Health & Wellness Blog

    

Reasons Why You Should Start Running

Running is one of the most popular ways to achieve a slimmer body. But aside from burning calories and losing weight, there are several benefits to running that many individuals are unaware of. Running provides a wide range of health advantages, from improving one’s physical and biological processes to enhancing one’s sex life.

In most cases, people run to manage their weight. Compared to other forms of exercise, running is an activity that expends a lot of calories in little time. This makes it a great avenue to maintain or reduce one’s weight.

Almost immediately after starting a running program, most newcomers experience tremendous sensations that correlate to better health and overall well-being. This is primarily the result of how running improves cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and strengthening heart muscles. This promotes better blood circulation, and therefore, better delivery of oxygen to the various vital organs of the body. Because of this, many health benefits are derived, including mental alertness and better sexual health.

As people age, mental alertness can noticeably diminish. Running regularly can significantly enhance mental health in many ways. The deliverance of adequate amounts of oxygen to the brain keeps brain cells constantly active, and thus healthier. As result, individuals can counter mental degeneration and sustain a sharper, more alert sense in spite of advancing age.

Also a physical benefit of running is the ability to better one’s emotional health. Endorphins, which are dubbed the body's “feel-good hormones”, are released in full-force during and after a run. This natural release of endorphins, which is often referred to as the “runners high,” helps individuals cope and manage stress, fend off depression, and live more happy and uplifting lives. Running also helps people realize a better sense of control in their lives, and therefore, acquire a better perspective to living.

In accordance to the cardiovascular benefits of running is the ability for runners to enjoy an enhanced sex life. Studies have revealed that older men who run regularly perform better as well as participate more often in sexual activities (as opposed to men who do not run.) In addition, similar studies have found that older women who run have higher libidos, and thus experience better orgasms.

Most people who take on running are not only looking to improve longevity and health for their future, but also maintain a better quality of life in the way that they currently live. Running as a form of exercise offers enormous benefits to health, which in turn can improve attractiveness and self-confidence. So if you want to enjoy what life has to offer with a lighter step and a youthful bloom on your cheeks, consider taking up running as your preferred form of exercise.

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Five Easy Steps To Better Heart Health

Maintaining cardiovascular health is essential for a long and full life. There are five simple ways to ensure that the heart functions perfectly. It includes getting adequate exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, avoidance of bad habits, taking dietary supplements and allotting time for relaxation.

Exercise Regularly

Getting enough cardiovascular exercise tops the list for maintaining great cardio health. Experts recommend doing thirty minutes of cardio exercise, three times a week. Anything less than that and you're not getting enough. Cardiac diseases can develop early in people with sedentary work and lifestyles, so take every opportunity to get up and move.

Choose the Right Foods

A well-balanced diet is a must for good heart health. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and other low fat, high fiber options. Go easy on the grease and salt, and only consumer fatty foods rich in good fats, such as Omega-3’s, which help promote cardiac health.

Get Rid of Bad Habits

This is easier said than done but to e,nsure good cardio health, getting rid of alcohol and smoking habits is necessary. From prescription medications to hypnosis, there are many ways to quit smoking if you need help. Alcohol in excessive amounts is harmful to the heart. Moderate drinking is acceptable but if you exceed two drinks per day, you'll need to cut back.

Take Supplements

Dietary supplements support cardiovascular health by filling up the gaps on your diet. The vitamins and minerals that are contained in a multi-vitamin preparation keeps heart muscles healthy and should be included as part of your daily regimen.

Relax

Stress affects everyone but to enhance cardiac health, you have to learn how to cope with it well. One way to counteract stress is through exercise. But be sure to follow it up with some down time to make your body recuperate. Learn to relax your mind as well as your body to keep your heart working at its best. You can achieve excellent cardiovascular health with these five simple tips. Following these, you'll not only get a strong heart, you'll look and feel good in the process.

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Take Deeper Breaths

It might sound simple, but on an unconscious level, it is not. Many of us have grown habitual to shallow breathing. That is, we take small breaths that use only a portion of our lung’s capacity. But with practice, as well as consciousness (awareness) we can train of bodies to breathe deeply without even thinking about it.

Benefits of Deeper Breathing

Breathing is the source of life. The moment we are pulled from the womb and released into the world we take our first full breath of oxygen. But as we grow older, our primal physical functioning tends to taper. Unfortunately for many, strong breathing using the full lung’s capacity is often hindered.

Training yourself to breathe from the bottom of your lungs has a number of benefits. Not only does better breathing help from a physical perspective, but it also contributes to greater stability of our emotions and enhanced sharpness of the mind. There are two great things that happen to the body when we breathe to our fullest.

The more obvious of the two is increased oxygen. More air flowing into our lungs promotes better delivery of oxygen throughout the body. This results in many benefits in its own such as improved healing capabilities and better brain functioning.

The second physical benefit of taking deeper breaths stems from the muscles that control the diaphragm. These muscles, such as the intercostals muscles, correlate to proper core functioning, and thus influence other important movements of the body, even walking and running. When these muscles remain idle due to chronic shallow breathing habits, inhibited core functioning is the result. This can lead to improper mobility which can later result in a confusing cause of injury.

Our minds and emotions are also greatly impacted by our breathing habits. Aside from the biological aspects of more oxygen going to the brain, many find greater breathing to contribute to a higher sense of awareness. When we feel ourselves taking in slow, deep breaths, we are more in-tune with ourselves. This can help us in many ways, both spiritually and for greater peace of mind.

Improving Your Breathing Subconsciously

In order to improve upon almost anything subconsciously (or without having to focus or be aware) one must practice at the conscious level. When it comes to deeper breathing, sometimes it takes more than just paying close attention.

You can significantly achieve better breathing habits by taking ten minutes out of day to simply breathe. Dedicate this time to consciously breathe while resting comfortably on the floor. Be mindful of every deep breath you take. You can even experiment with taking in a breath, holding it in, and pushing the air to different areas of your diaphragm. This can help you realize better control of your intercostals as well as other parts of your body.

The essence of deeper breathing is the foundation to many practices, such as Yoga and several forms of meditation. It is the center of life as well as the center of our bodies. To take deeper breaths habitually, one must become more aware, so start on your path to deeper breathing on a more subconscious level.

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6 Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season

It’s that time of the year when you want a break from your routines. You are in a festive mood, and with a little vacation time, it’s difficult to maintain discipline. And with all the holiday temptations, finding time to exercise is even more essential.

How can you make the most of your healthy endeavors during the busy holiday season?

It is important to understand and accept that the holiday season makes it hard to stick to healthy food and a regular exercise program. While it is hard, it is definitely not impossible to find discipline and techniques to stay in shape and choose healthy food options wherever possible.

Below are 6 tips for a healthier holiday season

  1. Combine exercise with family time on a holiday vacations. Go on a backpacking trip, skiing, sledding trip, or some kind of fun thing which involves physical activity with the family. Aside from exercise, your family gets quality time together with loved ones.
  2. Bring to mind that poster or image of your favorite celebrity or aspiring icon whose sexy body that you dream to possess. Each time you see unhealthy foods, this will be a conscious reminder to stop yourself from going overboard.
  3. Make few adjustments and find alternative physical activities to keep you fit. For example, The day you find yourself making excuses of avoiding your routine workouts, get creative with an at home exercise plan. You could do some jogging around the house, do stretching exercises or yoga, crunches and push-ups, or use a fitness DVD to do guided workouts to help you through.
  4. If you go shopping, make a plan to walk as much as possible. This includes taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and parking your car far from the exit of the mall.
  5. High sugar and high fat temptations will present themselves at almost every holiday season party. Consciously say aloud “no” each time you try to reach out for second helpings. This can help you fend off holiday weight gain.
  6. Getting up an hour earlier than usual to exercise or go running is a great idea during the holiday season. Not only will this help you ignite your metabolism, but the feeling of an early morning accomplishment can leave your feeling great all day.

The busy holiday season is bound to be fought with temptations. There may be a slip between the lip and the mind, but don’t beat yourself up over it. It is alright to allow yourself to ‘cheat’ at times when you get a little slack. However what is most important is to have the right attitude towards your health, your diet, and your exercise program.

Do not give up if you falter on your diet or exercise temporarily. Stay positive. Be aware that if you do fall off the exercise bandwagon, there's no reason not to climb back aboard once your holidays are over.

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5 Benefits of Barefoot Running

More and more runners are going shoeless and embracing the barefoot running culture. Although barefoot running is not new, it has recently came in to spotlight after lot of research and exploration on the concept.

According to a study on barefoot running by Daniel E. Lieberman, a Harvard Professor, it was found that people wearing running shoes are more prone to strike the ground with their heel first. This results in tremendous impact on knee and ankle joints. Whereas in barefoot runners, they are more prone to strike the ground with mid-foot or front foot, which avoids forceful impacts on the joints.

Check out Lieberman's video on the science of barefoot running below:

Shoes a Modern Day Menace to Runners?

With the invention of running shoes, millions of heel strikers have evolved. This has lead to a high potential of getting injured from running.

In barefoot running, strides not only become more efficient (and less impactful), but barefoot runners tend to use tiny muscles of the legs and feet, which helps in keeping critical running muscles well-toned and well-shaped.

Advantages of Barefoot Running

For those considering making the switch from sneakers to barefoot running, there are many advantages that can be gained. Below are 5 benefits of barefoot running.

Increase running efficiency

Research has shown that running efficiency is increased by 4% when you run barefoot. This is due to the unrestricted function of the foot without wearing supportive footwear. Running barefoot allows you to expand your foot and toes naturally, making your foot a strong base that can sustain all of your movements.

Today's modern running shoes consist of thick, padded base that cause a unnatural stride resulting in heel strike movement. Barefoot running shoes are available that can help you in running barefoot.

Minimize the chances of injury

While you are running without your shoes, you have greater awareness of your foot position on the ground and increased leverage, which reduces the risk of getting ankle sprains and injuries. For example, while you are running barefoot on hard surfaces, your feet automatically give the response of plantar-flexing, which gives a softer landing. This helps in preventing shin splints. It also reduces the risk of getting bunions that occur when the big toe is trapped in tight, padded shoes.

Improve stability and balance

Barefoot running improves balance and coordination by activating smaller muscles in your ankles, feet and legs. You can feel the texture, the irregularities and the temperature of the ground and your feet suits itself to the circumstances, which makes them strong and agile.

Strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons

Running bare foot will stretch and strengthen the calf muscle and Achilles tendon, which further reduces the risk of Achilles tendonitis and calf pulls.

Feel free and primitive

Apart from the physical health benefits that you get by running barefoot, you can also experience the fun and feel of every step you make on the ground. You can feel dew, sand, asphalt on your feet and enjoy the nature in its best form. 

Nowadays, many shoe companies are manufacturing barefoot style running shoes that enable the function and experience of running barefoot, while also protect your feet from outside harmful elements. It is a new alternative for those who want to avoid high impact injuries.

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Considering Taking Up Triathlon?

If you’re taking an interest in endurance sports, but dread the monotony of performing the same arduous activity day in and day out, the multi-sport of triathlon be your niche.

Many people, whether to lose weight or improve cardiovascular health, jump right into sports like running and cycling, only to drop out after a month of growing boredom. There is no doubt that doing the same sport on consistent basis can get a little old. However with triathlon, there are three sports in which you can enjoy and get better at.

But what’s more than just getting in shape via swimming, biking, and running, is the outcome and personal development you can gain from triathlon. Taking on three sports takes dedication, preparation, and effort. Triathletes are often health-minded and highly-driven individuals, and those characteristics often reflect their complete lifestyle.

Why Tri?

Participating in swimming, biking, and running can surely get you into top shape. All three sports work various muscle groups and all require a fair degree of strength and cardiovascular effort. Furthermore, each sport offers its own advantages compared to the others.

Some triathletes are prone to impact activities, such as running. Although they will still run on occasion (such as during races or during training periods,) this breed will typically focus more on swimming and biking, which are low impact sports. Conversely, some individuals don’t have access to a pool or lake. These triathletes will often emphasize their training around the biking and running aspects of the sport.

The flexibility of triathlon gives health-minded individuals the opportunity to mix up their training regime. This can help ward off boredom from doing the same exercises and activity over and over. Regardless of whether or not you planning to do a race, involving yourself in the three disciplines of triathlon can help you become a greater individual.

Triathlon for Health

Considering Taking Up TriathlonThe sport of triathlon also contributes to great sense of well-being, both mentally and physically. The physical aspects are obvious, for the three sports of triathlon involve a great deal of coordination and energy expenditure. An often overlooked benefit of the multi-sport is the mental health benefits.

Triathlon, particular for those involved with racing, requires a significant amount of organization and preparation. From building training schedule to planning out meals and nutrition, the indirect aspects of the sport are major factors to being mentally healthy. The typical triathlete is usually a very conscious person, in that he or she is usually well aware of one’s diet, feelings and emotions, and overall lifestyle choices.

Endurance sports naturally make humans feel good. The endorphin release during and after a solid work-out promotes optimism and greater sense of presence. These emotions reflect the rest of the day, and thus can enhance our way of life.

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5 Rules to Make You a Successful Runner

Successful RunnerCongratulations if you’re reading this because that means you’ve made it past the New Year’s resolution phase. Most people who put on their trainers and turned up their iPod on January 1st have long given up. Generally speaking however, running has never been more popular; it attracts people looking to lose a bit of weight or who just to improve their general fitness. But recently I’ve started to notice that people are going about their running regime in completely the wrong way. So without further ado let’s get cracking on five rules to make running a success for you.

Good Equipment

Running is just like any other activity, you need the correct equipment to do it safely; you wouldn’t go scuba diving without oxygen would you? The most important piece of equipment for any runner is undoubtedly a good pair of running shoes. Just running in standard sports shoes will put your feet and legs under too much strain which can lead to shin splints (learnt that the hard way) and other conditions.

Unfortunately a good pair of running shoes will set you back quite a lot of money but think of it as a long term investment. The more you run the more use you get out of them, if that’s not an incentive to carry on running I don’t know what is. Be sure to do your research before purchasing anything, use customer reviews and ask shop assistants to get a good idea of what will work for you.

Get Organised

It is so important to keep your running regime organised so you can maximise the positive effects of exercise. I find it helps to write up a schedule to keep track of when I’m meant to go running so I don’t make any excuses. I’d also recommend recording the distance you went, the time it took and any other pieces of information you think will be useful. That way you know what your targets are and you can chart your progress from a measly 500metres on day 1 to 10km a few months down the line.

If you can’t be bothered to spend five minutes drawing a chart on an old fashioned piece of paper then use your smartphone. There are loads of apps that automatically keep track of your progress without any hassle or effort.

Fuel Up

It’s incredibly important for people about to undertake any form of exercise to ensure that their body has fuel to burn. The say same is true of running, if you don’t eat a nutritious meal around 45 minutes before you start you’ll find you can’t push yourself further and faster because there is nothing left in the tank. Obviously you shouldn’t eat too near to running because this can result in you sitting on the side of the road/treadmill throwing up.

In terms of food types I’d suggest complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, wholegrain pasta and oats all count. They provide your body with a sustained level of energy throughout exercise; the recipes are numerous when you include rice and pasta but I’d avoid throwing in anything excessively fatty or sweet.

Run Alone

This might make me sound very antisocial but I believe it is an essential for people to run alone in order to get the most out of it. There a few reasons for this; firstly it takes awawy the temptation to talk whilst running which obviously screws up your breathing. Secondly you may end being forced to rely on someone else to motivate you to run or it may go the other way and you may find your running partner is always late/making excuses. Lastly, it can make you push yourself too hard (that is actually a thing) or not push yourself hard enough because your partner has to stop every 5 minutes because they’re so unfit. At the end of the day it’s your decision but make sure you’re aware of the potential problems running with someone can cause.

Get a Soundtrack

Now for a slightly light hearted tip; I’ve found music gives me that little bit of encouragement to push myself further than I otherwise would. So before embarking on your Chariots of Fireesque run load up your iPod with power songs to push you harder.

You can’t go wrong with the classic Eye of the Tiger but don’t be embarrassed to listen to rubbish songs. As long as it has a good beat it doesn’t matter, plus who can hear it anyway?

Disclaimer: I’m not a qualified medical or sports professional in anyway; this article is entirely based on my opinion and experience. If you have any concerns please seek advice from your doctor.

About the Author Josh writes for XXPress PCR an innovative biotechnology firm based in the UK. XXPress specialises in pcr machines and have pioneered pcr technology.

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