Stressed Up”, St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch, p. 8B, Monday, November 30, 1998
Most importantly:
if stress is putting you in an unmanageable state or interfering with your schoolwork, social and/or work life,
seek professional help at your school counseling center

6 Effective Treatments For Lower Back Pain Relief

6 Effective Treatments For Lower Back Pain Relief

phuket chiropractorIf you have bent the wrong way whilst carrying something heavy, been crouched over your work desk all day, or have simply fallen asleep in an uncomfortable position, you will certainly have experienced lower back pain. It is a horrible pain and difficult to ignore. Many people will immediately go to see a doctor, but research has found that these people are more prone to complications than those who try out a few simple tricks. Here are some that you can try to alleviate lower back pain.

Get Enough Restorative Sleep

Lower back pain makes it hard for you to fall asleep, but a lack of sleep can also worsen your symptoms. It is reported that many insomniacs have lower back pain. Together, lower back pain and insomnia can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing. Try some yoga poses to relax and strengthen your mind, which will help you sleep and aid in reducing the pain.

Regular Full-body Exercise

Contrary to traditional beliefs, lying down to prevent lower back pain will not alleviate it. Your body is meant to move, so be active. Sitting at your desk for too long and staying in a stationary position for extended periods of time will worsen your lower back pain. Stand up from your desk at regular intervals, take a stroll outside during your free time in the afternoon, jog each day, or do yoga.

Soothe The Pain With Temperature Treatment

After an injury, apply an ice pack on your back for 20 minutes. Remove the ice pack for a while, and then put it back on for another 20 minutes. Do these regular 20-minute sessions with an ice pack for two days. The cold prevents inflammation and lessens the pain. After two days, replace the ice pack with a heating pad. Heat makes blood rush to the affected area and helps to lessen the pain. Alternatives to heating pads are hot showers and warm baths.

Focus On Your Feet

The condition of your lower back depends on the condition of your feet. Four-inch heels and improper styles of walking can cause lower back pain. Walk in a straight line and wear shoes with low heels. Be mindful of the shoes you buy. Purchase training or speciality shoes like those found in directory of weight loss clinics, as they are built to be good to your feet no matter what you are doing.

Stretch Your Hamstrings Twice Daily

Your hamstrings are located at the back of your thighs. When they become too tight, they put stress on your lower back. Stretching out your hamstrings keeps them from becoming tight and prevents lower back pain. Be warned, though. Crunches are reported to cause lower back pain. Yoga is a kinder alternative as it contains a lot of relaxing stretches that are good for many parts of your body – and your mind.

 Develop Skills For Your Brain To Ignore Pain Signals

When the body sends pain signals to the brain, the brain automatically connects them with emotions. Doctors will tell you that experiencing pain is not bad for the human body as it is a communication tool. It is the feeling that is associated with pain signals that makes the pain feel worse, and you start to think that the misery will never end. When you experience pain, remind yourself that it is there for a reason and will eventually subside.

Do things that make you happy. Entertain yourself, or spend time with someone you love. Positivity is a powerful distraction. Good vibes can also help your body heal faster, as it bypasses the negative emotions associated with pain. Simple steps like watching an inspiring movie or listening to beautiful music can really help.

5 Easy Healthy Recipes to Boost Immunity

5 Easy Healthy Recipes to Boost Immunity

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ―Hippocrates

Did you know that the immune system’s army is in the stomach? Our immune system does an incredible job at protecting us from all those pesky germs that want to invade our bodies. Sometimes though, germs pass by it and we get sick. Thankfully, it is possible to intervene and give the immune system a helping hand. Afterall, to keep an army healthy, you need to nourish it with good food.

In this article, I will share some simple recipes that can help to boost immunity and assist in fighting those nasty germs and colds.

Ginger-spiced banana smoothie

Ginger is a well known antibacterial food as it has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to ease gut problems, and potentially even kill cancer cells. You can incorporate its anti-inflammatory properties by combining it with a dash of cinnamon and a handful of spinach – and together you’ve got a new favorite breakfast choice.

To make this smoothie you need:

  • 3 bananas
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1 piece (½ inch) of ginger peeled (and grated)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cardamom (optional)

Start by blending the spinach with milk until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again. It makes two servings. If you are not used to spices, start with using just a little ginger and skipping the cardamom. You can also swap 1 cup of milk with 1 cup of yogurt.

Red cabbage healing smoothie

Freshly picked red cabbage has the highest concentration of flavonoids/antioxidants out of all the cabbages. Add in blackberries, with their high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants, and you’ve got an excellent weapon for fighting a cold. Need more fighting power against a cold? Add in elderberry, which also contains high levels of vitamin C.

To make this smoothie, you need:

  • 2 cups red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 tsp elderberry extract (or ¼ cup of fruits)
  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of water

Start by blending the red cabbage, water and orange until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again.

Pineapple parfait

The rather odd looking pineapple has a lot of health benefits. It helps tackle colds, improves digestion, reduces inflammation, can protect against cancer, and helps keep your immune system in excellent shape. Add some yogurt into the mix and you have a great breakfast or snack to keep you healthy.

To make the parfait, you need:

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • ¾ cup yogurt

In a bowl or large glass, add the yogurt, then the pineapple on top. Sprinkle some seeds or berries on top.

You can replace the yogurt with cottage cheese and the pineapple with papaya, which is also known to help the immune system.

Bean soup

High in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, beans are a powerful tool to keep us healthy in the long run. They are also very affordable and can be turned into a variety of delicious dishes. Add onions to the mix, which contain powerful antioxidants and the ability to enhance your digestive system, and this soup should be one of your foolproof recipes to helping you live a healthier life.

To make the bean soup, you need:

  • 1/3 cup each of black beans, kidney beans, and great northern beans, dried
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 4 cups (homemade) vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ cup barley
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 9 cups water
  • salt to taste

Boil the water in a kettle. Start by heating the oil. Then add the onions, celery, and carrot. Cook on a medium heat until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Then add in the other ingredients. The cooking time depends on the beans and may take up to 2 ½ hours. Make sure to add water as needed.

Beetroot hummus

Beetroot (beets) are known to lower blood pressure, improve stamina, fight inflammation, protect against cancer, and are a good source of vitamin C, too. It is a small wonder that they are known as one of the healthiest foods you should eat on a regular basis.

To make beetroot hummus, you need:

  • 1 medium beet (boiled or raw)
  • 1 small can chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon (or to taste)
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp tahini (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional)

If you prefer to use boiled beets, do so before you make the hummus. Once completely cooled, grate it or use a food processor. In the food processor, add the chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Then add the tahini and paprika. Now you are ready for the beets. Add them in and mix well. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a vertical (immersion) blender to make the hummus. Then just add the grated beets. A more earthy taste can be obtained if you use raw beets instead.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Everyone aspires to live a healthy and active lifestyle, but the pressure of today’s society means that we often focus too much on the ‘mad rush’ of the workplace, and too little on ourselves. Afterall, what is success worth without a healthy mind and a healthy body? Nothing is certain, and no one wants to celebrate a raise or new business venture sitting in hospital.

We are passionate about health, and have shared some small but effective tips to help you stay healthy and happy. Taking small steps that can be incorporated into your daily life will improve the way you think and act, and will keep you healthier for longer.

Workout Daily

Exercise helps to keep your body, mind, and soul active. Doctors recommend that we do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to maintain optimal health. At times, life gets in the way and we are bombarded with so much work that we don’t have time to visit the gym or squeeze in a workout. In cases like these, a morning or evening cycle/run/walk to clear your mind and reset your body can do wonders for your wellbeing. You can also purchase equipment for your home, free standing weights, a rowing machine, or even a yoga mat … then login to YouTube and discover one of the many fantastic fitness resources that are available.

Take Short(er) Naps

Getting some shut eye for 20 minutes will give your body and mind a rest after long periods of intense work, and will reenergise you for the rest of the day. Researchers have looked into the effects of regular naps, and have found positive results for people across different work sectors, improving work efficiency, creativity and problem-solving. Companies like Google and Oracle now offer ‘nap pods’ in their offices for people to utilise when they feel tired. There’s a famous saying that; “Legends don’t sleep … they take power naps!”

Drink Lots of Water

Keeping yourself hydrated is an essential part of maintaining your long-term health. Many studies have shown that people who drink lots of water each day tend to have an active mind and body – even as they approach old age – and the chances of contracting an infectious disease are reduced. At times, we see water as ‘boring’ and turn to sugary or caffeinated beverages as a tasty alternative. There are many healthier juice options that can be consumed instead, and a fruit infuser water bottle is a delicious way to ensure you are getting the adequate amount of hydration your body needs.

plant fit dietEat Healthy

Always strive to eat healthy whole foods in place of convenience. The regular consumption of junk food may serve your tastebuds, but comes with consequences in the long run. If you don’t want to compromise on taste, try grilling your favourite foods to add a more rustic flavour. There are a huge variety of recipes free to access online.

6 Exercises to Alleviate Arthritis Pain

Arthritis pain is a very common ailment that affects over 350 million people, worldwide, and approximately 40 million people in the Unites States alone. The condition is present in individuals of all ages; a quarter million children in the U.S. also suffer from arthritic pain.

The general definition of arthritis is “joint inflammation,” but the ailment is used to describe more than 200 rheumatic diseases. These diseases affect joints and the tissues around them and are often characterised by dull pain, aches, and stiffness in the body’s joints. Arthritis often affects the ability for individuals to perform everyday activities, but it can also affect the immune system and vital organs.

For individuals who are struggling with arthritis pain, there are lots of home remedies for arthritis that may help to decrease pain and discomfort. Alleviating Arthritis pain with bracing is also an option, as many of the braces available provide heat therapy and compression to soothe aches and increase circulation.

For those individuals who are looking for more ways to manage their discomfort, exercises might also help abate the pain. Exercising might be the last thing that someone with arthritis wants to do, but physical activity may help to improve energy and ease the pain. If you’re looking for more options to feel better, here are 6 exercises to alleviate arthritis pain.

Arthritis Pain Yoga1. Yoga

Yoga has been known to be extremely beneficial for a number of ailments. Yoga can help to build muscle strength, prevent joint breakdown, decrease blood sugar, and even reduce blood pressure, to name a few things.  People with arthritis can benefit from yoga because this kind of exercise can boost the immune system and improve bone health, and the gentle stretching helps with mobility and movement. It’s an ideal activity because individuals can start at any time, and the movements can be modified for injuries.  If you are just starting a practice, join a beginner class, or try a few poses at home. It is important to note, however, that options like hot yoga and flow yoga are not ideal for individuals with arthritis, as the environment can create excessive heat inside the body and add extra pressure to joints.

2. Pilates

Pilates is another great exercise form that focuses on working the deepest tissues and muscles within the body. There is an emphasis on strengthening the core and incorporating different muscles together to improve shape and definition in the body.  For those individuals who are looking to alleviate pain with exercise, Pilates is great for stabilising the weaker joints and improving the muscles that support the joints. Because there is such a strong emphasis on proper posture and full-body balance, Pilates is perfect for alleviating pressure on joints.  As the body works to align itself, individuals learn how to move in a more effective and fluid motion, allowing the different body parts to work together as opposed to putting all the tension and pressure into a certain area.  Similar to yoga, Pilates is ideal for all patients with arthritis because it gently strengthens and stretches the body.

aqua exercise Arthritis Pain3. Aquatic Workouts

 The buoyancy of water is ideal for people with signs of arthritis, mainly because it helps to relieve the joint pressure made worse by gravity. Exercising in a shallow pool, individuals can do movements that are often too painful outside of water, and they will also benefit from muscle strengthening, improved cardio, and more.

Individuals who don’t have a pool at home might consider joining a gym with a pool or underwater treadmills. Water jogging belts are also beneficial tools that can allow an individual to be suspended above the pool floor and remove the pressure on hips, ankles, and knees.

Arthritis Pain stretching4. Stretching

Consistent stretching is a great exercise for anyone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Improving flexibility really helps to avoid stiffness, and it can be done almost anywhere, at any time.  To decrease the symptoms of arthritis, stretching is an ideal activity to perform throughout the day, especially in the morning when stiffness is often at its worst. There are a wide variety of simple stretches for arthritis that anyone can perform, whether they’re at home, at the office, or on vacation.

5. Walking

Walking is a beneficial exercise for almost anyone, but it’s especially helpful for individuals with arthritis who benefit from adopting a more active lifestyle. Even though it may seem simple, walking is a great aerobic activity that can be performed anywhere and at any level. Walking can also help to strengthen bone mass, increase heart rate and lower blood pressure. Try walking once a day for a minimum of half an hour.

6. Zumba

Zumba can be very effective for people with low to moderate arthritis since it provides a good workout without added pressure on their joints. Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance exercise that incorporates dancing and fluid movements, as well as choreographed moves to fast-paced music.  Individuals can get in their weekly exercise by working their whole body without overexerting themselves. For first-timers, it’s a good idea to start slow and work their way up to more difficult routines so as not to overdo it.  Experiencing arthritic pain on a day-to-day basis can be aggravating for many people, especially when it interferes with the simplest of tasks. For those who want to alleviate this pain, there are many aerobic exercises that may help to relieve some of this discomfort. Just like any new exercise, be sure to speak with your doctor ahead of time to decide which ones are right for you.

6 Things You Need to Know About Proteins

We often hear protein especially in relation to muscle and body building. It is one of the most important elements to improve, build and keep our muscles in shape. Nowadays we see different food supplements from powdered drinks to capsules to enhance our body’s protein intake. We can safely assume protein is a vital element for us to survive. However, there are still dangers attributed to taking in too much protein for our body. Here are the six things you need to know about proteins.

Main Sources of Protein

Consumed From Whole Foods

Despite the fact that protein supplements are prevalent nowadays, sticking from what is raw and original is still the best option. Most proteins are consumed and absorbed from whole foods. By this, we mean foods that are closest to its natural form. This includes whole meat sources like lean beef, fish meat like tuna, eggs, and milk. Although this is the case, there are processed foods that are also infused with protein and are manufactured and produced as close to the natural ones. This includes yoghurt, cheese and whole wheat bread.

Where Can I Get Some More Protein

As stated above, there are other food sources asides whole foods. One thing that was not included in the list of the alternative though is vegetables and plants. There are a lot of food sources that are classified as plants that are rich in protein. Whole grains, peas, lentils and many several types of nuts including almond nuts and seeds are some of the best sources of protein in this category. There are also green sources which are high in protein content such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts. These food sources are ideal for those who love vegan diets.

Not All Proteins Are the Same

Considering the fact that protein can be acquired from different sources, there can also be a difference not on the amount of protein but the type and composition of the proteins we acquire from those food sources. The main sources for the healthcare which mostly come from animal sources are the ones with the most potent and pure protein content. They contain most of the essential amino acids which are body needs to help strengthen the muscle efficiently.

The lower end sources, in this case, are the ones we get from plants and vegetables. They provide less than the animal sources and are called incomplete proteins. Hence, it is important not to stick to one source alone as there are also side-effects in consuming too much animal protein. We should also take note that there are supplements and other sources that works pretty much like how nootropics would normally work in the brain. You may check out nootropics blog for additional information about these helpful supplements.

High Protein Diet Side Effect

Although protein is an essential element for our survival and fitness, there are risks that result from taking too much food sources that are rich in it. In the different sources of protein, we mentioned that the most potent source is animal based diets such as meat, eggs, and milk. These products, however, especially red meat are also good sources of highly saturated fats. We know how saturated fat works. It is capable of increasing our body’s bad cholesterol level making us very vulnerable the heart-related illnesses.

High protein diets are also found to be bad for the kidneys thanks to protein’s by-products due to heavy metabolism. One should take precautionary measures before getting into any protein-rich diets.

Beware of Sugar

In the field of diabetes and its related complications, there has been a close link established by protein-rich diets which are often recommended for those who suffer from this condition. Since carbohydrate intake are limited at this point, most people resort or are given high-protein diet instead. For the record, protein can actually be converted by our body into glucose which is why protein-rich diets often affect the person’s insulin level. Most individuals with type 1 or 2 diabetes are highly advised to seek a professional opinion before getting into any protein-rich diets.


Turn Down the Heavy Metal (and Toxicity)

A recent find that all of us should know is the discovery of toxic elements in protein powders. Sure this is the easiest way if you plan on building up your muscle in no time without the hassle of picking up your food sources but the fact that these powders contain a generous amount of arsenic and lead in it is something to be worried about. These products are mostly similar to taking dirt and toxins inside your system. Before you include this into your diet, be sure to check the label and seek medical assistance carefully.[/vc_column_text][mk_mini_callout title=”About the Author”]Ryan Varela is the CEO of Boost Health Insurance which provides customized and affordable health care plans for thousands of customers across the United States. Ryan has nearly a decade of experience in the health care industry and continues to serve the greater need to educate and deliver access to affordable options to those who need health care the most.

Physical Therapy: 4 Things to Know

Physical therapy.  Many have heard of this term but are still unsure if its exact meeting.  It’s different from what you’re thinking now.  It’s not just a regular gym workout or running on the treadmill for an hour.

physical therapyThere’s value in checking up on your body at least once a month, to ensure everything’s going well.  Most people work at demanding jobs, which require sitting all day long.  You barely have enough time to give to yourself.  On the other hand, you might exercise a lot and still feel not quite right.  Both approaches have similar effects on the body.  It creates an imbalance in our bodies, which leads to health conditions.  This is why physical therapy is beneficial.

A customised physical therapy program helps people return to their prior levels of functioning.  It encourages activities and lifestyle changes to help prevent further injury and improve overall health through therapeutic exercise.

The therapeutic exercise aims to improve and restore physical function.  The following tips explain why physical therapy is important.

  1. Pain reduction or elimination. Therapeutic exercise and manual therapy techniques such as joint or soft tissue mobilisation or treatments include ultrasounds.  Taping and electrical stimulation can relieve pain and restore muscle or joint function, reducing pain as a result.
  2. Avoid surgery. If physical therapy helps with pain or heals an injury, surgery might not be needed.  If surgery is required, you could benefit from pre-surgery physical therapy.  If you’re going into surgery stronger and in better shape, you’ll recover faster.
  3. Improved mobility: stretching and strengthening exercises restores your ability to move.
  4. Recover from or prevent a sports injury. Physical therapists understand how different sports can increase your risk for specific types of injuries.  Physical therapy can help you recover from an injury and avoid future ones.  Your physical therapist can help you reduce pain in soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) and build muscle strength.  It can improve flexibility, function and opens up a range of motions.  The therapist recommends activities that are less likely to cause injury.

How long does it take for the benefits of physical therapy to kick in?

Each session lasts from 30-60 minutes each.  A guest can do one or many sessions per week, depending on their reasons for the therapy.  As you see progress, your visits could shorten and its frequency lessened as you learn new techniques to help with your healing.

Here are a few examples of therapeutic exercises:

  1. Range of motion: aims to maintain and increase motion through joint mobilisation and soft tissue stretching.
  2. Muscle performance: to increase muscle strength, power and endurance.
  3. Postural improves and corrects faulty posture.
  4. Balance and coordination
  5. Relaxation exercises
  6. Area-specific exercises such as breathing and circulatory exercises

The physical therapist determines the type of exercises you need to be at your best.  The program is designed to return you to activities you used to do prior to your injury and prescribe new exercises to meet your short and long term goals.