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The Importance of Good Posture

Everyone can remember their mother correcting them with “Stand up straight!” and “Don’t slouch!” And honestly, mom was right all along- there are medical reasons why good posture is so fundamental to good health.

 

Health Fitness Revolution did some research and here’s what we found:

 

  • Avoid Health Complications: Over time, slouching increases your chances of having a spinal disc slip, back pain, back aches, decreased blood circulation, and chest pressure.  Improper posture takes a toll on muscles and joints in nearly all areas of the body. It can cause pain and limited range of motion in your neck, shoulders, back and hips, and lead to or exacerbate problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrists.
  • Facilitates your Breathing:  There’s a reason pilates, yoga, and meditation exercises pay so much attention to posture- because it helps you breathe.  Close your eyes, slouch, and breathe.  Now consciously pull your shoulders back and breathe, there should be a noticeable difference in the amount of air your lungs take in.  Having good posture opens your airways and facilitates your respiratory organs in their task- which is good for your health.
  • Increases thinking power and concentration: Our brains require 20% oxygen to function properly.  Therefore, by increasing your posture, you facilitate your breathing and take more oxygen in.  Since oxygen is food for the brain, and you are providing more oxygen to it, you have more power for thoughts and ideas.
  • Feel Better About Yourself:  If you consciously adjust your posture now, we guarantee you will notice a difference in how you feel.  When you have good posture, you naturally have more self-confidence, which boosts feelings of self-worth, contentment, and happiness.
  • Improve your Image:  When you feel confident and happy, you portray an attractive image of yourself to others and make a good impression.  People with good posture are viewed as more confident, assertive, and intelligent.

 

So stand up, look forward, pull your shoulders back and be healthy as you take on your day!

Health Benefits of Relaxing in Nature

It’s natural human instinct to pine for the outdoors, and it’s due to a primal instinct that is still ingrained in our psyche to yearn for the relief of the open.  But it comes down to more than just instinct, there are physical benefits to leaving the city lights and breathing fresh, clean air.

 

Research is increasingly illuminating the rich and measurable benefits of being in nature.  And the beauty of it is that nature has no set formula: some of us like to fish, hunt, hike, kayak, jog or simply take pictures of the perfect sunset.

 

  • Feel Better Emotionally: We all know how we feel when we do our favorite outdoor activity, exhilarated, calm, relaxed, fortified, and restored.
  • Feel Better Physically: Time spent in nature is associated with a decrease in blood pressure, sympathetic nerve activity, and heart rate.
  • Have a Better Workout:  Several studies have shown that having a “green” workout leaves subjects feeling increased energy, greater revitalization, less depression, and less anger when they exercised outdoors versus exercising indoors.
  • Feel Better Mentally:  Being outdoors replenishes voluntary attention, help those with ADHD, enhances brain connectivity for more efficient focus.

 

All the research also points to the fact that time in nature most powerfully nurtures us when we’re most “at risk” – of disease, depression, or desperation.

 

So whether you take an outdoor vacation, simply take an afternoon trip, or step outside your office for a lunch break in a public park, it’s important to expose yourself to the health benefits of nature on a regular basis.  Health Fitness Revolution recommends being outdoors at least twice a week for an hour to start noticing the benefits long-term.

 

Stress Kills

Healthy Fitness Revolution wrote this article to explain why it is important to remain positive.  Everyone gets stressed out and overwhelmed at times, but we all need to remember to take a step back, relax, and stay healthy!  Whether it’s work, finances, children, family or not enough time- we all need reminders on why it’s important to keep stress at bay.

 

Not only is stress the #1 indirect killer in the US today, but it is also a large reason behind those stubborn pounds you have been trying to lose for years.

The science behind this statement lies in the hormone cortisol.  When stress becomes chronic and prolonged, the brain activates and triggers your adrenal glands to release cortisol- which is normally released in specific rhythm throughout your day.  It is usually high in the morning to get you going, and tapers off in the late afternoon to get you sleepy for bedtime.

 

Now the issue lies when you get stressed and increase your absolute cortisol levels, which in turn disrupts the natural cortisol rhythm.  It is this broken cortisol cycle that wreaks havoc on your body and weight.

  • it raises your blood sugar (which can lead to diabetes)
  • make it harder for glucose to enter your cells
  • reduced DHEA, testosterone, growth hormone and TSH level
  • makes you hungry and crave sugar
  • makes your cells less sensitive to insulin
  • causes hormone imbalances
  • reduces your ability to burn fat
  • increases belly fat and fat in liver
  • increases the rate at which you store fat
  • raises the level of fatty acids and triglycerides in your body

While exercise is a powerful tool in reducing a lot of chronic stress, it is also very important for you to put less pressure on yourselves and take things in stride.

 

We want everyone to take some enjoyment for working out, and use these tools for the empowerment and betterment of yourselves.

 

So even if remembering all our tips and the new exercises seem daunting at first.  Please do not stress or panic. Taken one step at a time, they will become easier and second nature with time and patience.

 

Today, do something you love and treat yourself, because every ounce of stress you let go of, you’re becoming healthier- and thinner!

 

The Health Benefits of Massage

Massages aren’t just relaxing, they are associated with many health benefits when performed by a licensed professional.  There have been many scientific studies that prove, through blood tests, that regular massages reduce inflammation, help with autoimmune conditions,  decrease stress hormones, and boost the immune system.  Here are the Health Benefits of Massage:

 

  • Ease Pain: 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain, and studies show that a massage can greatly reduce back pain, stiffness, and improve range of motion- especially in those with osteoarthritis.
  • Curb Depression and Anxiety: Massages reduce the stress level cortisol, which result in reduced blood pressure and improved mood.  Massages also boost the hormones of dopamine and serotonin, which are involved in depression.
  • Improve Sleep:  Most people have fallen asleep during a massage- and there’s a reason for it!  Massages affect delta waves, which are the waves linked to deep sleep.
  • Boost Immune System: Research has shown that massages lead to increased white blood cell count, which combat disease and boost your immune system.
  • Raise Alertness: In a particular study, those who enjoyed a 15-min massage were more alert and completed math questions faster than a control group that had not had a massage.
  • Beauty Benefits:  Massages lead to increased blood-flow, which plumps skin, promotes healing, and helps the body rid itself of toxins through the lymphatic system.
  • Reduce Headaches:  Many headaches are due to tension, and getting regular massages will loosen neck muscles and stress levels, which can help those who regularly suffer from migraines and headaches.
  • Cancer Treatment Supplement: Because massages are known to relieve pain, anxiety, stress, depression, and nausea, massages can ease those that are going through rigorous treatment of illnesses.

 

Health Fitness Revolution recommends getting 1 to 2 massages a month in order to experience the full range of health benefits.

 

Eliminate Soda!

We have already focused on why water is great and needed in our bodies.  Now it’s time for the ugly truth about sodas, and why it’s important to stay away- and hopefully eliminate- them completely.

PH of soda = pH of Vinegar

No matter who makes the soda, it is pretty much the most acidic beverage you can buy, with it’s pH ringing in at about 2.5, about that of vinegar.  Acid oxidizes whatever it comes in contact with- in the case of soda- that’s your teeth, your esophagus, your stomach, your intestines, your bladder.  If you put rusted metal (such as a penny) into soda, it will dissolve the rust, making the penny look new again.  This weakens your immune system, your bones, your organs. Why would you want that in your body?

Your tooth enamel is highly weakened by the combination of sugar and acid in soda.  The acidity initially weakens the protective enamel, making it far easier for the sugar to attack the tooth and cause cavities.  This cycle over time, on a daily basis, it bad news for your oral health.

Each additional soda you drink increases risk for obesity by 1.6 times

Now for the weight gain aspect to soda ingestion.  The relationship between soft drink consumption is so directly correlated that researchers have calculated that based on average consumption, sodas add 20 lbs to your frame every year.  Each additional soda consumed over what is deemed “average” adds 5 lbs a year to the initial 20.

The health of your children

As parents, it is our job to be an example to our children and keep them healthy.  In studies, teens who consume sodas are three to four times more likely to fracture their bones than teens who do not drink sodas.  Children who drink sodas from a young age also displayed an inability to compensate themselves with the proper nutrition at mealtime, leading to caloric imbalances, and obesity in the long run.

Diet soda is just as bad- if not worse!

For those of you indulging yourselves with diet soda instead of regular sugar filled soda- the news isn’t much better.  In fact, it’s worst.  By consuming a liter of aspartame-filled soda, you are poisoning yourself with methanol, the chemical your body produces when you consume artificial sweeteners.

The other artificial sweetener, saccharin, is a petroleum derivative that when tested on animals over the years, has caused cancer in the bladder and female reproductive organs.

So yes, with diet soda you forgo calories in exchange for poisonous levels of methanol and a chance at various cancers.  Not a good trade!

Just remember that you get NO nutritional value from a soda, only bad side effects! And with so many great, healthy alternatives, you truly need to steer away from sodas.  Try freshly brewed tea, or freshly brewed iced tea (not preservative filled bottled teas such as snapple!), coconut water, juice with water, and water with lemon!

So before you grab a soda, please remember all the bad things mentioned above and go for a healthier alternative.

 

New Breath Test detects Stomach Cancer

A quick and simple breath test can diagnose stomach cancer, study findings reveal.

 

Scientists from Israel and China found the test was 90% accurate at detecting and distinguishing cancers from other stomach complaints in 130 patients.

 

The British Journal of Cancer says the test could revolutionise and speed up the way this cancer is diagnosed.

 

About 7,000 UK people develop stomach cancer each year and most have an advanced stage of the disease.

 

Two-fifths of patients survive for at least a year, but only a fifth are still alive after five years, despite treatment.

 

Currently doctors diagnose stomach cancer by taking a biopsy of the stomach lining using a probe and a flexible camera passed via mouth and down the gullet.

 

The new test looks for chemical profiles in exhaled breath that are unique to patients with stomach cancer.

 

Cancer appears to give off a signature smell of volatile organic compounds that can be detected using the right technical medical kit – and perhaps even dogs.

 

The science behind the test itself is not new – many researchers have been working on the possibility of breath tests for a number of cancers, including lung.

 

But the work by Prof Hossam Haick, of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, suggests it is a good way to spot stomach cancer.

In the study, 37 of the patients had stomach cancer, 32 had stomach ulcers and 61 had other stomach complaints.

 

As well as accurately distinguishing between these conditions 90% of the time, the breath test could tell the difference between early and late-stage stomach cancers.

 

The team are now running a bigger study in more patients to validate their test.

 

Kate Law, director of clinical research at Cancer Research UK, said: “The results of this latest study are promising – although large scale trials will now be needed to confirm these findings.

 

“Only one in five people are able to have surgery as part of their treatment as most stomach cancers are diagnosed at stages that are too advanced for surgery. Any test that could help diagnose stomach cancers earlier would make a difference to patients’ long-term survival.”

 

As originally published on BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21671455

 

Health Benefits Of Including Your Dog In Fitness Workouts

Studies have continually shown that working out with a partner increases your motivation and the likelihood that you will actually stick to your training program. But finding a reliable, training partner who’ll motivate you consistently and never cancel is a challenge.  We know of a partner who will never come to you with “I’m tired”, “I’m busy”, “I’m not feeling well”… and that’s your very best friend – the family dog!

 

Here are the “Health Benefits Of Including Your Dog In Fitness Workouts” from HFR team and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic

 

  • You’re healthier for owning a dog:  Studies are now proving that dog owners are more likely to exercise regularly and to be fitter and healthier than their pooch-free peers. New research from Michigan State University reports that people with canine companions are 34% more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week than are folks with either other pets or none at all.
  • Dogs can do more for you than a treadmill: A big part of motivation is that when you interact with your dog, endorphins rise and stress levels fall. This emotional connection definitely gives an extra boost to your workout.
  • You’re more active because of your dog: Research shows that dog owners often log in twice as many workouts—they don’t see taking the dog out as a sweat session, so they still spin and lift.  A University of Missouri study found that overweight participants who walked dogs for 20 minutes five days a week for a year lost an average of 14 pounds.  If you include some light jogging, frisbee throwing, and tug of war, you can rev your metabolism up even more!
  • Your pooch will push you: You will never find anyone more excited to workout than your dog- so much so that studies reported that people who walked with their dogs increased their speed by 28 percent over 12 weeks, while those who strolled with a human friend got only 4 percent faster.  Your dog will never complain or be discouraged!
  • Dogs will keep you on a routine: Dogs are creatures of habit- which means that even if you try and forget to go on a regular morning run, you’re dog won’t, he will let you know in his way that it’s time to get off the couch.
  • Try new activities: Dogs love adventure, many will love to hike, bike, swim, or even watch you while you do bootcamp!
  • Borrow a dog: Even if you can’t own a dog because of where you live, or don’t want the responsibility, you can still get the health and emotional benefits by volunteering at a shelter and walking/playing with the dogs and fostering them on the weekends.
  • Listen to your dog: Some breeds are more active than others so it’s important to watch for sign of exhaustion in your dog and listen to his needs.  Try not to run on very hot black pavement and make sure he stays hydrated and happy!

 

Laughing is Healthy

We all know how we feel after a good laugh- let’s be honest, nothing balances us out and brings us back to a harmonious state than a good, real, hearty laugh.  It’s almost as if instantaneously, laughter dissipates all stress, pain, and conflict.  Laughter is so contagious that it can connect you to others, lighten your burdens, inspire your hopes, and keep you grounded, focused, and alert.  In case you’re wondering why laughter is so therapeutic, Health Fitness Revolution breaks it down:

 

  • Laughter Triggers Endorphins: which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.  They are known to give a sense of overall well-being and even temporarily relieve pain!  Endorphins curb anxiety, worry, fear, and stress.
  • Laughter Relaxes: laughter leaves your muscles relaxed for 45 mins afterwards, leading to less stress and physical tension.
  • Laughter is Good for your Heart:  laughter can help protect you from cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks by improving circulation, blood flow, and improving blood vessel function.
  • Laughter Boosts Immune System: Laughter improves the body’s resistance to diseases by increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies while simultaneously decreasing stress hormones.
  • Laughter Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Laughter gives a Workout:  Have your abs ever been sore from laughing hard?  That’s because every time you laugh, your abdominals and diaphragm contract- giving you a mini-workout!
  • Laughing increases Learning and Memory:  in a John Hopkins Medical School study, results showed that laughter during learning led to higher test scores.
  • Lowers your Blood Sugar Levels:  One particular study tested a group of diabetics.  After a large meal, they were immediately subjected to a tedious lecture.  The next day, after the same large meal, they watched a comedy- and their blood sugar levels were significantly lower on the day they laughed after their meal.

 

Stretch Your Way to Better Health

Stretching is widely viewed as a part of fitness and fitness routines- pilates and yoga both combine stretching with strength training in a utilitarian way.  And while people will debate whether or not stretching prevents injury,  there is no doubt that stretching is good for health in many different ways:

 

  • Eases Stress:  Stress causes your muscles to contract, becoming tense. This muscle tension has negative effects on almost every part of your body. When this happens, it is important to stretch to relax the muscle and cause the release of endorphins, which not only boost your mood but also aid in stress elimination.
  • Increased Range of Motion:  Stretching regularly increases flexibility and range of motion in your joints, which promotes increased balance and motion throughout an entire lifetime.
  • Flexibility:  The 4 main measures of overall fitness are: aerobic, muscular, body composition and flexibility.  The way to increase flexibility is stretching- which becomes increasingly important as you age because your muscles become shorter and tighter.  Short and tight muscles cause restriction that make you more susceptible to tendon, muscle, and joint injuries.
  • Increase Blood Circulation:  Stretching increases blood flow to muscles, which bring an oxygenated supply of nutrients to muscles and cartilage.  This means, stretching reduces muscle soreness and accelerates muscle repair.
  • Eases Lower Back Pain: There are so many muscles that play a role in posture (quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back muscles and hip flexors), that stretching these muscles can greatly reduce or even eliminate the lower back pain that so many of us suffer from.

Tips for Stretching:

  • Ease in and hold for 10-15 seconds/ 30 seconds if you’re over 50
  • Breathe out as you go further into the stretch
  • Listen to your body, you should not be feeling sharp pain
  • Don’t bounce in your stretch, hold it- bouncing can lead to little muscle tears
  • Repeat- it is beneficial to do the same stretch 2 to 3 times
  • Don’t compare yourself to others and work at your own pace.  You will get more flexible with consistency and time.

 

Natural Remedies to Allergies

It’s that time of year, when you wake up with swollen eyes, sniffles, and dry coughs- it’s the time of year of allergies!  Since we never recommended you to develop dependencies to over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, we have made a list of natural ways to alleviate allergies:

  • Drink More Water:  Many allergy sufferers will feel some relief as soon as they drink 2 or more glasses of water at once.
  • Eat Simple:  Eat as minimally processed foods (in their most natural form) as often as possible.
  • Avoid Exercising Outside During Peak Pollen Times: It is often most high in the morning, so push that workout back to later in the day.
  • Eat More Omega-3 Foods:  A german study found that participants who ate  Omega-3 rich foods had less allergy symptoms.  Omega-3s help fight inflammation and can obtained by eating walnuts, cold-water fish, and flaxseed oil, as well as grass-fed meat and eggs.
  • Honey:  For centuries, the medicinal properties of honey has been used to alleviate allergy symptoms. Add to warm tea as warm liquids help with chest and nasal congestion. Make sure to purchase honey which is locally produced to get the best benefits of this amazing remedy!
  • Sleep:  Get 7-8 hours a night so that your body can heal itself and rest.  The more rest your body gets, the more efficient it becomes at fighting inflammation and mucus buildup from allergens.
  • Raw, Organic, Apple Cider Vinegar: Taking a tablespoon of raw, organic, apple cider vinegar (ACV) every morning (before going outside) blocks our body’s histamine reaction and it reduces inflammation.  For even more of a boost, mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar  in warm water with a tablespoon of raw honey.
  • Eat Probiotics: this will boost your immune system and make your body more efficient at combatting allergies.  Probiotics can be found in yogurt, kombucha, and supplements.
  • Essential Oils:  lavender, lemon balm (melissa), peppermint, blue tansy (or roman chamomile), lemongrass, and eucalyptus are great for relieving allergy symptoms.  They can either be diffused or mixed with coconut oil and applied to the body.
  • Don’t Line Dry Your Clothes: especially outside, this allows allergens and pollen to become imbedded in the fabric and worsens allergies.  If you need to line dry clothes, do so inside.
  • Sleep With Windows Closed: Placing in fan of an open windows pulls allergens and pollen into the house.
  • Invest In A Humidifier: Water droplets bind to the allergens, and they get heavy and fall to the floor so you don’t inhale them.
  • Netti Pot: Can be found in health food stores and is a natural way to cleanse your nasal passages from pollens, pollution, dust, and a variety of allergens.  Only for use in adults.