Couple doing walking lunges

Exercises That Help Shape Your Body

Some people look great exercising. Their limbs seem to relax into certain positions, their faces full of fierce determination, their bodies long and lithe. For others, however, the struggle is a little more evident. Graceful angles seem unattainable, body parts jiggle, eyes cross, mouths gasp, hip width and sweat drips. If you find yourself in the latter category, exercising publicly may not be on the agenda. However, if you are one of the blessed, for whom physical exercise comes effortlessly, you can exercise just about anywhere. Here are some exercises for those without issues.

Walking Lunges
If you don’t mind people wondering why you’re taking such emphasized steps, walking lunges are a great way to get some outside exercise in. Start off standing with you hip-width apart. Take a giant step forward and bend your knees until your rear knee almost reaches the ground. You will know if you are doing them correctly if your shoulder, hip, and knee form a straight line. Be sure to keep your shoulders back and continue, alternating legs.

Body Weight of Air Squats
The squat is another great way of toning the legs and butt. Begin with the feet about a shoulder width apart, turning toes out slightly. Hold your chest up and shoulders back as you bend your knees and begin to sit back onto your heels. Lower yourself to an angle of approximately 90 degrees, or a little less, and then use your muscles to power your body back up with a little more speed, without overextending your knee. Do three to five sets of 20-30 repetitions.

woman doing mountain climbers

Mountain Climber
This is a great exercise which targets the whole body and is great for alternating between lunges and air squats. Start in a plank position with lips lined up directly under your shoulder with your stomach muscles tight. Alternate lifting feet up toward your hands in a running motion. Do three to five sets of 30- 40 reps of this, making sure to keep your tummy tight while trying to keep hips from sagging.

Push Ups
Because women often lack the upper body strength for pushups, stabilizing the upper body may be a helpful strategy in execution. Begin with hands just beyond your shoulders and stomach, keeping your glutes tight. Lower yourself, leading with the chest and then push yourself away whatever you are leaning on. Allow your chest to stretch and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lower yourself. Use your legs, abs, and chest to pull yourself back up. Try to get in three to five sets of 10 to 15 pushup repetitions.

woman doing step-ups outdoors

Step Ups
Another great booty shaper, step ups are done by first finding something stable to step your foot on. Keep all your weight on the heel of the raised foot, and step up. Try to prevent going forward as you go up, keeping your upper body in a straight line. Use your butt, keeping your weight centered on your heel. You can add a little more core resistance by starting with the foot on the ground slightly bent. Aim for three to five sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, alternating legs.

If you give any of these a try, let us know how they go. And let us know what other exercises we can do without a gym membership.

Potential Causes Of Aging

Remember the Sure Antiperspirant commercials: ” Confident, dry, and secure, raise your hand if you’re sure.” It seems the antiperspirant campaigns of old were aimed at promoting deodorants as something we could depend upon; our best friends in a potentially sticky situation. Oh, antiperspirant, how thou dost betray us! Now it seems we can’t turn on the computer without seeing or hearing a piece of news containing information about the unhealthful effects of our deodorizing friend. Antiperspirant has been linked with everything from causing cancer to Alzheimer’s Disease to kidney failure. But how much of this is true? Let’s take a look at how much of this antiperspirant scare is “fake news.”

The Heart of The Fear
At the heart of the antiperspirant, fears lie aluminum. The active ingredient in antiperspirant is an aluminum-based compound that plugs sweat ducts and prevents perspiration.This, coupled with deodorant, which, as the name suggests, prevents unpleasant odor, along with a few inactive ingredients constitute your typical antiperspirant.

Antiperspirants and Cancer
Links between antiperspirants and breast cancer are built on a theory that because antiperspirants are applied to the armpit, adjacent to the area at which most breast cancers develop, the chemicals, namely aluminum, can be absorbed into the skin, especially if there is an open cut from shaving. The theory suggests that the chemicals will interact with DNA or interfere with estrogen activity, influencing the growth of breast cancer cells.

Experts say the claims have little or no support. According to Ted S. Gansler, MD, and director of medical content for the American Cancer Society, “There is no convincing evidence that antiperspirant or deodorant use increases cancer risk.” He suggests the studies were flawed, and though a few found that chemicals from antiperspirant may have been detected in breast tissue, there was no proof that these had any bearing on cancer risk. In fact, a trusted survey comparing breast cancer survivors with healthy women found no association between antiperspirants and risk of cancer.

Antiperspirants and Alzheimer’s
When a study done in the 1960’s found that people with Alzheimer’s Disease had high levels of aluminum in their brains, the health risk of many houses hold items, antiperspirant included were called into question. However, because these results could not be replicated in later studies, experts have ruled out a relationship between aluminum and Alzheimers. Heather M. Snyder, Ph.D., senior associate director of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer’s Association says, “There was a lot of research that looked at the link between Alzheimer’s and aluminum, and there hasn’t been any definitive evidence to suggest there is a link.”

Antiperspirants and Kidney Failure
The concerns about the effect of antiperspirants on the kidneys began when dialysis patients were prescribed aluminum hydroxide to control phosphorous level in their blood. Because of poor kidney function, their bodies were unable to remove the aluminum quickly enough and it began to accumulate. Scientist found that the patients with the high aluminum levels were more likely to develop dementia.
These finding resulted in an FDA requirement for antiperspirant levels to carry a warning against the use of antiperspirants by those who have kidney diseases. However, these warnings are directed at people with kidney function of 30% or less. Says nephrologist and spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation, it’s almost impossible for the skin to absorb enough aluminum to harm the body, “unless you eat your stick or spray it in your mouth.”

Bottom Line
It seems that most professionals agree that, while we would like to find an easy explanation for diseases like breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, antiperspirants are not the solution. Snyder adds, “Part of the reason that the discussion about aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease continues to be a topic is Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease, and people want to know why their relative has this disease, and they want an easy answer.” Maybe antiperspirants are still our friends.

What do you think? Antiperspirant, friend or foe? Let us know your comments and thoughts!

Woman refusing cupcakes

Living A Sugar-Free Lifestyle

If you’re planning to give up sugar, the first thing you need to realize is, it’s going to be tough. You may have seen articles about how you can, “Give up Sugar In Ten Easy Steps.” Well, you can omit the easy part. These articles will probably tell you that if you realized how much sugar was in your favorite candy bar, you wouldn’t eat it. The truth is, once you realize what the sugarless version of the candy bar tastes like, you’ll be running back to the original. The second thing you need to realize about giving up sugar is, it may be worth it. Here are some of the facts on living a sugar-free lifestyle.

Why Is Sugar Bad?

Worsens Cholesterol
Scientists have found a definite link between sugar and high levels of blood fats. Studies show that eating sugar can more than triple the odds of having low HDL cholesterol levels, which are strongly associated with heart disease.

Sugar and Diabetes
Although eating sugar does not cause diabetes, higher sugar intakes have been linked to the disease. According to Rachel K. Johnson, RD, it may be that the sugar contributes to obesity, which, in turn, raises the risk for diabetes. She says, “It may be because the sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with higher BMIs or associated with overweight and obesity, which we know is a risk factor for diabetes.”

woman eating salad

Living Sugar-Free
It has been said that withdrawing from sugar may cause the same neurological symptoms as quitting morphine, nicotine, cocaine, and alcohol. If you think you’re up to the challenge, here are a few pieces of advice.

Don’t Use Artificial Sugar Substitutes
Most scientists agree that replacing sugar with artificial substitutes is just trading one bad habit for the other. By still fulfilling your craving for sweetness, you are leaving yourself open to sugar temptations. The real trick is to trade the sweet stuff for the savory, or as Kristine Kirkpatrick MD recommends, trading “licorice for salmon.”

Don’t Go Fat-Free
Fat-free doesn’t mean sugar fee. In fact, many fat-free products have higher sugar levels to compensate for the lack of fat. Fat-free angel cake has 20 more grams of sugar per slice than the sugary version. A better solution is to keep monosaturated fat-containing products, like salad dressing and peanut butter to the full-fat variety and avoid saturated fats, found typically in cookies, cakes, and muffins.

woman drinking milk

Exercise and Drink Milk
One thing that makes sugar hard to kick is the feel good factor. Sugar has been shown to stimulate reward mechanisms within the brain. One study shows that consuming whey protein ( a major component of milk) has a similar effect. Milk increases serotonin levels in the brain known to cause mood elevation and therefore may make a good replacement for the “sugar high.” Exercise has been proven to have similar effects.

Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
Keeping healthy, sugar-free food options close by are a good way of avoiding the temptation to grab the occasional ice cream or candy from the vending machine. Nuts, raisins, fruit, and cheese are all options for replacing sugar loaded snacks. Try to keep them within reach, glove compartments, purses, and desk drawers are all handy places for a healthy stash.

If you’re quitting, or have quit sugar, let us know how you’re handling the challenge. Let us know what you’re doing to keep sugar free.

Young woman drinking orange juice

Try Vitamins To Stave Off Surgery

Plastic surgery. It seems more and more as if “Wow, how does she/he do it?” has given way to, “Where do you get your work done? However, even with the most unlikely suspects are taking the,” If you can’t beat ’em join ’em” attitude to going under the knife,” there are still a few downsides to plastic surgery: the expense, the permanent looks of surprise, the difficulty emoting, the batches- it seems safe to say there may still be a few reasons to hesitate. However, fortunately, there are some less drastic alternatives. If you’re one of the few determined to keep it real, here are some vitamins that may help you stave off aging naturally.

Vitamin C
That morning glass of OJ may be doing more than helping your immune system. Vitamin C is also great for collagen production and protection against sun damage. You can find it primarily in bell peppers, strawberries, guava, broccoli and citrus fruits. Try to get 100mgs of vitamin C daily, and if you’re looking for the fastest way to do that, Bell peppers are your best bets. The veggies contain 280 mg of the stuff, while oranges only contain 90.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is well known for its skin friendliness. A faithful guardian of the skin’s barrier, vitamin E protects the cell membrane, keeping harmful elements out while preventing helpful ones from leaving. It also works well with vitamin C. The two together make an excellent team for preventing UV damage. Vitamin E can be found in oatmeal, wheatgerm, nuts, seeds, and avocado.

woman with healthy food in the kitchen

Omega -3
Omega -3 is the vitamin that redefined the word “fat” This healthy fat keeps the skin hydrated and helps strengthen the cell membrane, keeping toxins out and protecting against sun damage. Omega-3 can be found in ground flax seeds, fatty fish, and walnuts. The best way to get your Omega -3 is by eating 3 to 5 ounces of fish 3 to 5 times weekly, or if fish isn’t your thing, you can get it in a fish oil supplement, but check with your doctor first, as these supplements have been known to cause the blood to thin.

Selenium
Selenium is a vitamin that maintains skin’s integrity and elasticity while protecting it from the sun. You can get selenium is seafood, wheat germ, and eggs. While you don’t really need a set amount each day, it’s a good idea to try and get some of this food into your diet.

Polyphenols
Drink a cup of green tea a day to get your polyphenols in. They have anti-aging benefits and have been shown in studies to exhibit properties which reduce the risk of sun-related cancers.

Beta Carotene
You might know beta carotene as that stuff that makes fruit orange. It does, and it’s also found in a lot of dark green produce. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, which is crucial for cell repair and growth. In case you’re colorblind, or otherwise incapable of recognizing orange and green fruits and veggies, here are a few for you; carrots, cantaloupe, swiss chard, pumpkins, kale, and spinach are all teeming with beta carotene. Try and get two servings a day of one of these.

What vitamins are you taking to keep your skin healthy the natural way? Let us know!

Couple lifting weights in the gym

Exercisers Have More Youthful Brains

If Amanda spends 20 minutes on the stationary bike, jogs half a mile, and does 10 minutes of yoga poses, how long will it take her to burn 60 percent of the cheesecake she ate last night? Don’t know? Maybe if you started exercising, you would! According to studies, people who exercise not only have larger muscles in their arms and legs, they have them in their heads, too. Healthy body, healthy mind? Read on to find out.

Studies show that people who exercise have larger brain volume and a greater amount of intact white matter ( the filler that conducts nerve impulses and interconnects the brain) than those who don’t. In a study published in the journal PLoS ONE, scientist looked at brain activity measuring brain activity at rest and changes in blood oxygen levels with MRIs and evaluated white matter fibers.

White Matter
According to the study, exercise stimulates the brain, and that stimulation can cause people to perform better on cognitive tasks. According to Agnieszka Burzynska, the University of Illinois postdoctoral researcher who led the study, “We found that spontaneous brain activity showed more moment to moment fluctuations in the more active adults.” She adds, “In a previous study, we showed that in some of the same regions of the brain, those people who have a higher brain variability also performed better on complex cognitive tasks, especially intelligence tasks and memory.” The study also found that the white matter in more active people had a more youthful structure.

Burzynska expresses hopefulness in the usefulness and application of such studies in the future. “We want to know how the brain relates to the body, and how physical health influences mental and brain health in aging. Here, instead of a structural measure, we are taking a functional measure of brain health. And we are finding that tracking changes in blood oxygenation levels over time is useful for predicting cognitive functioning and physical health in aging.”

Best Exercises for Brain Health
Yet another study, published in the Journal of Physiology, aimed to find out which exercises increased brain volume most effectively. Researchers in Finland gathered a group of rats injected with a substance to mark the growth of new brain cells and set them on a variety of workouts. After seven weeks, the results came in.

senior couple jogging

Jogging
Rats who’d jogged on wheels showed the largest improvement in neurogenesis. Their brain tissue was full of new neurons, and the greater the distance the runner jogged, the greater the number of cells produced.

HIIT
For the rats perfuming high-intensity interval training, the results were less promising. Although they showed higher amounts of new neurons than sedentary animals, the results were far less impressive than those of the runners.

Weight Training
Although weight training rats were physically stronger at the end of the experiment, their brains showed no such improvement. Their brain tissue was identical to the animals that had not exercised at all.

Of course, animals are not humans, and weight training and HIIT may lead to changes elsewhere in the brain, implications of these studies may carry some weight. Miriam Nokia, a research fellow who led the study speculates that “sustained aerobic activity might be most beneficial for brain health also in humans.”

What do you think? Is aerobics the key to a fitter and smarter population? Let us know how you weigh in on the findings.

Woman refusing offer of cigarettes

Kick Butts This Summer

If you’re still smoking, you must be a pretty tough cookie. Let’s face it, those anti-smoking ads can be pretty discouraging if you don’t want to shake the habit. In fact, if you’re still smoking, that means you’ve toughed it out through media scare tactics, dirty looks, bad seating, no seating, fines, and price hikes- OUCH! But there is one thing that’s going to break you- smoking itself. You may have pretty thick skin when it comes to popular opinion, but lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke can be a lot harder to take in stride. If you are looking to quit this summer, here are a few tips that might be worth checking out.

Find A Reason
If you’re going to do something, you need a reason to do it, and giving up smoking is no exception. Why is it you want to quit? Is it to feel better, look better, lessen your risk of disease, or just to protect loved ones from second-hand smoke? Remember, the first step is motivation.

Don’t Try To Go Cold Turkey
One of the biggest mistakes people, when they attempt to quit smoke, is by trying to do it “cold turkey.” Nicotine withdrawal needs to be done in small doses to avoid unpleasant symptoms.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy
If nicotine cravings prove too overwhelming, replacement treatments including nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches are available, just don’t smoke while you’re using them.

Prescription Pills
Talk about nicotine replacement with a doctor. Medical professionals may be able to refer you to prescription medications that can help to reduce cravings and reduce symptoms of withdrawal.

Get Support
You’re never too tough to ask for help. If you don’t like the idea of asking for assistance from the same people who kept bugging you to quit, consider going to a counselor. Behavioral therapy has been used to varying degrees of success and can increase the odds of quitting in certain people.

Manage Stress
If you look to cigarettes for stress relief, you may want to consider other options. Yoga, massage, Tai Chai, and exercise are all good ways of relaxing butt free.

Avoid Alcohol
Smoking and drinking often go together, as do coffee and cigarettes, and it can be very tempting to smoke after meals. Try to find replacements for cigarette triggering activities and chew gum or brush your teeth after a meal.

Clean Your House
So, you’re probably thinking you’d rather smoke than clean your house any day, but that’s not quite what this advice is getting at. Ashtrays, lighters, and smells can all trigger the desire to smoke. Empty your house of those reminders and try using some air fresheners to rid your home of the smell.

If At First, You Don’t Succeed….
Remember, relapses happen. If you find yourself returning to the nasty habit, just ask yourself what got you smoking again and try to avoid it next time.

Exercise
Movement and exercise can be a good way of curbing your nicotine cravings, and it also keeps your weight down. Next time you find yourself getting the urge to light up, light out!

Are you trying to kick butts this summer? Let us know your best advice! And good luck, we know you can do it!

Do You Know Why You Get Goosebumps?

Why do you get goosebumps? Easy. You’re boyfriend kisses you on the neck and you get tiny bumps on your skin, right? Well, partially. Goosebumps happen when you’re cold or excited or frightened. So, yeah, you’re boyfriend might be giving you goosebumps, but it’s not a very scientific answer, satisfactory though it may be to some. However, for the rest of us, there is a slightly more evolutionary based cause.

What Are Goosebumps?
Goosebumps are a leftover trait from our animal ancestors, like our tailbones, and also, like our tailbones, goosebumps were a lot more useful to our predecessors than they are to us. As you probably know, goosebumps are those tiny raised portions of the skin that look like plucked chicken flesh. However, you may not know why they happen. Goosebumps are caused by miniature muscle contractions attached to the hair which causes a little depression on the surface of the skin, making the surrounding area appear to stick out. This same contraction makes our hair stand up when we get chilled. If we had a thick coat of fur, like our animal friends, this would help us retain heat, but, since we don’t, the reaction is useless, but that doesn’t stop it from happening.

Emotions and Goosebumps
You may also notice that hair on many animals stands up when they are provoked, or feel threatened by another animal. This is a natural defense which, in combination with the back arch and sideways position that accompanies it, usually causes the offender to back off. Similarly, people get goosebumps in emotional situations, such as watching horror movies, listening to the national anthem or some such equally moving experience.

goosebumps on the legs

Heat and Goosebumps
Because goosebumps are usually a response to extreme cold, it may seem odd that some people get goosebumps in the heat. This is because sweat can also induce goosebumps. As perspiration evaporates fro the skin, it cools down. The dramatic temperature change causes the goosebump response to kick in as a result.

Why Do We Get Goosebumps?
At the root of all goosebumps is a hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline is produced in two bean-shaped glands which sit on top of the kidneys, not only causing the contraction of skin muscles but many other bodily reactions as well. Animals release the hormone when they are cold or under stress in preparation for “flight or fight.” Humans tend to produce the hormone in the face of strong emotions like anger or excitement. Adrenaline release is also characterized by trembling hands, increased blood pressure, and “butterflies” in the stomach.

Got goosebumps? Let us know your goose bump stories and clean and dirty! We love to know!

Beware The Gypsy Moth Caterpillar

The name may sound harmless enough, but make no mistake about it, the Gypsy moth caterpillar is one bad mother of a moth. Brought to America with the intent of interbreeding them with silkworms to develop a silk worn industry, the fuzzy monsters broke out of their shelters and began swarming the houses and sidewalks of Medford, Massachusetts, raining down on unsuspecting residents, bringing one of the largest impacts in the defoliation of deciduous trees in the Northern Hemisphere. And now, according to science, you may be their next target.

The Breakout
Every year when the weather warms up, we expect bugs to come out, but this year the gypsy moths are causing some serious trouble. According to recent reports in Massachusetts, these pests have been responsible for the appearance of white or red bumps on the skin, similar to poison ivy.

The Warning
As of the last week of April, gypsy moth eggs have begun to hatch. This means the larval “instars, ” or stages of the caterpillar are “ballooning” from trees and the wind is bringing then to multiple locations.

Be warned, though, this stage will not last long. in a few weeks, the older caterpillars will settle into trees to feed, making their way up and down the tree, eventually deforesting it.

There is a natural fungus with a long lasting spree at the bottom go the tree. However, the fungus needs rain to germinate, infect, and kill the caterpillars, and, because of the drought, there has not been enough rain for the fungus to germinate. But, not to worry, this is only temporary. Odds are that nature will eventually catch up and the issue will resolve itself.

stages of gypsy moth caterpillar

Exposure
Gypsy moth larvae don’t bits. However, they have two types of hair that they use to defend themselves and these can create a stinging sensation. Reactions to this range anywhere from a mild to severe itching along with a rash similar to dermatitis. The symptoms usually appear 8-12 hours after contact and become more noticeable 1-2 days later. Most cases last two weeks. Strong reactions may cause inflamed nasal passages, eye irritation, and shortness of breath.

What You Can Do
There are no state programs to provide for spraying of the moths, so it is recommended that people with sensitivities avoid exposure. With rain in the forecast, it is likely that resting spores of gypsy moth fungus will begin to germinate, providing natural control this year. If you do notice health problems or have general medical concerns related to contact with the gypsy moth, it is recommended that you check with your primary health provider. According to Boston dermatologist Abigail Walden, “You can take an antihistamine for the itching, or for severe cases, you can get a topical steroid from your doctor.”

Have you been in contact with the gypsy moth this year? What bugs are bugging you out? Let us know!

Marine Snail Venom Can Prevent Pain and Opioid Addiction

If you have gone to any of the summer music festivals, you may have noticed that people with altered perceptions seem to like looking at snails. It seems that snails shells, being spiral in nature, are actually symbolic of an expanding consciousness, looking inward to seek answers, while the antennae represent exploration, which may explain the river fascination. In short, the entire body of a snail is considered a sensory tool capable of experiencing reality through uncommon sensory perception. Perhaps then, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to consider that these creatures may actually be capable of sensory alteration, specifically, pain relief and there may be scientific proof to back it up. Read on to discover how snail venom may be an alternative to addictive opioid drugs.

Snail Venom As An Opioid Replacement
Snail venom may be the latest answer to pain. According to recent research, the venom of the small cone snail, commonly found in the Caribbean sea, may contain compounds which act on pain pathways in the body, thus providing an alternative to pain-relieving opioids.

According to psychologist Michael McIntosh, who is involved in the research, transmissions that sense pain normally travels up through the back part of the spinal chord. However, the types of sensations we feel, such as heat, cold, pain, and itch can come from other receptors. The pain pathways that opioids target are very specific. However, McIntosh and his team have discovered that snail venom can affect alternate pathways, providing for more long term relief.

McIntosh allows that opioids can be great for acute, short-term pain, but snail venom can provide long lasting relief for chronic pain, commonly caused by injury to a nerve. Says McIntosh, “What these compounds from the snail do is they not only provide relief in the short run, they seem to provide long lasting relief and they seem to do so b y actually preventing some of the pathophysiologies that occur after a nerve injury.”

boy examines snail on a leaf

Indications
McIntosh explains that each type of venom-bearing species has a unique component in their venom, designed to capture prey and work on the nervous system, and is therefore often used in the study of relieving nerve pain.

The study proved two things. First that the compound from cone snail venom can be turned into a compound that may be useful to humans, and secondly that it could be used as a specific called chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. McIntosh explains, “What we found, in this case, was that we could give the chemotherapy agent and our compound that we developed and prevent the nerve damage that normally occurs after chemotherapy.”

What’s Next?
Now the medical field must focus on bringing the snail venom into practical use. Says McIntosh, “The next step is to conduct additional preclinical trials with the aim of applying to the Food and Drug Administration for investigational new drug status so that human clinical trials can begin.” He adds that the venom may also prove to be useful for the relief of pain for diabetics and others suffering from chronic pain caused by injury to a nerve, surgery, lower back pain, or a car accident.
“We want to get at the root of the problem, not just mask the symptoms,” he says.

What do you think about snail venom as an alternative to opioid drugs? Let us know.

Natural Ways To Fight Incontinence

For nearly 25 million American, 75 to 80 percent of which are ladies, incontinence is an inconvenient truth. There is nothing sexy about it, there is nothing fun about it, and there is nothing cool about it, but there are some things that can be done about it. While drugs and surgeries are options, they often come with inconveniences of their own. Here are some healthy alternatives you may want to consider.

Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises involve flexing the muscles you use to stop the urinary flow. According to Philippe Zimmern, MD, and professor of urology,”Kegels are very useful for early stages of incontinence and after a surgical repair to maintain pelvic floor tone over time.” You can get a tutorial from a physical therapist and may see an improvement after 6 to 12 weeks of regular practice.

Lose Weight
Extra belly fat puts excess pressure on the pelvic muscles. Says Zimmern, “Losing weight if you are overweight is an important step toward reducing the severity of your incontinence.”

Bladder Control
The mind can be a very powerful tool. The idea is to learn how to delay urination. To start, try to put the need to rush to the bathroom off by ten minutes, gradually building toward twenty. The goal is to eventually increase the time between goes so that you can use the restroom comfortable every four hours.

happy woman

Magnesium
Magnesium has often been linked to muscle and nerve function. In a study at Tel Aviv University at Israel involving 40 women, more than half of the participants who took magnesium hydroxide twice a day showed improvements in incontinence and did not wake up as many times during the night to use the toilet. Doctors believe magnesium reduces bladder muscle spasms, allowing the bladder to empty completely. Magnesium rich foods include potatoes, corn, and bananas, but consult your doctor before taking supplements.

Biofeedback
Biofeedback involves the monitoring of your body by electrical sensors, allowing you to get an idea of what’s happening inside you and make appropriate changes. Zimmern says, “Physical therapists use biofeedback to help patients understand what muscles they should contract during Kegel exercises, and/ or improve the performance of these muscles by providing a visual feedback to the patient during the training session.” However, he allows, “It’s very beneficial in general, but potentially a bit costly depending on insurance coverage, and requires perseverance on the part to the patient. ”

Pessary
A pessary is a ring like an instrument that is inserted into the vagina to lift and support the bladder. It can be helpful in lowering stress incontinence, associated with exercise and coughing. Zimmern explains, “Some vaginal devices have been designed to support the bladder neck, in the same way, a tampon can work. They require good local hygiene and sometimes the use of hormonal cream to avoid vaginal wall irritation.” Pessaries usually remain in place for about a week, and a may be used for an indefinite amount of time.

Acupuncture
Amber Addison, licensed acupuncture therapist recommends her treatments for incontinence patients. She believes that the imbalance can come not only from the kidneys and bladder but from other body parts, like the heart and lungs. “Most of the time it’s a combination of two or more system imbalances that causes overactive balance,” she says. While it may take some time for acupuncture to take effect, Addison assures, “I have had success with every person I have treated for incontinence.”

Are you suffering from incontinence? What do you think works best? Join the conversation and shed some light on an inconvenient truth.