Benefits of a Regular Bedtime

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As young kids, most of us were taught to go to sleep at a regular bedtime every night. Come the weekends, our bodies would naturally wake up at the same time that it did on any given weekday. A regular sleep schedule is vital for young children as the growth hormone is released during sleep. This is only one of the number of benefits that comes with having a regular sleep schedule.

Most adults report having bad or poor sleeping quality, but with so much backed up research to prove the benefits of a regular sleep schedule, it comes as a surprise that they aren’t implementing the practice already.

 

Benefits of a regular sleep schedule:

  • Higher alertness and focus
  • Increased levels of energy
  • Make healthier choices and exercise at higher intensities
  • Less sick days
  • Less depression and anxiety
  • Better overall health and wellness

Irregular bedtimes are typically linked to:

  • Heart Disease
  • Higher Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Increased levels of High Blood Pressure and High Blood Sugar
  • Increased symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress

With all of this in mind, research and scientific studies should not be viewed as all or nothing scenarios. Social obligations, work, and life all happen and can sometimes cause interruptions in our routines. Although your body might feel the effects of one night of sleep deprivation once a routine is established, it won’t cause any long-term harm. Research shows that people with constant sleep irregularity are at higher risk of developing physical or mental diseases and experiencing a lack of proper body function.

A few things to keep in mind when establishing a sleeping routine are to set an alarm to wake you up at the same time every day and also to go to bed at the same time (including weekends). Experts also recommend avoiding eating right before bed, using electronics, or consuming caffeine. On the other hand, reading before bed has been proven to help you wind down and help you fall asleep.

If you’ve tried to establish a sleep schedule but find that you experience insomnia or lack of energy during the day, it is best to refer to a doctor or a sleep specialist as it might be the result of an underlying condition.

What Is An Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

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The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is a popular diet whose base is similar to that of the Mediterranean Diet. In recent years, research has shown that many chronic diseases and cancers are all tied to inflammation in the body, and with the help of nutrition, people are finding comfort and relief by changing the way they eat.

The Anti-Inflammatory diet is just as much about what you eat as it is about what you avoid eating. The diet focuses on eating more foods that are high in nutrients and reducing or avoiding over-processed foods that may cause inflammation in the body. It has also been found to help increase energy as well as reduce chronic pain.

Foods to eat:

An anti-inflammatory diet is focused on consuming nutritionally-dense foods with antioxidants. Some of the foods recommended in the diet include:

  • Fruits, including ones packed with good fats such as avocados
  • Vegetables
  • Fatty fish
  • Healthy fats
  • Nuts
  • Red wine
  • Green Tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • Spices such as turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon

Foods to avoid:

Avoid over-processed foods, which all lead to higher levels of inflammation in the body. Although chronic inflammation cannot always be seen, it is linked to other diseases when present in the body. Avoid foods such as:

  • Refined carbs
  • Refined sugars
  • Processed foods such as meats and snack foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Processed vegetable and seed oils
  • Trans fats
  • Alcohol and caffeine

Bottom Line:

An anti-inflammatory diet is generally a term to describe a healthy diet that humans have been eating for centuries. By consuming more healing foods and less inflammatory-causing foods, the body will be able to fight off diseases and you will enjoy a longer, healthier life with less chronic pain or discomfort.

Benefits of Foam Rolling

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A foam roller is an inexpensive piece of equipment used as a form of myofascial release. Foam rolling is simple and can be done at home or in a gym. Used by trainers and athletes alike, foam rolling can be beneficial to pretty much anyone who takes the time to do it properly.

The purpose of a foam roller is to target different body parts while helping to improve workouts. Whether it is a tense area where you are experiencing pain or just a muscle group you want to decompress, foam rolling can significantly improve your condition over time.

Additionally, foam rolling is a form myofascial release. Simply put, this term refers to the act of applying low-intensity force to soft tissues over long periods of time. Applying this pressure helps to alleviate tension and restore the body, resulting in improved performance. The following are some of the benefits of regular foam rolling:

Benefits:

  1. Improve circulation: foam rolling stretches and loosens muscles which breaks up tight areas where blood flow may be limited. Increased blood flow and better circulation offer a myriads of benefits for overall health and wellness.
  2. Increase range of motion: having properly stretch muscles leads to better range of motion, improving the quality of your workout. This leads into the next benefit, reducing chances of injury.
  3. Prevents injury: when you break down fascia and muscles are properly stretched, you improve range of motion and reduce the likelihood of injuries from torn or pulled muscles. Foam rolling improves your body’s coordination, and in turn, the effectiveness of your workout.
  4. Reduce stress: foam rolling is a form of self-massage which helps to reduce tension in targeted areas of the body, leading to a reduction of both physical and mental stress. Foam rolling helps to reduce levels of cortisol, which are necessary following a strenuous workout.
  5. Reduces recovery time: lactid acid is the buildup of waste in the muscles following a workout. Post-workout foam rolling can help to improve circulation and bring fresh blood to the fatigued muscles where lactic acid is present and decrease both soreness and recovery time. The quicker the muscles recover, the quicker they can rebuild and become stronger.
  6. Saves money: the cost of getting professional massages on a regular basis can quickly add up. For under $50, you can purchase a foam roller and enjoy long term benefits with regular use.

Things to avoid:

  • Rolling too fast: give your muscles time to adapt to the force and release tension.
  • Rolling directly on painful areas: it’s best to roll in the surrounding areas and then use larger motion to roll over painful areas.
  • Focusing on knots for too long: rather than holding pressure on a knot for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, try adding pressure for 20 seconds or so.
  • Not focusing on posture: make sure you are using correct posture in order to avoid pain and injury.

Bottom line:
Foam rolling is an inexpensive way to improve circulation, flexibility, recovery time and reduce tension in the muscles. This simple technique can greatly improve performance and physique and, can be done in the comfort of your home, and will result in long-term benefits.

Follow These Tips to Stay Healthy on Halloween

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Halloween is a party holiday full of candy and even drinking (for adults)! The official kick-off of the holiday season poses many challenges when it comes to eating right and we know just how hard it can be to resist all of the sweets that surround us during this time of the year. With a little motivation and discipline, though, you can go a long way and maintain your goals.

Keep reading to learn a few tips to follow when it comes to staying healthy on Halloween!

  1. Exercise: planning on taking the kids trick-or-treating? Make sure to get your workout in and avoid any holiday excuses, after all, you’ll want to make sure you burned those calories and got your sweat on before eating sweets.
  2. Eat a healthy meal: enjoying a healthy meal with your family means you won’t have an empty belly asking for an excessive amount of candy.
  3. Stay hydrated: make sure your entire family is hydrating. Not only is this a healthy habit to adopt in your daily life, but it will help curb sugar cravings.
  4. Be picky: try not to overindulge in candy simply because it is sitting there, pick a few pieces you truly like and avoid the rest by donating it or tossing it. Enjoying candy you actually like will help you feel satisfied rather than mindlessly eating too much of it.
  5. Opt for portioned snack packs: when purchasing candy for trick or treaters or the kids, choose pre-portioned 100 calorie packs, this way you’ll know you aren’t eating more calories than you think.
  6. Track: use an app like MyFitnessPal, write down what you’re eating, or keep candy wrappers. All of these will help you keep track of everything you’re eating rather than forgetting and eating too much.
  7. Swap it out: making treats for the kids at home or for school? Try swapping refined sugars and carbs for fruit or whole grains. Nowadays, finding a great recipe on the internet that calls for whole ingredients is easier than ever.
  8. Indulge: Halloween only comes around once a year and one night of overeating will not detriment your diet or physique. As long as you set a deadline and don’t over do it, there is no need to feel guilty for enjoying some candy!

Being healthy is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. Following some of these tips will help when it comes to discipline and may even help you become a more mindful consumer when it comes to food choices around Halloween and the holidays!

Vitamins Explained: Vitamin A

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What It Is

Vitamin A is an essential vitamin found in both animal-derived foods as well as plant-based foods. Vitamin A has two main forms, Retinoids and Beta-carotene. Retinoids, the dominant and active form of the vitamin is derived from animal products while Beta-carotene can be found in plants. Generally, Vitamin A does not need to be consumed through supplements as a healthy diet will provide an adequate amount of levels needed for each individual.

Benefits

Vitamin A is essential for maintaining multiple functions in the body including growth, vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Some key benefits of Vitamin A include the following:

  • Protect the eyes from age-related issues
  • Protect vision from night-blindness
  • Protecting against certain forms of cancer such as colon cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer
  • Treating type 2 diabetes
  • Skin and hair health
  • Supporting a healthy immune system
  • Bone health
  • Promoting healthy reproduction
  • Promoting body growth and development

Where To Find It

Vitamin A can be found in some animal-derived foods as well as in orange fruits and vegetables. The following are some foods that contain Vitamin A:

  • Liver and other organ meats
  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish such as salmon
  • Cheese, milk, and butter
  • Orange colored vegetables
  • Orange colored fruits
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables

Risks

Too much Vitamin A is not recommended as it can cause unwanted health issues. High levels of Vitamin A can lead to toxicity due to the fact that it is a fat-soluble vitamin which gets stored in your body. Overconsumption of Vitamin A can lead to side effects including bone and joint pain, headaches, vomiting, liver disease, confusion and in severe cases, death. Overconsumption risk is typically higher when Vitamin A is consumed as a supplement rather than by food, though overconsumption through food is still possible.
Bottom Line:
Vitamin A is vital for many processes and functions of the body. Although too little of it or overconsumption of it can both cause health issues, a normal level can be achieved through a healthy diet. Achieving the right balance of Vitamin A through food will ensure your body is enjoying the benefits it has to offer.

Is Your Spine Aligned?

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The Spine

The spine, made up of bones called vertebrae, helps provide the body with movement, stability, and strength. The spinal cord and its nerves send information out to the body and are considered delicate as injuries can affect the entire body. If the spine becomes misaligned, it will also affect the entire body and cause pain and discomfort. It is important to know when to recognize if there is a misalignment in order to correct the issue as soon as possible and to avoid chronic pain.

Signs that your spine is misaligned

There are multiple warning signs that indicate that your spine may be misaligned. Taking the steps necessary to align your spine will help ease pain and discomfort. Some signs that you may have a misalignment of the spine include:

  • You have a difference in leg length and your shoes wear out unevenly
  • You have a poor range of motion on your hips and neck
  • Your posture is poor
  • You feel stiffness on your back and neck
  • You get frequent headaches or sore spots
  • Your weight is not distributed equally if you place your feet on two different scales
  • Your feet flare out when you walk

What you can do

Fortunately enough, there are ways to stretch and help ease the pain that comes with a misaligned spine. In some cases, the spine may even be aligned through some of the techniques listed below. Here are a few things you can start doing today in order to align your spine and feel better:

  • Practice yoga: many poses are designed to help stretch and align the spine
  • Visit a chiropractor: a trained chiropractor will be able to align your spine and help improve your range of motion while reducing pain
  • Massage therapy: tension may cause your muscles to be out of line, getting regular massage therapy can reduce tension and pain and help keep everything aligned
  • Pilates: pilates helps with alignment while focusing on the abdominal muscles through a mind-body approach. Focused on strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance, it helps with full-body alignment.
  • Tai Chi: this exercise combines meditation with an aligned movement known to help both the back and joints.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For You?

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For many years, people have used Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as a home remedy to cure infections and other health issues that arise. Although many of the wonderous claims people make on the internet are actually false, there are still a number of benefits and uses for ACV. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether ACV could help a condition you have or if you simply want to know more information about it, read on!

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
ACV is a vinegar made from apple juice. Yeast is added to the juice in order to turn the sugars into alcohol, in other words, it is fermented. The alcohol then turns into acetic acid thanks to bacteria that is added, giving the liquid the sour vinegary taste and smell that it’s known for.

Benefits
ACV is a good source of polyphenols (which are plant-based antioxidants), vitamin B and probiotics in “The Mother” that come from the added bacteria. These components are responsible for most of the health benefits people enjoy from ACV. Additionally, it is known to have high disinfectant properties.

Uses
Although many of the claims made on the internet are not backed up by scientific research, there are still a number of useful ways to incorporate ACV into your diet and life. To name a few:
Help to regulate blood sugar levels
As a natural disinfectant for wounds and fungus
Boost weight loss when paired with a healthy diet and exercise
As a natural household cleaner
Skincare and hair care
In recipes for dressings, food and baked goods

Precautions
ACV should always be diluted with as it is highly acidic and it can cause an upset stomach. It is also important to keep in mind that this acid can cause damage to teeth enamel, so drinking water immediately after ACV is recommended.

Bottom Line
Realistically, ACV will not magically cure cancer or make you lose weight. Nevertheless, it is a healthy household item to have on hand. It can be enjoyed in different ways for different benefits, but healthy lifestyle choices are still necessary in addition to nutritional supplements such as ACV in order to stay on top of your health and feel your best!

When to Ice or Heat an Injury

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Icing or heating an injury, also referred to as cryotherapy and thermotherapy, are quick and affordable ways to get instant relief at home from injuries and pain. While everyone can benefit from quick relief, not everyone has their facts straight when it comes to choosing one over the other.

Knowing the benefits icing or applying heat to specific areas of the body can make all the difference. In fact, it can be the difference between getting the relief you’re looking for or suffering from further pain. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether you need to apply ice or heat and didn’t know the answer to your question, read on…

Thermotherapy: benefits and uses

Thermotherapy, or heat therapy, is a form of relief used by applying heat to a particular area of the body. It is best used for conditions such as muscle pain, stiffness from stress and chronic pain. By increasing the temperature of a particular area you are increasing blood flow and improving flexibility, and it is best used prior to physical activity involving the muscle.

Heat therapy should never be used after physical activity and should never be used on open wounds or inflamed areas. Heat therapy is most useful when applied for longer periods of time, around 15 to 20 minutes,frequently throughout the day. Heat can be applied using heating pads, steamed towels, saunas or warm baths.

Cryotherapy: benefits and uses

Cryotherapy, or cold therapy, provides relief from injuries where the body is experiencing inflammation, redness, heat and swelling. An example of a good situation where cryotherapy is useful is for pulled muscles or IT band syndrome. By increasing the temperature of a particular area, you help calm down superficial tissue that is swollen, stop bleeding and reduce pain. Cold therapy is best applied immediately after an injury and within the first two days.

Cold therapy should not be applied directly on the skin. It is best to cover an ice pack with a towel in order to avoid damaging the skin. Cold should be avoided if you have stiff muscles, joints, or poor circulation. People commonly mistake lower back and neck pain symptoms and applied cold, but applying cold to trigger points can increase pain. Cold therapy is best applied for short periods of time, around 10 to 15 minutes, several times a day.

Bottom line:

Heat and cold therapy are used for very different reasons. The most important step to take before deciding which route to go is to analyze your symptoms and then decide what will work best for pain relief. In some cases, such as people with arthritis, both hot and cold therapy will help provide relief. Heat and cold are only quick ways to get relief from symptoms, if symptoms persist you should see your doctor for further direction.

Swimming Lessons and Physical Health

fdxcSwimming lessons offer a myriad of benefits when it comes to mental and physical health. Whether you’re an adult looking to take on a new hobby or searching for a good after-school activity for your kids, swimming lessons are one to consider. Have you ever wondered how swimming lessons can help you thrive and improve your health? Keep reading to find out!

Full-body workout: One of the top reasons why swimming is great for our health is that it offers a low impact full-body workout. Through regular practice, swimmers are actually able to develop and strengthen pretty much all of their muscles groups.

Anyone can practice: Swimming is versatile meaning there are many levels and styles of practice. This is wonderful due to the fact that anyone from young children to seniors can enjoy the health benefits. In fact, swimming is even safe for women during pregnancy. Although it is encouraged for children to start early, it is never too late to sign up for swimming classes or to pick it up as a hobby!

Improves cardiovascular health: Swimming is a form of cardio, and as mentioned before, it puts very little stress on the body because it is low-impact. With that being said, those who have joint issues or injuries and are looking for ways to keep up with their heart health should look into swimming.

It may help with injuries: Swimming is a great way for those with injuries to bounce back and recover. Swimming is sometimes used as a form of therapy, and those who have permanent issues such as joint issues can enjoy the benefits of being involved in physical activity without further injuring themselves.

It’s great for safety: Not only is swimming an excellent skill to have at all ages, but it also allows the ability to practice a sport that is less likely to cause injuries overall. Due to water buoyancy, our weight is reduced when we are swimming. Therefore, we are less likely to experience stress or injuries due to its low-impact nature.

It’s great for mental health: Swimming is a great physical exercise, but the benefits go well beyond that. One study found that swimmers perform great on aptitude tests and they also tend to be more coordinated. Children who practice swimming are more likely to be more advanced in areas such as reading, writing, and comprehension when compared to those who don’t swim. Swimming also boosts energy levels, helps with insomnia and aids in stress management due to the fact that it is a cardiovascular activity which releases endorphins. It is also considered a fun activity that keeps your mind active, happy and healthy!

Overall, swimming offers a great way to engage and tone the muscles and also keep your mind at its optimum. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never practiced it before, picking up swimming is something which can be done at any stage in life no matter your fitness level. So what are you waiting for? Whether you are looking to practice indoors or outdoors, with a team or solo, you can start enjoying the benefits of swimming today!

Prevent Childhood Obesity by Following These Tips!

821103205070159-repije0njbsvldkxb7lw_height640Whether you’re a new parent or not, one of the most important things to keep up with when raising a child is their health. Young children should be taught important life lessons such as proper hygiene and nutrition early in on in order for them to form healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

A common epidemic we face in our country today is childhood obesity. A lack of exercise, improper nutrition and too much time with technology can all contribute to the epidemic. While many schools and organizations teach young children healthy habits, it’s important to implement them at home as well. Turning meal and exercise time into delicious and fun activities will both motivate and help children to be interested in healthier habits!

When it comes to food, here are a few tips to begin implementing:

  • Swap foods for their healthier counter parts… opt for baked chicken nuggets instead of fried chicken fingers.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar consumption by eliminating artificially-sweetened beverages… encourage kids to drinks water or make natural fruit juices and smoothies together.
  • Increase the amount of veggies consumed… mac and cheese night? Try mixing in extra veggies.
  • Encourage kids to make healthier decisions by packing lunch together and purchasing fresh, healthier snack options such as fruit and nut butters or veggies and hummus.
  • Don’t just encourage children to “eat healthy,” spark up conversations and teach them about why and how eating healthy is important.

Physical activities to try:

  • Sign your children up for after school activities, whether it’s at the school itself or a local institution.
  • Allow them to explore the activities they are interested in whether they are sports, creative arts, cooking, etc.
  • Encourage play time with neighbors and peers.
  • Set an electronics or technology schedule to ensure they are not spending all of their time in front of screens.
  • Participate in activities together over the weekend by going to the beach, pool or even local parks to play sports.

Children who are obese have a higher chance of being teased by their peers, becoming obese as adults and developing other health conditions later on. Fortunately, all of this can be prevented by implemented healthier habits at an early age.