Three Aspects of Healthy Living

While there are many different aspects to consider when it comes to healthy living, there are three that are absolutely key. From physical health to mental well-being to social relationships, make sure that you place a priority on each of these parts of your life.

Woman running

Physical Health
There are a number of factors that contribute to an individual’s physical health, but two that you can have full control over are diet and exercise. In today’s world, it is all-too-easy to get the diet part wrong, especially since supermarket shelves are lined with unhealthy, processed foods. Improving on a diet can often seem daunting, so take this one step at a time, making easy and gradual changes rather than dramatic, difficult ones. For example, incorporating a new vegetable into your meals each week could be a great first step, as could making your own healthy smoothies at home. Exercise also plays a huge role in physical health, with the majority of people out there not getting enough exercise at all. Again, this is something else that can seem challenging to initially get motivated about, so begin by picking a few forms of exercise that you genuinely enjoy, such as a certain sport or a dance. Once your fitness levels begin to improve, it will be much easier to branch out and see what else is out there.

Woman meditating

Mental Health
Mental health is an extremely broad topic, but one of the key causes of poor mental health in today’s world is stress. When you experience stress, this triggers an emergency response in your body, which sends the hormone cortisol coursing through you. Chronic stress, which means consistently elevated levels of cortisol, will increase your risk for so many mental health problems, from depression to other forms of mental illness. When it comes to keeping your stress levels under control, you may need to experiment with different tactics before finding one that works for you, whether this may be doing some form of exercise, spending an hour gardening, or spending time on a new hobby.

Friends having dinner

Social Bonds
Healthy relationships are a vital part of healthy living, and there is plenty of research out there that shows that strong social bonds are linked to a longer and happier life. Not only do healthy relationships mean that you are 50% less likely to die prematurely, but they can also boost your immune system and help you to deal with stress better, which, in turn, will be a boost to your mental health. If you are looking to expand your social circle but do not know where to begin, look into local groups or clubs where you can meet people that share similar interests to you, or ask your existing friends to introduce you to some new people.

When it comes to healthy living, there are always areas in which you can improve on. Whether this may be making improvements to your diet to support your physical health, or expanding your social circle to support both your physical and mental health, be sure to pay close attention to each of these three aspects of healthy living.

Five Reasons to Try Vegetarian

While the popularity of vegetarianism is rapidly on the rise, there are some who still feel as though giving up meat would be too big of a sacrifice to make. However, there are so many benefits that come with a vegetarian diet, so here are five reasons to persuade you to give vegetarianism a try.

Vegetarian

Slow Down the Aging Process
A study recently published in the British Medical Journal discovered that vegetarians outlive meat eaters by up to six years, which is hardly surprising considering all of the nutrients that come with a plant-based diet. Not only are these rich in fiber, but they are alo high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, all of which play individual roles in slowing down the aging process. In addition to this, a plant-based diet can also prevent, as well as reverse, certain chronic diseases, giving vegetarians a longer, and healthier, life.

Prevent the Three Biggest Killers
Heart disease is the number one killer out there, with cancer and strokes being the second and third, but a healthy, well-balanced vegetarian diet is able to protect the body from all three of these. In fact, doctors have even had success in unclogging arteries and reversing heart disease purely by prescribing a vegan diet.

Woman with ferret

Support the Environment
Countless studies have shown, and the United Nations has also confirmed, that eating meat is the reason behind some of the most serious environmental problems that we face today. For example, the meat industry is responsible for 40% more greenhouse gases than all of the cars, trucks and planes in the world combined, and are also linked to everything from land degradation to water pollution to climate change to loss of biodiversity.

Animal Welfare
While you may like to think that your meat has been raised on lush green pastures and happy farmyard homes, the reality is far from this, and if the general public really knew what happened in factory farms today, there would be many more vegetarians in the world. Animals that are commonly eaten, such as chickens and pigs, are actually known to be smarter than animals that are usually kept as pets, such as dogs and cats, so rather than supporting the abhorrent conditions that these creatures are kept in, give vegetarianism a try. It is believed that an individual who gives up meat is able to save around 100 animal lives each year, which is a good enough reason in itself for any true animal lover.

Woman standing on weighing scale

Weight Loss
More than two thirds of the general public are obese, but vegetarians on average tend to have a lower BMI, which is the measure of body fat, than meat eaters. Vegetarians are much less likely to be obese, and are significantly lighter than meat eaters, making vegetarianism the healthiest of weight loss diets.

As you can see, a vegetarian diet brings with it so many incredible benefits. Not only would you be making huge improvements to your own health, but you would also be supporting the world around you, so make 2017 the year in which you give vegetarianism a try.

Your February Healthy Lifestyle Reboot

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions out there is making the commitment to living a healthier life, but when February rolls around and people realize that they have not made any changes, it can be all-too-easy to simply give up, accepting yet another failed resolution. However, it is never too late to begin making adjustments, so make February the month that you do so.

Whole grain food
Changes to Your Diet
Just about everybody knows that they could be eating healthier, but giving up indulgent treats in favor of healthier alternatives never sounds appealing. The key here is to begin by making really small changes and gradually adding to these, as this will mean that you are far more likely to stick to your goals. A variety of foods is important, as each food has its own unique nutrients, so aim to incorporate a new ingredient into your diet each week. Whole grains are also much better for you than refined, so slowly work on swapping your white rice and white bread for brown versions. Sugar is an ingredient that you should really try to cut out, and this is another area where you are likely to be much more successful if you do this slowly, beginning by setting a limit on how many sugar-filled treats you can eat per week.

Exercise Motivation
Physical activity is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle, but motivating yourself to do some exercise can often be quite difficult, especially in cold winter climates. There are a few ways in which you can motivate yourself, and you are likely to need to try them all before finding which works best for you. Picking rewards for yourself after you have reached certain exercise goals is always a good idea, with the reward depending on how difficult the goal was. You could also set a few goals with some friends, so that you have their support when you are feeling uninspired. Alternatively, try to come up with a few ways to make exercise fun and enjoyable, so that you look forward to it rather than dread it. Learning a new sport could be exactly what you need to engage your mind as well as your body, or signing up for group dance classes will allow you to workout in a fun and laid-back environment.

Woman exercising
Deal With One Bad Habit at a Time
Just about everybody has a bad lifestyle habit that they would want to change, but trying to tackle all of these at once is only setting yourself up for failure. Whether you want to quit smoking and exercise more, or cut back on drinking alcohol, as well as caffeine, prioritize each one and pick the most important to deal with first. This will enable you to focus all of your attention on improving that particular habit, and once you have fully mastered this, you can then move on to the next.

There are always ways in which you can make your lifestyle healthier, but if you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed with this, then chances are that you are simply trying to do too much too soon. When working on improving your lifestyle, a chain of gradual, small adjustments are always easier to deal with than quick, major changes, so try to set yourself mini goals that you know you will be able to achieve.

Weightloss Tips That Are Just Wrong

Weight loss is something that many struggle with, and this comes as no surprise with the amount of weight loss tips out there that are just wrong. From avoiding all fats to the concept of a cheat day, these are tips that you should definitely not be following if you want to in a healthy way.

Woman measuring waist
Avoid All Fats
Many assume that all fats are bad, and will only cause you to put on more weight, but this is not at all the case. While the fats that you will find in greasy foods and processed snacks will definitely add to your calories, while also increasing your cholesterol and risk of certain diseases, there are other fats out there that are vital for a healthy mind and body. These good fats come from sources such as salmon, avocado and nuts, and when consumed as part of a balanced diet, do so much to support your overall health, and certainly not be the cause of any weight gain.

Cheat Days
Those who have really been watching their weight always highly anticipate a cheat day, which is a day when they can indulge and eat whatever they want. While some believe that this will help to keep the metabolic rate high, if you over-eat on a cheat day, then this excess food is likely to simply be stored as extra body fat. This means that the weight that you have lost over the rest of the week is likely to just be piled back on, so you still do need an eating plan for those days when you want to indulge.

Woman eating
Skipping Meals
One of the biggest weight loss myths out there is related to the skipping of meals, with the belief that a skipped meal would mean that you have saved yourself from all of those extra calories. However, your metabolism actually increases each time you eat, and chronically skipping meals can end up slowing this down in a huge way, resulting in rapid weight gain.

Juicing Instead of Eating
There is no denying the many health benefits that come from juicing your fruits and vegetables, but replacing your meals with green juices will only end up making you feel much hungrier. The reason for this is because, although these juices would be packed with nutrients, they are lacking the fiber that is found in whole fruits and vegetables. This fiber, which is found in the skin, seeds and pulp, is what helps to keep you feeling full, while also maintaining your blood sugar levels, so while a green juice is definitely beneficial, do not let this replace a meal too often.

Healthy weight loss methods not only focus on diet and exercise, but also the other aspects of your life. From sleep to stress to your environment, there are so many different factors that can have an influence on weight gain and loss, so be sure to consider all of this when coming up with a weight loss plan.

Celebrities Who Never Seem to Age

Celebrity

There are some celebrities out there who just never seem to age, and while a part of this is likely due to the media’s airbrushing skills, they do still tend to retain their youthful glow in person too. From Pharrell … Continue reading

Fitness Trends for 2017

The fitness industry is currently thriving like never before, and, as more and more people strive to keep their bodies in shape, the industry is being pushed to really up its game. While 2016 saw many interesting trends make an appearance, 2017 is set to be more exciting than ever, with plenty of new trends to inspire the masses to take more of an interest in fitness.

Workout Apps
Fitness apps have been exploding in popularity recently, and you are likely to see many more workout apps created in 2017. These enable users to engage in an exercise routine wherever they may be, whenever they have a bit of time to spare, giving them a convenient and extremely cost-effective way to work out.

Live-Streaming Fitness Classes
For those who do not live in a big city, you have likely been frustrated at the lack of variation in fitness classes near you, but, thanks to technology, this is soon to change. Rather than having to opt for yet another DVD workout or YouTube tutorial, these live-streaming sessions will take place, in real time, on platforms such as Facebook and Periscope, and will be broadcast from some of the hottest fitness studios around.

Woman working out in adult playground
Adult Playgrounds
Adult playgrounds have been popping up quite a bit this past year, but you can expect to see them take quite the surge in 2017 as they become much more mainstream. These outdoor gyms are not just appearing in public parks as you would expect, but can be found in many more unusual locations, from office roof terraces to spacious sidewalk spots, ensuring that everybody is able to easily access one.

Functional Fitness for the Elderly
Fitness levels can really begin to decline with age, unless an active effort is made to prevent this. In 2017, there is likely to be quite the rise in fitness classes for the elderly, but rather than them being standard fitness classes, these will be focussed more on functional fitness. This means focussing on areas such as strength and balance, as well as joint mobility and general mood, all of which will significantly help to elevate daily living standards for this generation.

Outdoor Obstacle Courses
While intense outdoor bootcamps may be declining in popularity, outdoor obstacle courses, such as the Tough Mudder, are steadily on the rise. The majority of these that are currently available are more suited to those with advanced fitness levels, but the newer courses that you will see next year will make this activity available to all.

Woman boxing
Boxing
Boxing has always been loved by many, but it was often difficult for beginners to become involved with this sport. 2017 sees that beginning to change, not only with the introduction of boutique boxing studios, which practice a no-contact style of boxing, but also due to the increasing number of beginners classes that are now being hosted by traditional boxing gyms.

Fitness is key when it comes to healthy living, and an increasing number of people are beginning to become aware of this. Thanks to this mainstream attention, the fitness industry is now witnessing a surge in adrenaline-pumping trends, all of which promise to help keep your body, and mind, in perfect condition.

Rely on Your Instructor for These Yoga Poses

Woman doing yoga

Yoga has been linked with so many different health benefits, so it only makes sense that an increasing number of people are starting to give it a try. However, when it comes to the way in which yoga is promoted in the media, advanced poses are often highlighted, and these can be extremely dangerous for a yoga newbie to try to copy. Even if you already have some yoga experience behind you, make sure that you ask your instructor to assist you when trying these following poses for the first time.

Firefly Pose
The ninja-like appearance of the Firefly Pose makes it appeal to many, and while it may be an arm balance pose, it actually requires much more core strength than arm strength. The most difficult part of this pose is extending the legs fully, but being already accustomed to the Crow Pose can really help with this.

Dancer's Pose

Dancer’s Pose
The Dancer’s Pose is one that looks beautifully elegant, and not only stretches the chest, hips and shoulders, but also improves the balance. While this one may not look that technically difficult, the perfect amount of tension is needed between the arms and legs, in order to maintain your center of gravity, which is why success with this pose is much more likely when you have some assistance.

Handstand Scorpion Pose
There are a couple of variations to the Handstand Scorpion Pose, but all of them require you to balance on your hands rather than on your forearms, which is how the regular Scorpion Pose is carried out. Even if you have already accomplished the regular Scorpion Pose, rising up from your hands can really be quite challenging, but your instructor can help you to do this in a safe way.

Lotus Peacock Pose

Lotus Peacock Pose
The Lotus Peacock Pose is a combination of two other poses; the Basic Peacock Pose and the Seated Lotus. While the Lotus Pose requires a large amount of hip flexibility, the Peacock Pose depends on glute strength, and it is essential that you have fully mastered both of these poses individually before attempting the Lotus Peacock Pose.

Head to Foot Pose
Also known as Sirsa Padasana, the Head to Foot Pose is one of the most intense backbends that you will find in yoga, and unless you have the right amount of muscle strength in your back, as well as a flexible spine, you could end up causing your body quite a bit of damage. This pose requires a huge amount of mental focus and balance, making it wise to seek assistance when trying it out for the first time.

When it comes to practicing yoga, do not forget that yoga postures are only a small part of this. The foundations of yoga go much further, encompassing everything from ethical choices, such as non-violence, to breathing exercises and meditation, so if you want to make the most out of your yoga experience, be sure to spend some time on all of these other yoga aspects too.

What You Can Teach Your Children About Healthy Living

children eating healthy food
Helping your children to develop healthy living habits while they are still young will really set them up for success in the long run. From educating them about food to making exercise fun, these are a few ways in which you can easily teach your children about how to live a healthy, and happy, life.

Food Education
Many schools do not include modules on healthy food and nutrition in their syllabus, meaning that it is up to you as the parent to ensure that your child learns as much as possible on this subject. There are so many ways to do this, and it is best to use a variety of methods to ensure that they do not become bored. Taking your child grocery shopping with you, and then helping them to prepare a healthy meal by themselves, will teach them about making healthy food choices when shopping, while learning how to read food labels. For those aspiring young chefs out there, help them to create their very own cookbook that features healthy recipes, and introduce them to some television personalities that promote healthy eating, so that they have positive role models to look up to.

mom and kid exercising
Make Exercise Fun
The recommended amount of physical activity for children is one hour a day, but with children these days spending more and more time indoors, this can be quite difficult for some parents to implement. The key here is ensuring that physical activity is always fun for your kids, and perhaps starting off with a smaller amount before gradually building this up as their fitness levels improve. There are many activities out there that children can get involved in, from dancing to cycling to team sports. For younger children, fun games such as tag or hide and seek will keep them on the move, while older children may enjoy the challenge of a fitness app that tracks their steps.

Positive influence
Be a Positive Influence
Your children will look up to you as a role model, so you need to make sure that you are providing them with a positive influence to follow. This means that, not only should your children be making healthy food choices and staying active, but so should the rest of the family. By working on a healthy lifestyle together, you will increase your chances of success, as you will have so much extra support, and it will also help with family bonding. When it comes to picking out rewards for your children, do not veer towards the standard, unhealthy, choices, such as extra television time, and opt instead for a reward that is in line with your healthy living practices, such as a family outing to the local national park.

As a parent, there are many ways in which you can encourage your children to be making healthy choices from a young age. By doing so, you will be helping to set healthy habits that they will be able to carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Enjoy These Energy Boosting Foods

Energy Boosting Foods
A lack of energy can usually be directly linked with nutrition, and while you may be tempted to turn to caffeine or sugar to perk you up during the day, you would be much better off opting for a more nutritious alternative instead. From the best nuts to snack on to the most nutritious meats to feast on, give some of these energy boosting foods a try the next time your body is feeling low.

Cashews, Almonds, Hazelnuts and Brazil Nuts
Most nuts make for a great healthy snack, but there are certain nuts that offer a much wider range of essential nutrients. Almonds boast large amounts of magnesium and a range of the B vitamins, which helps the body to convert food to energy much quicker, as do cashews, hazelnuts and brazil nuts. Nuts are also packed with protein, and brazil nuts, in particular, are a great source of selenium, which works as a natural mood booster.

Lean Meats
While plant-based foods are usually best for boosting energy, there can be times when you really crave some meat. In this case, lean meats, such as turkey, lean beef and skinless chicken, are the preferable choice, as they contain tyrosine. This amino acid helps to boost the levels of two specific brain chemicals, norepinephrine and dopamine, both of which will soon have you feeling much more focused and alert.

Bananas
Bananas make for a great snack, as not only are they already wrapped and protected, making them easy to carry around, but they are also filled with a plethora of nutrients. From the B vitamins to potassium to fiber, bananas are able to provide the body with long-term energy, as well as boost muscle function. For some added vitality, pair a banana with some yogurt as a tasty snack, as this combination of fiber and protein will be especially energizing.

Water
While not technically a food, studies have shown that dehydration is often the primary cause of fatigue, meaning that staying hydrated will keep your energy levels optimized. To treat your body to some extra antioxidants, and to satisfy any sweet drink cravings you may have, infuse a few slices of fruit into your water. Lemon is great for this, but other fruits also work well, so experiment with your favorite flavors.

Eggs
Egg yolks are rich in the B vitamins, which convert food into energy, and they also contain plenty of vitamin D which supports bone health. The protein that eggs contain makes them especially useful when you feel as though your muscles need a pick-me-up, such as after an intense workout session. If you are trying to cut back on the calories, use one whole egg along with two egg whites, as this combination is a fantastic lean form of energy.

With the hectic lives that many lead these days, feeling low on energy is all too common. While quick fixes may seem like the best option, do your body a favor and try making a meal with some of these healthy but energizing foods instead.

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Woman meditating

There are a number of different factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle, from the food that you eat to the amount that you sleep. While this may be common knowledge, putting these ideas into action is often more difficult than it might seem, so take a look at these following tips to help you get started.

Go Primal
Diet fads come and go, but the one piece of information that has never changed is that unprocessed foods are the best when it comes to staying healthy. Nicknamed as the primal diet, a diet made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, fish and eggs is ideal, and keeping the primal imagery in mind will help you to avoid anything that is processed or filled with sugar.

Positivity
Keeping your mood uplifted is essential when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, as stress can lead to a number of different health conditions. There are many ways to bring positivity into your life, from engaging in new activities with friends, meditation and reflection, or even doing a kind deed for someone else. You should also try to laugh more, as studies have shown that not only does this keep positivity high and stress levels low, but people who laugh more usually outlive those who do not.

Woman walking

Choose to Walk
Research has shown that some of the health benefits of daily exercise include an increased life span, a reduced risk of a multitude of diseases, and higher bone density, yet this is something that many still avoid. When it comes to traveling short distances, choosing to walk over taking a form of transport can make a huge difference, as can taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Eat the Rainbow
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the greens are often the ones that are most heavily promoted, but you really need to be eating a wide variety. To help you to remember to do so, try to make sure that you are ‘eating the rainbow’, consuming a fruit or vegetable of each color each day, as the different colors all indicate different nutrients.

Woman sleeping

Go to Bed Earlier
The time when you are sleeping is when your body works to heal and regenerate, meaning that if you are sleep deprived, even for just a couple of nights, this can begin to take a serious toll on your health. The optimum amount of sleep is around eight hours a night, and a simple way to ensure that you are sleeping for this long is by going to bed at around 10pm, making sure that you turn off your computer and any other electronic devices, as this will drastically interfere with your sleep quality.

A healthy lifestyle does not need to be at all difficult, and it is usually possible to just tweak your current lifestyle in a few ways in order to make it slightly healthier. From spending more time planning your meals to ensure that you are eating a good variety of foods, to sticking to a strict schedule when it comes to bedtime, these tips are all easy to follow, and can have a significant improvement in your overall health.