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Wellness

How Much Exercise Is Enough?

Tara Christie

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How Much Exercise Is Enough

How much exercise is enough? Short answer: It depends.

“How much exercise is enough for what?” asks David Bassett Jr., PhD, a professor of exercises physiology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He explains that, before you make a decision on how much you need, you should have a good idea of your exercise goal or goals: Are you exercising for physical fitness, weight control, or as a way of keeping your stress levels low?

treadmill exercise

 

 

For general health benefits, a routine of daily walking may be sufficient, says Susan Joy, MD, co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Sports Medicine Center in Sacramento and team physician for the Sacramento Kings.

abs exercise

If your goal is more specific — say, to lower your blood pressure, improve your cardiovascular fitness, or lose weight — you’ll need either more frequent exercises or a higher intensity of exercises.

“The medical literature continues to support the idea that exercise is medicine,” says Jeffrey E. Oken, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician with the Marianjoy Medical Group in Wheaton, Illinois. “Regular exercises can help lower risk of premature death, control your blood pressure, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, combat obesity, improve your lung function, and help treat depression.”

Here, experts break down exactly how much exercises is enough, on the basis of your personal health and fitness goals.

Current Physical Fitness Guidelines for All Adults

 

lifting exercise

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone needs two types of physical activity each week:  aerobics and muscle-strengthening activities.

Aerobic activity involves repetitive use of the large muscles to temporarily increase heart rate and respiration. When repeated regularly, aerobic activity improves cardio-respiratory fitness. Running, brisk walking, swimming, and cycling are all forms of aerobic activity.

Muscle-strengthening activities are designed to work one or more muscle groups. All the major muscle groups — legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms — should be worked on two or more days each week, according to federal guidelines. Lifting weights, working with resistance bands, and doing pushups are all are forms of muscle-strengthening activities, according to the CDC.

Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, in addition to muscle-strengthening activities. If activity is more vigorous in intensity, 75 minutes a week may be enough. For even greater health benefits, though, more activity is better: 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a mix of the two, says the CDC.

It’s best to be active throughout the week, rather than concentrating all your physical activity in one day. That means aim for 30 to 60 minutes of exercises, five days a week. You can break it up into even smaller chunks, too: three brief periods of physical activity a day, for example. In order for it to be effective in improving health and fitness, the CDC says you need to sustain the activity for at least 10 minutes at a time.

How Much Exercise Do You Need to Lose Weight or Maintain Weight Loss?

Research consistently shows that, to lose weight, integrating exercises into your routine helps. For example, in one study published in the journal Obesity, women who both dieted and exercised lost more weight than those who only dieted.

If you’re trying to control your weight through exercises, however, the general activity guidelines provided by the CDC might not be sufficient; you’re likely going to need to devote some extra time to exercises.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), 150 to 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity yields only modest weight-loss results, and to lose a significant amount of weight, you may need to perform moderate-intensity exercises more than 250 minutes per week (in addition to dietary intervention). So how much exercises do you need in a day? That equates to about one hour, five days per week.

Meanwhile, the CDC suggests that, if you increase your intensity, you can reap similar weight-control benefits in about half the time. For example, in one study published in January 2017 in the Journal of Diabetes Research, women who performed high-intensity interval exercise lost the same amount of weight and body fat compared with those who performed moderate-intensity cardio, but they did it while exercising for significantly less time.

It’s important to remember that once you hit your weight-loss goals, you need to continue exercising to make sure you don’t regain the weight. A study published in August 2015 in the Journal of Primary Prevention that analyzed data from 81 studies investigating the role of exercise in weight management found that one of the biggest ways exercise helps with weight management is by preventing weight gain (perhaps even more than it helps you lose weight).

The ACSM recommends performing more than 250 minutes of exercise per week to prevent weight regain.

To both lose weight and prevent weight regain, the ACSM recommends performing strength-training exercises to increase the body’s levels of fat-free mass, which improves metabolic rate. That’s why, when Harvard researchers followed 10,500 men over the course of 12 years, those who performed 20 minutes of strength training per day gained less abdominal fat compared with those who spent the same amount of time performing cardiovascular exercise, according to data published in the February 2015 issue of the journal Obesity.

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Fortunately for anyone trying to improve their heart health, a little bit of exercise goes a long way.

For overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends performing at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days per week. (7) Other research shows that aerobic exercise is the most efficient form of exercise for improving measures of cardiometabolic health, including insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and blood pressure.

AHA recommends performing strengthening activities at least two days per week to help preserve and build lean muscle.

However, if you are actively trying to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol levels, the AHA advises upping your exercise time and intensity to an average of 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-cardiovascular activity three to four times per week. Before engaging in high-intensity exercise, especially if you have a history of heart issues, it’s important to talk to your doctor about what intensity of exercise is safe for you, Dr. Oken says.

And, again, remember that it’s okay to work up to your target exercise levels. No matter what your goals are, some exercise is always going to be more beneficial than none. Small steps sometimes lead to the biggest gains.

Additional reporting by K. Aleisha Fetters

Source: www.everydayhealth.com

Yoga

Rock Your Boat Pose with These 7 Fun Navasana Variation

Sheila J. Highland

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boat pose

Boat Pose (Navasana) strengthens both the front and back body and core, works the hip flexors, and provides a nice test of your balance and stability.

Boat Pose provides a range of benefits, so it’s good to incorporate as a regular part of your yoga practice.

But let’s be real – Navasana is typically not a fan favorite. It’s not a pose that students request very often, and certainly not one that brings a feeling of bliss while in the middle of it.

Let’s change that! With these fun, creative, and challenging Boat Pose variations, you can bring a fresh spin to a classic pose, test your strength and mobility, and maybe even find a new appreciation for this strengthening yoga pose.

Here’s How to Practice a Traditional Navasana:

Before moving onto variations, make sure you have a solid grasp on a traditional Boat Pose first.

navasana boat pose

 

Let’s try it:

  • From a seated position bend your knees and put the tips of your toes on the ground
  • Bring your hands to rest on the outside of your thighs
  • Lean back slightly, finding your balance on your sit bones
  • Inhale as you lengthen your spine and lift your chest by broadening across your collar bones
  • Pull your belly button in and up to engage your core and stabilize your lower back
  • Engage your pelvic floor by activating Mula Bandha
  • On your exhale, lift your feet and bring your shins parallel to the ground, finding a modified Boat Pose
  • Squeeze your inner legs together
  • Keep your breath slow and full
  • Activate your feet by pointing or “flointing” (pointing your feet and flexing your toes)
  • Gaze at one spot ahead of you or at your feet
  • Extend your legs out straight to find traditional Boat Pose, use your core to help with this (not just the strength of your hip flexors and legs)
  • Play around with your hand placement: plant your hands behind you or grab your thighs for a bit of extra support; extend your arms parallel to the ground; or lift your arms up overhead for an extra challenge

    Now You’re Ready to Try These 7 Fun Boat Pose Variations:

    Once you’ve mastered Boat Pose, play around with these fun Navasana variations for an extra challenge.

    1. Boat on a Yoga Block

Yoga boat pose

Add an extra balance challenge by sitting on a yoga block. It’s harder than it looks!

Let’s try it:

  • Place a yoga block on the floor on its shortest height
  • Perch on the block, making sure both of your sit bones are resting on the block. You can use two blocks next to each other for a bit more support
  • Balance is much harder on a block, so you may want to stick with a modified Boat Pose for the first few times you try

2. Revolved Boat Pose (Parivrtta Navasana)

yoga pose

Add a twist to your Boat Pose to increase the difficulty and work your obliques. This is a great pose to use in a sequence preparing for a twisting arm balance such as Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana) or Grasshopper Pose (Parsva Bhuja Dandasana).


More  Yoga Poses to Boost Your Confidence with a Strong Core


Let’s try it:

    • From traditional Boat Pose, loop your right big toe with your left peace fingers
    • On your exhale, twist to the right, extending your right arm to open across your chest
    • Bring your gaze toward your outstretched right hand
    • Add an extra challenge by crossing your ankles. Loop the big toe of your bottom foot with your index finger when trying this version

3. Low Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana)

navasana yoga boat pose

Occasionally called Canoe, this pose is deceptively challenging and seems to find core muscles you didn’t know you had.

Let’s try it:

      • Start in traditional Boat Pose
      • Slowly lower your mid-back and legs toward the floor until they are hovering about six to eight inches off the ground
      • Keep your legs firm and together
      • Hover your arms by your hips with your palms facing up or sweep them long overhead
      • Keep your core muscles drawing in toward your spine
      • Transition between traditional Boat (Navasana) and Low Boat (Ardha Navasana) several times to really work your core
      • If you feel any strain in your neck, you can bring your hands behind your head to gently cradle your neck

4. Both Big Toe Pose (Ubhaya Padangusthasana)

navasana yoga

This version of Boat Pose combines core and balance work with a deep hamstring stretch.

Let’s try it:

      • Start in Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)
      • Loop both big toes with your peace fingers and thumbs
      • Shift your weight into your sit bones as you lift your knees up toward the ceiling
      • Lift your feet off the floor and find your balance
      • Slowly stretch your legs out in front of you
      • Keep your spine long and straight while broadening through your front body to prevent rounding in your back
      • Lengthen your legs from your pelvis through your heels and flex your feet
      • Gaze slightly upward toward your toes

5. Wide-Legged Boat Pose (Merudandasana)

boat pose

This option is similar to Both Big Toe Pose, but it can be a bit more challenging on your balance. If you start to fall backward, stay relaxed and roll with it.

Let’s try it:

    • Start in Butterfly Pose
    • Loop both big toes with your peace fingers or grab the outside of your feet
    • Shift your weight into your sit bones as you lift your knees up toward the ceiling
    • Extend one leg at a time out wide to the side of your mat
    • Once you’re stable with extending one leg at a time, try extending both simultaneously
    • Gaze forward or up toward the ceiling for an extra balance challenge

6. Boat Pose With a Yoga Strap

boat pose with yoga strap

Try this variation for a supported Navasana. The yoga strap and block combination helps you to find lift through your spine and chest. It’s also a great tool to use when working toward L-Sit (Brahmacharyasana).

Let’s try it:

    • Start in Staff Pose (Dandasana)
    • Make a large loop with your yoga strap
    • Bring the strap around your upper body, placing it under your armpits and around your shoulder blades
    • Bend your legs, bringing your knees close to your chest
    • Place a yoga block width-wise at the base of your feet and loop the other end of your strap around the block
    • Press your feet firmly into the block as you extend your legs out and up
    • Use your hands as needed and find your balance
    • Extend your arms parallel to the ground or overhead when you’re ready
    • Push out through your feet toward the block as you lift up and back with your upper body

7. Half-Bound Lotus Boat Pose (Ardha Baddha Padma Navasana)

yoga fun boat pose

This beautiful variation is based on a standing forward fold, Half-Bound Lotus Pose from the Ashtanga Primary Series.


Looking to improve3 Ways to Improve Your Advanced Yoga Practices Quickly


It may cause strain on the knee due to the foot placement, so you might want to skip this variation if you have any knee issues. Make sure your body is warm and stretched before trying this pose.

Let’s try it:

      • Start in Staff Pose (Dandasana)
      • Bend your right leg and guide your right foot to the crease of your left hip
      • Extend your right arm to the front, and turn your palm away from you so your thumb is facing down
      • Sweep your right arm around your back and grasp your right big toe or foot with your right hand
      • Bend your left leg, placing your foot on the ground as you find balance on your sit bones
      • Lasso your left big toe with fingers from your left hand
      • Extend your left leg in front of your chest
      • Gaze toward your extended left leg

Have Fun Playing With These Navasana (Boat Pose) Variations!

Next time you’re feeling bored with your core work or your traditional yoga postures, try one of these Boat Pose variations. Your core will very likely thank you!

 

This article is republished from https://www.yogiapproved.com/ under a Creative Common license. Read the original article.

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Wellness

Have An Active Life & Boost Your Immune System With Exercise

Kyran Doyle

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Have An Active Life & Boost Your Immune System With Exercise

Having an active life is beneficial to your health. Regular exercises help boost your immune system. Here are some points you can learn from boosting your immune system.

How Exercise Strengthens the Immune System

As we confront the difficult, enduring nature of COVID-19, finding long-term habits of immunity is becoming more important than ever. By now, we’re getting pretty good at social distancing, mask wearing, and handwashing.

But what else can you do to strengthen and vitalize your immune system? Exercise. In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, participants who exercised for 20 minutes or more at least five days per week experienced 43 percent fewer cases of infection in their upper respiratory tract than those who were sedentary.

They also had milder symptoms when they did get sick. Many similar studies repeatedly find that getting the blood flowing strengthens the body’s defense against illness.

 

Have An Active Life & Boost Your Immune System With Exercise

 

Effects of Exercise on the Immune System

More blood circulation means cleaner blood. Not only does the heart provide life-giving oxygen to the body, but it also plays a role in fighting infection and neutralizing toxins. Immune cells, also known as white blood cells, continuously circulate the body and ward off potential bacteria and viruses.

When we increase our heart rate, our heart pumps blood faster and circulates these immune cells through our system faster, giving them more chances to locate and dispose of threats.

This increased circulation also encourages the body to produce even more immune cells, which consequently strengthens our ability to manage dangerous bacteria and viruses. After a moderate period of increased heart rate, the body enjoys a boost to the immune system for a few hours.

While any single instance of this boost may be fleeting, a daily habit of exercise will repeat this process, thereby cleansing your system on a daily basis.

Indirect Benefits of an Active Life & Exercise for the Immune System

In addition to increasing the strength of your immune system, exercise provides a host of other positive side effects that also lower your chances of getting sick.

Exercise correlates with reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep quality, and reducing fat and cholesterol content in the body, all of which support the immune system in their own way.

There are many benefits to being active—and not just to help boost your immune system. As a general rule, people who sustain habits of regular exercise have happier bodies and happier lives.

Just Do It!—But Don’t Overdo It

While regular exercise can strengthen your immune system and enhance your overall health, you need to be careful to not strain yourself.

Per the old adage: “It is not requisite that a man [or woman] should run faster than he [or she] has strength.” Making high demands on your energy without supplying the necessary sleep and nutrition can do you more harm than good.

The benefits of exercise come most abundantly when paired with other healthy routines of balance and nourishment. If you push yourself too hard, your body may lack the energy it needs to support your immune system.

Exercising for Immune Health During the Pandemic

Currently, with the danger the pandemic presents, you should also be careful about how and where you exercise.

Certain kinds of exercise make maintaining social distance more difficult. For these reasons, a walk or a jog in the park, or some time in nature, may be a better option than attempting to go to a gym or a health club.

Dr. James Turner, who recently studied exercise and immune function, says: “People should not overlook the importance of staying fit, active, and healthy during this period. Provided it is carried out in isolation—away from others—then regular, daily exercise will help better maintain the way the immune system works.”

 

Have An Active Life & Boost Your Immune System With Exercise

 

The Bottom Line: Get to Boost Your Health

Our bodies crave exercise. The body rewards you with more peace of mind and better health when you give it what it needs.

In this time of fear and worry, you should heed the subtle hints your body gives you and give it what it needs.

 

Find time to exercise in your daily routine. an active life helps boost your immune system. Having an active life does not mean you do not rest. It only means to have balance. Have an active life with a dose of exercise and the right amount of rest time.

Original article by Ryan Cook

Additional good reads:

4 Easy Steps to Get Back Into Full Body Exercises Immediately

 

7 Ways to Be Fit & Get Healthier Without Dieting

 

How Much Exercise Is Enough?

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Nutrition

7 Easy Ways To Conscious Cooking: Preparing Meals with Mindful Awareness

Kyran Doyle

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7 Easy Ways To Conscious Cooking: Preparing Meals with Mindful Awareness

There are several key elements to conscious cooking that transform it into a mindful experience. Consider these tips as you set out to create your next meal.

“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.” —Thomas Keller

Many of us are familiar with the practice of eating meditation, or a mindful approach to consuming your food with reverence, deliberate attention, full sensory embodiment, gratitude, and present-moment awareness. Mindful eating is a great way to infuse a deeper awareness into one of your most fundamental daily activities.

However, before your food reaches your plate, it must be prepared or cooked. Enter the practice of conscious cooking, or preparing meals with full awareness.

Conscious cooking is about being totally present in the act of food preparation. It brings a deep awareness to the unique details of the cooking experience and a deep, in-body sense, of creating a nourishing and healing meal with attention, compassion, gratitude, and love.

While it may sound simple, there are several key elements to conscious meal preparation that help it to be a truly mindful experience. Consider the following as you set out to create your next meal.

 

7 Easy Ways To Conscious Cooking: Preparing Meals with Mindful Awareness

 

Begin with Intention

To begin your conscious cooking practice, pause and set a clear intention. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and declare to yourself that you are going to use this time to prepare your meal with your full attention.

Visualize the end product of a delicious, nourishing meal. Have the clear recognition that you are a channel of pure awareness and allow yourself to be the instrument through which the meal will be prepared. Consecrate the experience as an opportunity to deepen your journey of awakening.

Focus on Service

Preparing meals is an act of service; you are either nourishing your own mind and body or the mind and body of others. You are delivering love and attention to those you cook for through the food itself. Surrender yourself to bringing the fullness of your being into an act of selfless service. This is an act of Karma Yoga; performing the action acknowledging that those you serve are gods and goddesses in disguise.

Deliberately Prepare the Space Of Conscious Cooking

Before starting, take the time to methodically prepare your environment. Lay out your recipes, tools (knives, spoons, cutting boards, saucepans, etc.), along with your ingredients. In culinary school, one of the first lessons taught to new chefs is known as Mise en place, which means “putting in place” and refers to both the kitchen setup as well as the chef’s state of mind.

Like a tea ceremony, take time to arrange everything beforehand so you don’t have to scramble for an item once the cooking has begun. This is also the perfect time to take a moment to cultivate gratitude for everything set before you. Recognize the web of relationships that have to exist (farmers, workers, drivers, grocery clerks, and countless others) to bring these ingredients and tools before you.

Remember also to choose ingredients that are sattvic or pure, nourishing, essential, and filled with vital lifeforce or prana.

Proceed with Care and Attention

As you begin to follow a recipe or cook, bring reverence toward each step of the process. Follow each step in the directions with full awareness; don’t just muddle through and lob ingredients together into a bowl without tuning in to what you’re doing. Move as slowly and deliberately as possible given the required steps and cooking times involved.

 

7 Easy Ways To Conscious Cooking: Preparing Meals with Mindful Awareness

 

Relish in a Full Sensory Experience

Cooking is a wonderful experience that involves all your senses. Take note of how these gateways of perception help you have a deeper experience of the moment:

  • You can see the colors, watch steam rising off the food, and notice the freshness of each ingredient.
  • You can smell the food and the spices, and become aware of the blending of unique aromas into the larger fragrance of the dish.
  • You can taste the individual ingredients, diving into the sweet, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent qualities of each.
  • You can hear the rolling boil of water, the rhythmic pace of a knife on the chopping block, the sizzle of cooking food.
  • You can feel the texture of the ingredients, the thickness of a mixture, the grains of salt as you sprinkle them into a stew.

Embrace Total Presence

Allow the experience of cooking to be one of complete and total being. Let your mind slip beyond past or future and just experience this moment, this action in its complete fullness. Of course, it’s important to be safe and aware of cooking times, proper sanitization, hot burners, and sharp knives, but to the extent possible release any non-cooking related distractions. Put down your phone, avoid multitasking, and work to do just one thing at a time. It may be helpful to use a mantra to keep your mind anchored to the present moment. Consider either of the following:

  • Om Vardhanam Namah – the mantra of the Law of Giving and Receiving which means, I am the nourisher of the universe and the universe nourishes me.
  • Om Sri Danvantre Namaha – the mantra of the Celestial Physician, often chanted when preparing food to infuse it with healing energy, meaning Salutations to the being and power of the Celestial Physician.

These mantras, when used during repetitive tasks such as stirring or chopping vegetables help to entrain your awareness into a state of total absorption or Samadhi. We become one with the task, with the cooking, and the meal.

Serving and Blessing the Meal

Once the meal is prepared, it’s time to serve it to yourself, friends, family, or guests. Presenting the food with a mindful spirit of service and gratitude again helps to honor the divine in the food and those who will eat it. This is also an ideal time to offer a blessing for the food, either silently or spoken aloud, in such a way that gives thanks as well as recognizes how fortunate we are to be able to share in a meal together.

A traditional blessing often used by monks and yogis is to reflect on this passage from the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4, verse 24:

The process of offering Brahman; that which is offered is Brahman. Brahman offers the sacrifice in the fire of Brahman. Brahman is attained by those who see Brahman in every action.

Which might be interpreted into a formal blessing as:

May I remember that the cooking of this meal is divine consciousness; the food itself is divine consciousness, and the process of consuming the food is divine consciousness. Therefore, may the act of cooking, serving, and eating be performed with full awareness that leads me to the awakening of my divine nature. Om, peace, peace, peace.

In serving and blessing the food, you surrender the practice of conscious cooking to all those who enjoy the results of your efforts. Or as Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh keenly observes: “When you prepare a meal with artful awareness, it’s delicious and healthy. You have put your mindfulness, love, and care into the meal, then people will be eating your love. People can fully enjoy the meal with body and mind, just like you enjoy a beautiful work of art.”

When you cook make it a worthwhile conscious cooking experience. The love for food will be enhanced if you do conscious cooking. It creates a mindfulness experience for you. Once you make it conscious cooking, your food will be worth sharing and eating.

Read these too:

5 Foods For Your Yogic Diet that Are Healthy

How To Count Macros To Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

 

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Fitness

7 Ways to Be Fit & Get Healthier Without Dieting

Kyran Doyle

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7 Ways to Be Fit & Get Healthier Without Dieting

Counting calories won’t make you healthy. Here are ways to be fit and get healthier without dieting.

Pop quiz. How many diets can you name off the top of your head? If you are like most people these days, you can probably rattle off at least half a dozen without breaking a sweat. Some of them may dominate TV advertisements, and others may tend to be passed around by word of mouth. Still others tend to survive in the pages of self-help books and are splashed across the internet.

All of them claim that you will be able to not only lose weight but also feel more confident, more sexy and all around happier and healthier. A lot of them are liars. Many diets will help you shed unwanted pounds in the short term, but there is nothing healthy or sustainable about living off maple syrup and lemon juice or following the rules of any of the other dangerous diets out there.

 In fact, diets in general are rarely a good way to improve your health. This is because most diets focus on losing weight, not promoting health. While you will need to alter your daily diet in order to improve your health if you are living off Chinese takeout and Big Macs, traditional dieting is rarely a sustainable path when it comes to your overall health. Here are seven ways to get healthier without dieting.

 

7 Ways to Be Fit & Get Healthier Without Dieting

 

Drink Water & Be Fit

One of the easiest ways to simultaneously get healthier and lose weight is to stop drinking anything but water. Drinks of every sort are filled with what most people refer to as empty calories. In other words, they are calories that do nothing to keep you feeling full or energized but do contribute to weight gain. Stop drinking soda, juice and bottled teas.

 

Skip the sports drinks as well. Unless you are a long distance swimmer training for an open water race, a runner preparing for a marathon or you spend multiple hours in the gym sweating like a dog, plain water will fulfill your hydration needs. If you desperately need flavor in your water, stick a bit of fresh fruit in the bottle.

 

This will give you the desired flavor without all the sugar in packaged flavors. Alcohol, of course, is packed with sugar and calories, but the biggest offender, after soda, is usually your morning coffee. Those flavor shots, bits of cream and sugar turn a light drink into a calorie bomb. Drink your coffee black, or at least use skim milk if you need a little dairy.

 

If you want to become healthier and sustain the appearance and feeling that health brings you, you need to learn how to cook. You do not need to be a gourmet chef in order to improve your health, but knowing how to put together a basic meal of meat and veggies will go a long way toward making you healthier.
When you cook your own food, you know exactly what is going into your body. Restaurants and take out chains tend to use loads of oil and fats that turn a dish you would expect to be low calorie, low fat and healthy into something that is little better for you than the average pizza. When you cook at home, you are at least aware of whether or not you made something unhealthy.
Home cooking also tends to use fresher ingredients instead of the heavily salted and preservative filled items found in the frozen section of the grocery store.

Avoid Junk Food

You have likely noticed that some people simply seem to have more willpower than others. They manage to avoid eating junk food and instead snack on carrot sticks or celery. Their willpower may seem incredible, but if you looked inside their cabinets, you would probably find that they do not have chips, candy or cookies in the house.

More Sleep to Be Fit

When it comes to staying healthy, sleep is perhaps the most commonly ignored requirement. Almost everyone is aware on some level that they need to get enough sleep in order to remain healthy, but that does not stop most people from acting as if they are convinced that they can teach themselves to go without sleep entirely.

If you want to improve your health, however, enough sleep is a requirement, not a suggestion. The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep a night in order to remain in perfect health. Very few people get that much sleep on an ongoing basis. Make it a point, however, to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Going to bed every night and getting up every morning at approximately the same time will help tremendously in that regard.

Less Screentime

If you read any sort of health columns, parenting advice or technology news, you have almost certainly heard that spending too much time using your electronic devices is terrible for your health. Overuse of electronics tends to keep people sitting down for even longer periods of time than they were already prone to doing.

This has become such a problem that people are developing what has become called “gluteal amnesia.” Essentially, people sit so often and for so long that their gluteal muscles forget how to function which can set off a domino effect that has the potential to damage every muscle below their waist.
Overuse of electronics also contributes to neck and back strain and pain as people stare down at their phones and computers. The bright blue light inhibits melatonin production, one of the hormones necessary for healthy sleep, and many people use digital conversations as a substitute for face-to-face interaction, something that wreaks havoc on a person’s mental state over time.

7 Ways to Be Fit & Get Healthier Without Dieting

Exercise Regularly

Along with sleep, exercise is the closest thing to a panacea that exists in real life. Exercise is essential for healthy cardiovascular function, muscle strength and plays a key role in stress relief. It can improve the function of your immune system, give you better sleep at night and help you lose weight.
You do not have to become a gym rat to reap the benefits of exercise either. Taking a brisk walk several times a week can still do wonders for your health. It is best, however, to join a gym so that you can do both aerobic exercise, such as running or swimming, as well as resistance training, such as weightlifting or pilates. Aerobic exercise is the best way to improve the health of your heart and lungs while resistance training helps your muscles, skeleton and metabolism remain healthy.

Balanced Diet

If you are focusing on your health, you need to eat right. This does not mean that you need to give up entire food groups as many diets proclaim. Unlike what innumerable diets and weight loss “experts” claim, carbohydrates are not your enemy and neither is fat. If you scarf down French fries every afternoon, then yes, you are eating too much fat. A few tablespoons of olive oil or the fat found in nuts, however, is beneficial.
In the same way, if you live off of pasta and white bread, the sheer number of calories you are eating will do unpleasant things to both your waistline and overall health. A piece of bread with dinner, however, does not mean that you are doomed. You need to have a balanced diet that includes fruit, vegetables, meat or fish, a small amount of healthy fats from nuts or oils and, yes, carbohydrates. When you cut out entire food groups from your diet, your body may get smaller, but your health pays for it.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to shed a few pounds so that your jeans are a little less tight or so you can look fabulous in a tight shirt. Dieting, however, is not necessarily the answer to your weight woes. If you pay attention to your overall health by sleeping enough, eating right and exercising regularly, you will likely find that the pounds melt away without any sort of artificial assistance.

Better yet, those pounds will stay off with ease rather than creeping back on or forcing you to fight a constant battle with yourself. This is because focusing on overall health leads you to develop sustainable habits.
Being healthy feels good so you want to keep doing the things that keep you healthy. Diets, on the other hand, are the sort of things most people cannot wait to finish. So, prioritize health over weight loss, and you will likely end up getting the best of both worlds anyway.
If you want to be fit and get healthier these are some ways you can do it. These ways to be fit do not need a lot of dieting. You can do this daily. Be fit and be healthy. When you want to be fit, it is a way for you to love yourself. Love your body in a way that you want to be fit and be healthy all the time. Follow these ways and be fit always.
Original article by Stephanie Hertzenberg.

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Best Advanced Yoga Poses If You Are Suffering From Sciatica Pain

Wise Life Lesson

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Best Advanced Yoga Poses If You Are Suffering From Sciatica Pain

Sciatica can cause unbearable pain that can make it difficult to move and do basic things. Thankfully, there are a few different ways you can treat it without needing to take medications or opt for surgery. One of these options is yoga. Below you’ll discover why yoga is so helpful and some of the best advanced yoga poses to use if you’re suffering from sciatica pain.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a form of pain that usually develops due to a herniated disc. When this disc slides, it will press on the nerves surrounding your spine, including the sciatic nerve. This pressure can irritate nerves resulting in severe pain.

Because so many nerves are connected around your spine, the pressure can send pain almost anywhere in your body. Most of the time sciatica will shoot throbbing sensations down your legs and around your lower back.

Symptoms of Sciatica

This condition comes with quite a few unpleasant symptoms. Some of these include:

  • Pain throughout your back
  • Difficulty walking
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Pins and needles
  • Burning sensations
  • Foot numbness

 

Best Advanced Yoga Poses If You Are Suffering From Sciatica Pain

 

Does Yoga Help Sciatica Pain? Is it Safe?

Yoga has been shown to release tension near your sciatic nerve. By doing certain stretches, it can reduce pressure on the nerve and increase oxygen in the muscles around it. This can help to not only relieve sciatica pain, but increase your range of motion.

Some might still be a little skeptical to try it as it might seem like these movements would worsen the pain. The good news is yoga is completely safe to use if you have sciatica. This is because it releases tension near your nerves that might be affected by it. Keep in mind though that you might feel a little strain at first. This is somewhat normal because you’re loosening the tight muscles.

If you’re still concerned about using yoga poses for sciatica, you might try using chiropractic care first. How chiropractic care helps sciatica will vary depending on the chiropractor, but most will do special manipulations to reduce inflammation and muscle spasms.

5 Advanced Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Sciatica Pain

If you’re interested in attempting yoga for sciatica pain, you can try these five poses.

Child’s Pose

This pose stretches your hips, thighs, and ankles. It’s somewhat easy and gentle on your body, but can still remove tension.

To do this stretch you want to first kneel on the floor. Make sure your feet are touching each other but widen your legs so that they match up with your hips.

After doing this, take a deep breath and then move your torso toward your thighs. Stretch your hands on the side of your torso with your palms facing up. You should start to feel a slight pull in your shoulders.

Keep this position for about 30 seconds. While doing it, make sure to slowly inhale and exhale. Once this time is up, slowly lift your body up.

Cobra Pose

The cobra pose is designed to strengthen your spine. It can relieve lower back pain caused by sciatica because it loosens up tight muscles.

To begin the cobra pose, lie on the floor face down. Stretch your legs out and make sure the bottom of your feet are facing upward. Slowly lift your body up with the palms of your hands while keeping your elbows flat against the side of your chest.

As you start to lift your upper body, take a deep breath. You’ll want to keep lifting your chest as high as it can go. Try to keep your shoulder blades even during this movement.

Hold the cobra pose for about 15 seconds and then slowly move your chest back toward the ground.

Wind-Relieving Pose

The wind-relieving pose is considered to be one of the easiest yoga poses making it perfect for beginners. It not only works to tone your core muscles, but release tension caused by sciatica pain.

You can start the wind-relieving pose by lying with your back on your floor. After doing so, gently lift both your knees up at a 90-degree angle and bring them toward your chest. As you do so, grasp onto them with your hands and pull your chest up toward them. Try to get as close as you can to your knees with your chin and then return to the original position. This pose can be done continuously or by holding the pose for a few seconds.

If you’re just starting out, hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Over time, you’ll be able to hold it longer.

Seated Twists

The seated twist is another easy yoga pose to try.

To begin, sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you. Place your hands on your thighs.

Bend your right knee and then take your right leg and cross it over your left leg. Once your right leg is over your left leg, slightly bend your left leg.

After doing this, put your right arm on the floor and twist your body to the right. As you do so, lift your left hand straight into the air. Slowly bring your left hand down and press its elbow

against your twisted right leg. Hold this position for a few seconds while doing deep breathing. When you’re done, release yourself from this pose and repeat the steps with your other leg.

 

Best Advanced Yoga Poses If You Are Suffering From Sciatica Pain

 

Reclined Pigeon Pose

The reclined pigeon pose builds up numerous muscles in your chest, shoulders, back, and neck. It also stretches out the piriformis muscle which is often affected by sciatica.

To do this pose, lie with your back flat on the floor. Bend your knees and then lift your right foot off of the ground. Put your right ankle over your left thigh. Keep this position for a few seconds and then repeat with your left foot.

If you’re on the search for a natural way to help heal sciatica pain, yoga might be good to try. By doing these stretches, you’ll find that your pain will substantially diminish. You might even discover that they help you to be more flexible and energetic.

These advanced yoga poses will help ease any pain from your body. These advanced yoga poses are helpful if you are suffering from sciatica pain. Get to learn these advanced yoga poses and keep your body fit. You can easily do these advanced yoga poses at home. Find the time and do these advanced yoga poses every day.

Bio

Original article by Dr. Brent Wells. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in 1998. He is currently leading 10,000 Alaskans to more active and pain-free lifestyles without drugs or invasive surgeries.

He brings a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care and massage therapy, and physical therapy in Anchorage and Juneau.

Dr. Wells continues to further his education with ongoing studies in spine conditions, neurology, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics, occupational ergonomics, whiplash, and brain injury traumatology. He is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.

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Yoga Poses to Boost Your Confidence With a Strong Core

Yoga Standing Poses To Improve Your Practice

 

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5 Ways to Have More Energy Level Throughout the Day

Kyran Doyle

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When you think of your energy level, your first thought might be of reaching for some caffeine—coffee, tea, or soda. But boosting your energy might be even easier. And cheaper!

Do you find yourself barely making it through the day? Are you exhausted long before it’s technically time to fall asleep? It’s not surprising that stress is a major cause of fatigue and yet this is the state of being many people have become accustomed to living. It’s important to start exploring ways to use the body and mind in ways that help you thrive rather than just getting by on fumes when you feel sluggish.

If you want to learn how to have more energy, it all starts with just a few simple habits. You may be accustomed to seeking outside yourself for a solution when there is a wealth of natural vitality within you just waiting to be tapped into.

It’s possible to live a life full of optimism and vigor by consciously adapting your choices and practices that invite more energy rather than decrease it. So, ditch that cup of coffee, stop hitting your snooze button and keep reading for healthy ways to boost your energy.

 

5 Ways to Have More Energy Level Throughout the Day

 

1. Get Good Sleep

According to Ayurveda, sleep is the nursemaid to humanity—for good reason. A good night’s sleep helps the body and mind recover from the stresses of the day, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and energized.

It also helps to sustain your energy levels throughout the day so you don’t fall prey to the “afternoon slump” quite as easily. Unfortunately, with the chaos of the world, good sleep can be elusive. Insomnia and lack of adequate sleep is a real health epidemic.

While there are countless sleep aids available on the market, it’s important to try and restore the body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. Stay conscious of how many hours of sleep you get each night. In doing this, you activate the body’s own healing intelligence, which leads to a good night’s sleep. Ayurveda offers helpful tools to achieve more restful sleep. It’s important to make this a priority in your life for good health and vitality.

2. Establish an Inspiring Morning Routine

How you start the day sets the trajectory for how the rest of your day will unfold. If you start off feeling apathetic and sluggish, it tends to be the theme of the day. If you start off frenetic and scrambling to get ready, you might feel like you spend the rest of your day trying to catch up. Both are extremely tiring to maintain for an entire day. Instead, it’s helpful to anchor yourself through a morning routine that enhances the type of day you wish to have.

You have your morning ablutions, which you move through pretty mindlessly—waking up, drinking coffee, taking a shower, brushing teeth, and then the day begins. This is not inspiring. Start to think of morning rituals you can do to add some energy in your life. Here are a few ideas to help you get out of bed each morning:

  • Prepare the night before—a morning routine runs smoothly if you have it planned out ahead of time.
  • Meditate.
  • Splash cold water on your face as soon as you wake up.
  • Journal—It’s a great way to release worry and tension, which are energy zappers.
  • Stretch and move—perform a few rounds of sun salutations.

Of course, the first obstacle you might have to overcome is that you don’t have enough time. Set yourself up for success and start with small things. Ultimately, you end up having more time in your day because of the energy you have to complete tasks faster, leaving time for the fun stuff too.

3. Perform Self-Massage To Boost Energy Level

Doing a self-massage might be the last thing you think of when deciding how to have more energy in your day. It is, however, one of the cornerstones of maintaining good health and longevity according to Ayurveda. Good health also means more energy. In Sanskrit, the language of Ayurveda, the word for oil is sneha, which is also the word for “love” or “affection.”

Doing a warm oil massage on oneself, or abhyanga, is one of the most important expressions of self-love. When performed with intention, it feels like you received a warm, loving hug. As a result, self-massage is known to promote numerous health benefits— physically, mentally, and emotionally.

There are many reasons why self-massage is so valued, one of them being that it is an effective way to clear energy channels in the body by moving and dislodging toxins and balancing the energy centers or chakras.

When your body is able to rid itself of waste or anything that is preventing it from functioning optimally, you have more energy. Anything you can do to help “lighten up the load” will always be beneficial in some way, even if it’s subtle. Here are more benefits of self-massage that help improve energy levels:

  • Provides better circulation
  • Reduces levels of stress hormones
  • Increases immunity and stamina
  • Promotes restful sleep

Completing a self-massage can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes, depending on how much time you have, though the longer the better. There are different oils you can use and application techniques depending on if you need calming, soothing, or invigorating. When in doubt, listen to your intuition to determine what suits you best in a particular moment. Start loving on yourself today.

 

4. Breathe Deep

Next time you feel low on energy, take a deep breath. Without breath, there would be no life. It connects the inner world of the mind with the outer world of the body and environment. Notice how stress causes your body to constrict and your breath to become shallow—bodily functioning becomes more of an effort, making you feel fatigued.

On the other hand, during physical activity (running especially) you’re forced to take in deep breaths, which contributes to a “runner’s high” and a feeling of being enlivened. Just as your state of mind and body influences breath, the breath is able to shift the state of mind and body as well.

When directed consciously, the breath can be used as a great tool for stoking energy and vitality when you feel tired. The effects are felt immediately.

Your body craves it, especially during times of low energy and is also why you may find yourself sighing. Pranayama is the Sanskrit term for control and governance of life force (prana) through the breath and is used in Ayurveda as an important tool for everyday health. To help give you a taste of the power of your breath, try this simple breathing exercise.

Quick Breathing Exercise

Take a moment to close your eyes and place one hand on your belly. Breathing in through your nose, take a slow deep breath in and feel the belly rise. At the top of your breath, exhale through the nose and feel the belly slightly contract as you squeeze all the air out. Continue inhaling and exhaling in this manner for three to five rounds. When complete, remain with your eyes closed and notice how you feel.

An effective pranayama exercise to gain an energy boost is called the bhastrika breath. You can incorporate this as part of your morning routine or use it when you feel depleted during the day. Yoga instructors can usually offer some instruction or you can find videos on the internet that demonstrate how to perform it. The techniques might vary a bit, but the effect is the same.

 

5 Ways to Have More Energy Level Throughout the Day

 

5. Have Some Fun

It’s easy to forget how important it is to have fun and maybe get a little silly when you’re busy. If you can’t change a particular situation right away, you can change your reaction to it and seek out experiences that boost your energy and clear your mind. Here are a few activities to help re-energize your life when you feel sluggish:

  • Regularly connect with good friends.
  • Go on a nature walk.
  • Try laughter meditation.
  • Listen to music that gets you moving.
  • Use some energizing essential oil.
  • Try feet up the wall pose.

Some of these are quick energy boost ideas and some are nice to incorporate on a regular basis for ongoing good health and happiness. The important thing is that you are getting out of your head and enjoying the moment.

In addition to the five ideas above, don’t forget to pay attention to your eating habits. The different foods you put in your body can also affect your energy levels. Try to eat healthy, leafy greens that are full of nutrients to give you a boost.

Additionally, be conscious of what you drink, and know that energy drinks and your daily cup of coffee aren’t your only options. Try to drink green tea to achieve a more natural energy boost, or just stick to water instead!

These are just a few of the ways to help increase your energy throughout the day. You’ve heard of the importance of exercise and a healthy diet, and it’s more a matter of doing it and sticking to it. It’s also important to take care of your emotional well-being; when you are happy there is infinite energy, but when you are sad or depressed there is little energy to pull from.

Any of the recommendations mentioned here will help support and nurture all aspects of your life, not just increase your energy. You might be surprised by what you discover.

 

Follow these ways and boost your energy level all day. When your energy level is high then you are ready to be productive for the whole day. Make sure to check your energy level from time to time. You need to have a good energy level especially if you deal with a lot of people. Keep your energy level healthy.

 

Original article by Rachelle Williams, Vedic Educator.

 

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