Let’s Detox the nature’s way! – 10 Essential Oils to Detoxify your Body

essential oil

If you look at detoxification as a process through which you help your body in getting rid of all the toxic waste, stress and anxiety, negative thought process and various other harmful organisms, then you are in need of these oils which will let you achieve just what you need. Although many of these oils may not have been clinically tested for it, rest assured you have nothing to worry about since many have given their approval on the magic that these oils work. Here’s a list of 10 essential oils from various sources which you can use to detoxify your body. Sit back and relax and let these oils do their magic.

  1. Peppermint Oil

You can either have a bath using the peppermint oil or even have it directly. If you prefer to have it directly, then a few drops of the oil should do the work. Make yourself a drink with it or if you are find with having it mixed with plain water, which also would be just fine. Taken from the peppermint plant, this oil will help your digestive system to do its job better and also support your respiratory system. You will find peppermint oil as a constituent of various other oils which are used in the same genre.

  1. Mandarin Oil

Mandarin oil is generally extracted from mandarin oranges and this oil has been proven useful in circulation of blood and has shown some promising signs of promoting the growth of new cells and tissues in the body. That in turn would lead to better immunity and will help you keep away from falling sick easily. All you need is a few drops of the mandarin oil in a glass of water and you are good to go.

  1. Juniper Oil

It is extracted from Juniper berries which are a great source of antioxidants. Juniper oil basically targets and aims at bettering your digestive system. Apart from that, it also focuses on alleviating pain and will further be useful in helping you relax your mind while under stress. You can use the juniper oil as a diuretic which will enable you to flush out toxins and the excess amount of water weight and if you have excess of sodium in your body as well. All in all, Juniper oil comes with the essence of the source as well.

  1. Laurel Oil

Yet another oil that is loaded with antioxidants is the Laurel Oil which is extracted from the Laurel leaves. Being rich in antioxidants, the oil will help you in getting rid of a toxic overload. You could try and consume or use the laurel leaves or try the oil and get the same amount of benefits out of it. You can either consume the oil directly or through a diffuser which will let your body take it through the respiratory track. Being a detox oil, it targets in cleaning your digestive system before anything else.

  1. Rosemary Oil

Having multiple ways of usage, Rosemary oil can be either used in a bath, inhaled or even be given a massage with. Just by taking the prominent properties of rosemary which can be easily found in your kitchen and putting it into an essential oil will give you benefits such as digestion improvement, better circulation, etc. The oil can even make you feel better and has been showing effective signs in waving off ailments such as cancer and even the state of memory loss. However, this does not mean you give up on everything else and stick to the oil.

  1. Grapefruit Oil

This oil has had a great impact on human lives. It has been helpful in killing off viruses within the body and even microbes that reside in the body and which may cause problems in the future. If you have not feel using this oil, it is high time you start it and can use it on a daily basis and it will in turn help you in keeping yourself healthy. It must come as a surprise to you that you didn’t know so much about it even though you keep eating so many grapefruits. Extraction of oil from the grapefruit you eat impacts your body leading to wellness.

  1. Helichrysum Oil

Skin is the largest organ of the body and is of utmost importance for survival. Without skin, there would be no adaptations to the climate and no ways of keeping your inner organs protected. Helichrysum oil targets just the right place, the skin. Coming from the sunflower clan, this oil has a wide range of benefits and a majority of them cater to your skin and given the importance of skin, it will help you keep it as healthy as possible. It also lowers the inflammation of the body and will help you regenerate cells.

  1. Lemon Oil

Lemon oil is generally added widely into cleaning products which end up giving out a pleasant odor and also give a fresh and clean feeling. Lemons are usually used as disinfectants and the oils are in no way different. Having a wide range of uses such as minimizing cramps during menstruation, sleepless nights, stomach upset, etc. makes the lemon oil one of the most important one among the list of essential oils. Using it in your baths or making a shake and consuming it will make you feel way better.

  1. Tea Tree Oil

Firstly, it is important to note that this oil is not meant for direct consumption and is best suited for tropical application on the body. Hence, do not make a mistake of taking it in directly. It is prominently known as a skin curative and is an effective oil which is used in detoxing the body. This superman of oils can handle and protect you from almost anything and everything such as viruses and bacterial infections to common cold. Tea Tree oil is one of the most on demand essential oils for that reason.

  1. Hyssop Oil

You may have not heard of it as much before, but once you get yourself aware about the benefits of the oil, you will see as to why it is so important. Since the process of detoxification starts with focus on digestive system, this oil treats the digestive issues you may have. Since digestion is one of the main ways though which all the toxic will exit, major focus of hyssop oil lies on the lines of the digestive system only and using the essential oil will help you move towards better health.

These are merely a list of 10 essential oils out of the thousands that are in existence. If the oil that you wish to use is not available in your locality, you can use references and find an oil closer to the one you need and purchase it. Detoxifying your body is one of the most required things for your body and your body definitely deserves that much amount of care from you. So go ahead and start your journey towards a healthy life. Be cautious of what you do with your body and make sure you know what it needs.

Smile at Summer! – 8 Health Tips to Help Keep your Calm this Summer

Summer

Summer’s here and we all know what that means. While you may be thinking of beaches and sun baths and lots of ice cream to have, you may also want to consider the sweat, exhaustion, dehydration and heat strokes. If you want to enjoy the first set of illustrations this summer, then you will need to keep yourself cool and calm and that is not so easy with all the work and kids and the amount of time you will spend outside the house. Hence, you need a few things that will help you out and they are called tips. Here are some health tips for you to follow to keep your cool this summer rather than blowing it off on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

  1. Wear light colored clothes.

It is understandable that you want to look your best to work and maybe you do look speechless in a black dress. But you might be the only one to be in black and you will not find it fascinating when people look at you sweating all through that hot and happening outfit. We all know that dark colors attract more sunlight and in turn will leave your body at boiling temperatures. Hence, be smart and opt for light colored dresses and outfits and also while you do pick them out, make sure they are a bit loose than usual. The loose outfits will help you in breathing when you are sweating due to the heat and you have your clothes sticking on to you.

  1. Change your workout routine.

Your enthusiasm and zeal towards fitness is well appreciated but it would be a smart thing to alter your workout routine. Firstly, the timings of your workout need to be shifted to the time when it is much cooler outside and this is applicable especially to the ones who go on a jog or run. Also, downscaling to brisk walking instead of jogging till the temperature cools down would help you. Do not stop working out due to the heat even if you just started. Adjust, adapt and overcome it. In the passion for maintaining your fitness, do not end up fainting on the sidewalk due to the dehydration.

  1. A handy spray bottle in the refrigerator.

The amount of variation you experience in terms of heat and temperature in summer varies drastically. What may help you blow it off a bit is spraying some cold water all over your face and wiping it off. If you have just entered your home after a long day of work, then you can always walk up to the refrigerator and spray some cold droplets. How pleasurable will that be on a hot afternoon? Well, only if you fill it up and out it in the refrigerator.

  1. Shower more often.

If you take baths, it’s time to shift to having showers. You need to get your whole body cooled down and also get rid of all the dust and sweat that has settled on your body. So, shower and shower twice or thrice a day if you feel like. Taking a shower whenever you feel like will keep you in check with your body temperature and keep you fresh and active all through the day. However, be a little watchful so that you do not waste a lot of water but make sure you make the most of your shower time.

  1. Portable Fans.

You could get yourself a portable fan and you will be finding it quite a handy thing to have when you are dripping of sweat beads or even being fried due to the heat. These battery operated hand fans are widely available and can be purchased at almost no cost at all. Also, you may improvise by attaching the fan to a bottle of cool water and you will end up having yourself sprayed by some cool mist. Try and improvise and you will be on your way to beat the heat.

  1. Drink lots of fluids.

You already know it but you need to keep in mind that it is not just any fluids. To be specific, drink lots of cold fluids and keep away from alcohol and caffeine at any cost. Products containing caffeine and alcohol will make you dehydrated and leave you wanting for more fluids. Pretty much opposite of what we are trying to do here. Drinks lots of fluid and make sure that you consume more of water than any other form of fluid. Water being a natural electrolytic solution will keep your energy up and if you wish, you could also use some electrolytic mix in it to make it tastier and little richer in energy for your needs for the day.

  1. Watch what you eat.

You may not be paying much attention, but what you are eating is also playing a direct role in the process of your dehydration and hunger. You need to eat more water and fiber based fruits which control the heat growth of your body and make sure that you tend to maintain your body temperature as low as possible. Fruits such as watermelon will keep the water content in your body at a good level and bananas will ensure you get the instant energy you may need at any point of time during the course of the day. Also, coconut water acts as a source of energy. Hence, make it a point to eat lots of fruits at periodical intervals of time and keep yourself in great shape.

  1. Air conditioning.

Yeah, you are already looking for a source of air conditioning everywhere you go. Try and get yourself in to an air conditioned atmosphere as much as possible during the given time frame you spend outdoors. Be it in the car while travelling or a meeting with a client in a decent and cooled place. If you are making some trips with your clients to make a deal, then you need to keep it all under the roofs and with the chilled air to keep it running smoothly. Nothing is a spoil sport more than a sweaty day filled with irritation and frustration.

Those were the tips you could take to beat the heat this time. However, if you have figured out a few more ways to do so, do not hesitate to try them out. Other than the tips given, the usual routines of carrying your umbrella everywhere you go to save yourself from a heat stroke, a bottle of ice that will later turn into chilled water during the course of the day are to be followed depending on your time at disposal. It would be helpful to note that there are a great number of heat strokes that get reported every single day and it impacts people in a great way. Make sure you do not get yourself in such a situation and always keep in check with regard to what you wear, eat and carry along with you wherever you go. Having some instant sources of energy to use while going through a dehydration phase is what will help you out. So, be smart and you will be able to outsmart the heat wave in no time at all.

Essential Herbs Vital For Liver Health And Longevity

To date, there is no cure for liver cancer. Specific herbs may not be able to cure someone who has liver cancer, but they may help those individuals suffering from either cancer or liver disease.  

Helping to flush the body of toxins, and to increase the immune response, specific herbs may be the key to helping bodily functions work more efficiently when the liver is unable to filter properly. Astragalus may be the key to helping liver patients cope with the consequences of liver disease and the effects of it to their overall health.

Astragalus is a herb that is showing great promise to aid those who are dealing with both, liver diseases and those who are taking chemotherapy for liver cancer. When used in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs, patients are showing an increase in production of healthy blood cell counts.

That not only makes it unlikely that chemo will have to be halted due to low immunity or other side effects of chemotherapy, but it can also help to decrease the negative side effects of radiation and surgery for metastasized liver diseases and cancers. Taking the astragalus herb may also aid in the increase of energy and help to fight against the fatigue that plague many chemotherapy patients.

Many patients who have poor liver function also have problems with fluid retention. Liver diseases often coincide with poor heart function that can lead to congestive heart failure and endemic conditions. Astragalus has been shown to decrease edema in the body and help with overall heart and cardiac processes.

The Astragalus root has long been linked to positive heart benefits. Also known as Milk Vetch or Huang Qi, it is the product of a legume or bean type plant. There are a vast number of different astragalus species. They all work by stimulating the immune response in the individual.

They also have an antioxidant effect that helps to halt the progression of free radical damage. Free radicals are those things that break down the cell and speed up the aging process. Astragalus root works in the body by reducing the production of these free radicals within the cell.

A dietary supplement, Astragalus has been traditionally indicated for help with the immune system response. It is also used to help with respiratory conditions, diabetes, and fibromyalgia. Thought to protect the cardiovascular system and heart from free radical damage, it has also been useful for nervous conditions, low blood sugar and blood pressure conditions.

Those who believe in the benefit of the root insist it has potential benefits for those suffering with conditions of the lungs, spleen, urinary tract system and circulatory system. The evidence is still not conclusive to the safety or effectiveness of taking the Astragalus root in high doses.

One of the limitations to the Astragalus root is that there is no standard for administration. Without specific guidelines about how to administer, there is the potential for overdosing as well as underusing.

New findings from eye glasses Winnipeg, suggest that due to the way that the root works, it may be an excellent way to overcome not only liver disease and the consequence of it but other diseases as well. Working in much the same way as it does in liver cancer patients, anyone who is receiving chemotherapy may benefit from its use.

There are studies that show that too much of a good thing may be harmful to your health. High doses of Astragalus may lead to exactly the opposite of what you expect. Too much Astragalus root supplementation may lead to suppression of the immune system leaving the body vulnerable to disease.

It is possible that if a patient is already taking drugs for a compromised immune system, Astragalus may potentially interact with the drugs ability to work effectively.

Astragalus is also counterintuitive to those who are pregnant, or if an individual has been diagnosed with any autoimmune underlying condition. Patients with immune system diseases such as Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, or SLE are encouraged not to supplement with the Astragalus root for fear that it may interact with medications they are already receiving.

As with the use of any supplementation, if you have any underlying condition, it is important to ensure that you are not impinging the effectiveness of other medications that you may be taking. Always discuss the benefits and risks to any herb supplementation with a physician, especially if you are under the supervision of a medical professional or undergoing any therapy for a specific medical condition.

Could His Smartphone Be To Blamed For Your Infertility?

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Look around any subway train and what you will see is a population immersed in their smartphone. There are very few people that leave home without it. Rumours about the harmful nature of the radiation our cell phones emit have been floating around medical circles for decades, but it is hard to decipher what is real and what is paranoia.

From brain cancer to dementia, the new suspicion linked to cell phones, and the radiation it gives off, may be your inability to conceive. Could your partner’s habit of keeping his phone in his pocket be the reason for your conception problems? New studies are indicating yes.

Fertility experts are now counselling their male patients that it only takes about an hour a day to literally “cook” sperm. Studies are revealing that holding your cell phone next to your testicles can significantly lower your sperm cell count. By placing your cell phone within just a foot from your penile area can reduce your sperm production so low that it can be a major disruption to your fertility and conception probability.

A new study released this month done by assisted living Winnipeg officials, found that men who kept their cell phone in their pocket throughout the day had a 47 percent likelihood of decreased fertility as opposed to just 11 percent in the regular population. Significant findings, doctors are now making recommendations about where to house your cell phone, which is far away from the testicular region.

The results of studies show that when they compared men who kept their cell phone in their pocket, what they found was that not only was the quantity of the sperm reduced but so too was the quality. That makes it less likely that it will lead to a fertilized egg or a healthy pregnancy.

Suspect is the electromagnetic activity of the phone, which works by heating up the sperm in the same manner that wearing tight underwear does when keeping the testicles too close to the body. The only difference is that the cell phone is literally microwaving the sperm. The study consisted of over 100 men over the course of a year who were experiencing fertility problems in one clinic.

In addition, they found that many men who had a reduction in sperm cells also talked on the phone when it was on the charger and slept with the phone close to their bedside at night time. Not only keeping it close to the testicles, there was evidence to suggest that keeping it on the nightstand was harmful as well.

The cell phone may be the missing link to discovering why men in Western countries are finding their sperm production increasingly decreased. There are estimates that over 40% of the causes of infertility stem from a low sperm cell count. Could it be that the cell phone may ultimately lead to a drop off in our population?

Many scientists are adding this to the list of why men should deal with, and overcome, their cellular phone addiction. Needing to have it near them or on them every minute of the day, is not only a risk to their procreation, but there has also got to be other health concerns from the radiation that the device gives off. Many doctors are beginning to call men out and ask the question whether being so attached to their phone is really healthy at all.

The theory is that men carry their cell phone in their pocket more regularly than women, and it is giving those having trouble conceiving pause. Women, however, are not immune to cell phone addiction, and although not carrying it in their pocket as frequently as men, there has to be some effect of having it on them throughout the day or when they sleep.

Since we now know that cell phone usage, and carrying it with you all day, may be responsible for a man’s fertility, more research should probably be focused on exactly how it is affecting a woman’s ability to conceive. Unlike men, if a woman’s eggs are damaged, they aren’t replenished. It may be just as critical, if not more so, for women to be conscious about their own cell phone use and where they choose to house it.

It is always best to err on the side of caution. If you are a couple trying to conceive, the best advice would be to carry your cell phone away from your body and leave your cell phone downstairs when you go to bed at night. You should be engaging in other activities instead of answering your text messages if you are trying to have a baby anyway.

6 Tips to Stay Healthy and Fit in the summer

summer

The days of summer can get long, unending and frequently unbearable. It’s very easy to just give up and laze around on such days rather than battle all the sweat and the heat. This tendency to ditch all work and lay back can be pretty harmful to our health if we’re not careful. Lethargy leads to weight gain, and rapid weight gain is the breeding ground for several diseases. And as it is, it’s not possible for all of us adopt a laid back attitude during the whole of the season because our work makes it difficult for us to do that. Apart from the obvious physical effects of the scorching heat of the summer days, it can have dire consequences for our mental health too. There’s such a thing as summer seasonal affective disorder which can spell disasters for the well being of those affected by it.

That’s why it’s of great significance that you take special care to look after your health in the summer.

  • #1 rule of summer: stay hydrated 24×7. Due to excessive sweating and exposure to the sun, your body is bound to lose a lot of essential fluids in a very short span of time in the heat of the summer. It’s essential to drink two to three liters of water every day to keep up the energy and allow the body to stay in working order. Your body is prone to dehydration in the summer and that can have many ill effects starting from headaches to exhaustion. To avoid things like that, make sure to stay hydrated at all times.
  • Work out. If you’re already on a routine, don’t stop now. If you’re not, now would be a good time to start. It’s easy to veg out on the couch in these long, hot days but ultimately it’s bad for your health. You might gain weight from lying around all day and that will open the door to all kinds of diseases. Physical exercises like running, walking, biking can be great for your body to stay fit in the summer.
  • Stay off the junk food. Don’t try to satiate your hunger by consuming lots of junk food. Junk food has high levels of cholesterol and trans fat, and are generally cooked in grease that can be detrimental to your health. It will make you sweat profusely and will certainly not help with staying in shape.
  • Watch what you drink. It’s a good idea to stay off sodas, carbonated drinks, smoothies will lots of added preservatives, coffee and alcohol in the summer. While these may help quench your thirst for a period of time, they’re not substitute for healthy drinks as they can harm your body in several ways.
  • Fresh fruits are your friends. Eating lots of juicy fruits is a great way to battle the heat in the summer. Watermelons, apples, bananas, oranges, lemons etc. boost your energy and replenish essential fluids in your body. By eating fresh fruits you can fill your appetite in a way that lets you be full of energy and vigor. Eating healthy can be a very useful way to stay healthy in summer.

 

Essentials of a Healthy Lifestyle

healthy lifestyle

There’s a popular misconception that a healthy lifestyle only involves working out. For some people that idea stretches to eating well but that’s pretty much all it encompasses. This is, however, far from the actual truth. A healthy life style is about much more than shedding weight or exercise. On the contrary it’s about giving your body enough of all the things it needs to remain in good working order. If studied like a machine, a human body like any other mechanical form needs several things like essential minerals, vitamins, protein for the organs to work. It also needs the right amount of rest and stimulation for its well being.

Thus while working out makes for an essential part of living healthy, it does not assure all the aspects of good health.

  • Always keep yourself fit and in shape.

While we keep stressing that this is not the only aspect of a healthy lifestyle, it’s very important to note that is a significantly necessary aspect of it all the same. Whether you’re overweight, obese or none of those things, everyone benefits greatly from physical workouts done on a regular basis. Due to work or school, lots of people are unable to work out every day and that’s fine. You need to make sure you move at least three to four days a week – be it through gymming, walking, biking, swimming, running or dancing. Human bodies are not meant to stew at a desk or in front of a TV or computer screen. Apart from keeping you in shape, working out will also release many useful, essential chemicals that would ensure a long and happy life for you.

  • Eating and drinking healthy is of utmost importance.

It’s imperative that you are careful about what you put in your body at all times. Food that’s rich in trans fat and cholesterol can cause massive amounts of damage to your heart and many other internal organs. Drinking copious amounts of unhealthy drinks like alcohol can hurt your liver, kidneys and other parts. Over-consumption of caffeine harms the brain in many ways. There are lots of different kinds of food that will readily lead you down a path of self destruction by cause irreparable damage to your body and brain. That’s why it’s so important to take care of what you eat and regulate the portions of the food you consume. Make sure to include vegetables, fruits and milk in your meals as they have most of the elements your body needs to function well.

  • All work and no play…

Not only does overworking make you dull, it also leads to fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, obesity and many other problems which can prove to be fatal. It’s important to strike a balance between work and recreation to be able to live a healthy, fulfilling life. The brain, especially, sustains a lot of damage from working too much as it doesn’t get the rest it needs. This might lead to many mental disorders and ailments, many of which have no known cure yet. Watch a movie or read a book, spend some time off with your family and friends, host a party or do karaoke. Always make sure to set aside some time every day to do things you love.

  • Ditch all your bad habits.

Bad habits like smoking, binge-drinking, abuse of addictive substances, etc. make for extremely unhealthy lives. These bad habits often have fatal consequences as most of them can be directly linked to failing of several organs, cancer and even death from overdosing. From a young age it’s important to stay clean of any such habits. If you’re someone who wants to ditch any of these habits or are recovering from them, there are experts, support groups and online communities to help you live a healthy life.

  • Remember to get regular check-ups.

It’s necessary that you’re always aware of what’s happening to your body and your mind. Always make sure to schedule and follow through on doctor’s and dentist’s appointment. If you’ve ever struggled with, are currently battling or fear you might face mental illnesses, don’t hesitate to talk to professional psychiatric doctors about what you’re feeling. Ignoring health problems never makes them go away.

Obese or Not, Here’s 6 Reasons Why You Need to Stay Fit

Fitness

With the help of technology in this day and age, our lives have come to such a place where we can get by with little movements every single day. Even the idea of hard work today doesn’t have to include any form of physical labor. Almost everything is remote controlled and nearly everyone has a taxing day job. Even the ones with the best intentions to look after their bodies find themselves unable to do so because of the pressures of their jobs which keep them busy for nearly the entirety of every day.

Many people mistakenly assume that because they are in good shape they don’t need to make any extra effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This can prove to be a big blunder. Staying healthy is not just about losing weight, it involves many more factors. Being physically inactive, while keeping a slim figure, may lead to many cardiovascular diseases, mental illnesses and risk of other ailments as well.

It doesn’t matter if you’re obese or not, daily physical workouts to stay fit can be very beneficial to your health in the long run. There are countless reasons to continue to stay fit no matter what shape your body is in.

  • To increase your life span.

Activities that let you stay fit like working out and eating healthy also slow down the aging process of your body. You should make the maximum effort to stay fit so you can live a long and healthy life.

  • To avoid incurring excess medical costs.

Lack of fitness leads to fostering poor health in a person. A person who stays in shape will be ill less often than someone who does not. Consequently they will not have to spend excess money on medication, treatment and hospital bills both in everyday life and in their future. Staying fit is a financially wise lifestyle choice.

  • To have a healthy brain.

The human brain is prone to mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, anger and anxiety disorders as well as personality disorders. But indulging in physical exercises and following a healthy diet plans keeps the entire body, which includes the brain, in a great condition.

  • To perform better in all aspects of life.

If you live a healthy life, you will be able to get better at whatever you do – whether it is at work, school, art etc. Physical fitness fills us with lots of energy and mental clarity which ensures we are capable of performing all activities successfully.

  • To live an active, exciting life.

Staying fit is the only way of unlocking your full potential. It lets you feel more confident about yourself, have more energy and generally carry a positive outlook in your life by minimizing chances of mood swings. It’s the recipe for a perfect life.

  • For a healthy heart.

These activities are very good for the human heart as it improves blood circulation in the mood and makes sure that it is in perfect working order. For these reasons, staying fit dramatically reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks.

How Cutting down on your Food Intake can be more Harmful than Useful

diet

One of the most important aspects of getting in shape is eating healthy. It doesn’t matter how many hours every day you put into working out, if you don’t eat healthy, all the hard work will not bear fruit. Even if you do end up losing weight, it’s unlikely that you’ll lose as much as you want to. The reason for that is that mere physical exercise is not enough to shed the extra fat you’ve accumulated in your body over the years. Consuming the right amount of food is the key to losing weight and staying healthy.

Therefore, dieting is a must for good health.

However, it’s a little more complicated than most people believe it to be. It doesn’t involve eating less of the same food every day. A well balanced diet is a necessity for good health and you should not make compromises with it.

A lot of people think that dieting means eating less food. This could not be further from the truth. Cutting down on your food willy-nilly can not only be useless, but also counterproductive and downright dangerous. The food we consume on a daily basis is our only source of energy. The process of digestion happens so the food can be broken down and the energy within released to provide fuel for our body’s everyday functions. If this is deducted without proper examination, you’ll be putting your body in extreme danger. For starters, your body will not have enough energy to perform even the most ordinary activities. You’ll be prone to getting tired more easily and will need to sleep more often than what’s usual.

That’s not all. If you cut down on your food intake suddenly, your body’s immunity will suffer greatly. The lack of necessary vitamins, proteins and other minerals will chip away at you until you’re in real danger of bad health. Our bodies require a certain amount of food to stay upright and remain functional. Without that amount of food, its chances of collapsing from various physical and even mental illnesses increase exponentially.

Lethargy and a failed immune system are just two of the most common effects of a badly planned “diet”.

That is why a balanced diet is recommended for anyone who is looking to get in shape or just maintain good health. Even if you think you’re capable of mapping out a diet plan for yourself, it’s always better to go to an expert for help. Experts know all about body mass index, necessary calorie intake and how different genetic factors work into ideal body weights. They can take all the important factors into account and come up with a unique diet that’s just right for you. Experimenting on your own with something as crucial to your life and good health must be avoided at all costs.

Enjoying the Green Gym

outdoor-gym

Fitness centres, such as swimming pools and health clubs are great for providing us with warm, comfortable environments to carry out our exercise programmes, especially during the dark winter months but, when the sun is shining and the weather is warm, it is worth considering what the great outdoors has to offer. In an earlier article, we spoke about finding alternatives to the gym, well here are some more ideas to help you benefit from natureís gym.

As spring and summer approaches, it is time to think about getting outside and enjoying all the benefits of exercising in the great outdoors. And it is also worth remembering that not only is exercise good for you physically, but there is a body of evidence that suggests that getting a regular dose of vitamin D from the sun’s rays will improve your mental health as well. The online health journal Environmental Health Perspectives, has linked higher vitamin D levels, from exposure to sunlight, with serotonin production ñ serotonin being a mood enhancer. While EHP warns of the dangers of excessive sunlight, it seems some daily sunlight can improve your mood. So, the message is: slip on your trainers but remember to slap on your sun-screen and have a go at some of these fun, energetic and exciting activities. And, of course, the beauty of many of these activities is that they are free or cheap to do.

Walking to fitness

The easiest and cheapest activity you can do is to get out and walk. A 20-minute walk every day could have a number of health benefits. It improves muscle endurance and strength in the lower body; it is good for the bones and improves the body’s cardiovascular system.

Besides the health benefits, walking can offer so much more. Walking allows you to explore your neighbourhood and see it through fresh eyes, you can organise to meet with friends and add a coffee break to your route, you can combine walking with your chores ñ walk to get a newspaper or post a letter. Getting off the bus or train one stop early could offer you the chance to get a walk in before work, meaning you arrive at your workplace with your heart rate pumping and the blood pumping around your body.

If you want to increase the challenge of your daily walk, consider joining a Nordic Walking group. This is a slightly more hard-core version of walking. Nordic Walking uses poles, so that walkers get an upper body work out as well. The poles, which are specially constructed for this activity, take the weight off your knees and lower body joints and make you walk with your shoulders and upper body well-balanced.

All the skill, all the thrill

For a step out of the ordinary, get your friends out for an impromptu game of frisbee. This a great way to get involved in competitive sport as well as enjoy socialising with friends. The constant catching, throwing, running and changing direction hits so many fitness buttons ñ co-ordination, balance, speed, endurance to name a few.

Getting creative with fitness

The obvious problem with any group activity, such as frisbee, is the need for a certain number of players. Usually, you will be alone or with just a couple of companions when you are getting your exercise. But that doesn’t mean your activity must stick to one routine or become boring. By thinking outside the box, you may discover all sorts of ways to stay active. One idea is to use your local environment to create your own outdoor gym. All you really need for an effective workout is a space in which to move. This might be a local park, a wooded area, a beach or even your own back garden.

You can design a circuit that you do regularly or you can devise some new activities every time you step outside your door. Here are a few ideas:

  • Jump repeatedly over a log or low fence – this will work your lower limbs and hip flexors.
  • Do pull-ups on an overhead branch or bar. This action will stretch your back mus cles and work your shoulder and arm muscles.
  • Do pace change activities between natural markers. You can use trees, bushes, rocks or or any definable object to do some change of pace work. Jog until you reach your first marker, run more briskly to the next object and then go as fast as you feel you can to the next marker. Repeat this for a set number of times.

Release Your Inner Chi

inner chi

Have you ever wondered just what the group of people are doing as they stand quietly in the corner of a park or open space and oh-so-slowly move their limbs, one-by-one in a gently, circling motion. The whole image is one of balance and serenity.

The likelihood is they are taking part in the ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi and, with a growing body of evidence in favour of the activity, it seems they are on to something when it comes to healthy living.

ëTai Chi helps promote inner strength,í says Tai Chi expert Dr Paul Lam who is based at the University of Sydney in Australia. ëWhen you are doing Tai Chi, think of your body as a river; it appears calm and relaxed but has a strong current under the surface.í

No matter what your level of activity and fitness, Tai Chi is good for balance and fitness but if you happen to be recovering from injury or suffer arthritis or other muscular or joint pain, then new research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that Tai Chi is an activity that can really help reduce pain and stiffness.

Just what is Tai Chi? Is there rhyme or reason for those somewhat hypnotic movements that seem to have sent the participant into a deep trance?

Well, it is an activity that has stood the test of time. The martial art was first performed in China in the 13th century, and the deep breathing, relaxation and slow movements are not so far removed from those of 800 years ago. Tai Chi, then and now, comprises graceful, expansive, continuous movements that are actually a series of poses flowing from one body part to another.

There are a number of variations within Tai Chi, these include Yang ñ the oldest Tai Chi style, and Chen, a vigorous form of the martial art that really stretches even the fittest and most athletic.

While Tai Chi has been enthusiastically adopted in Western countries, it is very much an activity with ancient Chinese roots. In Chinese medicine, Chi is known as the flow of health and vitality through the body. If your Chi encounters a blockage, then it is weakened. Tai Chi is a way to improving and strengthening your Chi.

Here are two examples of warm-up activities:

Mobilising the upper body

Stand or sit, with feet shoulder distance apart. Relax your neck and let your chin drop naturally towards your chest. Slowly raise both arms until they are fully extended in front of you. Turn your hands so palms are upwards and pull your hands slowly to your chest. Hold for a second, then push your hands back to full extension. Repeat this. When pulling and pushing, hold your muscle tension so there is a slight resistance to the move.

Stretching the lower body

Raise your hands so they are extended in front of you. Now slowly lower your arms and step forward with one leg and place your heel on the floor. As you raise your arms again, move the same foot backwards as far as you can behind you. Touch your toe to the floor. Repeat this movement a few times, reaching your foot further in front and behind you. Repeat this exercise on the other side of your body.

The beauty of Tai Chi

The beauty of Tai Chi is that it can be done just about anywhere ñ in the gym,†maybe there is an area in your house that you use as a home gym with a personal trainer, or in a quiet outdoor space as a home gym. It is also an activity that needs little specific kit or clothing. Comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely are perfect, and it is a good idea to wear layers so you can remove clothes when you get warm. Whether you are a healthy athlete or sports person or someone coming back to exercise after illness, injury or just time away, Tai Chi is a great way to de-stress and find balance in your body.