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5 Tips for Rediscovering Simplicity in Life

Most of us have wished for a simpler life at some stage or other. No surprise really, given how hectic our tech-fueled, multi-tasking lives can be and the speed at which everything seems to happen these days.

When I set off to become a Buddhist monk back in the day, I was definitely searching for a simpler way of life. Sure, in retrospect, perhaps it was a little drastic, and you’ll be relieved to know that’s certainly not what I’m recommending here. But there were some really useful lessons that relate just as much to here and now as they did to there and then.

One monastery I lived in took simplicity to a whole new level. It was entirely dedicated to the practice of meditation. There was little or no reading and no discussion of any philosophy or psychology — it was all about the practice itself, sitting with the mind without distraction. There was no TV, no internet, no games, no phones and no visitors. The only thing on the agenda was meditation, 24/7, 365 days a year.

To some that will sound like heaven; to others, perhaps more like a terrifying nightmare. But there is no question that once we strip away all of the noise and activity of everyday life, the mind appears in a whole new way. As a direct consequence, our perspective shifts and our experience of life appears in a whole new way.

In some respects, it doesn’t matter whether we meditate for 10 minutes or one hour, for one week or one year—the principle is the same: to put down the baggage from our past, to let go of our anxieties and fear of the future, and instead to be present with the extraordinary beauty and simplicity of the present moment. It doesn’t require a change of life, just a change of mind.

Here are my top five tips for rediscovering simplicity in your life:

Treat yourself to some silence.
Silence can mean different things to different people. The early hours of the morning, the serenity of the countryside, the few moments after you turn off the motor of your car, or even the simplicity of a clean and tidy room. Do your best to seek out this kind of silence, at least once a day. You deserve it.

Do one thing at a time.
Contrary to popular belief, only about 2.5 percent of people have the ability to effectively focus on more than one task at a time. So for the other 97.5 percent of us,multi-tasking makes things harder, not easier. Give yourself a break — one complete thing is plenty to be focusing on at a time.

Quit trying so hard.
That might sound like an astonishing suggestion, but one of the things that we learn from meditation is that exerting effort, particularly to try to force the mind to do anything, is often counterproductive. Try to take a relaxed approach. Think of an athlete or a performer, whom you love — do they make it look easy? It’s that level of relaxed effort that you’re looking for.

Remember the blue sky.
When you get in a plane and rise above the clouds, you see that incredible bright panorama of blue sky. The mind is no different; thoughts are like clouds, and although they may build up and even look stormy, the blue sky is there all along. Just remembering this is enough to help you get a little more clarity.

Learn how to meditate.
Regular readers maybe saw this one coming, but I would recommend starting a meditation practice by downloading the Headspace app and starting our beginner’s course, Take10. It’s free to download and only takes 10 minutes a day. And best of all, unlike the monastery, you get to keep your phone.

5 Tips for Rediscovering Simplicity in Life

Most of us have wished for a simpler life at some stage or other. No surprise really, given how hectic our tech-fueled, multi-tasking lives can be and the speed at which everything seems to happen these days.

When I set off to become a Buddhist monk back in the day, I was definitely searching for a simpler way of life. Sure, in retrospect, perhaps it was a little drastic, and you’ll be relieved to know that’s certainly not what I’m recommending here. But there were some really useful lessons that relate just as much to here and now as they did to there and then.

One monastery I lived in took simplicity to a whole new level. It was entirely dedicated to the practice of meditation. There was little or no reading and no discussion of any philosophy or psychology — it was all about the practice itself, sitting with the mind without distraction. There was no TV, no internet, no games, no phones and no visitors. The only thing on the agenda was meditation, 24/7, 365 days a year.

To some that will sound like heaven; to others, perhaps more like a terrifying nightmare. But there is no question that once we strip away all of the noise and activity of everyday life, the mind appears in a whole new way. As a direct consequence, our perspective shifts and our experience of life appears in a whole new way.

In some respects, it doesn’t matter whether we meditate for 10 minutes or one hour, for one week or one year—the principle is the same: to put down the baggage from our past, to let go of our anxieties and fear of the future, and instead to be present with the extraordinary beauty and simplicity of the present moment. It doesn’t require a change of life, just a change of mind.

Here are my top five tips for rediscovering simplicity in your life:

Treat yourself to some silence.
Silence can mean different things to different people. The early hours of the morning, the serenity of the countryside, the few moments after you turn off the motor of your car, or even the simplicity of a clean and tidy room. Do your best to seek out this kind of silence, at least once a day. You deserve it.

Do one thing at a time.
Contrary to popular belief, only about 2.5 percent of people have the ability to effectively focus on more than one task at a time. So for the other 97.5 percent of us,multi-tasking makes things harder, not easier. Give yourself a break — one complete thing is plenty to be focusing on at a time.

Quit trying so hard.
That might sound like an astonishing suggestion, but one of the things that we learn from meditation is that exerting effort, particularly to try to force the mind to do anything, is often counterproductive. Try to take a relaxed approach. Think of an athlete or a performer, whom you love — do they make it look easy? It’s that level of relaxed effort that you’re looking for.

Remember the blue sky.
When you get in a plane and rise above the clouds, you see that incredible bright panorama of blue sky. The mind is no different; thoughts are like clouds, and although they may build up and even look stormy, the blue sky is there all along. Just remembering this is enough to help you get a little more clarity.

Learn how to meditate.
Regular readers maybe saw this one coming, but I would recommend starting a meditation practice by downloading the Headspace app and starting our beginner’s course, Take10. It’s free to download and only takes 10 minutes a day. And best of all, unlike the monastery, you get to keep your phone.

Posted on Tuesday, September 30th 2014

Source pinoria.com

5 Amazing Things Your Brain Does In Sleep

We spend a third of our lives sleeping, an activity as crucial to our health and well-being as eating. But exactly why we need sleep hasn’t always been clear. We know that sleep makes us feel more energized and improves our mood, but what’s really happening in the brain and body when we’re at rest?

Research has identified a number of reasons that sleep is critical to our health. When we’re sleeping, the brain is anything but inactive. In fact, during sleep, neurons in the brain fire nearly as much as they do during waking hours — so it should come as no surprise that what happens during our resting hours is extremely important to a number brain and cognitive functions.

Here are five incredible things your brain does while you’re asleep — and good reason to get some shuteye tonight:

Makes decisions.

The brain can process information and prepare for actions during sleep, effectively making decisions while unconscious, new research has found.

A recent study published in the journal Current Biology found that the brain processes complex stimuli during sleep, and uses this information to make decisions while awake. The researchers asked participants to categorize spoken words that were separated into different categories — words referring to animals or objects; and real words vs. fake words — and asked to indicate the category of the word they heard by pressing right or left buttons. When the task become automatic, the subjects were asked to continue but also told that they could fall asleep (they were lying in a dark room). When the subjects were asleep, the researchers began introducing new words from the same categories. Brain monitoring devices showed that even when the subjects were sleeping, their brains continued to prepare the motor function to create right and left responses based on the meaning of the words they heard.

When the participants woke up, however, they had no recollection of the words they heard.

“Not only did they process complex information while being completely asleep, but they did it unconsciously,” researchers Thomas Andrillon and Sid Kouider write in the Washington Post. “Our work sheds new light about the brain’s ability to process information while asleep but also while being unconscious.”

Creates and consolidates memories.

While you’re asleep, the brain is busy forming new memories, consolidating older ones, and linking more recent with earlier memories, during both REM and non-REM sleep. Lack of rest could have a significant affect the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory creation and consolidation.

For this reason, sleep plays a very important role in learning — it helps us to cement the new information we’re taking in for better later recall.

“We’ve learned that sleep before learning helps prepare your brain for initial formation of memories,” Dr. Matthew Walker, a University of California, Berkeley sleep researcher, tells the National Institutes of Health. “And then, sleep after learning is essential to help save and cement that new information into the architecture of the brain, meaning that you’re less likely to forget it.”

Think twice before pulling an all-nighter to study for your next exam: If you don’t sleep, your ability to learn new information could drop by up to 40 percent, Walker estimates.

Makes creative connections.

Sleep can be a powerful creativity-booster, as the mind in an unconscious resting state can make surprising new connections that it perhaps wouldn’t have made in a waking state.

A 2007 University of California at Berkeley study found that sleep can foster “remote associates,” or unusual connections, in the brain — which could lead to a major “a-ha” moment upon waking. Upon waking from sleep, people are 33 percent more likely to make connections between seemingly distantly related ideas.

Clears out toxins.

A series of 2013 studies found that an important function of sleep may be to give the brain a chance to do a little housekeeping.

Researchers at the University of Rochester found that during sleep, the brains of mice clear out damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration. The space between brain cells actually increased while the mice were unconscious, allowing the brain toflush out the toxic molecules that built up during waking hours.

“We need sleep,” Dr. Nedergaard, the study’s lead researcher, told the National Institutes of Health. “It cleans up the brain.”

If we’re not getting enough sleep, our brains don’t have adequate time to clear out toxins, which could potentially have the effect of accelerating neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Learns and remembers how to perform physical tasks.

The brain stores information into long-term memory through something known as sleep spindles, short bursts of brain waves at strong frequencies that occur during REM sleep.

This process can be particularly helpful for storing information related to motor tasks, like driving, swinging a tennis racquet or practicing a new dance move, so that these tasks become automatic. What happens during REM sleep is that the brain transfers short-term memories stored in the motor cortex to the temporal lobe, where they become long-term memories.

“Practice during sleep is essential for later performance,” James B. Maas, a sleep scientist at Cornell University, told the American Psychological Association. “If you want to improve your golf game, sleep longer.”

5 Amazing Things Your Brain Does In Sleep

We spend a third of our lives sleeping, an activity as crucial to our health and well-being as eating. But exactly why we need sleep hasn’t always been clear. We know that sleep makes us feel more energized and improves our mood, but what’s really happening in the brain and body when we’re at rest?

Research has identified a number of reasons that sleep is critical to our health. When we’re sleeping, the brain is anything but inactive. In fact, during sleep, neurons in the brain fire nearly as much as they do during waking hours — so it should come as no surprise that what happens during our resting hours is extremely important to a number brain and cognitive functions.

Here are five incredible things your brain does while you’re asleep — and good reason to get some shuteye tonight:

Makes decisions.

The brain can process information and prepare for actions during sleep, effectively making decisions while unconscious, new research has found.

A recent study published in the journal Current Biology found that the brain processes complex stimuli during sleep, and uses this information to make decisions while awake. The researchers asked participants to categorize spoken words that were separated into different categories — words referring to animals or objects; and real words vs. fake words — and asked to indicate the category of the word they heard by pressing right or left buttons. When the task become automatic, the subjects were asked to continue but also told that they could fall asleep (they were lying in a dark room). When the subjects were asleep, the researchers began introducing new words from the same categories. Brain monitoring devices showed that even when the subjects were sleeping, their brains continued to prepare the motor function to create right and left responses based on the meaning of the words they heard.

When the participants woke up, however, they had no recollection of the words they heard.

“Not only did they process complex information while being completely asleep, but they did it unconsciously,” researchers Thomas Andrillon and Sid Kouider write in the Washington Post. “Our work sheds new light about the brain’s ability to process information while asleep but also while being unconscious.”

Creates and consolidates memories.

While you’re asleep, the brain is busy forming new memories, consolidating older ones, and linking more recent with earlier memories, during both REM and non-REM sleep. Lack of rest could have a significant affect the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory creation and consolidation.

For this reason, sleep plays a very important role in learning — it helps us to cement the new information we’re taking in for better later recall.

“We’ve learned that sleep before learning helps prepare your brain for initial formation of memories,” Dr. Matthew Walker, a University of California, Berkeley sleep researcher, tells the National Institutes of Health. “And then, sleep after learning is essential to help save and cement that new information into the architecture of the brain, meaning that you’re less likely to forget it.”

Think twice before pulling an all-nighter to study for your next exam: If you don’t sleep, your ability to learn new information could drop by up to 40 percent, Walker estimates.

Makes creative connections.

Sleep can be a powerful creativity-booster, as the mind in an unconscious resting state can make surprising new connections that it perhaps wouldn’t have made in a waking state.

A 2007 University of California at Berkeley study found that sleep can foster “remote associates,” or unusual connections, in the brain — which could lead to a major “a-ha” moment upon waking. Upon waking from sleep, people are 33 percent more likely to make connections between seemingly distantly related ideas.

Clears out toxins.

A series of 2013 studies found that an important function of sleep may be to give the brain a chance to do a little housekeeping.

Researchers at the University of Rochester found that during sleep, the brains of mice clear out damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration. The space between brain cells actually increased while the mice were unconscious, allowing the brain toflush out the toxic molecules that built up during waking hours.

“We need sleep,” Dr. Nedergaard, the study’s lead researcher, told the National Institutes of Health. “It cleans up the brain.”

If we’re not getting enough sleep, our brains don’t have adequate time to clear out toxins, which could potentially have the effect of accelerating neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Learns and remembers how to perform physical tasks.

The brain stores information into long-term memory through something known as sleep spindles, short bursts of brain waves at strong frequencies that occur during REM sleep.

This process can be particularly helpful for storing information related to motor tasks, like driving, swinging a tennis racquet or practicing a new dance move, so that these tasks become automatic. What happens during REM sleep is that the brain transfers short-term memories stored in the motor cortex to the temporal lobe, where they become long-term memories.

“Practice during sleep is essential for later performance,” James B. Maas, a sleep scientist at Cornell University, told the American Psychological Association. “If you want to improve your golf game, sleep longer.”

Posted on Monday, September 29th 2014

Source pinoria.com

5 Signs Your Headache Could Be Something Worse

“Her head felt like elephants were doing the merengue on her cerebellum,” author Susan Fanetti wrote about a headache. If you are familiar with these dancing pachyderms, here is good news: Even the most painful, chronic headaches can be cured or lessened in intensity and/or frequency.

“The good news is that there is lots of available options, and lots more coming down the pike. If you haven’t had success in the past, keep checking in because new ways are being developed and studied,” says Lawrence C. Newman, MD, director of The Headache Institute, attending neurologist at Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital Center, and president of the American Headache Society. New therapies to prevent migraine attacks include a novel class of prevention medications (containing antibodies that target certain receptors in the brain) and externally-worn headbands that stimulate certain branches of nerves in your brain.

He adds that the hard part is finding someone who can make the right diagnosis. The World Health Organization reports that a minority of people with headache disorders worldwide are diagnosed appropriately by a health-care provider. Once you have the diagnosis, the treatment will follow suit. If you haven’t had luck dealing with primary headaches – headaches that aren’t the result of underlying disease such as stroke, brain tumor or meningitis – see a neurologist or headache specialist.

Name That Headache According to the World Health Organization, headaches are among the most common disorders of the nervous system. Primary headaches come in three forms:

Tension-type: Your garden variety headache, characterized by two of the following: Pain on both sides of the head, is pressured but not throbbing, is mild to moderate, isn’t worsened by routine activity, and not more than one of the following: light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, or nausea.
Migraine: Tends to be one-sided, throbbing, moderate to severe pain, and worse with routine activity. Associated with nausea and/or vomiting; if neither of those two, then light or sound sensitivity. Only 20% of people with migraine have the visual aura or tingling or numbness, says Dr. Newman.
Cluster: For a one- to two-month cluster period, headaches appear up to once every other day to eight times per day. The headaches are in, around, or behind the eyes. Patients describe it as an ice pick stabbing into the eye or a balloon behind the eye, pushing it out. It’s excruciatingly severe.
Headache Causes
There are many different causes of primary headaches, based on an individual’s unique physiology, but in general, they are caused by problems with pain receptors in your head, such as over-sensitivity or over-stimulation. Or it can be a combination of that with chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels of your head outside your skull, or muscles of your head and neck.

How can you prevent them?

Limit caffeine intake. Small amounts of caffeine may help headaches, but excessive use can result in caffeine overuse headaches. “Less than 200 mg of caffeine should be used per day (about two cups), but some people with migraine may be especially sensitive and may want to drink less or not at all,” explains Teshamae Monteith, M.D., a Miami-based spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol may cause headaches or trigger migraines, adds Dr. Monteith. Wine, specifically red wine is a common cause of alcohol-induced migraines.
Take riboflavin or vitamin D. “There is a lot of research on the use of high doses of these at 400 mg per day to help prevent headaches. The nutrient works by increasing nitric oxide, which in turn keeps the blood vessels dilated,” says Laurie Steelsmith, ND, a Honolulu-based naturopath and author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health.
Figure out your food triggers. Some people are very sensitive to chocolate, cheese, NutraSweet, MSG, and nitrites, because they contain chemicals that can produce migraine attacks through a variety of physiological changes, says Dr. Monteith. Once you know what yours are, avoid them entirely.
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can trigger headaches. Strive for seven to eight 8-ounce glasses a day, advises Dr. Newman. “It is not really clear how hydration works, but headache has been thought of as an evolutionary advantage, in part due to its role as an indicator to prevent things like dehydration,” adds Dr. Monteith.
Keep a regular sleep schedule. Don’t sleep in on the weekends. Get up at the same time you do during the week. “We’re not sure why this works. We can postulate that since the migraine brain is overly sensitive and responds poorly to change, by keeping your environment relatively stable, you lessen the chance of headache occurrence,” says Dr. Newman.
Exercise. At least 30 minutes three times a week of aerobic exercise, more is better. Dr. Monteith explains: “The release of the body’s natural pain generating system, called endorphins may be one reason why exercise helps migraines. Other potential benefits may be related to stress reduction, mood, or general brain wellness, but this is speculative.”
Yoga. A recent study published in the Journal of Headache Pain found that practicing yoga four times a week for 60 minutes significantly reduced headache frequency, medication use, symptoms, anxiety and depression in people with migraines.
And if you have chronic migraines, Botox, says Dr. Newman. According to the Migraine Trust, it’s not really known yet why Botox works, but a theory is that it blocks the release of pain neurotransmitters, which then stops the stimulation of the central pain processing systems.
What to Do Once the Headache Starts
Step 1, take medication immediately at the sign of the first symptom. “NSAIDS, migraine medications, all work better the sooner you take them because you want to get the headache as it’s developing. Once the headache has peaked, it’s going to take a lot longer for the medication to work,” says Dr. Newman.

For others, magnesium may be the answer. “Once a person has a migraine, a natural solution is to get an I.V. of magnesium. Magnesium is a vasodilator, so it opens up the blood vessels,” says Dr. Steelsmith. This would have to be administered by a naturopath or medical doctor in a health care setting. (Dr. Steelsmith adds that you can take 500-1,000 mg of magnesium tablets orally at home as a preventive.) Be aware that some people get diarrhea from the mineral.

Lastly, medication-free therapies—such as cognitive behavioral therapy, including biofeedback, meditation, and relaxation therapies—may do the trick for you. Physical and mental stress can make headaches worse, according to the American Headache Society. CBT can be used to lessen the stress—and thereby lessen the duration of a headache—but once you’ve learned to use these techniques, you can employ them as a preventive as well.

Signs That You Should See a Doctor According to Dr. Newman, red flags are headaches that:

Come on really fast, like an explosion out of nowhere. This could be a sign of bleeding in the brain.
Are precipitated by coughing, straining, lifting weights, sexual activity. This could be a warning sign that something bad is happening in the brain, such as a stroke.
Are clearly related to other neurologic disturbances, such as weakness or numbness on one side, trouble speaking or seeing. This may be a stroke or a brain tumor.
Are associated with stiffness of the neck or other signs of feeling ill. Could be meningitis or other infectious diseases like Lyme Disease.
Begin or change after age 50. “As we get older, we are more likely to have more serious types of conditions causing headaches, such as an inflammation of the blood vessels in the skull. Look for changes in your usual headache patterns,” says Dr. Newman.

5 Signs Your Headache Could Be Something Worse

“Her head felt like elephants were doing the merengue on her cerebellum,” author Susan Fanetti wrote about a headache. If you are familiar with these dancing pachyderms, here is good news: Even the most painful, chronic headaches can be cured or lessened in intensity and/or frequency.

“The good news is that there is lots of available options, and lots more coming down the pike. If you haven’t had success in the past, keep checking in because new ways are being developed and studied,” says Lawrence C. Newman, MD, director of The Headache Institute, attending neurologist at Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital Center, and president of the American Headache Society. New therapies to prevent migraine attacks include a novel class of prevention medications (containing antibodies that target certain receptors in the brain) and externally-worn headbands that stimulate certain branches of nerves in your brain.

He adds that the hard part is finding someone who can make the right diagnosis. The World Health Organization reports that a minority of people with headache disorders worldwide are diagnosed appropriately by a health-care provider. Once you have the diagnosis, the treatment will follow suit. If you haven’t had luck dealing with primary headaches – headaches that aren’t the result of underlying disease such as stroke, brain tumor or meningitis – see a neurologist or headache specialist.

Name That Headache According to the World Health Organization, headaches are among the most common disorders of the nervous system. Primary headaches come in three forms:

Tension-type: Your garden variety headache, characterized by two of the following: Pain on both sides of the head, is pressured but not throbbing, is mild to moderate, isn’t worsened by routine activity, and not more than one of the following: light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, or nausea.
Migraine: Tends to be one-sided, throbbing, moderate to severe pain, and worse with routine activity. Associated with nausea and/or vomiting; if neither of those two, then light or sound sensitivity. Only 20% of people with migraine have the visual aura or tingling or numbness, says Dr. Newman.
Cluster: For a one- to two-month cluster period, headaches appear up to once every other day to eight times per day. The headaches are in, around, or behind the eyes. Patients describe it as an ice pick stabbing into the eye or a balloon behind the eye, pushing it out. It’s excruciatingly severe.
Headache Causes
There are many different causes of primary headaches, based on an individual’s unique physiology, but in general, they are caused by problems with pain receptors in your head, such as over-sensitivity or over-stimulation. Or it can be a combination of that with chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels of your head outside your skull, or muscles of your head and neck.

How can you prevent them?

Limit caffeine intake. Small amounts of caffeine may help headaches, but excessive use can result in caffeine overuse headaches. “Less than 200 mg of caffeine should be used per day (about two cups), but some people with migraine may be especially sensitive and may want to drink less or not at all,” explains Teshamae Monteith, M.D., a Miami-based spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol may cause headaches or trigger migraines, adds Dr. Monteith. Wine, specifically red wine is a common cause of alcohol-induced migraines.
Take riboflavin or vitamin D. “There is a lot of research on the use of high doses of these at 400 mg per day to help prevent headaches. The nutrient works by increasing nitric oxide, which in turn keeps the blood vessels dilated,” says Laurie Steelsmith, ND, a Honolulu-based naturopath and author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health.
Figure out your food triggers. Some people are very sensitive to chocolate, cheese, NutraSweet, MSG, and nitrites, because they contain chemicals that can produce migraine attacks through a variety of physiological changes, says Dr. Monteith. Once you know what yours are, avoid them entirely.
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can trigger headaches. Strive for seven to eight 8-ounce glasses a day, advises Dr. Newman. “It is not really clear how hydration works, but headache has been thought of as an evolutionary advantage, in part due to its role as an indicator to prevent things like dehydration,” adds Dr. Monteith.
Keep a regular sleep schedule. Don’t sleep in on the weekends. Get up at the same time you do during the week. “We’re not sure why this works. We can postulate that since the migraine brain is overly sensitive and responds poorly to change, by keeping your environment relatively stable, you lessen the chance of headache occurrence,” says Dr. Newman.
Exercise. At least 30 minutes three times a week of aerobic exercise, more is better. Dr. Monteith explains: “The release of the body’s natural pain generating system, called endorphins may be one reason why exercise helps migraines. Other potential benefits may be related to stress reduction, mood, or general brain wellness, but this is speculative.”
Yoga. A recent study published in the Journal of Headache Pain found that practicing yoga four times a week for 60 minutes significantly reduced headache frequency, medication use, symptoms, anxiety and depression in people with migraines.
And if you have chronic migraines, Botox, says Dr. Newman. According to the Migraine Trust, it’s not really known yet why Botox works, but a theory is that it blocks the release of pain neurotransmitters, which then stops the stimulation of the central pain processing systems.
What to Do Once the Headache Starts
Step 1, take medication immediately at the sign of the first symptom. “NSAIDS, migraine medications, all work better the sooner you take them because you want to get the headache as it’s developing. Once the headache has peaked, it’s going to take a lot longer for the medication to work,” says Dr. Newman.

For others, magnesium may be the answer. “Once a person has a migraine, a natural solution is to get an I.V. of magnesium. Magnesium is a vasodilator, so it opens up the blood vessels,” says Dr. Steelsmith. This would have to be administered by a naturopath or medical doctor in a health care setting. (Dr. Steelsmith adds that you can take 500-1,000 mg of magnesium tablets orally at home as a preventive.) Be aware that some people get diarrhea from the mineral.

Lastly, medication-free therapies—such as cognitive behavioral therapy, including biofeedback, meditation, and relaxation therapies—may do the trick for you. Physical and mental stress can make headaches worse, according to the American Headache Society. CBT can be used to lessen the stress—and thereby lessen the duration of a headache—but once you’ve learned to use these techniques, you can employ them as a preventive as well.

Signs That You Should See a Doctor According to Dr. Newman, red flags are headaches that:

Come on really fast, like an explosion out of nowhere. This could be a sign of bleeding in the brain.
Are precipitated by coughing, straining, lifting weights, sexual activity. This could be a warning sign that something bad is happening in the brain, such as a stroke.
Are clearly related to other neurologic disturbances, such as weakness or numbness on one side, trouble speaking or seeing. This may be a stroke or a brain tumor.
Are associated with stiffness of the neck or other signs of feeling ill. Could be meningitis or other infectious diseases like Lyme Disease.
Begin or change after age 50. “As we get older, we are more likely to have more serious types of conditions causing headaches, such as an inflammation of the blood vessels in the skull. Look for changes in your usual headache patterns,” says Dr. Newman.

Posted on Thursday, September 25th 2014

Source pinoria.com

6 Signs Your Marriage Is Falling Apart

These are 6 signs that you or your spouse could be landing your marriage in a ditch.

1. You control or abuse your spouse.
Controlling people often participate in emotional extortion, like saying, “Agree with me, or else …” Sometimes it’s more productive and healthier if you agree to disagree. Or, does your spouse attempt to control you, possibly with money? Call you demeaning names? Why would you accept that from anyone, and why would someone who truly loves you treat you that way? If there is an imbalance of power that causes you to lose yourself, you may be in a toxic relationship.

2. You or your spouse define your relationship with jealousy and insecurity.
Do you often check up on your spouse? Do you attempt to read his text messages because you’re just not sure what goes on behind your back? Jealousy is a poorly disguised need for power and control — and that’s a red flag. You have more power in your love, respect, personality and magnetism than you do when you try to be controlling.

3. You lie and deceive your spouse about money.
Have you and your spouse both been completely honest about your finances prior to the marriage and since becoming a union? People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. What are you hiding and why? And what else are you willing to lie about? Lying about money does not bode well for the underlying trust that a marriage needs at its core.

4. You or your spouse involve your parents or in-laws inappropriately.
If you go running to your parents or your in-laws with your marital problems, you’re not respecting the sanctity and boundaries of your relationship. You’re an adult now; deal with the person you married, not the people who raised either of you.

5. You and your spouse fail to be a united parenting front.
If your kids are successful at dividing and conquering you and your spouse, then they are further driving a wedge between the two of you. Not to mention that if you fight in front of the children, it literally changes who they are. You’re scarring them for life and they don’t deserve that. Be mature enough to stop the screaming and put their needs ahead of your own.

6. You ignore your spouse’s intimacy and sexual needs.
A couple’s relationship in the bedroom is a direct reflection of the rest of their relationship. Intimacy is essentially vulnerability. It’s when you let your guard down, you let somebody in close and you share things in a physical way. If you spend all day fighting, you’re going to have a hard time making intimacy a priority — which it ought to be.

6 Signs Your Marriage Is Falling Apart

These are 6 signs that you or your spouse could be landing your marriage in a ditch.

1. You control or abuse your spouse.
Controlling people often participate in emotional extortion, like saying, “Agree with me, or else …” Sometimes it’s more productive and healthier if you agree to disagree. Or, does your spouse attempt to control you, possibly with money? Call you demeaning names? Why would you accept that from anyone, and why would someone who truly loves you treat you that way? If there is an imbalance of power that causes you to lose yourself, you may be in a toxic relationship.

2. You or your spouse define your relationship with jealousy and insecurity.
Do you often check up on your spouse? Do you attempt to read his text messages because you’re just not sure what goes on behind your back? Jealousy is a poorly disguised need for power and control — and that’s a red flag. You have more power in your love, respect, personality and magnetism than you do when you try to be controlling.

3. You lie and deceive your spouse about money.
Have you and your spouse both been completely honest about your finances prior to the marriage and since becoming a union? People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. What are you hiding and why? And what else are you willing to lie about? Lying about money does not bode well for the underlying trust that a marriage needs at its core.

4. You or your spouse involve your parents or in-laws inappropriately.
If you go running to your parents or your in-laws with your marital problems, you’re not respecting the sanctity and boundaries of your relationship. You’re an adult now; deal with the person you married, not the people who raised either of you.

5. You and your spouse fail to be a united parenting front.
If your kids are successful at dividing and conquering you and your spouse, then they are further driving a wedge between the two of you. Not to mention that if you fight in front of the children, it literally changes who they are. You’re scarring them for life and they don’t deserve that. Be mature enough to stop the screaming and put their needs ahead of your own.

6. You ignore your spouse’s intimacy and sexual needs.
A couple’s relationship in the bedroom is a direct reflection of the rest of their relationship. Intimacy is essentially vulnerability. It’s when you let your guard down, you let somebody in close and you share things in a physical way. If you spend all day fighting, you’re going to have a hard time making intimacy a priority — which it ought to be.

Posted on Tuesday, September 23rd 2014

Source pinoria.com

One-Pot Pasta Recipe

In just 20 minutes, and with only one pot to clean, you can have a family-dinner-size pasta dish to feed your friends and enough leftovers for a few more meals. The dried pasta is cooked right in the sauce, a time-saving and delicious trick Italian grandmothers use to infuse the pasta with lots of flavor. Choose a favorite rustic pasta shape that cooks in about eight to 12 minutes (shells, penne, fusilli).

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients



3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves (or more to taste), chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes or 3 1/2 cups chopped, fresh tomatoes with their juices
1 bunch kale, ribs removed, chopped
2 sprigs fresh basil, chopped, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
1 pound whole grain (brown rice or whole wheat) pasta
Salt
About 4 cups water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Directions

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the garlic and let it get nice and golden (this color adds lots of flavor); it will only take about 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, kale, basil, pasta, salt and 4 cups water. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cook the whole thing for the amount of time suggested on the pasta package, giving it an energetic stir every few minutes. If it starts to look too dry, add a slosh more water (about 1/2 cup at a time). Once the pasta is al-dente, fold in the Parmesan. Taste! Does it need some red pepper flakes? A pinch of salt? Top with the fresh basil, maybe a shower of Parmesan. Enjoy!

One-Pot Pasta Recipe

In just 20 minutes, and with only one pot to clean, you can have a family-dinner-size pasta dish to feed your friends and enough leftovers for a few more meals. The dried pasta is cooked right in the sauce, a time-saving and delicious trick Italian grandmothers use to infuse the pasta with lots of flavor. Choose a favorite rustic pasta shape that cooks in about eight to 12 minutes (shells, penne, fusilli).

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves (or more to taste), chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes or 3 1/2 cups chopped, fresh tomatoes with their juices
1 bunch kale, ribs removed, chopped
2 sprigs fresh basil, chopped, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
1 pound whole grain (brown rice or whole wheat) pasta
Salt
About 4 cups water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Directions

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the garlic and let it get nice and golden (this color adds lots of flavor); it will only take about 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, kale, basil, pasta, salt and 4 cups water. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cook the whole thing for the amount of time suggested on the pasta package, giving it an energetic stir every few minutes. If it starts to look too dry, add a slosh more water (about 1/2 cup at a time). Once the pasta is al-dente, fold in the Parmesan. Taste! Does it need some red pepper flakes? A pinch of salt? Top with the fresh basil, maybe a shower of Parmesan. Enjoy!

Posted on Friday, September 19th 2014

Source pinoria.com

8 Foods that Pack on Muscle

If muscles were made from chips and beer, we’d look huge. But they aren’t, and we don’t—unless you count that sack o’ fat up front and dead center.

If not Doritos and double bock, then what? We decided to delve deep into the human anatomy to find the secret spot on every muscle where the word “ingredients” is stamped. With the help of Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., an exercise and nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut, and a really big magnifying glass, we found it. Eight foods are on the list: eggs, almonds, olive oil, salmon, steak, yogurt, water, and coffee. Add these ingredients to your stomach and faithfully follow the directions on the package—”Lift heavy weights”—and you can whip up a batch of biceps in no time.



EGGS

The Perfect Protein

How they build muscle: Not from being hurled by the dozen at your boss’s house. The protein in eggs has the highest biological value—a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs—of any food, including our beloved beef. “Calorie for calorie, you need less protein from eggs than you do from other sources to achieve the same muscle-building benefits,” says Volek.

But you have to eat the yolk. In addition to protein, it also contains vitamin B12, which is necessary for fat breakdown and muscle contraction. (And no, eating a few eggs a day won’t increase your risk of heart disease.)

How they keep you healthy: Eggs are vitamins and minerals over easy; they’re packed with riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, B12, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus, and zinc.



ALMONDS

Muscle Medicine

How they build muscle: Crunch for crunch, almonds are one of the best sources of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E—the form that’s best absorbed by your body. That matters to your muscles because “vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that can help prevent free-radical damage after heavy workouts,” says Volek. And the fewer hits taken from free radicals, the faster your muscles will recover from a workout and start growing.

How many almonds should you munch? Two handfuls a day should do it. A Toronto University study found that men can eat this amount daily without gaining any weight.

How they keep you healthy: Almonds double as brain insurance. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those men who consumed the most vitamin E—from food sources, not supplements—had a 67 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those eating the least vitamin E.



SALMON

The Growth Regulator

How it builds muscle: It’s swimming with high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3’s can decrease muscle-protein breakdown after your workout, improving recovery,” says Tom Incledon, R.D., a nutritionist with Human Performance Specialists. This is important, because to build muscle you need to store new protein faster than your body breaks down the old stuff.

Order some salmon jerky from www.freshseafood.com. It’ll keep forever in your gym bag and tastes mighty close to cold-smoked cow.

How it keeps you healthy: By reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that when overweight people added 1.8 grams of DHA—an omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil—to their daily diets, their insulin resistance decreased by 70 percent in 12 weeks.



YOGURT

The Golden Ratio

How it builds muscle: Even with the aura of estrogen surrounding it, “yogurt is an ideal combination of protein and carbohydrates for exercise recovery and muscle growth,” says Doug Kalman, R.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates.

Buy regular—not sugar-free—with fruit buried at the bottom. The extra carbohydrates from the fruit will boost your blood levels of insulin, one of the keys to reducing postexercise protein breakdown.

How it keeps you healthy: Three letters: CLA. “Yogurt is one of the few foods that contain conjugated linoleic acid, a special type of fat shown in some studies to reduce body fat,” says Volek.



BEEF

Carvable Creatine

How it builds muscle: More than just a piece of charbroiled protein, “beef is also a major source of iron and zinc, two crucial muscle-building nutrients,” says Incledon. Plus, it’s the number-one food source of creatine—your body’s energy supply for pumping iron—2 grams for every 16 ounces.

For maximum muscle with minimum calories, look for “rounds” or “loins”—butcherspeak for meat cuts that are extra-lean. Or check out the new “flat iron” cut. It’s very lean and the second most tender cut of beef overall.

How it keeps you healthy: Beef is a storehouse for selenium. Stanford University researchers found that men with low blood levels of the mineral are as much as five times more likely to develop prostate cancer than those with normal levels.



OLIVE OIL

Liquid Energy

How it builds muscle: Sure, you could oil up your chest and arms and strike a pose, but it works better if you eat the stuff. “The monounsaturated fat in olive oil appears to act as an anticatabolicnutrient,” says Kalman. In other words, it prevents muscle breakdown by lowering levels of a sinister cellular protein called tumor necrosis factor-a, which is linked with muscle wasting and weakness (kind of like watching The View).

And while all olive oil is high in monos, try to use the extra-virgin variety whenever possible; it has a higher level of free-radical-fighting vitamin E than the less chaste stuff.

How it keeps you healthy: How doesn’t it? Olive oil and monounsaturated fats have been associated with everything from lower rates of heart disease and colon cancer to a reduced risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.



WATER

The Muscle Bath

How it builds muscle: Whether it’s in your shins or your shoulders, muscle is approximately 80 percent water. “Even a change of as little as 1 percent in body water can impair exercise performance and adversely affect recovery,” says Volek. For example, a 1997 German study found that protein synthesis occurs at a higher rate in muscle cells that are well hydrated, compared with dehydrated cells. English translation: The more parched you are, the slower your body uses protein to build muscle.

Not sure how dry you are? “Weigh yourself before and after each exercise session. Then drink 24 ounces of water for every pound lost,” says Larry Kenney, Ph.D., a physiology researcher at Pennsylvania State University.

How it keeps you healthy: Researchers at Loma Linda University found that men who drank five or more 8-ounce glasses of water a day were 54 percent less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who drank two or fewer.



COFFEE

The Repetition Builder

How it builds muscle: Fueling your workout with caffeine will help you lift longer. A recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that men who drank 2 1/2 cups of coffee a few hours before an exercise test were able to sprint 9 percent longer than when they didn’t drink any. (It’s believed the caffeine directly stimulates the muscles.)

And since sprinting and weight lifting are both anaerobic activities—exercises that don’t require oxygen—a jolt of joe should help you pump out more reps. Skip it if you have a history of high blood pressure, though.

How it keeps you healthy: By saving you from Michael J. Fox’s fate. Harvard researchers found that coffee drinkers have a 30 percent lower risk of Parkinson’s disease than nondrinkers.

8 Foods that Pack on Muscle

If muscles were made from chips and beer, we’d look huge. But they aren’t, and we don’t—unless you count that sack o’ fat up front and dead center.

If not Doritos and double bock, then what? We decided to delve deep into the human anatomy to find the secret spot on every muscle where the word “ingredients” is stamped. With the help of Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., an exercise and nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut, and a really big magnifying glass, we found it. Eight foods are on the list: eggs, almonds, olive oil, salmon, steak, yogurt, water, and coffee. Add these ingredients to your stomach and faithfully follow the directions on the package—”Lift heavy weights”—and you can whip up a batch of biceps in no time.

EGGS

The Perfect Protein

How they build muscle: Not from being hurled by the dozen at your boss’s house. The protein in eggs has the highest biological value—a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs—of any food, including our beloved beef. “Calorie for calorie, you need less protein from eggs than you do from other sources to achieve the same muscle-building benefits,” says Volek.

But you have to eat the yolk. In addition to protein, it also contains vitamin B12, which is necessary for fat breakdown and muscle contraction. (And no, eating a few eggs a day won’t increase your risk of heart disease.)

How they keep you healthy: Eggs are vitamins and minerals over easy; they’re packed with riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, B12, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

ALMONDS

Muscle Medicine

How they build muscle: Crunch for crunch, almonds are one of the best sources of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E—the form that’s best absorbed by your body. That matters to your muscles because “vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that can help prevent free-radical damage after heavy workouts,” says Volek. And the fewer hits taken from free radicals, the faster your muscles will recover from a workout and start growing.

How many almonds should you munch? Two handfuls a day should do it. A Toronto University study found that men can eat this amount daily without gaining any weight.

How they keep you healthy: Almonds double as brain insurance. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those men who consumed the most vitamin E—from food sources, not supplements—had a 67 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those eating the least vitamin E.

SALMON

The Growth Regulator

How it builds muscle: It’s swimming with high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3’s can decrease muscle-protein breakdown after your workout, improving recovery,” says Tom Incledon, R.D., a nutritionist with Human Performance Specialists. This is important, because to build muscle you need to store new protein faster than your body breaks down the old stuff.

Order some salmon jerky from www.freshseafood.com. It’ll keep forever in your gym bag and tastes mighty close to cold-smoked cow.

How it keeps you healthy: By reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that when overweight people added 1.8 grams of DHA—an omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil—to their daily diets, their insulin resistance decreased by 70 percent in 12 weeks.

YOGURT

The Golden Ratio

How it builds muscle: Even with the aura of estrogen surrounding it, “yogurt is an ideal combination of protein and carbohydrates for exercise recovery and muscle growth,” says Doug Kalman, R.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates.

Buy regular—not sugar-free—with fruit buried at the bottom. The extra carbohydrates from the fruit will boost your blood levels of insulin, one of the keys to reducing postexercise protein breakdown.

How it keeps you healthy: Three letters: CLA. “Yogurt is one of the few foods that contain conjugated linoleic acid, a special type of fat shown in some studies to reduce body fat,” says Volek.

BEEF

Carvable Creatine

How it builds muscle: More than just a piece of charbroiled protein, “beef is also a major source of iron and zinc, two crucial muscle-building nutrients,” says Incledon. Plus, it’s the number-one food source of creatine—your body’s energy supply for pumping iron—2 grams for every 16 ounces.

For maximum muscle with minimum calories, look for “rounds” or “loins”—butcherspeak for meat cuts that are extra-lean. Or check out the new “flat iron” cut. It’s very lean and the second most tender cut of beef overall.

How it keeps you healthy: Beef is a storehouse for selenium. Stanford University researchers found that men with low blood levels of the mineral are as much as five times more likely to develop prostate cancer than those with normal levels.

OLIVE OIL

Liquid Energy

How it builds muscle: Sure, you could oil up your chest and arms and strike a pose, but it works better if you eat the stuff. “The monounsaturated fat in olive oil appears to act as an anticatabolicnutrient,” says Kalman. In other words, it prevents muscle breakdown by lowering levels of a sinister cellular protein called tumor necrosis factor-a, which is linked with muscle wasting and weakness (kind of like watching The View).

And while all olive oil is high in monos, try to use the extra-virgin variety whenever possible; it has a higher level of free-radical-fighting vitamin E than the less chaste stuff.

How it keeps you healthy: How doesn’t it? Olive oil and monounsaturated fats have been associated with everything from lower rates of heart disease and colon cancer to a reduced risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.

WATER

The Muscle Bath

How it builds muscle: Whether it’s in your shins or your shoulders, muscle is approximately 80 percent water. “Even a change of as little as 1 percent in body water can impair exercise performance and adversely affect recovery,” says Volek. For example, a 1997 German study found that protein synthesis occurs at a higher rate in muscle cells that are well hydrated, compared with dehydrated cells. English translation: The more parched you are, the slower your body uses protein to build muscle.

Not sure how dry you are? “Weigh yourself before and after each exercise session. Then drink 24 ounces of water for every pound lost,” says Larry Kenney, Ph.D., a physiology researcher at Pennsylvania State University.

How it keeps you healthy: Researchers at Loma Linda University found that men who drank five or more 8-ounce glasses of water a day were 54 percent less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who drank two or fewer.

COFFEE

The Repetition Builder

How it builds muscle: Fueling your workout with caffeine will help you lift longer. A recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that men who drank 2 1/2 cups of coffee a few hours before an exercise test were able to sprint 9 percent longer than when they didn’t drink any. (It’s believed the caffeine directly stimulates the muscles.)

And since sprinting and weight lifting are both anaerobic activities—exercises that don’t require oxygen—a jolt of joe should help you pump out more reps. Skip it if you have a history of high blood pressure, though.

How it keeps you healthy: By saving you from Michael J. Fox’s fate. Harvard researchers found that coffee drinkers have a 30 percent lower risk of Parkinson’s disease than nondrinkers.

Posted on Thursday, September 18th 2014

Source pinoria.com

The Ultimate Morning Workout

Warm up with the mobility and dynamic flexibility moves. Then perform the 1-minute drill. Rest 15 to 30 seconds, then do the strength circuit. Rest 1 minute. Repeat the drill and strength circuit sequence three to five times. After the first round, try to work at an effort of 7 or 8 (on a scale of 1 to 10) each time you perform the 1-minute drill.

MOBILITY AND DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY

Perform the following exercises as fast as possible with good form. Rest 30 seconds between exercises and 1 minute between rounds. Perform 2 rounds.

3-Step Lateral Run and Pause (5 reps)
From a strong tall posture, perform a high knee run sideways taking three total lateral steps, running on the balls of your feet, driving the elbows back and maintaining good upright posture. Do not cross your feet as you run. On the third step pause and maintain balance for at least 1 to 2 seconds before running in the opposite direction. That’s one rep.

Lateral Speed Lunge (8 reps)
From an athletic position, take a lateral step to the right. Quickly and with good squat form, touch your right hand (outside your right leg) to the floor and immediately drive your body up and shuffle one step over to the left touching the floor with your left hand. Your body should be completely extended (tall) when you move from side to side.

Spiderman Climb (10 reps per leg)
Start in the top of the pushup position. Keep your abs braced, pick one foot up off the floor, and slowly bring your knee up outside of your shoulder and touch your foot to the ground. Slowly return your leg to the start position and repeat with the opposite leg.

1-MINUTE DRILL

Perform the following exercises for 15 seconds each.

Jumping Jacks
Start with your feet hip-width apart and hands at your sides. Simultaneously raise your arms above your head and jump so you can spread your feet shoulder-width apart. Then jump again to lower your arms and bring your feet together. Repeat.

High Knees
Run in place, with knees driving toward your chest.

Side-to-Side Hops
Starting with feet together, push off with your right foot to hop laterally to the left about 3 feet. Land on your left foot and follow with your right. Hop back, this time pushing off with your left foot. Repeat.

Mountain Climbers
Start in a pushup position. Keeping your head in line with your body, bring your right knee to your chest, then back to starting position. Alternate rapidly with the left leg.

STRENGTH CIRCUIT

Complete as many repetitions as you can of each exercise in 20 seconds. Rest 20 seconds, then move to the next exercise.

Jumps
Dip down at the hips and knees, and then explode up.

Pushups with Row
Get into pushup position with your arms straight and your hands resting on light dumbbells. Squeeze your abs and glutes as you perform a pushup. At the top, pull one dumbbell off the floor and toward you until your elbow is above your back. Slowly return the weight to the floor and repeat with the other arm.

Two-Way Lunges
From a standing position, take a large step forward with one leg, then immediately lunge backward. Switch legs after 10 seconds.

Single-Leg RDL
Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Raise one foot and extend it behind you, just off the floor. Contract your glutes, brace your abs, and keep your spine naturally arched. Focusing on balance, lower yourself until your torso is parallel to the floor. Initiate the movement by pushing your hips back. Push back up to the starting position. Switch legs after 10 seconds.

Glute Bridges
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips so your lower back is off the floor. Hold for 20 seconds.

The Ultimate Morning Workout

Warm up with the mobility and dynamic flexibility moves. Then perform the 1-minute drill. Rest 15 to 30 seconds, then do the strength circuit. Rest 1 minute. Repeat the drill and strength circuit sequence three to five times. After the first round, try to work at an effort of 7 or 8 (on a scale of 1 to 10) each time you perform the 1-minute drill.

MOBILITY AND DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY

Perform the following exercises as fast as possible with good form. Rest 30 seconds between exercises and 1 minute between rounds. Perform 2 rounds.

3-Step Lateral Run and Pause (5 reps)
From a strong tall posture, perform a high knee run sideways taking three total lateral steps, running on the balls of your feet, driving the elbows back and maintaining good upright posture. Do not cross your feet as you run. On the third step pause and maintain balance for at least 1 to 2 seconds before running in the opposite direction. That’s one rep.

Lateral Speed Lunge (8 reps)
From an athletic position, take a lateral step to the right. Quickly and with good squat form, touch your right hand (outside your right leg) to the floor and immediately drive your body up and shuffle one step over to the left touching the floor with your left hand. Your body should be completely extended (tall) when you move from side to side.

Spiderman Climb (10 reps per leg)
Start in the top of the pushup position. Keep your abs braced, pick one foot up off the floor, and slowly bring your knee up outside of your shoulder and touch your foot to the ground. Slowly return your leg to the start position and repeat with the opposite leg.

1-MINUTE DRILL

Perform the following exercises for 15 seconds each.

Jumping Jacks
Start with your feet hip-width apart and hands at your sides. Simultaneously raise your arms above your head and jump so you can spread your feet shoulder-width apart. Then jump again to lower your arms and bring your feet together. Repeat.

High Knees
Run in place, with knees driving toward your chest.

Side-to-Side Hops
Starting with feet together, push off with your right foot to hop laterally to the left about 3 feet. Land on your left foot and follow with your right. Hop back, this time pushing off with your left foot. Repeat.

Mountain Climbers
Start in a pushup position. Keeping your head in line with your body, bring your right knee to your chest, then back to starting position. Alternate rapidly with the left leg.

STRENGTH CIRCUIT

Complete as many repetitions as you can of each exercise in 20 seconds. Rest 20 seconds, then move to the next exercise.

Jumps
Dip down at the hips and knees, and then explode up.

Pushups with Row
Get into pushup position with your arms straight and your hands resting on light dumbbells. Squeeze your abs and glutes as you perform a pushup. At the top, pull one dumbbell off the floor and toward you until your elbow is above your back. Slowly return the weight to the floor and repeat with the other arm.

Two-Way Lunges
From a standing position, take a large step forward with one leg, then immediately lunge backward. Switch legs after 10 seconds.

Single-Leg RDL
Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Raise one foot and extend it behind you, just off the floor. Contract your glutes, brace your abs, and keep your spine naturally arched. Focusing on balance, lower yourself until your torso is parallel to the floor. Initiate the movement by pushing your hips back. Push back up to the starting position. Switch legs after 10 seconds.

Glute Bridges
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips so your lower back is off the floor. Hold for 20 seconds.

Posted on Wednesday, September 17th 2014

Source pinoria.com

How Much Sleep You Really Need

The amount of sleep adults need has once again come under the spotlight, with a recent Wall Street Journal article suggesting seven hours sleep is better than eight hours and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine drawing up guidelines surrounding sleep need.

So, what should the guidelines say? Unfortunately, when it comes to the amount of sleep adults require there is not really a “one size fits all”. Sleep need can vary substantially between individuals.

Sleep is regulated by circadian and homeostatic processes, which interact to determine the timing and duration of sleep. The circadian process represents the change in sleep propensity over 24 hours, or our internal “body clock”. The homeostatic process represents the accumulation of sleep pressure during wakefulness and the dissipation of sleep pressure during sleep.

Both the circadian and homeostatic processes are influenced by internal factors, such as genes, and external factors, such as prior sleep history, exercise and illness. Individual variations in sleep timing and duration can be largely explained by these internal and external factors.

Individual sleep need

Genes are important in determining diurnal preference: whether we are “night owls” who prefer to stay up late at night, or “early birds” who prefer to get up early in the morning. Genes may also contribute to whether we are “short” or “long” sleepers.

But although genes form the foundation for sleep timing and duration, many external factors also affect sleep need.

Perhaps one of the more common causes affecting sleep duration relates to sleep history. Many adults, whether they know it or not, experience sleep restriction, often on a daily or weekly basis. Restricting sleep or going without sleep (pulling an “all-nighter”) increases sleep pressure.

This sleep pressure dissipates within sleep, so higher sleep pressure requires longer sleep duration. As such, following sleep loss, sleep need increases.

Health, exercise, heavy labour, and even mental workload can affect sleep duration. During times of illness, following exercise, or even following periods of mental stress (such as exams), the amount of sleep needed to recover or restore back to normal can increase. Likewise, individuals who suffer from disease or who have poor health may need more sleep than their healthier counterparts.

Sleep need also varies with age, with elderly people generally sleeping less than younger individuals. Age-related changes associated with sleep duration are thought to be due to changes in the interaction between the circadian and homeostatic processes.

The individual variations in sleep need make it difficult to provide a specific recommendation as to how much sleep adults need. However, most sleep researchers generally agree that seven to nine sleep is what the majority of adults require to function at their best.

Why eight hours sleep?

Sleep restricted to seven hours or less results in impairments to reaction time, decision making, concentration, memory and mood, as well increased sleepiness and fatigue and some physiological functions.

On the other hand, eight hours or nine hours sleep has little impact, either negatively or positively, on performance.

Based on these findings, it would seem that for most of the adult population, somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep is the “right amount”.

This is not to say that more than nine hours sleep is not good. Rather, extending sleep duration may help to “protect” waking function during subsequent periods of sleep loss. While we may not need ten hours sleep all the time, there are some clear benefits from getting more sleep.

But I am fine with six hours sleep…

The first question you need to ask yourself is, are you really?

You may be one of the lucky few with the “right” genetics. However, it’s more likely that you are simply unaware of how sleep loss is impairing your waking functions.

How we feel does not always reflect how badly we may be functioning, which may result in delusions about how much sleep we really need. Needing an alarm clock to wake up and the desire to sleep-in on weekends/holidays suggests that sleep need is not being met.

Critically though, if you have difficulty sleeping for a continuous eight hours, try not to worry too much, as this may make things worse.

Finding your optimal sleep duration

The amount of sleep need can vary significantly and can depend on multiple different factors, making it difficult to work out optimal sleep need. Below is a guide that might help to determine sleep need.

Keep a diary of your sleep. Include the times you went to bed and woke up, how you slept and how you felt during the daytime
Go to bed when you feel sleepy/tired
If you can, don’t use an alarm clock, rather, let your body naturally wake up
Try to get natural sunlight exposure during the day
Keep to a regular sleep schedule all days of the week.
After a while, you should be able to work out the best timing and duration for your sleep. If you are still unsure or concerned, see your general practitioner. Remember, though — sleep need can change with circumstances, so always listen to your body.

How Much Sleep You Really Need

The amount of sleep adults need has once again come under the spotlight, with a recent Wall Street Journal article suggesting seven hours sleep is better than eight hours and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine drawing up guidelines surrounding sleep need.

So, what should the guidelines say? Unfortunately, when it comes to the amount of sleep adults require there is not really a “one size fits all”. Sleep need can vary substantially between individuals.

Sleep is regulated by circadian and homeostatic processes, which interact to determine the timing and duration of sleep. The circadian process represents the change in sleep propensity over 24 hours, or our internal “body clock”. The homeostatic process represents the accumulation of sleep pressure during wakefulness and the dissipation of sleep pressure during sleep.

Both the circadian and homeostatic processes are influenced by internal factors, such as genes, and external factors, such as prior sleep history, exercise and illness. Individual variations in sleep timing and duration can be largely explained by these internal and external factors.

Individual sleep need

Genes are important in determining diurnal preference: whether we are “night owls” who prefer to stay up late at night, or “early birds” who prefer to get up early in the morning. Genes may also contribute to whether we are “short” or “long” sleepers.

But although genes form the foundation for sleep timing and duration, many external factors also affect sleep need.

Perhaps one of the more common causes affecting sleep duration relates to sleep history. Many adults, whether they know it or not, experience sleep restriction, often on a daily or weekly basis. Restricting sleep or going without sleep (pulling an “all-nighter”) increases sleep pressure.

This sleep pressure dissipates within sleep, so higher sleep pressure requires longer sleep duration. As such, following sleep loss, sleep need increases.

Health, exercise, heavy labour, and even mental workload can affect sleep duration. During times of illness, following exercise, or even following periods of mental stress (such as exams), the amount of sleep needed to recover or restore back to normal can increase. Likewise, individuals who suffer from disease or who have poor health may need more sleep than their healthier counterparts.

Sleep need also varies with age, with elderly people generally sleeping less than younger individuals. Age-related changes associated with sleep duration are thought to be due to changes in the interaction between the circadian and homeostatic processes.

The individual variations in sleep need make it difficult to provide a specific recommendation as to how much sleep adults need. However, most sleep researchers generally agree that seven to nine sleep is what the majority of adults require to function at their best.

Why eight hours sleep?

Sleep restricted to seven hours or less results in impairments to reaction time, decision making, concentration, memory and mood, as well increased sleepiness and fatigue and some physiological functions.

On the other hand, eight hours or nine hours sleep has little impact, either negatively or positively, on performance.

Based on these findings, it would seem that for most of the adult population, somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep is the “right amount”.

This is not to say that more than nine hours sleep is not good. Rather, extending sleep duration may help to “protect” waking function during subsequent periods of sleep loss. While we may not need ten hours sleep all the time, there are some clear benefits from getting more sleep.

But I am fine with six hours sleep…

The first question you need to ask yourself is, are you really?

You may be one of the lucky few with the “right” genetics. However, it’s more likely that you are simply unaware of how sleep loss is impairing your waking functions.

How we feel does not always reflect how badly we may be functioning, which may result in delusions about how much sleep we really need. Needing an alarm clock to wake up and the desire to sleep-in on weekends/holidays suggests that sleep need is not being met.

Critically though, if you have difficulty sleeping for a continuous eight hours, try not to worry too much, as this may make things worse.

Finding your optimal sleep duration

The amount of sleep need can vary significantly and can depend on multiple different factors, making it difficult to work out optimal sleep need. Below is a guide that might help to determine sleep need.

Keep a diary of your sleep. Include the times you went to bed and woke up, how you slept and how you felt during the daytime
Go to bed when you feel sleepy/tired
If you can, don’t use an alarm clock, rather, let your body naturally wake up
Try to get natural sunlight exposure during the day
Keep to a regular sleep schedule all days of the week.
After a while, you should be able to work out the best timing and duration for your sleep. If you are still unsure or concerned, see your general practitioner. Remember, though — sleep need can change with circumstances, so always listen to your body.

Posted on Wednesday, September 17th 2014

Source pinoria.com

13 Things You Didn’t Know about Watermelon

Perhaps nothing else screams summertime quite as much as a juicy, ripe watermelon. It’s sweet and refreshing and adds a huge burst of colour to just about everything.

But there is so much more to watermelon than meets the eye. Watermelon is simply bursting with numerous health benefits, too.

July is National Watermelon Month and it’s no surprise why. Besides being tasty and super hydrating, watermelon is super healthy. Check out our list of 13 healthy benefits, and interesting facts, you never knew about this summertime treat.



1. Immune support, wound healing, and helps prevent cell damage

Watermelons are surprisingly high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is great at improving your immune system by protecting our cells from reactive oxygen. Reactive oxygen damages our cells and DNA. Vitamin C has long been known to help heal wounds in the body and is essential to making new connective tissue. Enzymes involved in forming collagen, the main compound needed when wounds are healing, simply cannot function without Vitamin C. If you should find you are suffering from slow healing wounds, seriously up your consumption of vitamin C heavy fruit such as watermelon!



2. Watermelon has more lycopene than tomatoes

Just one cup of watermelon has 1.5 times more lycopene than a large fresh tomato. Why should you care? Lycopene is a super antioxidant, which is important for stopping those free radicals that damage your cells, mess with your immune system, and lead to advanced aging. Research shows that lycopene, which is found in most red fruits and veggies, helps fight against several types of cancer. To get the most antioxidants possible, store your watermelon at room temperature.



3. Relieves Sore Muscles

A study conducted in Spain discovered that drinking about 16 ounces of watermelon juice before working out had less muscle soreness, as well as a lower heart rate, within 24 hours. This study was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

This is attributed to a compound in watermelon called citrulline that has been found to improve the functioning of arteries and lower blood pressure overall. In fact, watermelon can relax the blood vessels so much; Texas A&M University says that watermelon is like the Viagra of the fruit world! Unfortunately, most of that citrulline is found in the green rind, not so much in the red flesh.



4. Supports eye health

Watermelon is a fantastic source of beta-carotene, which your body will turn into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to make the pigments in the retina of your eyes and this helps to protect you against macular degeneration.



5. Alkaline

When fully ripe, watermelons have an alkaline effect in the body. Eating plenty of alkaline forming fruits and veggies helps to reduce your risk of developing illness and chronic disease.



6. It’s both a fruit and a veggie

Almost unbelievable, but true! Like almost all fruits, watermelon comes from seeds but its roots can be traced to pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers. Talk about an overachiever!



7. It’s absolutely packed with, well, water

Of course! You are really talking about some serious hydration when you start talking watermelon! It’s 91.5 percent water! This is good to know since being dehydrated is really bad for your health. It’s a good thing we eat these when we are under the hot summer sun so we can keep ourselves hydrated.



8. Reduces body fat

We are talking about that wonderful compound citrulline again. It’s been shown in studies to help our body’s stop the accumulation of fat. This amino acid, with a little help from our kidneys, converts into arginine, which blocks the activity of TNAP, which makes our fat cells, accumulate less fat. Kinda complicated, but a beautiful thing all the same.



9. Anti-inflammatory

Watermelons are high in phenolic compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and triterpenoids. Carotenoids are super helpful in reducing inflammation and killing off those nasty free radicals. Tripterpenoid curcurbitacin E is another great compound in watermelons, which is another great anti-inflammatory. Be sure to eat really ripe watermelons as they have much higher levels of these helpful compounds.



10. Diuretic and kidney support

A natural diuretic, watermelon can help increase the flow of urine but doesn’t place a strain on the kidneys the same way caffeine does. Also, watermelons help your liver process ammonia which will help you get rid of excess fluid in the body while making it easy on the kidneys.



11. Nerve and muscle support

Watermelon is a great, all natural electrolyte that helps to regulate the nerves and muscles. Potassium is important in the determination of how much our muscles contract and controls the over stimulation of the nerves in the body. Since watermelon is high in potassium, it’s super good for those nerves and muscles.



12. Supports cardiovascular and bone health

Those high lycopene levels that are in watermelon are important to both our bone health and cardiovascular health. Consuming large amounts of watermelon has been linked to improved cardiovascular function as it improves blood flow due to the relaxation of blood pressure as well as reducing the oxidative stress which is involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. This means you will get stronger bones when you eat foods rich in lycopene, such as watermelons.



13. About those yellow watermelons

If you haven’t seen them, there are watermelons that are not that beautiful pinkish-red red colour. It’s called Yellow Crimson. It has a yellow interior with a sweeter taste that will remind you of honey. Both types of watermelons are green on the outside so unless they are labeled, you can’t tell which one is which! Just remember that no one knows what, if any, nutritional value the yellow kind might have to offer. If you love the yellow kind, mix up a batch of both colours, just to be on the safe side.

13 Things You Didn’t Know about Watermelon

Perhaps nothing else screams summertime quite as much as a juicy, ripe watermelon. It’s sweet and refreshing and adds a huge burst of colour to just about everything.

But there is so much more to watermelon than meets the eye. Watermelon is simply bursting with numerous health benefits, too.

July is National Watermelon Month and it’s no surprise why. Besides being tasty and super hydrating, watermelon is super healthy. Check out our list of 13 healthy benefits, and interesting facts, you never knew about this summertime treat.

1. Immune support, wound healing, and helps prevent cell damage

Watermelons are surprisingly high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is great at improving your immune system by protecting our cells from reactive oxygen. Reactive oxygen damages our cells and DNA. Vitamin C has long been known to help heal wounds in the body and is essential to making new connective tissue. Enzymes involved in forming collagen, the main compound needed when wounds are healing, simply cannot function without Vitamin C. If you should find you are suffering from slow healing wounds, seriously up your consumption of vitamin C heavy fruit such as watermelon!

2. Watermelon has more lycopene than tomatoes

Just one cup of watermelon has 1.5 times more lycopene than a large fresh tomato. Why should you care? Lycopene is a super antioxidant, which is important for stopping those free radicals that damage your cells, mess with your immune system, and lead to advanced aging. Research shows that lycopene, which is found in most red fruits and veggies, helps fight against several types of cancer. To get the most antioxidants possible, store your watermelon at room temperature.

3. Relieves Sore Muscles

A study conducted in Spain discovered that drinking about 16 ounces of watermelon juice before working out had less muscle soreness, as well as a lower heart rate, within 24 hours. This study was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

This is attributed to a compound in watermelon called citrulline that has been found to improve the functioning of arteries and lower blood pressure overall. In fact, watermelon can relax the blood vessels so much; Texas A&M University says that watermelon is like the Viagra of the fruit world! Unfortunately, most of that citrulline is found in the green rind, not so much in the red flesh.

4. Supports eye health

Watermelon is a fantastic source of beta-carotene, which your body will turn into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to make the pigments in the retina of your eyes and this helps to protect you against macular degeneration.

5. Alkaline

When fully ripe, watermelons have an alkaline effect in the body. Eating plenty of alkaline forming fruits and veggies helps to reduce your risk of developing illness and chronic disease.

6. It’s both a fruit and a veggie

Almost unbelievable, but true! Like almost all fruits, watermelon comes from seeds but its roots can be traced to pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers. Talk about an overachiever!

7. It’s absolutely packed with, well, water

Of course! You are really talking about some serious hydration when you start talking watermelon! It’s 91.5 percent water! This is good to know since being dehydrated is really bad for your health. It’s a good thing we eat these when we are under the hot summer sun so we can keep ourselves hydrated.

8. Reduces body fat

We are talking about that wonderful compound citrulline again. It’s been shown in studies to help our body’s stop the accumulation of fat. This amino acid, with a little help from our kidneys, converts into arginine, which blocks the activity of TNAP, which makes our fat cells, accumulate less fat. Kinda complicated, but a beautiful thing all the same.

9. Anti-inflammatory

Watermelons are high in phenolic compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and triterpenoids. Carotenoids are super helpful in reducing inflammation and killing off those nasty free radicals. Tripterpenoid curcurbitacin E is another great compound in watermelons, which is another great anti-inflammatory. Be sure to eat really ripe watermelons as they have much higher levels of these helpful compounds.

10. Diuretic and kidney support

A natural diuretic, watermelon can help increase the flow of urine but doesn’t place a strain on the kidneys the same way caffeine does. Also, watermelons help your liver process ammonia which will help you get rid of excess fluid in the body while making it easy on the kidneys.

11. Nerve and muscle support

Watermelon is a great, all natural electrolyte that helps to regulate the nerves and muscles. Potassium is important in the determination of how much our muscles contract and controls the over stimulation of the nerves in the body. Since watermelon is high in potassium, it’s super good for those nerves and muscles.

12. Supports cardiovascular and bone health

Those high lycopene levels that are in watermelon are important to both our bone health and cardiovascular health. Consuming large amounts of watermelon has been linked to improved cardiovascular function as it improves blood flow due to the relaxation of blood pressure as well as reducing the oxidative stress which is involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. This means you will get stronger bones when you eat foods rich in lycopene, such as watermelons.

13. About those yellow watermelons

If you haven’t seen them, there are watermelons that are not that beautiful pinkish-red red colour. It’s called Yellow Crimson. It has a yellow interior with a sweeter taste that will remind you of honey. Both types of watermelons are green on the outside so unless they are labeled, you can’t tell which one is which! Just remember that no one knows what, if any, nutritional value the yellow kind might have to offer. If you love the yellow kind, mix up a batch of both colours, just to be on the safe side.

Posted on Monday, September 8th 2014

Source pinoria.com

The Only 4 Exercises You Really Need

I do my best to exercise 5 to 6 times a week, but there are days when I simply cannot pull myself out of bed in time to sweat before work, or when I’m travelling and my normal routine is completely thrown off track. Instead of completely scrapping my routine, I’ll try and squeeze in a few bodyweight exercises—namely squats, planks, chair dips and pushups—throughout the day. These four moves give you a full-body toning and strength session in just a few minutes. I find that they also boost my energy and mood on days when I’m feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed, too.

Many other fitness experts agree: “I like these moves because they use bodyweight for resistance,” says Alice Burron, 45, a mother of four and a personal trainer in Cheyenne, Wyoming. “That means they’re simple but still challenging, convenient, and inexpensive—and they work.” To sneak in one set of all of these exercises would only take you about 5 minutes. To build muscle and burn calories, try to do  three 5-minute mini workouts with these moves in one day. All in all, you’re only working out for 15 minutes.

Personal trainer and co-author of Thin in 10 Weight-Loss Plan Liz Neporent agrees: “When you do these four moves you’re hitting all of your major muscle groups effectively. And they’re efficient because you don’t waste time isolating one muscle group at a time, as some exercises tend to do, and instead work several major muscle groups in tandem. These integrated muscle movements use the body exactly as intended— the way you typically use them in daily activities and when you do sports and fitness activities. This helps you perform better and prevent injuries.”

Want to give it a try? Follow this workout from Burron and Neporent. Start with 1 set of 8 to 15 reps of each move (unless otherwise noted), and gradually build to 2 or 3 sets.



Must-Do Move #1: Chair Dips
Great for toning your triceps and core
Sit on the edge of a sturdy, stable chair with legs together, knees bent and feet flat on floor a few feet in front of chair. Place your hands about six inches apart, and firmly grip the edges of the chair. Slide your butt just off the front of the chair so that your upper body is pointing straight down. Keep your abdominals pulled in and your head centered between your shoulders. Bend your elbows and lower your body in a straight line. When your upper arms are parallel to the floor, push yourself back up, being careful not to lock elbows. Repeat.
Make it easier: Keep feet close to the chair and the dip slow, controlled, and shallow.
Add a challenge: If you’re intermediate, position feet a little farther from chair, and deepen your dip. If you’re advanced, straighten your legs completely, and place heels on floor, or place one or both feet on another chair, bench or exercise ball. Perform deep but controlled dips.



Must-Do Move #2: Push-ups
Great for toning your chest, shoulders, triceps, back, hips, and abs
Start in a basic push-up position with hands directly beneath shoulders and body in a straight line. Bend elbows out to sides and lower body almost to floor (or as far as you can). Keep abs tight and body in a line. Hold for 1 second, then push back up. Repeat.
Make it easier: If you’re a beginner, do push-ups on knees. Keep the movement shallow and controlled. Still too challenging? Start with a push-up on the wall, progressing to the floor as you become stronger.
Add a challenge: If you’re advanced, try lifting one leg off the floor as you do each push-up.



Must-Do Move #3: Squats
Great for toning your glutes, hamstrings and quads
Stand with feet parallel and hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your body into a squat position, as if you are sitting back into an imaginary chair, keeping knees behind toes. Stop when your knees are at 90 degrees. Slowly press through your heels and squeeze your glutes as you return to standing.
Make it easier: Don’t bend knees as deeply
Add a challenge: Add weights, do a single-legged squat, or perform squats on an unstable surface, like a balance disc or Bosu ball. To incorporate cardio, do squat jumps.



Must-Do Move #4: Plank
Great for toning your abs, back, chest, forearms and shoulders
To come into plank pose, hold a push-up position, weight on balls of feet and hands, wrists directly below shoulders, arms straight, and body in line from head to heels. Hold for as long as you can, working up to 1 minute. That’s 1 rep. Do 2 or 3 reps.
Make it easier: Instead of being on hands, lower yourself to your forearms.
Add a challenge: Raise 1 leg off the floor and hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs and hold for another 30 seconds to complete 1 rep. To add variety, try side plank: Lie on your right side with your legs straight, and feet stacked, right hand directly under right shoulder. Lift hips off floor and raise left arm to sky, keeping left hand directly over left shoulder. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Switch sides and repeat to complete 1 rep.

The Only 4 Exercises You Really Need

I do my best to exercise 5 to 6 times a week, but there are days when I simply cannot pull myself out of bed in time to sweat before work, or when I’m travelling and my normal routine is completely thrown off track. Instead of completely scrapping my routine, I’ll try and squeeze in a few bodyweight exercises—namely squats, planks, chair dips and pushups—throughout the day. These four moves give you a full-body toning and strength session in just a few minutes. I find that they also boost my energy and mood on days when I’m feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed, too.

Many other fitness experts agree: “I like these moves because they use bodyweight for resistance,” says Alice Burron, 45, a mother of four and a personal trainer in Cheyenne, Wyoming. “That means they’re simple but still challenging, convenient, and inexpensive—and they work.” To sneak in one set of all of these exercises would only take you about 5 minutes. To build muscle and burn calories, try to do three 5-minute mini workouts with these moves in one day. All in all, you’re only working out for 15 minutes.

Personal trainer and co-author of Thin in 10 Weight-Loss Plan Liz Neporent agrees: “When you do these four moves you’re hitting all of your major muscle groups effectively. And they’re efficient because you don’t waste time isolating one muscle group at a time, as some exercises tend to do, and instead work several major muscle groups in tandem. These integrated muscle movements use the body exactly as intended— the way you typically use them in daily activities and when you do sports and fitness activities. This helps you perform better and prevent injuries.”

Want to give it a try? Follow this workout from Burron and Neporent. Start with 1 set of 8 to 15 reps of each move (unless otherwise noted), and gradually build to 2 or 3 sets.

Must-Do Move #1: Chair Dips
Great for toning your triceps and core
Sit on the edge of a sturdy, stable chair with legs together, knees bent and feet flat on floor a few feet in front of chair. Place your hands about six inches apart, and firmly grip the edges of the chair. Slide your butt just off the front of the chair so that your upper body is pointing straight down. Keep your abdominals pulled in and your head centered between your shoulders. Bend your elbows and lower your body in a straight line. When your upper arms are parallel to the floor, push yourself back up, being careful not to lock elbows. Repeat.
Make it easier: Keep feet close to the chair and the dip slow, controlled, and shallow.
Add a challenge: If you’re intermediate, position feet a little farther from chair, and deepen your dip. If you’re advanced, straighten your legs completely, and place heels on floor, or place one or both feet on another chair, bench or exercise ball. Perform deep but controlled dips.

Must-Do Move #2: Push-ups
Great for toning your chest, shoulders, triceps, back, hips, and abs
Start in a basic push-up position with hands directly beneath shoulders and body in a straight line. Bend elbows out to sides and lower body almost to floor (or as far as you can). Keep abs tight and body in a line. Hold for 1 second, then push back up. Repeat.
Make it easier: If you’re a beginner, do push-ups on knees. Keep the movement shallow and controlled. Still too challenging? Start with a push-up on the wall, progressing to the floor as you become stronger.
Add a challenge: If you’re advanced, try lifting one leg off the floor as you do each push-up.

Must-Do Move #3: Squats
Great for toning your glutes, hamstrings and quads
Stand with feet parallel and hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your body into a squat position, as if you are sitting back into an imaginary chair, keeping knees behind toes. Stop when your knees are at 90 degrees. Slowly press through your heels and squeeze your glutes as you return to standing.
Make it easier: Don’t bend knees as deeply
Add a challenge: Add weights, do a single-legged squat, or perform squats on an unstable surface, like a balance disc or Bosu ball. To incorporate cardio, do squat jumps.

Must-Do Move #4: Plank
Great for toning your abs, back, chest, forearms and shoulders
To come into plank pose, hold a push-up position, weight on balls of feet and hands, wrists directly below shoulders, arms straight, and body in line from head to heels. Hold for as long as you can, working up to 1 minute. That’s 1 rep. Do 2 or 3 reps.
Make it easier: Instead of being on hands, lower yourself to your forearms.
Add a challenge: Raise 1 leg off the floor and hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs and hold for another 30 seconds to complete 1 rep. To add variety, try side plank: Lie on your right side with your legs straight, and feet stacked, right hand directly under right shoulder. Lift hips off floor and raise left arm to sky, keeping left hand directly over left shoulder. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Switch sides and repeat to complete 1 rep.

Posted on Monday, September 8th 2014

Source pinoria.com

The 21 Best Places To Retire

Which is to say that, all things considered, nowhere in the world could you embrace a better overall being-retired experience than in Portugal’s Algarve. This Old World region on the Atlantic Ocean, home to more than 100,000 resident expat retirees, is the best place in the world to retire that nobody’s talking about. Portugal’s southernmost province offers the best of Europe, including medieval towns, fishing villages, open-air markets, and local wine, plus some of Europe’s best sandy beaches.

Thinking more practically, the Algarve also offers great weather. This region of Portugal enjoys one of the most stable climates in the world and 3,300 hours of sunshine per year, meaning more sunny days than almost anywhere else in Europe.

The Algarve receives high marks for safety, as well. Portugal ranks as the 17th safest country in the world. Violent crime is rare, and petty crime is limited to street crime during the busy tourist season.

The infrastructure is good and improving. Portugal and the Algarve have enjoyed important infrastructure investments recently, specifically to do with the country’s highway network and airports, making this a great base for exploring all of Europe and Northern Africa.

Portugal’s health care is international-standard, and medical tourism is a growing industry in the region. Thanks to the country’s strong historic and cultural links with England, English is spoken more widely in the country in general and even more so in the Algarve than you might expect.

The Algarve’s 100 miles of Atlantic coastline is punctuated by jagged rock formations, lagoons, and extensive sandy beaches, many awarded coveted Blue Flags from the European Blue Flag Association. The water off these shores is azure, and the cliff-top vistas are spectacular. In other words, you could fill at least some of your days at the beach, swimming, sunning, and boating. In addition, the region boasts 42 golf courses in less than 100 miles and is generally recognized as a top golfing destination in continental Europe, and the world.

You could describe life here as healthy. The Portuguese are the biggest fish eaters per capita in Europe, and fresh fish of great variety is available in the ever-present daily markets. The abundance of sunshine means an abundance of fresh produce, too.

You could also describe life here as very affordable. The cost of living in Portugal is among the lowest in Western Europe, on average 30% lower than in any other country of the region. A retired couple could live here comfortably but modestly on a budget of as little as $1,500 per month. With a budget of $2,000 per month or more, you could enjoy a fully appointed lifestyle in the heart of Old Europe.

Finally, Portugal’s new Non-Habitual Resident and Golden Visa programs mean it is much easier than it’s ever been to establish full-time residency in this country. These retiree- and investor-residency programs are not as benefit-rich or as affordable as comparable programs in the Americas (in Nicaragua, Ecuador, or Panama, for example), but they are very competitive for Europe.

In addition, Live and Invest Overseas’ just-released survey names the following top retirement options, as well:

World’s Cheapest Places To Retire Well

If you’re in the market for a simple but comfortable lifestyle on a modest budget, here’s where you should be focusing your attention, the world’s eight cheapest places to retire well (with, indicated in parentheses, the total monthly budget amount in each case):

Chiang Mai, Thailand ($920)
Cuenca, Ecuador ($1,010)
Dumaguete, Philippines ($910)
George Town, Malaysia ($1,070)
Granada, Nicaragua ($1,040)
Istanbul, Turkey ($1,045)
Nha Trang, Vietnam ($680)
Samana, Dominican Republic ($1,155)
Easiest Residency

Seven of the 21 countries featured in Live and Invest Overseas’ 2014 Index offer user-friendly choices for establishing full-time residency as a foreign retiree, as follows:

Belize
Colombia
Ecuador
Malaysia
Nicaragua
Panama
Philippines
Thailand
In Latin America, retiree residency programs are typically referred to as pensionadovisas. To qualify, you need to prove a minimum amount of regular monthly income from some defined source. The minimum amount required varies country to country, from a bargain $600 (in Nicaragua) to $2,000 (in Belize) per month. Some countries (including Panama and Colombia, for example) stipulate that the income must be pension income (Social Security qualifies); others (such as Belize and Ecuador) are more flexible. You can qualify for Belize’s version of a pensionado visa program (called the Qualified Retired Persons program) by showing reliable income of at least $2,000 per month from any source.

Common benefits of being a pensionado retiree include exemptions from duty when importing personal belongings, household goods, and, usually, your car into the country with you. In addition, Panama, for example, offers pensionados discounts on almost everything they buy while in the country, from hotel rooms, restaurant meals, and in-country flights to doctor visits, prescription drugs, even closing costs when purchasing real estate.

Best Weather

Of the 21 destinations on Live and Invest Overseas’ 2014 Retire Overseas Index list, the following have “ideal” climates:

Algarve, Portugal (which enjoys one of the most stable
climates in the world)
Cuenca, Ecuador (one of a number of places worldwide
that bills itself as a “land of eternal springtime”)
If you appreciate seasonal variety, consider the following six locations, in each of which you could enjoy spring, yes, but summer, fall, and winter, too:

Abruzzo, Italy
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Istria, Croatia
La Serena, Chile
Mendoza, Argentina
Pau, France
If you’re prefer it hot and humid, consider:

Dumaguete, Philippines
George Town, Malaysia
Granada, Nicaragua
Also tropical but less sultry and therefore, generally speaking, more pleasant are:

Ambergris Caye, Belize
Cayo, Belize
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Panama City Beaches (though not Panama City proper, which is unrelentingly humid all year-round…and which also does not appear on Live and Invest Overseas’ list of top 21 choices)
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Best Options For English Only

In Belize, the people speak English. All of them.

This is the only country on Live and Invest Overseas’ Retire Overseas Index list where the language question is so cut and dried.

Anywhere in the world you go these days, you’re going to find folks who speak English. It’s the global language. But where among the world’s top retirement havens (aside from Belize) could you live as a retiree and not have to learn a new language?

Dumaguete, Philippines
George Town, Malaysia
Panama City Beaches, Panama
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The 21 Best Places To Retire

Which is to say that, all things considered, nowhere in the world could you embrace a better overall being-retired experience than in Portugal’s Algarve. This Old World region on the Atlantic Ocean, home to more than 100,000 resident expat retirees, is the best place in the world to retire that nobody’s talking about. Portugal’s southernmost province offers the best of Europe, including medieval towns, fishing villages, open-air markets, and local wine, plus some of Europe’s best sandy beaches.

Thinking more practically, the Algarve also offers great weather. This region of Portugal enjoys one of the most stable climates in the world and 3,300 hours of sunshine per year, meaning more sunny days than almost anywhere else in Europe.

The Algarve receives high marks for safety, as well. Portugal ranks as the 17th safest country in the world. Violent crime is rare, and petty crime is limited to street crime during the busy tourist season.

The infrastructure is good and improving. Portugal and the Algarve have enjoyed important infrastructure investments recently, specifically to do with the country’s highway network and airports, making this a great base for exploring all of Europe and Northern Africa.

Portugal’s health care is international-standard, and medical tourism is a growing industry in the region. Thanks to the country’s strong historic and cultural links with England, English is spoken more widely in the country in general and even more so in the Algarve than you might expect.

The Algarve’s 100 miles of Atlantic coastline is punctuated by jagged rock formations, lagoons, and extensive sandy beaches, many awarded coveted Blue Flags from the European Blue Flag Association. The water off these shores is azure, and the cliff-top vistas are spectacular. In other words, you could fill at least some of your days at the beach, swimming, sunning, and boating. In addition, the region boasts 42 golf courses in less than 100 miles and is generally recognized as a top golfing destination in continental Europe, and the world.

You could describe life here as healthy. The Portuguese are the biggest fish eaters per capita in Europe, and fresh fish of great variety is available in the ever-present daily markets. The abundance of sunshine means an abundance of fresh produce, too.

You could also describe life here as very affordable. The cost of living in Portugal is among the lowest in Western Europe, on average 30% lower than in any other country of the region. A retired couple could live here comfortably but modestly on a budget of as little as $1,500 per month. With a budget of $2,000 per month or more, you could enjoy a fully appointed lifestyle in the heart of Old Europe.

Finally, Portugal’s new Non-Habitual Resident and Golden Visa programs mean it is much easier than it’s ever been to establish full-time residency in this country. These retiree- and investor-residency programs are not as benefit-rich or as affordable as comparable programs in the Americas (in Nicaragua, Ecuador, or Panama, for example), but they are very competitive for Europe.

In addition, Live and Invest Overseas’ just-released survey names the following top retirement options, as well:

World’s Cheapest Places To Retire Well

If you’re in the market for a simple but comfortable lifestyle on a modest budget, here’s where you should be focusing your attention, the world’s eight cheapest places to retire well (with, indicated in parentheses, the total monthly budget amount in each case):

Chiang Mai, Thailand ($920)
Cuenca, Ecuador ($1,010)
Dumaguete, Philippines ($910)
George Town, Malaysia ($1,070)
Granada, Nicaragua ($1,040)
Istanbul, Turkey ($1,045)
Nha Trang, Vietnam ($680)
Samana, Dominican Republic ($1,155)
Easiest Residency

Seven of the 21 countries featured in Live and Invest Overseas’ 2014 Index offer user-friendly choices for establishing full-time residency as a foreign retiree, as follows:

Belize
Colombia
Ecuador
Malaysia
Nicaragua
Panama
Philippines
Thailand
In Latin America, retiree residency programs are typically referred to as pensionadovisas. To qualify, you need to prove a minimum amount of regular monthly income from some defined source. The minimum amount required varies country to country, from a bargain $600 (in Nicaragua) to $2,000 (in Belize) per month. Some countries (including Panama and Colombia, for example) stipulate that the income must be pension income (Social Security qualifies); others (such as Belize and Ecuador) are more flexible. You can qualify for Belize’s version of a pensionado visa program (called the Qualified Retired Persons program) by showing reliable income of at least $2,000 per month from any source.

Common benefits of being a pensionado retiree include exemptions from duty when importing personal belongings, household goods, and, usually, your car into the country with you. In addition, Panama, for example, offers pensionados discounts on almost everything they buy while in the country, from hotel rooms, restaurant meals, and in-country flights to doctor visits, prescription drugs, even closing costs when purchasing real estate.

Best Weather

Of the 21 destinations on Live and Invest Overseas’ 2014 Retire Overseas Index list, the following have “ideal” climates:

Algarve, Portugal (which enjoys one of the most stable
climates in the world)
Cuenca, Ecuador (one of a number of places worldwide
that bills itself as a “land of eternal springtime”)
If you appreciate seasonal variety, consider the following six locations, in each of which you could enjoy spring, yes, but summer, fall, and winter, too:

Abruzzo, Italy
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Istria, Croatia
La Serena, Chile
Mendoza, Argentina
Pau, France
If you’re prefer it hot and humid, consider:

Dumaguete, Philippines
George Town, Malaysia
Granada, Nicaragua
Also tropical but less sultry and therefore, generally speaking, more pleasant are:

Ambergris Caye, Belize
Cayo, Belize
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Panama City Beaches (though not Panama City proper, which is unrelentingly humid all year-round…and which also does not appear on Live and Invest Overseas’ list of top 21 choices)
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Best Options For English Only

In Belize, the people speak English. All of them.

This is the only country on Live and Invest Overseas’ Retire Overseas Index list where the language question is so cut and dried.

Anywhere in the world you go these days, you’re going to find folks who speak English. It’s the global language. But where among the world’s top retirement havens (aside from Belize) could you live as a retiree and not have to learn a new language?

Dumaguete, Philippines
George Town, Malaysia
Panama City Beaches, Panama
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Posted on Friday, September 5th 2014

Source pinoria.com

Low-Carb Diets Are Better For Your Health

A low-carbohydrate diet is better for losing weight and may also be better for lowering the risk of heart disease than a low-fat diet, according to a new study.

While low-carb diets have outperformed other diets when it comes to weight loss, some researchers feared they might be worse for heart health because they tend to be high in fat.

The new study shows that with proper nutritional counselling, people can lose more weight and lower their risk factors for heart disease on a low-carbohydrate diet, said the lead author, Dr. Lydia Bazzano of Tulane University in New Orleans.

“This study shows if you are overweight and have cardiovascular disease risk factors and haven’t had success on other diets, certainly a low-carbohydrate diet is worth a try,” said Bazzano.

Carbohydrates are found in food and include sugar, fibre and starches that give the body energy. Some carbs – like those in whole grains and fruits — are healthier than others — like those in white bread and other processed foods.

Bazzano and her colleagues write in Annals of Internal Medicine that low-carb diets have become popular weight loss strategies in recent years. Studies on their effects on cardiovascular risk factors have produced mixed results, however.

For the new study, she and her colleagues recruited 148 obese men and women between the ages of 22 and 75. None of the participants had heart disease or diabetes.

Half were randomly assigned to follow a low-carbohydrate diet for a year, and the other half were assigned to a low-fat diet for a year. They were told to not change their physical activity throughout the trial.

All participants attended regular meetings where they learned about portion control, healthy eating and overall nutrition. They were also offered one meal-replacement bar or shake per day.

The only difference between the groups was the proportions of carbohydrate and fat in their diets.

Those in the low-carbohydrate group were told to eat at no more than 40 grams of digestible carbohydrates per day. (“Digestible carbs” equals total carbs minus total fiber.)

Those in the low-fat group were told not to get more than 30 percent of their daily energy from fat and no more than 55 percent of their daily energy from carbohydrates.

Overall, about four of every five participants were still following the diets 12 months later.

During that time, the researchers found, people on the low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight and more body fat than those on the low-fat diet.

The difference in lost weight between the two groups would represent about eight additional pounds.

Additionally, the researchers saw no increases in total cholesterol or “bad” LDL cholesterol between the two groups. Bazzano said that’s good news since some thought a low-carbohydrate diet would increase cholesterol levels.

Those in the low-carbohydrate group had lower levels of fat circulating in their blood and had lower scores on a measure often used to predict the risk of a heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years.

“I thought that was a very striking finding,” Bazzano said. She added that the score that predicts risk of future heart attacks and strokes was computed after the study was finished and is less reliable than the other risk factors they measured.

Dr. David Jenkins, who wasn’t involved in the study, told Reuters Health, “This doesn’t look to me to say ‘eat all the meats you want to lower your carbohydrates.’ That’s just one way to do it.”

Instead, Jenkins said, people in this study appeared to improve their overall diets. For example, they were eating foods with healthier fats, such as nuts and beans.

He also said they seemed to eat more fiber and cut down on processed foods with more carbohydrates.

“I think it’s another testament to what one can do with a more plant-based diet using the right macro-nutrient profile,” said Jenkins of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and the Keenan Research Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Bazzano agreed that the overall diets improved among the participants and they were encouraged to eat healthier forms of protein like chicken, fish, nuts and beans.

She also said her team is not sure why people on the low-carbohydrate diets lost more weight and had lower risk factors for heart disease after one year. It’s not clear, she added, if there would still be a difference after a longer period.

Low-Carb Diets Are Better For Your Health

A low-carbohydrate diet is better for losing weight and may also be better for lowering the risk of heart disease than a low-fat diet, according to a new study.

While low-carb diets have outperformed other diets when it comes to weight loss, some researchers feared they might be worse for heart health because they tend to be high in fat.

The new study shows that with proper nutritional counselling, people can lose more weight and lower their risk factors for heart disease on a low-carbohydrate diet, said the lead author, Dr. Lydia Bazzano of Tulane University in New Orleans.

“This study shows if you are overweight and have cardiovascular disease risk factors and haven’t had success on other diets, certainly a low-carbohydrate diet is worth a try,” said Bazzano.

Carbohydrates are found in food and include sugar, fibre and starches that give the body energy. Some carbs – like those in whole grains and fruits — are healthier than others — like those in white bread and other processed foods.

Bazzano and her colleagues write in Annals of Internal Medicine that low-carb diets have become popular weight loss strategies in recent years. Studies on their effects on cardiovascular risk factors have produced mixed results, however.

For the new study, she and her colleagues recruited 148 obese men and women between the ages of 22 and 75. None of the participants had heart disease or diabetes.

Half were randomly assigned to follow a low-carbohydrate diet for a year, and the other half were assigned to a low-fat diet for a year. They were told to not change their physical activity throughout the trial.

All participants attended regular meetings where they learned about portion control, healthy eating and overall nutrition. They were also offered one meal-replacement bar or shake per day.

The only difference between the groups was the proportions of carbohydrate and fat in their diets.

Those in the low-carbohydrate group were told to eat at no more than 40 grams of digestible carbohydrates per day. (“Digestible carbs” equals total carbs minus total fiber.)

Those in the low-fat group were told not to get more than 30 percent of their daily energy from fat and no more than 55 percent of their daily energy from carbohydrates.

Overall, about four of every five participants were still following the diets 12 months later.

During that time, the researchers found, people on the low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight and more body fat than those on the low-fat diet.

The difference in lost weight between the two groups would represent about eight additional pounds.

Additionally, the researchers saw no increases in total cholesterol or “bad” LDL cholesterol between the two groups. Bazzano said that’s good news since some thought a low-carbohydrate diet would increase cholesterol levels.

Those in the low-carbohydrate group had lower levels of fat circulating in their blood and had lower scores on a measure often used to predict the risk of a heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years.

“I thought that was a very striking finding,” Bazzano said. She added that the score that predicts risk of future heart attacks and strokes was computed after the study was finished and is less reliable than the other risk factors they measured.

Dr. David Jenkins, who wasn’t involved in the study, told Reuters Health, “This doesn’t look to me to say ‘eat all the meats you want to lower your carbohydrates.’ That’s just one way to do it.”

Instead, Jenkins said, people in this study appeared to improve their overall diets. For example, they were eating foods with healthier fats, such as nuts and beans.

He also said they seemed to eat more fiber and cut down on processed foods with more carbohydrates.

“I think it’s another testament to what one can do with a more plant-based diet using the right macro-nutrient profile,” said Jenkins of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and the Keenan Research Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Bazzano agreed that the overall diets improved among the participants and they were encouraged to eat healthier forms of protein like chicken, fish, nuts and beans.

She also said her team is not sure why people on the low-carbohydrate diets lost more weight and had lower risk factors for heart disease after one year. It’s not clear, she added, if there would still be a difference after a longer period.

Posted on Tuesday, September 2nd 2014

Source pinoria.com

18 Reasons To Practice Yoga

While pounding on a treadmill, lifting free weights and swimming a few laps are all well and good, yoga exercises the mind and body in a completely unique way. In fact,yoga changes both your body and brain starting the day you begin.

To celebrate its many positives — both big and small — we thought we’d highlight just a few of our favorite reasons to practice yoga:

1. To live in the present. Most of us spend the majority of our time with our phones in our hands, pockets or purses. We rush to and from the office, checking emails and texting as we go. Research shows that we spend almost half of our time thinking about things aside from what we’re actually doing — even though there is happiness to be found when we live in the moment. Yoga offers the opportunity to completely unplug and focus on exactly what’s right in front of you.

2. To sweat. You don’t have to practice Bikram in a 100-degree room to break a sweat. Depending on the type you’re doing, just one hour of yoga can burn nearly 500 calories.

3. For gratitude. Many yogis begin and end their practices by dedicating their time on the mat to someone or something important to them. Can’t we all agree that the world could use a little more gratitude?

4. Because it’s convenient. The $27 billion industry has grown rapidly in recent years — meaning yoga studios are popping up in cities across the country. No matterwhere you live, you’re probably not far from a yoga studio. And even if you live in a super-remote area, you can get your yoga on in the comfort of your living room. All you need is a mat – and even that’s optional.

5. For your brain. Hit the mat to clear your mind. Yoga has been shown to increase brain function right after a practice as short as 20 minutes. It can improve memory and help you maintain focus, too.

6. Two words: yoga pants. Seriously, is there anything more comfortable?

7. For strength’s sake. Holding poses and moving through sun salutations is a fast track to stronger muscles. Yoga has been linked with greater dead-lift strength, for instance. So ditch the weights for a quick yoga session every once in a while.

8. To make new friends. With over 20 million American yogis, you’re bound to buddy up with some mat mates at your local studio.

9. To spend some time solo. Even though you may make friends before and after class, yoga itself is generally an individual practice. Spending time alone allows us a moment to reflect, evaluate and observe. What better place to do it than in Child’s Pose?

10. For your bones. Research shows that yoga can help increase bone density in older adults.

11. Because we all need a little quiet time. Ever get tired of the buzz of treadmills, clank of weights and music blaring from your headphones? Soak up some silence in a traditional yoga class.

12. To stress less. Yoga’s a top-notch stress-buster. Those who practice deep yoga breathing report feeling less stressed. Plus, exercise itself is a known stress-reducer.

13. To spice things up. Want a practice that breaks a sweat and keeps you on your toes? Try Vinyasa. More into the idea of relaxing and stretching? Go for Yin. Love routine? Ashtanga may be your jam. With such a wide variety of yoga styles, there’s something out there for everyone and plenty of opportunities to explore new types.

14. To overcome challenges. The great thing about yoga is that you don’t have to be “good” to start. Each practice is your own, and you’re only competing against yourself to hold poses longer, stretch deeper or increase concentration.

15. It does the heart good. Yoga may help lower cholesterol and blood sugar, in turn lowering risk of heart disease.

16. To gain some flexibility (on and off the mat). Just six weeks of regular yoga practice can significantly increase flexibility, according to research published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. Plus, for many, yoga increases flexibility in perspective by prompting us to master new poses, breathing styles and meditative thoughts.

17. To smile more. Just 12 weeks of yoga can reduce anxiety levels. The less you stress, the more you smile. Plus, exercise boosts happy chemicals in your brain and improves overall mood. It works so well that some doctors recommend exercise to those who suffer from depression.

18. To rejuvenate. There’s nothing quite like coming out of Savasana. You feel stronger, taller, stretched and relaxed. It’s like hitting the refresh button on both your body and brain. Namaste to that.

18 Reasons To Practice Yoga

While pounding on a treadmill, lifting free weights and swimming a few laps are all well and good, yoga exercises the mind and body in a completely unique way. In fact,yoga changes both your body and brain starting the day you begin.

To celebrate its many positives — both big and small — we thought we’d highlight just a few of our favorite reasons to practice yoga:

1. To live in the present. Most of us spend the majority of our time with our phones in our hands, pockets or purses. We rush to and from the office, checking emails and texting as we go. Research shows that we spend almost half of our time thinking about things aside from what we’re actually doing — even though there is happiness to be found when we live in the moment. Yoga offers the opportunity to completely unplug and focus on exactly what’s right in front of you.

2. To sweat. You don’t have to practice Bikram in a 100-degree room to break a sweat. Depending on the type you’re doing, just one hour of yoga can burn nearly 500 calories.

3. For gratitude. Many yogis begin and end their practices by dedicating their time on the mat to someone or something important to them. Can’t we all agree that the world could use a little more gratitude?

4. Because it’s convenient. The $27 billion industry has grown rapidly in recent years — meaning yoga studios are popping up in cities across the country. No matterwhere you live, you’re probably not far from a yoga studio. And even if you live in a super-remote area, you can get your yoga on in the comfort of your living room. All you need is a mat – and even that’s optional.

5. For your brain. Hit the mat to clear your mind. Yoga has been shown to increase brain function right after a practice as short as 20 minutes. It can improve memory and help you maintain focus, too.

6. Two words: yoga pants. Seriously, is there anything more comfortable?

7. For strength’s sake. Holding poses and moving through sun salutations is a fast track to stronger muscles. Yoga has been linked with greater dead-lift strength, for instance. So ditch the weights for a quick yoga session every once in a while.

8. To make new friends. With over 20 million American yogis, you’re bound to buddy up with some mat mates at your local studio.

9. To spend some time solo. Even though you may make friends before and after class, yoga itself is generally an individual practice. Spending time alone allows us a moment to reflect, evaluate and observe. What better place to do it than in Child’s Pose?

10. For your bones. Research shows that yoga can help increase bone density in older adults.

11. Because we all need a little quiet time. Ever get tired of the buzz of treadmills, clank of weights and music blaring from your headphones? Soak up some silence in a traditional yoga class.

12. To stress less. Yoga’s a top-notch stress-buster. Those who practice deep yoga breathing report feeling less stressed. Plus, exercise itself is a known stress-reducer.

13. To spice things up. Want a practice that breaks a sweat and keeps you on your toes? Try Vinyasa. More into the idea of relaxing and stretching? Go for Yin. Love routine? Ashtanga may be your jam. With such a wide variety of yoga styles, there’s something out there for everyone and plenty of opportunities to explore new types.

14. To overcome challenges. The great thing about yoga is that you don’t have to be “good” to start. Each practice is your own, and you’re only competing against yourself to hold poses longer, stretch deeper or increase concentration.

15. It does the heart good. Yoga may help lower cholesterol and blood sugar, in turn lowering risk of heart disease.

16. To gain some flexibility (on and off the mat). Just six weeks of regular yoga practice can significantly increase flexibility, according to research published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. Plus, for many, yoga increases flexibility in perspective by prompting us to master new poses, breathing styles and meditative thoughts.

17. To smile more. Just 12 weeks of yoga can reduce anxiety levels. The less you stress, the more you smile. Plus, exercise boosts happy chemicals in your brain and improves overall mood. It works so well that some doctors recommend exercise to those who suffer from depression.

18. To rejuvenate. There’s nothing quite like coming out of Savasana. You feel stronger, taller, stretched and relaxed. It’s like hitting the refresh button on both your body and brain. Namaste to that.

Posted on Sunday, August 31st 2014

Source pinoria.com

Brown Rice Bowl With Buttery Shrimp, Tomato and Summer Squash

This rice bowl is perfect for when you’re feeling like something healthy…ish. You can use less butter if you really want, but the recommended two tablespoons combine with the soft cooked tomato to make an almost-sauce that coats the rice perfectly. Also, I used short-grain brown rice, but really you can use any kind of rice you like.

Brown Rice Bowl With Buttery Shrimp, Tomato and Summer Squash

Recipe by Christine Byrne

Serves 2 (but you could easily double this)

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 small summer squash (or 1 large summer squash), sliced into coins 1/4-inch thick
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium beefsteak tomatoes, chopped in rough 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (freshly cooked or reheated to warm)
parsley, for garnish (if you want)

PROCEDURE
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add squash coins and spread them out in a single layer over the bottom of the pan (do the best you can, it’s OK if they’re a little crowded). Season with salt and pepper, and let them cook, without stirring or moving them, until the undersides start to blister and turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Stir the zucchini and continue to cook to al dente, about 2 minutes.

Add the chopped tomato, stir everything together, and cook over medium heat until the zucchini is soft and the tomato is starting to break down, about 2 minutes more.

When the vegetables are cooked, move them to one side of the skillet, so that half of the skillet is empty. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the empty half of the skillet, then add the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the underside is opaque and slightly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp, season the other side with salt and pepper, and continue to cook until the shrimp is cooked through, 1-2 minutes more.

When the shrimp are cooked, add the warm, cooked brown rice to the skillet. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon so that the vegetables and shrimp are evenly distributed throughout the rice. The tomatoes will break down even further; this is a good thing and will make your rice taste delicious.

To serve, divide between two bowls. Garnish with parsley, if you want.

Brown Rice Bowl With Buttery Shrimp, Tomato and Summer Squash

This rice bowl is perfect for when you’re feeling like something healthy…ish. You can use less butter if you really want, but the recommended two tablespoons combine with the soft cooked tomato to make an almost-sauce that coats the rice perfectly. Also, I used short-grain brown rice, but really you can use any kind of rice you like.

Brown Rice Bowl With Buttery Shrimp, Tomato and Summer Squash

Recipe by Christine Byrne

Serves 2 (but you could easily double this)

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 small summer squash (or 1 large summer squash), sliced into coins 1/4-inch thick
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium beefsteak tomatoes, chopped in rough 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (freshly cooked or reheated to warm)
parsley, for garnish (if you want)

PROCEDURE
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add squash coins and spread them out in a single layer over the bottom of the pan (do the best you can, it’s OK if they’re a little crowded). Season with salt and pepper, and let them cook, without stirring or moving them, until the undersides start to blister and turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Stir the zucchini and continue to cook to al dente, about 2 minutes.

Add the chopped tomato, stir everything together, and cook over medium heat until the zucchini is soft and the tomato is starting to break down, about 2 minutes more.

When the vegetables are cooked, move them to one side of the skillet, so that half of the skillet is empty. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the empty half of the skillet, then add the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the underside is opaque and slightly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp, season the other side with salt and pepper, and continue to cook until the shrimp is cooked through, 1-2 minutes more.

When the shrimp are cooked, add the warm, cooked brown rice to the skillet. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon so that the vegetables and shrimp are evenly distributed throughout the rice. The tomatoes will break down even further; this is a good thing and will make your rice taste delicious.

To serve, divide between two bowls. Garnish with parsley, if you want.

Posted on Saturday, August 30th 2014

Source pinoria.com

11 Signs You’re With The Person You Should Marry

Do men have biological clocks? Yes, they do! A man can feel the need to grow up and have a family, especially when he finds a woman who inspires those feelings in him. The problem is, how can you be sure the match is a good one?

You’d think the positive signs in a date would be obvious, but with all the excitement, the most important clues can be overlooked. What makes for a great date may not be all you need for a great relationship. This checklist of positive signs will help you evaluate your date in a realistic manner. If you get a lot of these positives, this date might be a good choice for marriage.

1. He has a sense of humor.
Of all the characteristics that are essential for getting through life successfully, a sense of humor has to be in the top ten. But what kind of a sense of humor? Joking at someone else’s expense or at inappropriate times can be counter-productive. Using jokes to avoid taking responsibility for one’s behavior can prevent you from solving problems. The sense of humor you’re looking for is the generous, positive kind that makes life more fun and the tough times easier. If your date can make your laugh and lift your spirits, that talent may help you through some future difficulties.

2. He cares about what you think.
A date who asks for and listens to your opinions and feelings, and better yet, who remembers what you say and builds on it later, and who responds with empathy, sincerity and caring, is someone you can communicate with and therefore, more likely to be able to form a partnership with you. If you pay attention, you can quickly notice the difference between the appearance of caring and real caring. If your relationship is successful, you’ll have years of talking to each other, so find someone who is interesting to talk to and also interested in talking with you. Your date should be able to carry on an interesting discussion on a variety of topics and at least show interest, even if the topic is not something he or she is familiar with.

3. He has an opinion, too.
A truly good conversationalist not only listens to your words and responds, but also has ideas and opinions. Your date should not hesitate to disagree with you or to bring up new topics.

4. He can work things out with you.
Recent research shows that the single most important quality that determines whether a relationship can succeed is how well the couple solves problems. If you have a disagreement while dating, welcome it as an opportunity to see how well the two of work it out together. If you can discuss your differences without becoming defensive or sarcastic, and you can listen to each other and work together toward a solution, your relationship has an excellent chance.

5. He accepts who you are.
A popular book asserts that “Men Are From Mars, And Women Are From Venus,” but I think it’s more that we’re all from different planets. You and your date are unique, special and individual and need to be able to understand each other and accept that you’ll perceive things very differently. Even when you and your date see things differently, you should be able to agree to disagree. Remember, the security and comfort in your relationship will come from where you and your partner are similar, and the excitement and growth in the relationship are generated from your differences. Different interests, opinions, attitudes and ideas will keep things fresh and alive between you. If your date does not become defensive or threatened by your differences, you can be interesting to each other for a long time.

6. He is open. 
The whole point of dating, as we said before, is to get to know each other. While you both may want to take a little time before disclosing too much, your date should be comfortable talking about him or herself, and it should not be like pulling teeth to find out what you need to know.

7. He has a life with a job, friends, family relationships and interests.
A date who has a full, interesting life you would want to be a part of is more likely to be a healthy, balanced person. While it’s important to have some relaxation time and time to meditate or think, a life that includes a good career, hobbies or sports, community service and friends and/or family is reassurance that your date is motivated, focused and able to relate.

8. He seeks out knowledge.
Your date doesn’t need to be a member of Mensa or a mathematical genius, but look for enough intelligence that you can respect and admire each other. There are several kinds of intelligence, from school learning to independent education by reading, working, traveling and life experiences. An airhead who looks good and may be fun to play with will not keep you interested for long. A date who is not interested in learning and growing intellectually may not be able to keep up over the long haul.

9. His modesty, humility and ego are balanced.
As you learn about this new person you’re dating, observe his or her character and personality for signs of a balanced sense of self. If your date can keep success and failure in perspective, admit personal shortcomings, and rise above disappointments and losses, he or she does have a balanced personality and the kind of resilience that can travel through life’s highs and lows and keep it all in perspective.

10. He is emotionally mature.
While it’s fun and charming to be able to be childlike when in a playful mood, it’s essential to be an adult whenever necessary. A date who is responsible, self-regulating, emotionally responsive, motivated, and in control of his or her impulses is capable of being a supportive, fully participating partner — no matter what joys and sorrows, successes and failures you may face in the course of a lifetime.

11. He has a healthy history of relationships.
Of course, if both of you are dating again, your relationship history will probably not be perfect. What counts is whether your date has learned from the problems, confronted his or her own weaknesses and shortcomings and grown as a result of the setbacks. If your date is willing to talk openly about his or her past relationships and can explain what went wrong and how he or she is learning to correct the problems, the difficulties in past relationships can be an asset rather than a liability. If your date expresses a willingness to seek counseling in the event that problems should occur, score that in his or her favor.

Remember, a smart date will be watching for the same characteristics in you. To do well in a relationship, learn to be the partner you would like to be.

11 Signs You’re With The Person You Should Marry

Do men have biological clocks? Yes, they do! A man can feel the need to grow up and have a family, especially when he finds a woman who inspires those feelings in him. The problem is, how can you be sure the match is a good one?

You’d think the positive signs in a date would be obvious, but with all the excitement, the most important clues can be overlooked. What makes for a great date may not be all you need for a great relationship. This checklist of positive signs will help you evaluate your date in a realistic manner. If you get a lot of these positives, this date might be a good choice for marriage.

1. He has a sense of humor.
Of all the characteristics that are essential for getting through life successfully, a sense of humor has to be in the top ten. But what kind of a sense of humor? Joking at someone else’s expense or at inappropriate times can be counter-productive. Using jokes to avoid taking responsibility for one’s behavior can prevent you from solving problems. The sense of humor you’re looking for is the generous, positive kind that makes life more fun and the tough times easier. If your date can make your laugh and lift your spirits, that talent may help you through some future difficulties.

2. He cares about what you think.
A date who asks for and listens to your opinions and feelings, and better yet, who remembers what you say and builds on it later, and who responds with empathy, sincerity and caring, is someone you can communicate with and therefore, more likely to be able to form a partnership with you. If you pay attention, you can quickly notice the difference between the appearance of caring and real caring. If your relationship is successful, you’ll have years of talking to each other, so find someone who is interesting to talk to and also interested in talking with you. Your date should be able to carry on an interesting discussion on a variety of topics and at least show interest, even if the topic is not something he or she is familiar with.

3. He has an opinion, too.
A truly good conversationalist not only listens to your words and responds, but also has ideas and opinions. Your date should not hesitate to disagree with you or to bring up new topics.

4. He can work things out with you.
Recent research shows that the single most important quality that determines whether a relationship can succeed is how well the couple solves problems. If you have a disagreement while dating, welcome it as an opportunity to see how well the two of work it out together. If you can discuss your differences without becoming defensive or sarcastic, and you can listen to each other and work together toward a solution, your relationship has an excellent chance.

5. He accepts who you are.
A popular book asserts that “Men Are From Mars, And Women Are From Venus,” but I think it’s more that we’re all from different planets. You and your date are unique, special and individual and need to be able to understand each other and accept that you’ll perceive things very differently. Even when you and your date see things differently, you should be able to agree to disagree. Remember, the security and comfort in your relationship will come from where you and your partner are similar, and the excitement and growth in the relationship are generated from your differences. Different interests, opinions, attitudes and ideas will keep things fresh and alive between you. If your date does not become defensive or threatened by your differences, you can be interesting to each other for a long time.

6. He is open.
The whole point of dating, as we said before, is to get to know each other. While you both may want to take a little time before disclosing too much, your date should be comfortable talking about him or herself, and it should not be like pulling teeth to find out what you need to know.

7. He has a life with a job, friends, family relationships and interests.
A date who has a full, interesting life you would want to be a part of is more likely to be a healthy, balanced person. While it’s important to have some relaxation time and time to meditate or think, a life that includes a good career, hobbies or sports, community service and friends and/or family is reassurance that your date is motivated, focused and able to relate.

8. He seeks out knowledge.
Your date doesn’t need to be a member of Mensa or a mathematical genius, but look for enough intelligence that you can respect and admire each other. There are several kinds of intelligence, from school learning to independent education by reading, working, traveling and life experiences. An airhead who looks good and may be fun to play with will not keep you interested for long. A date who is not interested in learning and growing intellectually may not be able to keep up over the long haul.

9. His modesty, humility and ego are balanced.
As you learn about this new person you’re dating, observe his or her character and personality for signs of a balanced sense of self. If your date can keep success and failure in perspective, admit personal shortcomings, and rise above disappointments and losses, he or she does have a balanced personality and the kind of resilience that can travel through life’s highs and lows and keep it all in perspective.

10. He is emotionally mature.
While it’s fun and charming to be able to be childlike when in a playful mood, it’s essential to be an adult whenever necessary. A date who is responsible, self-regulating, emotionally responsive, motivated, and in control of his or her impulses is capable of being a supportive, fully participating partner — no matter what joys and sorrows, successes and failures you may face in the course of a lifetime.

11. He has a healthy history of relationships.
Of course, if both of you are dating again, your relationship history will probably not be perfect. What counts is whether your date has learned from the problems, confronted his or her own weaknesses and shortcomings and grown as a result of the setbacks. If your date is willing to talk openly about his or her past relationships and can explain what went wrong and how he or she is learning to correct the problems, the difficulties in past relationships can be an asset rather than a liability. If your date expresses a willingness to seek counseling in the event that problems should occur, score that in his or her favor.

Remember, a smart date will be watching for the same characteristics in you. To do well in a relationship, learn to be the partner you would like to be.

Posted on Wednesday, August 27th 2014

Source pinoria.com