Ads 468x60px

Monday, 22 June 2015


A little bit of stress is good for us, it keeps us alert, engaged and attentive to what we are working on or doing, it can keep us sharp. But even things that we don’t realise are stressful can in fact be having that effect on us, our daily commute, someone beign unkind, emails coming in thick and fast…they all have an impact our stress hormones. When we are consistently in this state we get sick, are unable to sleep well, digest food well, and we fatigue easily. 
So, when we are on the yoga mat winding down, stretching can help to release the collagen and cortisol stored in the muscles during periods of stress, which explains why you can sometimes have an emotional response during a workout or yoga session.


To stretch off stress, start with a gentle backbend. Your adrenal glands are next to the kidneys in the middle of your back, underneath the back of the ribcage. Coming into a sphinx pose by lying on your front, elbows underneath shoulders with your forearms parallel to each other.
Press forearms and hands into the floor and curl the tailbone in towards the pubis so that you lower abdominals lift and support your spine as it lengthens up to the crown of the head. This will release the kidneys help them to recalibrate.
You can stay as long as you are comfortable, but make sure there is no pain here.


Next come into Child's Pose with hands under the forehead and  the knees wide and big toes together so that your spine is less curved and more lengthening.
This will help to soothe your nervous system and calm down any further production of adrenaline for the time being. Again stay as long as you are comfortable.


Finally stretch the backs of the legs, the hamstrings are prime receivers for the collagen and adrenaline mix as they would be your power houses if you were to do some intense running.
Most of us get stressed and then go and sit down, which impacts their ability to release the stress mix.
So stretch your legs out in front of you and bounce the knees so that the backs of the legs are tapping the floor. Then fold yourself forwards over your legs keeping a bend in the knees, let your hands slide in under your legs wherever they come. And r-e-l-a-x.

Yoga moves and stretches to help relaxation - womens health uk


Saturday, 20 June 2015


Whether you're still hungover or just feeling weakened by the damaging effects of a boozy weekend, we've got some nutritionist approved advice for feeling like yourself again.
You went hard, you're feeling more than a bit peaky, your head feels like a small animal may be burrowing a new home in it - what do you eat?
As much as you may be tempted by a can of coke, try to resist the urge and opt instead for a glass of lemon water. This will kick start your metabolism and most importantly start the much needed rehydration process.
If you can face food, you can't go wrong with eggs and wholegrain toast. Eggs are rich in the amino acid cysteine which is needed to break down acetaldehyde - the nasty thing that's thought to cause hangovers.
The wholegrain bread will give you slow release carbs - a stable source of glucose and energy which will do you much better than that coke.
If you're not ready for solid food, try a fruit smoothie full of antioxidants. This will give you hit of energy from the fructose and continue to rehydrate you.


It is essential to take in both protein and nutrients. Make sure you're meal is packed with leafy greens to up your magnesium levels.
For every molecule of sugar that slips past your lips, it takes 54 molecules of Magnesium to process it so if you went hard on the cocktails, kale will help.
If you're a vegetarian you may also want to through some lentils and beans into the mix to keep protein levels up (full of those helpful amino acids). These are also good for the heart and recent research has found that the impact of drinking may be even worse for the heart than the liver.
Wash it all down with some coconut water - it's full of electrolytes and is much healthier than a Lucozade.


There are recommendations to not drink again until at least 48 hours after you've had any alcohol, however new research has found that in terms of the impact on the body you need weeks not days to fully recover.
It's very important to keep hydrating for the following days and if you suffer from terrible hangovers and are still feeling a bit weak, it's essential to keep eating well. So start the day with a banana and up your potassium levels, this will help with mood boosting and fatigue.
Even if you're not feeling sick anymore, you'll likely still be tired and lacking in concentration so add pumpkin seeds to your salad for some brain enhancing zinc.


If you're feeling run down after going hard, now is the time to have some orange juice. Avoid OJ the next morning as it will give your liver even more work to do.
Later on in the week though, your body will be glad of the Vitamin C as alcohol consumption has been linked to a lowered immune system.
You should also avoid spicy foods until your stomach has recovered so now's the time to start boosting the metabolism with chilli again.
We chatted to NutriCentre's head nutritionist, Shona Wilkinson to get this advice.

Image result for hangover


Here we reveal the experts’ metabolism-stoking tips to help you fire up your body’s internal inferno and scorch through fat.


Metabolic Rating: 3
Eat a decent breakfast. Every. Single. Day. If you don’t, your metabolism goes into starvation mode (it’s paranoid like that) and slows to a crawl. In fact, research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found testers who ate no less than 22% and up to 55% of their total daily calories at breakfast gained only 1.7lb on average over four years. But those who ate less than 11% of their calories first thing gained nearly 3lb. See the pattern there?

Crank it up: Go for morning munchies that are slow to digest. Try a mix of lean protein with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Berardi recommends an omelette made with one egg and two egg whites, plus a handful of sliced mixed peppers and onions. Follow that with a small bowl of porridge topped with a handful of frozen berries and 3tbsp of omega-3-loaded flaxseed (try Linwoods, £5 for 425g from Tesco). Great, now you’re firing on all cylinders.


Metabolic rating: 2
Rejoice, caffeine addicts. According to a study in the US journal Physiology & Behavior, the metabolic rate of people who regularly drank caffeinated coffee was an average of 16% higher than those who drank decaf. “Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system by increasing your heart rate and breathing,” says Robert Kenefick, a research physiologist at the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. We won’t argue with that, Sir.

Crank it up: Follow your morning cup of the black stuff with an ice-cold glass of water. Researchers at the University of Utah found just drinking one glassful can raise your body’s metabolic rate by up to 30 per cent and keep it raised for around 10 minutes. The theory is your body has to burn extra calories to maintain its core temperature. Get your recommended eight glasses a day with the help of the free Waterlogged app, which gives you regular H2O prods.


Metabolic rating: 3
Swap hours on the treadmill for the Tabata Method. This school of exercising is all about fast and furious intervals – 20 seconds of gut-wrenching effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated a total of eight times over four minutes. Studies have shown working out this way is as effective at boosting your metabolism as much longer lower-intensity sweat sessions.

Crank it up: Geoff Bagshaw, a trainer at Equinox gyms, has come up with this three-move sequence. Do as many reps as you can of the first exercise in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat eight times. Rest for two minutes, then do it again for the other two exercises. Got it?

Lunge with a bicep curl: Holding dumbbells at your sides, step back into a lunge, curling the weights up to your shoulders. Repeat on other leg. That’s one.
Squat overhead press: Hold your dumbbells at shoulder height, arms bent, and lower into a squat. Now raise the weights to the ceiling as you push back up.
Push-ups: You know this one. Assume push-up position, bend arms and lower. Well, go on then.


Metabolic rating: 3
To slim down, pile your plate with protein. Regular large helpings will help you build and maintain lean muscle. And we all know muscle burns more than fat by now, right? Aim for 30g of protein – that’s 250g of low-fat cottage cheese or 100g of chicken breast – at each meal.

Crank it up: Chase your meal with a cup of green tea. “It’s the closest thing to a metabolism potion,” says Tammy Lakatos Shames, co-author of Fire Up Your Metabolism. In tests, people who consumed three to five cups a day for 12 weeks shed an average of 4.6% of their total body weight. Another study found having two to five cups a day torched an extra 50 calories a day. Not bad. Try Clipper organic green tea (£2.19 for 50 bags from Holland & Barrett). To really go for the burn, down it two hours after eating. Research shows it can increase breakdown of fat by a third. Now go forth and burn.

Beat the downshift in metabolism that creeps up along with those laughter lines. With each passing decade, your metabolism slows down by about 5%. Ouch. Hormones are partly to blame, but so is the typical drop-off in physical activity. As a result you lose muscle mass, a major calorie consumer. So by the time you hit 35, you’ll burn about 75 fewer calories a day than you did at 25, and by age 65, it’s a hefty 500 fewer, says Dr Madelyn Fernstrom, author of The Real You Diet. But don’t panic. You can outsmart Mother Nature with the tips above. A warning: here’s what happens if you don’t.

20s: Your muscle and bone mass are at their peak and your metabolism should be firing on all cylinders. Enjoy it while you can.
30s: Your body’s cellular powerhouses, the mitochondria, start to get less effective at turning food into energy for your muscles to burn.
40s: The decline continues as your oestrogen levels go into free fall, further slowing your metabolism and causing belly fat.
Woman kick boxing


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Exercise Keeps Your Skin Soft and Glowing....

A dewy sheen on your cheeks thanks to all the sweat dripping off your forehead may not be the only way fitness keeps your skin young. Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario studied a small group of adults between ages 20 and 84.

The frequent exercisers who were over age 40 had skin that resembled the more supple, elastic skin of people in their 20s and 30s. The difference had nothing to do with sun exposure (which would age your skin faster if you didn't wear sunscreen), reported the research team; they theorized that exercise creates body substances that help slow aging in skin, though they say more research is needed to learn how exercise changes skin composition.

Exercise gives you more vim and vigor
A workout is like nature's energy drink, firing up your brain and body so you feel more alert and alive. "Exercise puts your body in a state of arousal, which translates into more vitality and a greater sense of well being," says Frisch. "Daily tasks become less strenuous and require less exertion." It's the kind of pep in your step that makes you feel like you've peeled off a decade or two.
Exercise improves your posture
Thanks to muscle loss and bone density changes, your posture takes a hit as you age. Counteract this with strength training, which builds muscle and bone health, especially in your core and along your spine, so you naturally stand taller and shave years off your appearance, says Amie Hoff, personal trainer and founder of Hoff Fitness in New York City. Working out also makes you feel more psychologically powerful, so you naturally stop slouching and straighten up, she adds.

PHOTO: Here are 7 ways exercise makes you look and feel younger.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Brow Tips to Look Younger

1. A thicker brow can make you look younger, fresher and better rested. Do not over-pluck.
2. Use a great brow pencil or brow powder that matches you hair tone. Simply fill in your eyebrows if over-plucked or over-arched. You want a brow that is thick yet manicured.
3. The highest point of the brow should be about two-thirds of the way out, not in the middle of the brow.
4. The tail of your eyebrow should extend to the corner of your eye, and can be even longer if it doesn't end vertically lower than the point where your brow begins - you want a lifted shape, not a droopy one.
5. Always brush your brows upward at a 45 degree angle to open up the eye.

Image result for eyebrows

5 Reasons You're Getting Back Acne — And How to Make It Go Away

Having acne on your face is hardly fun, but what about back acne a.k.a. bacne? At least a good makeup tutorial can help make your skin look more flawless, but you can kiss tank tops and strapless dresses goodbye if you're sporting bumps on your shoulders and below. Luckily, with a few simple modifications to your daily routine, you can make those body pimples a thing of the past.

Cause #1: The products you're using are clogging your pores.

That's right: Your conditioner, your sunscreen, your body cream, your massage oils — 
they all can clog pores, causing you to get zits on your back.
The Cure:
When washing and conditioning, flip your hair to the front and rinse forward to avoid leaving 
shampoo and conditioner residue on your back. And instead of regular sunscreen, choose
 ones that are labeled "ultra-light" or "quick-dry" like La Roche Posay Ultra Light Sunscreen 
Fluid. It's also better to use lotions in the summer rather than creams because
 they have less oil content and rely more on water to hydrate the skin, so they're less clogging.

Going to the spa soon? Massage oils are fine, just finish your massage off with some steam
 in a shower or sauna to open up your pores to melt away the oils.

Cause #2: Your clothes are irritating.

Unfortunately, while working out is great for your body, it can also lead to acne if you're not careful. 
The friction from a tight-fitting sports bra can irritate hair follicles and cause red bumps.
The Cure: 
"After workouts you must shower," says Tami Cassis M.D., assistant clinical professor of 
dermatology at The University of Louisville. "Running around afterward in sports bras or gym
 shirts is a big no-no," she adds. It may be a pain to switch clothes, but taking a few extra
 minutes to air out your body can prevent big skin hassles later.

Cause #3: You're predisposed to acne.

If pimply skin runs in your family, don't be surprised if you get it, too.
The Cure: 
Don't worry, there are ways to get around your genes. Try using an over-the-counter salicylic
 acid or glycolic acid wash to prevent and cure blemishes — Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming
 Wash is a good pick. Washes have a tendency to be less irritating than leave-on
 medications, and because they are usually incorporated into your shower routine, they are
 more readily available, and therefore more regularly used. If these don't cut it, a
 prescription-strength topical medication or oral antibiotic may be recommended by your

Reason #4: You're not eating the right foods for good skin.

Remember: What's good for your heart is also good for your skin, so it may be time to put
 down that milkshake and burger if you want a better complexion.
The Cure: 
This one's easy: Eat a well-balanced diet. Interestingly, some studies do show a connection 
between diets that are high in dairy and acne. Any extreme is not healthy, so many 
dermatologists just recommend cutting down on excess dairy — multiple glasses of milk or
 servings of cheese a day — rather than eliminating it all together.

Reason #5: You're not washing your back.

This may seem like a no brainer, but forgetting to wash or exfoliate your back is more common than 
you think. It's not easy to reach or see, and it's not particularly stinky, so who wants to waste their time
 playing twister in the shower? The reality is that your back needs love, too.
The Cure: 
Since it's one of the most acne-prone areas, you need to treat it as if it were your facial skin
. This helps to keep the follicles clean and unclogged, making them less prone to pimples. 
Try a gentle exfoliating cleanser such as Dove Exfoliating Body Wash which helps to cleanse,
 hydrate, exfoliate, and even calm inflamed skin. If done on a daily basis this
 should help keep bacne at bay.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Age in Reverse

The powers of a steady fitness routine are impressive: regular exercise can help you build stronger muscles, stave off chronic illnesses, and make your clothes fit a whole lot better. But there's another benefit of physical activity that deserves a shout-out: the way even moderate amounts seem to shave years off your age, no matter how many birthdays you've actually celebrated. 

Of course, you can't change your chronological age, but exercise can improve your health to the point where you look and feel younger than you are, says Frank Frisch, PhD, director of kinesiology at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.


The Gift of Walking

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Why Listening To Music Can Make You As Fit As A Fiddle

It can help your body fight infection and recover after ops 

  • Researchers have found that classical music can lower blood pressure
  • It improved both short-term and long-term memory in people with dementia
  • Reduced pain for patients having hernia surgery under general anaesthetic

Whether it's singing in a choir, listening to Bach in the car or dancing to disco, most people enjoy some form of music - and increasingly it is being shown to have health benefits, too.
As the Mail reports today, researchers have found that classical music - especially compositions by Giuseppe Verdi - can significantly lower the listener's blood pressure. And last month, a British study found that regularly listening to music improved both short-term and long-term memory in people with dementia. Music therapy is also used in aiding stroke patients and to help those with Parkinson's learn to walk again.

Here we explore how listening to, learning and playing music helps...

How songs reduce blood pressure

One of the most intriguing ways in which music improves health is its effect on the heart and circulation.
In a 2008 study at the University of Maryland Medical Centre in the U.S., researchers measured ten healthy people's blood pressure as they listened to music of their choice. Their blood vessels dilated by 26 per cent after listening to music they found 'joyful', compared with 19 per cent after watching a funny video and 11 per cent after listening to relaxing sound recordings.

Keeping blood pressure low means the blood vessels are less likely to stiffen and become blocked, which can lead to heart disease and attacks. Dr Michael Miller, the cardiologist who led the study, now prescribes listening to music to patients.
'We see the effects immediately, which suggests there is a direct effect on the blood vessels,' he says. 'Music seems to harmonise the body's autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for involuntary actions such as heart rate, digestion and perspiration.'
Dr Miller thinks there maybe an evolutionary explanation. 'Music was part of our ancestors' socialisation process,' he says. 'It enabled us to form and develop relationships important for our survival.'

Researchers have found that classical music - especially compositions by Giuseppe Verdi - can significantly lower the listener's blood pressure

Other research has shown that listening to favourite music triggers the release of nitric oxide, which helps blood vessels maintain elasticity and function.

Bach cuts surgery pain
Many surgeons listen to music while operating, and it may be good for patients, too - even while they're under anaesthetic.
A 2005 Swedish study of 75 patients having hernia surgery under general anaesthetic found that those who had music playing during their operation reported less pain afterwards.
This is thought to be because music lowers stress hormone levels and may trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone that boosts relaxation and tolerance of pain.

Listening to music may help the body defend itself from disease and infection, too. A review of 400 studies, published in 2013 by McGill University, in Canada, found music raised levels of natural 'killer cells'. British and German research published in 2008 showed listening to 50 minutes of dance music raised levels of antibodies in volunteers' bodies, probably because it reduced stress.A 2011 study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, found patients who listened to a range of 'joyful' music - including Bach and Louis Armstrong - while having a hip replacement needed less anaesthetic and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

It helps with dementia
A study last month found that dementia patients who heard a live performance by a singer, then listened to her songs and those of others on MP3 players, communicated and remembered better.
Four weeks after the experiment, many were able to recall where they were, the time of day and people's names. Their memory of recent and past events also showed improvement.
'Often music triggers a memory, and not just a song but maybe the time and place when the person heard it,' says Helen Odell-Miller, professor of music therapy at Anglia Ruskin University.

Professor Odell-Miller has also found making music using instruments, singing and clapping helps dementia patients communicate. When cognitive function declines, people may not find the words they need to express themselves, she says. 'Music helps them find a new way to show how they are feeling, which improves relationships with their carers.'
Other research supports her findings. A trial published in the journal Aging & Mental Health in 2013 found dementia patients needed less antipsychotic and antidepressant medication after six weeks of music therapy and were less agitated than those who had standard care.
A study of twins published in January found those who played a musical instrument were 36 per cent less likely to develop dementia. One theory is learning an instrument keeps the brain 'fitter' and more able to resist age-related damage.

If you can't get off to sleep, relaxing music really does help

...and improves heart health

Music also improves heart rate variability - the intervals between heartbeats. 'Heart rate variability is how our heart responds to stress,' says Dr Miller. 'In a healthy person it tends to be quite variable - sometimes 60 beats per minute (bpm), sometimes 65, sometimes 70.
'Good heart rate variability is a predictor that you're not in danger of developing a major heart problem in the near future.

'If it's 90bpm all the time, the heart doesn't have the ability to adapt to everyday stressors.'
This is especially risky if you've had a heart attack already, Dr Miller says.
He adds that no particular genre of music is best for the heart; rather, he simply advises listening to songs you love.

He recommends that patients listen to something they haven't heard in a while so they get the 'frisson effect' - the feeling of a chill down your spine. 'We think it's that physiological effect that causes the most benefits.'
The frisson effect is associated with a release of dopamine, the brain chemical linked with feelings of reward and pleasure.

You'll nod off more easily
If you can't get off to sleep, relaxing music really does help, according to an analysis of ten studies published in 2012 in the Journal of Nursing Studies.
Researchers found the use of music, such as classical tracks, was effective on short and long-term sleep disorders in adults.

It aids stroke recovery
Music is proving valuable for people who have difficulties in moving, such as those who are recovering from a stroke or have Parkinson's disease.
'In Parkinson's, there's a problem with brain signals, so the person may want to move but the body doesn't respond,' says Jessica Grahn, a neuroscientist studying music and the brain at Western University, Canada.
'Some patients show an incredible benefit when you start playing music. Their movements feel freer and they become "unstuck".'

Music also seems to stimulate the regions of the brain that control movement.She says this may be partly because music triggers a release of dopamine, a chemical messenger which is depleted in Parkinson's patients.
Finnish research published in 2012 showed that stroke patients who listened to music every day improved their memory and attention.
The researchers speculated that this might be due to music lowering depression and stress, or increasing 'neural plasticity' - brain scans have revealed that 'music, sound waves and vibration can cause changes in brain structures', says Professor Odell-Miller.

Singing can beat asthma
Singing or playing a wind instrument can improve breathing and may particularly help those with lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonar disease (COPD), an umbrella term for conditions including emphysema.
The Royal Brompton Hospital in London offers singing classes to patients with respiratory conditions.

Singing helps people learn to breathe more effectively, using the stomach muscles to take long, deep breaths.

A German study published in April this year also showed that people who played a wind instrument, particularly a brass one such as a trumpet, had a lower risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea, where the soft tissues in the neck collapse during the night, causing snoring and temporary oxygen deprivation.
The researchers said playing the instruments strengthened the muscles in the upper airways. 


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Your Guide to Sitting Less

A quick guide to sitting less.

1. Plan by Minutes

Cornell ergonomist Alan Hedges recommends 20 minutes sitting, 8 minutes standing, 2 minutes walking. Repeat. The formula also improves productivity and posture, studies show.

2. Default to a Walk

Instead of mulling at your desk when you're drawing a blank, get up and take a 5-minute walk. Research suggests that you'll be 60 percent more creative when you return.

3.  Stand When Tired

Make this automatic: If you yawn, stand up. Rising fires the Ascending Reticular Activating System, a network of neurons in the cerebral cortex that enhances alertness.

4. Shift Your Mind-Set

Before you take a seat, think of this quote from Mayo Clinic researcher James Levine: "The goal of sitting should be sin-gular: to give our bodies a break from moving."

Sitting: The Most Unhealthy Thing You Do

Blogger Templates