Yoga is a total mind-body experience with amazing physical and mental benefits. There is a reason that Yoga is an ancient practice and has stood the test of time. Yoga not only strengthens our body but it also gives us the opportunity to completely check out of our daily life, unwind and distress.
Here are 8 reasons why you should be doing yoga.
1.)Reduces Stress: By encouraging relaxation and deep breathing, Yoga helps lower the levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. There is an emphasis on quieting the mind in Yoga, which helps reduce stress and worry allowing our bodies to fully relax.
2.)Increases Flexibility & Mobility: Yoga poses increase your range of motion in the joints and allows you to move around more freely.
3.)Builds muscle strength: Yoga engages so many muscle groups by strengthening both the lower and upper body, from your core to your shoulders & arms to your thighs and back. When you build strength through yoga, you also balance it with flexibility
4.)Perfects your Posture:Yoga poses target the muscles that are affected by bad posture. BY strengthening the shoulders, chest abdominals and back, Yoga poses help you stand taller and relieve the discomfort that comes with sitting for long periods of time.
5.) Eases Chronic Pain:Yoga practice can help relieve chronic pain. According to Harvard Medical School, the muscle strength built in Yoga helps protect against conditions such as arthritis and back pain.
6.)Betters your Bone Health:Exercises that work against gravity are more effective in stimulating bone formation. Many Yoga poses provide positive stress for the bones, which helps to maintain or increase their density.
7.) Increases your Blood Flow: One of the strongest benefits of doing yoga is the overall improvement in circulation. The focus on proper breathing increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood. Yoga poses such as inversions, promote venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart. After that, the blood is forced to the lungs for oxygenation.
8.) Improves your Balance: Yoga improves balance and coordination which protects us against falling, a major cause of osteoporotic fractures.
You can choose a yoga style that’s tailored to your lifestyle, such as hot yoga, power yoga, relaxation yoga, prenatal yoga, etc. Whether you prefer to practice at home, in a gym, while watching a DVD or at a yoga studio, there are a huge variety of options available to suit your needs.
Breast cancer is a scary thought and all too many women assume that it won’t happen to them. However the fact is, every ten minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and it is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Most women that are diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50 but younger women also get breast cancer. In fact, 1 in 8 women are diagnosed during their lifetime. If breast cancer is discovered in its early stages, there is a great chance of recovery. This is why it is so crucial for all women to check their breasts on a regular basis for any changes and have their routine Mammograms.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer:
Breast cancer can have a number of symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue. Most breast lumpsare not cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by your doctor.
You should also see your GP if you notice any of the following:
- Change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- Discharge from any of your nipples which may be streaked with blood
- A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- A rash on or around your nipple
- A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.
Even if none of these symptoms present themselves, a doctor should be visited to be sure. All women in the UK are invited for a Breast Cancer Screening (Mammogram) every 3 years. A mammogram examination is painless and only takes about ten minutes and can often detect cancer before any symptoms arise.
Reducing your risk of Breast Cancer:
Cancer is often unpredictable and the causes of cancer are not fully understood, but there are things everyone can do to help reduce their cancer risk or improve their chances of beating the disease if they do get it. What’s more, some of those same behaviours can also help lower your risk for other serious diseases, and boost your odds of living a longer, healthier life.
- Maintain ahealthy weight
- Exercise reguarley
- Have a low intake of saturated fat
- Limit your intake of alcohol
- Avoid Smoking
- Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution
- Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy
Apple Cider Vinegar has been used medically for centuries. Butin recent years, apple cider vinegar has enjoyed a surge in popularity due to its natural remedies for various health problems. This includes weight loss, reduced cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels andheart health.
Not all vinegars are treated equally!
The type of Apple Cider Vinegar that you should be drinking
You need to drink raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar with “Mother” The Mother is believed to be rich in health-boosting proteins, enzymes, acetic acid and healthy bacteria.It forms naturally as raw organic vinegar ferments, which produces a cloudy appearance. If a vinegar looks clear it’s been filtered and pasteurised to remove The Mother and most of its nutrients.
Here are just 8 of the amazing benefits Apple Cider Vinegar
1.) Aids Proper Digestion– Drinking APV can help regulate the amount of acid in your stomach, which leads to easier digestion. Like other fermented foods, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar contains healthy bacteria – the gut-friendly bacteria that helps to keep your digestive system working properly.
2.) Lowers blood sugar levels & fights Diabetes– APV has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity and also helps lower blood sugar responses after meals. Research published by the American Diabetes Association, found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed can reduce fasting blood sugars.
3.) Detoxifies the Liver-Apple cider vinegar flushes the liver, improving its natural blood filtration processes and increasing energy levels.
4.) Helps You Lose Weight– ACV may also help with weight loss as it increases satiety (your feeling of fullness)which can help prevent overeating later in the day
5.) May inhibit the growth of Cancer Cells. Many scientist’s believe ACV has some anti-cancer benefits as it is an alkalizing food that restores the alkaline/acid balance of our body which is important because cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment.
6.) Strengthens your bones – Apple cider vinegar helps aid in the absorption of calcium, which is essential to building stronger bones.
7.) Reduces Free Radicals in the Body– ACV contains antioxidants called polyphenols that fight damaging free radicals in the body. This free radical damage plays a role in cardiovascular disease, cancer, and many other conditions
8.) Lowers Cholesterol– Studies have shown that ACV reduces the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the good cholesterol (HDL) due to the natural antioxidants contained in it.
How to incorporate ACV into your Diet.
The best way to increase your intake of Apple Cider Vinegar is to use it in your cooking, for salad dressings for example. Some people also like to dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage. Common dosages range from 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 ml) to 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) per day, mixed in a large glass of water.
It’s best to start with small doses and avoid taking large amounts, because too much vinegar can cause harmful side effects.
Ever wish you could snap your fingers and make all the stress of your day disappear? There are several ways to relieve stress but in the heat of the moment, sometimes you need something quick and effective to help combat through those intense stress- induced moments. As easy as it sounds, simply breathing can offer an extremely convenient and effective way to relieve stress.
In order to relieve stress, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation response. When stress overwhelms our nervous system, our body is flooded with chemicals that prepare us for the “fight or flight response”. This response can be lifesaving in an emergency situation, however when this response is constantly provoked by everyday life, it can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health.
We can’t avoid all sources of stress in our lives, but luckily we can develop healthier ways of responding to them. There are many ways to invoke the relaxation response. including breathing, meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Here are some really simple and effective ways to help breathe your stress away.
Deep Breathing– This is a powerful technique that you can practice anywhere. It is also known as abdominal breathing and is the cornerstone to most relaxation techniques. Abdominal breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from your head down the neck, through the chest and to the colon. This activates your relaxation response, which reduces your heart rate and blood pressure thus lowering your stress levels. (Source: Harvard Men’s Health Watch, May 2019)
How to do it:
1.) Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
Instead of breathing from your chest, focus on breathing from your belly. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe deeply in through your nose, the hand on your stomach should rise while the hand on your chest should move very little.
2.)Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. Again, the hand on your belly should rise while the hand on your chest should move very little.
3.)Take long slow deep breaths in through your nose and out through you mouth while counting as you exhale. The goal is to take 6 to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day.
Visualisation (Guided Imagery) Deep Breathing- This is a traditional meditation that involves imagining a scene in which you feel most at peace.
How to do it:
1.)Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a place in which you feel calm and relaxed. Try to picture it as vividly as you can and notice all of the things you see, smell, hear, taste and feel.
2.)Take slow regular breaths in through your nose and through your mouth while visualising yourself calm and relaxed in a place you are happiest.
Progressive Relaxation: A technique that eliminates tension throughout your body.
How to do it:
1.)Close your eyes and focus on tensing each muscle group for five to 10 seconds then release upon your exhale.
2.)Start with the feet and toes, then move up to the knees & thighs, glutes, abs, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw, and eyes—all while maintaining deep, slow breaths.
3.)Breathe in through the nose, hold for a count of five while the muscles tense, then breathe out through the mouth on release.
*Note: Dizziness is never the goal. If holding the breath ever feels uncomfortable, slow it down to just
Inflammation is one of the most common causes of chronic and degenerative illnesses. It usually occurs when parts of the body are injured or physically stressed or when there is a virus present. However, it also can occur from environmental, diet, genetics and stress. Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself by signalling to the immune system to heal infection and repair damaged tissue. Inflammation happens to everyone whether you’re aware of it or not. However, when the inflammation becomes chronic it can lead to many serious diseases such as stroke, heart disease, lupus, certain types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune disorders. It is also one of the main drivers of the aging process meaning anything that increases inflammation can also increase ageing.
There are different types of inflammation such as ACUTE; when the body is trying to protect itself from a sudden incident such as an injury or virus and CHRONIC; when inflammation has carried on for along period of time usually because initial cause of the inflammation was not eliminated or thesuppressor T cells don’t call off the immune system after the body has repulsed the invasion.
Here are five cardinal signs that characterize inflammation:
- Loss of Function
Healthy lifestyle tips to keep inflammation at bay:
- Adopt the Mediterranean Diet into you lifestyle, which consists of a moderate consumption of protein mainly fish and a high consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also using healthy oils such as olive oil and consuming healthy grains.
- Increasing your intake of certain substances, such as omega 3 fish oil and curcumin (found in Turmeric) which both has been shown to reduce inflammation.
- Minimize the amount of foods high in saturated and trans such as red meat, dairy products and processed foods containing partially hydrogenated oils. It is also important to limit sugary foods and refined carbohydrates that aid the formation of free radicals. Try swapping unrefined carbs for whole grains for a much healthier alternative.
- Make time to exercise as it is an excellent way to prevent inflammation.
- Manage your stress levels. Chronic stress contributes to inflammation so its important to take steps to keep your stress at a healthy level. Meditation, Yoga, and Deep Breathing Techniques can be effective ways of managing stress.
- Sleep:Getting enough sleep is extremely important. Researchers have found that a poor night’s sleep increases inflammation
By reducing inflammation, it can lead to optimal health and wellbeing. This lowers your risk of disease and can greatly improve the quality of your life.
Here at the Healthy Life Foundation, our focus is to fund medical research into fighting age related diseases so that we can live longer healthier lives. However, creating a longer healthier life shouldn’t be something that we start thinking about when we get older. It should really start from a young age. By maintaining a strong well-nourished body from our youth, it sets us up with a good foundation for preventing diseases as we get older.
As parents, it is so important that we set a good example for our children and instil healthy habits that they will take into their adult years. The sooner we introduce nutritious choices into our kids’ diets, the easier they’ll be able to develop healthy choices that can last them a lifetime. It is actually much easier and less time consuming than you think!
Here are some tips and tricks to get your kids to enjoy healthy food!
- Disguise the taste of healthier foods.Try adding vegetables to a bolognaise sauce and swap normal pasta noodles for whole wheat. You could also mash carrots with mashed potato or add grated or shredded veggies to stews and sauces to make them blend in.
- Make it fun.Sometimes the more creative food looks, the greater chance your children will try it. You can make smiley face whole grain pancakes, name Broccoli florets “baby trees” and use cookie cutters to turn toast & sandwiches into fun shapes.
- Get them involved.If your children become involved in choosing or cooking meals, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve made. You could take them to the store and let them choose the vegetables. If they’re old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables and mix them into a salad.You could also cook simple recipes’ together so that they can be proud of the home cooked meal that they created.
- Cut back on junk.Remember, it is you (not your children) that is in charge of the foods that enter your home. By swapping junk food for healthy snacks, you’ll force your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein.
- Relax and Enjoy.Remember that it’s what your kids eat over time that matters. Having popcorn at the cinema or eating an ice-cream on the seafront are some of life’s pleasures. As long as you balance these times with smart food choices and physical activity, your children will be fine.
Water plays an immense role in our bodily functions making it an essential part of our everyday life.It is crucial for the functionality of every system in our body including our heart, brain and kidneys. The intake of fluids carry nutrients to our cells, flushes bacteria from our bladder, lubricates our joints, regulates body temperature, boosts healthy skin, eliminate toxins, facilitates proper digestion and is vital for kidney function. However, for most of us drinking enough water is not a habit that we make a priority so unfortunately most of us don’t get enough of it.
Our bodies are made up of 60% water and our blood is made up of 90%. So it is incredibly important that we replenish the water that we loose every day performing our normal functions. The current IOM recommendation for people ages 19 and older is around 3.7 litres for men and 2.7 litres for women. This is your overall fluid intake per day, including anything you eat or drink containing water in it, like fruits or vegetables. Of this total, men should drink around 13 cups from beverages and women should drink 9 cups.
Since dehydration can be life threatening, it is important that you replenish your body with water immediately if you feel yourself becoming dehydrated.
Some of the symptoms of dehydration are:
- Irritability and confusion
- Dry skin that doesn’t bounce back when you pinch it
- Low blood pressure
- Urine is minimal and more yellowish than normal
- Tired or fatigued
- Extreme thirst
- Dry mouth, lips & eyes
Common causes of Dehydration
- Dehydration can happen more easily if you have:
- Vomiting or Diarrhoea
- Heatstroke from being in the sun too long
- High intake of alcohol
- High temperature of 38c or more
- High intense exercise that produces a lot of sweat
- Medication that causes frequent urination
As we get older, the more we tend to worry about our health. But undergoing routine health checks can drastically improve the outcome of some age related diseases. Early diagnosis helps save lives as it provides treatment options at the earliest possible stage and often before the disease starts to spread. Methods of screening tests include cancer screenings that search for cancerous cells or tissues within the body. These screenings increase the chance of successful treatment as it helps detect cancer early when it is most likely curable. Studies show that early diagnosis could save between 5,000 and 10,000 lives per year.
It is not just cancer screenings that are important to our health. There are many other health screenings that are just as important such as cholesterol, blood pressure and routine health checks.
Prevention is always better than a cure. Here are 8 tests that could literally save your life.
Bowel / Colon Cancer Screening– Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. More than 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if detected early.
Breast Screenings– More than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive their disease for at least 5 years compared to around the 15% for women diagnosed at the most advanced stage.
Cervical Screening-Cervical screening is a method of preventing cancer by detecting abnormalities and precancerous cells in the cervix. If left untreated, these abnormalities could lead to cervical cancer.
Skin Checks– Keeping an eye on moles is essential for spotting the early signs of skin cancer. Most moles are harmless, but sometimes they can develop into a rare form of skin cancer called malignant melanoma. If you notice any changes in your moles, it is important to see a specialist.
AAA screening– The aorta is the main blood vessel in the body. It pumps blood from the heart around the body. If a swelling in the aorta is left to get bigger it could burst, causing life threatening bleeds inside the stomach. An abdominal aortic aneurysm won’t have often have symptoms so the test can pick up an AAA before it bursts.
Cholesterol Checks– High levels of cholesterol can build up in the arteries, which increase your risk of heart attack, cardiovascular diseases or stroke so it is incredibly important to have your cholesterol levels checked.
Prostate Check– Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. If there are any causes for concern such as an increased need to urinate, straining or not feeling emptied after urinating. Men can be offered a PSA blood test that measures the level of PSA and may help detect early prostate cancer.
Blood Pressure Check– High blood pressure can put you at risk for multiple conditions such as heart failure, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and may also be responsible for some types of dementia. This is a common test that is incredibly important and could even save your life.
You can usually expect to receive a letter from your GP or local authority inviting you foran NHS Health Check or Screening. But for more information, contact your GP with any questions or concerns.