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Cures for Chronic Back and Neck Pain

Normally, when you have neck AND back pain at the same time, it is associated with problems with posture or sleeping position. Until those issues are fixed, it will be impossible to relieve any long term pain.

I have recently suffered from back and neck pain after using an old Tempur-Pedic pillow that had hardened with age. It affected me for weeks, even when I switched pillows, so I finally decided to do some research on how to fix it for good. I found a lot of different exercises and stretches, but only a few gave me some relief.

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Posture Correction

As I mentioned earlier, chronic neck and back pain is associated with poor posture. If you truly want to be rid of your chronic back and neck pain you must first make sure that your standing posture is not working against you. To help you out with that, there is a simple exercise you can do to help you understand and feel what a normal posture feels like.

All you have to do is place your heels against the wall and align yourself so that your butt, shoulder blades, and head are all touching the wall with your chin perpendicular to your body. This is normal standing posture and if it feels awkward it is because you have poor posture. Try and align yourself in this manner whenever you are walking or standing. It may feel a bit goofy at first but it is the first step to relieving your pain.

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Sleeping Posture Correction

Another major cause of back and neck pain issues is the position that you sleep in. Using special pillows that holds your head in a certain position all night can be helpful except when your head is in the wrong position all night. Personally after my bad experience, I would suggest not using those types of pillows just in the off chance you fall asleep with your head sunk into a bad position.

When you go to bed make sure your neck is aligned with your back. If you sleep on your side try and keep your head directly in between your shoulders and spine straight. Do not allow your neck to dip downward or pile on so many pillows that your neck is arched upwards. If you lay on your back just keep your head  directly in between your shoulders with your head directly at the ceiling not turned to one side.

It may sound excessive but if you want your neck and back pain to begone, then bare with it and keep it up at least for a few weeks.

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The Two Stretches You Will Ever Need

These stretches are designed to realign your back and neck so it will be easier to have better posture. Neck rolls and over extending your back are decent for fixing the problem but they can make it even worse too and it won’t help solve the problem only temporarily give you an increased range of motion.

You can perform these stretches as many times as you want but you should at least do them BOTH twice a day and hold each one for about 10-15 seconds.

Stretch 1

  • Ready position: Face a wall and place your hand and forearm against it with your arm bent at a 90 degree angle.
  • Transition: Turn away from your arm until your body is perpendicular to the wall
  • Advice/help: Perform with both arms. Keep your back straight and your arm aligned with your shoulder. If your arm starts to go numb you are pushing too hard or turning too much. (see picture for help)
  • Ready PositionTransition

 

 

 

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Stretch 2

  • Ready position: Place one of your hands in the opposite back pocket of your pants. If your pants do not have pockets that’s fine, just hold it over your opposite butt cheek for lack of a better phrase (If you are using your right hand insert it into your left back pocket. If you are using your left hand insert into your right back pocket). Your other hand should be directly on the side of your leg.
  • Transition: Slide the hand on the side of your leg down towards your knee as far as possible, while leaning your neck and upper torso in the same direction (see picture for more help).
  • Advice/help: Do this with both arms. Don’t lean forward or backward just to the side.
  • Ready PositionTransition

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Ways to Improve Mental Health

Thinking_manAlthough this site is primarily focused on physical health, your mental and emotional state can affect your physical well being, so physical and mental health go hand in hand. In fact, it has been proven that when we are in a negative mental state, our brains don’t function as well or as quickly. This is where you will start to see the bridge between mental and physical health.

In general, people in a poor mental state are low on energy and tend to be idle for longer periods of time. Intuitively, you may be able to figure out, the less you move, the more your body builds fat since you are not using up the energy for your food. In addition, when you are in a mental “funk” even your reaction time is reduced, which means the signal your brain transmits to your muscles, to make them move, will take longer to get there. Although it is only a minute difference of only a few nano seconds, it has a dramatic effect over long periods of time and ESPECIALLY in sports.

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Tips For Good Mental Health

 

John_Nunn_wins_50KPositive thinking! Yeah I know I know, it sounds cheesy, but a positive attitude really makes a difference as far as cognitive ability. When I first started my job as a health coach, before I learned anything about nutrition our dieting, I was taught about the positive mindset. I kind of chuckled at the idea and it felt like I was in a recovery session for depressed people, but when I started trying to actually help others and encourage them to exercise and change their lifestyle I couldn’t get much out of them.

During these initial health evaluations, in the back of my mind, I always thought ” Oh they don’t really want to do this…” or ” They really aren’t interested..”  Only after I started to taking my positivity training seriously did I finally get people to change their lifestyles. I’m sure most of you aren’t health coaches, but being negative will only make you frustrated, (which lowers cognitive ability) so when you come to an obstacle it will potentially make you give up. Staying positive will help you approach the obstacles in your life with better creativity and mindfulness.

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acute_anxietyReduce stress. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that stress interferes with mental health. However, most people don’t realize that it can have major effects on your physical health too. In fact, my Uncle had a stroke at work a few years ago and medically speaking there wasn’t much wrong internally, so it was marked up as stress induced. My family has already suffered from the physical and mental dangers of stress, but luckily we have learned to fight it.

First of all, having a positive mindset will reduce stress but what helped my uncles stress after his stroke, was yoga. Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and is a form of exercise that builds muscle strength and flexibility. Now I know not everyone has time or money to commit to yoga classes, so find some form of release. I have found that nearly any form of exercise is a great stress reliever; it’s hard to focus on your problems when you are exhausted from straining your muscles. Personally, when I am stressed I hit my punching bag for a little bit and that DEFINITELY does the job.

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Sleepy ManGet plenty of sleep. Your body absolutely needs sleep, at least 7 .5 – 9 hours of sleep in fact. The reason I am not using the traditional 8 hours of sleep is because a normal sleep cycle is about 90 minutes, and if you do the math, 8 hours wakes you up  in the middle of your sleep cycle. Waking up at the end of your sleep cycle will make you feel more rested because at the end of your sleep cycle you are closest to an awakened state.

If you have problems sleeping, my best suggestion would be taking melatonin supplements before bed. Melatonin is a natural chemical that is released in your brain that makes us sleepy. Melatonin is NOT a sleeping pill and it isn’t addictive at all. You can buy Melatonin over the counter at any local grocery or drug store. Sweet dreams!

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2012.07_eurotrip_Dresden_Sächsische_Schweiz_25Meditate. Meditating is not just for monks in the mountain guys, I meditate quite frequently and has scientifically been proven to improve cognitive function. When ever we use our brain, it sends out small electric pulses that actually destroys brain cells. Thankfully, we have billions of brain cells and the amount destroyed by thinking hardly puts a dent in those large numbers. However, overtime, especially at older ages, some people will experience memory loss and be more at risk for brain diseases because of this phenomenon.

This is why it is important to take care of your brain. Think about it, when are you not thinking about something? Our brains are constantly firing off without much rest. Meditation literally slows the brains thought process and is a very calming experience. There are a few different ways to meditate but the most common way is to try and shut everything out.

To start meditating sit or lay on the floor and remain completely still. Focus on your breathing to help your brain from thinking about stressful ideas, or anything for that matter. Slowly relax your entire body starting from the top of your head all the way down to your feet. Take your time, and make sure you really feel your muscles relaxing. It is very unnatural at first, just sitting and thinking about nothing but it really helps clear your mind. Now I’m not asking you to have the patience of a monk and meditate for hours at a time. Your brain can benefit from meditation even if it’s only for 15-30 minutes as long as you are doing it right.

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I hoped this has helped remind you to not only take care of your body but your mind too! If you have questions or commens please leave them below.

8

Fast Food and Education

Ronald_McDonald_It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that fast food is terrible for you. It rots your insides and puts you at risk for obesity, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer; the list just goes on and on.

So why are people still eating this toxic garbage? Because they have not been educated on how to take care of their on body on a daily basis. Some even get to the point where they have become so obese and gluttonous that they may not even care about the negative effects that these foods are having on their body. The reality is, although some may say these food items taste good, which I disagree, they have nearly no nutritional value so your body will crave nutrients and get hungry within a few hours, prompting you to continue eating.

It is a vicious cycle that can be eradicated with education. However, big industries don’t want you to know exactly how bad their products are for your body and unfortunately these industries have a lot of money, which means power over our government.

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Politics and the Food Industry

Money_ManI know this is not a political website so I will try to be brief, but it is necessary to understand how our government makes decisions to fully grasp how these companies can get away with slowly poisoning our population.

Basically, the term you MUST understand is lobbying. For those who don’t already know, the act of lobbying is an attempt to influence politicians, or public officials decisions on an issue, usually, by paying them off. This is completely legal and many companies do this today. You can of course lobby without showering money, but how effective would it be if your competition is shoveling money into politicians pockets? Already, you can probably see why some officials “flip flop” on their policies; a large sum of cash can definitely put things in a different perspective.

Okay, the government lesson is over! Now lets talk about how the food industry plays it’s role in all of this. As you know, fast food corporations are multi-million to billion dollar businesses, so they always have extra cash to throw into politicians greedy pockets to ensure that our laws, allow them to use cheap ingredients that are awful for us, and keep our population generally uneducated about nutrition.

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The Food Industry and Education

Before I continue, I’m not some conspiracy theorist claiming that all big corporations and the government are evil and are trying to withhold knowledge and control the world. I AM however a realist, and if YOU had tons of money you would do what you could to keep it, and that almost anyone can be bought out with enough money. With that being said, that does not make these corporations or politicians actions excusable or ethical.

According to the Board of Education, every student must complete at least a semester or one year of health class. Now, I don’t know if you remember your high school health class or not, but it primarily covered an over view of the human anatomy which mostly focused on the human genitals. The only other topic covered, at least in MY class, was a short overview of the food pyramid.

If it were up to me and I am sure many other nutritionists would agree, the focus in “health class” should be about managing your health and nutrition. Before researching on my own, I didn’t know the difference between macro and micro nutrients, or their recommended daily doses. Not to mention, the recommended intake of fats, sodium, and sugar, all of which have dangerous effects on ones health when over-consumed. Most importantly, we are not taught that hunger means a lack of nutrients in our body, not a physically empty stomach. This is the primary reason people get hungry a couple of hours after eating fast food; it has very little nutritional value!

Whether you are concerned about your own body or not, people are profiting of our nutritional ignorance and someone is deciding it is not important enough for our children to learn. At the very least, we should all be taught at a young age how to take care of our body’s nutritional needs, so at least obesity and poor health will be more of a choice and not something one has to search for or work hard to master.

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I hoped this helped and opened some eyes! I have not been to a fast food restaurant (garbage dump) in a few months and I feel amazing! There are plenty tasty foods that don’t rot your body.

For more info on how to improve your nutrition please visit our pages How to Get Rid of Fat and Needed Nutrients We Cannot Produce

4

The Golden Ratio of the Human Body

Da Vinci Illustration We all have an idea of what a perfect body looks like, but most people are unaware that there is a natural occurring formula that we unconsciously define as “beauty.”  It may come as a surprise, but this formula is found in many of natures phenomenon and was originally discovered by Leonardo Fibonacci around 1200 AD. However, it was first applied to the human body by Leonardo da Vinci who drew famous illustrations that most of us would even recognize today (see picture on the right).

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What is the Golden Ratio?

Mathematically, the golden ratio is 1.61803398…(continued) and is the square root of pi.

The dimensions can be calculated and visualized by dividing a line segment unevenly, so that the longer section divided by the shorter section equals the total length of both sections combined, divided by the longest side. If these conditions are met it will ALWAYS equal the golden ratio number.

Here’s a simple formula that may help:

Golden ratio line2

(long section)/(short section) = (long section +short section)/(long section) = 1.618…

For some odd reason, this ratio is found in many places in nature, and is aesthetically pleasing to our eye and has been used historically in architecture and art. Specifically, this ratio can be found in the famous painting the Mona-Lisa, and if you are not aware, it’s creator was Leonardo Da Vinci the first person to apply the golden ratio to the human body. In addition, the golden ratio specifications are also found in ancient roman architecture like the Parthenon and in other places around the world like the pyramids of Egypt.

There is no doubt that these objects are revered as masterpieces. They have endured the tests of time and have remained a popular spectacle even in modern times.

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The Golden Ratio and the Human Body

Human Body RatioNow that we know a bit about the golden ratio, your next question may be how does that effect me?

Well, the human body along with nearly every natural phenomenon, follows this ratio. In fact, physical attraction is less about personal preference than you may have previously thought. We are all naturally attracted to those with bodies that are closer to the golden ratio specifications. More specifically, models appear so beautiful because their pictures are edited to better match this golden ratio.

Obviously, none of us are perfect, so our physique and even facial structure may not mirror this golden ratio but are bodies’ are still fundamentally designed in this fashion. For example, look at one of your fingers. Notice that there are three bones that make up your finger that get shorter and shorter as you move closer to your finger tips. The difference in length between these bones is actually extremely close to the golden ratio, meaning the longest bone, in your finger, is approximately 1.618033… times longer than the middle one, and the middle finger bone is about 1.618033… times longer than the last segment of your finger. Go ahead and test it out! You probably won’t get the exact golden ratio number but I guarantee it will be very close!

This doesn’t apply to just your finger bones, but all of the bones in your body. While internally, we are designed to be close to the golden ratio, because of fat and in-proportionate muscle definition, our bodies appear to not follow this standard.

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How You Can Achieve Your Golden Ratio

No matter what body type you have, your body is designed to achieve the golden ratio, and attract others. In fact, I’m sure many of you will be glad to hear that you don’t have to be really ripped to have an attractive physique, just a body proportionate with the golden ratio. However, you may need to build up muscle in certain areas to achieve this ratio to become naturally more attractive to the opposite sex.

Everyone has different body sizes with different proportions so its impossible to say exactly what you need to do to reach this ratio. However, we can use the relationship between your hips and shoulders to help you figure out what muscles you need to focus on to become closer to this ratio. We are using this relationship because it is a good representation of general muscle definition and structure making it easier to define what areas need work.

Here’s how to start:

1.)  First measure the circumference of you shoulders and waist, using measuring tape. Once you have the circumference of both your waist and your shoulders, divide the circumference of your shoulders by the circumference of your waist to see how close you are to the 1.618… ratio.

2.) Basically, your shoulders circumference should be about 1.618… times larger than your waist’s circumference. With the numbers you have gathered, you should be able to determine whether you need to work on building up your torso or your lower body. If your waist is larger than your shoulders than you may want to consider working on your upper body, or simply losing fat on your mid section and lower body. If your shoulders are too much wider than your waist, than you should work on your lower body to become closer to the golden ratio.

3.) Once you have determined what area needs to be slimmed down or built up it is time to take action! Workout your upper body muscles like the chest, back, shoulders, and arms or reduce fat if your waist is too large. Work your calves hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes if your shoulders are too wide.

 

Good luck! If you have questions please leave them below!

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Are Carbs Important?

Frustrated There is a lot of confusion about whether or not to cut down on carbohydrates. We have all heard about those diet plans that talk about cutting carbs to lose weight, so commonly, carbs are seen as the enemy.  The truth is, carbohydrates can be our friend AND our enemy. There are different kinds of carbohydrates and this post will help you draw the line between a friendly carb and a nasty one.  

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What Exactly Are Carbs?

Carbohydrates are important nutrients that our body cannot produce itself. Among protein and fat, carbohydrates are one of the three main nutrients our body uses to produce energy. Surprisingly, our body favors the energy from carbohydrates over fat and protein. In fact, its recommended that 40-60% of our energy should be received from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are found in many different kinds of foods, especially those associated with sugar, starch, and fiber. This is where the dividing line between “good” carbs and “bad” carbs begin. It is important to understand the different types of carbohydrates found in food and which carbs we should avoid and which we should go after.

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Simple Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are categorized by their chemical structure. Simple carbohydrates have a chemical structure that is made up of one or two sugars. Usually, simple carbohydrates are associated with refined sugars that have little to no nutritional value and are typically seen as “bad carbs.” They provide energy, in the form of calories, but lacks other nutrients our body needs and are commonly referred to as “empty calories.”

Candy_colorsHere are some examples of foods that contain high amounts refined sugar:

  • Regular Sugar
  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Syrup

 

 

 

Although typically simple carbohydrates are associated with low nutritional value, there are some simple carbs that contain essential vitamins and minerals. As explained above, simple carbohydrates are made up of 1-2 sugars. Some of these sugars found in carbs, include fructose, and lactose which are sugars present in fruit and milk. So not all simple carbohydrates are considered “bad carbs.”

Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_MarketHere are some examples of foods that contain nutritionally sound simple carbs:

  • Fruit
  • Milk
  • Dairy Products
  • Some Vegetables

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Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are carbohydrates that have a chemical structure containing 3 or more sugars, that normally form a chain. Complex carbs are usually considered “good carbs” and are rich in vitamins and fiber. Since these carbohydrates are more complex, it takes our body longer to digest them giving you steady energy throughout the day. More specifically,since these sugars take longer to digest, they do not create spikes in our blood sugar levels that can potentially lead to diabetes. These are the carbohydrates you want to consume more of, however you should not abandon fruit milk, or milk products.

Wheat and Whole Grain BreadsHere are some foods that contain complex carbs:

  • Whole grain breads
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Lentils

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Verdict

I know you have probably heard in diet plans that cutting carbs is a good idea for weight loss and it is only half true. As you should know by now, carbohydrates are essential nutrients and you should not starve your body of what it needs. With that being said, there are some types of carbs that our body could do without. Removing or reducing simple carbohydrates from our diet that have no nutritional value will be very beneficial for your health. Just keep in mind that carbs are essential to a healthy functioning body and starving yourself is never a good way to diet or lose weight.

6

How to Prevent Binge Eating

We are all guilty of over eating at times, and having a strong appetite is just part of being human. In today’s society, food advertisements are everywhere tugging at the hunger strings in your brain tempting to make you consume more and more. This is why it is important to learn a few techniques to help you keep your appetite on a tight leash.

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Tips to Prevent Binge Eating

Stuffing Face1.) Stop eating when you feel about 70% full. In the past when humans were still hunter and gatherers, food would not come by as often, or readily so we naturally adapted the ability to consume more than what we actually need. This is why when we feel full or stuffed we have already eaten more than what we actually need. It’s not an exact science but do not eat to become stuffed, eat to become SATISFIED.

2.) Snack in between meals. One thing many people try and do when try and lose weight is eat less and less often. However, this is a perfect recipe for binge eating. Listen to your body, if it is hungry then it most likely needs nourishment, starving yourself will only increase the chances of overeating when you have a meal. Having a healthy snack in between meals will help curb your appetite and even help you eat less when you actually eat a meal.

3.) Make smarter snack choices. Snacks are a really good way to prevent overeating however, eating snacks that contain tons of sugar and fat, that have little to no nutritional value, will only cause you to become hungry again within an hour or so. So when you get hungry in between meals, which is completely normal, don’t go for the bag of chips, ice cream or chocolate. Personally, I choose to eat fruit in between meals; it’s near impossible to eat too much fruit, and it definitely wont make you gain a bunch of weight if you do.

4.) NEVER skip breakfast. You know how the saying goes ” breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” As dried out as the saying is, it still remains to be true. Breakfast kick starts your metabolism and is responsible for your overall energy throughout the day. Skipping breakfast is NEVER a smart way to lose weight. Think about it, your body has not eaten since your last meal before you went to bed and hopefully you are sleeping for  at least 8 hours so by the time breakfast comes your body really needs nourishment. Skipping breakfast and ultimately starving your body will only cause you to over eat later on.

5.) More fiber and protein. Increasing the amount of fiber and protein in your daily diet will also help curb your appetite. Both fiber and protein are substances that take longer for our body to breakdown so you will feel satisfied for a longer period of time. However, you must be careful when consuming more protein. Especially in America, foods high in protein usually contain tons of fat. Try to look for lean meats, or eggs, to boost your protein intake.

6.) Eat more than three meals a day. Wanna know how to not be hungry all throughout the day? Eat more meals per day. Although it may seem counter intuitive, increasing the amount of meals you eat per day can actually speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight. Now, before you get too excited, this does not mean stuff your face five times a day. In order to practice this technique properly, you should be eating the same amount of food you would while eating only three meals a day, just more spread out throughout the day. For more information on this technique click on over to the How to Boost Metabolism Naturally section.

7.) Don’t eat your emotions. Everyone has seen on TV the heartbroken girl/guy crying about some relationship issue while plowing down a tub of ice cream. Although it may seem silly or even gluttonous to eat when you are emotional, there is actually a reason why this phenomenon occurs. Ice cream and other sweet snacks contain a lot of sugar and sugar produces a lot of energy. Since our bodies enjoy receiving energy, your brain sends out positive signals throughout your body. Basically, eating  foods that are high in sugar actually do improve our chemical emotional state. With that being said, it is no excuse to over indulge. In fact, if you do not use up the energy you receive from sugar, it normally gets stored as fat. Just be wary of your emotions and do not let them make your food decisions.

0

Knee Pain at Home Remedies

Human_Knee_Anatomy

Your knee is one of the most complex joints in your body; there are four tendons that connect the femur to the tibia and fibula, many bursae, or liquid-filled sacs that cushions the tissues near the pointy spots on your bones, and two pieces of cartilage that cushions the  area where the tibia and fibula meet. As you can see, the knee has many components, all of which are sensitive to injury.

There are tons of reasons for chronic knee pain; whether it be from an injury, or just old age, knee pain can make being active and mobile nearly impossible.

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Knee pain causes.

Arthritis. There are over 100 types of arthritis, but all of which, involve joint inflammation. Arthritis usually develops within the later parts of life, however it can affect anyone with joints. Specifically, arthritis in the knee, weakens the cartilage in between the femur and tibia. These are the two largest and most sturdy bones in the body, so when the cartilage is weakened it can cause serious and immobilizing pain.

Bursitis. There are 24 bursae in each of your knees. The main function of bursae is to reduce friction between structures of the body that come in contact with one another. Because your knees have 24 liquid-filled bursae each, they are very susceptible to bursitis. Bursitis is the inflammation of one or more bursa and is most commonly caused by repeated stress. Specifically, knee bursitis is usually caused by excessive kneeling, from cleaning floors, gardening, and anything else that places extra strain on the knees.

Tendinitis. As mentioned above, there are four tendons of the knee, and when one or more of these knee tendons become inflamed, or irritated, it is called patellar tendinitis. Patellar tendinitis is normally developed in runners, bikers, and skiers after repeated stress on the knees. Age does play a factor in developing tendinitis, but it is still common in younger people as well.

Hip pain. Another potential cause of knee pain is actually hip, or foot pain. Hip pain or anything that affects posture can put increased stress on the joints of the knee causing discomfort and pain. If you are experiencing pain in your hips or foot, most likely, your knee pain is a secondary problem and will not be fixed until your posture is corrected.

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At Home Remedies

Your knees support your entire body weight which is what makes them so vulnerable to injury. Although some medical conditions can limit the durability of your knee joint, exercising the muscles that surround and support the knee can vastly reduce the amount of pain experienced.

Pick out a few of the exercises below and perform them 1-2 times per day with around 10-15 repetitions per exercise. Especially if your knee pain is severe, consistency is very important, just be careful not to over work your knee. It is also important to remember to wear a knee brace whenever you are walking or placing any kind of stress on the knee so your problem does not become worse.

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Hamstring stretch

  • Ready Position: Lie flat on your back with one leg bent at the knee and foot flat on the floor.
  • Transition: Pull your leg towards your chest by either grabbing you leg right under your knee, with your hands, or  hook a towel or resistance band around your foot for better leverage. Pull your leg closer to you until you feel a stretching in your hamstrings, then slowly return to ready position.
  • Advice/Help: Hold for about 30 seconds. keep the knee slightly bent throughout this exercise.

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Calf Raises

  • Ready Position: Stand with your feet directly beneath your hips, with your toes facing forward. Use a chair or table for balance if necessary.
  • Transition: Slowly lift your heels off the ground, using only your calve muscles. Return to ready position.
  • Advice/Help: This exercise is very simple and the difficulty can be increased by holding dumbbells.

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Step ups

  • Ready Position: Stand directly in front of a step or anything about the same height that will support your weight.
  • Transition: Step up with one leg and then quickly follow with the other. Once your second foot touches the step, immediately place your initial foot back to the ground, followed by your second foot.
  • Advice/Help: Your initial step up should be with your leg with the bad knee. Normally this exercise is meant for cardio and should be done quickly, however take it slow we are trying to build up the muscles supporting the knee and slow controlled movement is key.

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Knee Extensions

  • Ready Position: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground or hanging.
  • Transition: Extend one leg in front of you until it is parallel to the ground. Hold for a few seconds, and then return to ready position.
  • Advice/Help: Repeat this exercise about 10-15 times.

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Partial Squats

  • Ready Position: Stand up with your feet directly underneath your hips, and your toes pointing forward.
  • Transition: Like a normal squat, bend your knees to bring your butt over and behind your ankles. The only difference is, instead of squatting all the way down, only bend your knees to about a 45 degree angle, and return to ready position.
  • Advice/Help: repeat this motion for about 10-15 reps. This exercise will help build up the muscle around your knees and has less impact than a regular, or full squat. Once you are comfortable doing 10-15 partial squats, try and go lower and lower. The lower you can comfortably squat, the more it will benefit your muscles.

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0

Hip Pain at Home Remedies

Your hip joint is one of the most important joints in our body, it supports our entire weight and allows you to walk and run. Whether from an injury, a medical condition, or just too much mileage on your hips, many of us experience hip pain. No matter what range of pain you experience, building the muscles that surround and support your hip will increase the range of motion, and flexibility of your hips. Although, this technique may not completely cure medical conditions, it will at least give you a greater range of motion and reduce the amount of pain you experience in you hips.

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Reasons for Hip Pain

Basic Hip anatomy

Arthritis. Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that involves joint inflammation, and it can affect any of the joints in your body. It causes swelling in your bodies joints, which results in a dull and aching pain, especially when moving. More specifically, arthritis wears down the ball and socket joint involving the femoral head of the femur. Although it is possible to develop Arthritis at any stage in life, it most common to develop in the later stages of life.

Disproportionate Gluteus Medius. The Gluteus Medius muscles are located on the outer side of the pelvis and they help support your hips. Hip pain is usually experienced when one of the gluteus medius muscles is stronger than the other. This causes one side of the hip to sag lower than the other, putting extra strain on the hip joint. Eventually, this problem can negatively effect your spine and even your knees.

Although it may seem like you would notice if one side of your hips sag, even a minuscule difference can have a dramatic effect on your hip joint. For more info click the link here.

Hip Bursitis. Much like arthritis, bursitis is associated with inflammation, however, bursitis involves the inflammation of bursae not joints. Bursae are found on multiple spots on the body, and provides a cushion between muscle tissue and the bony areas of the body. There are large bursae on the outer sides of your hips that reduces friction between your femurs and the muscles that surround them. When these bursae are irritated, they can become inflamed causing hip bursitis.

Although this condition can affect anyone, it is usually found in middle-aged, or elderly women. Hip bursitis can develop from repeated stress, a previous physical injury, or even disproportionate gluteus medius mentioned above.

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Home Remedies for Hip Pain

No matter what the reason for your hip pain, building up the strength and flexibility of the muscles that surround the hip will reduce discomfort and give you a larger range of motion. Fortunately, there are really great exercises that you can perform from your own home, without extra equipment that will build up these muscles.

To fully benefit from these exercises they should be performed once or twice a day, with about 10-15 reps each. If you cannot do 10-15 reps on a certain exercises work your way up to it.

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Hip Rotations

  • Ready Position: Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Transition: Slowly rotate your hips to lower your knees closer to the ground. Return to ready position and switch sides.
  • Advice/Tips: This should be a fluid motion and you should not pause. Only go as far as comfortable but keep your knees and feet together. This exercise is also great for your lower back

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Single knee to chest

  • Ready Position: Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Transition: Pull one knee up and towards your chest with both hands. Hold for a few seconds, release and then return to ready position and switch legs.
  • Advice/Tips: Only pull your leg as far as comfortable. You should feel stretching in your glutes.

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Leg raises

  • Ready Position: Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, like the previous exercises. However, one of your legs should be flat on the ground and fully extended.
  • Transition: While keeping your leg fully extended lift it off the ground until you feel a pull in your hamstrings and return to ready position. After a few reps on one side switch legs.
  • Advice/Tips: Move slowly and do not swing your leg keep full control over the motion. Make sure you are bringing your leg up until you feel your hamstring muscles stretch.

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Front to Back Hip Swing

  • Ready Position: Lie down on your side, with your lower leg slightly bent at the knee, and your upper leg fully extended on top. Your bottom leg’s knee should be in front of your top leg’s knee.
  • Transition: While keeping your leg fully extended raise your leg to hip height. Then sweep your top leg forward in front of your body as far as you can without moving your hips or upper body. Then sweep your leg back behind you as far as it will go, again, without moving your waist or torso. After the desired amount of repetitions is complete switch sides.
  • Advice/Tips: This should be a slow and controlled movement do not swing your leg around.

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Side leg Raises

  • Ready Position: Lie down on your side, with your lower leg slightly bent at the knee, and your upper leg fully extended on top. Your bottom leg’s knee should be in front of your top leg’s knee.
  • Transition:While keeping your top leg fully extended, lift it into the air as high as you can and then return to ready position. After a few repitions, switch legs.
  • Advice/Tips: Only lift your leg as far as comfortable but you should feel stretching in your groin and outer thigh. You can use a pillow or your elbow to support your head during this exercise.

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Knee cross overs

  • Ready Position: Lie down on your side, with your lower leg slightly bent at the knee and your upper leg fully extended on top. Your bottom leg’s knee should be in front of your top leg’s knee.
  • Transition: Slowly move your top leg’s foot up to your bottom leg’s knee, and drop your top knee to the floor in front of you. After a few repetitions, switch sides.
  • Advice/Tips: Do not worry if you cannot bring your foot all the way up to your knee at first, just go as far as comfortable, just be sure to drop the knee down and feel the stretch in your glutes. You can use a pillow or your elbow to support your head during this exercise.

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6

How Does Smoking Affect Metabolism?

SpitkidSmoking is one of the largest preventable causes of death throughout the world, taking about 6 million victims each year. It causes cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer,  and many other chronic lung and oral diseases. However, despite all the health risks, smoking has been found to inhibit appetite and even cause weight loss.

Don’t get excited smokers, unless you plan on smoking your entire life, which will be significantly shorter than non-smokers, these effects are only temporary.

But how exactly does smoking affect our weight?

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Nicotine and Metabolism

All cigarettes are made differently but they can contain up to 4,000 different chemicals, 50 of which are scientifically proven to be toxic to humans and cause cancer. Among these chemicals is nicotine; a very addictive chemical that is found in some insecticides.

Scientists have found that the chemical nicotine, affects cells of the hypothalamus; a part of the brain that controls appetite. More specifically, nicotine inhibits the POMC receptors within the hypothalamus, which reduces appetite and cravings and commonly results in weight loss.

This may seem like a potential benefit to smoking, but it can be a curse in disguise. Since nicotine curbs appetite, food consumption decreases and your body is most likely not receiving all of the energy and nutrients it needs. In order to compensate, your body will slow its metabolic process to conserve the little energy it has.

Eating less is not a healthy way to lose weight and reducing the speed of your metabolism will make it even harder to get rid of fat, especially after you quit smoking and your food cravings begin to rise again.

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Gaining Weight After Quitting Smoking

A very common problem many people experience after they quit smoking is a sudden increase in weight. In fact, around 75% of people who quit smoking will experience a weight increase.

Since nicotine is no longer inhibiting the appetite receptors in the hypothalamus, those who quit smoking will generally consume more food. However, since their metabolism is damaged/reduced, the body will not be used to digesting the increased amount of food, and will consequently become stored as fat.

This sudden weight fluctuation can sometimes act as a deterrent to those attempting to quit smoking and can even cause them to revert back to their old habits. Fortunately, studies have shown, the increase in weight associated with quitting cigarettes is temporary, and can be lost simply with diet and exercise.

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Alternatives to Smoking

Although exercise and dieting can and will help you shed off the extra weight gained after you stop smoking, there are products today that contain nicotine in healthier forms. These products can help you control your food cravings while your heart and lungs become healthy enough for exercise, so you do not gain weight after you quit smoking.

For the majority of smokers, the idea of gaining weight is not why they continue smoking. Nicotine is an extremely addictive chemical and these products will also help manage withdraw symptoms and hopefully help you to finally quit smoking.

Nicotine patch/gum. 

One of the most common or well known alternatives to smoking are nicotine patches or nicotine gum. When you stop smoking you nicotine levels drop dramatically, which causes withdraw symptoms. These products will supply you with a source of nicotine, the most addictive substance in cigarettes, with out the tar and other nasty chemicals and carcinogens. Another benefit to these products is that they come in different strengths so you can slowly wane yourself off of nicotine.


Nicotine Inhalers.

Much like nicotine patches and gum this product is designed to supply it’s user with nicotine to reduce the withdraw symptoms from quitting cigarettes. However, most ex-smokers prefer nicotine inhalers to the patches because they are used to ingesting nicotine from the lungs, making it more like a cigarette. Another benefit of nicotine inhalers is that they can be customized to release a specific amount of nicotine depending on how addicted the user is.   


Electronic cigarette.

One of the best and most modern alternatives to smoking is the e-cigarette. An electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette is a battery powered device that simulates smoking tobacco. These new cigarettes use a small heating element that vaporizes a liquid solution. This liquid solution usually contains nicotine with ingredients for flavoring but there are versions without nicotine. This is one of the best options for those trying to quit smoking cigarettes as it allows the user to still smoke but with much less toxic chemicals. What is even better for cigarette smokers is that electronic cigarettes come in flavors that actually mimic cigarette brands making the experience as close to smoking a cigarette as possible, while removing many of the toxins found in normal cigarettes

 

 

4

Hazards of Frozen Foods!

Frozen_foodsIn today’s society, many people are turning to frozen foods because they are generally easier and faster to prepare than making your own meals. The frozen foods that promote weight loss like Weight Watchers or Lean Cuisine have really increased in popularity and even I was swept up into their enticing offers when I first started to try and lose weight.

Companies will claim anything now a days, to get you to buy their products, but legally, it doesn’t have to be entirely true.

Do you believe it when coffee shops claim to have the worlds best cup of coffee?

It’s ridiculous to think some small town has the best coffee in the world, yet companies are consistently trying to trick their consumers into thinking they are making a good decision. This technique is not alien to the frozen food industry, and a lot of the brands advertising weight loss do not work, and can actually set you backwards on your weight loss journey.

Here’s Why!

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Preservatives

Many frozen foods contain preservatives. Preservatives are substances that help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi, and can also be used as antioxidants. Although these preservatives increase the life span of our foods, many researchers argue about the negative impacts on your health.

Some researchers would argue that preservatives are not harmful, especially in the quantities  found in most processed and frozen foods, but others claim that preservatives can soften the tissues of your heart that can cause heart problems, cause asthmatic symptoms and can even be cancerous.

An Interesting Experiment

To clear up some of the confusion, Dr. H. W. Wiley took a poll among food additive experts. He asked these experts many questions in his experiment, and got some very interesting and disturbing answers.

The first question was: “Are preservatives other than the usual, [or natural], condimental preservatives, namely, sugar, salt, alcohol, vinegar, spices and wood smoke injurious to health?”

Out of the 251 experts polled, 218 said that unnatural, or man made preservatives did not place a health risk; leaving 33 experts not in support of unnatural preservatives. So far, his experiment is looking good for these man made preservatives.

The last question Dr. Wiley asked these food experts were the most shocking: ” If foods can be perfectly preserved, without the addition of chemical preservatives, is their addition ever advisable?”

Out of 259 experts polled, only 12 recommended approved the use of chemical preservatives to a staggering 247 who did not. As you can see, nearly all of the same experts that claimed chemical preservatives were not injurious in the first question of this experiment, would not recommend using them if it is not necessary.

Why would anyone say something is harmless and then the next minute disapprove their use? To me that’s pretty shady and it sounds like many of these experts know about their harmful effects, but have business ties with industries that use these products, so will not directly, or openly, disapprove their use.

Whatever you take from this experiment, freezing foods naturally preserves foods, so frozen foods do not need preservatives, yet companies still use them. Adding man made chemicals to products is never a good idea, and you should be appalled being the rats and guinea pigs to the chemicals that food companies place in their products to preserve their life span.

There are tons of preservatives out there, but here’s a list of some of the most common:

  • Benzoic acid
  • Calcium Sorbate
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

To read Dr. Wiley’s article click here

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High in Sodium, Low in Nutritional Value.

Tv dinnerAnother downfall to frozen meals, is that they are very high in sodium. Some “weight loss” frozen dinners can have around 700-850 milligrams of sodium, which is a large chuck of the 2000 – 2300 milligrams the American Heart Association recommends per day.

Now you might say: ” But eating 3 meals containing 700 (mg) of sodium will still put me in the daily recommended amount!” However, these frozen meals contain only about 300-400 calories individually, although that may seem awesome for those attempting to lose weight, it can have the opposite effect.

If you ate 3 of these “weight loss” frozen meals you’d only get about half of the energy your body needs for the day, so your  body WILL get hungry in-between meals, and your metabolism will slow down to compensate for the lack of nutrients and energy.

If you want to manage your calories check the How to Get Rid of Fat section for more details.

On top of all of this, the portions of vegetables and fruits in these frozen meals are very low, and some do not even have them. This is outrageous, especially if the company is supposed to be promoting healthy dietary habits AND they are advertised as full meals making people believe all they need to do is eat three of them a day.

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The Verdict

I would stay away from frozen, or processed foods, as much as possible. Even with the ingredient list, it is hard to determine what actually goes into processed foods, so it is better to steer clear.

It may take a bit more time, but try and make your own meals, with fresh ingredients, and freeze the left overs. Even if you are a poor cook, I’m sure your meals will taste better than microwaved sludge.

Take control of what you put into your body and don’t let the food companies turn you into their testing subject for their new chemical preservatives.

I guarantee they wouldn’t volunteer for the job…

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 Feel free to leave me any comments or questions below!