Health

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Harnessing The Power Of Sleep

Sleep is an important part of our lives. We are supposed to be spending a third of our lives asleep, but not everyone is making that happen. Lack of sleep can result in a lot of different problems, including an increased risk in type II diabetes, heart disease, mental health issues, as well as a decreased immune system. It’s a stressful time right now, and more people than ever are having trouble catching the appropriate amount of Zzzs. How can we overcome stress and ensure we are getting the rest our bodies and minds need?

The Importance Of Sleep On Health

benefits of sleep

Six in ten of the leading causes of death in the United States have been linked to a lack of sleep. Most people know they are supposed to get eight hours of sleep a night, but only a few actually do. Some people fool themselves into believing they can get by on six hours of sleep or less. Others are so busy with life and work, particularly those who have multiple jobs, that they aren’t able to make the time they need to get adequate rest.

The result of not getting enough rest hinges on cortisol and melatonin levels. These are the hormones that regulate our sleep and wake cycles. When you first wake up in the morning your cortisol levels are higher and your melatonin levels are lower. You’ll have higher blood pressure and lower inflammation and you will feel awake and alert.

As the day wears on your melatonin levels rise and your cortisol levels drop, and right before your typical bedtime is one of the highest levels of melatonin you will have all day. Your blood pressure drops and your inflammation levels rise and you begin to feel drowsy and ready for bed.

During sleep your body is in a rest and repair state. Cytokines are released in order to regulate both innate and adaptive immunity. White blood cells accumulate and fight off the antigens trapped in your lymphatic system.

When people don’t get enough sleep, though, these normal functions aren’t taking place. Too little sleep causes cortisol to build, causing you to live in a perpetual state of stress, which wears down your immune system. This causes your inflammatory processes to kick into overdrive, which lowers cytokine production among other issues. Over time, too much cortisol can lead to increased problems with sleeplessness and daytime fatigue, issues with memory and focus, and decreased immunity.

How To Get Better Sleep Starting Tonight

power of sleep

Maintaining a routine is the most important thing when it comes to getting more and better sleep. Keep a regular schedule. Wake up at the same time every day, regardless of what day of the week it is. Go to bed at the same time every day for the same reason. This gives your body a chance to know what to expect so your hormones can do what they need to do. Keeping your body guessing disrupts your cortisol levels and melatonin levels, so your sleep and wake cycles won’t come naturally.

Manage light levels and other comfort factors in your bedroom. Use light blocking shades if you work during the night and sleep during the day or if there are any lights outside your bedroom window. Stop using screens and anything else that emits blue light at least an hour before bedtime. Try to keep the temperature in your room cool, use a white noise machine if there are any distracting noises, and ensure your bedding is clean and comfortable.

If you still can’t sleep:

  • Make sure you aren’t sabotaging yourself by taking naps during the day.
  • Take an honest look at your caffeine intake – are you getting too much or not cutting it off early enough in the day?
  • Don’t try to keep trying. Get up and read for a while and try again later.

If you are waking up frequently because of nightmares, you’re not alone. Increased stress has been shown to impact quality of sleep and lead to higher levels of negative content in dreams. Oftentimes, dreams during times of stress and trauma are more vivid and more memorable, which can make you feel as though you haven’t slept at all.

It’s time to harness the power of sleep. Learn more from the infographic below.

The Power of Sleep
Source: Online Mattress Review

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Intermittent Fasting: The Fast-er Way To Better Health

What it is and why you should do it

Intermittent fasting is a way people schedule meal times. Kris Gunnars, BSc, describes it as an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. People do it for numerous reasons. People might participate in intermittent fasting to lose weight, eat better, or improve their health and overall quality of life.

Gunnars says fasting affects your body’s hormone levels, insulin levels, cellular repair processes, and gene expression. Some of intermittent fasting’s benefits include:

All these things can lead to improvements in other health aspects as well. For example, a reduction in cholesterol and blood sugar can cause overall better heart health.

We can lose weight through intermittent fasting because, when you don’t eat, insulin levels can go down and fat cells can release stored sugar to be used as energy.

In addition, intermittent fasting can be more convenient than other eating methods or diets. According to Dr. Jason Fung, MD, it can save you time and money. Fasting doesn’t cost anything. It may even have you buying less at the grocery store and you might also spend less time preparing meals.

Fasting versus calorie counting

intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is different from calorie counting because it focuses on limiting the amount of time you spend eating. Calorie counting doesn’t restrict the times you can eat, just how many calories you eat.

People often change what they eat when calorie counting, opting for healthier foods that are less in calories so they can eat more of it. For instance, a carrot might have 41.35 calories while a hamburger might have around 250 calories. You’d be able to eat around six carrots before reaching 250 calories as opposed to one single-patty burger.

In one study, people who practiced intermittent fasting lost the same amount of weight as those who restricted caloric intake. However, the study did suggest that fasting may not be as effective for women. Therefore, it may not be best for everyone. The important thing is you find what works for you and your lifestyle after all.

Moreover, intermittent fasting is considered to be more successful than calorie counting by some because it allows for beneficial hormonal changes more than calorie reduction. Constant intake of food prevents these beneficial changes from occurring, according to Fung. Not to mention the failure rate of calorie deficit diets is a whopping 98 percent!

Calorie counting does hold many benefits, like prolonging the nervous systems’ life-span and type 2 diabetes prevention. It may also may be a better option for certain individuals, but isn’t as flexible as intermittent fasting.

Usually managing what you eat when participating in intermittent fasting isn’t required but there are different intermittent fasting methods and types where it could be beneficial.

Though it isn’t required, there are better ways to break a fast than others. Your first meal after a fasting period can either amplify or hinder your results, according to Stephanie Eckelkamp.

Megan Ramos, director at the Intensive Dietary Management Program, says it is not a good idea to “binge on highly-processed, sugary, or high-carb foods” when breaking your fast because it can undo the effects of the previous fasting period. She suggests breaking a fast with a wholesome, low-carb, high-fat meal.

She also says that ending longer fasts are a little different and should be given more thought than you might give breaking a shorter fast. Short-term fasts (fasts under 24 hours) don’t make the same kind of changes in digestive functions that long-term fasts (fasts longer than 36 hours) achieve.

With long-term fasts, there is more possibility to experience symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating. This can occur due to decreased production of digestive enzymes. Eating better food when you break a fast can reduce such symptoms. Try to avoid eating any potentially problematic foods like nuts, seeds, raw vegetables, eggs, dairy, and alcohol.

Ways to fast

intermittent fasting better health

Wikipedia claims there are three methods of intermittent fasting. These include alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding. I am currently participating in daily time-restricted feeding myself. There are various versions of each.

Some popular ways are 16:8, 20:4, 24-hour fasts, 5:2 fast, 36-hour fasts, and extended fasting.

The 16:8 regiment is a plan where you fast for 16 hours a day and eat during the remaining 8 hours. It is a type of time-restricted feeding. It is relatively easy to follow if you start abstaining in the evening before you sleep for the night. Possible times you could then eat could be between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or noon to 8 p.m. It may take some experimenting to find out which time is the best fit for you.

The 5:2 method involves eating regularly for five days and fasting for two days. On the two fasting days, you are allowed to eat up to 500 calories though.

Alternate-day fasting is having fasting days with a calorie intake of 500 calories every other day.

Thirty-six-hour fasts are where you’d fast an entire day, starting after dinner of the previous day and ending the fast at breakfast the next.

There are also variations to these such as the OMAD diet, a 23-hour fast with an hour to eat one meal.

In general, it may be a good idea to try and eat a balanced diet that will keep you feeling fuller longer. Medical News Today advises eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains because they are rich in fiber, which contributes to satiety. Also, keep in mind that water and plain tea are usually allowed to consume during fasting periods, too.

Succeeding

Any diet can be hard but like any goal, there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. Be sure to set realistic goals. If you are a newcomer to intermittent fasting, don’t try a 20-hour fast to start — 12 hours would be more manageable.

Having a buddy can also help you achieve your fasting goals. Tell someone you are trying it out to stay accountable. And take it one step at a time. What are some smaller markers you can accomplish while practicing intermittent fasting? You could drink more water, go to sleep earlier, or avoid media and exposure to food.

All this can help your chances of success. Just remember to stay committed and remain consistent. Every worthwhile thing takes work to achieve so stick with it.

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Singapore-based caregiving startup launches Homage Health for online and home medical consultations

Homage, the Singapore-based startup that matches families and caregivers, has launched a new service that provides home medical visits, telehealth consultations and medication delivery. Called Homage Health, the service was already being developed before the COVID-19 pandemic, but co-founder and CEO Gillian Tee told TechCrunch that its launch was accelerated because many of the company’s caregiving recipients are elderly or have long-term health conditions, and are at higher risk for the disease.

Backed by investors including HealthXCapital, Alternate Ventures and KDV Capital, Homage launched in 2016 with a caregiving program that focuses on people who need long-term assisted living and rehabilitation care. This integrates with Homage Health because the platform’s caregivers, including nurses, are able to provide in-person support for online consultations with doctors and help followup on recommended healthcare regimens.

Before launching Homage Health, the startup worked with healthcare organizations to deliver mobile medical services, including doctor house calls, for its clients, and telehealth consultations as part of its COVID-19 response. Even before the pandemic, however, there was demand because many clients need regular health screenings.

“Particularly with COVID-19, as an essential service, we felt a higher impetus to ensure our care recipients can continue to gain access to in-home and caregiving services,” she said.

“A key example would be where our care recipients can receive speech therapy through teleconsultations,” she added. “For specific hallmark assessment sessions where a therapy care plan is defined, or where subsequent delivery is adjusted due to progressional improvements made, in-person sessions can be conducted, leading to best health, accessibility and cost outcomes.”

Having caregivers, medical sessions and prescriptions records on one platform also makes long-term healthcare management easier. For example, Homage can provide baseline medical assessment reports for medical and care providers.

Homage prescreens doctors before adding them to the platform. All of them are registered with the Singapore Medical Council, have a minimum of five years practicing medicine and receive medical teleconsultation training. The service can be used to diagnose common conditions, like the cold or allergies, or when prescriptions need to be refilled. It can also provide the follow-up consultations needed by people recovering from strokes or with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease and hypertension.

Homage Health will expand to include more rehabilitation and therapy categories. Basic teleconsultations have a flat fee of SGD $20, excluding prescriptions and delivery fees. Mobile medical services, which start at SGD $180, include at-home blood tests, home visits by doctors and minor surgery like wound care and drainage.

5 Compelling Reasons To Use Compression Garments For Running

Weight loss, better sleep, strong bones – these are just some of the health benefits of running. But when it comes to such exercise, the clothes you wear can also impact its quality. Workout clothes are not made the same way so they can make or break your performance. For this reason, investing in a pair of high-quality compression tights is an excellent upgrade to your present running gear.

Compression tights are usually made of nylon and spandex and are designed to snugly hug your body and legs. These unique features offer several benefits for running. Here are some benefits that should convince you to add compression pants to your running arsenal.

Facilitate Muscle Recovery

benefits of compression pants for running

As in any sport or physical activity, it is important for you to recover quickly from your workout. Sore and aching muscles can interfere with your daily life. If your recovery rate takes too long, you may not be able to perform at optimal levels and make progress on your next run.

Aside from taking time to do warm-up stretches before starting your exercise, you can improve your muscle recovery by wearing compression leggings.

A study conducted by William Kramer, professor of kinesiology in the Neag School of Education, compared one group of women who wore compression garment for five days with another group, which did not wear any compression garment. The group wearing compression clothing was found to have better recovery of muscle strength and power. Furthermore, there was significantly less-perceived muscle soreness in the first group compared to the group not wearing compression garments.

Shield from the Elements

Serious runners don’t let something like the weather stop them from going for a run. For this reason, it is important to invest in good-quality running gear that will give you protection from all kinds of things, from inclement weather to insects.

Compression tights have an added feature of giving your legs an extra layer of protection. Scorching heat, cold winds, and thorny bushes can make your run uncomfortable and even dangerous. Wearing compression leggings gives you full coverage from these elements.

If it is particularly cold, make sure to wear compression tights that are designed for cold climates and with long underwear underneath them. Include other winter running gear, like a winter beanie and gloves to protect your head and hands from the cold.

Improve Circulation

benefit of compression clothing for running

Have you ever run while wearing ill-fitting workout pants or leggings in a fabric that is uncomfortably tight and thick? If you have, then you know how much it can interfere with your movement and general performance. You’ll suffer soreness and even chafing during and after the exercise.

Compression tights are designed to glide on your legs and body like a second skin. This design increases circulation in your legs, so it makes running easier and more comfortable. In addition to providing comfort, compression tights can improve your stamina and speed because it decreases energy expenditure. You focus more on your performance and progress and avoid getting distracted by pain caused by poor circulation.

Do note that some compression tights are made specifically for medical purposes. Take for example those that provide support to pregnant women or to people whose jobs involve standing for hours. These garments may help prevent disorders caused by poor circulation, like varicose veins.

Versatile Design

Different runners have different needs. For these various runs, you’ll need specific running gear to improve your performance. Whether you are into long marathons, short sprints, or recovery runs, there are compression pants that will meet your requirements and help you be at your best.

Some compression leggings are designed specifically for muscle support. This is important for long runs and for runners who are prone to aching and sore muscles. Compression pants with muscle support are also a smart choice if you are doing a recovery run.

There are also compression tights that feature more knee support if you have problematic knees. If you live in an area with particularly cold winters, go for thermal-compression pants, which are designed to keep you warm.

On the other hand, if you live in a humid and rainy location, you can pick compression pants that are lightweight and moisture-wicking, so they dry fast and don’t make you feel dehydrated and too hot while on the move.

Boost Movement

Speed is one of the things you want to improve on when you run, and wearing compression tights can help you constantly break your old record. You may have an ideal weather in mind when you run. Maybe you love running when it is only slightly sunny with no strong winds or rain, but you know you can’t control the weather. You still need to hit the pavement even when it’s cold and windy or even when it’s raining.

Compression tights can help you run faster even in these conditions because they are designed to glide smoothly and snugly on your legs. As a result, there’s less drag compared to wearing pants in a thicker and heavier fabric. Compression pants are also contoured so they reduce wind resistance and will not hamper your stride and movements.

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The Emergence of Telehealth in Wound Care

The healthcare industry is forever evolving. With the intention of delivering health services and information across both short and long distances, many sectors have begun offering remote services. This practice is known as telehealth. With credit to the Wound Care industry, patients have been able to receive help in treating their cuts, gashes, and lesions through virtual means. Below, we will dissect both the wound care and telehealth industries, as well as explain how they’ve joined forces.

The Importance of Wound Care

Wound Care offers solutions to patients having undergone injuries or surgeries resulting in skin ulcers, pressure sores, gashes, and similar cuts. Treatment of these injuries is crucial in igniting the healing process. Commonly, caretakers use wound dressings, antibiotics, antiseptics, and enzymes to prevent the patient’s open wound from becoming infected.

However, things can get far worse for patients who do not seek oversight from a wound care specialist. For example, visits to already overcrowded emergency rooms and hospitals and infections may lead to avoidable amputations and death. And those who have underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and others can experience more difficulty when it comes to healing even the most minor wounds.

Those Who Benefit From Wound Care The Most

wound care

The bulk of patients with wounds desperate for specialized care are also the most vulnerable to serious complications. Saying this, the patient demographics needing specialized wound care the most include people:

  • in recovery from recent surgeries,
  • with chronic lung disease or asthma,
  • undergoing dialysis,
  • with diabetes,
  • with circulation problems,
  • in nursing or post-acute residencies,
  • aged 65+,
  • with serious heart conditions,
  • who are immunocompromised,
  • with mobility issues, and
  • who are extremely obese (BMI 40+).

Still, obstacles continue to rise in reaching those who fall into the above-named demographics – with primary reasons rooting to socioeconomic factors.

The Expense of Wound Care

The cost of wound care adds to its complexity. It seems the most crucial health services are often fiscally unobtainable for the ones they will benefit most. American Medicare approximates the fare of acute and chronic wound treatment to range from $28.1B and $91.8 billion each year.

Taking a closer look, surgical wounds cost up to $13 billion annually, and diabetic foot ulcers up to $6.9B. Of course, that’s only a portion of the greater pool of expenses. Chronic, incurable wounds impact nearly 15% of Medicare beneficiaries each year – summating to 8.2 million American seniors. Take note of the previously mentioned demographics when soaking in this data.

Each patient can expect a $3,000-$4,000 bill per wound treatment. However, treating the most expensive wounds can cost nearly $10,000 per incident.

How Telehealth Helps

By expanding wound care into telehealth, patients are ensured immediate assistance to their problems. On top of this, telehealth provides patients the opportunity to minimize their risk of spreading their wound-caused infections to other patients and their providers.

Telehealth also provides elderly patients with brighter solutions. 8.1 million Americans will go on to need some form of long-term care in their lives. This is noteworthy as a huge percentage of elderly patients suffer from wounds while undergoing nursing home care. Here’s who is impacted by this:

  • up to 36% (1.6 million people) of home health patients,
  • up to 35% (500,000 people) of hospice patients,
  • up to 35% (300,000 people) of skilled nursing patients, and
  • up to 27% (219,000 people) of long-term acute care patients.

Even further, up to 2.5 million Americans in senior care facilities may require chronic wound care as we speak.

See Also: Saving Post-Acute Care For Future Generations

The Specialized Digital Platforms Telehealth Requires

wound care telehealth zoom

Right now HIPAA rules are being relaxed, and healthcare providers are able to use the following platforms for patient communications:

  • FaceTime
  • Messenger
  • Google Hangouts
  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • GoToMeeting
  • Webex

These are not HIPAA compliant, however. Telemedicine platforms are built specifically to be HIPAA compliant. However, videoconferencing will not always work for wound care telehealth – even the platforms specifically built for healthcare needs. Wound care requires accurate imaging to properly identify the type and condition of injury. Taking this into account, standard definition video or photos are not powerful enough to do the job.

For example, a provider needs high-definition software so they can analyze the patient’s tissue color to help determine the health of their skin. Furthermore, software must be powerful enough for the provider to take wound measurements, as these are critical in accurately assessing the wound for proper treatments. A misdiagnosis due to software can cause the patient to continue suffering, or go on to worsen their condition.

Wound Care Is Essential

Overall, telewound can provide significant long-term benefits. This approach to healthcare is more cost-effective for wound care providers. It is also time-saving and convenient for the patient – improving their satisfaction. Moreover, it helps with selection, authorizing, and education on new products.

Telewound can also provide healthcare professionals to track wound healing with electronic databases through means of image capturing and storing the patients’ wound history.

When technology and people merge, wound care can become a far better experience for the patient. With telewound, we can solve the wound care challenge.

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The ‘PuffPacket’ could help researchers learn when, how and why people vape

Vaping is a controversial habit: it certainly has its downsides, but anecdotally it’s a fantastic smoking cessation aid. The thing is, until behavioral scientists know a bit more about who does it, when, how much and other details, its use will continue to be something of a mystery. That’s where the PuffPacket comes in.

Designed by Cornell engineers, the PuffPacket is a small device that attaches to e-cigarettes (or vape pens, or whatever you call yours) and precisely measures their use, sharing that information with a smartphone app for the user, and potentially researchers, to review later.

Some vaping devices are already set up with something like this, to tell a user when the cartridge is running low or a certain limit has been reached. But generally when vaping habits are studied, they rely on self-report data, not proprietary apps.

“The lack of continuous and objective understanding of vaping behaviors led us to develop PuffPacket to enable proper measurement, monitoring, tracking and recording of e-cigarette use, as opposed to inferring it from location and activity data, or self-reports,” said PhD student Alexander Adams, who led the creation of the device, in a Cornell news release.

The device fits a number of e-cigarette types, fitting between the mouthpiece and the heating element. It sits idle until the user breathes in, which activates the e-cigarette’s circuits, and the PuffPacket’s as well. By paying attention to the voltage, it can tell how much liquid is being vaporized, as well as simpler measurements like the duration and timing of the inhalation.

An example using real data of how location and activity could be correlated with vaping

This data is sent to the smartphone app via Bluetooth, where it is cross-referenced with other information, like location, motion and other metadata. This may lead to identifiable patterns, like that someone vapes frequently when they walk in the morning but not the afternoon, or after coffee but not meals, or far more at the bar than at home — that sort of thing. Perhaps even (with the proper permissions) it could track use of certain apps — Instagram and vape? Post-game puff?

Some of these might be obvious, others not so much — but either way, it helps to have them backed up by real data rather than asking a person to estimate their own usage. They may not know, understand or wish to admit their own habits.

“Getting these correlations between time of day, place and activity is important for understanding addiction. Research has shown that if you can keep people away from the paths of their normal habits, it can disrupt them,” said Adams.

No one is expecting people to voluntarily stick these things on their vape pens and share their info, but the design — which is being released as open source — could be used by researchers performing more formal studies. You can read the paper describing PuffPacket here.

Vietnamese online pharmaceutical marketplace BuyMed raises $2.5 million

BuyMed, a Vietnamese startup that wants to fix Southeast Asia’s complex pharmaceutical distribution networks, announced today it has raised $2.5 million in pre-Series A funding. Investors include Sequoia Capital India’s Surge early-stage accelerator program, and Genesia Ventures. Returning investor Cocoon Capital also participated.

Founded in 2018, BuyMed operates Thuocsi.vn, a pharmaceutical distribution platform in Vietnam. Over the past 12 months, the company says it has tripled its annual revenue, and now plans to add new product lines, including cosmetics, medical devices, supplements and medical services, with the goal of becoming a “one-stop marketplace” for supplies needed by healthcare providers in Southeast Asia.

BuyMed verifies suppliers on its platform, improving safety and reducing the risk of medications making its way into the grey market (or unofficial distribution channels). The startup currently has 700 verified suppliers, distributors and manufacturers on its platform, who serve over 7,000 healthcare providers.

In a press statement, Genesia Ventures general partner Takahiro Suzuki, said, “There is still a tremendous opportunity for growth and improvement in Vietnam’s pharmaceutical supply chain and we believe that BuyMed’s founders have the experience, execution and operational management necessary to tackle this problem.”

BuyMed Co-founder and CEO Peter Nguyen formerly served as a consultant for companies like Eli Lilly, Roche and Siemens, helping them create more efficient operations and supply chains.

Nguyen told TechCrunch that there are no major multi-brand distributors in Vietnam, so most pharmaceutical manufacturers and brands need to set up their own networks. This means the process of getting medications and other pharmaceutical supplies to healthcare providers is highly-fragmented.

There are roughly 200 domestic manufacturers in Vietnam, in addition to imported brands, and their products are handled by over 3,000 distributors. While about 2% of pharmacies in Vietnam are part of a franchise or chain, the vast majority are independent. This means distributors need to serve over 40,000 independent pharmacies and about 5,000 independent clinics.

Nguyen added that fragmentation is similar in many other Southeast Asian markets, giving BuyMed an opportunity to expand across the region.

Thuocsi.vn’s usage has grown over the last 60 days, as more Vietnamese pharmacies source from online channels. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BuyMed has expanded its platform so more of its partners can sell online, and added safety measures like frequent warehouse and office sanitization and a no-contact drop-off and cash collection system.

Can Apps And Video Games Be Medical Treatments?

Just a few decades ago, the idea that you could treat tremors from Parkinson’s disease or help a person with autism live a more integrated life was fantasy. Over the last several decades, treatment and research advanced significantly on those and many other difficult-to-treat health issues. But then, further help came from an unexpected left-field: technology. Advances in general technology have led to new uses for it, and some of those uses include treating health issues. This sector of healthcare technology has become so popular that by 2025 the market for digital therapeutics is expected to reach $7.8 billion.

What Are Digital Therapeutics?

digital therapeutic

Typical medications are chemical compounds that have been proven to treat a specific type of illness or symptom. Thanks to advances in technology, there are new therapeutic interventions for a whole laundry list of issues that include apps, video games, and more. Digital therapeutics are therapeutic interventions driven by technology. They are designed to alleviate the symptoms of certain neurobehavioral or physiological conditions. Many of these treatments are combined with more traditional treatments in order to boost efficacy.

The possibilities when it comes to digital therapeutics are endless. Already, this burgeoning sector of healthcare has shown promising results in treating Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory issues, obesity, problems of the central nervous system, gastrointestinal issues, and more. These treatments offer hope to those with difficult-to-treat conditions and offer new options for unmet treatment needs. In some cases, it may even decrease reliance on medication.

New Digital Therapeutic Interventions Abound

digital therapeutics appas and video games

New and old technologies are combining to create new treatments all the time. Things like MRIs, ultrasounds, video games, and apps are nothing new. But, when they are put together in new ways or added to new technologies like artificial intelligence, that’s where the magic happens. Exablate Neuro is a perfect example of existing tech being used in new combinations for new treatments. It was developed by scientists in Israel using ultrasound waves guided by MRI to stop Parkinson’s tremors, something that until now has been exceedingly difficult to treat.

Doctors fit a patient with a specialized cooling helmet, kind of like a radiator for your head, which prevents the patient’s skull from overheating during the procedure. Next, the Vim point, the point at which the tremors originate, is located through MRI imaging. Then, high intensity ultrasound waves are used to treat the Vim point and end tremors. There are side effects, but most are mild and temporary.

Video games are another area where advancements are being made to treat certain conditions. Even two or three decades ago, we knew that video games could improve hand-eye coordination, but now the treatments coming from video games are even more impressive. Video games can improve working memory, selective attention, and executive functioning when used appropriately. These improvements can make great strides against a wide array of maladies.

Akili Interactive has developed a number of games that target specific conditions that are very hard to treat. Its Selective Stimulus Management Engine specially designs gameplay to achieve desired results. Algorithms adapt to a specific player and work to coax out desired behaviors, adjusting to each player’s skill level. Sensory and motor stimuli target certain neural pathways and build new links through continued interaction.

The result is the alleviation of symptoms of major depression, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and autism. Developments are also underway to treat lupus, ICU delirium, and traumatic brain injuries. Biofeedback offers the game a way to learn whether the desired result is being achieved. If it’s not, the game can make adjustments. It monitors heart rate, galvanic skin response, eye tracking, respiration, temperature, and more to ensure proper engagement. If engagement lags, the game adjusts to make the player uncomfortable until they comply.

See Also: 5 Positive Effects of Gaming on Your Mental Health

Apps are also being used to treat addiction. Rather than releasing addicts to the recognizance of an app, these apps are being used in conjunction with outpatient treatment. This makes treatment accessible to more people, as inpatient beds are both highly expensive and difficult to find. The apps provide cognitive behavioral therapy to supplement treatment, giving patients greater access to lifesaving treatment even after they have left a facility.

Learn more about the future of digital therapeutics below.
Digital Therapies
Source: Nursing School Hub

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A new FDA-authorized COVID-19 test doesn’t need a lab and can produce results in just 5 minutes

There’s a new COVID-19 test from healthcare technology maker Abbott that looks to be the fastest yet in terms of producing results, and that can do so on the spot right at point-of-care, without requiring a round trip to a lab. This test for the novel coronavirus causing the current global pandemic has received emergency clearance for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and will begin production next week, with output of 50,000 per day possible starting next week.

The new Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test uses the Abbott ID NOW diagnostics platform, which is essentially a lab-in-a-box that is roughly the size of a small kitchen appliance. It’s size, and the fact that it can produce either a positive result in just five minutes, or a negative one in under 15, mean that it could be a very useful means to extend coronavirus testing beyond its current availability to more places including clinics and doctor’s offices, and cut down on wait times both in terms of getting tested and receiving a diagnosis.

Unlike the rapid tests that have been used in other countries, and that received a new type of authorization under an FDA guideline that doesn’t confirm the accuracy fo the results, this rapid testing solution uses the molecular testing method, which works with saliva and mucus samples swabbed from a patient. This means that it works by identifying a portion of the virus’ DNA in a patient, which means it’s much better at detecting the actual presence of the virus during infection, whereas other tests that search the blood for antibodies that are used in point-of-care settings can only detect antibodies, which might be present in recovered patients who don’t actively have the virus.

The good news for availability of this test is that ID NOW, the hardware from Abbott that it runs on, already “holds the largest molecular point-of-care footprint in the U.S.,” and is “widely available” across doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics, emergency rooms and other medical facilities.

In total, Abbott now says that it believes it will produce 5 million tests in April, split between these new rapid tests and the lab tests that it received emergency use authorization for by the FDA on March 18.

Testing has been one of the early problems faced by the U.S. in terms of getting a handle on the coronavirus pandemic: The country has lagged behind other nations globally in terms of per capita tests conducted, which experts say has hampered its ability to properly track and trace the spread of the virus and its resulting respiratory disease. Patients have reported having to go to extreme lengths to receive a test, and endure long waits for results, even in cases where exposure was likely and their symptoms match the COVID-19 profile.

12 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Few activities have stood the test of 2500 years. Today we still have running, music, writing, swimming and… mindfulness meditation (among scarce others).

Such ancient interests that are still practiced today have a good reason for thriving so many centuries later. But while our ancestors could feel the benefits of meditation, they didn’t have the luxury of modern science to support their claims; it seemed to improve their lives, so they kept doing it.

Now, as western researchers have applied scientific rigor to mindfulness meditation, the results are in… and they’re more incredible than you might have imagined. Below are twelve science-based benefits of mindfulness meditation that will blow your mind.

Make your brain younger

A Harvard neuroscientist and her team wanted to determine whether meditation can change the brain over the long run.

Amazingly, their research found that 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter (brain cells) as 25-year-olds in the prefrontal cortex (a key brain region used for decision-making and memory), which normally declines with age. The scientists concluded that “regular practice of meditation may slow the rate of neural degeneration.”

Meditation has also been shown to fight age-related cognitive decline and even slow cellular aging. While most peoples’ memory and other brain functions decline as they get older, these effects aren’t seen to the same degree in long-term meditators.

Increase pain tolerance by 57%

mindfulness meditation benefits
Meditation has been shown to increase pain tolerance.

Your read that right: After just four days of training in mindfulness meditation, participants in one study found painful hot sensations to be 57% less unpleasant on average.

This may sound too good to be true, but there’s solid neuroscience to suggest why. As you learn to meditate, your brain can begin to separate the physical sensation of pain from your emotional reaction to it. Most of the suffering we experience, scientists have found, is a result of our psychological reaction, rather than the pain itself.

See Also: Easing Back Pain: 7 Things You Can Do To Promote Comfort

Gain back half of your waking life

Harvard researchers found that we spend an average of 47% of our days lost in thought. That’s nearly half of your waking life spent in some kind of mental simulation, daydreaming about the future or past. And the same study found that many of those thoughts are negative!

Mindfulness meditation can help you regain presence and spend less time mind-wandering. As you practice, you’ll spend more time immersed fully in whatever you’re doing and get more out of your life.

Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression

In our modern western world, millions of people suffer from anxiety and depression.

This has also led many of them to take up meditation, which has been shown to help with both mental problems. One of the reasons that mindfulness meditation helps in this area is that it teaches you to identify and detach from the harmful stories you might be telling yourself. Anxiety and depression, after all, are both negative narratives that get repeated over and over again in a mental loop.

Become more self-aware

This isn’t something that can be studied in the lab, but it’s one of the first benefits that every meditator notices at some point.

Having sat for some time directing your attention inward during mindfulness meditation, you’ve trained in the art of self-awareness (or what psychologists refer to as “introspective metacognitive awareness”). To put it one way, your mind gets good at observing itself.

This benefit doesn’t just help others, who have to deal with less of your annoying habits, but it’s also a fast path to self-improvement. Us humans are the only species on earth with this skill of “5th-degree metallization,” the mind’s capacity to become aware of its own processes.

Improve your concentration and working memory

In our current distraction crisis, it’s never been more important to have control of our attention. Furthermore, working memory is your ability to hold something in your mind in the short-term and is something that seems to be declining. Could you remember a 7-digit phone number if you had to?

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve both of these key areas of cognitive functioning. So to all the kids drinking insane amounts of caffeine to get better test scores, try meditation instead!

Diminish inflammation

Inflammation is a major underlying cause of many illnesses, including depression, heart disease, acne, and fatty liver disease. While most people look to decrease inflammation by going on a special diet or exercising, there’s another option available that takes just a few minutes each day.

Studies have confirmed meditation’s ability to help diminish inflammation. Because of the mind-body connection, mindfulness meditation benefits your body’s health as well as your brain.

Overcome addictions

Whether to a chemical drug or something more minor, like chocolate, meditation has been shown to help reduce cravings and even addiction.

Addiction recovery centers are now using meditation, along with traditional treatments, to help addicts. Brown neuroscientist Judson Brewer, Ph.D. and his team found that mindfulness meditation was as effective as any other method for helping people quit smoking.

Reduce feelings of stress

mindfulness meditation benefit
One of the benefits of mindfulness meditation is that this happens less often.

The modern world is full of things that stress us out, from traffic jams to an unreturned text message. But your brain often can’t tell the difference between those minor issues and a lion attacking you on the savannah, as it sets into the motion the fight-or-flight response.

When you meditate, the brain goes from active beta brainwave states to slower and more rejuvenating alpha and theta brainwaves. One of the first things you’ll learn to activate on command is a state of deep relaxation that you can spend more of your time immersed in.

Boost your immune system

Nobody likes getting sick, and oftentimes we think of washing our hands as the best preventative.

But it turns out there’s another way to help bolster a healthy immune system. Some of the top meditation researchers in the world, including Richard Davidson, Ph.D. and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training significantly increased key antibodies compared to a control group.

Cultivate positive emotions, like compassion

While you won’t feel happy all the time, training a mindful mentality will gradually build up positive emotions. You’ll come to appreciate the smaller things in life more and better bear turbulent times.

Meditators commonly report feeling like they can better “surf the waves” of life, even when the ocean waters aren’t perfectly calm. And you also might uncover a natural well of untapped compassion within yourself as your practice continues.

Enhance your sleep

massage therapy deepen sleep

Sleep is something that’s often viewed as a waste of time… until we get a bad night’s sleep and realize how important it is for mental clarity, mood, and productivity.

Shockingly, 40% of U.S. workers chronically under-sleep, costing over $63 billion in lost productivity each year.

And while some people try to use various cocktails or drugs to knock themselves out, oftentimes they are just knocking themselves out rather than actually sinking into a restful state.

Better to do it the old-fashioned way with an ancient practice that’s been the hero of our story: mindfulness meditation. In a randomized clinical trial, meditation significantly improved sleep quality and lessened fatigue.

How much would you pay for a “magic pill” that accomplished all of the same benefits of mindfulness meditation? But all it takes is a few minutes each day. And if you’ve tried meditation but it didn’t seem to work, it’s likely that you weren’t taught correctly.

So if you feel like getting all of these benefits for yourself, here’s where to start:

The Best Way to Learn Meditation

Many people find it best to learn from a professional app, where they can meditate on-the-go and access some of the world’s best instructors in their pockets at any time. But most of the apps provide only surface-level instruction and are trying to make a quick buck.

That’s why we recommend one app in particular, the FitMind meditation app, which was created with the help of neuroscientists and monks and takes a more in-depth approach to meditation. Unlike the other apps, you’ll learn over 50 different methods, progressing from beginner to advanced techniques.
fitmind mindfulness meditation benefits

Via fitmindFitMind teaches this same program at Fortune 500 companies, like Amazon and Uber, and was recently named the #1 meditation app for better sleep and less stress by CNET.

If you’re trying to start a meditation practice or take your current practice to the next level to reap the full benefits of mindfulness meditation, we recommend giving the FitMind program a shot.

The post 12 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk: New York gigafactory will reopen for ventilator production

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday that the company’s factory in Buffalo, New York will open “as soon as humanly possible” to produce ventilators that are in short supply due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His comments, which were made Wednesday via Twitter, follows previous statements by the CEO outlining plans to either donate ventilators or work to increase production of the critical piece of medical equipment needed for patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by coronavirus. COVID-19 attacks the lungs and can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia. And since there is no clinically proven treatment yet, ventilators are relied upon to help people breathe and fight the disease. There are about 160,000 ventilators in the United States and another 12,700 in the National Strategic Supply, the NYT reported.

Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible. We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2020

Last week, Tesla said in a statement it would suspend production at its Fremont, Calif. factory, where it assembles its electric vehicles, and its Buffalo, N.Y gigafactory, except for “those parts and supplies necessary for service, infrastructure and critical supply chains.”

It isn’t clear based on Musk’s statements when the Buffalo plant would reopen or how long it would take to convert a portion of its factory, which is used to produce solar panels. Musk didn’t say if this was part of a possible collaboration with Medtronic .

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak told CNBC on Wednesday that it is increasing capacity of its critical care ventilators and partnering with others such as Tesla. He said Medtronic is open sourcing one its lower end ventilators in less acute situations for others to, to make as quickly as they can. These lower end ventilators, which are easier to produce because there are fewer components, can be used as an intermediary step in critical care.

Tesla is one of several automakers, including GM, Ford and FCA that has pledged support to either donate supplies or offer resources to make more ventilators. Earlier this week, Ford said it is working with GE Healthcare to expand production capacity of a ventilator.

GM is working with Ventec Life Systems to help increase production of respiratory care products such as ventilators. Ventec will use GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more ventilators. The companies did not provide further details such as when production might be able to ramp up or how many ventilators would be produced.

YC startup Felix wants to replace antibiotics with programmable viruses

Right now the world is at war. But this is no ordinary war. It’s a fight with an organism so small we can only detect it through use of a microscope — and if we don’t stop it, it could kill millions of us in the next several decades. No, I’m not talking about COVID-19, though that organism is the one on everyone’s mind right now. I’m talking about antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

You see, more than 700,000 people died globally from bacterial infections last year — 35,000 of them in the U.S. If we do nothing, that number could grow to 10 million annually by 2050, according to a United Nations report.

The problem? Antibiotic overuse at the doctor’s office or in livestock and farming practices. We used a lot of drugs over time to kill off all the bad bacteria — but it only killed off most, not all, of the bad bacteria. And, as the famous line from Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park goes, “life finds a way.”

Enter Felix, a biotech startup in the latest Y Combinator batch that thinks it has a novel approach to keeping bacterial infections at bay – viruses.

Phage killing bacteria in a petri dish

It seems weird in a time of widespread concern over the corona virus to be looking at any virus in a good light but as co-founder Robert McBride explains it, Felix’s key technology allows him to target his virus to specific sites on bacteria. This not only kills off the bad bacteria but can also halt its ability to evolve and once more become resistant.

But the idea to use a virus to kill off bacteria is not necessarily new. Bacteriophages, or viruses that can “infect” bacteria, were first discovered by an English researcher in 1915 and commercialized phage therapy began in the U.S. in the 1940’s through Eli Lilly and Company. Right about then antibiotics came along and Western scientists just never seemed to explore the therapy further.

However, with too few new solutions being offered and the standard drug model not working effectively to combat the situation, McBride believes his company can put phage therapy back at the forefront.

Already Felix has tested its solution on an initial group of 10 people to demonstrate its approach.

Felix researcher helping cystic fibrosis patient Ella Balasa through phage therapy

“We can develop therapies in less time and for less money than traditional antibiotics because we are targeting orphan indications and we already know our therapy can work in humans,” McBride told TechCrunch . “We argue that our approach, which re-sensitizes bacteria to traditional antibiotics could be a first line therapy.”

Felix plans to deploy its treatment for bacterial infections in those suffering from cystic fibrosis first as these patients tend to require a near constant stream of antibiotics to combat lung infections.

The next step will be to conduct a small clinical trial involving 30 people, then, as the scientific research and development model tends to go, a larger human trial before seeking FDA approval. But McBride hopes his viral solution will prove itself out in time to help the coming onslaught of antibiotic resistance.

“We know the antibiotic resistant challenge is large now and is only going to get worse,” McBride said. “We have an elegant technological solution to this challenge and we know our treatment can work. We want to contribute to a future in which these infections do not kill more than 10 million people a year, a future we can get excited about.”

NYC issues iconic guide to banging during coronavirus

NYC issues iconic guide to banging during coronavirus

It’s reasonable to assume that the spread of coronavirus is likely causing a spike in horniness (just look at all these free sex toy offers). We’re scared. We’re trapped inside. We’re lonely. We miss human touch. We need sweet, sexual release.

So in an act of true due diligence, the New York City government released a guide to fucking during the pandemic. And it comes bearing some truly iconic lines, while also delivering extremely pertinent safety information. 

Shortly after it caught the attention of Twitter, though, the guidelines were removed from the government’s website. At the time, NYC Department of Health Press Secretary Patrick Gallahue offered only that, “Our guidance is updated regularly and we are working on having it back up soon.” As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, the document had returned, unchanged. Read more…

More about Lifestyle, Sex And Relationships, Coronavirus, Culture, and Health

5 Tips for Aging Men And Women to Improve Memory and Focus

Memory and focus are both parts of the psyche negatively affected by age. Fortunately, there are tons of tips on how to keep your memory sharp.

As both memory and focus play integral roles in completing everyday activities, working to keep them sharp can help avoid a number of problems that come with aging. This includes memory loss, decreased independence, physical health problems, and serious mental issues like depression and suicidal thoughts.

Here we have outlined 5 tips for aging men and women to keep their focus and memory strong and ultimately avoid the physical and mental health issues that often accompany memory loss.

Mental Exercise

keeping your memory sharp

Exercising your mind is a great way to keep it young. Saying the word “neurobics” is a brain exercise in itself, but it is, indeed, a real science. Many resources online offer easy-to-use programs and games to work out the brain. For the phone-savvy, there is a wide array of mental exercise games available in the app stores.

Things you already do may also be mental exercises, such as newspaper games like crosswords and Sudoku. Anything that makes you think is contributing to your mental aerobics!

Sleep

Sleep leads to a more focused mind and a well-rested memory. If getting more sleep is something that seems like a difficult challenge, there are many healthy ways to extend the number of hours your mind is at rest.

Some of these coincide with mental exercise, such as reading before bed or listening to music. The easiest way to try to improve your sleep is to simply go to bed when you feel tired, even if it seems early or late.

See Also: Importance Of Sleep: How It Can Put Your Health In Serious Jeopardy

Social Activity

This may be the opposite of sleeping, but it’s just as important for memory and focus improvement. Connecting with individuals, especially new individuals keeps the mind fresh.

Staying in contact with friends or re-building an old friendship is as easy as ever, thanks to technological advances. Calling family or friends and catching up for a while helps trigger memories. Meeting new people, on the other hand, makes the brain focus to realize who they are and what they’re telling you.

There are many avenues for the senior population to meet new people, including senior fitness classes and senior sports leagues like bowling and golf.

Exploration

Though jumping in an RV and going to a place you’ve never been is certainly worthy of being called “exploring”, you can take your brain for an excursion without leaving your town or even your home.

In relation to the social aspects above, going to unfamiliar places strengthens the brain. This can mean a new restaurant in town, a new park down the street or a bookstore that you haven’t been to in a while.

Different environments force the brain to adapt and learn something new. Exposing yourself to these environments can be a very enjoyable form of mental exercise.

Diet

keep your memory sharp

A diet consisting of eating fruits and vegetables is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. Increasing the “good” cholesterol and decreasing the “bad” cholesterol (steak, dairy, fried foods) can be as instrumental in preventing memory loss.

Trying a new healthy restaurant is a great way to exercise the brain with new activities while also starting a healthier diet!

See Also: 5 Practical Tips to Boost Energy and Brain Power

Taking small steps every day to work on your mental processes can pay off largely in the long run. After all, there’s nothing more important than mental health.

The post 5 Tips for Aging Men And Women to Improve Memory and Focus appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

It’s not just you: A Facebook glitch marked authentic coronavirus news as spam

It’s not just you: A Facebook glitch marked authentic coronavirus news as spam

Social platforms and big tech companies have stepped up amid the coronavirus pandemic, moving aggressively to try and combat misinformation and put expert, reliable sources front and center for users. And people have been using Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and various other platforms to share community information, offer help, and shame their peers and parents into social distancing.

But over the past day or so, there was an unexplained spike in removals and flagging of posts relating to the coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. Users on Facebook and Twitter reported that innocuous, informative, or authentic news posts about the outbreak were being flagged as spam or removed. Read more…

More about Facebook, Misinformation, Coronavirus, Tech, and Health

Workers at America’s largest companies are not covered under coronavirus aid package

Workers at America’s largest companies are not covered under a bill passed by the House of Representatives on Friday that is supposed to support American workers impacted by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The bill still has to be voted on by the Senate and approved before it can be signed into law, but its structure leaves a gaping hole in the prevention strategy the government has said is necessary to reduce the COVID-19 outbreak in the US.

“No American worker should worry about missing a paycheck if they’re feeling ill,” said Vice President Mike Pence at the Sunday press briefing from the Coronavirus Task Force. “If you’re sick with a respiratory illness stay home.”

However, millions of Americans potentially don’t have the ability to make that choice under the congressional aid package touted by both Democrats and Republicans. By excluding companies with more than 500 employees from the Congressional aid, the health and welfare of millions of Americans in industries providing goods, manufacturing, and vital services to most of the country is being left up to the discretion of their employers.

Details of the legislative compromise were first reported by The New York Times yesterday. And chart published by The New York Times illustrated just how many companies didn’t have paid sick leave policies in place as the coronavirus began to spread in the US (companies have changed policies to respond to the coronavirus).

Image courtesy of The New York Times

Big technology companies took the lead early this month in changing policies for their workers and by the end of last week many of the country’s largest employers had followed suit. But it looks like their work won’t be covered under the government’s current plan — and that any measures to extend sick leave and paid time off will be limited to a response to the current outbreak.

These large employers have already responded by closing stores or reducing hours in areas where most cases of the novel coronavirus have been diagnosed — and companies operating in most of those states are required by law to offer paid leave to their hourly employees and contractors.

Companies who have responded to the outbreak by changing their time-off and sick leave policies include Walmart, Target, Darden Restaurants (the owner of the Olive Garden restaurant chain), Starbucks, Lowes, and KFC, have joined tech companies and gig economy businesses like Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Instacart, Microsoft, Postmates, Salesforce, and Uber in offering extended leave benefits to employees affected by the coronavirus.

These kinds of guarantees can go a long way to ensuring that hourly workers in the country don’t have to choose between their health and their employment. The inability to pass a law that would cover all workers puts everyone at risk.

Without government stepping in, industries are crafting their own responses. Late Sunday, automakers including GM, Ford, and FiatChrysler joined the United Auto Workers union in announcing the creation of a coronavirus task force to coordinate an industrywide response for the automotive sector.

As the Pew Research Center noted last week, the bill proposed by House Democrats had initially proposed temporary federal sick leave covering workers with COVID-19 or caring for family members with two-thirds of their wages for up to three months; expiring in January 2021. The measure would have also guaranteed private employers give workers seven days of paid sick leave with another 14 days available immediately in the event of future public health emergencies.

Most workers have less than nine days of sick leave covered under current state legislation. There is no national mandate for paid sick leave. After one year on the job, 22 percent of workers have access to less than five days, while another 46 percent of employees can get five-to-nine days of paid sick leave. Only 38 percent of workers have between ten and fourteen days of leave.

The Pew Research Center also reported that the lack of access to paid sick leave increases as wages decline. Over 90 percent of workers receiving hourly rages over $32.21 have some form of paid sick leave. Only about 50 percent of workers who make $13.80 or less have access to some form of paid sick leave. For Americans who make under $10.80 an hour, only about 30 percent receive any sick leave.

How big tech is taking on COVID-19

Over the past week, one thing has become painfully clear for U.S. residents: COVID-19 is going to permeate every aspect of our lives for a long time to come. Those of us in and around tech have been noticing this for months now. First through the impact on our friends and colleagues in Asia, who have been facing fallout from the pandemic head-on for some time, and then through the domino effect on tech conferences.

First there was MWC, then Facebook’s F8, E3, WWDC. The list goes on and on. Yesterday, TechCrunch announced that we would be postponing a pair of our own events. It was the right thing to do, and increasingly not really a choice, to be honest, as more and more cities have banned large gatherings.

Tech has been keenly aware of COVID-19’s impact for a while now because being a tech company is being a global company almost by default. Now, however, the virus’s threat has come to nearly everyone’s back door. If you don’t yet know someone who has been infected with the virus, odds are good you will soon. This is our reality, for now, at least.

If there’s hope to be mustered from this event, it’s in the prospect of people helping people. Coming together, separately, at a safe social distance. The response of the current administration leaves much to be desired at the moment. As yesterday’s press conference involved praise of the “private sector” and a parade of high profile executives, the reality is that many of us may have to rely on corporates and execs to help fill in the gaps of gutted government departments.

There will be plenty of time to call out the inevitable opportunism of corporate America (and it looks like I’m going to have a lot more free time on my hands in the coming months to do exactly that), but for now, let’s note some of the folks who are pitching in by donating supplies or easing some of the burden on a strained and uncertain population.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma today released a statement noting plans to donate 500,000 test kits and one million face masks. The donation follows similar ones to Japan and Europe, following the devastating impact on his own country.

“Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus,” Ma said in a statement. “We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!”

Yesterday, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced that his video conferencing platform would be available for free to K-12 schools in Japan, Italy and the U.S. The move comes as the service is seeing a massive spike in downloads as many businesses and schools are attempting to adapt to working and learning remotely.

Earlier this week, Bill Gates, who recently left his position on Microsoft’s board, announced the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was teaming up with Wellcome and Mastercard to fund treatments to the tune of $125 million. Yesterday, Facebook announced it was committing $20 million in donations to support relief efforts. Apple announced a similar $15 million in donations, along with letting customers skip the March payment on their Apple Cards without risking interest payments. IPS like AT&T, Charter, CenturyLink, Comcast, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and Cox, meanwhile, have promised not to overcharge, charge late fees or terminate service, in an attempt to keep people connected.

Likely we’ll continue to see more such announcements in the coming weeks and months as companies struggle with impact to their workforces and bottom lines. Some will no doubt be more crass that others, but there’s little doubt that such gestures will be a big part of our ability to emerge from one of the scariest and most surreal moments in recent memory.

The Link Between Social Media and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can have many forms and they are incredibly common these days. The problem does not target a specific gender or age. It can affect anyone regardless of who they are.

Nonetheless, teenage girls are the demographic category most likely to develop an eating disorder. Researchers claim that an estimated number of 30 million people go through Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, or other deviant eating behaviors in their lifetime.

However, the number has been increasing recently. Some associate this fact with the popularization of social media, drawing close connections between the two. But how exactly are social media and eating disorders connected?

Unrealistic expectations in regards to the body image

social media causes eating disorders

Social media is often the place for people to show themselves in the good light instead of their real selves. Most of the content posted online, both textual and visual, are altered in some way to appear more flawless and close to being ideal.

Long before social media became a thing, images of celebrities and models shown on magazines and televisions were retouched to look perfect. It has been overcome in recent years by people finally realizing that this is a requirement of commercial photography and videography.

However, when it comes to social media, it becomes a problem.

In the past, only a handful of people had the skills to professionally photoshop pictures. Nowadays, editing software has become accessible to everyone. It became extremely easy to alter pictures on mobile devices.

With the use of filters and in-app tools, anyone can make themselves look the way they want. They can fool people that they have clearer skin, higher cheekbones, and tinier waist. And with today’s technology, it is hard to tell the real and the fake images apart.

It starts small.

People start changing tiny details that do not have much effect on the final image. However, step-by-step editing becomes addictive. Eventually, social media users end up altering their appearance to such a point that their photos no longer look like them. Moreover, their photos become way too unrealistic.

This is harmful to both the person who uses the editing apps and those who see the final version of the photo on their feed.

The first ones develop severe body image issues. They feel pressured to match the image they have created which is essentially impossible. This pushes these people to restrict themselves food-wise and adopt unhealthy eating behavior. If left unattended, this could lead to extreme cases of eating disorders.

The latter ones are affected in a similar way. By seeing such content online, they start questioning their personal appearance and become feeling self-conscious. They want to look as flawless as the person they saw on the internet. Subsequently, they start paying much closer attention to their diet and physical activity. This, in essence, is not a bad thing. However, considering the fact that the results they are interested in are impossible to achieve, they might get frustrated. They may end up developing obsessive behaviors since they are too focused on this issue.

See Also: How Social Media Seriously Harms Your Mental Health

Promotion of questionable products

These days, a lot of people use social media as a platform for selling products. While some of them work, others are just clearly questionable.

It does not necessarily have a direct connection to eating disorders, but can definitely be detrimental for overall mental stability. It can cause the development of insecurities related to an individual’s appearance.

Paid weight loss programs and products have always been in high demand. Large corporations see people’s insecurities as a market opportunity.

In the past, such products were mostly advertised on television and in the press. Today, however, with the world rapidly transcending into the virtual plane, marketers have accordingly adjusted their strategy to fit the modern realities. Instead of publishing ads in the newspapers, they turn to famous and popular bloggers or the so-called social media influencers.

Depending on the content the aforementioned influencers share, the average age of their target audience may vary. Nonetheless, the majority of active followers are often teenagers and children on the verge of entering their puberty stage. This age group is the most vulnerable to the effects of what they see online. They try hard to emulate the behavior of the people they look up to.

A number of psychologists claim that at such tender age, teens are more inclined to look up to someone well-liked. They perceive them to have more authority.

Usually, teenagers find a role model outside of their family and circle of friends, most frequently among celebrities. By co-operating with these celebrities (who often are large social media influencers), companies gain access to a big number of easily affected customers.

This is dangerous as it is, but is even more dangerous if slimming and weight loss products are the subject of aggressive marketing.

Usually, the social media influencers who are chosen to promote the products are already fit and toned. They have achieved this look through working out and/or plastic surgeries as opposed to using the weight loss product they advertise.

Teenagers, the category that is most prone to developing eating disorders, start believing that weight loss products are a necessity to achieve the desired look. They purchase them, entering the vicious circle of rapidly developing self-consciousness.

Those products, however, rarely work as advertised. They don’t even bring the anticipated effect. This brings teenagers (or other mentally vulnerable people) to focus on achieving the results in other ways, often much harsher and unhealthy.

They become hung up on the idea of losing weight at all costs. This eventually leads to the adaptation of inadequate and dangerous eating habits.

This problem is unfortunately intrinsic to almost all major social media channels. It happens even though those platforms recognize the aforementioned actions as harmful and are actively trying to fight against it.

See Also: The Millennials’ Mania Over Social Media

Glorification and eating disorders online

social media and eating disorder

On a number of occasions, people who already have an eating disorder are trying to use the powers of social media to find like-minded individuals. For them, it’s a form of a coping mechanism.

This leads to the creation of thematic groups dedicated to eating disorders that frequently surpass the stage of being ‘therapeutic’ and end up being propagandist.

People worship destructive eating behaviors which has a huge effect on those who may be prone to developing an eating disorder. Moreover, by joining the aforementioned groups, people often see such deviant behavior as normal. They see other people practice it and they stop seeing it as something bad.

Cyberbullying

Social media grants a certain degree of anonymity to its users. Unfortunately, a lot of people abuse it and utilize it to be offensive to others.

Cyberbullying is a huge issue in the modern world. While it does not necessarily have a direct impact on the development of eating disorders, it can definitely play a role in it as a side factor.

The post The Link Between Social Media and Eating Disorders appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

‘You’re a monster’: Colbert goes to town on Trump’s weekend of woeful coronavirus leadership

'You're a monster': Colbert goes to town on Trump's weekend of woeful coronavirus leadership

“This is the first crisis of Trump’s presidency that he did not cause himself, and he is shankin’ it,” declared Stephen Colbert in Monday night’s Late Show monologue. The host was summing up a truly dire few days of presidential mishandling, “hunches,” and health misinformation about the worsening coronavirus outbreak, culminating in a Monday market crash where “Wall Street S&P’d itself.”

From wearing campaign merch and declaring non-existent COVID-19 tests to be as “perfect” as his Ukraine phone call during a lab visit, to tweeting poorly thought-through comparisons to the flu, Colbert ran through the president’s not-at-all reassuring lowlights. Read more…

More about Donald Trump, Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Coronavirus, Culture, and Health

A Comprehensive Keto Diet Guide for Beginners

As medicine progresses, it becomes easier to understand our bodies. Realizing how things that we consume impact our health becomes easier, too.

It became clear that when combined with regular physical activity, a proper diet plays a significant role in enabling us to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, balanced and nutritious meals can help reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases, certain forms of cancer, and metabolic disorders.

The problem is how to choose the right nutrition plan.

As it turns out, there is a new diet hype every few years. Moreover, each diet is promoted as a health boost miracle. With so many options, it is not surprising that people get confused. This Keto diet guide aims to clear things up for you.

What is Ketogenic Diet?

You must have heard about Keto diet by now. After all, tons of celebrities, like Halle Berry and Lebron James, are strong proponents of the diet plan.

Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb nutrition plan that has been around for decades. It initially became popular in the 20s and 30s of the last century medicine.

The diet has been used to help with the treatment of more complicated cases of epilepsy in children. It proved to be successful but was set aside after the discovery of anti-convulsant drugs.

However, when it was found that keto diet results were more significant than those of medication, it became popular again. As of recently, experts are becoming increasingly aware that this type of food plan has enormous benefits for the overall health.

How Does Keto Diet Work

When you are on this food plan, you are replacing carbs with fat. Because of this, your body goes into a metabolic state known as ketosis.

Usually, the body burns sugar to produce energy. But with such a low intake of carbohydrates, the level of sugar in the body isn’t sufficient. The body begins to burn fat to get the energy it needs.

There are four different types of ketogenic diet:

  • Standard (SKD) is a typical keto diet for beginners. With this, your carbohydrate intake is about 5%, 75% is fat and 20% protein.
  • High protein is similar to standard keto diet but includes more protein. You will still be consuming only 5% carbs, but the fat-protein ratio changes. Now, it is 60% fat and 35% protein.
  • Cyclical plan (CKD) is different than the previous two because it includes two higher carb days. It means that you will be on a ketogenic diet for five days, followed by two days when you eat more carbohydrates.
  • Targeted plan (TKD) enables you to add carbs when working out.

What to Eat

When you are starting a new food plan, it is necessary to make sure you have all the information on what to eat and what to avoid. Therefore, we present here a keto food list, so you know what needs to be on your plate.

ketogenic diet guide

  • Meat: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, duck, wild game, lamb, goat, organ meats (heart, liver, kidney)
  • Fatty fish: mackerel, tuna, salmon, trout, etc.
  • Shellfish: oyster, mussels, clams, lobster, etc.
  • Nuts: almonds, macadamia.
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables like leafy greens, lettuces, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, mushroom, asparagus, etc.
  • Cheeses, sour cream, yogurt, and kefir, whipping cream, etc
  • Avocados and organic berries
  • Butter and ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil

It is equally important to know what to avoid when you are following a keto diet. Make sure to skip the following:

  • Grains, pasta, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, rye
  • Beans and legumes
  • High sugar fruits
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol

When you are starting new projects, like a keto diet, it might be overwhelming when you see all the stuff you cannot eat. There are plenty of keto recipes that can help in understanding how to prepare delicious meals while going towards desired results.

See Also: Essential Tips for People Who Want to Enjoy Ketogenic Diet-Friendly Fast Food

Benefits of Keto Diet

It is time to look at some of the benefits of a keto diet and understand why everybody is so crazy about it.

keto diet guide benefits

  • Weight loss is maybe the main reason why everybody is talking about it. It is a magic trick for losing weight. People are also using keto weight loss pills to speed up the process.
  • It proved to prevent metabolic disorders, such as diabetes type 2,

    because it regulates blood sugar and insulin levels

  • Improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Helps combat epilepsy seizures which is why it was created
  • Improves heart because it helps control HDL and LDL, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels
  • Enhances brain health because ketosis brings neuroprotective benefits. Studies show that people on the keto diet have lower risks of developing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Also, it seems to be beneficial for people who already have this condition.
  • Enhances endurance
  • Alleviates the symptoms of PMS

See Also: 10 Habits That Can Prevent Heart Disease

Conclusion

People often confuse the keto diet with Paleo and Atkins, thinking it’s all the same. However, these food plans differ a lot.

All three are indeed low carb diets, but they serve different purposes. If your primary goal is to lose weight, then the ketogenic diet is the best choice for you. Apart from its potential health benefits, it can also improve your health and make you satisfied. It seems challenging to follow this plan, but once you get used to it, it will become more of a lifestyle than a diet.

Have you heard about the ketogenic food plan before? Or tried following it? What are your ideas or experiences?

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New York’s Governor Cuomo requires insurers to waive cost sharing for COVID-19 tests

In a move that other states might want to emulate, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said that the state’s Department of Financial Services is requiring health insurers in the state to waive cost sharing associated with testing for the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

The initiative paves the way for low-cost emergency room, urgent care, and hospital visits for patients worried that they may have contracted the virus.

The Governor also said that New Yorkers receiving Medicaid coverage will not be expected to pay a co-pay for any testing related to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The steps are designed to ensure that residents of the state won’t have to worry about cost as an obstacle for getting tested. Any tests that are being conducted at the State’s Wadsworth Lab are fully covered.

Cuomo’s administration also outlined other actions health insurers are either going to be required or advised to take — including informing New Yorkers of available benefits, offering telehealth medical advice and treatment, and preparing insurers to cover the costs of COVID-19 immunizations if a vaccine becomes available.

“We have the best health-care system in the world, and we are leveraging that system including our state-of-the-art Wadsworth testing lab to help contain any potential spread of the novel coronavirus in New York,” Governor Cuomo said, in a statement. “Containing this virus depends on us having the facts about who has it – and these measures will break down any barriers that could prevent New Yorkers from getting tested.”

The state’s initiative will prevent insurers from forcing cost-sharing on in-network provider office visits or urgent care visits, when the purpose is a test for the novel COVID-19 coronavirus. The initiative is also designed to ensure that New Yorkers receiving Medicaid coverage have their costs covered.

Employees who are in self-funded employer-based plans not regulated b ERISA statutes need to contact employers to see how the new regulations will effect them.

The State is also requiring insurers to devote resources to inform consumers of available benefits; provide and promote telehealth services; encourage and verify whether provider networks are adequately prepared to handle potential increases in demand for services including offering access to out-of-network services; covering the costs of immunizations if they become available; expand access to prescription drugs; and ensure proper emergency care.

8 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Few activities have stood the test of 2500 years. Today we still have running, music, writing, swimming and… mindfulness meditation (among scarce others).

Such ancient interests that are still practiced today have a good reason for thriving so many centuries later. But while our ancestors could feel the benefits of meditation, they didn’t have the luxury of modern science to support their claims; it seemed to improve their lives, so they kept doing it.

Now, as western researchers have applied scientific rigor to mindfulness meditation, the results are in… and they’re more incredible than you might have imagined. Below are science-based benefits of mindfulness meditation that will blow your mind.

Make your brain younger

A Harvard neuroscientist and her team wanted to determine whether meditation can change the brain over the long run.

Amazingly, their research found that 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter (brain cells) as 25-year-olds in the prefrontal cortex (a key brain region used for decision-making and memory), which normally declines with age. The scientists concluded that “regular practice of meditation may slow the rate of neural degeneration.”

Meditation has also been shown to fight age-related cognitive decline and even slow cellular aging. While most peoples’ memory and other brain functions decline as they get older, these effects aren’t seen to the same degree in long-term meditators.

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Increase pain tolerance by 57%

Your read that right: After just four days of training in mindfulness meditation, participants in one study found painful hot sensations to be 57% less unpleasant on average.

mindfulness meditation benefits
Meditation has been shown to increase pain tolerance.

This may sound too good to be true, but there’s solid neuroscience to suggest why. As you learn to meditate, your brain can begin to separate the physical sensation of pain from your emotional reaction to it. Most of the suffering we experience, scientists have found, is a result of our psychological reaction, rather than the pain itself.

See Also: Easing Back Pain: 7 Things You Can Do To Promote Comfort

Gain back half of your waking life

Harvard researchers found that we spend an average of 47% of our days lost in thought. That’s nearly half of your waking life spent in some kind of mental simulation, daydreaming about the future or past. And the same study found that many of those thoughts are negative!

Mindfulness meditation can help you regain presence and spend less time mind-wandering. As you practice, you’ll spend more time immersed fully in whatever you’re doing and get more out of your life.

Become more self-aware

This isn’t something that can be studied in the lab, but it’s one of the first benefits that every meditator notices at some point.

Having sat for some time directing your attention inward during mindfulness meditation, you’ve trained in the art of self-awareness (or what psychologists refer to as “introspective metacognitive awareness”). To put it one way, your mind gets good at observing itself.

This benefit doesn’t just help others, who have to deal with less of your annoying habits, but it’s also a fast path to self-improvement. Us humans are the only species on earth with this skill of “5th degree metallization,” the mind’s capacity to become aware of its own processes.

Diminish inflammation

Inflammation is a major underlying cause of many illnesses, including depression, heart disease, acne, and fatty liver disease. While most people look to decrease inflammation by going on a special diet or exercising, there’s another option available that takes just a few minutes each day.

Studies have confirmed meditation’s ability to help diminish inflammation. Because of the mind-body connection, mindfulness meditation benefits your body’s health as well as your brain.

Reduce feelings of stress

The modern world is full of things that stress us out, from traffic jams to an unreturned text message. But your brain often can’t tell the difference between those minor issues and a lion attacking you on the savannah, as it sets into the motion the fight-or-flight response.

When you meditate, the brain goes from active beta brainwave states to slower and more rejuvenating alpha and theta brainwaves. One of the first things you’ll learn to activate on command is a state of deep relaxation that you can spend more of your time immersed in.

mindfulness meditation benefit
One of the benefits of mindfulness meditation is that this happens less often.

Boost your immune system

Nobody likes getting sick, and oftentimes we think of washing our hands as the best preventative.

But it turns out there’s another way to help bolster a healthy immune system. Some of the top meditation researchers in the world, including Richard Davidson, Ph.D. and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training significantly increased key antibodies compared to a control group.

Enhance your sleep

Sleep is something that’s often viewed as a waste of time… until we get a bad night’s sleep and realize how important it is for mental clarity, mood, and productivity.

Shockingly, 40% of U.S. workers chronically under-sleep, costing over $63 billion in lost productivity each year.

And while some people try to use various cocktails or drugs to knock themselves out, oftentimes they are just knocking themselves out rather than actually sinking into a restful state.

Better to do it the old-fashioned way with an ancient practice that’s been the hero of our story: mindfulness meditation. In a randomized clinical trial, meditation significantly improved sleep quality and lessened fatigue.

How much would you pay for a “magic pill” that accomplished all of the same benefits of mindfulness meditation? But all it takes is a few minutes each day. And if you’ve tried meditation but it didn’t seem to work, it’s likely that you weren’t taught correctly.

So if you feel like getting all of these benefits for yourself, here’s where to start:

The Best Way to Learn Meditation

Many people find it best to learn from a professional app, where they can meditate on-the-go and access some of the world’s best instructors in their pockets at any time. But most of the apps provide only surface-level instruction and are trying to make a quick buck.

That’s why we recommend one app in particular, the FitMind meditation app, which was created with the help of neuroscientists and monks and takes a more in-depth approach to meditation. Unlike the other apps, you’ll learn over 50 different methods, progressing from beginner to advanced techniques.

fitmind mindfulness meditation benefits
FitMind’s science-based meditation training program. Via FitMind

FitMind teaches this same program at Fortune 500 companies, like Amazon and Uber, and was recently named the #1 meditation app for better sleep and less stress by CNET.

If you’re trying to start a meditation practice or take your current practice to the next level to reap the full benefits of mindfulness meditation, we recommend giving the FitMind program a shot.

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Proper Gym Etiquette: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do At the Gym

With spring break and the summer approaching, many people will be joining the gym. If you’re new to it, you may struggle with how to behave there. You may even fear getting judged.

To help you be more comfortable with working out, here’s a guide on proper gym etiquette.

Do: Bring a change of clothes and indoor shoes

gym etiquette

Everyone hates when others track dirt and mud into their home and they have to clean it up, right?

A pair of indoor shoes can help keep the gym floor, machines, and other exercise stations clean. While some gyms have full-time cleaning staff, many do not. And for those who don’t, their jobs will be easier if they do not have to follow you around to clean up your mess.

Some gyms are stricter than others about this rule. They may not let you get past the sign-in area without removing outdoor shoes.

Don’t: Forget to wipe down your station

Most gyms provide disinfectant sprays as well as disposable paper towels. I personally avoid gyms which mandate using a reusable towel or don’t provide a way to clean the equipment.

Typically, I will wipe down the equipment if I notice someone leave without doing so. Using them can help keep you and your other gym goers healthy, as well as avoid sitting in one another’s stink. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t sweat that much, or just sat in an area to rest, wipe it down.

Some people work out with towels, but your fellow gym goers can’t know how clean your towel is. One thing I see many people do is to sit on their sweat towel (or even worse, their hoodie) without disinfecting the station. Another is people using their towel to wipe the equipment with disinfectant.

Some microbiologists have said these habits greatly increase the spread of germs in gyms, increasing the risk of getting yourself or others sick. Your towel will carry fewer germs if you disinfect every station prior to putting it down.

Do: Re-rack your weights properly

gym etiquette dumbbells

When using plates and free weights, make sure to put them back where you found them. Some people don’t mind if you re-rack to one 45lb plates depending on the exercise and the gym, but the safe bet is to re-rack all weights.

You don’t want the next person to struggle in removing your weights. Some gyms have labeled areas for plates, dumbbells, and barbells. It is always best to put them in the designated area even if it is not where you found them. Sometimes, I sort weights while waiting for equipment or during a rest period.

Do not abandon your barbells in the middle of the walking area or stack plates into a tower. It is annoying and may lead to injury to yourself or others. Do not mix weights when putting them away. No one wants to have to de-rack and immediately re-rack two 25lb plates to get to a 45lb plate.

Do: Be aware of your surroundings

Be respectful of the personal space of your fellow gym-goers. You don’t want someone to drop a dumbbell on your foot! Be aware of what others are doing. You wouldn’t want to trip over someone stretching or knock out others.

Personal space at the gym is important. Most people don’t like a stranger taking a phone call an inch from their face, let alone when they’re trying to deadlift.

Do not block others’ access to weights, mirrors or gym equipment. For example, moving away from the barbell rack before doing a barbell set will allow others access to the weights without having to wait for you to finish your set or move. Even if it’s crowded, try your best to not stand in between another person and a mirror. You may block their view of their form.

You can do yoga or biceps curls in a different area of the gym. Many gyms have free exercise areas for yoga and stretching so don’t do them in squat or dead-lift areas. Those exercises can only be done in a limited part of the gym.

Don’t: Hog the exercise equipment

Some gyms have strict rules on how long someone can use an area or exercise equipment. Others rely on an honor system.

It may be tempting to make a circuit for your personal use but remember that other people may want to use the equipment as well. Don’t kill your gains to socialize. Although most people at the gym are friendly, you have to remember that they are there to work out.

It’s not a big deal to have a conversation or check your music in your rest period. However, you need to try to avoid spending an hour talking and fifteen minutes exercising. Be aware of your noise level and listen to your music with headphones. If half the gym is looking at you during a conversation, it might be time to quiet down and observe proper gym etiquette.

See Also: 12 Ways To Effectively Waste Time At The Gym

The post Proper Gym Etiquette: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do At the Gym appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Created to help employees figure out health benefits, HealthJoy raises $30 million

HealthJoy, a platform designed to make it easier for employees to use their healthcare benefits, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Health Velocity Capital. Returning investors also participated, including U.S. Venture Partners, Chicago Ventures, Epic Ventures, Brandon Cruz and Clint Jones. This brings HealthJoy’s total funding so far to $53 million.

By integrating with healthcare service providers and partnering with benefit consultant agencies, HealthJoy simplifies the process of finding and using benefits. Its features include an AI-based virtual assistant and healthcare concierges. The startup says it has a monthly login rate of 33% and that its clients, which now includes 500 employers, see a tenfold increase in the employee use of benefits, including telemedicine.

Since TechCrunch covered HealthJoy’s Series B round last year, the company has launched two new services. One is a price transparency tool called HealthJoy Rewards that allows companies to provide incentives for employees to use more cost-efficient services.

“For example, an MRI in Chicago can vary in price from around $500 for an independent clinic to around $3,500 in a hospital system,” HealthJoy founder and CEO Justin Holland told TechCrunch. “Our rewards platform allows companies to customize the incentive, but we provide nearly 100 recommendations. We’re showing an amazing ROI for companies that have adopted the program since we’re targeting high-cost procedures.”

The second new service is called HealthJoy EAP, an employee assistance program that Holland says is a priority for further development. It gives 24/7 access to short-term counseling, with several sessions available for free.

“Addressing mental heath is of extreme importance for companies in today’s world. Access to traditional counseling is on decline in many rural areas due to lack of access. In cities, costs have risen so many users are priced out of the market,” he says.

The funding will also be used to improve HealthJoy’s virtual assistant, develop new services, integrate with more partners and aggregate data. HealthJoy plans to add 200 employees in its Chicago office during 2021, with the goal of doubling its engineering team. Future plans include working with more small- to medium-sized businesses and a potential partnership to serve Medicare recipients.

Other startups focused on employee benefits include League, Catch and Collective Health. Holland says HealthJoy integrates with, instead of competing with, benefits administration platforms and differentiates by being able to work with any benefits package.

Health Velocity Capital partner Saurabh Bhansali will join HealthJoy’s board of directors. In a press statement, Bhansali said “HealthJoy offers proven technology solutions to help navigate employees through our nation’s complex and costly healthcare system, one that costs US employees over $1.2 trillion each year. Healthjoy has shown that it can deliver substantial cost savings to employers while simplifying the employee healthcare experience.”

Treating Arthritis Naturally: Home Remedies For Arthritis and Joint Pain

Arthritis is one of the most chronic and common illnesses affecting millions around the globe. It is a disease that causes inflammation of the joints and considered a rheumatic condition. It doesn’t just harm the joints, but sometimes it can also affect the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones.

If the condition spreads, it can also affect other internal organs and the immune system. The symptoms of arthritis include severe ache, pain, stiffness, and swelling in bones and muscles. Arthritis can also drain a person mentally, causing sleep disorders and depression.

Arthritis can cause severe fatigue and pain which can make daily tasks appear daunting.

What causes arthritis?

There are five primary types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Gout. Each type of arthritis has its own set of causes.

Below are some of the primary causes of arthritis:

  • Injury
  • Infections
  • Immune disorders
  • Heredity
  • Abnormal metabolism
  • Muscle disorders
  • Age
  • Obesity

How to treat arthritis?

The treatment for arthritis involves enriching the bones, joints or muscles, controlling the pain, and alleviating the symptoms. The treatment or care also focuses on minimizing the damage on the joints or nearby muscles and organs.

Home and natural remedies for arthritis involves augmenting the dietary and lifestyle habits. It can help in treating and also preventing the further spread of arthritis or its conditions.

Natural remedies for arthritis

Ginger

treating arthritis naturally ginger

Ginger is favored around the globe for its rich medical properties. It contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These and other components of ginger work together in reducing pain, inflammation, and disability.

Ginger also promotes weight loss and boosts immunity which improves the body’s ability to alleviate arthritis. It plays another critical role by increasing blood circulation and supporting the affected area with its healing properties.

Use powdered ginger to add flavors to dishes. Add grated ginger root to soups, teas or juices to experience its benefits.

Broccoli

treating arthritis naturally broccoli

Broccoli is a superfood that reduces inflammation. It is rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium which are known to be highly beneficial in treating arthritis.

See Also: A List of Superfoods You Definitely Need in Your Diet

Adding broccoli to salads is the most common practice to take in their benefits.

Healthy dietary management to fight arthritis.

Below are some of the foods for arthritis patients:

Sulfur rich foods: Asparagus, cabbage, garlic, and onions.
Antioxidant foods: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, spinach, red & green peppers.
Vitamin-rich fruits: Avocados, berries, melons, papaya, pineapple.

Herbal teas, garlic, turmeric, and cinnamon are highly recommended. These are loaded with anti-inflammatory and immune system boosting properties.

These foods help in rebuilding the damaged tissues, inhibit or reduce inflammation, and alleviate the pain associated with arthritis.

On the other hand, these foods also help in reducing weight, improving the immune system, and overall health which can ease the treatment of the condition.

Essential nutrients for managing arthritis

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients that helps in absorbing calcium and building strong bones. It also regulates the immune system to fight arthritis from inside.

Vitamin D is also vital for muscle movement, fighting inflammation, and enriching the communication between nerves. These attributes help reduce the associated symptoms and reduce stress.

Sun and yogurt are the best sources of vitamin D. Supplements are also recommended to fuel the body with significant amounts of vitamin D.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing inflammation and improving the immune system. These essential fatty acids increase the blood flow, reduce joint pains, inflammation, tenderness, swelling, and discomfort in the joints and knees.

Seafood is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Generally, supplements of omega-3 fatty acids are also recommended for those who do not eat fish. You can also get them from nuts and seeds.

Glucosamine, magnesium, and calcium are other essential nutrients that should be taken in significant amounts to treat arthritis.

Warm water therapy

Warm water therapy regulates the size of blood vessels. It, in turn, increases the flow of blood, oxygen, and essential nutrients to repair the damaged tissues. It also eases the stiffness and gives more relaxation to the joints and muscles.

How to do it:

  • Relax in a tub of warm water or soak your legs in warm water.
  • The other way is to apply a warm compress to the affected area.

Avoid this therapy if you see any redness or swelling. You could also try a cold compress which has a similar effect. The cold compress does the opposite and reduces the blood flow and decreases inflammation.

Massage

Arthritis, as mentioned above, can limit mobility or cause severe pain when the affected person does physical workout. In such cases, massage therapy can be helpful.
Regular massage can soothe the pain, improve blood flow, increase flexibility, and strengthen the joints and muscles.

Besides, massage is known to inhibit the stress hormone and boost the serotonin levels, which can improve the mood.

Walking or swimming are also other physical exercises that can help in treating arthritis. Go easy on this routine or work out under an expert’s guidance. These simple exercises can reduce fat, improve coordination, mood, and quality of life.

What to Avoid

treating arthritis naturally what to avoid

A person who has arthritis should take necessary measures to avoid the following:

  • Flour and wheat products
  • Red meat
  • Alcohol
  • Processed or starchy foods
  • High-sugar foods
  • High-intensity exercises
  • Weight-lifting

Conclusion

These tips on treating arthritis can naturally help in alleviating the symptoms, reducing the pain, and treating the condition in the early stages. These remedies also help in improving the everyday physical and mental abilities.

However, in severe or chronic conditions of arthritis, it is a must to get proper treatment from a doctor. Otherwise, it could cause permanent damage and progress to other parts.

See Also: Words of Advice To Keep Your Joints Healthy

Author Bio:

Henna is a wellness lifestyle writer. She loves sharing her thoughts and personal
experiences related to natural remedies, Ayurvedic, yoga and fitness through her
writing. She currently writes for How To Cure. She can connect with others experiencing
health concerns and help them through their recovery journeys through natural
remedies

The post Treating Arthritis Naturally: Home Remedies For Arthritis and Joint Pain appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Smart Tricks On How to Keep Skin Young-Looking

Skin aging is an inevitable process. Despite that, there are a couple of things you can do to slow down the process and keep that youthful glow.

Read on to find out how to keep skin young-looking:

Breathe and relax

Gone are the days when people used to have ample amount of time to relax. Such things are rare now. Whether we are at home or at the office, we hardly get any rest these days.

So, it is quite important to take out at least 5 to 10 minutes of time from our packed schedule. And, we need to do that on a regular basis.

During that 5 to 10 minutes, simply do nothing. All you have to do is to sit, breathe, and relax your mind and body. Stay away from all the humdrum thoughts. Just keep on doing this for a month and surely, you would see the change in your skin and body.

Get enough sleep

keep skin young looking

Beauty sleep is necessary.

We splurge a lot of money on buying expensive cosmetics. But, what if we spend some time daily so that our body gets the necessary hours of sleep?

It is said that at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep is necessary for an adult. It rejuvenates our body and also our mind. And honestly, healthy and young-looking skin is impossible without a healthy body.

So, sleep well and get ready to ditch your bottle of anti-aging cream forever.

See Also: Are You Sleep Deprived? 8 Health Risks Of Poor Sleep

Stay hydrated

Water is life and this is not a mere adage anymore.

When we drink sufficient amount of water every day, our skin cells rejuvenate and stay hydrated. In fact, drinking the right proportion of water is important for keeping our organs functional as well.

So, make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.

From now on, do not drink when you only feel thirsty. Rather, keep drinking a glass of water every hour.

See Also: Top 5 Tips On How To Stay Hydrated

Bring in positivity

Often, people think that slathering expensive creams is going to save their skin. But, it has also been seen that bringing in a positive change in lifestyle can bring out the same effect, too.

When we look at the negative aspects of our life, the difficult phases become more critical and uglier. Negativity rises exponentially and there is literally no end to it.

With that, it is extremely important to lead a life filled with positive and motivating thoughts. Always look at the brighter side of any situation. When your mind stays positive, your body feels awakened, too.

Eat more foods with antioxidants

When oxidation occurs in our body, free radicals are created. These unstable molecules are enough to damage skin cells. In fact, oxidation is the biggest reason behind skin aging.

So, if foods that are enriched with ample amount of antioxidants are taken, those things can be prevented.

Make sure that your diet contains fruits, seafood, carrots, green tea, pumpkin, grapes, milk, dry fruits and nuts.

Stay fit and look fit

how to keep skin young looking thru yoga

Sedentary jobs often take a toll not only on our health but also on our skin. Digestion process gets hampered by constantly sitting in one posture. And, this thing eventually damages our skin profile.

So, in order to look young, it is important to stay active. If you start jogging regularly, it would heal your entire system. In fact, doing yoga also helps a lot. When the entire system becomes rejuvenated, skin looks healthy and young.

Say no to your gadgets

In today’s busy life, the importance of mobile and other gadgets is infinite. If we constantly look at them, our eyes and the surrounding skin might start to look tired and baggy.

But, what if we keep those things off our life on a daily basis?

It is the simplest of all the tricks. From this day on, when you go to sleep, make sure you are not using your gadgets or mobile devices when lying on your bed. When you wake up, you’ll notice that your skin will look healthy and plump.

Lastly, it is not possible to bring about these habits in your lifestyle overnight. But, with constant effort you can make them happen. Knowing how to keep skin young-looking isn’t enough. You also have to exert effort.

The post 7 Smart Tricks On How to Keep Skin Young-Looking appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Create A Healthy Nutrition Plan for Weight Loss

Recent health statistics show that over 70% of all adults in the US are either overweight or obese. One of the main reasons for the spike in weight problems is unhealthy diet that is high in calories but low in nutrition.

Food has now become more about convenience and less about nutrition. This convenience culture is evident from the 170,000 fast food restaurants across the country!

What’s even worse is that we have super-sized all our servings, drastically increasing our calorie intake and making us pile on the pounds.

Most people think that they would need to consult a dietitian and follow a restrictive diet to lose weight, but this is far from the truth. There are several small dietary changes that you can make to create a nutrition plan that helps you reach your ideal body weight.

Creating a Healthy Nutrition Plan for Weight Loss

Macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) are the foundation of any healthy nutrition plan. The acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges are 45–65% calories from carbs, 20–35% from fats, and 10–35% from protein. Tweaking this macronutrient ratio will help you create a healthy nutrition plan for weight loss.

Reduce your carb intake

From breakfast bagels and pancakes to lunchtime sodas and midnight snacks – there’s no denying that our daily carb intake is through the roof. Current research suggests that low-carbohydrate diets will not only help achieve weight loss but may also have a beneficial effect on triglyceride levels and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad cholesterol).

When cutting back on carbs, get rid of unhealthy refined carbs such as refined grains, bakery products, and sugar-laden foods. Instead, your diet should contain small servings of healthy carb foods such as fruits and vegetables.

See Also: The Connection Between Sugar and Cancer You Might Not Know About

Increase your protein intake

healthy nutrition plan

A recent study compared the results of a high-protein diet with a low-protein diet for weight loss. Although both diet plans had the same number of total calories, the test participants who followed a high-protein diet lost more fat and gained more muscle as compared to the participants who followed a low-protein diet.

High-protein diets help to increase the secretion of satiety hormones while simultaneously improving blood sugar levels. There are several ways to add protein to your diet. You can start adding whey protein powder to your morning milkshake or simply snack on nuts throughout the day.

Don’t avoid all fats

Cutting all fats out of your diet can hurt your overall health and energy levels. Doing that will reduce your intake of vitamins A, D, E, and K as they are fat-soluble vitamins.

According to health experts, unsaturated fats such as olive oil and safflower oil are good for us as they can help reduce the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, the fat found in butter, lard and fatty cuts of beef and pork contain saturated fats that are unhealthy and can increase your risk of weight gain.

Get More Fiber

healthy fiber nutrition plan for weight loss

Fiber does not contain any of the nutrients we require. Despite that, it plays an important role in diet and weight management.

The human body cannot digest fiber. It is left intact as it moves through the gastrointestinal tract. This means that the fiber in your diet will satiate your hunger without adding to your calorie intake.

A study on the effects of fiber on weight loss found that consuming an additional 14 grams of fiber for more than 2 days resulted in a 10% decrease in calorie intake. It also resulted in weight loss of over 4 pounds in 4 months.

Obese individuals will experience greater suppression of calorie intake and weight loss. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes are some of the best sources of dietary fiber while meat, fish, and eggs do not contain any dietary fiber so plan your meals accordingly.

See Also: The Plant-Based Truth

Always opt for fresh produce over processed foods

A healthy nutrition plan for weight loss will help you reach a healthy body weight. Unfortunately, it is not easy to stick to a healthy diet plan which is why you should also work on building resilience.

Improving your resilience increases weight loss and decreases the chances of you falling off the weight loss wagon. There are also several exercises to burn fat that will help you lose weight faster and reach your ideal body weight.

In your eagerness to lose weight quickly, you might be tempted to go all out and overhaul your entire lifestyle. This rarely works as your enthusiasm will wane over time. You will just fall back to your old habits.

Instead, make small gradual changes to your diet and lifestyle. This gives you the chance to adjust to the changes. Follow a healthy diet and regular exercise plan even after you lose weight to maintain healthy body weight.

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The Plant-Based Truth

From celebrities to the average Joe, more people are taking dieting’s newest fad — the Plant-Based Diet — for a spin. Unbeknownst to most, plant-based eating is more than just a trend. Scientifically, incorporating this diet into people’s lifestyles can benefit both human health and the environment.

In the last decade, ¾ of people in the United States modified their diet plan striving for a healthier lifestyle. According to one study, a plant-based meal plan produces better results than any other diet. Given its immense popularity, how is it that most are unable to define its meaning? For instance, plant-based eating is often mistaken for veganism. Nonetheless, more than half are interested in learning more. Knowing that, let’s dig in.

Definitively speaking, a plant-based diet includes eliminating — or limiting — meat, dairy, and eggs, maximizing fruit and vegetable intake, and eating minimally processed whole foods. Given its benefits, it’s not surprising that over 40 million Americans opt for a plant-based diet as part of their day-to-day. Soy, tofu, legumes, beans, and nuts are popular choices among those seeking naturally produced protein.

Within these foods are micronutrients known as Polyphenols, which may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. In addition to the aforementioned, Polyphenols can also be sought after in dark chocolate, black and green teas, and berries. Along with this note, following a plant-based diet is a great approach to type 2 diabetes prevention and management — in combination with regular medical care, of course.

This is possible since natural eating improves (A1C) glycemic control. Vegans are the least prone to type 2 diabetes with only 2.9% diagnosed. Meanwhile, 3.2% lacto-ovo vegetarians have type 2 diabetes; 4.8% of pesco-vegetarians; 6.1% of semi-vegetarians, and 7.6% non-vegetarians do as well. Consuming less meat is also a sure-fire way to lower your risk of diabetes.

plant based diet

However, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and diabetes aren’t the only diseases a plant-based diet can help prevent. Many variants of vegetarian and vegan diets may lower the risk of any cancer — specifically colorectal, gastrointestinal, and female-specific cancers.

With there being so many variations of the plant-based to follow, it can be difficult to grasp an understanding of which plan is best suitable for your goals. Here’s a breakdown:

A diet honing in on fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy may lower blood pressure. Hence, vegetarians are less likely to die from coronary heart disease. A whole-food, plant-based diet will also help lower the risk of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases. Of course, an unhealthy diet brings risks of high blood pressure. Saying this, plant-based eating can also treat heart disease and hypertension.

See Also: 10 Habits That Can Prevent Heart Disease

Previously implied, most Americans pick up dieting to improve their health. Diving further into this, the #1 benefit Americans seek from dieting is weight loss. A whole-food, plant-based diet can lower human cholesterol levels and reduce BMI — your body mass index.

In a specific instance, the average dieter lost more weight over 18 weeks when choosing a variant of vegan or veganism. Numerically: lacto-ovo vegetarians dropped 3.26 pounds in these 18 weeks. Vegetarians who didn’t count calories dropped 3.66 pounds during this same time. Losing more weight, calorie-restricting vegetarians lost 4.87 pounds, and vegans lost 5.56 pounds during this 18-week study.

Interestingly enough, 125 million Americans followed a diet-plan last year; and although plant-based dieting has skyrocketed as a trend, only 5% follow an entirely plant-based diet. However, 5% also follow a Mediterranean, Paleo, or Whole30 diet, 6% are vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian, and 12% follow the Ketogenic, low-carb, or high-fat diet. With plant-based eating on the rise, restaurants and fast-food chains are changing their menus to adapt.

benefits of a plant based diet

For example, DisneyWorld and Disneyland introduced plant-based dining at every meal stop, providing over 400 options. Subway, Qdoba, KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Burger King are among popular fast food chains who have introduced natural, plant-based options in 2019 alone. Red Robin now provides plant-based options, as well.

Although there are many benefits to eating plants, it is always important to consult your doctor or healthcare provider with your diet and health-related matters. Along with this, keep the advice of author Michael Pollan in mind, “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.” Nearly 3 in 4 have at least heard of the plant-based diet, and more than half have interest in learning more. Knowing this, check out the infographic below to read more about plant-based eating.

Infographic about benefits of a plant-based diet

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7 Best Low Impact Cardio Workouts

Regular training provides an opportunity to strengthen the cardiovascular system, increase endurance, and keep the body in good shape. Any workout that makes the heart work in a fast mode is related to cardio loading.

Here are the best low impact workouts for your cardiovascular health:

Treadmill

low impact cardio workouts treadmill

If you like running but do not want to train outdoors in bad weather, you can head for a treadmill. It allows you to exercise in a more comfortable environment, particularly during the winter season.

Choosing a bowflex treadclimber, you will burn more calories than you would on an exercise bike, stepper, and rowing machine. If you compare the track with an elliptical trainer, there is no consensus on which one burns more calories. The figures are approximately equal.

See Also: Get To The Grind: Hop on, Hop off Treadmill Sprinting

Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer will appeal to those who do not like running but want to burn as many calories as possible. This trainer simulates climbing stairs or skiing.

With an elliptical trainer, you can move large handrails, reducing the load on the legs and increasing the tension of the body and arms.

Some elliptical trainers can work in stepper mode.Their movements resemble stair climbing.

Exercise Bike

Compared to running on a track, the load on the joints is minimal when exercising on a stationary bike. This is one of the reasons why it’s considered a gentle and safe form of cardio even for people recovering from injuries.

However, only the lower body works on the exercise bike. The arms, shoulders, and body are devoid of even the insignificant load that falls on them while running or using simulators like the elliptical and rowing ones.

Running

Although it looks like it provides the simplest and most natural load for the body, running is not suitable for everyone. Any person can start running, but whether he will benefit from it depends on many factors.

If you are overweight, have problems with your legs joints or have poor physical fitness, you need to be very careful when choosing a load. If you prefer running, you need to gradually increase the intensity of your training. Although running will not help you build up muscles, it can be enough to keep them in good shape.

Running at the slowest pace requires more effort than quiet cycling. This makes cycling a great start for people with poor physical fitness. Unlike running, there is no shock load on the legs while cycling. This is another pro for people who are not accustomed to serious workloads. Moreover, cycling at speeds up to 15 kilometers per hour is helpful for people with varicose veins.

See Also: How Runners Can Easily Improve Their Foot Strength

Swimming

low impact cardio workouts swimming

Swimming is a perfect workout for overweight people and those who have problems with joints. The probability of getting injured while swimming is low since the load on the joints is minimal.

Swimming can help strengthen the legs, arms, shoulders, and back. It can strengthen your abdominal muscles, too.

Any cardio load has a positive effect on the respiratory system, but swimming definitely outperforms other sports. While swimming, exhalation is not carried out into the air, but into the water.

It’s a denser environment, which requires more effort. The swimmer needs to hold his breath for a certain time after inhalation. Due to this training, the lungs’ capacity increases and breathing becomes fuller and deeper.

Stepper

This trainer simulates climbing stairs.

There are several types of steppers:

  • The classic compact simulator — it comes either without handrails or with two types of handrails and a display.
  • Balancing stepper with expanders — this enables you to turn from side to side while allowing both legs and arms to be involved in the movement.
  • Rotary stepper with a rotating handle — it allows you to completely rotate the body from side to side while walking.

Depending on the simulator, different muscle groups are trained.

The classic stepper mainly loads the legs muscles, calves, hips, and buttocks. The simulator with expanders, meanwhile, provides pressure on the arms and abs. It also improves your sense of balance. In addition to the legs, the rotary stepper also trains the muscles on your back, chest, and shoulders.

Aerobics

This is a great option for someone bored with doing cardio exercises alone.

Aerobics includes active walking, jumping, exercises for stretching, and working out different muscles on the floor. Dance aerobics can include elements of a variety of dance styles. Examples include Latin dance, mamba, hip-hop, zumba (this is just a mix of aerobics and dance) and many others, at the discretion of the coach.

Step aerobics is a popular choice as well. The exercises are performed on elevations and include active walking on the steps with tilts of the body and hand movements.

Why Cardio Training Is Important

Cardio training develops the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It also improves the endurance and aerobic capabilities of a person.

Moreover, they are needed for:

  • Weight loss
  • Increasing stamina
  • Increasing the intensity of the cardiovascular system

Cardio exercises are necessary for everyone. The right choice of cardio load and the right intensity can increase aerobic performance without compromising muscle.

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5 Yoga Breathing Techniques For Weight Loss You Need to Try

It can be a complicated process to lose fat from our bodies as it is very stubborn. Apart from making individuals look bad, this fat can also bring about several health hazards like hypertension, heart attack, diabetes, and more.

A fundamental way to reduce fat is by hitting the gym. However, some people do not have access to it while others do not want to pay costly membership fees. For such individuals, a great choice would be to perform yoga breathing techniques for weight loss.

How To Get Started With Yoga Breathing

Breathing exercises may help increase metabolism and digestion. They also bring an enormous supply of oxygen to the different body parts. This additional oxygen can assist in burning the extra fat in the body. It is also possible to get toned abdominal muscles.

Yoga Breathing Techniques For Weight Loss

A study in the USA focused on studying the differences between yoga breathing and workout sessions over six weeks. The workout sessions lasted for just eight minutes.

After the conclusion of the study, users who were into yoga breathing lost around 5 kg. There was also a 6% drop in body fat levels.

It is possible to experience a similar drop by doing specific exercises. Below are some of the most effective yoga breathing techniques for weight loss you can try:

Pranayama

pranayama
Via yogauonline.com

It is one of the basic yoga belly breathing techniques. Its primary function is to regulate the quantity of oxygen that goes in and out of the body. This action reduces tiredness quite significantly.

Surya Namaskar

It is capable of working on the nervous and endocrine systems. If any metabolic issues are present within the body, it can also be corrected. These issues are quite strong reasons behind weight gain.

There are 12 steps within this technique and each is accompanied by sequential breathing. This needs to be practiced over several weeks to get it right.

Pawan Muktasana

pawan muktasana
Via natural-cure.org

This pose can be achieved by lying down and taking a deep breath. The knees should be brought close to the chest and the hands can be used to hold it together.

Now, the knees should be pressed towards the body. At the same time, the head should be lifted so that it goes towards the knee. Now, regulate the breathing posture by going down the pace and holding your breath for a while.

Why is breathing important in yoga?

This activity is responsible for controlling oxygen levels which controls metabolic activity.

Setu Bandhasana

This technique is popularly called as the bridge pose. It focuses primarily on the chest, neck, and spine.

After starting by lying down on the back, the feet should be kept near the hips. Even then, the feet should be kept away from each other. The torso should be slowly lifted while keeping weight balance through feet, arms, and shoulders.

At the same time, one should inhale slowly. The pose should be held for around 60 seconds before returning back to the original position.

Bhujangasana

bhujangasana
Via parenting.firstcry.com

One of the foremost yoga breathing benefits is obtained by making the body flexible, regulating oxygen levels, and increasing metabolism. All these functions are done by this yoga technique, which is also called as the cobra pose.

You can start by lying down on the stomach and placing your hands just behind the shoulders. Now, breathe in and lift the torso so that the back forms an arch. The extension should be done until the hands are straight. Now, the pose should be held for a few seconds before getting back to the lying down posture.

Conclusion

It’s up to you to find that yoga breathing technique for weight loss that will work best for you. Just make sure you try them all and that you execute it correctly and with focus.

What are your thoughts about yoga breathing techniques? Have you tried them before? Let us know in the comments!

See Also: Yoga Helps You Love Yourself

Author’s bio: Anthony Hibbs is a psychologist who dedicated his entire life to understanding the relationship between the mind, body, and universe. He been practicing yoga since 2004 and has even made retreats in Nepal. And he’s improving the new techniques with massagers for necks.

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The Connection Between Sugar and Cancer You Might Not Know About

In its simplest form, the body uses calories provided by sugar for energy. There’s also the pleasurable aspect is has on many foods. And it’s rather surprising how frequently it appears in savory foods like sauces, processed meats, and vegetable products. When purchasing processed foods, it’s wise to assume that sugar is an additive.

Sugar as a food substance

There are many forms of sugar. There are simple carbohydrates, ‘saccharides’, fructose (fruit sugar), lactose (milk sugar), glucose, and maltose (malt sugar).

All of these forms are relatively sweet to a varying degree and all provide energy.

The simplest type of sugar is glucose. It may be considered as the currency for living cells, at the higher animal level at least.

Basically, our cells ‘burn’ glucose to generate energy which creates ATP in the presence of oxygen.

Most carbohydrates are broken down by the body when we eat to produce glucose. The glucose can be used for energy. When carbohydrates are unavailable, it’s possible for the body to ‘burn’ fat (ketone bodies). However, the body will always burn glucose first, should it be available.

Lactose, sucrose, and maltose are disaccharide sugars. They are digested to then release glucose and various other saccharides to make energy. When complex carbohydrates (starch) in foods like potatoes, bread, and rice are broken down, sugars are likewise released.

We utilize the term sugar in this article to describe sucrose.

The human digestive system rapidly digests simple sugars such as sucrose which allows them to be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. This works to sustain blood glucose (blood sugar) at a certain level.

We’ll consider how this is relative to cancer. Also, we will explore four key perspectives to the following question:

Does sugar feed cancer?

First linked to higher rates of cancer, consuming more sugar is also linked to weight gain. Second, more consumption of sugar is linked to type 2 diabetes developing and that too is linked to an increased risk of cancer.

There are two additional potential effects that sugar has on cancer and those are still questions:

  • Is sugar responsible for directly fueling cancer cell growth?
  • In what way does dietary sugar impact microbe balance in the human digestive system?

It’s merely a suggestion, but is sugar responsible for directly feeding cancer? This, understandably, is a topic that is very hotly debated.

Sugar and Body Fat

Research that has been carried out has been proven to link the amount of sugar consumption with weight gain. In populations that have a higher sugar consumption, obesity is more prevalent.

Nevertheless, it’s factual that the overall diet contributes to obesity while low physical activity, likewise, is responsible for a rise in obesity rates.

The bottom line here?

It would appear from research carried out on sugar, in relation to body fat, that consuming higher amounts of sugar, sweetened beverages, and processed foods is linked to obesity.

Sugar, Insulin, and Diabetes

sugar and diabetes

When we consume sugar, it can be rapidly taken into the blood. This is why athletes use glucose as fuel for intense physical activity.

Sucrose, lactose, fructose, and various other sugars also rapidly release glucose into the bloodstream. So foods such as candy, cookies, and others offer a rapid boost to levels of glucose in the blood.

Starchy foods that are highly refined and processed, like breakfast cereals and white bread, are quick to deliver sugar. On the other hand, unrefined starches found in brown rice, oatmeal, and wholegrain bread deliver sugar far more slowly. This is because such foods are high in fiber, which causes the body to take much longer to extract sugar.

And when blood sugar increases, the hormone insulin gets to work.

Those that have high levels of insulin, including those with type 2 diabetes, face a far greater risk of developing different forms of cancer.

But even when diabetes is not diagnosed, higher levels of insulin in the body may be correlated with a more rapid progression of some cancers. A study of 2,000 people that were affected by colorectal cancer demonstrated that in those with lower insulin levels, the prognosis was better.

Sugar and Cell Metabolism

There’s a hotly contested debate surrounding the idea that sugar feeds cancer directly. While most of us believe that to be true, it’s not the whole story.

There’s a further argument:

If sugar is not available to a cancer cell, the cell will find an alternative fuel.

Research groups on the other side of this debate are looking for drugs that will block cancer cells’ access to sugar. There are clinicians currently studying specialized diets that consist of very low sugar. This type of diet will reduce sugar as the primary source of fuel for cancer cells.

Sugar and the Gut Microbiome

Over the prior decade, a very revolutionary aspect of cancer research has opened up. The microbiome is the microbe collective that lives on us and inside us.

There is a collection of microbes that reside in the digestive system. These microbes have a valuable influence on our health.

It is believed that some species from within this microbiome have some form of interaction with the blood cells that circulate inside the intestine walls. It’s this interaction that impacts the immune system.

The microbiome is little understood. However, there are studies involving cancer patients that were introduced to newly available immune therapy cancer drugs. These studies suggests that  a healthy high-fiber diet seems to have helped bring about a positive response in some cancer patients to these treatments.

A Healthful Eating Plan

healthy eating plan

Perhaps, the best approach is to consider how your overall diet and your sugar intake affects your own body weight.

Think about blood sugar levels.

Sugar and ‘carbs’ (foods high in starch) are responsible for the highest contribution to blood sugar levels. So try to reduce your added sugar intake and reduce starchy foods to smaller-sized portions. Starchy foods in your diet should be made up of vegetables and whole-grain foods.

If you do wish to cut back on starch intake further, it’s wise to get professional advice. And remember that unprocessed plant-based foods are very helpful in feeding yourself, as well as the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

See Also: The 11 Most Important Rules For Healthy Eating

In Summary

The connection between sugar and cancer is a relationship that is filled with complexity. There is strong evidence of a robust relationship between sugar and cancer shown by some research while in other areas, there’s still plenty of exploration and debate to be done.

Nevertheless, it is clear that in most populations, sugar consumption is high. This sugar consumption has clearly been linked to various health issues, including cancer.

While there is a need for more evidence that definitively says sugar is responsible for promoting cancer growth, we now have enough evidence to say that for those wishing to reduce cancer risk and for those that wish to improve their current situation, it would be prudent to reduce sugar consumption.

We believe that patients should take action even when the information is far from perfect. There should be no need for scientific certainty before action is taken. Even more so when the action to be taken comes with few or potentially zero side effects.

Author: Jedediah Coleman CEO of Curve.life
Website: https://curve.life/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/curve_life
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/curve.life

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11 Remedies For Menstrual Cramps You Need To Try

Dysmenorrhea or painful menstrual periods is a common concern for a lot of women. Most of them have mild abdominal cramps while others experience intense pain that greatly affects their daily activities.

If you are dealing with this kind of pain each month, here are some of the most effective remedies for menstrual cramps you can try.

Exercising

Believe it or not, any kind of physical activity can ease your belly pain. Exercises, like brisk walking and aerobic routines, can help release endorphins. They are your body’s natural painkillers.

So, exercising four to five times a week can help keep your menstrual cramps at bay.

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Carrot Juice

Carrot juice contains a lot of iron.

Drink carrot juice without fail for 3 months and you’ll see good results for sure. You can mix carrot juice with other vegetable juice as well.

Turmeric Powder

Mix a spoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk and drink this daily.

Turmeric stimulates the menstrual flow and balances the hormones. Taking it every day can greatly reduce your menstrual cramps.

Applying Heat

The main cause of menstrual pain is the contraction of your uterine muscles. Applying heat can help relax those muscles.

There are many heating pads and patches you can try. If you don’t have a heating pad, you can just pour hot water into a plastic bottle and apply it to your abdomen. Just make sure that you have a clean fabric in between the bottle and your abdomen to avoid burning your skin.

Mint

For irregular periods, mint is one of the best natural remedies. It relieves and soothes menstrual cramps.

Mix one teaspoon of honey with one teaspoon of dried mint powder. Take it 3 times a day and continue for a few weeks.

Unripe Papaya

Unripe papaya is another easy and effective solution to painful menstrual cramps. It helps in the proper contraction of the muscle fiber in your uterus. It’s a great help for delayed menstrual cycles associated with menopause or stress, too.

Consume unripe papaya for two months. Be sure to eat it before your menstrual cycle.

Grape Juice

Consuming grapes or drinking grape juice once or twice a day can get rid of the menstrual pain you experience every month.

Having an Orgasm

Yes, you heard it right.

Orgasms can greatly reduce menstrual cramps.

The uterus is more relaxed before an orgasm and there’s increased blood flow, too. Those two conditions can soothe your pain.

In addition to that, orgasms release endorphins as well. They can help your body relax so you can rest and sleep without any discomfort.

Bitter Gourd

Most people don’t like having bitter gourd because of its taste. It is, however, extremely good for the health.

Chop the bitter gourd into pieces and churn it in a mixer. Once it turns liquid, you can add a teaspoon of sugar and drink it.

Ginger

If your menstrual flow is light and the periods are late, you require ginger in your life. You can eat it raw or drink its juice. Both methods greatly help with painful and abnormal periods.

Asafoetida

Asafoetida is a famous ingredient that has a lot of medicinal value. It is helpful in getting rid of hormonal disorders because of the chemical compounds it contains.

Fry little amount of powdered asafetida in clarified butter and add it to goat milk and some honey. 200 to 500 mg of asafoetida is recommended for a single day.

Conclusion

While these remedies for menstrual cramps are highly effective, you shouldn’t rely completely on them. Make sure to visit your doctor to find out the real reason why you’re experiencing so much pain at that time of the month.

With proper diagnosis, your doctor will be able to find and provide the best possible treatment for you.

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The Nutrients for Healthy Hair You Should Have In Your Diet

Gorgeous hair can only grow on a body that is healthy from within. While reducing stress and exercising properly are important for your health, you need to keep in mind that your hair needs nourishment from within. You need to eat the right types of food and get the right nutrients for healthy hair.

If you are wondering what those nutrients are, here’s a short list for you.

nutrients for healthy hair to eat

Protein

Your hair is essentially made up of keratin which is basically a protein.

Naturally, if there is not enough protein in your body, your hair will not be able to rejuvenate or be healthy. Hair growth will be inhibited, too.

Iron

Hair follicles need oxygen and they get it from the iron that is present in your red blood cells.

If you are diagnosed with anemia, your hair will not be healthy. As a matter of fact, this condition cause people to lose more hair than others.

Low ferritin levels can also make your hair more vulnerable to damage.

Biotin

The interaction process of biotin with the enzymes in the cells of your hair produces amino acids. These acids form the proteins that are imperative for hair growth. So, without sufficient amounts of biotin in your body, there is no way you will have healthy hair.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Found in the cell membranes of the scalp, Omega 3 acids help boost the natural oils in the scalp.

When you have enough Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet, your scalp will stay nourished and with minimal chances of dryness.

Vitamins

There are two vitamins that are absolutely crucial for your hair – B vitamins and vitamin C.

Vitamin C can help absorb iron, help with the formation of collagen, and increase the overall immunity of the body. B6, B12, and folate, which are all B vitamins, are necessary for the creation of red blood cells in the body. They are essential for the transportation of oxygen to the scalp and hair follicles.

Zinc

This is the mineral that strengthens the hair follicles from within. When the hair is strong from within, the chance of hair loss is less.

Zinc also helps with the proper functioning of the oil glands in your scalp. If you don’t have enough of this mineral, you might end up with really dry hair.

Water

Without proper hydration, your body and hair will suffer.That is why in order to maintain your hair’s moisture, it is imperative that you drink plenty of water every day.

See Also: 5 Things Your Hair Can Tell About Your Overall Health

nutrients in food for healthy hair

Eggs

Eggs are good sources of protein. That is why people have been applying eggs to their hair to make them stronger and shinier.

Regular consumption of eggs can ensure better keratin deposits in your body. Eggs are also a good source of biotin, zinc, and selenium.

Fatty fish

Fatty fishes, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, are good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. When there is sufficient fatty acid in the body, you will notice less hair loss. You’ll find your hair longer and stronger, too.

Oysters

Oysters can help promote hair growth because of their zinc content. However, you need to be careful with zinc consumption. Too much of it could lead to hair loss.

If you are taking oysters in your diet, consider removing other zinc-based supplements.

Shrimp

This delicious shellfish is a great source of B vitamins, zinc, iron, and protein. Even though shrimps don’t contain as much fats as other types of seafood, they can still provide a small amount of Omega 3.

Spinach

Spinach can provide you with folate and vitamins A and C, which are helpful for healthy hair growth. Vitamin A helps with the production of sebum. It’s the substance that keeps the hair moisturized and nourished.

Berries

Berries have several nutrients that can help promote hair growth and ensure that you have stronger and healthier hair. Berries have plenty of antioxidants which will help protect your hair against damage. They are also a great source of vitamin C which is helpful for keeping a healthy body.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are easy to add to your daily diet.

Nuts provide a range of B vitamins and zinc. They are also a good source of essential fatty acids and vitamin E. These vitamins and nutrients are important for both your body and hair to stay healthy.

Similarly, flax seeds and chia seeds are also great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, and selenium.

See Also: Hair Treatment: 6 Foods To Prevent Hair Loss

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Golfing Injury Prevention Methods Suggested By Chiropractors

Most people are aware of how fleeting the summer can be, particularly golfers. As such, if you enjoy golfing during the short summer season, you may be worried about injuring yourself while on the course. In fact, many golfers worry about potentially season-ending injuries.

Unfortunately, injuries occur more often than not. In fact, studies have found that roughly 70% of golfers have suffered from at least one injury during their careers.

Furthermore, while it is true that most golf-related injuries are relatively minor, approximately half are chronic injuries. This means that they will get worse with time unless they are treated properly.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent such injuries from occurring in the first place. Here are tips on preventing golf injuries.

Focus on Your Endurance

Did you know that walking on a golf course equates to about a ten-km hike? Hence, you will need to have great cardio endurance and overall fitness levels if you want to make the long trek across the course.

If you are having trouble traversing the terrain, then you can try going on brisk walks about thrice a week. Then, slowly amp up the intensity of your walks, as well as the distance covered over the next few months.

Also, we would suggest that you try and avoid using a golf cart whenever possible. Walking on the course serves as a great form of exercise.

Rectify Any Swing Issues

preventing golf injury

Every golf swing that you take incorporates complex and unique motions that trigger several muscular contractions in the body. Moreover, each swing also places stress or strain on your lead arm and your lower back. You will want to correct any swing issues that can lead to injuries down the road.

For instance, you can work on your swing by swinging in a fluid and relaxed motion. It should also be noted that your joint motion range, as well as muscular strength, will need to be optimized in every core joint and muscle component. This is one important tip in preventing golf injuries.

Don’t Forget to Warm Up

The vast majority of golf-related injuries are triggered by overuse.

You should focus on augmenting the intensity of your swing or drive in a progressive manner instead of trying to overextend. To do so, you should begin with just a small bucket of golf balls. Opt for an eight or nine iron, or a similar short club, when you hit the golf balls.

In addition, you should commence with easy swings, and we would recommend that you perform some rotation-based exercises that focus on the shoulder, trunk, and hip regions when you are creating your warm-up routine.

Select the Right Equipment

The golf clubs that you pick should match your unique body size and contours in order to reduce the risk of injuries. If you select a club that is a poor fit, then your swing will be impeded. You will have trouble swinging in an efficient manner. If you are in doubt in terms of what size will best fit you, then speak to a golf expert about the matter.

In addition, upper limb stress issues may result if you typically hit off of driving range mats or other such synthetic terrains. Most golfers tend to make contact with the surface before, during, and after having made an impact with the golf ball. As a result, you may incur shoulder, elbow, and/or wrist injuries that are caused by egregious and repetitive stress.

Visit a Chiropractor or Physiotherapist If You Are Injured

preventing golf injuries chiropractor

In some cases, patients with a pre-existing condition or injury may exacerbate their problem while playing a game of golf.

If the aforementioned scenario applies to you, then visiting a chiropractor or physical therapist may help. For instance, your chiropractor or physiotherapist may provide customized adaptations and/or treatment modalities that will allow you to continue playing the game that you love with minimal issues.

Moreover, they will be able to provide you with the information that you need to have a better grasp of how your golfing has a direct impact or influence on your body. In any event, if you suffer an injury while playing a round of golf, then seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor may allow you to get back on the course in record time. You will also not require a referral from your physician in most cases in order to see a chiropractor or physiotherapist.

See Also: 10 Ways You Can Benefit From Chiropractic Adjustments

Preventing Golf Injuries: Warm-Up Exercises That You Can Do

You should always warm up before you begin golfing. The quintessential warm up routine will usually only take about 15 minutes to perform.

To begin, you should perform an activity that is of low intensity. It must incorporate several different muscle groups at once. You can also further boost your cardio and endurance levels by parking at the furthest end of the lot.

Next, focus on stretching exercises that emphasize the muscles that you use before each swing. You should also gently hold each stretch for about 15 seconds. Focus primarily on your forearm, neck, back, shoulder, and hip muscle regions.

golfing infographic

Infographic Source

The post Golfing Injury Prevention Methods Suggested By Chiropractors appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Golfing Injury Prevention Methods Suggested By Chiropractors

Most people are aware of how fleeting the summer can be, particularly golfers. As such, if you enjoy golfing during the short summer season, you may be worried about injuring yourself while on the course. In fact, many golfers worry about potentially season-ending injuries.

Unfortunately, injuries occur more often than not. In fact, studies have found that roughly 70% of golfers have suffered from at least one injury during their careers.

Furthermore, while it is true that most golf-related injuries are relatively minor, approximately half are chronic injuries. This means that they will get worse with time unless they are treated properly.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent such injuries from occurring in the first place. Here are tips on preventing golf injuries.

Focus on Your Endurance

Did you know that walking on a golf course equates to about a ten-km hike? Hence, you will need to have great cardio endurance and overall fitness levels if you want to make the long trek across the course.

If you are having trouble traversing the terrain, then you can try going on brisk walks about thrice a week. Then, slowly amp up the intensity of your walks, as well as the distance covered over the next few months.

Also, we would suggest that you try and avoid using a golf cart whenever possible. Walking on the course serves as a great form of exercise.

Rectify Any Swing Issues

preventing golf injury

Every golf swing that you take incorporates complex and unique motions that trigger several muscular contractions in the body. Moreover, each swing also places stress or strain on your lead arm and your lower back. You will want to correct any swing issues that can lead to injuries down the road.

For instance, you can work on your swing by swinging in a fluid and relaxed motion. It should also be noted that your joint motion range, as well as muscular strength, will need to be optimized in every core joint and muscle component. This is one important tip in preventing golf injuries.

Don’t Forget to Warm Up

The vast majority of golf-related injuries are triggered by overuse.

You should focus on augmenting the intensity of your swing or drive in a progressive manner instead of trying to overextend. To do so, you should begin with just a small bucket of golf balls. Opt for an eight or nine iron, or a similar short club, when you hit the golf balls.

In addition, you should commence with easy swings, and we would recommend that you perform some rotation-based exercises that focus on the shoulder, trunk, and hip regions when you are creating your warm-up routine.

Select the Right Equipment

The golf clubs that you pick should match your unique body size and contours in order to reduce the risk of injuries. If you select a club that is a poor fit, then your swing will be impeded. You will have trouble swinging in an efficient manner. If you are in doubt in terms of what size will best fit you, then speak to a golf expert about the matter.

In addition, upper limb stress issues may result if you typically hit off of driving range mats or other such synthetic terrains. Most golfers tend to make contact with the surface before, during, and after having made an impact with the golf ball. As a result, you may incur shoulder, elbow, and/or wrist injuries that are caused by egregious and repetitive stress.

Visit a Chiropractor or Physiotherapist If You Are Injured

preventing golf injuries chiropractor

In some cases, patients with a pre-existing condition or injury may exacerbate their problem while playing a game of golf.

If the aforementioned scenario applies to you, then visiting a chiropractor or physical therapist may help. For instance, your chiropractor or physiotherapist may provide customized adaptations and/or treatment modalities that will allow you to continue playing the game that you love with minimal issues.

Moreover, they will be able to provide you with the information that you need to have a better grasp of how your golfing has a direct impact or influence on your body. In any event, if you suffer an injury while playing a round of golf, then seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor may allow you to get back on the course in record time. You will also not require a referral from your physician in most cases in order to see a chiropractor or physiotherapist.

See Also: 10 Ways You Can Benefit From Chiropractic Adjustments

Preventing Golf Injuries: Warm-Up Exercises That You Can Do

You should always warm up before you begin golfing. The quintessential warm up routine will usually only take about 15 minutes to perform.

To begin, you should perform an activity that is of low intensity. It must incorporate several different muscle groups at once. You can also further boost your cardio and endurance levels by parking at the furthest end of the lot.

Next, focus on stretching exercises that emphasize the muscles that you use before each swing. You should also gently hold each stretch for about 15 seconds. Focus primarily on your forearm, neck, back, shoulder, and hip muscle regions.

golfing infographic

Infographic Source

The post Golfing Injury Prevention Methods Suggested By Chiropractors appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Best Kitchen Gadgets for Healthy Cooking You Should Own

We all know that cooking at home is better for our health than dining out. Considering that a full sit-down meal has 1,200 calories on average, we see the reason why. However, our social media feeds are filled with over-the-top recipes that are just hard to copy, particularly if you aren’t an expert in the kitchen.

Staying on track is easy if you stay away from recipes that you know are not good for you and will not make you feel better. It also helps to stock on healthy ingredients. Having the right tools can make cooking a lot easier for you, too.

Although you might already have the essential tools in your kitchen like baking pan and measuring spoons, it doesn’t hurt to add a few kitchen aids. When we say additional kitchen gadgets, these are the tools that can make food preparation faster, easier, healthier, and more fun.

Below is a list of kitchen gadgets for healthy cooking you should consider having in your kitchen:

Spiralizer

Ever heard of Zoodles?

Well, there is a kitchen gadget that can turn your humble fruits and veggies into curly toppings, garnishes, and noodles. These foods taste good and provide an excellent base for whatever sauce you want. Plus, they are also packed with nutrients.

With a spiralizer, you can turn your fruit or veggie into thin curls which you can use in making soups, pasta dishes, and salads. You can use carrots, apples, pears, cabbage, broccoli stalks, and many others.

Salad Cutting Bowl

If you are used to buying salads from the drive-thru and vending machines, here is a good news for you. You can prepare your very own healthy salad with a salad cutting bowl.

You’ll only need to put your favorite combination of vegetables to the bowl-like container. You can use lettuce, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, celery, and many other veggies.

With this gadget, you can rinse your vegetables and slice them with just a few turns. In a matter of minutes, you can have your salad ready.

Air Fryer

air fryer
Via reviewed.com

An air fryer is a kitchen gadget that uses convection to circulate the hot air or oil around the food to cook them. One of the claims of the air fryer is that it can fry things with only a fraction of the oil that you need than with traditional deep fryers.

This is a natural and healthy alternative to cooking your favorite fries and chicken fingers.

Grill Cooker

A grill cooker is a versatile kitchen appliance that you can use to cook everything from chicken breasts to vegetables and sausages. The result is healthier because it has less fat, making it an excellent substitute for frying.

The grill cooker can help you cook your meat as you would with a charcoal grill. It has an integrated thermostat, a non-stick surface, and a removable container for the juices. These features make it easy to operate and clean the appliance.

The Slow Cooker

The slow cooker is perfect for whipping up a hearty one-pot meal complete with healthy ingredients like beans and root vegetables. It is also ideal for cooking the more robust and less expensive cuts of meat into tender goodness.

Contrary to what you might be thinking, slow cookers don’t use plenty of energy. It actually uses the same amount of energy as your light bulb.

Aside from the high and low settings, it also has a warm function. You can come home from work with a perfectly healthy home-cooked meal with your slow cooker.

Herb Scissors

Herbs are a healthy alternative to salt and it adds a dose of flavor to any meal. Therefore, instead of reaching for the salt or dried herbs, why not use fresh herbs?

It’s hard to ignore what fresh herbs can do to improve the taste of any dish, like roasts, soups, eggs, salads, and stir-fries. However, chopping with a kitchen knife can be a bit cumbersome.

With a specially designed herb scissor, it is much easier and faster to cut your herb. The 5-stacked blades are made with stainless steel and ergonomic handles. It is easy to snip herbs into the size you want and they won’t be ripped, bruised or crushed. Your herbs will remain flavorful and fresh.

Cast Iron Skillet

kitchen gadget for healthy cooking

It takes a couple of tablespoons of oil or a few pads of butter to grease an ordinary pan. This means extra hundreds of unnecessary calories to your meal, even if you have a healthy cooking dish.

Non-stick pans also serve the same purpose, but the iron skillet does not release cancer-causing toxins much like what these pans do. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should throw out all your non-stick pans away. It’s just better to be safe than sorry.

These are just some of the most important kitchen gadgets for healthy cooking. You can get one or all of them depending on your needs and preferences.

See Also: Foods That Will Help You Keep Your Family Healthy

The post The Best Kitchen Gadgets for Healthy Cooking You Should Own appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Body Image Awareness: How to Talk to Your Kids About Body Image and Health

Did you know that your children might already be thinking about dieting and feeling insecure about their bodies?

Cultural influences are strong and in a world where social media creates unrealistic body image standards, children as young as six years old can be sensitive about their weight. Eventually, this can lead to severe problems, like low self-esteem and even eating disorders.

With that said, it’s important for parents to encourage their children to maintain healthy habits. That means teaching them to respect their bodies, have a healthy relationship with food, and encourage regular physical activity. It also means setting a good example by modeling a non-judgmental attitude toward your own body while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Talking to your kids about body image and health isn’t always easy. Modeling healthy behavior can be even harder. But making an effort to do so is absolutely crucial to their long-term mental and physical health.

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to talking about body image awareness and healthy habits.

The Obesity Problem in America

body image awareness obesity

At this point, most Americans know that the childhood obesity epidemic is reaching crisis levels. The Centers for Disease Control classifies over 20% of the U.S. youth population as obese. Factors like poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and too much sugar are playing a role.

States like Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky and Louisiana have some of the highest rates of childhood obesity. Some of the largest causes of obesity for high schoolers in Louisiana are lack of a healthy diet with vegetables, excessive soda, and lack of sustained physical exercise.

Childhood obesity sets kids up for a huge number of health problems that can affect their growth and future health. Additionally, children who are overweight are often bullied or excluded by their peers, often leading to isolation, low self-esteem, and mental health disorders.

American adults are also struggling with obesity, which can eventually lead to chronic health problems and a shorter lifespan. There are also social stigmas attached to being overweight, leading many people to develop eating disorders or extremely unhealthy behaviors in an attempt to control their weight.

Body Image Awareness: Addressing the Topic With a Sensitive Touch

Talking about weight, health, and body image requires a sensitive touch because kids can easily interpret your words to mean that you think they should focus on losing weight.

It’s important to emphasize health and body positivity over numbers on the scale. Always keep the conversations positive and monitor your language to ensure that you’re not unintentionally creating feelings of shame around weight, food, and exercise.

When addressing health and body image with your child, think about approaching it as a “we”-focused initiative. It shouldn’t involve simply ordering them to get off the couch and get moving. It should include creating family-focused activities you can do together, like hiking, yoga, cooking, and gardening.

Body image, weight, and health hover in a delicate balance, especially when it comes to kids. They will pick up on cues from you and detect any negativity in your words. Take some time to prepare for the conversation to ensure that you approach the topic with sensitivity.

Having the Conversation

Before you can move on to addressing topics such as spending less time online and more time outdoors, you’ll have to make your case. Instead of attempting to convince your child with logic, recognize that you need to have a two-way conversation where you’ll likely listen more than you’ll talk. The idea is to get your kids thinking about their health.

They might not realize that they eat more when they’re upset or how many hours they spend staring at screens. You can start the conversation by asking questions that will help them really start to think about their own habits. Then, talk about ways you can improve your health as a family. Don’t talk about weight loss. Instead, talk about how you can all be healthier together.

If your child is already saying things like “I feel fat”, it’s important to address the issue right away. Ask why they feel that way and try to get to the bottom of the issue.

Have they been bullied or have they seen something that made them feel ashamed?

Once you know why they’re making negative comments about their body, you can start to reverse the damage.

Opening Up Communication and Making Habits Sustainable

awareness body image

Communication is key when it comes to creating healthy habits and body image attitudes as a family. Making habits sustainable when your child is young will help set them up for a positive, healthy future. Serving healthy food and encouraging regular exercise from a place of positivity is crucial for both physical and mental health.

It’s also important to remember that treats are fine occasionally, and can even help make habits more sustainable long-term. A kid who is completely deprived of sweets or never gets the chance to stay inside and watch TV might feel resentful and rebel against their healthy habits when they get a bit of freedom. Moderation is what’s key.

Weight and health are emotionally-charged subjects in our society. As parents, we have the difficult job of helping our children to build a healthy lifestyle while ensuring that we don’t damage their body image and unintentionally teach them to associate food and exercise with negative emotions. It’s a tall order, but caring parents can rise to the occasion and set their children up for a happy, healthy life by promoting proper body image awareness.

See Also: A Parent’s Guide to Healthy Eating During the Holidays

The post Body Image Awareness: How to Talk to Your Kids About Body Image and Health appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

A Parent’s Guide to Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Adults aren’t the only ones who have to worry about growing festively plump during the holidays. People, including kids, typically gain 1 to 2 pounds over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

You can commit to losing weight after the holidays or, better yet, not gain it in the first place. By committing to healthy holiday eating, your family can avoid the 5 to 10-pound weight gain that most people experience every five years.

Obesity Is a Growing Problem for American Kids

unhealthy eating kids

Obesity among kids has jumped from a little over 6% in the ’70s to over 20% in relatively recent years. This outcome is especially problematic because overweight children face cyber-bullying, lowered self-esteem, and chronic health issues.

Furthermore, children who are obese are more likely to remain so through adulthood. This makes them face additional risks such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. For parents, it can prove challenging to figure out what to do about the problem.

Sometimes, children grow obese due to an eating disorder and lack of physical activity. However, environment, genetics, metabolism, and poor sleep habits can also promote excessive weight gain. In some households, easy access to candy, snacks, and other food items with empty calories can make it harder to maintain a healthy weight.

Together, parents and physicians can develop safe interventions to prevent obesity among family members. Furthermore, the best way that parents can prevent childhood obesity is to lead by example, which means staying active and eating healthy.

Healthy Eating Tips for Kids During The Holidays

healthy eating tip for kids

During the holiday, parents can deploy a few tips and tricks to keep kids from gaining extra weight, starting with balance and moderation. For instance, if you’re hosting a family gathering, you can pair kids up with partners to share holiday staples that are high in sugar, calories, and fat.

This way, you won’t deprive your children of their holiday favorites. They’ll consume fewer empty calories by splitting shared portions.

Limit the availability of sugary holiday beverages, such as hot cocoa and eggnog. Also, keep plenty of cold water around for friends and family members. It’s a good idea to fill a cooler with ice and make a case or two available so that everyone can access water easily.

Finally, stay active! Plan activities that involve going outside, enjoying the cold weather, and moving around. Cold air curves appetites and boosts energy.

Additionally, plan rest periods for the entire family. People tend to eat to compensate for feelings of tiredness. A rest period can consist of watching a holiday movie or another activity that doesn’t require substantial exertion.

Most of all, strike a balance between epicurean festivity and healthiness. Some holiday food staples are a must but substitute food items and ingredients that are lower in calories, fat, and sugar as much as possible.

Obesity in the United States: A Kid’s Point of View

If you’re not careful, your passionate pleas for healthy eating can send the wrong message to your child. Today, children are sensitive about their weight. The proliferation of media messages made possible by the internet has compelled schoolgirls as young as six years old to start expressing concern about body image and weight.

The way that you talk to your children about their weight can have lifelong implications. To start, remember that it’s a two-way conversation. Also, you’re a step ahead if your child starts the discussion.

If they do, allow them to share their thoughts about the issue whenever they desire. During talks about weight, acknowledge your child’s feelings about the topic.

If you struggled with weight in the past, it helps to share that experience with your child. Also, your child must understand that you love them no matter what their size is.

Whatever you do, avoid judging and negative comments. This kind of language can have a harmful and lasting emotional effect on your child.

Finally, move the conversation beyond talk – take action. Kids learn by example, so show them how to eat healthily and stay active by doing the same.

Parents must protect their children from a host of threats, from food allergies to excessive internet content. Weight gain is an additional threat that can negatively affect the welfare of your child.

When taking steps such as changing family eating habits to ensure the welfare of your loved ones, it’s always a good idea to consult with your family physician and pediatrician. Furthermore, try not to make radical changes in the family diet.

Start with a plan and make small changes until you reach your goal. This list of healthy eating tips for kids can help you.

And remember, every family is different. Change takes time, so remain observant, patient, and positive.

See Also: Foods That Will Help You Keep Your Family Healthy

The post A Parent’s Guide to Healthy Eating During the Holidays appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Effects of Being In A Sexless Marriage On Your Mental Health

What is a sexless marriage? Can it affect your mental health?

Research suggests that being in a sexless marriage doesn’t mean that you and your partner are never intimate. It means that you are only having sex once or fewer times a month.

When sex is lacking in a marriage, both partners suffer. It’s more than just having an orgasm and feeling great (though that doesn’t hurt either). It’s about connecting with your partner in mind, body, and soul. It is about feeling secure in your relationship.

When these important aspects of love are taken out of the marital equation, trouble is soon to follow.

Here are 7 studies that prove that a sexless marriage can hurt your relationship and your mental health- and there’s nothing shallow about it.

Sexless Marriage Causes Depression

Research proves that marital satisfaction is significantly associated with being satisfied in bed. Not only does sex feel amazing and lower your stress levels, but it also connects a couple on a romantic and emotional level.

Another study highlights that increasing sexual activity from once a month to once a week can raise happiness levels as much as making an extra $50,000 at your job.
When you do not have the emotional connection and the flow of beneficial oxytocin running through your body that comes from having sex, you may begin to feel depressed.

Here are some signs that your mental health has taken a turn toward depression:

  • Feeling helpless, sad, and alone
  • Experiencing feelings of worthlessness
  • Constant fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Constant pessimism
  • Feeling unmotivated
  • A significant change in appetite or eating habits
  • Irritability
  • Digestive issues
  • Scattered thoughts or difficulty concentrating

See Also: 7 Ways You Can Start Coping With Depression Naturally

Reduces Marital Trust

cope with a sexless marriage

Studies done by Northwestern University and Redeemer University College found that trust is important to a happy marriage.

The precious oxytocin hormone released during intimacy has been shown to cause a substantial increase in trust, allowing people to feel braver, more trusting of their spouse, and more willing to take emotional and social risks together.

When you are in a sexless marriage, you may feel less physically and emotionally trusting of your partner, which can damage other areas of your relationship.

Straying Thoughts and Hearts

Couples who spend time together are happier than those who don’t and it doesn’t have to be special. Studies show that anything from washing dishes side by side to romantic date night can boost happiness and lower stress. And sex certainly contributes to happiness.

Studies also suggest that the oxytocin released after sex is responsible for feelings of monogamy – particularly in men.

When you are not feeling emotionally or sexually satisfied in your marriage, you may have thoughts of looking elsewhere for such satisfaction. This may cause you to feel guilty or worse, follow through with your desire to cheat and possibly ruin your relationship.

See Also: Tips For Happy Marriage: 7 Simple Ways To Maintain A Loving Relationship

Stunts Communication Skills

When you are no longer intimate with your spouse, you may feel uncomfortable opening up and being vulnerable with one another. This can severely stunt your communication skills.

We have all heard that communication is the backbone of a healthy marriage, but did you know communication also contributes to a healthy sex life? Research proves that couples who are willing to talk about sex enjoy higher relationship satisfaction and increased orgasm frequency in women.

Couples need to discuss their sex life. Communicate about what feels good in bed, what kinks you’re into, and what you and your spouse can do to make sex feel more satisfying for you. It is also essential that couples be open, honest, and kind about what may be stopping them from enjoying a healthy sex life.

Studies show that stress can negatively affect your libido. Hurt feelings from past relationship mistakes, marital boredom, and certain medications can also play a role in a lowered libido.

You Become Easily Irritated

Sexual satisfaction predicts heightened emotional intimacy for couples. The more satisfied you are in bed, the closer you will feel to your partner. When this intimacy is lacking, you may find you are growing apart or becoming irritated with one another.

Because oxytocin makes you feel calmer and less stressed, a lack of this love hormone can do just the opposite. As your mental health and relationship happiness decline, you may start to feel annoyed with your spouse over small things. Arguments become more frequent and you may even hate being in the same room with them.

Lack of Intimacy Hurts your Emotional Connection

Is it normal for your sex life to take a dip? Yes and no. Research shows that later life couples (ages 70-86) were more likely to choose emotional intimacy over sexual intimacy as they age. But those same studies also indicate that midlife couples (ages 50-69) often become distressed by changes in their sex life.

So yes, your sex life is sure to change and go through ebbs and flows the older you get. However, a complete lack of sex or only having sex once a month is sure to create problems in your marriage and with your mental health. Instead of favoring your emotional connection, you may feel like you are growing apart.

Resentment Snowballs

coping with a sexless marriage

When you are not being regularly intimate with your spouse, it can cause resentment to build. You may start to wonder why your spouse doesn’t care about your sexual satisfaction. More importantly, you begin to question why they are giving up on the emotional connection you share or overlooking the wonderful benefits that sex brings to your marriage.

If you have discussed your sex life at length and your spouse doesn’t seem to want to change or communicate about why they are resistant to intimacy, it can cause you to feel neglected, hurt, and angry.

If a lack of intimacy is causing you to have thoughts of straying, you may even start to resent your spouse for making you feel the need to look outside your marriage for pleasure or validation.

Are you living in a sexless marriage? If so, this can affect your fidelity and self-esteem. It can weaken the love you once felt for your partner. There is no doubt that a lack of sex can hurt your mental health, your feelings, and in some cases, even your physical health.

The post The Effects of Being In A Sexless Marriage On Your Mental Health appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Take The Strain Out of Exercise: A Look at The Best Yoga Apps

Working out for that dream body has since become incorporated into many people’s daily routines. There are many different methods of working out. Depending on the end goal, individual workouts will all be different. For example, those who are looking to body build will do different exercises compared to someone toning. One of the best ways to work out is yoga. The good thing is that there are great yoga apps for beginners available.

Yoga has been around for 5,000 years and offers an enduring exercise program. Doing yoga burns calories and tones muscles. It is also perfect for a total mind-body workout that combines a range of strengthening poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation. There are over 100 different forms of yoga. Some are fast-paced and intense, while others are gentle and relaxing.

Yoga has since become a popular type of excise for many. There are different types of yoga, such as Power and Hatha, which are two very different kinds of workouts. However, apps offer individuals the flexibility to work out at home or help beginners get comfortable. Luckily, there are many apps available which can help. Here is a list of the best yoga apps for beginners you can check.

Daily Yoga

daily yoga app
Via 4appsapk.com

Daily Yoga is excellent for individuals who are well-versed with yoga or for those who are just starting. It offers hundreds of class plans for all abilities and users can find many asanas. The step-by-step daily instruction guide will help users through every position and movement when doing yoga. It also helps them safely master challenging poses, which they wouldn’t usually be able to do.

As time goes on, the users’ flexibility increases, allowing them to perfect different positions. The app includes more than 50 plans for working out and will help users get fit with yoga. It also connects users to a global community of people who share the same interests to keep them motivated.

Yoga Studio

yoga studio app
Via technologyguide.com

Yoga Studio is an all-in-one meditation and yoga app. It features over 130 videos for yoga users and meditation videos, which range from 5 minutes to 1 hour. The app offers users a carefully curated selection of classes that are catered and tailored for their needs. This means finding what’s right for them is a breeze.

The app also offers classes based on ability, intensity and duration. This allows users to tailor their workout to meet their requirements.

See Also: Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality

Down Dog

down dog app

Down Dog offers its users over 30,000 configurations. It gives users a new yoga practice every time they step onto the mat. Plus users learn a variety of yoga exercises to avoid getting bored.

Down Dog features a 3-day induction into yoga and practices that are specifically designed to strengthen and stretch the backs. Users can also upgrade a paid feature and gain access to a Boost feature, which targets 12 different areas of practice from seven different yoga instructors.

Pocket Yoga

pocket yoga app
Via healthista.com

Pocket Yoga is like having a yoga instructor inside your smartphone from Smartphone Checker. The app has a very detailed voice and visual instructions that help users and guide them through each pose and every breath.

There are over 200 beautifully illustrated images on the app, which shows users the correct posture and alignment. It also has an included dictionary, which describes the benefits and techniques of different poses. There are 27 sessions to choose from that are designed by experienced yoga instructors. Each pose comes with varying degrees of duration and ability, which makes the app an excellent yoga source.

See Also: Yoga Helps You Love Yourself

5 Minute Yoga

5-min-yoga-app
Via blogs.systweak.com

As indicated by the name, the 5-Minute Yoga app offers users quick and effective 5-minute yoga sessions. They are great because users can reap the benefits of doing yoga while not taking up too much time in their day. Continually using the app daily can help improve flexibility and increase strength. It can also help tone muscles and reduce stress, which clearly makes it one of the best yoga apps for beginners available.

The post Take The Strain Out of Exercise: A Look at The Best Yoga Apps appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

A 10-Minute Guide On How to Ease Neck and Shoulder Pain

Our shoulders often hold a lot of our stress and that causes stiffness and uncomfortable pain. This pain may sound like second nature for someone who works long hours, has a busy schedule or just experiences chronic stress.

While it may be an easy trigger response to relieve discomfort with painkillers, hot packs or secret remedies, the pain can usually manage to find its way back with these methods. Neck and shoulder pain is not new, but how you treat it can change the way you feel.

Instead of spending time and money on medication, Brain Education TV has created a simple 10-minute guide on how to ease neck and shoulder pain. The key to releasing this pain is breathing. It will help you focus and clear your mind so you can release the stuffiness and negative energy that is causing unwanted pain in your neck and shoulders.

Step 1: Breathe out any negativity

neck and shoulder pain

Find a comfortable place and sit on a mat or on the floor. Start by sitting upright with your legs crossed and slowly take a deep breath in and out. Remember to focus on exhaling the negative energy and pain you feel within with every breath you take. While doing this, slowly bring your upper body forward and over your legs. Feel the stretch in your spine.

By stretching your upper body, you are releasing the tension and creating circulation. And by acknowledging your discomfort, you are allowing yourself to focus on it and heal it properly.

Step 2: Rotate your shoulders

From the same position, slowly rotate your shoulders forward. While doing, this make sure that you feel the motion in your shoulders. Try to focus on rotating that pain out with every exhale. Do this for 30 seconds and then rotate them in the opposite direction. You should feel your shoulders loosen up.

Rotating your shoulders allows lubrication for your joints, which help ease the pain and discomfort. You want to make sure that you are doing these movements at a comfortable place to avoid hurting yourself.

Step 3: Stretch your sides

ease neck and shoulder pain

Now, take your left hand, bring it over your head to the right and bring your right hand over your lap to the left side of your body. Feel that stretch and hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat the same step on the other side. You will feel the stretch on both sides of your body and in your torso.

See Also: 10 Stretches To Do Right Now For Back Pain Relief

Step 4: Rotate your neck

Next, place both of your hands on your knees with the palms facing up. Begin to slowly rotate your neck at a comfortable pace. While doing so, you want to make sure that there is a gap between your neck and the base of the skull. Do this for 5 slow rotations and switch directions.

While rotating your neck, remember to breathe in and out. Feel the stretch on both sides of the neck and try to feel your muscles relax.

Step 5: Stretch your trapezius

Your trapezius is the muscle that links your neck and shoulders together. Return your neck to the center and tilt your head to the right and touch your right ear to your right shoulder. Make sure that your left shoulder is in place. To get a better stretch, you could use your hand to press down on your head and hold for 10-15 seconds.

Find time in your day to perform these tips on how to ease neck and shoulder pain. You could do it in the morning before starting your day, during a break while at work or after a long day to help you unwind and relax.

The post A 10-Minute Guide On How to Ease Neck and Shoulder Pain appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Postpartum Challenges: What New Mothers Need to Know

Postpartum is frequently thought of as the first six weeks after giving birth. Six weeks is when many women have their last medical appointment with their doctor. However, those of us that have had a baby or who have treated women postpartum know otherwise.

In 2018, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recognized that there was a fourth trimester of pregnancy, which lasts for 13 weeks postpartum. This was a big step in the right direction.

Postpartum is forever

postpartum challenges for moms

The changes that occur during pregnancy and postpartum can last for weeks, months, years or even the rest of a woman’s life. However, just because the body has changed means that it is any better or worse — just different.

Outlined below are many of the challenges women face postpartum and what to do about them.

Urinary incontinence

Just because you had a baby does not mean you will leak forever. If you have any urinary leakage, then you would benefit from getting help from a pelvic health or women’s health physical therapist. You may be pleasantly surprised to know that you may only need a few visits to prevent a lifetime of discomfort and embarrassment.

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and can be treated. Many hip, back, and lower extremity injuries that occur years later could be avoided by taking care of the pelvic floor early in the postpartum period.

I often recommend that my patients have a check up with a pelvic health therapist six to eight weeks postpartum. If this is not a possibility in your area, there are many online resources for postpartum women.

Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA)

A split in the abdominal wall is also common in up to two thirds of women during pregnancy and postpartum. It should slowly improve on its own.

However, if the split does not resolve, then there are many nonsurgical options to improve it. A great place to start is diaphragmatic breathing, deep core stability, and Pilates with someone who is well-versed in DRA. If the DRA persists, reach out to a physical therapist.

Postpartum depression

Exercising postpartum decreases the risk for postpartum depression. So, begin exercising as soon as you feel comfortable. You can begin with gentle breathing and deep core exercises and slowly transition to Pilates, yoga, and walking.

When returning to moderate or intense exercise, wait until the postpartum bleeding has stopped or slowed down significantly. If you begin exercising and the bleeding increases, you are doing too much too soon.

Always walk before you run. You are not the same person you were prior to having a baby. Take it slowly and you will save yourself a lot of anguish later.

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Overtraining injuries and stress fractures

This is because stress is stress and your body cannot differentiate between emotional, mental or physical stress. The stress of having a new baby, not sleeping, healing from birth and much more does contribute to injuries.

Additionally, if you are breastfeeding, the calcium is pulled from your bones to create your milk supply. This is not to say you cannot exercise while breastfeeding — you can!

Should you decide to exercise, make sure you are not doing too much too soon. Always listen to your body.

Lastly, be kind to yourself

postpartum challenge

This is a period of change and growth for you and your family. Remember that despite what the media says, your body is still healing for a long time after giving birth. The better you treat it now, the better it will perform for you later.

The post Postpartum Challenges: What New Mothers Need to Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

14 Tips on How to Live A More Active Lifestyle

Most of us know how important exercise is when it comes to staying fit and healthy. Despite that, however, not all of us are moving as much as we’re supposed to.

Even when I have been motivated to get a gym membership and start exercising, it only lasts for a few months. At the first sign of stress and deadlines at work, the gym routine gets kicked off the list.

So, here are a few tricks on how to live a more active lifestyle:

Park far away

Get into the habit of parking a block away or parking at the farthest parking spot. If you are grocery shopping, park in the store’s lot but choose the back row. Clearly, you wouldn’t want to be caught pushing a shopping cart down the street trying to get to your car.

Take the stairs instead of elevators

If it is one or two floors, always take the stairs. If you need to go up or down several floors, then take the stairs to two floors above or below and then take the elevator. As you get used to it, increase the number of floors you use the stairs for. If you park in a level parking lot, always park in one of the higher levels and walk down.

If possible, walk or bike to work

This is not possible for everyone, but if you live in a place where the pollution is less and your workplace is relatively close by, then choose to walk or bike instead of driving.

Skip the stop

If your city has a subway or bus system, skip your stop and get off at the one after (or before) and then walk from there. You’ll get to enjoy the air and neighborhood a little while increasing your heart rate.

Maximize the benefits from your grocery trip

When you go to the grocery store, make it a habit to walk the entire store. Go through every aisle and every nook and corner. Avoid the aisles that could tempt you to pick up junk food though, since that can completely obliterate any benefits of walking a few extra steps!

Take a short walk-break at work

Again, this one depends on your work location, but ours is located outside the city and is on large private grounds. Every afternoon a couple of us go for a short walk which takes roughly 15-20 minutes. It is very invigorating and a nice break from the afternoon routine.

Do your own yard work

This is a good one for summer time when the lawn starts to grow and you need to keep it trimmed. Instead of hiring someone to do it for you, do it yourself. You will not only get some exercise, but save some money, too!

Play with your kids

Kids these days seem to play more video games than outdoor games like we did when we were younger. So, take your kids out to the park and throw the ball around or play tag.

Put on your favorite music and dance

This is not only exercise, but also a great way to unwind at the end of a busy day. And a good trip down the memory lane for those of us who have not done it in a long time!

While watching TV, pace or stretch

Instead of switching channels during the ad break, get up and walk around the house. Do some lunges or some simple stretching exercises. If you have stairs in your house, walk up and down the stairs a few times during each ad break for at least one show every day.

Choose to walk down instead of call or email

When you have a question for a colleague, instead of picking up the phone or shooting an email, walk over to their cube. This will not only provide some exercise but a short break for a quick recharge.

Walk while you talk on the phone

If your job involves talking on the phone a lot, then instead of doing this sitting at your desk, get into the habit of pacing while you talk. Motion creates emotion so you may even become a better speaker by doing this.

Choose active entertainment over passive entertainment

Instead of going for a movie, choose to go play tennis with some friends (or at least bowling). Instead of playing regular video games, play with a Wii. And instead of meeting friends for a cup of coffee, catch up over a sunset walk.

Choose active vacations

walking exercise

When planning vacations, pick something that involves some walking and hiking. While taking in a new city, do it by walk, instead of driving around. If golfing, skip the cart. If staying at a resort, make use of their pool and the exercise facility. Try skiing and white water rafting.

See Also: 5 Tips On Staying Healthy On Your Next Vacation

While none of these will make an immediate difference in your life style, over a period of time, they will get you into the habit of choosing an active alternative to the every day things you do. In the long run, that can set the stage for an even more active life style.

Written by isbf, the author of of Grad Money Matters

The post 14 Tips on How to Live A More Active Lifestyle appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

MyMilk Labs launches Mylee, a small sensor that analyzes breast milk at home

Many expectant mothers are told that breastfeeding will come naturally, but it is often a fraught and confusing experience, especially during the first few weeks after birth. Parents often worry about if their babies are getting enough nutrition or if they are producing enough milk. MyMilk Labs wants to give nursing mothers more information with Mylee, a sensor that scans a few drops of breast milk to get information about its composition and connects to a mobile app. The Israel-based company presented today at Disrupt Battlefield as one of two wild card competitors picked from Startup Alley.

The Mylee launched at Disrupt with a pre-order price of $249 (its regular retail price is $349). Based in Israel, MyMilk Labs was founded in 2014 by Ravid Schecter and Sharon Haramati, who met while working on PhDs in neuroimmunology and neurobiology, respectively, at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Mylee deviceDuring the company’s stage presentation, Schecter said the device is meant to give mothers and lactation consultants objective information about breast milk.

Breast milk changes in the first days and weeks after birth, progressing from colostrum to mature milk. Mylee scans the electrochemical properties of milk and then correlates that to data points based on MyMilk Labs’ research to calculate where the sample is on the continuum, then tells mothers if their milk is “delayed” or “advanced,” relative to the time that has passed since they gave birth.

The device’s first version is currently in a beta pilot with lactation consultants who have used them to scan milk samples from 500 mothers.

MyMilk Labs already has consumer breast milk testing kits that enable mothers to provide a small sample at home that is then sent to MyMilk Labs’ laboratories for analysis. One is a nutritional panel that gives information about the milk’s levels of vitamins B6, B12 and A, calories and fat percentage, along with dietary recommendations for the mother. Another panel focuses on what is causing breast pain, a frequent complaint for nursing mothers. It tests for bacterial or fungal infections and gives antibiotic suggestions depending on what strains are detected.

Though some doctors believe testing kits are unnecessary for the majority of nursing mothers, there is demand for more knowledge about breastfeeding, as demonstrated by the line-up of breast milk testing kits from MyMilk Labs and competitors like Lactation Labs, Everly Well and Happy Vitals. Haramati said on stage that MyMilk Labs plans to eventually transfer some of the tests’ capabilities to the Mylee.


Morning Workout Benefits You May Not Be Thinking about

Waking up in the morning to work out while the rest of the world is sleeping takes a lot of effort. Sleeping is one of the most satisfying human activities, so it’s understandable if you want to snuggle under the sheets instead of working out.

Most people actually prefer working out in the evening. However, after a long day at work, you might not have the energy for an impactful workout session.

So why would you rather workout in the morning and not in the evening? Well, there is scientific proof that working out in the morning is far much better than doing the same at the end of the day.

Begin the Day Feeling Upbeat

Managing to get out of bed and completing your workout session ensures you begin the day feeling upbeat. Waking up in the morning is challenging, and overcoming it gives you the motivation you need for the rest of the day.

Working out your joints and muscles ensure that you have an active day. It’s very unlikely that you’ll have a lazy day after your morning workout. Morning workouts make you feel unstoppable and accomplished.

When you work out, your brain releases a hormone called dopamine which is also known as the happy hormone. Is there a better way to start the day than to fire up your system with a happy hormone? You’re bound to have a positive attitude and have an easy time interacting with people.

Morning Workouts Boost Your Quality of Sleep

benefits of morning exercises

Every person requires quality sleeping time to rest their body and rejuvenate. Working out in the morning guarantees that you won’t struggle to find sleep at night.

When your brain gets the rest it requires, your memory improves, and you get better at retaining information. Who doesn’t want a sharp memory and improved body function?

See Also: A Good Night’s Sleep: The Key to a Happy Life

You End Up Consuming Fewer Calories

Mastering the willpower to get up every morning translates to other aspects of your life. Individuals who are resolute to work out each morning have an easy time, fighting cravings throughout the day. That means that you’ll end up consuming fewer calories as well.

It’s very unlikely for anyone to head for their favorite food joint after working out in the morning. Now imagine another person who prefers working out in the evening. They can easily eat junk food throughout the day with the consolation that they’ll burn those calories in the evening.

A 2012 study carried out by Brigham Young University supports this logic. The findings show that working out in the morning helps individuals fight cravings.

You’ll Get Better at Coping with Stress

benefit of morning exercise

Working out in the morning is known to reduce stress and anxiety. This is because intense workout sessions ensure you begin the day feeling relaxed and refreshed. This way, nothing will hardly agitate you throughout the day.

Exercising ensures that you sweat it all out so that you begin the day with a clear mind. Besides, nothing beats the peace that comes with having time to process your thoughts uninterrupted.

Improve Your Metabolism

Your body is likely to burn more calories after you work out. Exercising in the morning ensures you have fast metabolism throughout the day. You’ll be able to burn calories even when you’re seated at your work station.

Pumping up your metabolism before you eat anything ensures that you stay in shape. The faster the metabolism, the more energy you have to go through the day. A slow metabolism can be risky because the food you eat gets stored as fat. This is how people gain weight and get out of shape.

See Also: Interesting Facts About the Human Body You Might Not Know About

Final Thought

As you can see, the benefits of morning workouts are unlimited. Instead of hitting the snooze button, get out of bed and get your daily exercise.

The post Morning Workout Benefits You May Not Be Thinking about appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

9 Great Reasons to Drink Water And How to Form the Water Habit

We all know that water is good for us, but the reasons are sometimes a little fuzzy. Even if we know why we should drink water, it’s not a habit that we can easily form.

The truth, however, is that we don’t focus enough on this habit. This is why we end up drinking lots of coffee, soda, alcohol, fruit juices, teas, milk, and a bunch of other beverages. And despite all those fluids, we still end up dehydrated which isn’t good for our health.

I’ve made drinking water a daily habit, although I will admit that a couple of years ago I was more likely to drink anything but water. Now, I don’t drink anything but water, except for a cup of coffee in the morning and beer with dinner once in a while.

Here are 9 powerful reasons to drink water (with tips on how to form the water habit afterwards):

Weight loss

Water is one of the best tools for weight loss. it doesn’t have calories, unlike high-calorie drinks, like sodas, juices, and alcohol. It’s also a great appetite suppressant.

Often, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Drinking plenty can help your weight-loss regimen. 

Heart health

Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of heart attack.

study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack. That’s in comparison to people who drank less than two glasses.

Energy

Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired, even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. It can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, and other symptoms.

Headache cure

Another symptom of dehydration is headache. In fact, when we have headaches, it’s often caused by not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.

See Also: Water And Brain Function: How Staying Hydrated Makes You Smarter

Healthy skin

Drinking water can clear up your skin, but it won’t happen overnight, of course. Drink a healthy amount of water for a week and you’ll notice its good effects on your skin.

Digestive problems

Our digestive system needs a good amount of water to digest food properly. Water can help cure stomach acid problems. It can help treat constipation, too.

Cleansing

Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.

Cancer risk

Drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. It can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Better exercise

Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities. It can slow you down and make it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during,and after exercise.

How to form the water habit

So you’re convinced that water is healthier, but you’d like to know more about how to make drinking water a daily habit.

Here are some tips that have helped me:

Know how much water you need

This is a debatable question. What’s clear is that the old recommendation of “eight 8-ounce glasses a day” isn’t right, for several reasons.

That amount includes all dietary water intake, including food and non-water beverages. It also ignores a person’s body weight which is an important factor in figuring the right amount. It also varies if you are sick or exercise.

Plus, it’s also not good to just drink when you’re thirsty because you’re already dehydrated by then.

Best is to form a routine. Drink a glass when you wake up, a glass with each meal, and a glass in between meals. Be sure to drink before, during and after exercise, too. Try to generally keep yourself from getting thirsty.

Carry a bottle

water bottles

A lot of people find it useful to get a big plastic drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. I like to keep a glass of water at my desk and I drink from it all day long. When it’s empty, I fill it up again and keep drinking.

Set a reminder

Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour or set a periodic computer reminder. that way, you won’t forget to drink water.

Substitute water

If you would normally get a soda or an alcoholic beverage, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.

Filter

Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home faucet. It’ll make tap water taste like bottled water at a fraction of the price.

Exercise

Exercising can help make you want to drink water more. It’s not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you’re going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple hours ahead of time. That way, it will get through your system in time.

Track it

It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it.

Tracking increases awareness and helps ensure that you’re staying on track. Keep a little log on an index card or a notebook and create a mark for each glass of water you drink.

The post 9 Great Reasons to Drink Water And How to Form the Water Habit appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

CDC says stop vaping as mystery lung condition spreads

Vape lung is spreading and the CDC is warning people not to use vaping products while they are investigating the cause. In a media briefing, the public health agency said that some 450 people are now thought to be affected, and as many as five have died.

The CDC’s incident manager for this issue, Dana Meaney Delman, summed up the situation as follows:

CDC, states, and other partners are actively investigating, but so far, no definitive cause has been established. No specific e-cigarette device or substance has been linked to all cases, and e-cigarette include a variety of chemical and additives; consumers may not know what these products contain.

Based on the clinical and laboratory evidence to date, we believe that a chemical exposure is likely associated with these illnesses. However, and I really want to stress this, more information is needed to determine which specific products or substances are involved

Reports earlier this week suggested that Vitamin E acetate, a byproduct of the vitamin complex formed during the vaporization process, may be to blame. Delman downplayed this, saying that although they are working with the labs that made that connection, nothing has been established as yet.

One trend worth noting, however, is that very few of the cases involve only nicotine products; most of the afflicted users reported using THC exclusively or as well as nicotine. This could be the result of many factors, however, so take it with a grain of salt.

The first death was reported in late August in Indiana, but other suspected cases have turned fatal in Illinois, Minnesota, California and Oregon — as reported by The Washington Post, though the CDC said three are confirmed and one is under investigation. The number of reported cases has skyrocketed, though this is likely a consequence of better information coming from state health authorities and hospitals, rather than a sudden epidemic.

In the meantime, the only advice they have is to avoid e-cigarette and vape device usage, especially modified devices or homebrew material. The fact is no one really knows what chemicals are formed in the conditions created by these devices, and some of them could be toxic.

While the investigation is ongoing, CDC has advised that individuals consider not using e-cigarettes because as of now, this is the primary means of preventing this type of severe lung disease. And of course e-cigarette use is never safe for youth, young adults, or pregnant women.

People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, or others) and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns. Regardless of the ongoing investigation, people who use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.

The CDC is working with numerous state authorities and the FDA to identify the cause of this malady, and will soon publish a report in The New England Journal of Medicine detailing the first 53 cases identified. This should help doctors and other health workers tell if they are dealing with a case of vape lung or something else.

Daniel Fox from WakeMed Hospitals in North Carolina characterized the condition as they had encountered it, with a preliminary diagnosis of “lipoid pneumonia”:

What we wanted to report and what we have seen has been a cluster of five cases that will be reported later today. Each of these cases featured a pulmonary illness in a relatively young person. Ranging in age from 18-35 from what we saw here in North Carolina. The symptoms that these patients were experiencing were being short of breath, having some GI or gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea and vomiting and fevers.

One of the things that was found in common with all of these cases is that all patients were using vaped substances in e-cigarettes. They all had abnormal chest x-rays and developed a need for a lot of oxygen.

All of our patients underwent evaluation, and after the clinical evaluation we found a certain type of pneumonia that was noninfectious. It’s called lipoid pneumonia. Basically, can be, it can occur when either oils or lipid-containing substances enter the lungs.

That is consistent with the Vitamin E acetate hypothesis, as that substance is oily and could enter the lungs mixed with the vapor and then stay there. But none of the doctors or experts on the call made that connection officially.

Some patients are being misdiagnosed as having bronchitis or a viral infection. If you are or anyone you know is getting sick and uses vaping products a lot, it’s worth mentioning this if you get checked out.

Delman concluded her briefing with an assurance that everything that can be done is being done:

Please know that CDC, FDA, state, and clinical partners are working hard to understand why people are getting sick. We will continue to share what we know and what we don’t know to help health departments, clinicians, and the public respond to this outbreak.

If you are concerned about your health or the health of a loved one who is using an e-cigarette product, contact your healthcare provider, or your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

8 Helpful and Effective Strength Exercises For Cyclists

For cyclists, the primary target of doing strength exercises is to train in the same motion as in cycling together with one’s upper and lower body, while improving overall muscular endurance and core strength.

Strength training generates a stronger support system for a cyclist’s prime movers while riding a bike. If you have aerobically stronger core and muscles, you will gain more potential in increasing power and consequently experience less fatigue while cycling.

Now that you understand why strength training is helpful before cycling, you might wonder what those strength exercises are.

Below are the 8 strength exercises for cyclists you can try.

Front Plank

strength exercise for cyclists
Via indianexpress.com

Steps:

  • Lie on your stomach and place both elbows under your shoulders with hands and forearms on the floor.
  • Raise your hips off the floor, straighten your back, tighten your abs, and rest on your toes.
  • Keep this position for 40-60 seconds and do two-three sets.
  • Front plank focuses on strengthening your transverse abdominis or TVA muscle, and upper and lower back. In cycling, the front plank can help you to build both strength and muscle endurance that you need in order to ride in aero position or in the drops powerfully.

Half Squat

half squat with barbell
half squat with barbell via t-nation.com

What you need:

  • Barbell

barbell

Steps:

  • Stand tall while carrying a barbell over your shoulders.
  • Bend your hips and knees until your thighs can form a 45-degree angle.
  • Repeat the sequence and complete 3-4 sets of 10 repetitions.

Here’s one thing to note:

Expect that the last few repetitions during the last 3 or 4 sets will be hard to complete but still ensure that you will make it through the last rep. Half squats work on your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It would build strength for sprinting and climbing.

Single Leg Hip Bridge

single leg hip bridge exercise
Via tfdgym.co.uk

Steps:

  • Lie on the ground (placing a yoga mat would make you more comfortable) with your one leg bent while lifting the other one off the ground.
  • Raise your hips up in the air while contracting your glute muscles like you’re pushing through your heels.
  • Hold the position for a second or two before going down.
  • Do two to three sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side of your legs.

Single Leg Hip Bridge can be done at any time, but it is the best pre-workout to do to wake up your glutes before a strength workout, especially if you have been sitting and inactive for a while. Aside from that, it also improves speed, endurance, and strength used while cycling.

Lunges with Bicep Curl

lunges with bicep curl and resistance band
lunges with bicep curl and resistance band via pinterest

What you need:

  • Resistance band or dumbbell

dumbbell

Steps:

  • Stand in an upright position with either a resistance band or a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Execute a lunge position: straighten your back, step one leg forward and bend the knee to a 90-degree position, while your leg in the back should be straight.
  • While on it, do a biceps curl with both arms.
  • Repeat the same with the opposite leg forward.
  • Start with 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions in every leg.

Lunging with bicep curl is an excellent workout when you want to develop strength in your biceps, quadriceps, glutes, and deltoids. These four muscles are utilized when there is a need to stand and accelerate cycling.

Boat Pose

strength exercises for cyclist
Via yogajournal.com

Steps:

  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor and with your knees bent forward.
  • Execute a V-position: Raise and extend your legs out forward, and lean your upper body backward.
  • Stretch your arms away from you so you can tighten your lower abdominal muscles.
  • Make sure to relax your shoulders and keep your back straight.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds and do it for 5-10 repetitions.

Boat pose mainly focuses on strengthening your transverse abdominis and lower back. As a result, you will feel less fatigue through strengthening the muscles that can improve your lower back. Also, this workout will allow you to encounter less pain and feel more comfortable while on aggressive cycling positions.

Single Leg Reach

single leg reach with cones
single leg reach with cones via sidelinesoccer.com

What you need:

  • Three water bottles or cones

water bottles

Steps:

  • Place three water bottles or cones in a triangular form.
  • While on a single leg stance, slightly bend your knees to do a squat and slowly reach down towards the left cone and return to a standing position. Do the same with the remaining bottles or cones.
  • Repeat the same sequence with the other leg.
  • Complete a set of 10 repetitions.

Single leg reach workouts focus on your hips and core and improve your balance on the bike, which is essential to develop bike handling and endurance. This strength exercise also works with your proprioception, also called as ‘sense of self,’ or the body’s awareness of movement and position in space.

Single-Arm Row

single arm row with cradle column machine
single arm row with cradle column machine via livestrong.com

What you need:

  • Cable column machine
cable column machine
Via amazon

Steps:

  • Stand across a cable column machine. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, and knees are slightly bent.
  • Take the handle and do a standing row, while keeping your body still as much as possible. Do not lean forward nor backward to lift more weight.
  • Finish 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Single-arm row enhances the muscles of your shoulder, back, and hips. It also strengthens the scapular region, which is a common area of fatigue caused by hunching too much on the bike. As a result, cyclists can avoid injuries and ride longer without discomfort.

Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl

hamstring curl with handle cradles
hamstring curl with handle cradles via pinterest

What you need:

  • Handle Cradles

Steps:

  • Lie on the ground (with yoga mat is recommended) and place your handles in the handle cradles.
  • Raise your hips and curl your heels (almost like pointing your toes) towards your hips
  • Do not drop your hips as you are bending your heels.
  • Finish two sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Exercise ball hamstring curl is one of the TRX routines (Total Resistance exercises) that strengthens your lower back and hamstrings. Strengthening hamstring and quadriceps is significant to enhance upstroke while in a pedaling motion and avoid lower extremity injuries.

Overall, these strength exercises for cyclists can help you prepare your body.

See Also: Can Cycling Actually Change Your Health And Life?

The post 8 Helpful and Effective Strength Exercises For Cyclists appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Deal With Pests: A Quick Guide

Las Vegas is known as the Sin City. It’s a home for gamblers and showgirls and a place where you can find a variety of Elvis’ lookalike.

However, it’s not all fun in this part of the globe since there are pests that can ruin the fun. We’re talking of desert creatures that will interact unexpectedly and inflict potential harmful and annoying bites and stings to its victim.

With increases in rainfall in Las Vegas at the start of the year, pest activity is likely to thrive. Find out which creepy crawlers call Las Vegas valley their home and how to deal with pests.

Deadly Scorpions

how to cope with different types of pest

Las Vegas summer is the birthing season of scorpions. These creatures just love the desert heat.

A scorpion sting is painful and itchy. You’ll need to put an ice pack on the affected area for relief.

Go directly to the ER if a victim experiences the following:

  • Puffiness
  • Soreness
  • Fever
  • Extreme pain
  • Increased heartbeat rate or blood pressure
  • Struggles in breathing
  • Muscle weakness and twitching
  • Numbness

Bring the body of the scorpion with you so that the staff will know what anti-venom to apply. As a protective measure, sweep the areas in your home or trap the scorpions.

Infesting Cockroaches

During cold months, cockroaches hibernate and adults emerge at the slightest heat source. Cracks and crevices in the house serve as breeding grounds as well as entry points.

They scavenge for food, mostly spoiled and discards, and water and trip to places that you can’t imagine. All the germs, bacteria, and grime are brought to your place when they visit.

They bite with a stinging pain. Although it’s not alarming, swelling, unbearable pain or puffiness should encourage you to see your doctor.

So, how to deal with pests like them?

Improve sanitation, declutter, and eliminate sources of food and water. The application of cockroach killers can help eliminate a roach infestation, too.

Pesky Ants

During summer months, ant colonies grow and their numbers multiply.

The presence of an ant trail is a nuisance. When they are hunting for food and water, their trail will most likely end in your things.

Although they are small, some ants pack a mean and destructive punch. They can inject venom with their bites, producing a burning sensation and blisters.

There are ways to stop ants from coming in like sprinkling boric acid or flour at entry points. You can use vinegar, pepper or the juice from citrus fruits.

Dangerous Spiders

how to cope with different pests

Male spiders trek buildings and homes for food and insects. They do it to find female partners, too.

Las Vegas is home to the Black Widow whose bite is potentially harmful. You won’t notice the bite until you see it, and it’s not painful at first. However, the venom can cause pain, cramping, and spasms within the hour.

Wash the area with soap and water, apply a cold compress to reduce puffiness, and take a sedative if needed. If pains or cramping are serious, go the ER.

There are natural ways to get rid of spiders like using eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemon peel, and vinegar. They don’t like the smell of these.

These summer, fun-ruining pests may have you scratching some imaginary itch, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what nature has to offer in sunny Las Vegas. You just have to know how to deal with pests.

See Also: Top 5 Things To Do In Las Vegas

The post How To Deal With Pests: A Quick Guide appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Ways to Manage Anxiety in Public Places

After losing my second child during pregnancy in May 2019, I developed what I thought would never fully grip me — anxiety. I had suffered with it before but never to the extent that I had when I lost my son. I found myself having panic attacks in the middle of supermarkets or uncontrollably sobbing when I saw a blonde baby boy. Right there, I knew that I needed to do something and I needed to act fast.

Here are some things that have helped me in managing anxiety in public places.

Choose Your Playlist

I have often seen people wondering around the supermarket in their headphones and laughed at how ignorant they looked. Then, I became one of those people.

Music is a wonderful gift and lyrics have the power to speak directly into our hearts and minds. Whenever I find myself experiencing anxiety in public places, I force my headphones into my ears and listen to music that declared hope, truth, and life.

This is a fantastic way to manage your anxiety as no one knows what you are doing. It really helped me to carry on with ordinary tasks.

Take a Deep Breath

anxiety public places

Breathing exercises have become somewhat ‘trendy’ now with all the mindful apps circling around. Despite that, I have found that deep breathing in a moment of dread has saved me on more occasions than I can count.

I have found that a couple of deep breaths can fully reset my thoughts and bring me back to my present reality. Sometimes I will even audibly say to myself “okay” as I take a deep breath and continue on my way.

See Also: 11 Really Effective Relaxation Techniques to Relieve Anxiety

Remind Yourself of Your Current Reality

Often, when we find ourselves experiencing a difficult season and the weight of our reality is heavy on our chests, we assume that we will always feel this way. The truth is that anxiety can be something that we consistently have to work through, but it will not always be this intense. When I experience a panic attack or a feeling of dread, I try to remind myself of all the times it has happened before and how I am still standing. No one can rush anxiety.

Talk to the Right People

When feeling extremely low, people typically fall into one of two categories.

The first is a complete shut down of any kind of communication as we can become embarrassed of what we are feeling. The second is that we completely overshare with everyone as we are desperate to be understood and to have our feelings validated.

I have found that having two to three people who I can really trust and care deeply about me that I can contact at any time has literally saved my life in certain scenarios. Good friends are like gold dust in seasons of depression and anxiety as sometimes we become a hard friend to keep. Find your nearest and dearest and hold them close.

Just Get Out There

public places anxiety

It is so easy to stay indoors and stay in alone. When anxiety is a very real thing in our lives, it is also incredibly draining. We find that even just looking after ourselves becomes a near impossible task.

I encourage you to get outdoors at least once every day. Sometimes, it is necessary to get out of our own heads. This can only be possible if we physically get out of bed and face the outside world. I have found that even just walking my dog while applying all of the above techniques has helped me to move forward.

In closing, anxiety can be all-consuming but there are things that we can do to manage it. By letting the right people in and applying healthy techniques, we can ensure that we are moving forward step-by-step, day-by-day.

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