woman with a headache

Having Killer Headaches? Try These Cures

Headaches are the second most common form of chronic pain, and, when your head is truly pounding, it can be hard to concentrate on other parts of life, whether this may be work, driving, or even having a simple conversation.

Rather than reaching for the drugs, give one of these tips a try the next time you are having a killer headache.

Sip on Ginger Tea

Ginger has long since been used to treat a variety of ailments, by cultures all around the world. Now, thanks to a number of clinical studies that have been carried out with this ingredient, scientists are backing it too.

So, what exactly does ginger do?

It targets the blood vessels in the head, reducing inflammation and therefore reducing pain. This is especially useful for those who suffer from migraines, as migraines are caused by excessive dilation of blood vessels in the head.

The quickest and easiest way to make use of ginger is by steeping the root in some water to make a tea, adding in some fresh lemon juice if you would like an extra tang.

ginger tea

To use ginger topically, mix together a paste with some ginger powder and a couple of tablespoons of water, and apply this directly to your forehead for a few minutes.

Stretch It Out

Headaches are often caused by muscle tension, and this can sometimes be relieved through stretching.

There are a few stretches in particular that will help to target the muscles that often contribute to headaches:

  • Stretch your neck by moving your chin forwards, upwards and then towards each shoulder, before repeating
  • Shrug your shoulders upwards, and then forwards and backwards, before repeating
  • Press your palm into your forehead and hold it there for a few seconds, before pressing a hand onto each side of your head
  • Rotate your neck in clockwise and anticlockwise directions

Try to do these stretches twice a day, repeating each stretch three to five times, with a five second break in between each one.

Give Acupuncture a Try

Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of different health issues, with thin needles being inserted underneath the skin, to rebalance the body’s flow of energy.

Sound painful?

It really isn’t. All you will feel is a slight tingling feeling when each needle is inserted.

However, there are only certain headaches that acupuncture can treat…

There are two main types of headaches out there; primary and secondary. Primary headaches include tension headaches and migraines, while secondary headaches are brought on by another health condition, such as a head injury or allergies.

Acupuncture is mainly used to treat primary headaches, whether this may be a frustrating headache that seems to return each day, or a migraine that seems to never completely disappear.

acupuncture

Each session lasts for around 30 minutes to an hour, and the cumulative effects of a few sessions can be a long-lasting way to prevent any future headaches.

Drink Up

Headaches are a common symptom of dehydration, and these can often be quickly cleared simply by drinking a few glasses of water.

This method can work for a variety of different headache types, from tension to cluster. Even if you do not feel dehydrated, drinking a few glasses of water is an easy method that is still definitely worth a try.

Beverages containing electrolytes are also a great way to boost hydration, and could help if plain water does not seem to be working quickly enough.

Take a Screen Break

If you have been spending a significant amount of time staring at a screen, whether this may be your computer at work, your TV at home, or your smartphone, this could be the reason behind your tension headache.

Try taking a break from your screen for a while, and seeing if that eases the pain.

Whether or not your screen is causing your headaches, you should really be taking regular screen breaks anyway, even if this is just for a few minutes at a time to have a drink of water or stretch your legs.

Use a Compress

Another easy method to soothe a headache away is to use a compress, holding this against the back of your neck.

hot compress

Wondering whether to go hot or cold?

If your headache is more of a dull pain, go with a hot compress, whereas if it is pulsating or throbbing, use a cold compress. This will help to lower the temperature of your blood before it enters your brain, reducing any inflammation.

Sniff A Soothing Scent

There are certain herbs out there that have scents capable of clearing even the roughest of headaches.

Here are a few to try:

  • Peppermint Oil – opens up clogged blood vessels in the head and regulates blood flow. Either mix some with water and rub this on the back of your neck, as well as your temples, or simply rub some crushed peppermint leaves on your forehead. You could also make a herbal tea with peppermint leaves, either fresh or dried, and sip this slowly, while inhaling the scent.
  • Lavender Oil this is another herb that is known for alleviating headaches, and can simply be inhaled straight to enjoy its benefits. Alternatively, mix a couple of drops in with some almond or olive oil and massage your head with this, or put a few drops into some hot water, and inhale the steam.
  • Rosemary or Thyme Oil rosemary and thyme oil have been used for centuries to treat headaches. For best results, dab a drop of the oil onto each temple, as well as onto your forehead, and massage this gently into your skin.
  • Basil Oil works as a muscle relaxant, so will clear headaches caused by muscle tension. Make a tea with fresh basil leaves, or simply chew on the leaves themselves. You can also place some fresh leaves into hot water, and inhale the steam.
  • Cloves contains cooling and pain-relieving properties, making them great for throbbing headaches. Crush a few cloves and wrap them in a clean cloth, before inhaling the scent repeatedly. Alternatively, mix some clove oil with coconut oil, as well as a bit of sea salt, and use this to gently massage your forehead and temples.

Try Yoga for Tension Headaches

If you know that your headaches are caused by tension, then yoga is something that you may want to try.

Why?

Yoga relaxes the muscles in your head, neck and back, while boosting circulation to your upper body and brain, all of which can quickly relieve a tension headache.

As soon as you notice the first sign that a headache is on its way, you should give a few of these yoga poses a go, as this will prevent your muscles from going into spasm:

  • The Simple Seated Twist
  • Gomukhasana Arms
  • The Side Stretch
  • Grabbing Opposite Elbows

Take a Magnesium Supplement

Magnesium used to be abundant in the plants and animals eaten by humans, but, due to a depletion in soil quality, natural sources of magnesium are hard to come by.

Why does this matter when you have a raging headache?

Because one of the most common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency is a headache, especially migraines.

Not only do people who experience migraines have lower levels of magnesium in their body than people who do not, but one study found that a regular intake of magnesium could actually lower the frequency of developing a migraine by 41.6%.

Wondering which is the best form of magnesium to take as a supplement?

Go for magnesium oxide, of which you will need between 400-500 milligrams each day. Even if your migraine has already started, taking a magnesium supplement immediately can help to soothe it.

Need some help right now, but don’t have any magnesium supplements to hand?

Try snacking on one of these:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Blue poppy seeds
  • Cashew nuts
  • Almonds
  • Dark chocolate

sources of magnesium

See if these sources of magnesium help with your migraines; if they do, you can count on having them regularly.

Eat Some Headache-Busting Foods

There are certain foods out there that contain compounds capable of quickly soothing a headache.

Feel the pain beginning to come in?

Head on down to your nearest grocery store and stock up on these ingredients:

  • Cherries – contain a compound called quercetin, which is not only a strong antioxidant, but also has anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties. Quercetin helps the body to block out pain, reducing the severity of a headache. Eat around 20 tart cherries to experience the effects, or a glass of cherry juice.
  • Spicy Foods whether you go siracha or hot peppers, spicy foods will clear your sinuses, and therefore open up your airways. This alleviates any pressure and soothes the pain of a sinus headache.
  • Bananas bananas are packed with B vitamins, which increase the levels of serotonin in the brain, meaning that they work in a similar way to an anti-depressant. This then lowers the amount of pain that your body feels, reducing the severity of a headache.

While you are dealing with a headache, it is also important to avoid headache-triggering foods. From cheese to processed meats to artificial sweeteners, try to stick to a wholesome diet when healing your body.

Walk It Off

While you may not feel like exerting yourself too much when suffering from a killer headache, exercise is actually a great way to relieve yourself of the pain.

How?

Exercise triggers the body to release endorphins, which are basically the body’s natural painkillers. If you begin to exercise regularly, you will notice a reduction in the frequency and intensity of your headaches, as well as your migraines.

So, the next time you feel a headache coming on, step outdoors and take a brisk walk, preferably somewhere quiet. Even if this is only for ten minutes, this is still enough time to stimulate your brain to release the endorphins that will soothe your head.

Relaxation Exercises

While additional research in this area is still needed, current studies show that relaxation exercises could really help reduce the intensity of a headache.

What exactly are relaxation exercises?

They could be anything from listening to calming music, using mental imagery to unwind, or doing some deep breathing.

Try this the next time you have a headache:

  • Lie still, breathing in and out slowly
  • Think of a mantra and repeat this in your head, to stop your mind from wandering
  • Beginning with your toes, contract and relax your muscles one at a time, working your way up your legs through your body, until you reach your head.
  • Take your time with this, so that it takes around 20 minutes

Change Your Pillow

If you tend to wake up with a headache in the morning, this could be down to your pillow.

Pillows are designed to keep the head in line with the neck and spine while a person is sleeping, but if you end up with your head being misaligned, this can lead to headaches.

Pay attention to your pillow density, as those that are too soft do not provide enough support, while those that are too hard can lead to other problems.

How often should you be changing your pillow.

Every few months, or when they start to lose their original form. 

When suffering from killer headaches, it can be easy to just reach for the pills to numb the pain, but this is not something that you want to be relying on in the long run. By giving some of these methods a try, you may just find an easy, and completely natural, way to soothe a raging headache.

 

Your Tush Can Predict This

Ah, the big busted ladies. They have been an inspiration for great artists over the years. But, who would have guessed that when Sir Mix A Lot professed his honest admiration for ladies with extra padding, that his interest was purely intellectual? Recent studies have shown a correlation between big butts and levels of intelligence. Could it be possible to have brains and booty?

Recent studies for the University of Oxford and Churchill Hospital in the United Kingdom show that having a larger derriere may be tied to increased intelligence and lower risk of disease. Researchers believe it all has to do with fat distribution. Apparently, a little below the waist padding can help to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and conditions related to obesity.

Scientists in the Journal of Obesity write, “It is the protective role of lower body, that is thigh and backside fat, that is striking, The protective properties of the lower body fat depot have been confirmed in many studies conducted in subjects with a wide range of age, BMI, and co morbidities.”

Apple Vs. Pear
In the race between apple and pear, the pear comes out on top in this match. Individuals with an excess of belly fat tend to have more problems related to obesity than those who have extra weight on their thighs, butts, and hips.

According to Dr. Robert Kushner, of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, “There’s a lot of evidence that shows that the fat depots are not the same in the body. Belly fat is more metabolically active.” That is, the fat stored in the lower half of the body tends to be more stable compared to the fat stored in the upper half. Upper body fat has a greater effect on the overall body and can invoke proteins associated with the onset of diabetes.

Weight Gain and the Brain
Leptin levels are another factor affecting fat distribution. These levels, crucial for appetite regulation, are connected to derriere size as well. According to Elite Daily, obese individuals stop responding to the hormone completely, leading to leptin resistance, a condition similar to insulin resistance. Having a big butt, favors leptin levels in the body, causing the tissue to trap harmful particles and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Larger Butts Equal Larger Minds
As for the correlation between larger behinds and higher IQs, the maintenance of a big behind requires the storage of significant quantities of Omega # fats to boost memory, brain function, and cognitive abilities. Also, research shows that children born to wide hipped moms are smarter than those conceived by thinner mothers.

What do you think of this? More brains, more booty? Let us know!

Can Exercise Help Improve Hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia: A condition causing excessive daytime drowsiness. Aerobic exercise: an activity requiring excessive daytime energy. The two would seem to be in direct contrast to one another, but could one be the cure for the other? While it may seem vigorous exercise would be the last thing on a drowsy person’s to do list, new studies show that exercise may be a way to alleviate the symptoms of hypersomnia in depressed individuals. Could there be a science behind this theory? Let’s take a look.

Symptoms of Hypersomnia
Individuals with hypersomnia are likely to doze off regularly and repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times, including during meals, at work, or in conversation. They may show difficulty waking from a long sleep and feel disoriented upon waking. Anxiety, decreased energy, slowness of thought and speech, memory lapses, loss of appetite, and increased irritation are also among the symptoms of the condition. In severe cases, patients may lose their ability to function in social, family, and occupational settings.

Demographics
Hypersomnia is a rather uncommon disorder affecting a very small percentage of the population. Only 5% or fewer adults complain about feeling excessively sleepy during the day, and of that 5% only 5-10% are diagnosed with hypersomnia. It generally appears in a patient between the ages of 15 and 30, and tends to happen gradually, sometimes taking years to develop fully.

woman exercising indoors

The Research
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care are the group behind the findings about the positive effect of aerobic exercise upon the depressive condition. These researchers found that exercise lowered the levels of two biological markers for hypersomnia in blood samples, reducing the likelihood of excess sleepiness.

According to senior study author, Madukar Trivedi, MD, “Hypersomnia, as well as insomnia have been linked in the development, treatment, and recurrence of depression. Identifying these biomarkers, combined with new understanding of the important role of exercise in reducing hyperemia, have potential implications in the treatment of major depressive disorder.”

Previous research had found a negative loop in which sleep, depression, and inflammation interact, with detrimental results. The current findings suggest that exercise may be the key to resetting the loop. Researchers identified biomarkers based on the blood samples of 100 participants who were asked to perform two kinds of aerobic excersises. The subjects consisted of people ages 18 to 70 who all suffered from major depression disorder.

After a 12 week period,researchers had located reductions in tow biomarkers related to hypersomnia. Lead author Chad Rethorst, PhD says, “Identification of biomarkers that uniquely predict or correlate with improvement in hypersomnia and insomnia is an important step toward more effective treatment of MDD.

Do you suffer from hypersomnia or know someone who does? Let us know what you think of the new findings.

What Are DHEA Supplements?

You see them on news programs. The octogenarian, nonagenarians, and even centenarians, those lucky people who seem to be age defiant, surviving years of life, still remaining active, cognizant and even rather attractive. Inevitably, these people are asked how they do it; what is the secret to the fountain of youth, and inevitably some saucy senior will reply by saying they credit regular sex with their youthful appearance. True, we do often associate higher sex drive with youthfulness, but is it possible that the opposite is true? Is there anything substantial behind the idea that increased sex drive can lead to a more healthy, longer life? Read on to find out about the possible benefits of DHEA supplements.

What is DHEA?
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone found naturally in your body, manufactured by the adrenal glands. There, it is converted into male and female sex hormones, like estrogen and testosterone. Recent studies suggest that taking DHEA in the form of a supplement can boost levels of estrogen and testosterone, protecting the body from health problems stemming from hormonal imbalance or age related decline in hormonal levels.

How Can It Help?
Studies Show some degrees of success in DHEA supplementation in the following areas:

Depression
Research supports the possibility of a link between depression and DHEA levels. According to recent research reports, DHEA supplements may be useful in the treatment of major depression. However, further studies need to be done before any affirmative conclusions can be reached.

Bone Density
The aging process and diseases such as anorexia and lupus, have all been associated with bone loss. There is some evidence to suggest that higher DHEA levels may be associated with higher bone density, specifically in post menopausal women and that DHEA supplements may have the ability to increase of bone density.

Weight Loss
Could DHEA be the key to shedding those extra pounds? Studies show that 7-KETO, a DHEA containing product may help stimulate metabolism and assist in weight loss. Again, more long term research still remains to be done.

Adrenal Insufficiency
Adrenal Insufficiently is a condition in which adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones. Recent studies show that DHEA supplements may improve hormone levels, and quality of life for people with the condition. However, other research found that DHEA had little effect of symptoms of depression, and heart health.

Sexual Function
Here’s where you’d think it would make perfect sense. Because research has shown a link between lower levels of DHEA in man and erectile dysfunction, it would seem to be a no brainer that DHEA supplements can boost low libido. However, higher quality studies reveal inconsistent results in the effect of DHEA on libido, sexual performance and erectile dysfunction. Although research looks promising, additional studies are required.

Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder which affects the organs and skin. Women suffering from this condition also exhibit lower levels of DHEA, hence,the suggestion that DHEA may improve immune function. While some trials report a lack of effect of DHEA treatment on lupus activity, there is evidence that it can be effective when used regularly.

What do you think of the use of DHEA supplements to improve health? Have you tried them? Let us know about your DHEA experiences.

woman on sofa biting her nails

Try These Gadgets For Folks Who Fidget

Are you a leg bouncer? Knuckle cracker? Nail biter? Pen tapper? Hair twirler? Paper shredder? Nose picker? Just an all around fidgeter? Surely, it seems like a victimless crime, if it is a crime at all. A study done in England says the habit can make it easier for children to concentrate, providing an outlet for excess energy, allowing students to better focus on their work. Others disagree, claiming that the mere multitasking elements can only provide a distraction from learning. Either way, you can safely say that manufacturers will seldom miss an opportunity to capitalize on a human habit. Here are some fidget friendly gadgets for the fidgeters in your life.

Squigz
Otherwise known as fat brain toys, these may be the next thing for those who can’t put down the bubble wrap. These suction cupped beauties can stick to any flat surface, and even each other, and best of all, they pull a part with a satisfying pop.

Mashems
These squishy critters, shaped like popular character can be stuck to flat surfaces or squeezed to watch them balloon up in your hand. Look for them in the likeness of Marvel or DC characters, Paw Patrol, and My Little Pony.

man playing with rubik's cube

Anastasiia Moiseieva / Shutterstock.com

Rubik’s Cube
One of the original, if not the original, the Rubik’s Cube has been a fidget fixture for decades. While mixing up the various colors may not seem too perplexing, matching them back is quite another story.

Swingy Thing
This portable desk toy features several pendulums that can swing around, providing over 52 spinning challenges for different color combinations.

Madballs
They’re back! You were fidgeting with them in the 1980’s and you’re fidgeting with them now. These mummies, monster, werewolves, zombies perfect for bouncing and squeezing are making a mad comeback in the fidgety millennium.

Slinky
How could we forget the commercials with the kids watching their slinks climbing down the stairs. Plastic, or metallic, you can still enjoy the calming effect of bouncing it on your palms. Good luck getting it down the whole flight!

woman holding fidget spinner

Fidget Spinners
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last month or so, it is highly unlikely that you have missed the fidget spinner. The tri- shaped toys feature ball bearing that spin around the center when you flick them. Available in all sorts of irresistible colors and patterns, these are a great way to keep your hands occupied, providing hours of fidgeting fun.

Thumb chucks
The name alone sounds intriguing. Thumb chucks actually can help provide exercise for the fingers. The ingenious invention consists of two small rubber balls connected by a strap. The object is to flick your fingers and wrist to send the balls swinging, and rolling over your hand for awe inducing hours of fun. The LED lights in the balls light up on impact with any surface, so prepare for fireworks.

Morph
Give this squishy compound a try for morphing fun that never dries out and gets softer as you play with it. Squeeze it, mold it, stretch it or bounce it, this no mess toy is a fidgeter’s dream.

Tangle Therapy
If you enjoy getting knots out of jewelry, this one may be for you. Composed of elbow pieces covered in texturized rubbers, this twistable tool can be snapped, bent, and squeezed for a unique tactile experience.

What do you think of fidgeting? Harmless fun or major distraction. Let us know how you weigh in on this latest sensation.

Summer walking

Tips For Starting A Summer Walking Routine

To some, high-intensity internal workouts are the most efficient way of exercising; to others, they are a bizarre three-minute self-torture ritual. Although at times it may seem like the world is being overtaken by the overachieving and impossibly healthy, there are some who still prefer to keep their exercise routines a bit more humane.

Most of us learn to walk by the time we’re eighteen months – so let’s talk about an exercise routine so easy that even a baby can do it. Here are some tips for beginning a summer walking routine.

How To Start
The first thing you need for walking is a good pair of shoes and some comfy clothes. Start out slow. Head out the door, walk for ten minutes and walk back. Repeat every day for a week. If you find yourself building stamina, add five minutes to next week’s walk. Keep increasing as is comfortable.

Posture
Keep good posture in mind when you walk. Walk tall. Keep your mind on elongating your body. Your head should be up, your eyes focused forward, Keep your shoulders down, relaxed and back, with your abdominal muscles and buttocks tight.

Preparation
Make sure to have water handy at all times. Be sure to get enough to drink before you walk, and take the water bottle along for mid walk hydration. Try adding stretches to your routine. For example, you might start at a slow pace and stop to do a few warm up drills for flexibility. Slow down your pace at the end of the walk and take some time for a few more stretches. This will help you to feel better while preventing injury.

Sticking with It
The toughest thing for most people starting a fitness routine is making it routine. You should try to walk daily, aiming for a minimum five days of exercise per week. Walk fast enough to increase your heart rate, but not so fast that you find yourself short of breath.

Three friends walking

How Much Should You Do?
Speed and distance should not be a priority in the beginning, but once the habit starts to stick, you may want to start developing goals. Here are some general health guidelines:

People walking for general health benefits should try and get in a half hour minimum each day, most days of the week, keeping to “talking pace,” or a comfortable pace at which you can still hold a conversation.

For improvement of cardiovascular fitness, three to four days a week are recommended, doing 20 to 30 minutes at a very fast pace. You will find your breathing is elevated, but you should not be gasping for air. Warming up and cooling down time should be additional to the time spent walking.

Those walking to lose weight should probably aim to do 45 to 60 minutes five days a week at a moderate to brisk rate. The faster you walk, the more calories you will burn. However, make sure to increase pace and mileage gradually to prevent injury.

Tips For Walking Faster
Once you become comfortable with your routine, you may want to speed it up a little. Here are some guidelines for walking faster:

  • Use good posture. Walk tall, keep your gaze forward, focused about 20 feet ahead of you, chin level and head up.
  • Your chest should be slightly raised with your shoulders down, back and relaxed.
  • Your arms should be bent at an angle slightly less severe than 90 degrees. Gently cup your hands and swing arms front to back. The faster you swing your arms, the faster your feet will go, but do not swing elbows higher than your breastbone.
  • Tighten abs and buttocks; keep back flat and pelvis slightly forward.
  • Visualize yourself walking in a straight line.Take smaller faster steps to go faster, trying not to elongate your stride.
  • Push off with your toes, concentrating on landing on your heel and rolling through the step. Use the spring of your calf to propel you.
  • Take deep rhythmic breaths to get the maximum amount of oxygen. Your breathing should be heightened, but not strained.

Have you started your summer exercise routine? How are you staying hot this summer? Let us know!

Happy mother and daughter

Help The Girls In Your Life Glow With Confidence

You’ve had your highs and lows. Your walks of fame and your walks of shame. And if there’s one thing you’ve learned from your experiences, its that confidence is the key. There is no situation that cannot be handled by holding your head high and shaking what your mama gave you. And now, its time for you to pass the torch. You’ve got a niece or a daughter and, if you teach her anything in this life, you’re determined that it will be the power of confidence. But, how can you do it? How can you show this shy acne plagued girl that she has so much untapped power at her command? Here are a few ideas.

Manage Your Inner Critic
Your girl is probably pretty hard on herself. Teach her to take notice of her inner voice. Would her best friend talk to her like that? Teach her to work on changing negative thoughts into helpful feedback.

Focus On the Good Things
A lot of teens focus so much on their problems, that its hard for them to see all the things that are going well for them. Suggest that she write down three good things about herself everyday or three ways she’s able to bring about a positive change in her life daily.

Mother and daughter

Don’t Aim For Perfection
Teach her that any achievements are valid. Even if she doesn’t get a perfect mark on a test, it doesn’t mean that she didn’t do well. Encourage her to always put in her best effort.

Mistakes Are Learning Opportunities
Remind your teenager that if she can fix her mistakes, they are not mistakes at all, but victories. Don’t let her get down on herself for messing up and remind her to focus on what she can do better next time.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Teach your girl that her own accomplishments are the only ones that matter. Trying to get ahead of other people will only leave her further behind them.

Accept Compliments
She’s great and needs to get used to people telling her so. Advise her to give herself time to absorb a compliment and take it seriously, and pass it on! Complements should be given and received.

Happy teenage girl

Exercise
Staying physically active always helps to improve self-esteem. She’ll look better and feel less stressed while staying healthy.

Take Pride In Your Thoughts
If she’s a chip off the old block, your girl probably has a lot of good ideas to offer. Tell her to be bold about them. If someone disagrees, it just means that they see things differently than she does.

Accept What You Can’t Change
Sure, there are going to be things about herself that she’s not completely happy with. If its something she can change, like reaching a healthy weight, she should start today. If its something she can’t change, she probably notices it more than anyone else, and its probably not worth obsessing over.

Contribute
Nothing builds self esteem like helping to make a positive change. When she sees how much she can accomplish, her self esteem will sky rocket.

if you have a girl in you’re life that you want to see flourish, tell us about her. Let us know what she’s doing to build confidence and how you’re helping her do it. We want to hear all about it.

Mother and child

Tips For Getting Your Girls Into Yoga

If you remember correctly, one of the easiest ways to ensure that you wouldn’t do something was having your parents tell you to do it. Even if you were going to study for that test, clean up your room, not go out with that boy, your parents’ advice was probably the best way to ensure that you would do the opposite.

Well, now the roles are reversed – you’re the mom. And you want your girl to get involved in yoga. You dream daily of the coming home to find your little one in a tree position chanting “asanas.” It would be a great way to lower her stress, raise her physical activity level, and improve her awful posture. But how can you get her to start?

How Children Benefit From Yoga
We usually don’t think of children as being highly pressured. They don’t have nine to five jobs and they certainly don’t raise themselves. But they do have difficult tests, acne, and bullies, and that can be enough to make anyone stressed out. Yoga can help with these pressures. It’s a physical activity which promotes compassion, self-esteem, and body awareness. Plus, unlike so many other things in your teen’s life, it’s not competitive.

The experience of yoga can introduce children to new concepts and ways of assessing what is important in life. For example, when children assume the lion pose (Simhasana) they harness the power of the lion. This makes them aware of their own sense of power, when to be aggressive, and when to maintain control. Children also receive an introduction to the values of yoga: expression, union, honor for oneself, and the role one plays in life.

Yoga pose

Teaching Yoga to Your Kids
If you’re going to teach yoga to your kids, it’s important to realize that one of the greatest challenges you will have to deal with is figuring out a way to hold their attention. When you think of the benefits of yoga: balance, stillness, focus, and grace, children don’t exactly pop into your mind.

The best way to teach children is by encouraging them to actively participate. Most children will love the idea of imitating dogs, flowers and trees. Get them to bark in the dog pose, or hiss when they are doing the cobra. Sound is great for children and adds an auditory element to the physical discipline of yoga.

Don’t Be Demanding
Children like to discover things on their own. They may not respond well to criticism. Aim for providing a creative environment for them to explore. Spur them on, encouraging them to really imagine themselves as a cat stretching its spine, or a tree growing roots. It will make the experience fun for them while making connections between themselves and the environment.

Yoga Poses For Kids
Here are some easy poses for getting your kids started:

  • Boat Pose: Have children balance on their buttocks with their legs up. Then have them rock like a boat.
  • Bow Pose: Have children lie on their tummies, bend their knees, lift their chests, reach their arms toward their toes, and hold onto their feet.
  • Bridge Pose: Have children lie on their backs with their knees bent and their feet flat on the ground. Have hem rest their arms along their bodies, tuck their chins into their chests and lift up their buttocks and back to make a bridge.
  • Cat Pose: Have children come up on all fours, round their backs and tuck their chins into their chests.
  • Chair Pose: Have children stand tall with their feet hip-width apart, bend their knees, and hop like a kangaroo.

Are you getting your children into yoga? Let us know how it’s going. We love to know!

Pregnant woman stretching

Exercises That Keep Your Pregnant Body In Great Shape

There was a time when pregnancy was thought of as the ultimate “get out of exercise-and-dieting free” card. Being with child entitled you to nine months of lying on the couch with your swollen ankles propped up surrounded by gallons of ice cream and jars of pickles. Well, that was all well and good until women began realizing that the more time they spent engaging in that behavior, the less likely they were to return to anything resembling their original shape. Although pregnancy should be a time to avoid strenuous activity, it is important for most pregnant women to remain moderately active to maintain healthy vital conditions. Here are some exercises to keep your pregnant body in great shape.

Stretching Exercises

Pregnant women in fitness class

Neck Rotation
Neck rotation can be helpful in relieving neck and shoulder tension. Drop your head forward and slowly rotate it toward your right shoulder. Bring it back to the middle, and then over to the left. Repeat four times slowly in each direction.

Thigh Shift
It is important to keep legs flexible to maintain balance during pregnancy. Start the thigh shift by standing with one foot about two feet in front of the other with your toes pointed forward. Lean forward supporting your body weight with your front thigh. Change sides and repeat, doing four stretches on each side.

Shoulder Rotation
Rotating your shoulder helps to maintain range of motion. Bring your shoulders forward, rotate them up toward the ears and back down again. Reverse direction pulling shoulders back up toward the ears and back down. Do four rotations in each direction.

Ankle Rotation
Ankle rotation is a good way to minimize swelling of the foot and ankle associated with pregnancy, increasing circulation and decreasing fluid buildup. Sit with legs extended. Rotate feet in large circles using your entire ankle and foot. Rotate four times on your right and four times on your left.

Leg Shake
Leg shakes are helpful in maintaining circulation in your lower body. Sit with legs and feet extended and move legs up and down in a shaking motion.

Swim
Swimming motions can help you to remain flexible while reducing tension. Begin with your arms at your sides. Bring your right arm up, stretching your body forward while twisting slightly to the side, as if you were swimming. Repeat using your left arm, completing the entire sequence 10 times.

Kegel Exercises

Pregnant Exercises

Tailor Sit
Sit on the floor in a cross legged position. Lean forward keeping your back relaxed and straight. Assume this position throughout the day as often as possible.

Tailor Press
Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together. Hold ankles and pull feet toward your body gently. Put your hands under your knees and inhale. Press knees against your hands while pressing hands up against your knees to create counter pressure. Hold for a five count.

If you’re pregnant, congratulations! And let us know how your exercising to keep your pregnant body beautiful and healthy.

Unusual Things That May Help You Lose Weight

We’ve all seen the ads: “Lose Weight Without Dieting,” “Exercise-Free Ways to Melt the Fat,” etc. Most of us just file these away under the ‘too good to be true’ category, along with the “Make Money By Sealing Envelopes” ads. However, every once in a while, something comes along that defies expectations. Something that is too good and true, like coffee and dark chocolate being healthy for you.

Ready to add to the list? Here are a few things that you might want to include.

Hot Baths For Weight Loss

The Study
There’ve been some interesting things happening lately at Loughborough University. According to research done by Dr Steven Faulkner, hot baths can have health benefits similar to exercise and can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

In a study involving 14 people, Dr Faulkner and his team investigated the effects of “passive heating” on blood sugar levels and number of calories burned. Participants soaked in an hour-long 40-degree bath before heading out for an hour of cycling. Each of the two tests was designed to raise core body temperature by one degree so that they amount of calories burned during each session could be measured.

Woman in the bath

The Results
Although more calories were burned during the cycling, results showed that the hot bath consumed as many calories as would be consumed during a thirty-minute walk. “The overall blood sugar response to both conditions was similar, but peak blood sugar after eating was about 10% lower when participants took a hot bath compared with when they exercised, “said Faulkner.

The doctor also explained that exercise prevents inflammation which can boost the immune system and fight disease. “This suggests that repeated passive heating may contribute to reducing chronic inflammation, which is often present with long-term diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.”

Turn Down The Heat
Another one for the “too good to be true” file? How about turning down the heat to lose weight. According to a recent trial published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, when we’re exposed to cooler temperature, our white fat converts to a darker color and we begin to burn calories. A British study from 2012 suggests that lowering the temp as little as two to four degree may be enough to activate fat loss.

Woman

Acupuncture
Acupuncture may also be a way to losing weight without exercising. A study published in Acupuncture in Medicine suggests that by targeting five points on the ear linked to digestion and hunger, acupuncturists can help overweight people to begin losing weight. Licensed acupuncturist Daniel Hsu, suggests the stress reduction of acupuncture may be responsible for the reduction of stress-related eating.

What do you think? Still a sceptic? A willing volunteer? Let us know. And tell us some other things belong on the “Good and True” list.

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