Category Archives: Healthy Living

Health and wealth

Revamp Your Health

Health and wealth

Health is Wealth. This is such a simple yet powerful statement that I believe in wholeheartedly. Without good health, you are unable to function at your best. How does one define health anyway? I think the World Health Organization (WHO), defines health beautifully. It is a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Based on this definition, being healthy translates to maintaining a healthy lifestyle through achieving a positive mental, emotional and of course, physical well being.
Taking these factors into consideration, I have put together some simple tips to guide you on your journey to achieving a healthy lifestyle.

1. Maintain a healthy diet: You really are what you eat. If you’re fueling your body with junk, you are increasing your chances of becoming susceptible to chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease. Make sure to consume a balanced diet -which means a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, adequate in protein, fat, carbohydrates, and calories, and moderate in amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, salt and alcohol.

2. Maintain a healthy weight: If your Body Mass Index (BMI) indicates that you are in the overweight or obese category, aim to lose weight slowly and steadily until you are at a healthy weight. Also, if you are underweight, strive to gain weight gradually, until you are within an Ideal Body Weight range. Contact a Registered Dietitian in your area who can develop an appropriate meal plan for you.

3. Get moving!: Physical activity has a lot of benefits that include stress reduction, weight maintenance, and improved cardiovascular function to name a few. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average adult needs 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week AND muscle strengthening activities 2 days a week that focus on the major muscle groups i.e. chest, legs, and arms.

4. Sleep tight: The National Sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Not getting enough sleep can increase your vulnerability to illnesses such as the cold and flu, as a result of a weakened immune system. Also, the body goes into a state of stress when it is sleep deficient which causes production of stress hormones, and an increase in blood pressure. Getting enough snooze time will help you stay healthy, and sane.

5. Stay hydrated: Studies have produced varying recommendations of fluid intake. However this depends on a host of factors such as health, climate, and age . According to The Institute of Medicine (IOM), a healthy adult male residing in a temperate climate needs about 13 (8 oz) cups of total beverages a day, while women only need about 9 (8 oz) cups of total beverages a day. Make at least half of your beverage consumption, water. Lack of water can cause dehydration which can lead to lethargy and even shock.

6. Manage stress: Stress is akin to poison, it can literally kill! Manage your stress by setting realistic work deadlines, spending time with people you love, engaging in activities or hobbies you enjoy, and most importantly making time for yourself to just relax.

Sleep Tight!

sleep

Although sleep is a necessity of life, most individuals do not get adequate amounts of snooze time. Not getting enough sleep has both short-term and long-term consequences. For example, inadequate amounts of sleep can impair your judgment; affect your mood, and can put you at an increased risk of contracting colds. The National Sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults.

The relationship between sleep and certain health conditions:

  1. Getting less than the recommended amount of sleep per night can lead to impaired glucose tolerance which is a precursor to developing diabetes.
  2. Long term sleep deprivation causes an inflammatory response in the cardiovascular system which can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
  3. Insufficient sleep leaves you vulnerable to illnesses such as the cold and flu, as a result of a weakened immune system.
  4. Hormonal imbalances as a result of sleep deprivation can lead to obesity. The proposed mechanism of action is that it lowers levels of leptin, a hormone that promotes satiety.
  5. The body goes into a state of stress when it is sleep deficient which causes production of stress hormones, and an increase in blood pressure.

Tips for getting adequate sleep:

  1. Create a dark,  quiet and relaxed sleeping space.
  2. Set a routine, and ensure that you go to bed and rise around the same time each day.
  3. Avoid large meals before bedtime.
  4. Make sure your bedroom is free of distractions such as the TV.
  5. Engage in regular physical activity, which can promote better sleep. However, do not exercise too close to bedtime.
  6. Nap smartly as this can interfere with night-time sleep. If you must nap, try to nap earlier in the day, and limit naps to 30 minutes.

Avocado + Your Skin = Love

avocado

I like to think of avocados as nature’s own moisturizer. They are abundant in fatty acids, and essential nutrients that soothe and moisturize the skin. Due to this quality, oils derived from the avocado fruit have been used in a significant number of commercial skin care products. It is rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients and anti-oxidants such as Carotenoids, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E to name a few. The good news is that it is fairly inexpensive and versatile, which means it can easily be incorporated into your beauty routine in many ways.

For soft, glowing skin, try this avocado facial mask recipe:

Ingredients:

½ avocado, mashed

1 tsp honey

2 tbsp of warm water

Directions:

Combine the ingredients together in a bowl, and apply to your face for 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

For healthy, shiny hair:

Ingredients:

1 avocado, mashed

1 egg, whisked

2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Combine the ingredients together, microwave for 20 seconds then rub into your hair. Cover your hair with a shower cap to seal in some heat for at least 30 minutes before rinsing.

For a gentle facial cleanser:

Ingredients:

½ avocado, mashed

2 tsp lemon juice

Directions:

Combine the ingredients together in a bowl, and apply to your face for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

Choosing the best exercise for you

group exercise

Thinking of starting a regular exercise routine but confused as to where to begin? Don’t be. I know the thought of pumping hours at the gym may be intimidating but you have nothing to fear. You don’t have to go to the gym, or stay hours in the gym for that matter in order to be physically fit. There are many other avenues and options for you to pick from. The key is finding the right exercise, or combination of exercises that is best for you.

Needs Assessment

 In order to pick the most suitable exercise for you, you must first think about what your needs and main goals are. Do you intend to exercise to lose weight? To bulk up? To increase physical fitness? Or to reap general health benefits? Once you have determined your needs and selected your goals, it becomes easy to narrow down the possibilities.

Logistics

The main characteristics you should consider when selecting an exercise routine are:

  1. Does it suit your personality? If you’re not a fan of outdoor exercise, chances are you’re not going to stick with an outdoor activity such as jogging. If done in doors, then your chances of sticking with it are higher.
  2. Does it suit your lifestyle? If you’re always on the go, the likelihood of successfully incorporating daily hourly workouts are slim. Perhaps it may be more beneficial for you to find an activity you can do in short intervals (15-30 minutes), a few times a week.
  3. Is it in synchrony with your fitness level? If you sustain injuries easily, or you have a health condition that may be affected by exercise, you may have to obtain clearance from your doctor before engaging in a physical activity program. The key is to know your limits, and not to over extend yourself as this may result in injuries.

Getting Started

  • Choose something that you enjoy:

 Consistency is key in maximizing health benefits, and in achieving your fitness goals. Therefore, it is important to select types of exercise that you can do on a regular basis. If you enjoy swimming, make that a part of your exercise routine.  If you don’t enjoy an activity, then the chances of you sticking with it for the long-term are slim.

  • Keep things spicy!

Doing the same kind of exercise day in and day out can get pretty boring, pretty quickly. I urge you to say “no” to monotony and “yes” to variety. Varying your routine with a series of aerobic and cardiovascular exercises will work different muscle groups, and will keep things exciting.

  • Not in the best shape?

You don’t have to start full throttle. Always be on the lookout for opportunities that can give you a more active lifestyle. For example, instead of taking the elevators at work take the stairs. Another great idea is to park further from your destination, as this will be a break from a sedentary lifestyle by giving you an opportunity to walk more often. You can also start with 10 minute walks daily, slowly increasing by 5 minutes each week, until you reach 30 minutes. The main thing to remember if this applies to you is to start small, then build up.

  • Social butterfly?

Think of taking group classes such as Zumba, Pilates, or a host of other dance classes. This will allow you to interact with others while becoming fit and fabulous. It can also lead to maintaining these social connections outside of class.

  • Need pointers?

Not really sure where to begin? Consider hiring a certified fitness coach. A coach who is highly educated and experienced would be most knowledgeable and skilled in tailoring work outs to your individual needs, while ensuring client safety.

  • On a tight budget?

You don’t have to shell out tons of money to sign up for a fitness class or a gym membership. It is easy to access all kinds of workout videos on the internet via you tube. You could also purchase DVD’s at a low-cost, or rent some from your local library at no cost at all. You can also create unlimited workouts at home by purchasing free weights, resistance bands and a stability ball.

Happy Exercising!

Why You Should Say “YES” To That Massage

Stone Massage

I am a big advocate of getting regular massages mainly because its health benefits are extensive and varied. It is one of the oldest healing arts, and archaeological evidence of its early existence has been discovered in many ancient civilizations such as India, China, Greece and Egypt.

There are different massage styles to choose from based on your personal needs and goals. Each style has its own unique technique and pressure intensities. However, they all involve the manipulation of muscles and soft tissues while using techniques such as kneading, compression, vibration, rocking, tapping and stroking.

Getting Started

Since there are many styles to choose from, you must first determine what you hope to gain from the massage session. Are you suffering from chronic pain and would like to achieve symptom relief? Or are you simply looking to relax or to relieve stress? Once you have decided on what your needs and goals are, you will need to look for a certified massage therapist. Before booking your appointment, communicate your needs to your therapist, and he/ she will often recommend a particular massage type based on the information given. Your massage may also be customized further depending on any other underlying medical condition you have, or to reap added benefits.

Although there are reportedly over 100 types of massage styles, the following are the most popular.

Swedish Massage:

This is the most popular of all the massage therapies. It involves the use of soft, kneading strokes, tapping strokes and circular pressure, applied to promote relaxation by relieving muscle tension. It is also beneficial for decreasing muscle toxins, while improving circulation and flexibility.

Deep Tissue Massage:

This massage style is similar to the Swedish massage. However it involves deliberate strokes which create targeted pressure on layers of muscles and deep tissue beneath your skin. This massage type is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension and is recommended for those who either have chronic pain conditions, or are involved in intense physical activity ex. athletes.

Hot Stone Massage:

Hot stone massage therapy involves the placement of warm stones on key areas of the body. It is typically combined with other massage styles for added benefits. The hot stones promote deeper muscle relaxation and eases muscle tension via the expansion of blood vessels, which increases blood flow throughout the body. It also increases flexibility in joints and relieves pain associated with stiff muscles.

Thai Massage:

Thai massage is a combination of yoga, acupressure and reflexology. In this type of massage therapy the client lays on the floor in comfortable clothing, while the therapist uses his or her body to yield the client into numerous positions. It includes rhythmic pressing and stretching of the entire body, as well as joint mobilization and muscle compression. During a Thai massage, it is considered normal practice for the therapist to walk on the recipient’s back.

Benefits:

Studies on the benefits of massage therapy have demonstrated its effectiveness in the following areas: 

  • Management of stress and anxiety
  • Relief of fibromyalgia and nerve related pain
  • Reduction of muscle tension
  • Relief of sore muscles
  • Improved joint mobility
  • Headache and migraine relief
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Improved sleep

Massage therapy is increasingly offered along with standard traditional treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. With all its numerous benefits, one should consider scheduling a few sessions in a year as it is an investment in overall health and wellness.