Tags Posts tagged with "health"

health

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Dominik Wycislo

Whether you have balance issues, a bad back or a knee injury, squats aren’t right for everyone. In fact, some people avoid squats not so much because they have physical limitations, but because they just don’t “feel right.”

Squats are justly revered for their ability to get big results in a single move. So whatever the reason you’re looking for alternatives, your ideal replacements will need to work the same areas of the lower body. Here are some moves that target the behind, thighs and hips.

Lateral Band Walk

A simple resistance band will give you enough tension to work your lower body hard. For a good all-around “burn,” pull the band so that it is mid-calf, and stand with your feet hips-width apart, hands on hips. (You can also set the band just above the ankles or knees. Experiment to see which muscles “feel the burn” most based on band positioning.)

Next, take a step to the left with your left foot, then move your right foot to the left to complete the step. Make sure you step far enough each time to keep the pressure on the resistance band. Do this stepping to the left 10 times, then reverse to make 10 complete steps to the right. Repeat the process for up to 3 sets of 10-10 reps, or as many as you can manage as you begin.

Hip Raises

While lying on your back on the floor, bend your knees so that your heels are pressed against the floor. Next, lift your hips to the ceiling so that knees are at a diagonal to your shoulders, with your back kept straight.

Hold for a beat, gently lower to the starting position, and repeat up to 15 times. Do the process again after a short rest, for up to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

Step-Ups

If knee pain isn’t an issue, use a step-platform or bench about the same height as your knees. Step onto it with your left foot, then bring your right foot up. Step off the platform backwards, then repeat 10 times going left-foot first, then 10 times starting right-foot first. Do up to 4 sets of these 10-10 reps.

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With the weather growing colder by the day, you may become tempted to slack off on your workout routine or diet regimen. Nevertheless, this is likely the worst decision you can make as it is often the act of rationalizing weight gain that acts as the prerequisite of long periods of laziness during the colder months. Given these facts, the following is an overview of 3 tips to help you keep your summer body all year round.

Never Focus on the Season

One of the worst things you can do to your body is to only work on it during certain times of the year. You end up giving yourself permission to be out of shape during the winter months. Instead of working for a “summer body” every year, maintain it. Make staying healthy and fit a lifestyle. This will be better for your body as you age.

Set New Goals

Next, be sure to set new goals for the fall and winter months. One of the reasons many of us gain weight during the cooler months is because there are no immediate body image goals we’re trying to achieve. By setting new goals during the fall, you will keep yourself on track and prevent a relapse in regards to your fitness regimen.

Find the Right Balance for You

Lastly, finding the perfect balance in regards to knowing when to rest and when to reward yourself with a “cheat day” is vital. By being too hard on yourself and denying yourself time to rest as well as time to have a few less than healthy snacks on occasion, you will be far more likely to reject your diet and workout regimen for short or even long periods of time when you are in distress.

Overall, there is no such thing as the perfect body. However, by following these tips and tricks you will ensure that your summer and winter body are one in the same.

 

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Pahala Basuki

You may have heard seaweed is packed with vital nutrients, but have no idea how to incorporate it into your favorite recipes. As it happens, cooking with the sea vegetable is easier than you think! As a bonus, there are enough varieties of edible seaweed options that you won’t be stumped for dishes that incorporate at least one type.

Benefits

Each seaweed type has its own unique blend of nutrients, with red seaweed (nori) being particularly good as an all-around nutrient powerhouse. But in general, seaweed will deliver protein and fiber, along with a broad range of vitamins, including B-complex vitamins.

Among the mineral rewards you’ll reap by including more seaweed in your diet are iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. It also contains copper and iodine, the latter of which some people with specific thyroid conditions may lack.

Types to Try

Your local health food or Asian store, or through mail-order supplier will likely carry the dried forms of many seaweeds. They’re often sold either in whole sheets, in strips, or pre-flaked. Among the more popular types, and their health benefits are

  • Nori (Vitamin C): In sheet form, this red seaweed can be used as a wrap, as it is for sushi. Make your own burrito-like fillings to wrap the nori around, or crumble it and sprinkle into stews and over popcorn.
  • Dulse (potassium): Dulse is a brown seaweed that works especially well when worked into cold salads or sandwiches, but it also adds crunch to casseroles and other hot dishes, and can even be munched in its own.
  • Kombu (fiber): This brown kelp is a crucial seasoning for the classic dashi and miso soups, and works well to flavor a myriad of Western-style dishes.

A Word of Caution

Much like fish, seaweed can pick up contaminants like mercury in the water. Avoid hijiki varieties, and keep your seaweed consumption to once or twice a week.

Seaweed also delivers Vitamin K, much as leafy greens like spinach and kale do. While “K” is a beneficial nutrient, it can interfere with blood thinners such as Warfarin. Check with your doctor, and eat seaweed in moderation. And if you need to avoid iodine, seaweed may need to be avoided altogether.

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Peter Hershey

Packed with protein, calcium and probiotics, yogurt is undeniably beneficial to your health. Yet if you’re eating it on a daily basis (at breakfast with granola, on top of a potato as a sour cream alternative, to thicken a smoothie…), even the once-novel Greek types may have lost their “wow” factor.

Fortunately, Icelandic yogurt is one of the next big things in the health food world, and is even lower in calories than its Greek counterpart! Need even more alternatives, especially if lactose is an issue? If you haven’t tried kefir, now’s the time.

Skyr

Technically, the dairy product known as skyr is considered a cheese in Iceland. Yet it’s so similar to thick, Greek-style yogurt that in the U.S., you’ll find it flavored and marketed as yogurt. Like the Greek types, skyr is much thicker and creamier than traditional versions. And as with many yogurts you can find in your supermarkets, skyr is high in calcium and protein, as well as probiotics.

But skyr has the edge when it comes to taste, according to its fans. Although the Icelandic product is lower in sugar, it is sweeter-flavored. The skim milk-based yogurt is also lower in calories overall — about 50 fewer calories than comparable yogurt versions — and lower in sodium.

Kefir

Like yogurt, kefir is a fermented milk product that contains the prebiotics and probiotics considered to be useful for digestive health and to boost immunity, while helping to control blood sugar and cholesterol.

Unlike yogurt, however, kefir is liquid. This difference gives you a little more versatility — and even portability — in your diet. Choose flavored kefir on its own as a thick, satisfying drink, or as the liquid base to a smoothie containing other nutritious ingredients.

In addition, the pourable nature of kefir allows the plain varieties to be added to your diet in new ways, including in tangy cucumber salad dressings, or as a substitute for milk in desserts, muffins and pancakes.

Looking for Vegan Alternatives?

You may have to hunt a little harder, but both skyr and kefir, as well as “American” yogurts, have non-dairy alternatives. These fermented products can be made from any kind of “milk,” including almond, soy and rice.

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It’s usually harmless and easily fixed, but dry skin can sometimes be a clue that you have an underlying health issue. If your skin stays dry no matter what you do, or your dry skin is also itchy or uncomfortable, it is time to take a closer look. Each of the following conditions can impact your skin, leaving it overly dry and uncomfortable.

Diabetes

Diabetes can wreak havoc on your skin; soaring blood sugar levels can lead to dehydration – and dry skin. According to the American Diabetes Association, even pre-diabetes could result in dry and uncomfortable skin that is more prone to infection. Every person with dry skin doesn’t have diabetes, but it is worth getting checked out if you have other risk factors.

Thyroid Trouble

For women over thirty, some dry skin issues can be linked to hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland stops performing as it should. If you feel tired easily or feel cold all the time, your thyroid could be to blame. Along with the fatigue and constant chill, people who have an underactive thyroid can also suffer from patchy, dry, scaly skin, according to a recent article in the medical journal Dermato Endocrinology.

Christopher Campbell

Kidney Issues

Many of the 26 million adults who have kidney issues don’t even realize that they are suffering from an ailment until they are diagnosed. The tiredness, increased urination and bloating that are caused by kidney disease are often misinterpreted as colds, illness or even premenstrual issues. Kidney issues may have only subtle signs, but dry skin is one of them; if you have a family history of kidney disease or are being treated for high blood pressure, then your dry skin could be linked to your kidneys.

Skin Cancer

Not every patch of dry skin is dangerous, by dry, scaly patches the bleed or won’t go away could be a sign of squamous cell carcinoma. This common form of cancer may look like a dry patch with elevated edges, a wart or even an open sore; any dry patch with this type of appearance should be checked by a doctor right away.

margot pandone

Not every patch of dry skin is a cause for alarm, but understanding the connection between your skin and other underlying health issues can improve your overall wellness and ensure you always look and feel your best. Get any suspect spot checked by your doctor and you’ll get the peace of mind that comes from knowing all is well.

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Photo by roya ann miller on Unsplash

Sometimes “powering through” can make you feel better when you’re sick. On the other hand, serious infections or breathing conditions make waiting it out a better strategy. The key is evaluating your symptoms.

The Dilemma

With common colds or sinus headaches, working out is generally fine, and even helpful. Because vigorous exercise opens nasal passages, pain and pressure are reduced, as is nasal congestion.

On the other hand, a sinus infection (as opposed to clogged sinuses) can be worsened by contact with outdoor allergens. In addition, mild asthma and bronchitis flare-ups might be aggravated by excess activity, because the increased oxygen you get through cardio causes your bronchial tubes to narrow.

Photo: William Stitt

Evaluating Your Symptoms

Of course, when in doubt it’s always best to check with your doctor before working out. In general, however, determining if exercise is a good idea — especially if you’re prone to a wide range of allergic and bronchial issues — can often be determined by the nature of any pain or pressure.

One method doctors often describe as the “neck check” can help. If your breathing problems seem to be centered in your lungs rather than your nasal cavities — in other words, the problem is below your neck — working out may worsen the symptoms.

In contrast, allergic reactions that are giving you headaches, runny eyes or stuffy nose — i.e., “above the neck” — typically means that working out is fine.

The exception to the neck rule comes with sinusitis. Exposing yourself to more allergens during a sinus infection can worsen the sinus allergy. Thick nasal discharge that is discolored is one way to distinguish sinus pain or a cold from actual sinusitis.

Possible Solutions

Even with a bronchial flare-up or sinusitis, compromises may allow you to get in a workout with exacerbating your condition. Swimming indoors often prevent “below the neck” issues from worsening, because the moist air you’re taking in is less aggravating to your airwaves.

Mike Wilson

Controlling your environment can also help when you have a sinus infection. With fewer outdoor allergens to get to you as you’re exercising, your less likely to suffer from a histamine overreaction. On the other hand, if interior dust or mold is the issue, experiment with outdoor workouts.