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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.

 

Healthy Sleep Tips For Children

Keeping your child to a regular bedtime routine can be difficult, but it can help improve the quality of their sleep.

For some children, irregular sleeping hours can be problematic. Setting a regular bedtime schedule can really help children get the right amount of sleep.

It’s important to devise a routine that works for you and your child and to stick to it.

“Keep regular sleeping hours,” says Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council, a non-profit organisation that provides advice on good sleep. Follow these sleep tips for children to bring it to the next level.

“A bedtime ritual teaches the brain to become familiar with sleep times and wake times,” she says. “It programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.”

 

Relaxation techniques to aid sleep

Winding down is a critical stage in preparing your child for bed. There are many ways for them to relax:

  • A warm (not hot) bath will help their body reach a temperature where it’s most likely to rest.
  • Relaxation exercises, such as light yoga stretches, will help relax their muscles.
  • Relaxation CDs work by relaxing the listener with carefully chosen words and gentle hypnotic music and sound effects.
  • Reading a book or listening to the radio will relax their mind by distracting it from any worries or anxieties.

 

Avoid TVs in the bedroom

The bedroom should be a relaxed environment.

Experts say that bedrooms are strongly associated with sleep, but that certain things weaken the association. These include TVs, mobiles/smartphones and other electronic gadgets, light or noise, and a bad mattress or uncomfortable bed.

Try to keep your child’s bedroom a TV-free zone and get them to charge their phones and other devices downstairs. That way they’ll be out of temptation and won’t disturb them if a text or email comes through.

Read more about how keeping your teen’s bedroom free of electronic contraptions can boost their sleep.

 

Get a comfy bed

“It’s important to create an environment that’s favourable for sleep,” says Alexander. “Keep the bedroom just for sleeping.”

The bedroom needs to be dark, quiet and tidy. It should smell fresh and be kept at a temperature of 18-24°C. Jessica adds: “Fit some thick curtains. If there’s noise outside, consider investing in double glazing or, for a cheaper option, earplugs.”

A comfortable bed is essential. Research by The Sleep Council shows that a good-quality mattress and bed frame will give you an extra hour’s sleep a night.

Dr Chris Izikowski of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, who led the research, says people benefit from changing their bed if it’s uncomfortable. “It’s likely that long-term insomniacs and those with inadequate sleep habits would benefit most,” he says.

 

Keep a sleep diary

One of the first things your GP or sleep expert will get you to do is to keep a sleep diary for your child as part of diagnosing any sleep problems.

“The sleep diary might reveal some underlying conditions that explain sleep problems, such as stress or medication,” says Alexander.

A sleep diary might reveal lifestyle habits or experiences in your child’s day-to-day activities that contribute to sleep problems.

A sleep diary could include answers to the following questions:

  • What were your child’s sleeping times?
  • How long did it take them to get to sleep?
  • How many times did they wake up during the night?
  • How long did each awakening last?
  • How long did they sleep in total?
  • Did they do any exercise shortly before going to bed?
  • Did they take any naps during the day or evening?
  • Has anything made them anxious or upset?

Healthy is the New Skinny

Every year, the top New Years Resolutions goals are to lose weight for many people hoping to turn a new leaf and improve their self image. However, many of those resolving to shed the extra pounds by dieting end up unsuccessful – sometimes in a matter of a few weeks – and fall back to their old habits.  So we ask you the question- what if these resolutions got shifted to getting HEALTHY instead?

Many of those who embark on the journey of weight loss get frustrated when results aren’t fast- which is why they often give up.  However, if the goal were switch to being healthy- by making the healthy lifestyle choices of good nutrition, regular exercise, and mental balance- they would all be more likely to stay inspired, and on track with their goals.

Media and society gives us all unrealistic perceptions and expectations about body image, blurring the line between being skinny and being healthy.  We open magazines and see unattainable models that more than likely have to starve themselves to stay a sample size.  On the other side of the spectrum, we idolize body builders and professional athletes that often use steroids to enhance muscular physique and performance.  Neither of these ideals is healthy and both have long term negative repercussions on the body.

As we hear more about the obesity epidemic in America, it’s important to understand why weight loss resolutions can often be the wrong way to go. Instead, shifting the focus to overall health – not necessarily on losing weight – is a more attainable and approachable way to reach our healthiest forms.

Here is the downfall of focusing on losing a certain number of pounds or reaching a certain weight:

  • It fuels the yo-yo dieting cycle
  • It can harm your mental and physical health
  • It can perpetuate a cycle of weight loss and weight gain
  • It places emphasis on external appearance rather than internal health
  • Dieting implies restriction and deprivation, with pitfalls such as increased hunger, cravings and a sense of loss
  •  It usually only leads to temporary change and a return to the previous eating patterns
  • The term diet often implies that there is a start and an end- Healthy Living is truly a never-ending lifestyle change!

Here at Health Fitness Revolution, we challenge you to change your approach by focusing on adopting lifestyle changes that lead to long-term health improvements.

Here’s how to make positive changes to your health:

  • Don’t focus on the weight on a scale- focus instead on specific aspects of your health and the actions you need to take generate healthy outcomes.
  • Create positive, healthy habits, such as regular and moderate exercise, drinking a lot of water, eating more vegetables, start an active hobby with friends or family, take time to relax and meditate…
  • Focus on appreciating your body. Most people seem to have areas of their body that they just don’t like which hampers self-esteem and body confidence. Build your self-esteem by recognizing all the amazing things your body does for you, such as your abdominal area providing protection for your internal organs, your legs for supporting and carrying your body all day long, and your arms for important things like brushing your hair or hugging a loved one. When you appreciate your body you’re more likely to take good care of it.
  • Be grateful- to yourself.  Look back at your accomplishments and milestones of your journey. Reminding yourself of your strength is key to staying motivated
  • Don’t get discouraged- it took many years for you to get unhealthy- so realize that it will take time to get to your health goals.
  • Just because you ate unhealthy or didn’t workout today doesn’t mean it’s okay to wait until next Monday to get on the right track again.  Think of it like this, let’s say you’re traveling down the road and you realize you’ve made a wrong turn.  Would you continue and turn around next Monday?  Never- because you know the longer you wait to turn around, the further away from your destination you become.

Now is the time to shift our focus to health, rather than weight, by changing diet-mentality into health-mentality. Welcome to the Health Fitness Revolution!

 

Foods for Healthy Hair and Nails

A great diet really plays a large role in how healthy, glossy, and strong your nails and hair become.  Food is the purest way to get the vitamins and minerals that boost your health- certain foods have even been used for thousands of years in ancient beauty regimes.  While there’s no magic food that will keep us looking forever young, but diet, lifestyle, and attitude does affect how your skin looks and ages.

 

Health Fitness Revolution brings you a list of nutrients and foods to include in your diet to promote healthy hair and nail growth:

 

  • Fish and Omega-3 Rich Foods: About 3% of the hair shaft is made of these fatty acids, but your body can’t make them, so it’s important to get them through your nutrition. Salmon, herring, avocados, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are all great natural sources of Omega-3.
  • Chicken and other Protein:  Skin, hair and nails are mostly protein. These proteins – keratin, collagen and elastin – ward off wrinkles and provide strength and elasticity.  Get your skin-boosting protein by including at least one serving of lean meats, chicken, seafood, legumes or eggs and two serves daily of low-fat dairy products.
  • Eggs:  Not only are eggs a great source of protein, but they are also loaded with four key minerals: zinc, selenium, sulfur, and iron. Iron is especially important, because it helps cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles, and too little iron (anemia) is a major cause of hair loss, particularly in women.
  • Spinach:   loaded with iron, folate, beta carotene, and vitamin C, it helps keep hair follicles healthy and scalp oils circulating.  Other dark leafy vegetables such as kale and collard greens also offer the same nutrients.
  • Greek Yogurt:  look for low-fat options of Greek yogurt, which are high in protein, and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid — an ingredient often seen on hair care product labels).
  • Blueberries and other Vitamin C Foods:  Blueberries are nutrient powerhouses!  Vitamin C is critical for circulation to the scalp and supports the tiny blood vessels that feed the follicles. Too little Vitamin C in your diet can lead to hair breakage.  Other foods high in Vitamin C are kiwis, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes.

 

Exercise for Healthy Skin

It’s hardly news that exercise is great for your heart, lungs, and mental outlook. Here’s another reason to get moving: Regular exercise is one of the keys to healthy skin.

“We tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skinhealthy and vibrant,” says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

If you have dermatological conditions such as acne, rosacea, or psoriasis, you may need to take special care to keep your skin protected while exercising. But don’t let skin problems prevent you from being active. Here’s why.

By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. “Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin,” says Marmur. In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells. Contrary to some claims, exercise doesn’t detoxify the skin. The job of neutralizing toxins belongs mostly to the liver. “But by increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system,” Marmur tells WebMD. “You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside.”

Exercise has also been shown to ease stress. “And by decreasing stress, some conditions that can be exacerbated by stress can show some improvement,” says Brian B. Adams, MD, associate professor and director of the Sports Dermatology Clinic at the University of Cincinnati. Conditions that can improve when stress is reduced include acne and eczema. Although researchers are still investigating the link between stress and skin, studies show that the sebaceous glands, which produce oil in the skin, are influenced by stress hormones.

Regular exercise helps tone muscles, of course. That doesn’t have a direct affect on skin, dermatologists say. But firmer muscles definitely help you look better overall.

The Healthy Skin Workout

For all its many benefits, however, exercise can pose risks to your skin. Fortunately, protecting your skin is easy.

“The main danger if you exercise outdoors is sun exposure,” says April Armstrong, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California, Davis. Sunburns increase skin cancer risk and rapidly age the skin, erasing any benefits your skin might get from exercise. The best advice is to avoid exercising outside during peak sun time, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

If you have to work out during peak sun time, however, wear sunscreen. “A lot of athletes are reluctant to put on sunscreen because it gets into their eyes when they sweat and stings,” says Marmur. “But new Ph-balanced sunscreens are now available that don’t sting.” If you have naturally oily skin or problems with acne, choose a gel or oil-free product or the latest innovation, powder laced with SPF protection.

Don’t count of sunscreen alone to protect you, however. “Sweating can remove the sunscreen that athletes put on and there is evidence that sweating actually increases the chance of burning,” Adams tells WebMD. “After athletes sweat, it takes 40% less ultraviolet rays to burn than when they are not sweating.” For added protection, wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible and a hat to shade your face, if possible.

Another skin problem that can arise during activity is chafing, which can cause rashes. For people prone to acne, the irritation and increased perspiration caused by tight-fitting workout clothes may lead to a form of acne aptly called acne mechanica. “The two keys to prevention are to wear moisture-wicking clothing, such as bras and hats, to keep skin drier and cooler and to shower immediately after exercising,” says Adams. Wearing loose-fitting workout clothes can also help. Make sure your skin is clean before you work out to prevent clogged pores that lead to acne. Avoid wearing makeup when you exercise. After showering, apply a soothing skin moisturizer or powder to help prevent skin irritation.

Rx for Exercise-Related Skin Problems

Several other skin conditions can be exacerbated by physical activity, including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. That’s no reason not to exercise, dermatologists say. The benefits of exercise outweigh any temporary problems it can cause. And there are simple strategies to prevent flare-ups when you work out.

For rosacea sufferers, increased body temperature and the skin flushing that accompany exercise can cause flare-ups. The best strategy, dermatologists say, is to exercise in a cool environment. “One of the best choices is swimming, since the water keeps skin cool even when you build up body temperature,” Marmur told WebMD. (Be sure to moisturize your skin afterward, however, since chlorine has a drying effect.) Brisk walking in an air-conditioned mall or waiting until the cool of the evening to jog outside are other good options. “If you do get flushed and overheated while exercising, apply cool compresses to problem areas of the skin immediately after your workout,” says Andrea Cambio, MD, a private practice dermatologist in Cape Coral, Fla.

Eczema or psoriasis sufferers can also experience flare-ups after strenuous activity, usually caused by salt from perspiration. Marmur recommends spreading on a moisturizer before a workout to provide protection from sweat. Be especially careful to moisturize your arms and legs and areas with skin creases, such as underarms and groin. If possible, exercise in a cool environment to reduce perspiration and the need for showering after exercise. Washing too often can cause dryness and exacerbate eczema and psoriasis.

“Physical activity can definitely pose a challenge, but we encourage all our patients with psoriasis and eczema to exercise to improve their overall health,” says Armstrong. Despite the occasionally temporary flare-ups, she adds, many patients see their conditions improve in the long term.

 

Originally published on WebMD

20 Healthy Facts about Garlic

Garlic is one of our personal favorite addition to dishes because it brings flavors out naturally- but Health Fitness Revolution also found 20 Healthy Facts about Garlic that you might not have known:

  •  Garlic is has both antibacterial and antiviral properties. It helps control bacterial, viral, fungal, yeast and worm infections.
  • Fresh garlic is thought to play a role in preventing food poisoning by killing bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella enteritidis, etc.

  • The chemical ajoene found in garlic may help treat fungal skin infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot.

  • It can help with toothaches! Simply putting some crushed garlic clove directly on the affected tooth can help relieve toothaches due to its antibacterial and analgesic properties. But be aware that it can be irritating to the gum.

  • Daily intake of garlic has been found to lower risk of most types of cancer. This anti-cancer property is due to allyl sulphides found in garlic. PhIP, a type of heterocyclic amine (HCA), has been associated with increased incidence of breast cancer among women. According to studies, diallyl sulphide found in garlic inhibits the transformation of PhIP into carcinogens.

  • Ferroportin is a protein which helps in iron absorption and release. Diallyl sulphides in garlic increase production of ferroportin and help improve iron metabolism.

  • Garlic regulates blood sugar as it enhances the level of insulin in the blood. This may assist in the control of diabetes. Seek medical advice if you believe the use of garlic could help your condition.

  • Garlic is a great source of vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy immune system and the efficient growth of new cells. Vitamin B6 can also assist with mood swings and improve your cheery disposition

  • Garlic contains high levels of iodine which makes it a very effective treatment for hyperthyroid conditions. Treatment with garlic has been shown to greatly improve this condition.

  • Garlic strengthens the immune system as well as helps to fight chest infections, coughs and congestion. An old folk remedy is to eat a clove of garlic that has been dipped in honey at the first sign of a cold. Why not try it?

  • Garlic triggers the liver to release toxins from the body, while at the same time protecting the liver from harm. Garlic is great for clearing out and maintaining healthy lungs and stomach.

  • Garlic improves heart health in many ways. It thins the blood to diminish and protect against clots, allows iron to flow better through the body and opens up vessels. It protects the vessel walls as well. Studies have shown that it may help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

  • Garlic helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

  • Garlic’s Allicin is also responsible for destroying fungi. Many use garlic as a means of eliminating fungal infections.

  • A study found that those who eat high amounts of garlic were less likely to have osteoarthritis.

  • Garlic regulates the cardiac rhythm of the heart, helping to avoid Arrhythmia. This is beneficial for people who have accelerated heart rate and Cardiac Arrhythmia.

  • Garlic is a great muscle relaxant.

  • Garlic works as a great lung decongestant helping to loosen the harmful, infectious secretion of bronchial tubes. Garlic plus some Chilli pepper work as good expectorants.

  • Garlic is highly diuretic due to its essential oils and its low molecular weight sugars.  This means that it reduces water retention in the body.

  • Cloves of garlic have been used to get rid of Oxyuriasis (intestinal worm) in children, working quite well to completely eliminate amoebas.

Think Yourself Healthy!

Your powers of make-believe can help you control cravings, get motivated to work out, and even improve your vision, according to several recent studies. Turns out you really can think yourself healthy! Keep reading below to find out how:

“If you imagine an experience, the brain stimulates itself in the same way as if you were doing it,” says Joachim Vosgerau, co-director of the Center for Behavioral Decision Research at Carnegie Mellon University. Try these techniques to harness your mind’s superpowers.

To curb cravings

Distract yourself

In one study, volunteers were able to reduce food hankering by imagining a rainbow or the smell of eucalyptus.

To get to the gym

Envision your workout

Taking a few minutes to conjure up what your sweat session will feel like (pounding heart and all) may make you more likely to get off the couch.

To boost confidence

Stand like a rock star

Researchers found that striking a confident stance actually stimulates a hormonal response that can make you feel more self-assured in minutes.

To improve your eyesight

Pretend you’ve got 20/20 vision

Study participants who took on roles associated with perfect eyesight, such as a pilot, showed marked improvement in vision tests compared to those who didn’t.

Who knew pretending could be so powerful?

Originally published on health.com

10 Tips for a Healthy Weekend

The weekend is the perfect time for relaxation, fun, and family time!  However, oftentimes, we tend to put our healthy options on the back burner during the weekends because we feel like having fun is more important.  We need to remember that being truly healthy is a lifestyle choice, and that even during weekends, we can all make healthier choices to ensure consistency within our healthy lifestyles.  Here are Health Fitness Revolution‘s 10 Tips for Healthy Weekend:

  • Active Eating:  Choose à la carte restaurant over a buffet to avoid over-eating. Restaurants with a pool or dance floor are great weekend destinations. A picnic spot or a resort where you can play different games like badminton, cricket, basketball are also great destinations to spend your weekend in a healthy way.
  • Start your day off Right:  Start your meal with a plate full of salad, not only is it full of nutrients, but it will also curb hunger and keep you from over-eating. Use low calorie dressing for your salad like lemon and vinegar with olive oil. These alternatives are better than using mayonnaise or any other ranch style dressings.
  • Order Wisely when Eating Out:  For starters, order dishes which are grilled, baked and steamed instead of those that are fried. For a main course, choose lean meats, chicken and fish such as salmon and trout instead of lamb or beef. Order at least two side dishes of vegetables. Dishes with tomato, pesto or spinach sauce are great choice over those with white or cheese sauce. For more healthy options while eating out, read our article here.
  • Order Healthy Desert:  Order a plate of fruit instead of ice cream.  Instead of ordering individual portions of desserts, order one and share with the group.
  • Small Portions are Key:  Moderation is the key to keep those extra calories off. Instead of opting for bigger portions, take small portions at one time.
  • Sit Far from the Buffet:  If your eating at a buffet, serve yourself, step aside from the buffet, and enjoy your meal. Standing too close to the buffet spread can lead  to overeating.
  • Take Time for Yourself:  Take time out of the weekend for yourself, so you can chill out, gather your thoughts, and relax.
  • Move, be Active:  A swim before the meal or dancing with your loved one or friends over the Sunday brunch is not only fun but also helps in burning lots of calories. A game of frisbee, football or volleyball at a beach or a resort is perfect to unwind after the tiring week and also helps you connect with your loved ones.
  • Try New Social Gatherings: Weekends should not be about food but rather they should be about spending fun time with your loved ones. A movie/ TV-series marathon with friends along with healthy food options: some baked tortillas or popcorns or fruits & salads, a visit to a comedy theatre or play, a game of basketball or football, a trip to the beach or an early morning trek are just as amazing options to spend you weekend in a healthy way.  A house party with home cooked food or a cook-off at your place with friends (especially with themes like raw food party, healthy eating, low fat cooking) are also great away of making those Sundays exciting.
  • Start Fresh on Monday:  After the amazing weekend, it is very important to get back to regular eating patterns and diet from Monday. To make up for the extra calories consumed during your weekend, consume a high protein, low carbohydrate diet dinner (steamed or baked) chicken, low fat cottage cheese, egg white preparations, split green-gram (moong-adal) pancakes) for  two days after that amazing weekend.

 

6 Things to STOP Doing to Be Healthy

Sometimes getting healthier isn’t about the choices you’re making, it’s about the choices you should stop making. To live your best, healthiest life, try to add some of these tips to your health and fitness routine- here are 6 things to stop doing to improve your health!

1. Stop with the excuses. 

Everyone has the same amount of time, and to give you some tough love: people who are busier than you are finding time to workout. Do away with the energy-defeating excuses and create time in your day to exercise. You’ll feel so much better after you do. 

2. Stop skipping workouts. 

Working out on the occasional Thursday isn’t going to keep you healthy. Come up with an exercise plan that works for you and stick to it. Maybe you do cardio three times a week and strength training twice a week. Or maybe you’ll power walk a couple days a week and swim laps on weekends. Get exercise on your calendar most days of the week, and give yourself one day to skip instead of skipping six.

3. Stop self defeating thoughts.

If you say, I don’t like exercise, guess what? You won’t like exercise. Approach it from a different angle instead. Ask yourself: What exercise would I enjoy? What form of activity will motivate me to do it each day because I like it? Maybe it’s playing soccer with your kids or going for a walk with your neighbor. You have endless options—play a sport, join a gym, take a ballroom dance class, swim, hike, ice skate or rollerblade. No matter what your age or physical ability, there is something out there for you. You just need to find it.

4. Stop ignoring strength training. 

You don’t need an at-home gym or free weights to build muscle, there are many resistance training exercises you can do with your own body weight and you can always incorporate good, old fashioned push-ups. Try some squats and lunges. Don’t forget the plank position too—it’s a great strength builder for your whole body.

5. Stop mindless eating. 

Pay attention to what you eat and why. Instead of losing yourself in the fridge for comfort, ask yourself what’s going on with you instead. Slow down. Decide to eat healthy first and once your appetite is satiated, you probably won’t be craving to overindulge.

6. Stop skimping on sleep.

You need eight hours of sleep a night for your health. You also need it for your waistline. When you don’t get enough sleep, it drives down leptin levels, which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. And a lack of sleep causes ghrelin levels to rise, which stimulates your appetite and you get hungrier. With eight hours of sleep, you’ll be well rested and more likely to make great decisions—to do or not to do—for your health. Eat from our list of foods that improve sleep.

What are you going to STOP doing for your health?

 

Originally published on MindBodyGreen

Why Music is Healthy

In photo: Ares Max Becic

We all react to various types of music differently.  Some songs make us happy, some sad, some nostalgic, some motivated- but whatever the emotion, it moves us.  We all know how music can make us feel, but do we know why?  Science has come a long way in recent years in explaining just how music affects our brains, our bodies, our health.

 

Music can motivate us:  Music can help us work-out.  Don’t believe it?  Try running to a slow song you don’t like.  Now try running to a song that’s upbeat and you love.  We guarantee that you went faster and felt better running to a song you love.  Here’s why: a study at Brunel University in West London has proven that music can help increase endurance by as much as 15 per cent by helping to lower the perception of effort during exercise, as well as increasing energy efficiency by between 1-3%.  HFR recommends picking an up-tempo song that you can match your stride to, like a metronome, to keep yourself in pace over long distances.

 

Music can alter our moods:  While the brain is complicated, and there are many aspects that are involved in feeling of happiness and pleasure, it shouldn’t a surprise that research suggests dopamine release is triggered by music.  Researchers at McGill University in Montreal showed that listening to pleasurable music of any choice induced ‘musical chills’, which caused the release of the feel-good, happy chemical dopamine. So plug your MP3 player into your ears, and lighten your mood!

 

Music enhances our mental health: Music therapy is a technique that is becoming increasingly popular because there are two ways it can be beneficial:  either for its inherent healing and restorative qualities or as a means of self expression and communication.

 

Music helps us de-stress: Next time you’re feeling stressed, try and de-stress with some music instead of fuming internally. The therapeutic benefits of listening to music are widely known, so listening to one of your favorite songs can help reduce anxiety and be incredibly soothing.

 

Music helps us focus:  If you go into your phone’s Application marketplace, you will notice several companies offer Apps that signal specific sound waves to help focus, concentrate, or even wake up.  This is done by helping the brain cortex to generate specific brain waves, and inducing different states of alertness.  Slow, alpha-frequency brain waves encourages our brains to calm down if we are anxious or stressed, whereas if we help our cortex produce faster beta-frequency waves, we are more able to focus our attention and concentrate on a lengthy task.