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.


Thursday, 4 June 2020

3 Tips to Stay Fit Forever (Even When Life is Busy)

   Improving your fitness is always a worthy goal but maintaining your fitness levels could be even more important. People regularly set new goals and embark on rigorous exercise regimes to help them achieve them. No matter how successful you are though, you’ll need a long-term strategy if you want to maximise the benefits of your hard work. 

   When life is hectic and you’ve got endless obligations to meet, prioritising your fitness can be tricky. If you aren’t training for a particular event or striving for a specific goal, finding the time to maintain your fitness levels can be even harder. However, your physical and mental health depends on you preserving your fitness. If you want to enjoy the physical and emotional benefits that exercise brings for a long time to come, take a look at these tips and learn how to stay fit forever…



1. Make fitness part of your lifestyle

   If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ll know just how useful it is to have a clear incentive. When you want to look svelte at an upcoming party or feel confident on the beach in the summer, for example, it becomes easier to stick to a healthy eating plan. Similarly, pounding the pavements in running shoes or hitting the gym is easier when you have a specific fitness goal in mind.
   Of course, once you’ve reached your target, it’s easy to let things slide. Instead of focusing on a specific event or a particular goal, try to make exercise an everyday part of your life. We become accustomed to new routines surprisingly quickly, so it won’t take long for you to adjust to your new regime.
   Furthermore, once exercise is an established part of your day, it’s much easier to find time for it, so you’ll be less likely to skip workouts or give training a miss.

2. Make lifestyle changes

   Whatever your fitness aims are, exercise is only one of the changes you need to embrace. While it can be difficult to give up the things you love, it’s much easier to make long-term changes if you’re realistic about your aims. For example, you may want to eat more vegetables instead of cutting out a particular food group or try vapes instead of giving up smoking right away. These changes will offer major benefits and they won’t be too difficult either. When you choose realistic lifestyle changes, you won’t just find them easier to keep to; you’ll enjoy the journey so much more.
   Another important lifestyle goal to embrace if you want to stay fit forever is getting a decent amount of sleep. Many people ignore the benefits of rest but knowing when to give your body a break is as important as knowing when to push yourself a little bit harder. Factoring rest breaks into your exercise schedule and improving the quality of your sleep will give your body the time it needs to recover and rebuilt, which is critical if you want to take good care of yourself.

3. Change your routines

   As we get older, the way our bodies operate changes. It’s harder to maintain muscle mass when you’re over 30, for example, and your metabolism is likely to slow down too, which can make it more difficult to lose excess weight. However, these changes won’t prevent you from staying fit, providing you learn to adapt your fitness regime to your own unique needs.
   With plenty of information available online and access to medical personnel, personal trainers and nutritional experts, you can find out exactly what type of fitness plans will work for you – and which ones won’t.
   There’s nothing more disheartening than working out for weeks on end and not feeling like you’re making any headway. With the right exercise plan, however, you can work smarter, rather than harder, and maintain your fitness for years to come.

Enjoy Maintaining Your Fitness Levels

   Although some people naturally enjoy exercise, this isn’t the case for everyone. If dragging yourself to the gym feels like a real effort or you dread going for your daily run, don’t! You’re going to be engaging in some form of exercise almost every day, so make sure it’s something you enjoy.
   Whether it’s dance, yoga, mountain climbing or free running, activities you genuinely enjoy can be the best form of exercise. When you’re eager to take part, you’ve already got the motivation you need to get going. What’s more, you’ll be so focused on having fun that you won’t be watching the clock or counting down the miles. When you do something you love, you’ll stay fit forever.


Monday, 1 June 2020

4 Ways To Get Fit You Probably Didn't Think Of

   Once upon a time, you would mention working out and, for most people, conjure images of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his friends lifting heavy weights in the gym. These days, that's not quite the case - but a surprising number still recoil from the idea with that very image, or because they thing the only other options outside of the gym are running or cycling.
   Not true. For many people - many fit people - this way of working out is simply not fun and doesn’t match up with their individual goals.
   Some people prefer much more team orientated or varied in order to keep themselves motivated to return time and time again. If this is you, then we will explore a few alternatives to the gym that you can get stuck into.


Dance classes

   Dance is a great way to find your rhythm and get fit. And with so many styles and types out there then you are spoilt for choice. depending on your location at least. Plus some dance schools are focussed towards entering competitions in the long term, thus providing some who wish for it a competitive goal to work towards. You get to meet new people and in many schools travel for competitions, so a dance school can really open the doors to a whole new world for you. Why not get in touch with a local or national dance school and see what they have to offer. For those looking for something organised and group-centric, dance is a great way to workout.

Trampolining

   Somewhat different and at times hard to come across, trampolining is still a unique and fun way to keep fit and work up a sweat. From gymnastic size trampolines to individual-sized bounce classes.tampolining will absolutely blat your core while toning your legs and tummy. If you want to try but are shy about meeting new people, why not get yourself an individual trampoline for the spare room and follow along with a Youtube video?


Gymnastics

   While a bit difficult to find adult classes depending on where you live, gymnastic exercises and workouts, when performed correctly and safely, will give you the strength and powerful look of a Greek statue. If watching the Olympics every few has given you the itch to try your hand at the pommel horse then get in touch with a nearby gym or gymnastics coach. Some of the equipment requires skill to learn safely and effectively, however, once the core knowledge is learned, performing the exercises at home in a safe manner can be achieved quite quickly.

Martial arts

   Certainly not for everyone, but the benefits of martial arts classes go well beyond the physical aspect. Knowing how to look after yourself should the need ever to is a great psychological boost and the physical transformations that come along with it are a great motivator as well. Due to the massive popularity of martial arts classes, it can be hard to find the right one and that is a whole other article in of itself. A good place to start would be local boxing, kickboxing, or Jiu-Jitsu gyms and go from there. Thankfully the online community of martial artists is massive so getting a second opinion about a school before you pay for lessons is a good idea.