Archive for the ‘Coffs Coast Health’ Category

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Pakistani Curry

February 16, 2017

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Seven Signs You Need More Sleep

October 16, 2016

Turns out we could all use a little more shut-eye: Four in 10 people don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. As a result, we’re pretty familiar with the signs that our bodies need more rest: endless yawns, heavy eyes, and sleeping in on the weekends.

But when you go from a few restless nights to more chronic sleep deprivation—where sleep debt accumulates over weeks—you tend to not realize how tired you are, says Joseph Ojile, M.D., medical director at the Clayton Sleep Institute. “With fatigue and sleeplessness, we are by nature impaired,” he says. “So that also means our self-awareness and judgment is off.” Luckily there are some subtle (and slightly bizarre) signs that reveal when we’re truly sleep deprived.

1. You rely on clichés.

Do you find yourself peppering platitudes (“What goes around comes around” or “It is what it is”) into everyday conversation? No, you haven’t switched bodies with an old fogy, you might just be sleepy. Studies have shown that the act of pulling an all-nighter can mimic the levels of impairment we feel when we’re drunk, Ojile says.   “When you’re impaired, you rely on crutches, the things you know,” he says. “That could mean clichés or anything that is rote and will allow you to stay in conversation without expending much energy.”

And it’s not just clichés. Sleep-deprived people start to sound drunk, with slurred speech, trouble finding words, and excessive giddiness, says Terry Cralle, the national spokesperson for the Better Sleep Council and author of the children’s book Snoozby and the Great Big Bedtime Story.

2. You’re unusually moody.

You’re usually a pretty patient person, but now you have the shortest fuse. Little things, like people being late or missing deadlines, rile you up, and that’s totally normal for someone who’s sleep deprived, says Robert Rosenberg, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist and author of Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day. One study even showed that people who were low on sleep struggled to accurately read facial expressions; they started seeing non-threatening people as threatening.   As you can imagine, this would send most people into an emotional tailspin, thinking the world is out to get them.

3. You get sick all the time.

You just got over one illness, and the next thing you know, another cold has you down for the count. Your body isn’t railing against you (even if you ate a few too many helpings of chili cheese fries last weekend), but your immune system is weaker and struggling to fend off the germs you come into contact with every day. Case in point: One recent study found that people who slept less than five hours per night were four times more likely to catch the common cold than those who slept for six.

4. You have a serious case of the munchies. munchies1

Find yourself digging into a pint of ice cream right after you polished off some late-night pizza? Your hunger just can’t be sated—and there’s a perfectly good explanation for that. Studies have found that short sleeps lead to a lowered level of leptin (the hormone that decreases your appetite) and an increased level of ghrelin (the hunger hormone).   Talk about a bad combination! Even worse, another study found that participants who slept four-and-a-half hours for four consecutive nights showed increased insulin sensitivity and an elevated risk for diabetes—even though they didn’t change their diet.

5. You can’t seem to make a decision.

Some choices are always hard to make (Netflix or Hulu?), and then there are days when every decision seems like it’s do or die. If you’re low on sleep, you’ll have less blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex, the area of your brain responsible for critical thinking. At the same time, there’s hyperactivity in the amygdala, which is wired for our responses to fear. “This leads to all sorts of problems with executive function,” Rosenberg says. “That includes things like decision making, planning, organizing, and paying attention.”

6. You lose your libido.

“Who wants to be intimate when they’re sleep deprived?” Ojile says. And he’s got a point. For those of us who are low on sleep, the only thing we want to do when we crawl into bed is, well, sleep! Our sex drives seem non-existent. For men, studies have found that sleep deprivation can lower levels of testosterone, which also lowers their interest in being intimate with their partner.

7. You’re breaking out like crazy.

If you wake up in the morning with acne clustered around your chin, don’t think your high school years have come back to haunt you. It’s a perfectly normal reaction to being sleep deprived or overly stressed, says Jennifer Reichel, M.D., a board certified dematologist and advisor to RealSelf. Poor sleep habits can start to make skin less firm and hydrated—in a word: older.   We have cortisol to thank for that. The hormone spikes in people who are stressed and sleep deprived, and it can break down skin collagen, which stops it from being its usual smooth self.

The Takeaway

Sleep is hugely important to your body. Sure, we all love that well-rested and alert feeling, but there’s plenty of stuff happening behind the scenes too, from repairing damaged skin cells to flushing out toxins that build up in your brain. If you notice one of the aforementioned signs, it’s time to start thinking about your quantity and quality of sleep. Luckily, most of the time, these issues are reversible with a concerted effort to catch more zzzs.

Article sourced here:http://greatist.com/grow/subtle-signs-you-need-more-sleep

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Coconut Fish Soup

October 6, 2016

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Photo sourced from: http://img.delicious.com.au/

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Kale Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

September 22, 2016

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Image from www.eatingbirdfood.com

Why I Will Choose to be a Little Fat

July 17, 2016

a little fat
How we can all feel good about ourselves, whatever our size.

I saw an article a few weeks ago with this incredible before-and-after set of photos of an overweight, post-baby woman who then became totally “bikini-worthy.”

So I had to click the link, of course, to have a look. No question about it—the “after” photo of this woman was a stunning shot. She looked fit, toned, healthy and gorgeous. I read on, eager to discover what her secret was; what profound magical method it was that she had used to shed however-many-number of pounds.

There it was, a long and detailed tract of the super lean, restrictive diet she had put herself on for a year. No carbs, no dairy, no fruit, no nothing. The sample diet she had shared in the article seemed to consist of little more than hummus, celery and endless amounts of steamed fish. Healthy—yes. Exciting, delicious, fun lifestyle—no.

I decided in that moment that I would choose to continue being a little bit fat.

Yes, I could do with losing at least about 10 pounds so that the Bébé dress I bought earlier this year would fit that much more snugly. But if it’s at the expense of not eating fruit, freshly baked breads, Greek yogurt and honey for a year, well then, I choose emphatically to continue being 10 pounds more than I should be.

Science is a wonderful thing. It’s revealed so many revolutionary ways of understanding the way our bodies work and the effects of new foods, super foods, bad foods and good foods on our health. It’s sad though that “health” has so often come to be equated only and necessarily with thinness.

The glut of diet programs, weight-loss fads, fat-burning supplements and specialized bikini-body workouts are now as much a part of our daily consumer choices as the aisles of (“forbidden”) food in supermarkets. There seems to be no excuse not to be “healthy” (read: thin) given the huge number of aids, YouTube videos and literature on the subject.

Articles like the one I read aren’t necessarily always an encouraging, inspiring thing. They don’t just tell the story of an overweight person who chose discipline and a healthier lifestyle. There is often also a more sinister sub-narrative that raises its eyebrows at the reader and challenges her—“If this person can lose xx pounds, why can’t you?”—even if the reader may not actually be unhealthy or overweight.

The titles of these articles alone are almost always weight-centered, like “I lost 120 pounds, ask me how!” or “How one man lost 200 pounds in a year.” Rarely are these articles presented through the perspective of someone choosing a healthier lifestyle, discarding bad nutritional habits or incorporating fitness into their daily routine.

There it is: the continuous, unceasing reminder that we should all be striving toward thinness. From cabbage soup fasts, to low-everything diets, to 20-minute fat-blasting workouts, the desirable end result is usually almost and entirely about becoming become a thinner version of ourselves.

I am not ignoring the fact that for a percentage of people who are facing the health risks of being dangerously overweight, losing weight is a part of becoming healthier. I don’t discount that and understand how important it is in these cases to count calories and lost inches.

Problems arise when that very same method is being adopted by people who aren’t facing any health risks—who may, in fact, be completely healthy, fit people—but who still feel that they would be healthier if only they were five, 10 or 20 pounds lighter.

So I’d like to suggest flipping things around a bit; looking at things through another lens.

Let’s focus on being healthy—and just that.

Logically and biologically, it would follow that by following a healthy way of living, eating and exercising, everything else will find its proper balance. We would lose weight if we needed to lose weight, we’d gain muscle if we needed to gain muscle, we’d balance out all the other things that come from not being healthy—stress, cholesterol, diabetes, poor complexion, hair loss etc.

And what does it mean to live healthily? In the face of all the new diet and exercise schemes, I think that actually, we all already know what it means to live a healthy, balanced, feel-totally-awesome lifestyle, without having to follow any fad or buy any specialized products.

Intuitively, deep down inside, we do know the basics of living well. We know when we’ve had enough to eat, what kinds of foods are good for us, what makes us feel good and what makes us go into a slump, how much exercise we need to do, when to stop when we’re exhausted and when to rest.

We know this not just intellectually, but physically—our bodies are always telling us what we need to do; we just need to listen.

One’s body will tell us when it feels like a massive binge on Chinese take-out. It will also tell us when it’s had enough so we don’t insist on finishing every last fortune cookie. Our bodies will take us dancing, running, swimming, trampolining and playing; but they will also make us rest and sleep.

I read something beautiful a while ago, about how we shouldn’t change our bodies so we can love them.

Instead, we should create change in the way we treat ourselves because we love our bodies.

Ultimately this is about focusing on health: the physical health of our bodies and the emotional health of how we see and relate to our bodies. We love our bodies—this temporary shell on loan to us for this lifetime—so we treat them well, nourish them, feed them, move them, hug them, stretch then, let them dance, discipline them, give them a treat sometimes and most of all enjoy them.

Enjoying our bodies is to indulge in the beautiful, sensual things like good food, good sex and the rush of an energetic run in the mornings. But also, I think enjoyment is about ensuring our bodies are at their prime health so that they truly get the most out of these things and appreciate, at our body’s fullest capacity, the good food, good sex and energetic run.

This is true whatever size we’re at, whether we’re trying to lose weight or gain weight, whether we’re severely overweight or dangerously underweight.

This is true because it’s a matter of health and of helping our bodies be at their optimum functioning levels, not merely a matter of what we look like.

Yes, ideally, I would still like the scales to tell me that I am 10 pounds lighter and to see my dress size drop to a single digit. But then, I have to ask myself what it really is that I’d like to get out of being that much thinner. I don’t have any illnesses, I live a happy, active life, and I’ve been medically cleared for good, prime health.

So what is it? To be more attractive? To feel more energetic? To turn more heads? To tighten that gap between me and the Victoria’s Secret models?

I realize now that if I only just went back to focusing on being healthy, everything else would find its rightful place. When I’m feeling healthy, my skin glows, my hair is shiny and I’m a face full of radiance. When I’m feeling fit after a big run and deep session of yoga, I’m also confident, joyful and there’s an extra bounce in my step.

Automatically, without being a single ounce lighter, I realize now that being healthy alone is enough to be more attractive, feel more energetic, turn more heads and gain almost as many admirers as the Victoria’s Secret angels.

With a focus on health, instead of weight, I find too that I enjoy life a whole lot more. I eat without guilt and play with abandon. I move and shift and indulge the very real needs of my body instead of spending good hours of my day fussing over diet plans, exercise schedules and meal replacement shakes.

It isn’t only when I achieve a vision of thinness that I am deemed healthy and attractive.

I am attractive because I am living healthily.

And if that means I shall always be a little bit fat, with a few extra pounds to shed, then that’s exactly what I shall be.

Written Via 
on Sep 29, 2013 for http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/09/why-i-will-always-choose-to-be-a-little-bit-fat-jamie-khoo/

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Naan Bread

May 19, 2016

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27 Amazing Benefits of Yoga

May 15, 2016

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Yoga coming to Coffs Coast Health Club – Toormina, starting Tuesday 17th May!
Ring 6658 6222 for details or bookings.

Tuesdays 7am – Beginner to Intermediate & 5.30pm – Intermediate

Wednesdays 6am – Beginner  & 6.30pm – Beginner to Intermediate

Thursdays 6am – Beginner to Intermediate

Yoga is a spiritual, mental, and physical practice that’s been around for centuries. Today, there are several types of yoga that vary in difficulty and speed. While different yoga types feel different, yogis and scientists alike will tell you they are all extremely beneficial for your mental and physical health.

The great thing about yoga is there are very few limitations to start. While colorful yoga pants, support blocks, and fancy mats are nice, you don’t necessarily need any of that stuff to get started. Instead, simply pick a basic yoga routine that has beginner poses and follow along. You’ll notice your body and mood change in no time. To find out the health benefits you can expect when you begin yoga, check out the following 27 benefits of yoga:

1) Better Flexibility

Have you ever watched an experienced yogi twist herself into pretzel-like poses? Seriously, who knew the human body could even bend like that?! The truth is, if you don’t keep your body conditioned to do such movements, then it won’t be able to. Overtime your muscles will atrophy and your joints will settle into a limited range of motion. So when you take your first yoga class, you may not be able to touch your toes let alone tuck your feet behind your head. Stick with it, though, and you will gradually notice your body loosening up.

2) Better Posture

Has anyone ever told you to stop slouching or to sit up straight? Poor posture doesn’t only look bad, it also has a negative impact on the body. Bad posture has been linked to backaches, neck pain, joint problems, and muscle fatigue. Luckily, there are a few things you can do right now to improve your posture, with yoga topping the list. Yoga is one of the best ways to fix poor posture since each pose aims to get your body back into proper alignment without forcing you into unnatural positions. By the way, I’m not just talking about a straighter back. Yoga poses require your entire body to work together, which means everything from your neck to your shoulders, back, and lower body needs to be properly aligned.

A word of advice – before you take your first yoga class, snap a photo of yourself. Then, keep documenting your progress with more photos. Pretty soon you will notice a huge difference in your posture. Before and after photos are extremely useful since improved posture generally isn’t something that you’ll notice by looking in the mirror. That isn’t to say your friends and family won’t notice the difference, though!

3) Better Balance

From easy beginner movements to more advanced stretches, you will need to concentrate and focus in order to hold yoga poses. Overtime, though, you will notice that you don’t have to concentrate quite as hard. That’s because your balance has naturally improved. Every yoga pose helps improve your balance, even the ones that don’t appear to require any balance. When you are sitting or leaning you are still required to center your body.

4) More Strength

Unlike other types of workouts where you pump iron or pull on resistance bands, with yoga, you only use your own bodyweight as resistance. Since yoga requires you to enter into and hold various positions, you will naturally strengthen your muscles. Don’t worry about your muscles getting bored with the same old poses, though. As soon as one pose becomes easy for you there is always another, harder, pose for you to begin working on.

While just about every yoga pose helps your body to build strong muscles, some of the best include planks, bakasana, and various headstands.

5) Tones the Body

One really great aspect of yoga is that it works to tone your body without using weights or exercise equipment. Like a push-up or a pull-up, yoga only uses your own body weight as resistance.

One worry a lot of women have when they hear the terms “resistance training” or “strength training” is: “Will it make me bulk?” Take a sigh of relief ladies because yoga won’t make you bulk up. Rather, it will give you a nice, lean figure.

The poses that work best are the ones that pit your body weight against you, so go for any pose that has you lifting any body part in the air and holding it there. You’ll definitely feel the burn.

6) Better Sleep

While sleep experts recommend getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation, millions of Americans are getting nowhere near that. Rather, many people are suffering from sleep problems. If you are someone who has trouble sleeping, scientists recommend trying yoga. In a recent study conducted at Harvard Medical School, researchers investigated how a daily yoga practice might affect sleep for people suffering from insomnia. After eight weeks, they found significant improvements in participants’ sleep quality and quantity. This isn’t the only study that reached those findings.

Yoga helps to relax the nervous system, which is the part of your body responsible for a restful sleep. Additionally, yoga’s meditative aspect comes into play to quiet the mind. So if a racing mind is what keeps you from getting a good night’s sleep then performing yoga at any point during the day may offer you some relief.

There are specific poses you can do that are known to help people sleep more soundly. Try uttanasana, halasana, or savasana before tucking yourself under the covers. These should put your body into a relaxed state, making it easier for you to drift off into dreamland.

7) More Energy

Yoga does a few things for the body that result in a boost of energy. For one – a better night’s sleep makes for a more energized day. Second, studies show that some yoga poses adjust the hormone cortisol. Too little of this hormone can drain your body of energy. Although, you don’t want too much of it either!

Additionally, when you practice yoga you are taught to breathe more deeply, which means your blood receives waves of fresh oxygen. This is key to increasing energy levels.

To help beat fatigue try the following poses: utthita trikonasana, utkatasana, and salabhasana. Once you’ve completed these poses you should feel more awake, leading to a more productive day.

8) Better Sex

Transforming your body into a super sexy machine is perhaps one of the most popular benefits associated with yoga. There are a few ways yoga translates into the bedroom. First and foremost, flexibility. As I mentioned earlier, the longer you do yoga the more flexible you will become. The more flexible you become the more poses (both on the mat and in the bedroom) you will be able to do. Additionally, you’ll be able to hold those poses for a longer period of time without getting tired. You’ll have more strength, more balance, and more flexibility, which all translates to better performance.

All yoga positions are linked to the sexual act, so you can literally choose any sequence and you’ll be improving yourself greatly. Choose poses that resonate with you and build from there.

9) Lower Blood Pressure

It’s important to monitor and lower high blood pressure since it can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other unhealthy cardiovascular events. Aside from taking medications, there are natural ways to lower high blood pressure. According to a study published in the British medical journal The Lancet, yoga is a great workout for your heart and over time will improve your cardiovascular function. The key is sticking with it long enough to get these benefits. In one study, researchers looked at people with hypertension and compared the effects of Savasana (Corpse Pose) with simply lying on a couch. After three months, the group that practiced Savasana noticed a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure and a 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure.

As you can see, you don’t have to do any extreme yoga poses or practice hot yoga to get the benefits of lower blood pressure. Rather, it’s the calming nature of yoga that does the trick. So focus on feeling good and only push yourself far enough for continual growth. Don’t push yourself to the point of frustration. Additionally, if you’re looking to lower your blood pressure then try to focus on meditating while you hold your poses.

10) Better Circulation

With all of the twisting motions and upside down poses, yoga can really get your heart pumping and blood circulating. This means fresh blood and oxygen are delivered to your cells and organs, enhancing their function. According to studies:

“Twisting poses wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in when the twist is released. Inverted poses encourage venous blood flow from the legs and pelvis back to the heart and then pumped through the lungs where it becomes freshly oxygenated.”

Yoga also thins the blood which can decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, since they are often caused by blood clots. Additionally, yoga can help reduce swelling in the hands and feet.

The chair pose, downward dog, and warrior pose are just three poses that can improve circulation. However, it’s important to note that these benefits won’t be achieved overnight. So stick with it!

11) Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipid that’s found in the bloodstream. While the body needs some cholesterol, too much LDL cholesterol can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. Impressively enough, numerous studies have shown yoga to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and boost HDL “good” cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association, HDL cholesterol actually helps to remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries and carries it back to the liver, where it’s broken down and passed from the body.

If you are on a medication that lowers cholesterol and would like to begin practicing yoga on a regular basis, consult with your doctor first.

12) Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Between lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, and lowering bad cholesterol, it’s no wonder that yoga helps to lower a person’s risk of heart disease. The various poses and deep breaths help the heart do its job, increasing blood flow throughout the body, and improving the entire circulatory system.

There aren’t any specific poses that will lessen your chance of heart disease. They’re really all effective!

13) Less Pain

Much of the pain we experience today is related to our lack of motion and activity. Yoga is one thing you can do to ease that pain. After a short period of practicing yoga, you may find your body moving into its proper alignment. When that happens, chances are a lot of your pain will dissipate. According to several studies, both asana yoga and meditation can help to reduce arthritis pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, fibromyalgia, and other painful chronic conditions. It’s important to remain optimistic and realize that it’s not likely going to be an overnight process.

There are specific poses you can do for pain management, but these will vary depending on what is hurting. You can do routines for back pain, arthritis pain, as well as any specific body part that’s giving you trouble.

14) Boost Your Metabolism

You’ve heard the term “metabolism” countless time, but do you really know what it means? According to the Mayo Clinic, metabolism refers to the process of your body converting what you eat and drink into energy. Each person has their own metabolic rate, which is affected by lifestyle. When someone is more active, their metabolism will get a boost. This assists in weight loss.

Try the locust, bridge, and shoulder stand if you want to directly work on revving up your metabolism.

15) Weight Loss

Yoga can help boost your metabolism and build stronger muscles, two things are essential for weight loss. Tip: If you start to eat more whole, organic foods while performing a daily yoga routine you’ll be more likely to see the pounds come off quicker.

16) Better Immunity

Do you feel like every time you turn around you are battling another cold or illness? If so, your immune system is probably weak. A weakened immune system can stem from a variety of things such as lack of sleep, chronic stress, and poor digestion. Since yoga has been found to improve all of those things, it may not come as a surprise that yoga can also strengthen your immune system.

According to doctors, yoga can stimulate the four main physiological systems that are linked to your immune system. They include the circulatory, digestive, nervous, and endocrine systems. Performing poses that benefit at least one of those systems could have a positive effect on immunity. That means, almost every yoga pose will help improve your immune system. However, there are a few poses that are more effective. They include bridge, shoulder stands, and head stands.

17) Better Respiration

During your first yoga class, you will quickly realize that one of the main focuses is your breathing. You’re consistently asked to pay attention to your breath. Taking deeper breaths, expanding your lung capacity, and being more conscious of your breathing are all part of the process. For that reason, it may not surprise you that yoga is great for people who are suffering from any sort of respiratory ailment or condition. It can help open up a person’s airways and gets their lungs to function more effectively.

The cow pose, cobra pose, and gate pose are all ones that you can do to boost your respiratory health. There are also several more as you get better at performing yoga, but it’s best to start with the easy poses to build confidence and move up from there.

18) Less Stress and Anxiety

Between bills, bosses, family, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, people are stressed to the max. As if the feeling of stress isn’t bad enough, chronic stress wreaks havoc on health in a number of ways. It can lead to poor digestion, weight fluctuations, weakened immune system, cardiovascular conditions, and much more. One way to naturally beat stress is to exercise. According to researchers, when you perform yoga, feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin are released, putting you in a better mood.

Additionally, yoga helps quiet the mind, gives your body an outlet to release energy blocks that may have you stressing out even more.

To de-stress try the balasana pose, also known as the child’s pose. It’s hard to hold this pose and feel stress at the same time, the two are almost mutually exclusive.

 

19) Better Memory

Since yoga improves blood flow to the brain, it’s often viewed as a brain-boosting workout. According to one study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, just 20 minutes of yoga a day could have big brain benefits. Researchers had 30 female college-age students spend 20 minutes practicing yoga and 20 minutes doing an aerobic exercise. Researchers gave participants a cognitive assessment test after both the yoga session and the aerobic session. They found test scores to be “significantly superior” on tests that were taken after the yoga session.

The great brain-boosting pose is padahastasana. It involves bending over so that your head eventually is near your knees with enough practice.

 

20) Lower Blood Sugar Levels

This is great news for diabetics and those that have been told they are at risk for developing diabetes. Yoga has the ability to lower blood sugar levels when done on a regular basis. Paired with a well-balanced diet, this can go a long way towards keeping these levels within healthy parameters.

Diabetics are often advised to exercise and yoga is one exercise that you can do all year long, no matter the weather, and without any extra equipment. Pranayama is a great pose for lowering blood sugar.

21) Lowers Sodium Levels

The average American gets about 3,400 mg of sodium a day, which is much more than recommended. Rather, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day. While sodium is an important nutrient, too much can lead to fluid retention, high blood pressure, stroke, and other heart issues. Along with cutting back on table salt, it’s important to get active and sweat out the sodium. Tip: You may want to try hot yoga, which is yoga performed in a room with sauna-like temperatures. This helps to get you sweating.

22) Improves Digestion

You may not realize it, but when you exercise you’re not only working your leg and arm muscles. Inside your intestines, there is also a layer of muscle that is constantly contracting to help food waste pass. If you aren’t getting enough physical activity, though, your intestinal muscles may become too relaxed. In yoga, you perform a combination of deep breathing exercises and twisting poses that really massage the organs, works your intestinal muscles, and helps release any trapped toxic stool.

If you are looking to relieve constipation or simply improve your overall digestive health, try cat/cow pose, half gas relief pose, half lord of the fishes, or any other twisting pose.

23) Moves Lymph Fluid

Your lymphatic system is interesting because it doesn’t have a pump to move its fluid like the heart pumps blood. Rather, it relies on you to get enough movement throughout the day to get lymphatic fluid moving. However, since many Americans simply don’t get enough exercise during the course of a day to stimulate the fluid movement, there is a virtual epidemic of lymphatic problems caused by improper drainage of lymphatic fluid. To fix this, all it really takes is some specific yoga poses to get the job done.

For example, try anything that gets you inverted, like a shoulder stand or a headstand. These are pretty advanced moves, so you’ll want to work your way up to them or use a wall for support.

24) Helps Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a medical condition where a person’s bones become brittle from loss of tissue. This is typically the result of hormonal changes or nutrient deficiency (namely calcium and/or vitamin D). To help prevent the condition, researchers recommend practicing yoga. Studies show that weight-bearing exercises (like yoga) strengthen bones and help ward off osteoporosis. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, people who practiced yoga experienced an increase in bone density in their vertebrae. This could possibly be a result of yoga’s ability to keep calcium in the bones.

The parivrtta trikonasana, salabhasana, and ardha chandrasana poses will all help you prevent osteoporosis. Remember, you don’t have to be a yoga master to do these poses, or hold them for long periods of time at first. Just trust your instincts and do what you can to start. Starting is the most important thing, not being perfect.

25) Alleviates Symptoms from Many Conditions

From helping cancer patients recovering from chemotherapy treatments to helping arthritis sufferers regain mobility in their joints, yoga can provide symptom relief when it seems like nothing else works.

The great part about yoga is no matter what condition you’re currently in, there are at least a few poses that you can perform. Some yoga exercises are just breathing. So even if you’re bedridden you can do these breathing exercises to help focus your mind and improve your respiratory function. You’d be amazed at how much better you feel just by breathing more effectively.

Depending on your symptom, you’ll want to do specific poses. You may also find that a general yoga routine with some of the most popular poses works just fine.

26) Improves Your Outlook on Life

Getting a better outlook on life can help you in nearly every aspect of your life. You may feel like not even trying some days, or you may get stuck in a cycle of unhealthy thoughts. Thankfully, yoga boosts serotonin levels and can help you break free from your slump. Who knows, with a new zest for life you may take on new work projects. You’ll never know unless you get started and the good news is even the most basic yoga poses can get you there.

27) Provides an Inner Calmness (Eventually)

When first starting out with yoga, you may find the poses hard to get into and even harder to hold. Your state of inner being might be all chaos and confusion mixed with frustration and exhaustion. Trust me, if you have faith and stick with it, you’ll get better. Once the poses get easier to you, you’ll be able to turn your mind inward, which produces the calmness you typically hear attributed to yoga.

Article sources here: http://bembu.com/benefits-of-yoga

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Scotch Eggs

April 14, 2016

SCOTCH-EGG-FINALscotch egg

Working out with Bands & Balls

April 12, 2016

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As far as workout equipment goes, stability balls and resistance bands are two of my all-time favorites. The ball has outperformed the floor and weight bench in studies because stability ball exercises use more muscles at the same time. And with bands, you can do exercises that normally require expensive machines without going to a gym. The result: You’ll firm up faster.

Here are seven exercises to get you started with balls and bands. Complete two sets of 10 to 12 reps of each exercise (unless otherwise noted), taking a 30-second break between sets. Do this workout two or three times a week, but not on consecutive days.

By combining these two exercise tools, you’ll recruit more muscle fibers, get all the benefits of a complete home gym, and sculpt beautiful, firm curves. Take a simple biceps curl, for instance. Doing this move on a ball requires more work, so it strengthens the muscles in your arms and tones your abs, waist, back, and legs because you need to use these muscles to maintain your balance. And bands allow you to move in arcs and circles, mimicking high-tech gym equipment and toning the front, back, and sides of your muscles. Now that’s what I call a total-body workout. As a bonus, bands and balls (which deflate) make great travel companions.

Band and ball basics This equipment costs less than $40 for both and is available at most sporting goods stores.

Bands Look for a package that includes light, medium, and heavy resistance bands that are at least 5 feet long. You should hold your band at a length that provides enough resistance to make your last two or three reps feel difficult. If the band is too long or you need more resistance, loosely wrap the ends around your hands. Move slowly through the steps of each exercise to optimize the resistance and prevent the band from snapping back to the starting position.

Balls Choose a size that allows you to sit with your feet flat and your thighs about parallel to the floor. For most, a 65-centimeter ball will do. However, if you’re shorter than 5-feet-5, try a 55-centimeter ball, and if you’re taller than 5-feet-11, try a 75-centimeter ball. If you’ve never used an exercise ball before, don’t inflate it completely. The more inflated and firmer the ball, the harder it is to balance.

*Excerpted from Sculpt Your Body with Balls and Bands by Denise Austin.

How To Use Resistance Bands & Exercise Balls

There are many different tools that can make exercise and strength training fun.
This article outlines:

  • How to use resistance bands and exercise balls
  • The health benefits of using these strength training tools
  • Things you should know before you begin exercising with either tool

Getting Started
Using resistance bands and exercise balls can help make your fitness efforts more enjoyable.

Using resistance bands and exercise balls can help make your fitness efforts more enjoyable.

By learning how to use each tool, you can do interesting and challenging exercises that meet your current needs or abilities.

Keep in mind that if you are new to exercise, or if it has been awhile since you exercised, you should see a medical doctor before starting any fitness program.

Strength training is a vital part of a fitness regime, and contributes to your overall health and well-being.

About Exercise Balls
Exercise balls are also commonly referred to as stability balls, fitness balls, Swiss balls, or physio-balls. They are an inexpensive and lightweight tool that can be used to improve strength, balance and functional fitness. They can be used at home, at the gym or fitness club, or almost anywhere.

Exercise balls generally cost from $10.00 to $40.00. Adult sizes range from 55 cm to 75 cm in diameter. To choose the size that is right for you, sit on the ball so that  your legs are at a 90 degree angle or greater.

Stores generally have a few balls inflated to allow you to try out the different sizes. Otherwise, refer to the specifications listed on the packaging. When you inflate the ball, be sure to follow the inflation procedures provided in the manufacturer’s instructions.How to Use an Exercise Ball

When sitting on the ball, placing your feet wider apart helps you to keep your balance or stabilize your body. With your feet closer together, it’s harder to keep your balance.

When sitting on the ball, placing your feet wider apart helps you to keep your balance or stabilize your body. With your feet closer together, it’s harder to keep your balance.

With a little practice, you’ll be able to use an exercise ball for a variety of exercises.

Here are five examples of basic exercises you can do on an exercise ball:

  • Abdominal crunches
  • Wall squat
  • One arm row
  • Chest press
  • Hamstring curls

The following basic safety considerations should be followed:

  • Breathe (inhale and exhale) through each exercise.
  • Avoid bouncy movements.
  • Keep your abdominal muscles tight when doing exercises on the ball.

You can use an exercise ball safely on your own, but consulting a fitness professional may help, as they can instruct you on correct techniques and getting the most benefits from using this tool.

If you try it and don’t like using an exercise ball there are many other ways to get fit or achieve your strength training objectives.

Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are an inexpensive, lightweight and portable tool that can be used to improve strength. They are also commonly referred to as exercise bands, resistance tubing, or therabands.

Resistance bands come in different forms and different resistance levels. Some are resistance tubing with a handle on each end, which makes it easier to hold onto when doing some exercises. Others look like medical tubing or an oversized elastic band.

Resistance bands that offer more resistance usually come in darker colours, while those offering less resistance come in lighter colours. Prices typically range from $4.00 to $12.00.

The following basic safety considerations should be followed when using a resistance band:

  • Check the band and handles regularly for signs of wear and tear, replacing them as needed, to avoid snapping the band or possible injury.
  • When doing an exercise movement you should feel the resistance in the first 10 to 30 degrees of the movement. (For instance, you should feel the resistance when you first begin to lift your arm while doing a bicep curl. Don’t go beyond that point, as this could cause a muscle strain or pull.)

Here are five examples of basic exercises you can do with resistance bands:

  • Bicep curl
  • Tricep extension
  • One arm row
  • Chest press
  • Leg press

To see a short video on how to do these exercises, visit the Mayo Clinic’s website.

Fun for All Ages
People of all ages can benefit from strength training. Using exercise balls and resistance bands can make it fun, and they are practical tools for working out at home or in the gym.

After you view the suggested videos, start slowly and try out some of the exercises. If you feel unsure or uncomfortable, consider asking for help from a fitness professional. Even if you feel confident, a fitness professional can offer extra tips or insights.

http://www.healthyalberta.com/1244.htm

Having a Workout Partner Can Double Performance

April 10, 2016

A lot of people work out alone, myself included. Sometimes it makes sense to exercise without a partner. You need a partner with similar goals, and sometimes at a similar fitness level, and those can be hard to find. But are those of us working out alone missing out on some possible benefits of having a partner? And when working out with a partner, what’s the best way to get motivated?

buddy workout

There are a lot of ways working out with a partner can help you. Your partner can spot for you, and otherwise make your workout safer. They can check your form and make sure you’re not letting it slip as you fatigue. A recent study by the Society of Behavioral Medicine took a look at the effects of training with a partner on your cardio work. They discovered that doing your aerobic work with a partner improves your results. On the surface what they found might not be exactly controversial, but the extent of it might be surprising, and some of the methods they used are important to those looking for the best results.

Many people work with a partner to increase their motivation. Having someone meet you to exercise sometimes makes the difference between showing up and not exercising at all. Just getting through the door is the most important thing, but the researchers in the partner training study showed that the motivation to work harder was also increased.

The participants in the study were divided into three groups that rode an exercise bike at a given percentage of their heart rate for time. The first group was a control, and they exercised alone. The second worked out with a single partner. The third group worked out with a single partner and was told that the results of their test were based on the partner with the weaker performance.

Before I get to the results, it’s important to note that the partner was virtual. The participants Skyped with a partner and could see them exercising via a computer screen at the same time. Although they were told the partner was working out at the same time as them and could see them too, it was actually a recording. For the third group with the team results, the recording was looped so that their partner was always better than them. How’s that for motivation?

In the end, solo riders made it an average of 10.6 minutes on the bike before stopping. Pretty good. Group two, the ones that rode with a partner on screen, went on for an average of 19.8 minutes. That’s an 87% difference. Imagine how much better your performance would be if you always exercised at a rate that much higher than you do now. The third group was on the bike for an average of 21.9 minutes, an improvement just over double than going it alone. Tell me that’s not impressive.

Not only did research demonstrate working with a partner, especially in a team format, improve performance, but the researchers also went on to measure this motivational boost over time. Doubling your performance for just one workout is good, but not ideal. Doubling your workout every time you exercise over time means major gains over working out alone.

One warning though, that I learned from one of those survival shows: sometimes a partner can push you too hard. If you’re in a survival situation, that could mean death. In the gym, hopefully it only means some overtraining or mild aches and pains from time to time, but it could mean worse. Using a partner to push your aerobic cardio is a pretty safe bet so long as you keep it aerobic, as it won’t likely push you into overtraining. But working with a partner on any kind of high intensity training has a good chance of pushing your body too far, so be aware while training with a partner just how much you’re doing. Be sure to take it easy if you begin experiencing overtraining symptoms. Shy of that, reap the benefits of team training and get better results than ever before (and probably have more fun, too).

 

References:

1. Brandon Irwin, et al., “Aerobic Exercise Is Promoted when Individual Performance Affects the Group: A Test of the Kohler Motivation Gain Effect,” The Society of Behavioral Medicine, (2012)

Sourced here: http://breakingmuscle.com/sports-psychology/having-a-workout-partner-can-double-performance
Written by:  Doug Dupont

Having grown up at the foot of a forest covered mountain in rural Vermont, Doug was active from a very young age. Hiking, running, and climbing were a part of everyday life in the Green Mountains. This culture of exercise led to dabbling in martial arts as a teen, and also getting work in a local powerlifting focused gym. Doug continued to pursue knowledge and training in exercise, becoming a certified personal trainer while still a teenager. Once in college he began his hand at the business… Read More