Health & Wellness Blog

    

Powerful Health Tips for the Winter Season

Winter Health TipsWinter comes with its own brand of maladies. The onslaught of influenza is associated with the Winter season, and not for the reasons that seem obvious. It is more because of the fact that people stay close together than for the fact that it gets really cold. Thus, the first thing to do is to get a flu shot, the earlier the better.

The same applies to all communicable diseases as people start to cozy up to one another in the Christmas spirit. Unfortunately, those who start to show signs of heavy colds and flus should be kept in their rooms for as long as possible until it is over. This type of home based quarantine is very effective in curbing infections from the onset. The person who is down with the flu heals faster and does not get re-infected down the line.

Washing or wiping down everything that is touched by many with antibacterial soaps and solutions is also highly effective. Catching a cold is usually the first indicator that your immunity is low. The cold may be getting to you and you are not keeping warm enough. If don't take the necessary precautions to ward-off the cold the situation could worsen into more serious ailments.

One should minimize the time outdoors by planning a schedule that specifies outdoor activities be it shopping, driving to work or social calls. Doing them at one go means that you will not have to keep going out and keep exposing yourself. Do not be overconfident because you are young and hot blooded. The cold has a way of creeping in and dropping your mean body temperature.

Hats, scarves, socks, winter boots, and layers go without saying if you are keen on enjoying your white Christmas. In some states it gets dreary and grey instead of white with drizzles or blizzards. If it is within your sights, then escape to warmer climates but if not stick to the winter health tips and you will sail through. Keep watching the thermometer and the local weather report for the best times to go out.

Layers also include oiling your skin especially on your lips to prevent from cracking. Try to make the showers hot and not cold or lukewarm. Always try to counter any cold registered on your person. For example, if you come out for skinny dipping, have a tub of hot water waiting to undo the negative part of that therapy.

Check the house for spots where the cold is “leaking” in. It could be around the windows, ceiling or even walls. Have them fixed sooner rather than later, if you are not sure then do not do it yourself as you could aggravate the situation. You could also expose yourself to more cold in the process. Move your bed closer to the heater if you have to. If the dry heat is de-moisturizing, you may have to cover it with a wet towel.

You should be careful not to doze close to a charcoal burner or fireplace with a clogged chimney. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is real and you may never wake up. Forming a habit of stretching improves circulation and gets you warmer. Light to heavy exercise will also do you good.

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Health Benefits of Maintaining a Regular Yoga Practice

health benefits of yogaYoga is an ancient practice whose health benefits resound till today. It is a potent way to improve circulatory and cardiovascular health. It is rooted to breathing and stretching, thus it is a very natural means to maintaining the body’s homeostasis.

One may be skeptical if one has never practiced yoga because it seems to border on the mythical aspects of human energy. It has however been proven scientifically that there are a dozen health benefits of practicing yoga daily. It is interesting that beginners are the ones who notice the most significant positive changes on the body.

The first point to note is that yoga improves breathing significantly by encouraging full use of the lungs. Most of us are shallow breathers and it can be demonstrated that athletes breathe ten times better than the average man. This alleviates most chest problems and the onset of asthma. The whole body benefits from increased circulation and oxygenation.

Secondly, yoga helps to stretch the spine and all the joints. This separates the vertebrae, which are the bones of the spine easing the associated nerves and vessels. The cerebral spinal fluid also flows more freely and posture is dramatically improved. Everyday stresses and strains lead to compaction and even twisting of the spine. Yoga aims to reverse this, and it has an actual effect of making yoga practitioners stronger.

The movements in yoga are very fluid and give time for the body to adjust to new posture. The poses are slow but rhythmic enabling increased circulation and breathing yet a slowing of the heart rate. This is an important point on improving endurance. It is a light exercise that tones the muscles and strengthens the weak ones.

Yoga focuses on core strength that has to be achieved in order to attain flexibility and balance. The human poise is challenged by stresses on the back and abdomen. With core strength, the body will be able to return from incorrect posture. The consciousness of one’s posture is improved with yoga such that one can begin to realize that he is not standing or sitting correctly. This is critical as it helps heal common back pain in a very natural way without ingesting regular pain killers.

Diseases of the joints like osteoporosis or arthritis are very painful. The pain can be alleviated by light yoga sessions that stretch the affected joints thus allowing circulation and healing. Uric acid trapped in the joints is released. Some individuals suffer aches and pains because of accumulated lactic acid in the joints and tissue. This is also physically released during yoga.

Certain important hormones and biochemicals are released during yoga meditation. The process can be identified as the feeling of wellness that encompasses one on the yoga mat. The positive effects include reduction of stress and a heightening of the senses. Mental alertness also improves; this is also contributed by the fact that negative stress hormones are reduced. Those who have experienced panic attacks or trauma with shallow breathing among other symptoms will have less likelihood of having repeat episodes.

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5 Tips for Rapid Injury Recovery

Injury Recovery RunnerFor sport enthusiasts and athletes something tragic can happen at the worst possible moment, tearing a muscle, breaking a bone, or spraining an ankle. You may be out on the trail, on the squat rack, or just walking down the street.

A wide range of injuries are possible - everything is just hunky-dory when out of the blue, something tragic happens. Maybe you pull/tear a muscle, sprain an ankle or break a bone. You may be on the squat rack, out on the trail or just jogging in the park.

There is a wide range of injuries that can happen to active people and each of them takes different amounts of rest to heal. However, there are some things you can do to help it healing faster. We will discuss here 5 tips for rapid injury recovery.

Adjust Your Diet

Even if your ability to train is impaired by your injury for a while, you can still maintain a great body shape and also help heal faster with the proper nutrition. In case that your injury doesn’t totally prevent you to continue your regular workout then you need to maintain your current intake of nutrients. However, if your injury is likely to make you miss most of your workouts, you need to reduce a little your food intake. Just adjust your diet to your level of physical activity.

Some macronutrients can help you heal your injury faster. Good nutrition will increase the supply of nutrients carried by the blood flow to the area of the injury. Some foods accelerate healing and have anti-inflammatory proprieties. Avoid foods that promote inflammation such as eggplant, fried foods, cayenne, processed white flour, potatoes, tomatoes, and hot peppers.

Consume instead foods that can accelerate the healing of your injury, such as fresh juice made from raw, fresh and organic vegetables, fresh ginger, foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, radishes, garlic, and beets. These foods are high in important nutrients that accelerate healing: manganese, zinc, silica, calcium, multivitamin, glucosamine sulfate, essential fatty acids, and BCAA’s.

Deep Tissue Massage

Professional massage for athletes includes the deep tissue massage therapy that is proved to relieve severe muscle tension, decrease pain and accelerate healing of the injured area. This form of massage treatment is recommended to athletes dealing with injury, people involved in accidents, and those who experience consistent pain.

Deep tissue massage therapy can accelerate healing in personal injury recovery, sports injury recovery, chronic muscle pain relief, and car accident recovery.

Chiropractic Care

Injury Recovery ChiropracticThe Active Release Technique (ART) is used in chiropractic care for treating nerves, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and as soft tissue injuries. This chiropractic technique is a non-invasive hands-on therapy for professional and amateur athletes who need help with rapid injury recovery.

In fact many chiropractors are starting to adopt ART and other forms of treatment like acupuncture and massage. One of the Bloomington chiropractors at Bly-Hillman Chiropractic specializes in ART as supplemental therapy for injury relief. This is just one example of how chiropractic care is become more integrated.

Yoga, Stretching, & Mobility Exercises

After an injury is not recommended to cease all sports activity, but rather continue with yoga, mobility exercises, stretching, and easy “injury prevention” style workouts. This will help your muscles recover faster from an injury and prevent in the same time muscular atrophy that is a significant strength loss which can install after just three weeks of inactivity.

Epson Salts Compress with Heat

Heat promotes relaxation in tissues and muscles. Epsom salts baths and Epson salt compresses with heat can enhance relaxation, help decreasing muscle soreness, and displace the calcium ions that accumulate in muscle tissue during workouts. Epsom salts deliver magnesium sulfate, an active compound that work well for injury recovery.

Magnesium is a mineral essential for over 300 reactions in your body, including protein formation, muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve and cardiac function, and synthesis of ATP-based energy.

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5 Ways to Increase Soft Tissue Mobility & Range of Motion

Soft Tissue MobilityIf you regularly participate in some kind of sporting activity, then some form of soft tissue damage seems almost inevitable. Eventually, most people take a particularly hard knock, or land too hard on a knee or ankle, or just overstress their muscles for too long without allowing adequate rest periods for recovery.

Soft tissue damage can haunt you for years, causing near-constant pain that many athletes and sports enthusiasts just learn to ignore, or dull with painkillers. This does not need to be the way! With a bit of work, soft tissue damage can almost always be repaired. You can have your muscle mobility and full range of motion back! Here are five simple tips to help repair your soft tissue damage:

Get a professional sports massage

Many athletes are already using sports massages to remove built up lactic acid from their muscles. This greatly shortens recovery time, allowing athletes to go into their next event feeling fresh, and be able to push that little bit harder. The same principles can be used to help your soft tissue injuries. In the interest of full disclosure, I should warn you that this is going to hurt. A lot. But the positive effects of sports and deep tissue massage therapy will be more than worth the pain.

Massage yourself with specialized tools

This is the massage option, but without the massage price tag. You can pick up (or make yourself) purpose built foam rollers or balls. (I'm told that you can also just repurpose a lacrosse ball) There are plenty of videos on the internet detailing how to use these tools effectively to help combat the effects of soft tissue damage, so I'm not going to go into the specifics of how to do it here.

As with the massage option above, this option is going to hurt. The first time that you use a foam roller, you are going to think to yourself "This can't be right. Nothing that hurts this much could possibly be helping!" but you will be wrong. Stick with it, and you will find yourself pain-free in no time.

Stretch

One of the easiest ways to increase flexibility and range of motion in soft tissue is to stretch. This is different to the short, dynamic stretches that you perform before a workout or sports match. To permanently increase range of motion, a stretch should last as much as twenty minutes. This is something that you can do in your downtime.

If you're sitting around with the family in the evening watching a two hour movie, you should see that as an opportunity to perform six different stretches for increasing your flexibility. Again, the internet has already done a much better job of detailing which stretches are most effective that I could ever do here, so I won't try to cover it.

Try a Yin Yoga class

Yin Yoga has much of the same benefits of the stretching program above, except that Yin Yoga classes are taught by professionals who can critique your performance and offer tips for helping to restore your specific soft tissue injury. Yin Yoga is a slow moving yoga style, where each position is held for an extended period of time.

This is an ideal way to increase mobility and range of motion. Yin Yoga classes are available across most of North America and Europe, but if you live elsewhere, it is still worth searching for a local Yoga class.

Physiotherapy

When nothing else works, go to the professionals. Physiotherapists are highly trained in repair of soft tissue injuries, and they will design you a customized recovery program. It is very likely that they will want you to come back once a week or once a fortnight until you have made a full recovery from your injury. During these meetings, they will test your mobility levels, and adjust your recovery program accordingly.

With all of these options readily available, there is just no need for soft tissue injury to control your life anymore. Get your mobility back. Get pain free. There is no excuse not to!

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5 Effective Recovery Tips to Become a Better Triathlete

When it comes to becoming a better triathlete, it's often the things that we do outside of training that can have a significant impact. Recovery, rest, and rehabilitation should be at the core of any athlete's training regime.

Better Triathlete Recovery

Beyond just stretching and eating right, below we share five highly-effective recovery tips to help you become a better triathlete.

1. Practice self myofascial release

In order to understand what self-myofascial release (or "SMR")is all about, it is paramount that we understand two aspects that are integral to SMR effectiveness. The first term is fascia; which is a specialized connective tissue that surrounds the whole body, that is, the bones, joints and muscles, as well as providing protection and support.

When there is damage to the fascia, this gives rise to trigger points. Trigger points are the second aspect to consider and are defined as areas of muscle that are susceptible to pain when undergoing palpation, they also exhibit tout bands around these areas.

Self myofascial release is a very simple technique that athletes employ in order to alleviate these trigger points. The exercise involves a foam roll, on which the athletes roll parts of their body until they reach the trigger point. The athletes then hold this position until the pain subsides.

2. Hydrate and replenish mindfully

It is common knowledge in the athletic world, that what you consume after a work out or race greatly determines how your body is going to react in the subsequent day or days. It is therefore imperative that we carefully consider what we drink or eat after such tiresome sessions.

Triathletes should know when to drink water and when to drink electrolyte rich energy drinks. These decisions are predominantly determined, by the rate of absorption of these fluids by the body. In order to make the right decision, one should consult a nutrition expert before consuming anything.

3. Experiment with different types of stretching

Stretching is a very integral part in the training regimen of any professional triathlete. Triathletes who have more elasticity and flexibility in their muscles perform better. There are two types of stretching recommended by the professionals.

The first one is, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) which is a set of stretching techniques which are used to improve both the passive and active range of motions in our bodies. This done to ensure that that our body produces optimum performance as well as rehabilitate the body when injured. The second technique is of static stretching which generally means stretching while the body is in a stationery position.

4. Embrace cold exposure

After that vigorous work out, a lot of triathletes prefer to immerse themselves in an ice water bath. This ice water bath has temperatures between twelve to fifteen degrees Celsius. This plunge into the ice bath is believed to have a therapeutic effect on the muscles as it reduces the soreness and pain in the muscles.

Doing this after training can help the muscles recover quickly from the strains of the exercises and as such are quickly ready for the next session. This cold exposure also provides a resurgence of energy.

5. Practice meditation and mindfulness

Meditation can be a very useful tool for an athlete who is training for a tournament or who is recovering from an injury or strenuous exercises. Meditation causes the body to relax and such reduce the release of the hormone cortisol, which is a very bad hormone for and budding athlete. Athletes who meditate have been known to perform better, as they generally have all their faculties in control.

Last word on becoming a better triathlete

Lastly, spend some time working on your form and biomechanics in all three disciplines of triathlon. There are many sports scientists out and triathlon coaches out there who can help you refine your form and help you become more efficient and injury free.

Explore the idea of investing in quality triahlon coaching so you can become better organized with your training, and your self as a whole through the sport.

 
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