Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Guide to Birthstones

 
   A lot of people believe that wearing their birthstone will give them good luck and protect them. Ancient civilisations even thought that these stones have magical powers. Although at first gems were associated with zodiac signs, in time they became associated with calendar months. Today people wear all types of stones, regardless of their month of birth. If you wish to find out what your birthstone is and what powers it supposedly has, read the following list.

January - Garnet
   If you are a January baby, garnet is your birthstone. This gem comes in every colour except blue, so you can find a green, pink, and orange garnet amongst others. It reportedly gives its wearer protection from nightmares and cures snake bites and food poisoning.

February - Amethyst
   This variety of quartz comes in pale lilac to deep purple hues. It is also a durable stone and comes in all shapes and sizes. It is believed that amethyst prevents intoxication and is a symbol of peace, protection and tranquillity. Since royals have always loved the colour purple, this gem was often worn by ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and can even be found in the British Crown Jewels.

March - Aquamarine
   Due to its sea blue color it is said that this stone protects sailors, which makes it an ideal gift for someone who often goes on cruises. Wearing aquamarine should bring you love and affection and it is a symbol of youth, hope, and health.

April - Diamond
   It is not a coincidence that engagement rings usually contain diamonds. This stone has been the traditional symbol of love since ancient Greece. Most people are familiar with colourless diamonds, but there are also coloured ones that come in green, red, pink, blue, canary yellow and amber hues. They are more expensive than regular ones.

May - Emerald
   The famous green stone supposedly cures poor eyesight and infertility and even helps the wearer to predict the future. If you wish to own this gem, make sure you properly protect it from scratches, sharp blows, and household chemicals.

June - Pearl
   This gorgeous product of oyster's defence mechanism over bacteria (not a grain of sand!) comes in a wide range of colours. It is a symbol of modesty, chastity and purity.

July - Ruby
   Beautiful red stone is known as the "Lord of the Gems" because of its rarity and it is said that it protects its wearer from all kinds of misfortune. You can find more information on this gem on https://moonmagic.com/blogs/news/july-birthstone

August - Peridot
   People born in August should wear peridot as an amulet against all evil. It has a lively lime green colour and is available in larger sizes.

September - Sapphire
   Although blue sapphire is very popular, this gem comes in other colours such as pink, green, orange, and golden yellow. Interesting fact – Princess Diana’s engagement ring was with a blue sapphire. In the past it was believed that this gem refused to shine when worn by the wicked.

October - Opal
   While white opal has a white body colour with flashes of various colours black opal has a dark body with vivid flashes of colour. It is a symbol of hope, innocence, and purity and medieval writers believed this gem could make its wearer invisible when needed. One gem to rule them all!

November - Topaz
   The most popular topaz is a golden yellow gemstone, but it also comes in other colours, such as red, light green, blue, and pink. The Greeks believed that this stone restored sanity, cured asthma, gave strength and relieved insomnia.

December - Turquoise
   When it comes to turquoise, colours range from sky blue to blue-green and apple green. This gem was used in the 16th century as currency by the Southwest Indians who believed that it could bring winnings to the warrior, animals to the hunter, and happiness to everyone.


Would you wear your birthstone?
I certainly would - but I adore garnets, anyway!



Tuesday, 22 September 2020

How to Adopt a Calmer Way of Life

   Is it time for you to start living life a little differently? If you’re someone who’s overwhelmed by life and want to take a step back, there are plenty of ways in which you can change your mindset. It’s not about just taking time to relax but also about living life in a different way and adopting a calmer way of operating. Here are some great examples of how you can do exactly that.

Trust Yourself
   Sometimes, you just need to trust yourself and your own instincts. There are right and wrong ways to treat yourself in life and if you’re too harsh and you’re constantly doubting your decision-making for no good reason, you’re only likely to cause yourself unnecessary stress and that’s never a good thing. It’s a shift in mindset that more of us should adopt.

Rely More on Those Around You
   Relying on those around you and not trying to do absolutely everything yourself is not something that should be seen as a sign of weakness. For your own wellbeing, you should reach out when you need help and rely on those around you when necessary. That applies to your colleagues at work and your friends and family in your personal life as well.

Change Your Outlook
   Changing your general outlook and how you look at life is one of the major challenges you’ll face as you start trying to lead a calmer lifestyle. Knowing when it’s alright to feel insecure and when you need to stop fretting and stressing out about things will give you a much more healthy way of dealing with the new challenges you face each day.


Try Essential Oils and Other Options
   There are lots of ways to relax and there are some products that make it easier for you. Essential oils are great for helping to relax your mind, and you might also want to try other options. If it’s available in your area, you could make use of CBD oil; and to find out how much to use, this guide to CBD oil dosage will give you the information you need.

Take One Thing at a Time
   If you’re the kind of person who tends to multitask, it’s best to curb that instinct and instead focus on one thing at a time. By instead taking one thing at a time, you’ll be able to ensure you get things done properly and don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to juggle a range of different tasks at the same time because that only leads to stress and burnout in the end.

   There’s a lot to be gained from leading a calmer life and cutting out as much day to day stress as you possibly can. By following the advice above, you’ll be able to go about adopting a calmer and more laid back way of life and hopefully stop stressing over things that don’t warrant it.




Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Moving Towards A Whole New You - Transform Yourself Through Movement

   There are so many benefits to moving your body! Of course, many people tend to focus on weight loss first, and I'm not saying that it isn't a worthwhile path to walk, if that is what you want. However, there are numerous other advantages to getting your body moving than just seeing the numbers on the scale decrease. In fact, you can read all about the most important ones in my detailed post below.



Mental Wellbeing

   Whatever activity moving your body means to you, one of the biggest things you can benefit from is the boost in mental wellbeing that it can provide. Yes, that's right whether it's going to the gym, or dancing around your living room, movement is one of the best things you can do for your mental wellbeing.

   That right moving your body can actually make you feel happier because exercise releases happy hormones known as endorphins. In fact, as you can see from the meta analysis at psychiatryonline.org many studies by scientific types have been done on this topic. With most of them demonstrating that regular aerobic exercise such as running, aerobic DVDs, or a dance class can be just as effective in raising and imitating mood as some medications.
   Therefore the next time you feel a little down, and you like to be able to transform your mood, why not try hitting the gym? It may just be the quickest way to feel like a whole new you.


Mindfulness

   Another excellent benefit of mindfulness is that it can promote bodily awareness. After all, even if you are moving fast, you'll need to be aware of what your body is doing and how it is feeling to prevent injuries and collisions.
    Of course, you don't have to move super fast all the time to get the benefits of mindfulness from movement. In fact, many people find it much easier to get in touch with their body when they are exercising and moving it more slowly. That is why there are so many forms of moving meditations like yoga, tai chi, Qigong and the like.

   In particular, as the post at theyogaspace.co.uk confirms, yoga can be an excellent choice for combining movement and mindfulness. This is because it is an activity that is made up of many different poses or asanas designed to allow the body to stretch, twist and unwind.
    In fact, while many people think that the aim of yoga is to force themselves into the positions and contort the body as much as possible, its real purpose is to become more aware of your own physical limits and slowly and with awareness expand these over a period of time. Something that can really help to promote a more positive and understanding relationship between the person practising it and their body.


Fitness

   It's pretty obvious, but moving your body more regularly is also going to improve your fitness. In fact, even a little exercise every day can work wonders here. However, if you want to fast track your route to being the fitness individual possible, there are some ways to optimize your experience.
    One of these is to find a site like expertpt.co.uk and work with the professional personal trainer you will find there. The advantage of this being that they can create bespoke training and nutrition plans that will help you reach your goals much quicker.


   The real kicker is that you can do all of this online and from home. Therefore even if you aren't a fan of the gym, you can be sure of effective and fast results.


Confidence

   Another way that movement can transform you if you let it is by fostering a much higher sense of conviction. I'm not talking about the confidence that sometimes comes along with losing weight or building big old biceps either. Although they can feel pretty good too.
    Instead, the type of confidence that I am talking about is that sense of surety that comes with knowing you can set a goal for yourself and follow through and achieve it. That is you know you have the courage and commitment to persevere, even when things get tough.

Picture located at Pixabay - Licence CC0

   In fact, as the post at 366daysofrunning.com suggests, exercise has a beautiful way of showing up our limits and that with time and application, we can push through these. With many long term exercisers finding that while the mind may be screaming for you to stop it is still possible to carry on. Something that demonstrates mental strength and endurance and can be carried into other areas of our lives.


Balance

   Finally, when it comes to transformation, exercise can do one more wonderful thing for us - improve our balance. After all, many activities require not only strength and effort but also agility as well.
For example, you may experience balance training in movements that work your core and legs. This being something that can have a knock-on effect on improving posture, breathing, stability, and gait.

Image sourced at Pixabay - Licence CC0

   It's also an excellent idea to work on your balance because it can really make a big difference to how well any of your other workouts go. That is, if you have a strong core and good bodily awareness, you can complete the other movement activities you do in the safest way possible.


Final thoughts

   Many posts on movement and exercise will claim that by engaging in fitness activities, you can transform and be a whole new you. However, they often focus only on the physical weight transformations involved and neglect to discuss all the other benefits there are to include more movement into your regime.
   Benefits such as developing confidence in your own abilities and resolution, and refining your sense of balance. Then there is the increase in bodily mindfulness you can benefit from when exercising regularly. Not to mention the boost in mental health that is well proven in the scientific literature.
   Finally, while weight loss can be crucial to many, increasing your level of fitness and mastery can also be hugely beneficial as well. So what are you waiting for? With so many incredible benefits, we can all improve our lives and make significant transformations by fitting in even a little more movement today!



Friday, 12 June 2020

Health & Fitness: An All Over Body Guide

   When it comes to our bodies health, sometimes we overlook the most essential parts. We all know we should be looking after our hearts and taking regular exercise, but there are other parts of our bodies that we need to look after as we get older. From your head down to your toes, are you taking care of yourself?


   Eye health is essential. We only have one pair of eyes, and loss of vision in either of them is life-changing. Many of us spend hours on a computer, and this can be stressful for your eyes and damage them. It can lead to issues with sight and trouble focusing.
   Our diet is essential when it comes to keeping our eyes healthy. Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day will help your body to keep your eyesight healthy. Eating a diet of sugary and processed foods can lead to diabetes which can lead to blurred vision and even blindness. You also need to stay hydrated. When we are dehydrated our body can’t rebuild the cells, we need to keep everything working. A dehydrated body will channel all its efforts into keeping your heart beating and other essential body parts working; this means your eyes, skin, hair and nails will all suffer. Drinking eight glasses of water a day will help this and reduce your risk of any eye issues.
   There are also exercises that you can do to help keep your vision sharp. They will keep your eye muscles in top condition and help you to focus too. You should make regular visits to your optician and make sure your prescription is up to date. Wearing the wrong glasses can put a considerable strain on your eyes, so make sure that you immediately see your optician if anything changes. As we grow old, it can become common to need progressive lenses to help regulate our eyesight. Visit your optician at least once a year for an all-over eye health review.

   Our gums and teeth are also essential. Cosmetically, it can be extremely upsetting if your teeth become rotten or you develop gum disease. To keep on top of your gum health, you need to have regular visits to the dentist. They can advise you of any issues that you have and help you to fix them.
   You should brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing your teeth isn’t as simple as giving them a quick scrub in the morning. You need a good quality toothpaste and to clean your teeth with small circular movements for at least two minutes. Then you should floss between them to remove any small bits of food that have built up during the day. This will protect your gums and help reduce the risk of gum disease. Invest in a good quality mouthwash, your dentist will advise you of the best one. This will also help to protect your enamel and keep your teeth looking whiter, and healthier for longer.

   Our joints and bones become fatigued, especially if we are sitting still for long periods, or we have a high impact sport such as running. Joint health is one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to body health, yet it can be one of the most debilitating problems we experience in later life.
   Increasing the strength of your muscles can reduce the stress on your joints, so including a weight training regime into your exercise plan can help ensure you stay supple and healthy. You should also eat a diet with plenty of protein and calcium. Try sticking to a whole-food diet with lots of leafy green vegetables and plant proteins. If you can’t drink dairy, then there are lots of other ways to get calcium such as eating broccoli or cabbage and even small fish such as sardines or pilchards.
   You should look at exercises that keep your joints moving too—everything from making small circles with your ankles to wiggling your toes at night. If you notice any strange noises or feel any grinding in your joints then get to a medical centre straight away, the sooner you deal with joint issues, the better your outlook is. 

   Our gut health also really matters. It can be affected by many things, including diet and exercise. If we aren’t eating the right foods, then our body will have a hard time breaking down foods or maybe breaking them down too quickly. This can lead to issues such as diarrhoea or stomach cramps. Irritable bowel syndrome is becoming more common and can cause problems in our day to day life leaving us to feel depressed and lacking in energy.
   A whole-food diet with plenty of fibre is essential for good gut health, but you also need to ensure you have plenty of good bacteria in your stomach too. You can help aid your body to produce these by taking a good probiotic. Either in a natural live yoghurt or a supplement. This will help ensure that your stomach is working efficiently and can keep your digestion in peak condition. Fibre gives our stomach something to break down and helps to move the waste products through our system efficiently. This will ensure that we are regular with bowel movements and help keep us feeling healthier, lighter and more active.
   If you have any issues with your digestion, it’s worth seeing a dietitian who can help to discover if you have any food intolerances. Unlike a food allergy, an intolerance doesn’t cause you to have distinct extreme reactions. It could leave you feeling lethargic, cause a breakout on your skin or give you a constantly running nose. Intolerances can give you severe stomach cramps and could be the cause of any irritable bowel syndrome symptoms too.

   Our skin covers our whole body and protects our vital organs from the outside. Many of us focus on looking after our faces to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, overlooking the rest of our skin. However, our arms, legs and back are all exposed to threats on a daily bases, so keeping all-over skin health is essential.
   The sun is one of the most significant issues for our skin. Although we should be absorbing the sun's rays to help us get vital vitamins and to improve our overall wellbeing, going out without skin protection on can lead to cancer and premature ageing. Make sure you use an all-over body moisturiser with a high SPF factor to keep your skin healthier for longer. You should also exfoliate your skin once a week, using a salt scrub or similar. This will help to keep it soft and will stimulate the cells. It will also remove any dead cells and support your body in regeneration. It is an excellent time to look over your skin and see if you notice any lumps and bumps or moles that are increasing in size or are new. Then make sure you speak to a doctor straight away if you see anything different.

   Health and fitness is more than just getting outside and taking regular exercise. You need to look after every element of your body to ensure you get longevity. Sleep and hydration are two of the best areas to start, so if you can’t make immediate changes to your lifestyle, try to ensure you are getting enough rest and water every day. Your body will thank you for it!



Monday, 8 June 2020

Should You Try Pre-Workout Supplements? Here are the Pros and Cons to Consider

   Whether you’re at the beginning on your fitness journey or you regularly workout each day, you might have moments when you’re lacking the energy levels required for an intense session. And when this happens, you might start looking for a way to improve it.
   As part of this, you may come across pre-workout supplements. Offered by a range of different companies (take muscle rage for example), these supplements feature a selection of different ingredients that are designed to improve athletic performance and boost energy. Available typically in either a powder or tablet form, it’s usually recommended that you take them around 1 hour before your workout. 

   If you’re considering these, it’s important, however, to identify the key pros and cons that come with using them so that you’re always in the know. It’s your body after all, so you don’t want to put anything in it that won’t benefit you in the long term.
   So to help guide you, here are some of the top advantages and potential downsides to pay attention to:



The Pros

A Performance Boost

   One of the biggest advantages that many people claim is that pre-workout supplements help to improve stamina and performance. So if you’re lacking motivation in the gym or on your daily run, then it might be worth taking a pre-workout supplement to give you a much-needed boost.
   Many articles and studies throughout the years have showcased this improvement, indicating that they can make workouts last longer.


Increases Alertness

   Alongside a boost in performance, pre-workout supplements are said to increase alertness. Similar to caffeine, by improving focus you’ll be able to have a better workout.
   Motivation and alertness are vital, no matter what exercise you’re doing. So if you’re feeling like you need a helping hand with this, then it might be time to invest in some pre-workout supplements. Just make sure that you follow the guidelines on the bottle, and fully research into the ingredients before taking them – as people can react differently to them.


It’s More than Caffeine

   Although they are similar to caffeine in the sense that they will allow you to focus better, supplements are so much more than the energy-boosting drink. Containing a combination of various nutrients and vitamins, they work with your body to deliver exceptional athletic performance.
   Of course, every supplement is different. So it’s a good idea to look into what each of the ingredients can do for you before purchasing them.

The Cons


They Can Dehydrate You

   Unfortunately, although they can contain many beneficial vitamins and nutrients that help the body, they can also act as a diuretic. This means that they increase the chance of dehydration, as they’ll make you go to the toilet more regularly.
   Giving you a performance boost for a while, before easing you back into how you were feeling beforehand, they aren’t a great solution if you’re looking for long-term results.


You May Become Immune To Them

   Following on from the above, after some time of using them you may find that you become immune to their ‘powers’. Becoming less effective, your body will automatically get used to them, leading you to try and find another way of improving your alertness and performance.
   This is why it’s usually recommended that you only use supplements when you really need them – not every day when you try and workout.


Should You Try Them?

   Like most things, pre-workout supplements won’t work for everyone. And if you’re frequently finding it difficult to workout, it might not be the best solution.
   Before trying supplements, you should therefore try and ensure that you’re maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep every day and fully hydrating yourself. However, with the numerous studies that back up their potential, it’s fair to say that they can be a worthy solution in some circumstances.
   As everyone is different, it’s important to identify what works for you and you alone. Every fitness journey is unique – from the amount of exercise you do each day to your diet. So by laying out what your goals are at the start of the process you’ll be in a much better position.


Final Thoughts

   So, there you go! Those are some of the pros and cons that you should consider when looking at pre-workout supplements. At the end of the day, it’s your choice as to whether you try them or not. But as long as you’re well-informed and don’t get too reliant on them, then there’s no reason why they can’t work.