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7 Ways To Keep Your Skin Glowing Through Winter

The hot summer sun can take its toll on our skin. Sun exposure and sweat can damage and irritate your skin leaving it looking weathered. You might think you’re off the hook now that Fall is approaching, but extremely cold weather can dry out your skin leaving it dull. You can keep your skin glowing all winter long by following a few simple tips during the cold weather!

7. Keep Humid

Turning up the heat will keep you nice and toasty, but it can also dry out your skin. One of the best ways to combat the effects of indoor heating is to use a humidifier. A humidifier will moisten the dry air in your living space, clearing your sinuses, and keeping your skin smooth and supple.

6. Hydrate

H2O is always a good idea. Cold winter days are no excuse to neglect your water consumption. If you don’t feel like drinking a tall glass of icy cold water, room temperature water will do the trick. Drinking enough water (about 8 glasses a day) is not only great for your skin, it also helps detox your body, prevents headaches and supports weight loss. Keep a water bottle with you (and set reminder alarms if you have to) so you don’t forget to drink it!

5. Mask It

Dedicate some real time to moisturizing, whether it’s by using high quality (all natural) skin care products or by using DIY methods. Always try to use natural moisturizers such as aloe, avocado, and coconut oil.

4. Exfoliate

Wind, rain and snow can really take a toll on your face during winter. Regular exfoliation will prevent impurities and dead cells from dulling your glow. If you don’t get rid of those dead cells your face won’t absorb your moisturizer or other skin products. For glowing skin, make exfoliation your new winter habit by taking the time once or twice a week to renew your skin.

3. Cover It

Make an effort to protect your skin from the harsh climate as much as possible. Wear scarves and gloves at all times when you’re outside, especially on windy days. One thing to remember during winter is that even though it’s cold the sun can still damage your skin. Wearing sunscreen on particularly sunny winter days will prevent sun damage.

2. Mind Your fabrics

This is particularly important for those who suffer from skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis: be mindful of the fabrics you’re wearing. Also be aware of the detergents you use to do your laundry. Your skin is particularly sensitive in extreme weather, and using certain detergents or wearing harsh fabrics like wool might trigger an allergy or bouts of acne.

1. Moisturize

Wash your face with lukewarm water when you come in from the cold and moisturize right after washing to keep your face from drying out from the cold. You’ll feel so much more comfortable and your skin will love you for it!

What’s your favorite winter skincare secret? Tell us in the comments below.

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7 Foods Healthy People Avoid

Cold weather is just around the corner again, and that means two things: longer nights cozied up by the fireplace, and heartier cooking to keep your body warm. With the cold weather and the holidays coming up, you might find yourself indulging more than usual. Read on for 7 foods you’ll want to avoid.

7. Foods marked as fat-free

Foods marked as “fat-free” usually contain significant amounts of sugar which is far worse. Generally speaking, fat gets an unnecessarily bad rep—while saturated fats are definitely something to be aware of, not all fat is bad and some fats are actually healthy.

6. Boxed meals

Boxed Mac and Cheese is still one of the ultimate comfort foods and one that should be consumed very rarely. Boxed pasta contain insane amounts of sodium and saturated fat, often more than a healthy adult should take in a full day.

5. Frozen meals

Frozen meals are over processed which means they often contain harmful, fat-causing chemicals. In addition, these meals are not very well balanced, and often contain more carbs than protein, which means you’ll end up hungry not long after consuming them.

4. Fiber bars

Clever marketing would have you believe that fiber bars are healthy but they’re actually heavily processed and loaded with sugar. While they do contain fiber and some other nutritious ingredients, living off these is about as bad as going on a candy bar diet. Which leads us to…

3. Candy bars

You probably knew this already, but it’s hard to fight that Snickers craving, isn’t it? A regular bar has about 35 grams of added sugar, which is the equivalent of 8 teaspoons of sugar, above the recommended daily amount. Not to mention the fact that one candy bar contains over 260 calories.

2. Flavored gelatin

While neutral gelatin can actually improve digestion and overall gut health, the popular Jell-O varieties are basically sugar bombs with color flavoring. Flavored gelatin is okay for an energy boost when you’re under the weather—Jell-O is, after all, the ultimate hospital food—but you should generally stay away from it.

1. Margarine

Recent research has shown margarine is just as bad or even worse than butter. Full of trans fat, this so-called healthy product increases “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and decreases “good” cholesterol (HDL).

Cutting the major “bad” foods from your diet can have drastic effects on your overall health and energy levels. When it comes to food choices, the simpler the better. It’s always best to stay away from processed foods which contain a long list of ingredients and instead opt for fresh veggies and fruits, and healthy grains.

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7 Ways to Eliminate Stress

There’s an expression that I repeat to myself during times of trouble: “Worrying is like wishing for something bad to happen.” When everyday problems become overwhelming they can often lead to chronic worrying. Our worrying then manifests into feelings of anxiousness and hasty decisions which only make matters worse. If we have the right tools though, we can manage our worrying and avoid panic mode, which will ultimately lead us to better, more creative solutions to whatever is weighing on us.

If you’re looking for a way to put some distance between you and our worries, here are 7 great tips to find some inner peace and calm:

7. Breathe

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It’s basic advice, but the fact is that breathing deeply can help oxygenate your blood, and it has shown to lower cortisol levels, chemically helping your body deal with stress and anxiety.

 

6.Cuddle

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There’s scientific evidence to show that hugging has some great health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure, boosting oxytocin, and increasing serotonin and endorphin levels. In fact, hugs can even strengthen your immune system. Plus a warm embrace can have positive psychological effects such as helping you feel safe and improving your self-esteem.

5. Let it out

Part of the reason we let ourselves be consumed by feelings of shame or not wanting to burden others with our problems. Confiding in others can do wonders to alleviate stress. If you’re not crazy about sharing, another way to let your feelings out, and ultimately organize your thoughts, is by writing them down. Journaling is a very effective way to emotionally unload without sacrificing your privacy.

4. Jam away your troubles

Music can have soothing effects on your body and brain. It can also improve your immune system, and help you get motivated for the gym or other activities. While slow serene music can be great for quiet meditation, blasting your favorite tunes of any genre can also help you blow off some steam and release tension. Dance around your house, or sing your heart out in the shower!

3. Trade coffee for tea

When you’re particularly stressed, swap your coffee for tea. While coffee can actually spike your blood pressure leading to more stress and anxiety, green tea will energize you without making you anxious and irritable. Try brewed green tea or matcha for a steadier and more relaxed boost.

2. Shake it, baby

Sometimes we’re so used to sitting for hours in front of the computer that we fail to realize the negative effects a sedentary lifestyle can have on us. Getting up and exercising, even if it’s just walking a couple of blocks to buy a salad, can release endorphins. Some fresh air will also do wonders for a bad mood.

1. Eat and sleep right

Eating and sleeping are two of the best ways you can care for yourself. Eating when you’re hungry, and keeping a regular sleeping schedule will allow your body to recharge so you can tackle problems with a level head. Proper self-care begins with basics and if you’re nourished and well-rested, you’ll be able to handle whatever life throws at you.

When you feel like stress is getting the best of you, make time for yourself with these different techniques. There are things you won’t be able to control, but you can shift the focus on what you can do to best cope with the things that make life feel overwhelming. Namaste!

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5 Workout Videos That Actually Work (No Special Equipment Required)

 

Not everyone can make time for the gym and gym memberships can be costly. Even if you have a gym membership there are times when you want to switch it up a little. If you’re looking for some great free workout videos that you can do at home, here are 5 of our favorites. Whether you’re looking to burn fat, build muscle or even deep stretching these videos will definitely have you feeling the burn!

32 Minute Home Cardio Workout with No Equipment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWy_aOlB45Y

Prepare for some intense cardio condensed into a short period of time to give you a little boost and keep you motivated. This video might be a little intense for beginners!

Power Yoga

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE2pHzbMyKU&t=1977s

Finding a good and affordable yoga studio can be tricky. With this one-hour Power Yoga video, you can get some of the best benefits of yoga practice in the comfort of your own home, including stretching, strength building and even cardio. Altogether, this workout provides amazing upper body targeting.

Yoga for Your Butt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLC1ZveOkpI

Work on your yoga butt with this fantastic, yoga-inspired workout for your glutes. Created for the busy person without hours of time to spare, this 20-minute workout is a quick way to keep your glutes toned and strong.

Brazilian Butt Lift Workout

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09UN3UCv3ds&t=401s

This 25-minute video is deceptively intense: it might say it’s for beginners, but it might be challenging for beginners: you will definitely feel your muscles burning and you’ll probably be sore the next day. This is a great butt-and-leg-toning workout.

5 Minute Fix Upper Body Workout

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho89a5PLPp4

If all you’ve got to spare is five minutes of your time, this video is a great way to crush a quick workout. Targeting your upper body, this can be a fantastic quick fix when you feel like you’re spending too much time sitting in front of the computer at work. You can also repeat the sequences for a longer upper body workout.

When it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day, these videos can help you get in a quick fitness fix. Remember, every bit helps and even a small workout can make a huge difference in your mood and energy levels.

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8 Small Changes That Will Make a Huge Difference in Your Health

With so much information available to us at the click of a mouse, deciding which health advice to follow can seem overwhelming. But you don’t need to overhaul your whole life to make some positive changes towards overall better health.

Here are a few small changes you can make in your daily routine that will greatly impact your well-being!

Keep a Schedule

A hectic life is one of the main reasons people can’t seem to keep their health habits straight, and the best way to avoid this is by planning ahead. Once a week, set up a schedule including exercise times and meals, and allow as much leeway as possible so your schedule is something that helps you instead of something that just adds to your frustration. If you can, do your meal and snack prep ahead of time to avoid that last-minute making unhealthy choices in order to save time.

 

Make a Shopping List

How often do you go to the supermarket and end up buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need? Do you often buy sweets that end up calling your name at 10 pm long after you’ve finished dinner? To avoid this be mindful about grocery shopping. Make a list before you go to the market and stick with it: this will help you keep unhealthy foods out of your home and out of reach in moments of weakness. Pro tip: eat a healthy meal before you go shopping or you’ll most likely come home the proud owner of the snack aisle!

 

Don’t Skip Breakfast

For years, experts (and your mom) have insisted that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it really does determine the amount of energy you’ll be packing for the first half of the day. The best way to go about breakfast is to start your day with a lot of fiber, including foods like Greek yogurt, oatmeal or eggs with greens (such as spinach or broccoli).

 

Eat Often

It might seem counterintuitive, but a quick way to lose a few pounds is, in fact, eating more often. Instead of starving, try surrounding yourself with healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit, and cut veggies. Don’t eat your meals so far apart that you’re starving by the time you eat something; when you’re not desperate to eat you’re less likely to binge. Eating constantly can also help keep your blood sugar levels stable.

 

 

Mind Your Portions

Once you’ve embraced healthy snacking as part of your daily routine, it’s also important to keep in mind that part of the idea of snacking constantly is keeping portions to a minimum: the trick is to eat smaller portions, more often. A good rule to go by is the handful rule. Your portions should be roughly a handful.

 

Drink More Green Tea

Green tea (or better yet, matcha) is filled with antioxidants and also helps burn fat, which is great when you’re trying to lose a few pounds. It can also provide a healthier alternative to afternoon coffee, helping you stay alert during those long working hours and also providing a more natural and stable caffeine high that won’t experience the awful caffeine crash and crave another cup in a few hours.

 

Keep Moving

It might seem impossible to fit in gym time in your busy work life, but even the smallest bits of extra physical activity can make a huge difference in your health. When you’re at work, set your timer to every 20 minutes, and take it upon yourself to walk outside or even just walk around the office for 2 minutes. This way, you’re helping your body stay active!

 

Rest Up!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, sleep is extremely important if you want to be at your best. Seven or eight hours of sleep each night can do wonders for your body, from increasing your energy and mood throughout the day to even accelerating your metabolism. Be careful not to oversleep, like everything else in life you balance is key.

You don’t need to make drastic changes to improve your health. The journey towards your health can start right now with a few small changes. You have the power to take control and build new habits that your body will thank you for!

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5 Reasons You Should Never Count Another Calorie

We use the word calorie to measure the amount of energy provided by each food and drink we consume. Many diets are based on balancing the number of calories consumed with the number of calories burned through physical activity.

Historically, we’ve based our diets on calorie intake, taking careful note of the calories we consume, and organizing our diets and “cheat meals” around the idea that calories, regardless of where they come from, have the ability to “make or break” fitness results.

Anyone who is or has ever been a calorie-counter knows the effort and time it takes to be vigilant, the pain of carefully portioning out 3 cashews or 2 m&ms when we want to reward ourselves.

The trouble is, often times these calorie deprivation diets don’t work, because they’re just not sustainable. Even though you’ll probably see some results when you obsess over your calorie intake, these results are usually temporary.

Here are 5 reasons why you should never count calories again:

5. Low in calories does not equal healthy:

The idea behind counting calories is that you’ll get the same amount of energy from a cookie or a carrot, provided they both have the same caloric content. While an unhealthy food and a healthy one can have the exact same amount of calories, that’s not the only thing your body takes into account during metabolism: bad quality calories do not provide the same nutrients or energy.

While a small portion of unhealthy foods (like potato chips) can have as many calories as a healthy snack (like baby carrots), they don’t provide nearly the same nutritional value. You might be staying well within your caloric allowance, but you’re also feeding your body with low-quality calories that won’t give you the necessary energy, and also will not keep you satisfied for very long. You’ll find yourself hungry again in no time.

4. Caloric absorption is not universal:

The body does not absorb every single calorie it consumes, and there are some foods that offer very little nutrients that your body can absorb. The amount of calories your body absorbs also depends greatly on your individual gut bacteria, and varies from person to person. Individual people have individual caloric needs and there is no universal “magic number” of calories one should consume.

3. You’re probably eating more calories than you think:

Food companies take a lot of liberties when it comes to estimating calorie content in their packages. Due to the fact that there are five different methods to do this calculation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually allows up to 20% inaccuracy when it comes to caloric count in products. In other words, if something is marked as having 150 calories, the true caloric content can be anywhere between 130 and 180 calories.

Calories vary when you cook foods, so that’s another change to take into account when obsessively looking at food labels. It’s always better to eat whole foods that have not been processed so you know the quantity and quality of calories you’re putting into your body.

2. Starving yourself won’t make you lose weight:

A lot of people looking to lose weight quickly end up going on crash diets with drastic calorie deprivation of as little as 1,000 calories a day. Not only will that leave you feeling hungry and without energy all day long, it will also send the wrong message to your body: needing sustenance, your body will look for it elsewhere, and burn muscle instead of fat. It will also slow down your metabolism and take up every last ounce of fat it can find in every bit of food you do eat, all while you’re feeling cranky and miserable. It’s just not worth it.

1. Your body is wiser than your calculator:

When you fill up with the right foods, such as leafy greens, grains, and even grass-fed beef, your body will feel full no matter the number of calories you consumed. The safest bet is listening to what your body is telling you instead of trying to maintain a rigid diet based on misguided assumptions about calorie intake. The healthiest approach to fitness is eating moderate portions of high-quality calories often, that way your blood sugar levels are steady and you don’t end up depriving yourself and then binging.

 

There’s more to calories than the number, and merely counting them won’t help you reach your long-term fitness goals. The best approach is to choose whole foods containing high-quality calories that will nourish you.

 

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Weight loss: 7 Common Mistakes You’re Making

Tips for weight loss

If you’re having trouble achieving your weight loss goals, it might be because of these 7 common mistakes you’re making.

Achieving your weight loss goals can be tricky, even when you’re regularly crushing it at the gym and (thinking that you’re) eating healthy. Many health experts cite the 80/20 rule for diet and exercise, meaning that 80% of success is directly related to diet and only 20% is related to exercise. If you’ve ever heard someone say “fitness starts in the kitchen” that is what they mean. 

In addition to not following the 80/20 rule, it turns out there’s a whole bunch of stuff you could be doing that’s preventing you from achieving your weight loss goals. Stuff like eating too much, eating too little, eating the wrong stuff, counting calories, doing the same workout every day, doing too much cardio, or not sleeping enough. Frankly, it can get a little confusing trying to keep your fitness goals on track.

If you feel like you’re doing everything right and not getting the results you want, there is a chance you’re making one (or a few) of the fundamental mistakes below.

1. Eating no Carbs & Too Much Protein

Balance protein with veggies

The early 2000s was the birth of the Great Carbohydrate Panic. Fad Diets like the Atkins Diet trained us all to fear carbs and overload on the proteins. While the “no-carb” approach may initially work, there are critical reasons why a low-carb/ high-fat diet is not the best approach for weight loss or sustainable health. You should always be wary of any diet that puts no limit on fat intake.

It’s important to remember there are plenty of healthy (non-fattening) sources of carbohydrates, like fruits, nuts, oatmeal, and lentils. These foods provide sustainable energy because they don’t create a spike in your blood sugar levels like simple carbs do. Much like calories, not all carbohydrates are created equal, so it’s best to focus on the quality of carbs you’re putting in your body, rather that to fixate on the number of grams.

2. Forgetting your Veggies

Shedding excess fat is as much about what you DO eat as what you DON’T. Research shows that depriving yourself and drastically cutting back on calories can actually make your body store more fat in the long run. If you want to lose weight, it’s not enough to just count calories, you need to up your intake of good calories.

Increasing your daily intake of veggies is a great way to get quality calories. Vegetables are packed with nutrients and loaded with water, so they provide energy and keep your body hydrated, which are both super-important when you’re trying to get in shape. Just make sure you’re choosing unprocessed fruits and vegetables, and when it comes to fruits  and vegetables, raw is always better.

3. Skipping Breakfast

Healthy scrambled eggs

There is some debate about whether or not skipping breakfast will prevent weight loss. Again, the biggest factor is what you are eating for breakfast. Skipping breakfast can make you hungrier later in the day, which might lead to you making less than ideal food choices, but choosing refined or processed carbohydrates in the morning can cause your blood sugar to spike which will also leave you hungrier later in the day.

Instead of cereal, bagels, or toast, try to start your day with protein-packed foods, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Scrambled eggs with greens is a great way to start the day. And sprinkling some pumpkin or flax seeds on top will energize you by adding some of those healthy carbs we talked about above.

4. Losing Sleep

Hunger hormones are very much influenced by how much sleep you get. Many factors cause our hormones levels to change, and it turns out that how much sleep you get directly affects leptin levels, a hormone that is directly tied to weight loss.

Leptin is the “hunger hormone” responsible for telling your brain you are full. Sleep deprivation can cause leptin resistance in your body, which can result in constant hunger and overeating. The hormone balance in your body depends on many factors and sleep is not the only thing that affects Leptin levels. But not getting enough shut-eye not only causes leptin resistance, it can also leave you feeling too exhausted to exercise, placing unnecessary obstacles in the way of your weight loss goals.

5. Binging After Workouts

God, I want this pizza

It’s natural to feel hungry after working out, but an hour at the gym shouldn’t be a precursor to a large cheese pizza. Time Magazine’s John Cloud explored why we tend to overeat after working out in his article Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin. Among the many reasons he cited was something he calls calorie compensation.

Basically, we tend to overindulge after the gym for 2 reasons: because we’re hungry from exertion, and because we want to reward ourselves. But the food/ exercise equation is deceiving because while it may take an hour at the gym to burn 500 calories, it only takes 5 minutes to eat them again.

This idea of “compensation” can also work against you in terms of physical activity. The same study that Cloud explores in his article also found that we tend to compensate for extra physical activity by being less active when we’re not at the gym.

6. Doing The Same Workout Every Day

Experts agree that for the best results you have to vary the frequency, intensity, and time of your workouts. Switching up your workouts is the best way to challenge your body, and get better results. Your body will adapt to any exercise that you do repeatedly, and repetition will make the workout less effective. It can also get pretty boring which can throw a wrench in your motivation.

Instead of repeating the same exercises every day, use a split routine (where you focus on specific muscle groups each day), and switch up the types of exercises you do to train those muscles. Also, switching up the machines you use for cardio can keep your body burning calories at a higher rate. A lot of people stick to the same machines every day, but doing the same cardio every day conditions your body to the stress of that specific range of motion.

Your body will adapt to whatever you put it through, and when you’re not challenging yourself you’re not going to get the best results. The good news is, even small changes can make a big difference. Small modifications like changing the weight you’re lifting or the reps you’re doing can trick your body into producing better results.

7. Too Much Cardio & Not Enough Weights

fitness-957115_1920

There is a common misconception that you have to do a ton of cardio to lose weight, when in fact, too much cardio can actually slow down your results. To get the best results from your cardio try high-intensity interval training, alternating between shorter bursts of high-intensity activity and slower “recovery” periods.

You also need to balance your cardio with weight training, because the more muscle you have the more fat you will burn. Many women fear that lifting will add bulk to their bodies, but weight training isn’t necessarily going to make you “ripped,” you just need to figure out what kind of weight training is best for what you are trying to achieve.  

Now Go Forth And Be Fit

Achieving your fitness goals is challenging. No one said it would be easy (and if they did, they lied). But making small lifestyle changes like the ones above can yield awesome results in less time. So if you’re working out like crazy and not losing weight, reassess the basics above and see if there is some small mistake that is standing in your way. There is no “miracle weight loss remedy,” but you can set yourself up for success with a balanced diet, plenty of sleep, a diverse workout regime, and some self-control.

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Life Hacks For Better Health

image showing Life Hacks and Better Health

We all know fad diets never work. If you’re cutting out entire food groups or depriving yourself in order to lose weight, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Simply put, dieting is not sustainable. If you want to get fit and be healthy, you’ll have to change your habits permanently. The good news is that you can drastically improve your health through some small changes. Here are some super simple life hacks for better health that will help you feel your best.

Read on For Some Easy Life Hacks For Better Health

Choose water instead of soda.

Sugary soft drinks are linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes, plus they’re loaded with empty calories and, often, chemicals. A couple of glasses of coca cola and a caramel macchiato can easily push the limits of your recommended daily calorie intake. Reach for water instead and you’d be surprised how many calories you can cut from your daily intake.

Reduce your alcohol consumption.

This is a biggie. Not only does booze have loads of calories, it also prevents your liver from processing fat properly. Also, you probably may have noticed a tendency to make poor eating decisions under the influence. Therefore, reducing your alcohol consumption to a couple of drinks a week is a life hack for better health that will get you closer to your fitness goals, faster.

Don’t complicate things.

Steer clear of diets that come with complex lists of what you can and cannot eat. Instead, keep it simple by eating real, whole foods. Make sure you’re eating mostly plants and lean proteins like chicken or fish. Keep your carbs complex by choosing sweet potatoes, quinoa or brown rice, and stick to healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds.

Understand that fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat.

If you’re opting for “low fat” but loaded with synthetic ingredients (like a lot of the prepackaged “diet food” available), you might be doing more harm than good. Snack on healthy fats, like almonds, avocados, and full-fat (unsweetened yogurt).

Limit your access to unhealthy snacks.

Plenty of studies have identified sugar as being extremely addictive. That also applies to simple carbohydrates that immediately turn to glucose in your body. So if you’re trying to create healthier habits, it’s probably not a great idea to keep sweets at home. Studies also suggest that our cravings for starch and sugar increase at night so don’t set yourself up for failure with a pantry full of potato chips and chocolate pudding!

Instead, Prep healthy snacks and keep them around for when hunger strikes.

Fruit, unsweetened yogurt, nuts and seeds, cut veggies and homemade hummus are great options. Prep your healthy snacks in advance so they’re ready to eat as soon as you’re hungry.

Increase your H20 intake.

Keeping yourself properly hydrated can change your life. It can help burn fat and boost energy levels. Plus, studies have revealed that hunger and thirst trigger the same kinds of signals in your brain, so more water might help curb hunger. This is one of the simplest life hacks for better health you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Try to keep a water bottle with you throughout the day, and if you’re having trouble remembering to drink enough, you can always set an alarm to remind you. Most health professionals recommend about 2 liters of water a day.

Get enough sleep.

Studies show that sleep deprivation and obesity are closely linked. Other studies have found that insufficient sleep causes an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. Giving yourself eight hours of sleep a night will decrease your cravings for unhealthy food and help keep your hormones and blood sugar levels balanced.

What are your favorite life hacks for better health? What habits do you follow to help you make healthier choices? Tell us in the comments below.

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10 Reasons You Should Start Yoga Practice

image showing Yoga Practice

Anything that requires work to attain is usually extremely rewarding and yoga is no exception. I don’t know first-hand what it’s like to be “really good” at yoga, but my instructor assures me it’s not about that, it’s about patience. I’m the girl at the back of the class “walking” my downward dog, forgetting to breathe, and letting my mind wander to the person in the front row, who seems to defy the limits of the human body. Needless to say, I am not an expert on the mat, but I am learning to love my yoga practice for the journey. I know that my skills will develop as I continue my yoga practice, and that’s nice. I imagine the discipline it will take will give me a great sense of accomplishment, and that’s nice too. But I also feel good each time I finish a practice, and here’s why:

10 Ways Yoga Practice Is Great For Your Physical & Mental Health

10. Your flexibility will improve:

It’s one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. Your first attempts at yoga will probably be challenging, especially if you have limited flexibility. Over time, though, you’ll be able to deepen your stretch and release all kinds of tension hiding in your joints and muscles. Better flexibility also means that aches and pains will lessen. Tight muscles can put a strain on your joints, and cause poor posture which can cause all kinds of problems in the long run.

9. Your muscles will be strong:

Strong muscles protect us from arthritis and chronic back pain, they also help make us sturdier as we age. Yoga is great for building muscle strength because it builds flexibility at the same time. Often when we weight train for muscle strength, it comes at the price of our flexibility. Yoga practice is great because, on a physical level, it’s all about building strength with flexibility.

8. You’ll be protecting your cartilage & joints:

It’s good to keep your joints moving to prevent them from stiffening. Stiff joints can lead to injury and permanent damage. When you practice yoga, you put your joints through a full range of motion which can also help prevent arthritis. It can help make sure your joints are receiving nutrients, and prevent them from deteriorating.  

7. You’ll get your blood flowing:

Yoga helps your circulation, especially in your extremities. It also increases the flow of oxygen to your cells, helping them function better. Those twist poses that feel so good are said to release the venous blood from internal organs. Inverted poses are said to help blood from the legs and pelvis to flow to the heart. Because yoga gets your blood flowing, it also helps reduce swelling.

6. You’ll feel happier:

There is evidence that a consistent yoga practice can help with anxiety and depression through interoception. Interoception is described as a mindful awareness of the body intended to bring us closer to our physical experience. In addition, practicing yoga has been found to increase serotonin levels, the neurotransmitter connected to feelings of happiness and wellbeing.  

5. You’ll be more focused:

Yoga practice is all about being in the present. Making time for practice allows you to refocus your energies so you don’t become overwhelmed. Some studies have also found that regular yoga practice can improve your coordination, memory, and it might actually make you smarter. This may be due to the fact that yoga practice can help clear your mind of the thoughts and conversations that are on an endless loop inside your head.

4. You’ll have better balance as you age:

Proprioception is your unconscious perception of your body’s movement and spatial orientation. Having bad proprioception means you have bad balance, which means you are likely to have bad posture. As mentioned above, poor posture can lead to joint problems and back pain. Regular yoga practice will increase your strength and balance, which can mean fewer falls as you get older.

3. You’ll develop greater inner strength:

Yoga helps teach discipline. The discipline you develop through regular practice will extend to the rest of your life and fuel change. Many people find that practicing self-discipline affects change in all areas of their lives, helping them eat better, exercise more, and quit unhealthy lifestyle choices.

2. You’ll have better relationships:

Because yoga helps you to be more mindful, it also helps develop your compassion for others. Many of the things you practice in yoga (setting intentions, clearing your mind, developing patience) can work towards strengthening  your relationships with others. You’ll probably find better relationships and a strengthened sense of community are side effects of your growing inner peace.

1. You’ll have less pain:

Yoga can help relieve chronic pain, which can improve your mood, and keep you active. If you’re happy and active you won’t need as much medication to manage pain. According to studies, yoga can help reduce the pain of arthritis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic back pain, and other chronic conditions.