Make Exercise Work For You

exerciseExercise can sometimes be a pain, particularly when most people relate exercise with the gym. Luckily though, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Whilst the gym is great for access to machinery and expert help (often alongside the production of a personalised fitness regime) there are lots of other ways that you can make exercise work for you.

 If the gym just isn’t your thing however, and you can’t think of anything worse than running on a machine going nowhere for any length of time, then take your exercise outside.

With it being Spring now, the weather is much more aligned to beginner runners, and hopefully it will be a lot more scenic with the flowers springing up everywhere. This also gives you more freedom to create your own exercise regime.

Creating your own exercise regime is one of the best things that you can do to make exercise work for you.

Whilst you can always fit the gym around your work and social life, you still have to go to the gym and carry of your things, but outside the gym you are free to exercise wherever and whenever you want.

Making exercise work for you is all about accessing if you exercise better in a designated exercise area (the gym), if you exercise well enough outside the gym, or if you prefer group exercise and classes.

Group exercise classes are definitely something to look into if running or gym exercise doesn’t appeal to you.

They are great to attend with friends, and many of them have ‘drop in’ prices so that you don’t have to commit to anything meaning that you are free to try out as many as you like.

This way you are able to find the perfect fit for you and your schedule and are perfect for if you are routinely changing what you do from day-to-day.

Most importantly however, remember, exercise doesn’t have to be boring.

If you like cycling, rollerblading or even ice-skating, there is an activity or exercise that you will fall in love with. It does take a couple of tries sometimes, but once you find your thing, it’ll be hard to stop!

Good Sugars vs Bad Sugars

good sugarsWhen focusing on losing weight, lots of people immediately jump to the conclusion that they should cut out all of the sugary foods that they have been eating, reducing how many sugars that they put in their tea, and the number of chocolate bars that they eat in a week.

However, not all sugars are bad for your health.

Sugar isn’t only an ingredient in sweets and chocolate, it’s also a naturally occurring element fruit and fresh milk.

As such, the discussion regarding sugar is not always as simple as saying that sugar is bad for you.

According to governmental guidelines, the recommended daily amount of sugar that a person should consume is around 90g, including naturally occurring sugars and sugars that have been added into food.

Despite this, it’s hard to know what has sugar in, and what doesn’t, which is where the problem arises.

Naturally occurring sugars and added sugars both have benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet, however, added sugars namely provide energy in the form of calories, whereas natural sugars provide energy through glucose.

Glucose is a necessary element to all human life, it powers up our brains, and it helps us to keep our body temperature regulated.

It also helps with the bodies’ defences and helps with the regeneration of skin, meaning that the more natural sugars that you get as opposed to added, the more youthful your skin will look.

Calories on the other hand are the reason why people cut sugar out of their diet.

Calories also give us physical and mental energy, but if we don’t burn it, it stays in our bodies and causes people to become overweight.

Of course, this has a lot to do with lifestyle and the amount of activity that you do.

However, upping your intake of ‘good’ sugars and reducing the ‘bad’ will benefit you in the long run.

Remember; not all sugars are bad and with the ones that are, you should make an effort to be aware of how much you are eating and make informed decisions depending on your lifestyle and activity levels.

Skin Boosting Health Foods

skinHealth is not only something that is internal.

Instead, it is an integral part of how we look and feel about ourselves.

It can even relate to how we interact with other people, so it’s important to know and recognise how to negotiate these different factors, not only through our lifestyles and keeping fit, but also through our diets.

Now, we all know that different foods have different properties to them, and some are better than others at providing us with a source of energy, or boosting our metabolism.

However, there are also foods that are specifically fantastic for your skin, in that they can aid in the reduction of acne and dryness and even reduce the onset of wrinkles.

But what food is good for what?

Reduction of Acne

The best way to improve acne, regardless of age, is through boosting your diet with the correct nutrients and vitamins.

This is probably where the myth that eating junk food can give you spots came from.

Despite the fact that a prolonged diet of junk food will result in an outward expression of said junk food, there is no proof that eating some chips or a burger every once in a while will give you spots.

It is important however to make sure that you get a balanced diet and to know that introducing things such as blueberries and raspberries into your daily meal plan may help fight off acne or spots.

This is because these berries are packed with anti-oxidants, which is great news for your skin.

Also, eating an apple a day may help. It might not keep the doctor away entirely, but apples are extremely high in pectin, a substance that is extremely effective in fighting acne.

Preventing Dryness

Dryness often comes from dehydration.

Regardless of how much moisturiser you apply to your face, if you don’t get enough water through drinking it, or other food sources such as watermelon, you will be left with dry and flaky skin.

The best way to remedy this is to carry around a water bottle with you.

Carrying a water bottle around with you increases the likelihood of you getting your recommended intake of liquids per day, and can even help you to stay awake and alert at work!

Reducing the Onset of Wrinkles

Blueberries, kale and red peppers are all amazing foods to eat if you want to prevent wrinkles.

These foods are high in antioxidant vitamins, iron that is proven to promote oxygen flow to the skin, and fantastic healing properties.

These are all things that reduce the appearance of wrinkles by boosting skins natural properties from the inside out!

Of course, this is just a few examples- there are lots of food sources that are good for your skin, health and your wellbeing.

Remember, the key to a healthy diet, is balance, and balance means eating a variety of different foods!

Immunity Juice

immunity juiceIt can be hard to think about boosting your immune system when you’re feeling run down, or if you have been whizzing around doing 1000 things at once, but it’s definitely an important part of life and integral in keeping up your health and well being.

A really quick and easy way to keep your immune system at its highest point regardless of what your day to day schedule is like, or how run down you feel can therefore be achieved through what you eat and drink.

It can be hard to consistently get the nutrients that you need through what you eat, especially if you are constantly on the go, however even if you aren’t getting regular meals a quick and healthy drink could be a beneficial addition to your morning routine.

We’ve all seen the supermarket shelves, packed with juices and mixes that claim to be healthy and nutritious, but what’s  the best way to insure that you are getting the best boost you possibly can?

Through mixing it yourself. This is not to say that some of the ones available in shops are bad for you, but some do contain hidden sugars and added preservatives.

The best health drinks are always made fresh, and can even be whipped up before bed, and placed in the fridge ready for the morning!

But what are the most beneficial super foods to put in them? Well, here are some of our favourites:

Blueberries – High in antioxidants, suspected to boost brainpower, and great for your skin, they’re the perfect berries to get your day started with.

Bananas – A great energy and mood booster, high in potassium and a prebiotic, they are even better than coffee as a morning pep-me-up!

Strawberries – Super juicy and packed full of Vitamin C they’re an excellent immunity booster. Perfect for keeping your health in perfect condition.

Greek Yogurt – Everyone needs calcium in their diet, and low fat Greek yogurt provides this, alongside an array of vitamins, potassium and protein. It also makes the drink that little bit more substantial, and we all know how important breakfast is!

Honey – Honey has been used for thousands of years to cure ailments, but it’s particularly useful for it’s antioxidant properties, it’s ability to fight infections and it’s ability to preserve itself. A spoonful of honey a day keeps the doctor away…

But our most favourite thing about mixing up these drinks up in the comfort of our own kitchens?

The fact that we can pick and choose and come up with a different recipe every day!

What will you come up with?

Hay Fever Season

Hay fever is an allergic reaction, normally caused by pollen from grass, plants, and flowers.hay fever

When these are inhaled through the nose and mouth the body reacts to the pollen as if it were a harmful substance trying to enter it.

As the body thinks that the pollen is a harmful infection, it overreacts and therefore produces lots and lots of antibodies to destroy the infection or danger.

As pollen is constantly surrounding us, it leads to a prolonged reaction, causing a tightening of muscles, sneezing and itching in localised areas.

For the past couple of weeks people have been experiencing these symptoms and stocking up on their antihistamines due to the early growth of springtime plants and flowers in the UK.

The public’s seasonal health struggle with hay fever has already kicked in, and yet there is still a long way to go until the end of summer.

Not only is hay fever annoying for all those who are affected by the various types of pollen, but it can also be debilitating, causing sneezing, itchy, runny eyes and even headaches.

These symptoms can often disrupt every day activities and often leave the sufferer feeling lethargic and run down.

However, Beta Glucan may provide a longer-term solution than daily antihistamines

Beta Glucan is a completely natural remedy, consisting of 93-97% with the rest being chitin (a polysaccharide that helps with the absorption). This means that it won’t cause any adverse reactions.

Beta Glucan works by boosting and regulating your immune system so that when the allergen, in this case, the pollen enters the body, the body does not overreact as much as it would do otherwise.

By taking one Beta Glucan tablet a day you are therefore building up this immunity and in turn building up your immune system.

This therefore has a positive effect on how it is regulated, causing your allergies to reduce and your summers to be stress free – just the way that we like them!

Can Positivity Make You Healthier?

positivityIt has been widely accepted that stress is bad news for your immune system and health, leading to a whole variety of problems, particularly if it is long lasting and there is no break from it.

However the study of positive mental attitudes and their affect on health is relatively new, and has been mostly swept aside by mass media.

Yet, a positive mental attitude is definitely an important factor in the discussion of health and wellbeing, and one that should be looked at in more depth.

Barbara Fredrickson for example, in her book “Positivity” has taken a massive stride in discussing the affect a positive attitude has on health and well being. One of her main arguments is that positive mental health contributes to a broader outlook on life.

This broader outlook is one that encourages more creativity, better problem solving, and the ability to get back up after a rough spot, brush yourself down and continue.

This increase in resilience is super important in the long run as it will help you to deal with the hard times in life (which happen to everyone regardless of how positive you are), and makes sure that you are emotionally equipped to get through these situations without any health complaints such as elevated stress or depression.

By building up your emotional resilience, you are therefore also building up your immunity to other diseases and illnesses as prolonged stress lowers your immunity making it easier for you to get sick, and having the potential to make you even more stressed.

She also makes the point that positivity helps you to connect with others. Connecting with others is a crucial part of wellbeing as other people provide a support network that we can call on in times of need, as well as being the people who celebrate with you when you are at your highest.

This network also means that you will also be called on to be a positive influence in a hard situation, and helping people boosts self-esteem and altruism which again, boosts health.

Positivity is therefore an important factor in health, and one that shouldn’t be ignored.

Motivation

motivationIt can be hard to stay motivated when you have experienced a set back, regardless of if this setback is because of a health condition, in relation to your goals and aspirations, or mentally.

Lack of motivation can lead to decreased confidence, low self-esteem and increased stress levels. These conditions usually lead to lowered levels of motivation and thus, the circle goes on.

However, pushing through a motivational low point has been proven to have a beneficial effect on the mind and body.

By continuing activities that you have lost the motivation for to a point where you can see substantial improvement or changes, your motivation can be renewed, your confidence boosted, and your sense of self worth elevated. But how do you remain motivated after the initial excitement has run its course?

Well, the following things may help!

 1. Look at what you’re doing from a different angle! – Whatever it is that you are lacking motivation for, try to look at it from a different perspective. Mix it up, or get a friend to give you their opinion on ways to spice up your routine. Routine is often the cause of most drops in motivation as you get used to the task at hand and stop pushing yourself. Introducing some challenges into what you are doing is a great way to keep pushing forward and avoid giving up.

2.     Set small targets – It can be all too easy to give up at the smallest hurdle if you aren’t working towards anything, or if the thing you are working towards is so huge that it seems unachievable. Once you have broken the task down into smaller bites however, you will be able to track your progress and each milestone will give you the motivation to continue.

3.     Make a list that features all of the reasons why you want to achieve your target, why you started in the first place, and visualise what it would be like to have accomplished your goal. That way, you have a constant reminder of why you started in the first place and can look at it when you’re thinking of giving in. What is more, it came from you, so you’re more likely to listen!

Most importantly though, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Sometimes it takes a while to learn a new skill or achieve something great.

Don’t compare you’re success with others, instead find the motivation within you and keep going.

Men’s Health

men's healthMen’s health is a topic not widely discussed outside the realm of gym fitness or a healthy, balanced diet. However, it is an important subject and one that needs to be discussed, particularly as according to the NHS men visit their GP’s half the amount that women do.

Recent surveys have suggested that this is because women in general feel more comfortable talking to others about their problems and opening up, whilst men are more inclined to keep certain things, especially pertaining to health to themselves.

Whatever the reason however, it is important to be aware of what is normal for you, and what isn’t and to know that if there is something that feels wrong to you that you should inform your doctor straight away, regardless of if you think it is important or not. Sometimes even the slightest of symptoms can be signals that there is an underlying condition, so it’s always best to get things checked out.

The NHS have outlined five main conditions that men need to be aware of, and understand, particularly because they are the health ailments that men generally think will go away by themselves, don’t mean anything, or are not important.

 They are:

 1. Depression – Now I know I’ve already said that men are more known for keeping certain things to themselves rather than letting other people know, but depression is definitely an ailment where you should talk to someone and let them know. It’s important to know that depression is a medical condition and even though there is no quick fix, there are important steps that your GP can take to make sure that you get the support and help you need.

2. Problems urinating – It might be embarrassing broaching this subject with your doctor, but problems urinating could be a sign of underlying conditions such as an enlarged prostate, or even bladder problems. Definitely get this checked out if it happens.

3. Impotence – Despite this usually being a sign of a lifestyle change such as a change in diet or activity, it could also be a sign of underlying conditions, so make sure that you visit your doctor to make sure.

4. Moles – Not the most obvious of conditions sometimes, but important. Moles that change shape or size should always be checked by your GP, as should any new ones. Moles can be benign, but they can also be a sign of skin cancer, so it’s important to be aware.

5. Testicular lumps – Make sure that you self-examine, it’s important and the earlier you catch lumps and bumps, the earlier you can get them checked out and the easier it is for doctors to diagnose and treat any problems.

So please, if you do have any of the aforementioned ailments, go see your doctor. It’s not silly, it’s not a waste of time, and this is not a lecture.

Your health is important, and so are you!

A Healthy Diet?

healthy dietIt can be all too easy to simply cut out entire meals from your daily routine when dieting.

However, despite the quick effects, cutting out meals is neither healthy nor long lasting and as such can have detrimental effects on both your health and your confidence.

Unfortunately however, a lot of our conceptions about what dieting actually is are related to the marketing of certain dieting trends directly related to cutting out whole chunks of what is normally considered part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Thus, dieting, in modern terms has become synonymous with cutting down on food intake and restricting yourself.

Yet, “dieting” is not a fad, neither is it an activity that you do once every three months. The word diet originated from the Greek word “diaita” meaning way of life. Restricting yourself to only drinking health drinks instead of eating solid foods for three months isn’t a way of life. What is a way of life however, is eating healthily and making the right choices about what foods you put into your body.

I would therefore argue that it is better to quit the whole “diet” mentality altogether. Think about it.

Think about the reason that you are dieting. Is it to get a better body? Perhaps, it is to feel healthier, fitter, or better about yourself? Or even the most common reason, to lose weight?

Well, these reasons all come under the same heading. That heading? Healthy eating, and healthy eating means a balanced diet. Putting into your body the necessary vitamins and minerals not only to sustain life, but also to promote health.

Promoting health means eating a balanced diet.

Preferably, this means basing your intake on the amount of physical activity that you are likely to do in any given day, making the right choices about what’s too much and what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

Replace the biscuits and crisps with fresh fruit and vegetables, cook more meals from scratch, and make sure that you’re drinking enough water.

Forget dieting, start eating healthily!