How to Take Care of Skin for Long Term Benefits

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Aging is part of the natural human condition. While all of us will experience wrinkles, there are a few factors such as genetics and lifestyle choices that can affect just how many or when we begin to see them show on our skin.

Establishing a proper skincare routine, whether you are a man or a woman, can go a long way in showing long term benefits when it comes to skin health. Caring for your skin is not just about beauty and aesthetics, as skin cancer and other issues can affect all genders alike.

The following are some of the most important steps you can start taking today in order to maintain healthy skin for a long time and age gracefully with a reduced risk of skin disease.

  1. Use sunscreen: Always remember this rule, sun exposure can cause sunburn and skin cancer. Remembering to wear sunscreen whenever you go to the beach or spend days at the park is important, but applying sunscreen day to day is also necessary. A helpful tip is to keep your sunscreen near your toothbrush so you can easily develop this habit.
  2. Cover up: In addition to wearing sunscreen, remember to wear protective clothing if you will be out all day and to stay in an area with shade whenever possible.
  3. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day, every day, will keep your skin looking hydrated and supple.
  4. Eat healthily: Eating healthy is beneficial to your overall health, but when it comes to skin, eating plenty of fruits and veggies full of antioxidants can help keep your skin glowing, clear, and young.
  5. Quit smoking: Smoking affects the production of collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep your skin looking young. It also decreases blood flow to the skin and increases the risk of certain types of cancer, so it’s best to avoid smoking and to find help in order to quit as soon as possible.
  6. Establish a skin care routine: Establishing a routine that fits your skin type, and actually sticking to it regularly, can have long term benefits for your skin’s health.
  7. Relax: Stress can have a huge impact on your skin by causing premature wrinkles. Try to keep stress at bay by practicing relaxation techniques and both your skin and your mental health will reap the benefits!

Causes for Insomnia

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Sleeping disorders affect many people in today’s fast-paced world. Whether it’s stress, work-related issues, children, or just everyday life, there are many factors that can affect the quality of your sleep.

Insomnia is one of the most common sleeping disorders, and most people will experience an acute version of it at some point in their life due to stress or trauma. Insomnia is characterized by a difficult ability to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. In some instances, people may wake up too early and find it difficult to continue sleeping.

Symptoms of insomnia:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up multiple times during the course of the night
  • Worrying about not being able to sleep
  • Not feeling well rested
  • Waking up too early
  • Low energy throughout the day
  • Decreased alertness

Insomnia can be frustrating and can feel like a never-ending cycle. It’s important to note whether your insomnia is caused by worry and is acute or if it has been going on for months in order to properly seek help. Many cases of insomnia are caused by stress or anxiety, which can be treated through different methods. Additionally, medications or other factors can cause insomnia including the following:

  • Using your smartphone right before bed, the blue light emitted by electronic devices can interrupt the production of melatonin
  • Leaving your phone on vibrate or loud can cause interruptions throughout the night as texts or calls come in- powering down your phone is the best option to ensure no interruptions
  • Drinking caffeine past noon can interrupt your sleep cycle even if your body is used to consuming caffeine, this includes coffee, tea, and caffeine-rich foods such as dark chocolate
  • Skipping your bedtime routine can affect your quality of sleep, it’s important to have time dedicated to wind your body down and prepare it for relaxation
  • Checking your email or participating in other mentally stimulating activities such as watching tv
  • Eating certain types of food such as spicy, fatty, or sugary foods
  • Sleeping with your pet, who moves around and causes sleep disturbances
  • Drinking too much water before bed resulting in frequent trips to the bathroom

If you do any of these or perhaps other little habits that you haven’t pinpointed, they may be the cause of your insomnia. If you believe your insomnia is affecting your day to day life or may be caused by a more serious condition, do not hesitate to seek professional help in order to address the issue and be able to sleep better in no time.

Effects of Stress on the Body

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Stress is a part of everyday life, and a little stress here and there is nothing to worry about. It’s when stress becomes chronic, though, that it begins to affect both your mental and physical health. If you feel you’re reaching a breaking point, it might be that stress is affecting your health in a negative way.

 

Sometimes, the effects of stress may go unnoticed because people tend to blame chronic pain and discomfort on diseases or other factors. What they may not realize is that the effects of stress on the body are serious, oftentimes even more serious than the actual situation they tend to stress over.

Stress and the body

Stress affects every part of the body, from the musculoskeletal system to the gut. The following are ways stress takes a toll on your physical health:

  • Muscle tension
  • Chronic pain
  • Migraines
  • Shortness of breath and rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, heart palpitations, cardiovascular disease
  • Increased inflammation
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Decreased sex drive in men and women
  • Complications with menstruation and pregnancy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping problems
  • Weakened immune system and more frequent colds

Stress and the mind

Although stress has many ways of manifesting itself physically, the mind does not fall behind. In fact, the root cause of many mental health issues is directly related to stress. The following are ways stress can affect the mind:

  • Increased production of cortisol or “stress hormones”
  • Anxiety, depression, nervousness
  • Mental fatigue
  • Irritability, forgetfulness, racing thoughts
  • Lack of motivation
  • Social seclusion
  • Trouble with focus and decision making
  • Substance abuse

How to cope

Chronic stress can contribute to long term issues and can result in major health concerns. If you are experiencing signs of chronic stress, consider making changes in order to feel better. There are many ways to cope including:

  • Talking to a professional therapist who can help you identify triggers and ways of coping
  • Massage therapy
  • Breathing techniques and meditation
  • Relaxing exercises with mental health benefits such as yoga and tai chi
  • Creative therapy

 

Benefits of Reducing Caffeine Consumption

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Millions of Americans have a daily habit of consuming some form of caffeine, many of whom are doing it multiple times a day. Although caffeine is known to have some health benefits, it’s easy to become addicted. What’s worse? Withdrawal symptoms are very real and many people don’t want to endure them.

Caffeine can help you stay alert and can be a beneficial substance for some, but drinking it in moderation is key. While some people are better off staying away from caffeine, everyone can benefit from reducing its’ consumption. Keep reading to find out the benefits of reducing caffeine intake!

  1. You’ll sleep better: Caffeine can reduce your quality of sleep, particularly if consumed later in the day. Reducing caffeine consumption can benefit your sleep overall as it won’t alter your brain chemicals in any way that can impact your rest.
  2. Less anxiety: Those who are more prone to suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues typically see a spike in their symptoms when they consume caffeine regularly. Eliminating caffeine can help keep you calmer.
  3. Lower blood pressure: Caffeine raises your blood pressure, those who suffer from high blood pressure are better off avoiding it altogether.
  4. Whiter teeth: Coffee and black tea can stain your teeth, eliminating caffeine from your diet can result in overall healthier tooth enamel and whiter teeth.
  5. Healthier digestion: Due to the laxative properties in coffee, high consumption can impact your gut health and cause more frequent bowel movements. In order to regulate your gut health, lower consumption of caffeine is highly recommended.
  6. Balanced hormones: For women, a high caffeine intake can cause hormonal disbalance. This is particularly important for women who suffer from conditions such as endometriosis and certain types of cancer.

You’ll feel energized: Caffeine can cause a disruptive cycle of affecting the quality of sleep and thus creating a dependency in order to feel energized. Eliminating caffeine consumption can help to regulate your sleep cycle and feel long lasting energy the natural way.

Best Techniques to Relieve Muscle Tension

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Muscle tension is a common but not normal condition experienced by many adults in today’s fast-paced world. It is caused when muscles contract and do not release, and is often a result of high levels of stress or overuse. If prolonged, muscle tension can lead to pain throughout the body, tightness, and tension headaches.

The good news is that there are myriad of ways to relax the muscles in order to ease muscle tension and reduce pain associated with it, and the best part is that many of the techniques can be practiced right at home. So what are you waiting for? If you are experiencing any type of muscle tension or mental stress, try out one of the following techniques!

  1. Meditate: Meditation is a proven way to calm the mind and reduce both mental and physical stress. The best part? Practicing for a few minutes a day can show improvement. Incorporating breathing techniques throughout the day or during moments of high stress can also help your heart rate go down and relax.
  2. Do yoga: Yoga helps you practice mind and body connection, which in turn has mental health benefits that can lead to an increasingly calm state of being. Stretching the body with different poses and using breathing techniques while doing so can also help alleviate tension.
  3. Keep Moving: Continual movement is important for reducing tension in the body. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can cause muscles to contract, such as sitting at your desk all day without taking constant breaks. Additionally, exercise releases the feel-good chemicals in the brain called endorphins which help you stay happy and release mental and physical tension!
  4. Foam roll: Foam rolling and stretching is an excellent way to easily reduce muscle tension after a workout or even as a workout itself, and can be done at home.
  5. Sleep: Getting enough rest is important for the body and mind to feel relaxed and recovered. Skipping sleep can lead to mental and physical exhaustion, stress, and tension.
  6. Massage Therapy: Getting a massage from a professional is the best way to target knots, tightness, and other problem areas throughout the body. Massage therapy can be expensive, though. There are techniques that can be done at home such as foam rolling or using a lacrosse ball that can also work to target specific areas of tension.
  7. Acupuncture: A trained acupuncturist can help reduce tension in the body by using a pain-free technique.
  8. Warm bath: Taking a warm Epsom salt bath, shower, or even hitting the sauna can alleviate stress and tension. Warmth increases circulation and calms the body and the mind. Keep in mind to drink plenty of fluids after hot therapy in order to replenish your body.
  9. Drink Tea: Warm drinks and tea such as chamomile help relieve muscle spasms and have anti-inflammatory benefits. Try drinking a cup at night for a restful and relaxed sleep.
  10. Apply heat: Applying a warm compress to a problem area is an immediate way to reduce muscle pain by increasing blood flow and reducing lactic acid buildup.
  11. Aromatherapy: Our sense of smell can greatly aid in reducing stress and keeping calm. Essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass are all known to help reduce feelings of stress and work as muscle relaxants.
  12. Eat more antioxidants: Eating a diet high in antioxidants helps to lower levels of inflammation in the body and supports with a healthy response to stress and tension in the muscles.

Habits That Speed Up Aging

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Everyone ages, but the habits we adopt throughout our lifetime can have a huge impact on the way we age. While aging is a natural process that many people have difficulty coming to terms with, it doesn’t have to be something to dread. By simply practicing healthier habits our bodies (and time) will thank us and treat us well in return.

There are certain habits that people adopt without realizing it’s actually making them age quicker than normal. Ever wondered if you might be practicing one of these habits? Keep reading to find out a list of things that can actually speed up the aging process.

  1. You skip sleep: Sleep is one of the most important natural processes of the human body as its main function is to help us recover. As we sleep, our cells repair themselves and our bodies get the rest they need in order to function properly. Skipping sleep can make your skin look dull and tired while getting enough sleep will contribute to a youthful glow.
  2. You don’t exercise: Being too sedentary can contribute to weight gain and decline your bodily functions as you age. In order to enjoy a long, healthy life it’s important to stay active.
  3. Excessive smoking and drinking: Smoking and drinking are both known to speed up the aging process. This is because it can break down your skin elasticity and cause wrinkles and also decline your cognitive function.
  4. Poor diet: Food plays a huge role in your overall health. Eating processed sugar, fried foods, and alcohol can all speed up the aging process. Instead, incorporating more fruits and vegetables can help your body look and feel better as you age.
  5. Stress: Leading a high-stress lifestyle will make you age at a much quicker pace than you should. Keeping stress at bay and practicing mindfulness techniques such as meditation and yoga can actually help you age gracefully.

Of course, everyone has different genetic makeup and will age at a different pace. The list above is only a few of the many things that can contribute to premature aging and a decrease in proper bodily function. Always remember to adopt healthy habits that will benefit your needs and lifestyle!

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

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The Ketogenic diet has made its way into many headlines and into the lives of those looking to adopt a new way of eating in order to improve their health. Earlier this year we saw many people, including well-known celebrities, raging about the diet. Although it has been around for a few years, the diet continues to gain traction in the wellness world

The Ketogenic diet, briefly explained, is a form of food consumption where nearly all carbs are cut and replaced with healthy fats. Doing so makes your body enter into a metabolic process called ketosis, where your body burns fat because there are little to no carbohydrates left to burn for energy. This process turns fat into ketones inside the liver which can aid in transmitting energy supply to the brain.

The following are some foods to eat when following a Ketogenic diet:

  • Lean protein such as chicken
  • Seafood
  • Low-carb vegetables
  • Berries
  • Cheese and yogurt
  • Avocadoes, olives, and other healthy fats
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Unsweetened beverages such as coffee and tea

The following are foods to avoid:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Foods high in sugar
  • Processed foods
  • Fruits high in sugar
  • Root vegetables
  • Unhealthy Fats
  • Alcohol

The Ketogenic diet includes benefits such as weight loss, increased energy, and reduction in levels of blood sugar and insulin. Additionally, it can help improve risk factors of heart disease, slow down tumor growth, and help improve symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Although the diet can show improvements for some people, it’s important to know your body’s specific needs and assess whether this diet would be right for you before making any drastic lifestyle changes.

How to Avoid Sports Injuries

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It’s safe to say that if you exercise, play a sport, or are physically active you may experience an injury at any given time during your life. A sports injury is a type of injury that occurs during any form of physical activity and involves the muscles and bones and can relate to a number of factors. Common type of sports injuries may include fractures, sprains, torn ligaments, and even the dislocation of body parts.

Sports injuries are fairly common, but this is not to say that everyone should experience them on a regular basis. There are many things you can do in order to set yourself up for success and reduce your risk of injury. The following are some measures to take in order to avoid sports injuries:

  1. Warm up: Make sure to practice dynamic stretching or stretching specific to your sport before starting physical activity in order to warm up the muscle and prepare it for movement. If you’ve had a previous injury, properly warm up the area.
  2. Cool down: Likewise, it’s important to stretch the muscles and relax them after finishing a physical activity.
  3. Wear protection: Certain sports require protective gear. Whether it’s a helmet, pads, protective eyewear, or even shoes, make sure you are wearing the proper protection to keep yourself and others safe.
  4. Follow the rules: By following the rules of a sport and taking proper precautions inside a gym you are less likely to suffer from injuries or even worse, cause someone else to suffer an injury.
  5. Rest day: Give yourself enough time in between workouts and physical training to rest. Overworking your body is an easy way to risk getting an injury.
  6. Listen to your body: If you feel pain somewhere, listen to your body’s warning signs. Straining your body while it’s in pain can definitely lead to unwanted injuries and more pain.

Helpful Tips for Headache Relief

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Headaches are the most common type of pain humans experience, and there are countless reasons which may cause them. A headache is described as a pain that stems from the head and upper neck and may bring about sensations of throbbing, constant or intermittent pain, squeezing, and sometimes even nausea and vomiting.

Headaches can be classified into three categories: primary headaches, secondary headaches, and cranial neuralgia or other headaches. Primary headaches include common types that many people will experience throughout their lifetimes such as tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. While primary headaches are not life-threatening, they can affect some people’s day to day activities. Secondary headaches are those caused by an underlying problem. Typically, they are a result of infections or diseases in the body, trauma to the head, and even substance abuse. Finally, there are cranial neuralgia and other headaches which are directly related to the nerves and can be accompanied by facial pain.

While headaches can be a problem, you don’t have to suffer all the time. The first step is figuring out the root cause of your problem and seeing a doctor if you believe your headache may be caused by an underlying issue that you need to treat. For less serious headaches, the following are a few ways to get relief:

  1. Resting: If you suffer from migraines, a quiet and dark room may be the ideal setting for you. Taking a moment to rest may help with your headache.
  2. Relax: Practicing relaxation techniques such as breathing, meditation, yoga, and tai chi can all help improve the symptoms of certain types of headaches.
  3. Hydrate: Dehydration can trigger migraines, make sure to sip water throughout the day to ensure your levels are balanced. Try adding fruits and herbs to your water in order to make staying hydrated more exciting!
  4. Massage: Massaging your temples, shoulders, neck, and other trigger points can help reduce tension and help alleviate headaches.
  5. Manage Stress: Try managing stress through relaxation techniques and taking mental breaks when necessary, as stress can be a direct cause of headaches and other issues.
  6. Warm it up: Adding a heating pad around your neck can help alleviate headaches caused by tension in the muscles.
  7. Exercise: Staying active can actually have a positive impact on those who suffer from headaches. This is because it will activate your circulation while also helping to reduce stress through the release of endorphins. High-impact and low-impact exercise will both work in this case.
  8. Use your sense of smell: Smelling essential oils such as lavender can help reduce feelings of stress and reduce the severity of migraines.
  9. Caffeine: Drinking a cup of coffee if you have an early sign of a headache may help reduce your symptoms. With that said though, experts don’t recommend drinking too much caffeine as you can build a tolerance to it and experience withdrawal headaches on days you don’t drink it.
  10. Pause: Taking constant breaks to stand up, look away from the computer, stretch, and correct your posture can all help to reduce or avoid headaches.
  11. Establish a sleeping routine: Getting too little or too much sleep can contribute to suffering from migraines. The best thing to do in this case is finding a sweet spot for your ideal number of hours and establishing a regular sleeping schedule in order to give your body enough time to recover on a daily basis.
  12. Take vitamins: Vitamin deficiencies are known to cause headaches, getting your levels checked and taking the right supplements can help reduce headaches.
  13. Medication: For those who prefer to receive treatment using medication, over the counter pain relievers are typically quick and effective remedies for tension headaches. For those who suffer from migraines, prescription-strength medication may provide the relief you need. It’s important to practice this method of relief in moderation so as to not become dependent on it or suffer from additional issues.

What is HIIT?

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HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, a style of training has been on trend for the last few years, and for good reason. HIIT workouts are designed to last only a few minutes (about 30 minutes or less) while exerting an all-out effort during short bursts of time throughout the session. The reason this method of exercise is highly effective is that the body’s need for oxygen increases after exerting an all-out effort and thus results in an afterburn during recovery that helps burn more calories and fat.

HIIT workouts have proven that losing weight and staying on track with your fitness goals doesn’t require all your time, though the more effort you put into it the quicker, better results you will get in return. High-intensity bursts can be incorporated into many different forms of exercise including body weight training, cycling, swimming, and running. Due to the high intensity of the workouts, they should only be done two to three times a week with a recovery period in between.

For those looking to increase muscle mass and look leaner overall, combining HIIT sessions with heavy weight training is your best bet. HIIT is also great for those looking to see weight loss results quicker. If you’re interested in trying out HIIT or want to know the benefits, here are a few:

  1. Increase your metabolism: Because your body consumes more oxygen during high-intensity interval training, your metabolic rate increases and thus helps your body burn more calories at a faster pace and lose weight.
  2. Less workout time: If you’re a busy person, or simply don’t want to spend hours at the gym, HIIT offers a quick yet effective way to stay active.
  3. No equipment needed: HIIT is very versatile, and you can easily complete a number of workouts without equipment or a gym membership.
  4. Keep muscle: Unlike steady cardio, HIIT allows you to lose fat while keeping muscle. Additionally, those who are looking to start gaining muscle can also see some results when they implement this style of training into a workout routine.
  5. Build endurance: Studies have shown that those who incorporate high-intensity interval training into their routines experience increased performance when it comes to endurance after a few weeks.
  6. Boosts heart health: Interval training helps get the blood flowing and increases your heart health due to the exerting period of exercise, which helps work out the muscle, and the rest period that comes right after.