Why You Should Focus On Fitness (Beyond The Perfect Bod)

Fitness Workout Training Runner Run Exercise

You want people to turn their heads when they see you on the high street. You want your clothes to fit within an inch of their life. You want to be healthier and fitter than ever before.

Okay, so the usual reasons for focusing on fitness revolve around obtaining a perfect body. Let’s face it – the idea of hitting the beach with a toned stomach is appealing. Still, vanity alone isn’t the only reason to get fit. It’s a good start, but it’s only the beginning. You see, it’s easy to quit once the results don’t show within a short space of time.

No, what you need is something long-term that will drive you to stay fit forever. Maybe not forever, but you get the drift! So, here is a selection of reasons to focus on fitness that doesn’t include toned arms and a washboard stomach.

Enjoy, if that is physically possible!

Mental Fitness

Don’t forget that the mind is just as important as the body. In fact, a quote by Arnold Schwarzenegger on azquotes.com says that the brain is the key. And, that comes from a guy who made a living out of bulging pecs. If he understands the distinction, then you can too. Without a healthy mind, it isn’t possible to maintain a robust body. Even though you would love to, the negative thoughts in your brain prevent it from happening. By hitting the treadmill or retreating to the weights room, the negative attitude turns into a positive one. It’s down to a healthier chemical balance which is a result of increased hormone activity from exercise. Of course, there are alternative ways to blow off steam, which is essentially what happens in the gym. But, none are as accessible and wide-ranging as working out two to three times per week.

Heightened Concentration

Once the brain goes into training, the body begins to experience the benefits. For example, blowing off steam keeps cortisol levels low and stops the buildup of stress. Or, it boosts adrenaline and oestrogen and testosterone creation and keeps you feeling happy and content. But, probably the principal benefit of increased mental health is a sense of heightened concentration. When you can focus more, it affects nearly every aspect of your life. From work to relationships, it is easier to spot the small things and solve problems. Add the fact that you are no longer tired or stressed and the effect is multiplied by ten. For all you goldfish out there, this is reason enough.

Ability To Say Yes

How many times have you wanted to say yes but said no? For most people, it’s too many times to count and it’s because of their health and fitness. Say someone asks you on a hike, the odds are you will say no if you’re not in shape. Even if it’s only a short trip, people don’t like to go out of their physical comfort zone. So, instead of saying “Hell yes,” lots of us will respond with a “no thank you.” The effects of this are not just physical, but, yep you guessed it, mental. FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out, is real and occurs every time you decline an invite you would love to experience. Would you like to go on an adventure holiday? Or, would you like to backpack across a continent of your choosing? Believe it or not, the key to ticking your dreams of a bucket list is a foundation of mental and physical health. It’s only three letters, yet they’re hard to say when you’re unfit.

The Joy

Flogging your body up a mountain never seems like a good idea. Indeed, it’s one of the worst ideas in history when you’re halfway up and about to suffer a cardiac arrest. Then, something miraculous and inconceivable happens when you reach the summit. Yep, a smile stretches across your face. As weird as it sounds, it’s scientifically sound according to the boffins at webmd.com. To begin with, the majority of folks on this planet only do the things which they find enjoyable. Running a marathon might not appeal to you, but some people find it exhilarating. Plus, there are the hormonal changes which occur when a person exercises. Dailyburn.com points out that there is a flood of endorphins after the fact which leads to a “runner’s high.” If that isn’t enough, everyone experiences a feeling of achievement when they complete a difficult task.

Addiction Aid

When you hear the word, it makes you think of heroin and hardcore drugs, yet that isn’t the case. There is a good chance you know someone with an addiction. Does a family member or close friend smoke? Do you like an occasional crafty fag? If so, you are both hooked on nicotine and can’t go a day without a hit. Okay, the impact on lifestyle might not be as harsh, but cigarettes are just as dangerous from a physical perspective. The good news is that focusing on fitness can help get the monkey off your back as working out helps you to forget. When you don’t think about smoking, there is no reason to fill your lungs with tar. In conjunction with quitting alternatives, there is an excellent chance of stopping. Ecigwizard.com has an array or e-cigs to help cut down, and smokefree.gov has tips on nicotine replacement. Nhs.uk has the “Smokefree” app, too. Use them together and the odds of cutting down and quitting are much higher.

Feeling Of Accomplishment

Smokers, drinkers and junk food eaters want to cut down but never think it will happen. Then, the results come in thick and fast and they can’t believe their eyes. Aside from the obvious health benefits, there is a feeling of accomplishment which shouldn’t be understated. For one thing, cutting down on the things that harm your health is a big deal and deserves praise. Some might say you should never take health for granted, but don’t let them get you down! An achievement is an achievement regardless. Then, there is the knock-on effect in every other aspect of your life. Once you realise you can exorcise your demons, no task seems too daunting. After fighting an addiction and winning, the world is at your feet. And, you can say yes when someone asks you to explore it this time around.

Confidence Shot

We are all plagued by doubt and self-confidence issues. Whether it’s the way we look or out skill set, no one is cock-sure of themselves. They might appear that way, but they need a confidence boost as much as anyone. Quite simply, everyone needs to feel good about themselves and their body to function. Sometimes, a person will make eye contact with you on the tube, or your boss will praise you in front of the office. But, on the rare occasions it doesn’t happen, a contingency is essential. As you can see from the above, working out has a plethora of advantages which are easy to quantify. But, just looking at the results in a mirror is enough to encourage your best Ron Burgundy impression. “I look good. I mean, I look really good. Hey, everyone, come see how good I look!”

The Social Network

The truth is that working out is not about the exercise for many people. It’s a means to an end, but they hit the gym and pound the pavement for different reasons. The leading one is meeting up with friends and socialising. Human beings – that’s men and women – love to gossip and chew the fat. “What have you been doing?” “How’s work going?” “What’s new?” These aren’t questions you only hear at the dinner table because friends want to engage and interact in your life, too. And, they often have a role which is impossible for your family to replicate. Sure, you can tell your partner anything, within reason! Some things are better left to the wise sages who you call your BFFs. The truth is that lots of people would stop exercising altogether if it wasn’t for the company they keep. Come on – everyone needs a break from reality now and again.

Lead By Example

Mothers understand the importance of setting an excellent example for their kids. After all, a child’s parents are their heroes in the early stages of their lives. So, whatever mums and dads do, kids imitate on a regular basis. From a health and fitness point of view, this is a positive as it encourages kids to exercise. In a world where childhood obesity is rising, more children need to grasp the value of exercise. Non-mothers might think this is a paragraph they can skip, but you’d be wrong. Every woman has a female figure in their life that needs guidance. From a younger sister to a niece of a work colleague, they can be as impressionable as children. Hopefully, your lifestyle will rub off on them and encourage them to respect their bodies.

A six pack is nice, but it isn’t the be all and end all. Essentially, keeping fit has an array of positives which have nothing to do with the body.

Advertisements

Is Falling Asleep a Nightmare? Try These Relaxing Techniques

You will probably be only too aware of the restorative properties of sleep, and if you don’t get enough of it every night, there are all manner of negative side effects. But in today’s busy world, it can be difficult to drift off at night, particularly with so many competing responsibilities and other things on your mind.

pexels-photo-129062

If you do have a persistent sleep disorder, it is important that you try to deal with this as soon as you can. Sleep apnea is one of the most common and MyCPAP Machine has been shown to have certain positive effects. In terms of ways that you can relax yourself before bed, here are a few of the most common which get positive results.

Set Yourself a Pre-Sleep Routine

Getting into a regular sleep-wake cycle is a great way to get your body ready for sleep each and every night. So, try out different pre-sleep routines until you find one which suits you. For example, you may decide to have a warm bubble bath every night to relax your muscles. Alternatively, you could do some gentle stretching or try listening to music. Try to avoid watching TV or playing on your phone as these activities tend to be more stimulating and can therefore be disruptive.

Write Down Your Worries

One of the things that often keeps people tossing and turning during the night is being fixated by the worries which are rushing around their heads. So, try writing these down when they come to you. After all, there is nothing you can do about them while you are trying to sleep and once they are written down, you can remember to come back to deal with them the next morning. In fact, you may come back to find that many of these worries were not such big issues after all.

Create the Right Environment

If you want to go to sleep easily, you need to create the right sleeping environment so you feel totally comfortable and at ease. So, start by tidying up your bedroom so there is not too much clutter on display as this can end up stressing you out. Depending on the season, make sure that you don’t have too many or too few duvets and blankets on the bed so you are at a comfortable temperature. Try to create a cool environment and you could also make things dark with a blackout blind.

Occupy Your Brain with Simple Mental Activities

One way of falling asleep that has been shown to get results amongst certain people is by occupying your brain with simple mental activities when you are falling asleep. For example, you could think of a category like ‘food beginning with the letter A’ and thinking of as many as you can. Alternatively, try focusing on a particular object and thinking about all its individual details closely. This way, your mind is not tempted to go back to bigger and more stressful issues in your life.

Having One Of Those Days? 30-Minute Solutions To Lift Your Spirits

Are you having one of those days? We all go through times when it seems like everything is a challenge or we’ve got too much on our plates. If you feel like you’re juggling responsibilities or you’ve woken up feeling low or stressed, here are some 30-minute solutions you can try to lift your spirits. Next time you’re having one of those days when nothing is going right, these simple techniques could help to turn your frown upside down.

Fresh air

If you’ve been cooped up inside all day, take half an hour at lunch or a break during the afternoon to get some vitamin D, stretch your legs and clear your mind. Take some deep breaths, have a walk and enjoy being out in the open. Your serotonin levels are affected by the amount of oxygen in the body, so inhaling clean, fresh air will do your mood a power of good. If you take a break in the sunshine or go for a brisk walk on a chilly day, this will also energize and refresh you, and you’ll be ready to take on whatever the rest of the day holds.

anais-pouliot-photoshoot-dog-anais-pulo-elle
Massage

Have you had a stressful day? Have you been feeling tense or fraught? Are you spinning plates at work or have you been dealing with tantrums at home or trying to get through a to-do list that seems like it has no end? Sometimes, when you’re busy, you need to take time out to rest your body and mind and release tension, and having a massage is a great way to do this. Massage is proven to boost the circulation, reduce muscle pain and make you feel relaxed. For half an hour, you can forget about whatever’s happened earlier in the day and just chill out. Close your eyes and enjoy a bit of pampering.

Exercise

Do you feel angry or frustrated or do you want nothing more than to collapse into bed and sleep for hours? Whatever your mood, fitting in 30 minutes of exercise a day can have incredible benefits for your physical and mental health. When you work out, your serotonin levels increase, and your body also releases happy hormones, known as endorphins. If you’re tired and you need to unwind and shut off, activities like Pilates and yoga are an excellent choice. If you need to burn off excess energy, try something more intensive like boxing, kickboxing, spinning or martial arts. Hitting balls on a tennis court or a golf course can also be cathartic if you’re looking for an alternative to going to the gym.

Talk

If you’ve got thoughts swimming around your mind or you feel like you’re ready to explode, call a friend or speak to your mum or your sister. Offloading helps to prevent you from bottling things up and enables you to deal with your emotions. Often, getting things off your chest can make you feel better in an instant.

If you’re having one of those days, don’t let it ruin your mood for the rest of the day or the week ahead. Try these simple 30-minute solutions to lift your spirits, reduce stress and get you back on track.

Amazing Benefits of Adding Lemon Water to Your Diet

water-drink-fresh-lemons
We all know the importance of drinking a substantial amount of water on a daily basis. But have you considered adding a few slices of lemon to the mix? Not only will this make it easier for you to consume your required eight glasses per day, but also there are many health benefits associated with drinking lemon water:

  • Help fight viral infections – Warm lemon water is one of the most successful methods for getting rid of viral infections and the subsequent sore throats that follow.
  • Helps to cut out the caffeine – Are you guilty of indulging in one too many cups of coffee while at work to get through the day? If so, you should consider replacing your morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water instead. A lot of people aren’t optimistic about this switch, until they try it. Not only will you feel refreshed, but you won’t experience the jittery nerves that are associated with caffeine, and you will avoid the pesky afternoon crash that happens way too often.
  • Energy boost – When lemon juice enters your digestive tract, it provides your body with energy, which is great for getting through the day ahead. Not only this, but it helps to reduce depression and anxiety too.
  • Reduces inflammation – The acidity in your body will decrease if you drink lemon water on a frequent basis. This is where disease states occur. In fact, one of the main causes of inflammation is uric acid in your joints, and this is something that lemon juice will remove.
  • Gives your immune system a boost – Lemons are full of Vitamin C, which are like jumper cables to your immune system. If you are feeling stressed, extra vitamin C can help to improve your mood.
  • Lose weight – Adding lemon water can help you to lose weight in a number of different ways. Of course, by drinking lemon juice it means you are drinking less fizzy drinks and other drinks that are bad for you. Not only this, but you are likely to experience less hunger cravings by adding lemon water to your diet. This is because lemon water contains pectin fibre.
  • Excellent potassium source – Lemons are also an amazing source of potassium, which is good for nerve and brain function, as well as heart health.
  • Keeps your skin blemish-free – Lemon water can reduce wrinkles and decrease blemishes thanks to the antioxidants that are present. Your skin’s radiance will be maintained because lemon water detoxifies the blood.
  • Freshens your breath – When giving up smoking, lemon water is a must. While an e cigarette starter kit is widely considered the best way to stop smoking, it can not eradicate the negative effects of smoking that have already taken hold, for example, a smoker’s breath. This is where lemon water comes into place, as it will help to freshen your breath.
  • Cleanses your system – Last but not least, lemon water will enhance your enzyme function, which stimulates your liver to help flush out the toxins in your body.

Real Cigs Vs E-Cigs: Making The Swap

18561386162_0235f4e545_z

Are you trying to quit? It isn’t as easy as it sounds, is it? In your quest to give up cigarettes for real, you will have come across e-cigarettes. And, the hope is that they will make the transition easier. However, swapping from a real cig to an e-cig is not an easy process if you are uninformed. Sadly, most people are when it comes to electronic liquids and this puts the whole process in jeopardy. The great news is that you can learn more about them if you are willing to listen. So, are you ready to go on a potentially life changing journey? Good, then buckle up!

Don’t Be Self-Conscious

Even though e-cigarettes are relatively new, lots of people believe they need to look or act a certain way. As such, it is tempting to ask other people what works for them and copy their process. This method is without a doubt the most harmful part of making the switch because what works for one person won’t work for another. What you must do is figure out your preferences and stick to them regardless. Hopefully, this will tie you down and prevent you from jumping back to cigarettes.

Go Shorter

The normal e-cig is a long and bulky number, and that can be problematic for smokers. The fact that it doesn’t resemble a typical cigarette takes away from the experience and ensures they don’t commit to the transition. If you belong to this group, the simple fix is to find a shorter and sleeker version. That way, the thing in your hand will feel natural and help satiate your cravings. But, when you take it back, the smoke won’t fill your lungs with harmful chemicals. There are even e-cigs shaped like normal cigarettes if you want to take it one step further.

Invest In A Quality Product

From an Aspire to a SMOK vape kit, there are lots of versions on the market. Although it appears like a good thing, it can be confusing for the uninitiated who don’t have a clue where to start. To cut through the smoke, so to speak, there is a general rule you should follow: buy quality. Why? It’s because the best products deliver a more balanced ratio of nicotine and last longer. As such, the effects are far greater than opting for a budget version. Even the cost will plateau in the long-term as a good product stands the test of time.

Switch Up Flavours

There is always a flavour that you like more than the rest. But, it is important to remember that you might be using your electronic cigarette for a while. Therefore, one flavour can get boring and cause you to fall out of love with your e-cig. What you should do is try different flavours throughout the course quitting. Hopefully, this tactic will be enough to keep the novelty alive so that you don’t start smoking again.

No one said quitting is easy, but it is a lot easier when you know how to use an electronic cigarette.

The Golden Years: Simple Healthcare Tips That You’ll Need Throughout Your Retirement

granny-2347552_1280

As you approach retirement, the thought of spending more time with loved ones and relaxing with your favorite hobbies is exciting. However, you’ll only be able to enjoy those golden years if your health remains in great condition.

 It’s only natural for the human body to change over time. But as long as you’re prepared to pay attention to those new health requirements, there’s nothing to stop this being the greatest time of your life. So, what are you waiting for? There’s no time to waste.

 #1. Think Movements

 The most common change to take place as you grow older revolves around movement. It’s likely that aches and pains will start to creep in while your body simply won’t be able to do some of the things it used to. Accepting those new limits is vital.

 It’s still important to remain active. Yoga for senior citizens can be a particularly great option while swimming and cycling offer low-impact workouts. Meanwhile, you may need to complete various exercises to reduce the damage caused by arthritis and similar problems.   

 Arguably the most crucial factor is to remain comfortable in the home. This may require some adaption via stairlifts and easily accessed bath tubs. Alternatively, you could look at downsizing to ground floor property. Either way, this will go a long way to retaining your independence.

 #2. Fuel Your Body Well

 Good nutrition is something we should all appreciate throughout our lives. Having said that, the need to give your body the right things is even greater as you get older. Cooking multiple meals at once and freezing them will save you plenty of time and money. Meanwhile, it’s worth looking into couponing and any schemes aimed at senior citizens.

 Giving your body the right things isn’t just about food, though. Aged care medication allows quick, easy, and affordable access to important medicines. Whether it’s controlling your diabetes or other ailments doesn’t matter. Ensuring that your body gains everything needed for great health and comfort will pay dividends in the long run.

 Finally, it’s imperative that you give yourself the best chance to get a great night’s sleep. Sleep patterns can influence various elements of your health, and will make the whole world feel brighter too. Besides, waking up an hour later is one of the best things about not working.

 #3. Appreciate Mental Health

 Protecting your physical health is one thing, but it’s equally imperative that you consider the mental health aspects too. Being away from the daily interactions of the workplace can cause issues, as can losing friends and family over the years. Ignoring it simply isn’t an option.

Knowing how to care for your mental health will have a telling impact on your ongoing happiness. But as well as taking individual precautions, you must also learn to accept help from others. A problem shared is a problem halved, and you mustn’t feel as though you’re fighting it alone.

A healthy mind combined with a healthy body will establish the foundations of a happy retirement. What more could anyone ask for?

Caring For Your Mental Health: A Complete Guide

Whenever we talk about health, it’s usually centred around physical issues. We talk about ensuring we remain healthy, and it’s normally accompanied by advice such as exercise a lot and eat foods that are good for you.

The problem is, we focus so much on our physical health, we end up neglecting our mental health. This is a real issue as mental health problems affect millions of people up and down the country, and billions all over the world. They’re serious issues too, and many people die because of mental health problems every year. In the UK alone, around 6,000 people commit suicide every year as the result of deep mental health issues. So many of these deaths could’ve been prevented if individuals cared more about their mental health and understood how to handle any problems.

mental-health-2019924_1280

That’s what this post is going to talk about today. I want to help you learn how to keep your mind healthy, which will ultimately lead to a much healthier you in general. If you feel like you have some issues going on up there, then I implore you to carry on reading this guide. It will help you understand what your problems are, and the best course of action to keep yourself healthy. Even if you don’t have issues, it’s important to know all of this in case you start to develop them one day or you have friends/family suffering that need your help.

So, without further ado, here’s a complete guide to caring for your mental health:

Accept That You Have An Issue

I think the biggest problem with mental health issues is that no one likes to admit they have one. We can talk all day about the stigma of mental health that’s really been created by the media and mainstream TV. We’ve almost been led to believe that if you have a problem with your mind, you are insane and will be crazy.

No. This is not true at all. There are multiple issues that develop over time and are common in so many people. Things like anxiety, depression, split personality disorder are all common problems and don’t turn you insane. They’re health issues just like a dodgy knee or obesity, the only difference is they affect your psyche rather than your physicality.

So, the first step in caring for your problems is accepting you have one. Realise that you’re depressed, that you’re suffering in some way, and make a commitment to improving your life and dealing with it. Don’t be afraid of acceptance, things are a lot worse if you’re in denial.

Try And Find The Cause Of Your Problems

If you have a physical problem that’s causing you pain, what do you do? You try and figure out what’s causing your pain, and it will help you solve the issue and return to full health. It’s the same with mental health problems. A lot of them are triggered by an event or circumstances in your life.

The issue is, it’s sometimes a lot harder to pinpoint the cause of mental health problem compared to a physical one. But, there are some examples of common causes. I think one of the top causes has to be divorce. If your parents split up when you’re quite young, it could have an effect on your mind and lead to mental health issues down the line. Mainly, this is because you bottle up your emotions and never speak to them about how you feel. As is the case with a lot of the causes, such as feeling left out of your friend group. You feel left out, you get lonely, and you retreat into your shell which causes anxiety and depression.

A big cause of mental health problems is a severe or critical event that happens to you or that you witness. The best example of this is an army veteran that saw horrible things when in the service, and it plays with their head. But, you could also develop mental health issues after a car crash or if you’re mugged, etc.

It’s important to try and trace back the start of your mental health problems to the main cause. In doing so, you can maybe confront it and help figure out ways to cure yourself.

Get Professional Help

As I’ve already mentioned, there are parallels between mental and physical health problems. When you’re physically in bad shape, what do you do? You call up your doctor and book a consultation right away. Often, they help you in ways you couldn’t yourself, and you recover quicker.

Again, it’s the same with mental health problems, you need to get professional help. Sometimes, this means calling your doctor, and they’ll refer you to a psychologist or another qualified professional with experience in this field. You should also speak to your bosses at work if you’re suffering as they may provide you with a professional service to help you cope. I know there are companies like Health Assured that some businesses work with for this exact reason. It’s especially important if some of your stress and anxiety comes from work too. You need the professional help and guidance to help get through it and combat your issues.

Looking for help doesn’t make you weak, it makes you strong. It shows you’re facing up to your demons and really want to change the way you are.

Talk

My final tip is simple; just talk. Talk about your problems with a professional counsellor or with friends and family. Write about your journey in a blog or film it and upload it to YouTube. Just make sure you speak about it as much as possible, it will really help you.

Most mental health problems are aggravated when you bottle everything up and don’t express your feelings and talk about what’s wrong. Don’t let this happen to you, speak out, and speak loudly too, it will help you as well as others too.

I really hope this guide helps many people out there suffering from anxiety, depression, or any other mental health problems. Take my advice on board, and you can start breaking free and feeling more healthy.