Monday, April 17, 2017

How to Lose Weight with Kettlebells


Kettlebell training has many different advantages and lets you train your body from different angles and in a far more functional range of motion.  But what’s great about the kettlebell is how versatile it is as a tool and how it allows you to develop your fitness and health in numerous ways.

If you want to build bodybuilder-type muscle, then you can do so by using single joint isolation movements and heavy resistance.  This will create muscle fiber tears, flood your muscles with metabolites and generally help you to encourage more growth.  At the same time though, you can also use a kettlebell to lose weight and it happens to be particularly well suited to that goal.  Let’s look at how you might do that.

The Exercises


The great thing about the kettlebell is that it allows you to perform resistance cardio.  This means you are doing cardiovascular training that increases your heart rate and helps you to burn fat.  At the same time though, you are also lifting weight, which protects your muscle from breakdown and increases the challenge, thereby increasing the amount of calories burned and the amount of effort involved.  The kettlebell also allows you to train on the spot and without a lot of tools. Unlike running, you can enjoy kettlebell training anywhere and anytime.

To get the very most of this, you can combine the kettlebell with the HIIT modality.  HIIT is ‘high intensity interval training’ – a form of exercise that challenges you to alternate between brief bursts of high intensity exertion and shorter periods of relatively steady-state exercise.  For example, you might perform the kettlebell swing for 1 minute and then rest for 30 seconds before going again.  The kettlebell swing is an ideal movement for resistance cardio that involves swinging the kettlebell between your legs and then straight back up in the air using a slight hip thrust movement to provide the forward momentum.


The Diet


To lose weight, kettlebell training must be combined with the right type of diet, one that is relatively low in calories.  The objective is to burn more calories in a day than you consume.  So, if you normally burn 2,000 calories and consume 2,200 calories, you can increase that burn to 2,400 doing kettlebell training and you can then reduce the amount you eat to 2,100 calories.  Now you’re losing 300 calories every day!

Try to eat more protein and you will support more muscle growth while reducing fat storage.  Combine this with 4 workouts a week, lasting about 20 minutes each, and you should start to see the results you’re looking for using just this one tool and one movement.

Remember though, weight loss is only achievable if you change your entire lifestyle and habits.  It is not enough to simply add in an exercise and forget about it!  Walk more, spend less time in front of the TV and reduce unhealthy snacks.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

5 Tips to Improve Mobility with Arthritis


For many people, especially older adults, arthritis is a debilitating illness. Arthritis causes increased inflammation around the joint that can lead to immobility and pain.

While there are conventional medical treatments that are available for people with arthritis, many wonder what can be done along with medication to help improve mobility with their arthritis. In fact, there are many natural methods to help manage pain and improve mobility.

Below are five different alternative therapies and treatments that can help you manage your daily arthritis symptoms and mobility issues.

Hydrotherapy


WebMD recommends hydrotherapy as a form of exercise for those with arthritis. The hydrotherapy pool tends to be warmer than a traditional swimming pool. With hydrotherapy, participants can get all of the benefits of regular exercise without any of the impact on joints.

This may be especially beneficial to those with arthritis because the joints are particularly affected. Having an option for exercise that has zero impact on the joints can increase mobility as well as range of motion. Many times hydrotherapy is considered a form of physical therapy and may be covered by insurance.

Range of Motion Exercises


Many sufferers of arthritis keep the affected joints in a tightened position to alleviate pain. Unfortunately, this has the unintended side effect of increasing pain because it shortens ligaments and muscles around the affected joint. This means that instead of decreasing pain over the long-term keeping the joints in a tightened position will actually increase pain.

The Cleveland Clinic recommends all arthritis sufferers participate in range of motion exercises. The range of motion exercises typically includes stretching and extending the joints to their full ability. Some range of motion programs may include yoga or tai chi.


Lose Weight


Because arthritis causes pain and immobility many sufferers of arthritis have excess weight. The excess weight increases pressure and damage on the joints. The increased pressure and damage on the joints increases pain which causes decreased mobility. It becomes a never ending cycle of increased pain and decreased mobility.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that if you have arthritis, you maintain a healthy body weight. If you’re currently overweight and have a difficult time moving a healthy body weight can be maintained through proper diet.

A meeting with a dietitian can help you start a healthy diet if you are not sure where to begin. The dietitian or nutritionist may also have ideas on foods that can help decrease inflammation in the body and reduce pain from your arthritis.

Hot and Cold Therapy


One of the benefits of hot and cold therapy is that it can be done at home. Another benefit is that it is very inexpensive. Heating pads and ice packs are easy to have on hand and don’t cost a lot of money. Healthline suggests that arthritis sufferers try alternating hot and cold therapy to affected joints to decrease pain.

You may find that some days cold therapy works the best on your arthritic joints while other days a heating pad may be better. Having both on hand to use is going to be the best way to ensure that this therapy is effective at increasing your mobility and decreasing your pain.

Massage


The Arthritis Foundation notes that one of the most beneficial treatments for mobility in arthritis patients is massage. Massage can help increase range of motion simply by relieving tension on stiff muscles and ligaments that surround the arthritic joints.

The Arthritis Foundation also says that the best types of massage for people with arthritis are either deep tissue massage or Swedish massage. If you are having a high amount of pain deep tissue massage may be difficult to tolerate because of how deep into the muscle massage therapist will go. Either way, massage therapy is an easily accessible treatment to help increase your range of motion when you have arthritis.



While arthritis will not go away no matter how well you take care of your body, you can manage your symptoms and stop the progression of the disease. If you combine medication with these holistic approaches to treatment, you are sure to have a happier and pain-free life.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Do What Makes You Laugh


Laughter can be infectious. When you hear the sound of laughter, you can’t help but laugh yourself. When laughter is shared among others, it causes a binding between people and increases both intimacy and happiness.

It’s well known that laughter triggers healthy bodily changes and healthy changes in the mind. Laughter can increase your energy level, lessen pain, strengthen the immune system, and protect you from stress. Laughter is the best medicine because it is free, fun, and easy.

Laughter is Strong Medicine


Laughter can be a strong antidote to conflict, pain, and stress. There is nothing else that works more dependably or quicker to bring your body and mind into balance than laughter. The use of humor can lighten your burdens, connect you to others, inspire your hope, and keep you focused, alert, and grounded.

With this ability to renew your health and heal you, laughter can be a great resource for whatever problems you may have. It can also strengthen your relationships, and can support your emotional and physical health and wellbeing.

How is Laughter Good for Your Health?


Laughter can do many things for your health. These include the following:

  • Laughter can boost your immune system. It can decrease the level of stress hormones within the body and increase the number of immune cells and antibodies you have, which will help you become more resistant to disease.
  • Laughter is relaxing. A wonderful laugh can relieve you of stress and physical tension so that your muscles can be relaxed for up to 45 minutes following laughing.
  • Laughter releases endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s feel-good hormones. When your endogenous endorphins are released, you feel a sense of well-being and a reduction in the sensation of pain.
  • Laughter can help the heart. Laughter can increase the ability of the blood vessels to nourish all parts of the body. It can increase your blood flow, which in turn can help prevent heart attacks and other types of heart diseases. 

The Overall Benefits of Laughter


Laughter is known to have many health benefits, including physical, emotional, and social benefits. Some of these include the following:

  • Decreases your stress levels
  • Increases your immunity
  • Relaxes your muscles
  • Protects your heart
  • Lessens pain
  • Lessens fear and anxiety
  • Relieves stress
  • Adds joy to your life
  • Enhances your mood
  • Improves your resilience
  • Attracts other people to us
  • Promotes the bonding among group members
  • Improves teamwork
  • Strengthens relationships

Emotional Health


Laughter simply makes a person feel good. This good feeling persists even when you are done laughing. Laughter helps you maintain an optimistic, positive outlook so you can better get through situations of loss, disappointments, and other difficult situations.

Laughter is more than just a protection against pain and sadness. It gives you the strength and courage to find other sources of hope and meaning. Even when you find yourself in the most difficult of times, laughter or even a smile can take you far when it comes to feeling better. Laugher really is a bit contagious. When you hear someone else laugh, it primes your brain and sets you up to join that person in laughing, too.

Mental Health


Laughter is associated with better mental health. Some things laughter can do to improve your mental health include the following:
  • Laughter allows you to relax. A good laugh can lessen stress and increase your energy levels so that you can remain focused and get more things accomplished.
  • Laughter can lessen distress. It is hard to feel sad, anxious, or angry when you are instead laughing. 
  • Laughter shifts your perspective. It allows you to see things in a less threatening and more realistic light. Being humorous helps create a psychological distance between you and stressful events so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Social Benefits


When you use humor and engage in playful communication with others, your relationships become stronger and you trigger positive emotions and an emotional connection with those you are laughing with. A positive bond develops—one that can act as a powerful buffer against disappointment, disagreements, and stress. When you laugh with others, this is a more powerful thing than when you laugh alone.

How to Create More Opportunities to Laugh


What do you enjoy doing to increase your chances of laughing? Here are some you might try:
  • Attend a comedy club
  • Watch something funny on television
  • Watch videos of funny animals on YouTube
  • Read the comics in the newspaper
  • Be with people who are funny
  • Share a funny story or joke with another
  • Read a funny book
  • Sponsor a game night with your friends
  • Play with your pet
  • Play with children
  • Do something you think is silly
  • Engage in activities you consider fun
Laughter can do a lot to help you feel better on a physical, emotional, and cognitive level. Don’t be afraid to share a good laugh with others for all around better health.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

5 Natural Ways To Improve Your Sleep


Getting a good night’s sleep can be refreshing and rejuvenating. For millions, though, a good night’s sleep seems just out of reach. People of all ages across the globe suffer from occasional to chronic insomnia.

Insomnia is a condition that interrupts your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. If you are suffering from this sleep disturbance, you may be hesitant to turn to harsh medications to help you fall asleep.

Here are 5 ways that you can help improve your sleep naturally.

Reduce the Caffeine


The morning cup of coffee seems to be a staple beverage for many people. However, caffeine is not just in coffee. Caffeine can be hiding in the soda you drink, the tea, and even some of the foods you eat. While eliminating caffeine out of your diet 100% may not be possible, try to limit your consumption of caffeine to the mornings only. Prevention Magazine tells us that ingesting caffeine, even 6 hours before bedtime, can disrupt sleep.

Exercise


Not only does exercise help you maintain a healthy body weight and better mental outlook but a Sleep Foundation study found that those who exercised were less sleepy during the day and slept better at night. While a new exercise routine may leave you a little tired at first, regular exercise will give you more energy and help you fall asleep at bedtime. This may have to do with the chemicals released by the body when you exercise. The neurotransmitters released by the brain during exercise have all sorts of beneficial properties and improved sleep is one of them.

Meditate


Meditation has a restorative effect on the brain. There are all sorts of benefits that meditation can have for a person. Many of the benefits of meditation include reduced stress and a better ability to cope with difficult issues in one’s life. Meditation is also great for insomnia. A Harvard study found that mindful meditation helped combat insomnia. It invokes a relaxation response in those who participate helping them relax enough to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep through the night. If you are not familiar with how to meditate there are many guided meditation audio programs that you can buy or check out from your library.


Sleep Hygiene


Sleep hygiene is a practice to help you sleep better at night. It has to do with environmental cues. Alaska sleep notes that these environmental cues should be taken into consideration if you aren’t sleeping.
  • Use the bedroom for sex and sleep only
  • No electronics
  • Keep the room dark and quiet
  • Keep your room cool
  • Have a good mattress
  • Set your alarm clock away from your bed
  • Get Up Every Morning
Getting up at the same time every day and avoiding naps helps your body follow a circadian rhythm. According to Verywell we need this to sleep well at night. There are two really important elements to this step.
  1. Stop hitting the snooze and train yourself to get up at the same time every day. If you hit the snooze button once or twice (or 6 times), you are not really training yourself to get up at the same time every day. If you know you do not need to get up until 7:30, stop setting your alarm for 7. Save yourself the 30 minutes of interrupted sleep and set the alarm for 7:30, get up the first time it goes off.
  2. NO NAPS. If you are not used to getting up in the morning, then this may be the hard part for you. Napping can throw you off for sleeping at night because you simply are not tired enough to get to bed on time. Skip the nap (and the caffeine), and stay up so that you can get a good nights sleep. 
Now you have an arsenal of information that should help you fall asleep faster at night. Remember, finding what works well for you may take some playing around. So, if you don’t get it right the first night or two don’t give up. These sleep strategies are proven to work. They just take time. Give them a few weeks and you should be sleeping soundly.

Monday, March 27, 2017

10 Ways Exercise Boosts Your Self Confidence


All of us want to feel good about ourselves. When we are confident, we feel better emotionally and mentally and this reflects in a very positive way in our behaviors, and improves our quality of life, everything from personal relationships to our professional endeavors.

Therefore, anything, which can help boost our self-confidence, is good for us. One of the best ways to boost your self-confidence is by exercising regularly. This not only good for self-assurance but has great health benefits.

So how can exercise boost self-confidence? Let me count the ways...
  • Weight Control. Exercising along with healthy eating is the best way to control or lose weight. This is all about energy intake and energy burning. Obviously, if you burn more energy than you take in then you will lose weight. Being overweight can be a confidence destroyer. Therefore the better shape you are, the better you will feel.

  • Improves mood. There's nothing better emotionally than a good workout. Before you think that this requires a trip to the gym, think again. A good workout could be a brisk walk, or a jog. In fact, anything that makes your body work physically harder can be a workout. What this does is to stimulate brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which promote a general feeling of well-being. The results are a reduction in stress and anxiety.

  • It's good for the heart. Regular exercising lowers the risk of various heart-related conditions. Exercising has been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce problems associated with diabetes and can even help in fighting heart disease. This is quite logical – if exercising reduces weight, then this means that the heart has to work less and in turn, the heart is much healthier. There is also less pressure on joints and other areas of the body.

  • Keeps the body in shape. This is slightly different from weight control. Being is shape involves having a well-toned body and better posture – all aspects connected with self-confidence. When a person feels good about himself, it's easier to make friends and more connections in life means more confidence.

  • More energy. If we don't have the energy to do things, then everything becomes a chore. That can lead to feelings of feeling bad about oneself. Regular exercise helps the whole body work more effectively. The result is that chores become responsibilities and the more responsibility we are coping with, the better we feel.

  • Better sleep. Regular exercise promotes good sleep. It is proven that sleep is necessary for general feelings of well-being. Sleep is also necessary for how we look. Just imagine preparing for an important meeting and looking in the mirror and seeing dark circles under bloodshot eyes – how confident will you feel? Therefore, exercising will improve sleep. One word of warning – just don't exercise too near bedtime.

  • Improves productivity. One of the best ways to clear the mind is to exercise regularly. Exercise gives you a chance to wipe the slate clean and start from new. In addition, if you push yourself exercising you can realize new potentials and this in turn boosts self-confidence. Very often, what you thought was a major problem before exercising disappears after.

  • Give you something to look forward to. Once you have a reasonable schedule for exercising, you will start to look forward to it. This in itself is a confidence booster. Once you start seeing the benefits of exercising, you will have the desire to continue and in the end, you feel better and look better.

  • Improves concentration. In general exercising helps us to develop the necessary skills to concentrate on the task in hand. This then trains us better when we have tasks or responsibilities to concentrate better, resulting in more praise and benefits.

  • Feelings of control and achievement. In general, exercising has so many benefits to health and mind that we can't help having a feeling of control and achievement. Working out takes work, dedication, commitment, and care for oneself, and all this facilitates enormous feelings of confidence.

Don’t Wait! Get Started Today!

Try incorporating regular exercising into your routine and you will experience the many benefits to your self-confidence that regular exercising gives.

Monday, March 20, 2017

8 Key Foods for Focus and Concentration



Focus and concentration are vital in just about everyone’s lives in one way or another. Many people find it hard to focus or concentrate for long periods of time, or sometimes to even get started. The elusive secret to endless focus and concentration is a myth, but there are certain ways you can increase your focus and concentration levels.

Techniques such as yoga and meditation have been shown to help focus the mind and come highly recommended. In addition, there are certain foods that can help increase focus and concentration levels, and these are outlined below.


Salmon & Other Types of Fish


Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and trout contain omega-3, which has been continually shown to improve brain function and therefore concentration. By affecting our cognitive processes, we can think clearer and therefore increase our focus. These foods also have anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to protect the brain cells and keep them functioning properly.

Berries & Tomatoes


Berries and tomatoes are high in antioxidants, specifically, vitamins A, C and E. These foods help to maintain sufficient blood flow to the brain, which is essential to keep the brain working, as it should; without an adequate blood flow, the brain will struggle to focus. Moreover, these foods also contain anti-inflammatory properties, so also help to protect the brain cells.

Nuts


Nuts are high in vitamin B6, which has been scientifically shown to be beneficial to our cognitive processes. Specifically, vitamin B6 directly affects our memory and concentration levels, so increasing our level of B6 intake can affect our focus and concentration levels. Research has also suggested that, apart from improving our focus and concentration, vitamin B6 may have an important role in protecting us from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Dark chocolate


Good quality dark chocolate has many important health benefits in addition to improving focus and concentration. Research has shown that dark chocolate can increase serotonin and endorphin levels, both of which can help our brain to function better. Moreover, dark chocolate also contains anti-oxidants and a number of important vitamins and minerals such as potassium. However, too much chocolate can rapidly increase the calories consumed, which ultimately may reduce the positive effects it can have.

Water


Such a simple idea, but water is incredibly effective. A huge percentage of our bodies are made up of water so it is perhaps no wonder that we can struggle to function if we do not consume an adequate amount of water. Dehydration can occur relatively quickly and one of the first parts to be affected is the brain. Without adequate water, it can be hard to think clearly and mental fatigue can quickly set in.

Green Tea


When you feel like you need a caffeine hit, most people reach for the coffee. By the time, you add sugar and milk, the calories can soon add up and there may not be so much of a positive effect. As an alternative, opt for the green tea instead. Not only is it better for your waistline, but it contains caffeine, which will help with your focus and concentration. In addition, green tea is rich in anti-oxidants, which helps to protect the brain cells.

Bananas


Bananas are a simple and easy snack to consume, even for those people on the go. Studies have shown that students who consume bananas before an exam performed much better than those who did not. Bananas contain high levels of potassium, an essential brain chemical. Potassium helps to keep your brain and nerve cells in top working order. Combine this with other foods listed above and you should never be short of focus or concentration again.

If you typically live on junk and processed food and find yourself struggling with focus and concentration, then consider eating these power foods and, in general, changing your diet to include more healthy whole foods.  It can really do wonders for your brain!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

4 Ways Water Can Help Regulate What and How Much You Eat



Weight loss can be a hard task for anyone. There're so many different elements that go into losing weight it can be like learning a whole new set of information. There is one simple thing that you can do to help regulate how much and what you eat. Drinking water is not a magical cure-all, but it may seem like it after you learn what it can do to help you regulate your eating.

Water Aids Digestion Through Saliva


Digestion starts with saliva. Saliva is made mostly of water. According to Everyday Health, the enzymes in saliva are the beginning of the digestive tract. These enzymes help break down food so that they can be properly digested in the stomach. Without these and times food would never be able to be processed in the stomach.

Water also helps break down the fiber. Water-soluble fiber is one of the biggest factors of filling full after you eat. If you have not had enough water, or are dehydrated digesting water soluble fiber becomes almost impossible. Make sure that you can digest this food element properly by drinking lots of water.


Water Soluble Vitamins


One of the reasons that we eat food is to get access to vitamins. Vitamins and minerals are vital to various body functions. Deficits in these minerals and vitamins can cause cravings in the body. San Francisco Gate tells how the body cannot digest certain water-soluble vitamins without enough water in the body.

Water-soluble vitamins are vitamins that can only be absorbed with the aid of water. These vitamins break down with the water in the digestive tract and men are absorbed into the body. Absorption of these essential vitamins stops when dehydration occurs, or when there is not enough water in the body. When even slight deficiencies are present, you may begin craving additional foods even though you’re not hungry. These cravings are due to vitamin deficiencies and not hunger so make sure that you have enough water so that you can digest all your water-soluble vitamins.

Eat Fewer Calories


Water can help you eat fewer calories than you would if you didn’t drink water before meals. Livestrong notes a study where participants consumed 75-90 fewer calories with 2 8-oz glasses before dinner per meal. Now consuming 90 fewer calories per meal may not seem like a whole lot. However, if you did this every meal you could lose up to 28 pounds a year.

How?

If you save 90 calories a meal three times a day, that’s 270 calories every day that you’re not eating. If you do this every day for a week you’ve not consumed 1890 calories. Continue saving that 90 calories a meal every week for a year, and you’ve saved 98,280 calories. 3500 calories make up a pound. In weight loss, the theory is that a deficit of 3500 calories means 1 pound of weight loss. By saving 98,280 calories you’ve created a pretty big gap.

Meaning 28 pounds!

On the flip-side, if you were to continue eating as normal that 90 calories could be in excess. So, instead of saving, you’ve actually GAINED 28 pounds in a year. All this weight loss or weight gain is changed by only drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before each meal.

Hunger and Thirst Cues are the Same


You may be reaching for a snack when what you should be reaching for is a tall glass of water. Spark People shared an article describing how the body sends out the exact same signal for hunger that it does for thirst. Many people don’t know how to tell the difference between hunger and thirst, and because we so rarely think about dehydration we assume that we are hungry. Next time you’re getting hungry signals from your brain try reaching for a glass of water instead. You may find out that you were just thirsty.

Now you know four surprising ways that water can help you control how much and what you eat. Helping you stop cravings and eat less water is a fantastic one stop shop for your diet solutions. What are some ways that you have noticed water help you with your diet?