Category : Health

7 Reasons To Start Your Day With A Cold Shower

Jumping into a cold shower early in the morning might not sound like the most appealing start to the day for most people.

However, this simple habit can deliver some significant benefits to your mind and body.

This article will share 5 reasons to start your day with a cold shower.

Cold showers can boost your immune system

Researchers have discovered that exposing the body to cold water can boost the performance of the immune system.

A study published in 2016 tracked how taking a hot-to-cold shower affected 3,018 participants in terms of illness, work performance, and quality of life.

The research team found that there was a 29% reduction in the number of sick days that each participant took once they began starting the day with a cold shower.

Scientists believe that jumping in a cold shower forces the blood vessels to constrict, shocking the body and stimulating leukocytes (immune system cells) found in the bloodstream.

This bolsters the immune system, making it more resilient to disease.

Cold showers can help you lose weight

If you are interested in losing some weight, having a cold shower in the morning is the perfect way to start the day.

A study published in the United States in 2014 found that a 10 to 15 minute cold shower had the same effect on the body as an hour of moderate exercise.

The researchers found that participants in the study would release two hormones when they began shivering in the shower.

These hormones are identical to the ones produced during moderate intensity exercise.

They are responsible for telling the body to begin converting fat cells into energy — which leads to weight loss.

Other research has found that cold showers will also change how you metabolise brown fat within the body.

Essentially, the body will be prompted into consuming any available stores of brown fat after a short time in the shower.

Better hair and skin

Cold showers can improve the look of both your hair and skin by increasing blood flow to the tiny capillaries just under the surface of the skin.

This helps to deliver nutrients like collagen to the skin to keep it elastic and taut.

Having a cold shower also helps to preserve the protective natural oils that are found in the skin and hair.

This reduces the risk of over-drying your skin or hair.

Instant alertness

Are you one of those people who struggles to get out of bed then spends the first 30 minutes of the day in a virtual coma as you sip on a coffee and watching TV?

Having a cold shower could help.

The sudden blast of cold water will speed up your heart rate, sending a rush of blood to your brain.

You will instantly be awake, alert, and ready to tackle the day that lies ahead.

It’s a great way to boost your productivity.

A clever way to boost your will power

The first thing you do in the morning sets a tone for the rest of your day.

If you drag yourself out of bed and eat a bowl of Chocolate Shreddies while watching morning television for an hour, you aren’t setting yourself up for success.

Having a cold shower is a way of telling the world you are determined, tough, and willing to do what it takes to succeed.

It is an excellent way to prove how motivated you are and to test your willpower.

Making it easier to get to sleep

If you have bouts of insomnia, consider having a cold shower before bed.

Being in cold water will drop your body temperature, tricking your body into thinking it is ready to sleep.

This technique works because the body naturally drops in temperature during sleep.

Reduce the risk of anxiety and depression

Having a cold shower activates the parasympathetic nervous system, prompting the levels of endorphins and noradrenaline.

Endorphins are a group of powerful hormones that act as an analgesic (mild pain killer).

They give you a pleasurable sensation that reduces the risk of certain mental health conditions including anxiety and depression.

Noradrenaline provides the body with a burst of energy, which can be useful for depressed people.

5 Health Apps To Look Out For In 2018

Despite the conflict of how much screen time we subject ourselves to compared to how much fresh air and exercise the average person gets, there are lots of apps out there to help your mental and physical wellbeing.

Here are five apps that are already proving popular in the health, fitness and wellbeing sector in 2018.

Meditation Studio

This app focuses on the art of meditation for relaxation and mindfulness.

The app offers a selection of meditation tutors, each a specialist in their own style of meditating.

Starting slowly and building up, the app has curated its offerings to match the user’s goals and any particular reasons that have brought them to the Meditation Studio.

Keelo

Keelo is the ultimate in workout apps for those who enjoy High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

The cardio-based fat burning workout is effective but it’s tough going and although the app has programmes from seven minutes up to 20 minutes, they are all demanding.

Keelo has a host of sessions for you to access and is perfect for anyone wanting to get started with a HIIT schedule in time for summer.

Headspace

Started by a stressed advertising executive and a former Buddhist monk, Headspace was formed after Andy Puddicombe returned from his monastic journey and met Rich Pierson.

Swapping advice and drawing from each of their experiences led the two to create this meditation app.

Launched in 2010, headspace has an abundance of guided meditations, motivational content, related articles and helpful videos.

My Fitness Pal

This app is great for fast and easy calorie counting and exercise plans at the push of a few buttons.

Log in each day to track what you’ve consumed and learn how to boost your weight loss with sensible workouts.

With over 5 million foods in the database there’s no chance of hidden calories ruining all your hard work and if you need any extra support or have questions then the community forums are always there for advice.

Fitstar Yoga

Fitstar draws on the expertise of yoga expert, Tara Stiles and absolutely anyone can get involved with these personalised sessions from beginner to experienced yogi.

The app continues to monitor your progress so that it can adapt your sessions as you improve your capabilities, push yourself to have higher goals and give your feedback as more poses unlock throughout your journey.

Why A Positive Outlook May Be Good For Your Health

Life is a matter of perspective.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, without the right outlook you’ll be miserable.

Outlook is at the heart of everything in our lives, and the wrong one can be damaging to your life, and even your health.

But how can a positive outlook be good for your health?

The damage a negative outlook can do

To understand why a positive outlook could be good for your health, we need to understand the damage that a negative outlook can do.

When one experiences negative emotions, it can bleed into your perspective and cause you to view things with a bleak eye.

This can affect your health.

When someone has a negative outlook, they don’t bother to try and look after their body.

You become at increased risk of health problems, and you can find yourself getting more and more disillusioned every day, which would lead to problems with your mental health if left to get too severe.

A positive outlook – good for your health?

This has left the possibility open that a positive outlook can be good for your health.

It was explored, and it was discovered that a positive outlook could in fact be very good for your health.

It has been proven that when you are dealing with something that threatens your health, having a positive outlook can help to protect your body and improve your immune system.

The act of cultivating positive thoughts can influence your outlook on life, which encourages the body to fight harder, push past its limits and allows you to keep going.

The positive outlook is also associated with such things as weight loss, a lower blood pressure, a reduced risk of heart conditions, and a wealth of other benefits, all of which are connected to the cultivation of a positive outlook.

Even when you’re battling a serious illness, your perspective can make all the difference.

When you stay positive and be convinced that you can, then there’s every chance that the body will respond to your requests, and will fight that bit harder to recover.

This is something that can make a massive difference to your mental health and your overall physical health, so you need to try and keep a positive outlook on life.

Overall, a positive outlook can have a massive impact on your health.

It can be perfect for you, and it is easy to see why.

The mind is one of the most powerful things around, and when yours is geared up to a goal, there’s nothing that can stop it.

Keeping a positive outlook will help you to keep fighting.

You’ll be able to push harder and to keep going even in the face of overwhelming odds.

You just have to try and keep cultivating all of the thoughts which keep you going, and all of the emotions which give you strength.

There are no limits to what you can do if you believe that you’re going to keep going and that you’re going to succeed.

The Importance Of A Good Night’s Sleep

With full-time jobs, screaming children and jam-packed schedules to contend with, sometimes getting a good night’s sleep is the last thing on your list of priorities.

Once you finish work and return home you’ve still got meals to cook, clothes to wash and other errands to run, not to mention handling your children’s sleeping routine, and before you know it it’s gone midnight and you still haven’t got into bed.

You may think that losing a few hours of shuteye here and there won’t do you much harm, but a good night’s sleep is much more important that you may think.

Read on to find out why you should really be making more of an effort to get your full eight hours.

It might help you get a promotion of work

Dreaming of a bigger office and a bump in your pay packet?

Well, sleeping more might just help you get there.

Sleeping is important for a number of different brain functions including cognition, concentration and performance.

When your sleep is disrupted or too short, you’ll be slower at carrying out tasks and will find it harder to solve problems.

Getting enough rest in the evenings will ensure you are always on top form and will increase your chances of getting in your boss’s good books.

It can help you achieve your weight loss and fitness goals

If you are working on hitting a new target in the gym or losing a few extra pounds on your diet, having adequate sleep can play a big part in this.

When you are tired, your body overcompensates for this feeling by consuming more calories, so you may find yourself reaching for that chocolate bar and avoiding the fruit bowl during your morning break if you got limited sleep the night before.

Studies have also shown that athletes who get the optimum amount of sleep will perform better.

Your health will benefit

Forget about those new vitamins you’re planning on buying, sleep is the only medicine you need when it comes to improving your health.

Sleep deprivation can contribute to a number of serious illnesses including stroke and heart disease.

Studies have also shown that improved sleep can help to boost your immune system, meaning you’re less likely to contract nasty bugs and colds.

Why Your Health Is Your Most Important Asset

What are we without our health?

Many of us are guilty for taking the most pleasure in life from our material possessions like our beautiful new cars or stunning clothing collections.

Some of us concentrate entirely on our work lives and often dedicate thousands upon thousands of hours to making sure we’re where we want to be in our careers.

If you’re guilty of some of the above sins, then you’re forgetting a very crucial point; you wouldn’t be able to enjoy any of the things mentioned if you weren’t in good health.

Read on to find out why your health is your most important asset and why you should never prioritize anything over it.

Reduced risk of illness

Who wants to spend their life being sick?

It’s an obvious concept, but many people forget that if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle then you’re at a much greater risk of becoming unwell.

Not eating right puts you in the crosshairs of a range of nasty conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer.

We’re all in agreement that nobody wants illnesses such as these, so why isn’t keeping healthy, the remedy to staving off these conditions, your number one priority?

You’ll spend more time with the people who matter

Another asset that many people consider to be just as important as their own health is their friends and family.

The two are inextricably linked; if you live a healthy lifestyle throughout your life you’ll spend more time watching your grandchildren grow up once you’ve gotten older.

Studies show that people who live healthier lifestyles live for longer and, as a consequence, can spend more time with the most important people in their lives.

You’ll lead a happier life

Surely the ultimate goal in life is to simply be happy, regardless of our careers or material possessions?

Happiness is another fundamental value in life which is linked to good health.

People who exercise regularly, for example, not only give themselves a dose of mood-boosting chemicals every time they do so, but also benefit from a better physique, which gifts them greater happiness in the long run.

A person who has a positive outlook on life, too, is surely more likely to be happy than a depressed millionaire even if they live in a house with significantly fewer bedrooms?

All our worldly possessions are worthless if you’re not a healthy person both physically and mentally.

5 Health Benefits Of Sleep

You might think that getting your full eight hours is only necessary for recharging your batteries and ensuring that you avoid falling asleep at your desk, but did you know there are actually a number of health benefits associated with good sleep?

We are constantly looking for ways to improve our health and whether it be a new supplement, removing something from our diet or attending a different fitness class, we can always be doing more in the quest for optimum well-being.

Before you spend any more money in your local health food store or submit yourself to yet another gruelling exercise fad, find out the five health benefits you could receive simply from putting your head on the pillow a bit earlier every night.

1. Improved memory

Think all your brain does at night is dream about your favourite foods or that colleague you’re dying to ask out?

Think again.

Whilst you are in a state of slumber, your brain is working very hard to process everything that you have done throughout the day.

This is known as consolidation, and it can help to strengthen your memories and increase your performance during your waking hours.

2. Reduced inflammation

Inflammation has been linked to a number of serious illnesses including stroke, diabetes and arthritis and research has suggested that people who sleep for less than six hours a night will have higher levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood, which could increase their chances of getting any of these illnesses.

3. Help with weight loss

If you are following a weight loss plan in order to shed a few pounds, you may want to consider an earlier bedtime as well.

Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors in the brain and when you are tired certain hormones are released into your blood.

These hormones also drive appetite, meaning there is a strong correlation between being tired and overeating.

4. Can help with stress management

With the hectic lives that most of us lead nowadays, it can be easy to become stressed out and feel as though you are in over your head.

Luckily, getting enough sleep can help to combat that feeling and can also improve your cardiovascular health.

5. Avoid depression

Depression is a mental health problem affecting a significant number of people these days and good sleep can help to alleviate some of your negative thoughts and feelings if you are suffering.

Getting the correct amount of sleep each night will reduce anxiety and lead you to wake up in the mornings for a much clearer head and positive mind-set.

Why Yoga Can Help You Thrive At Work

As well as simply keeping you fit, yoga is beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing in a number of ways.

Here are a few of the ways that regular yoga can help you thrive at work.

Posture

The art of yoga is one of the most ancient forms of exercise.

It is formed from a series of stretches, breathing exercises and holding positions.

Years ago we all had much better posture, we had less time to relax and access to heavily cushioned sofas and chairs was not as prevalent as it is today.

We were conditioned not to slouch and to sit up straight.

Yoga brings a natural approach to improving posture and this can benefit those of us who spend a lot of time sitting at our desks, staring at a computer.

Back problems at work can be a big cause of absenteeism so being mindful of using yoga knowledge to keep good posture can benefit you in your working day.

Ability to cope with stress

We live in stressful times, and every day at work can’t always go brilliantly – there will inevitably be a bad day that sends blood pressure or stress levels soaring.

Yoga teaches you to use your breathing to manage the natural fight or flight reaction.

If you adopt this approach, you’ll likely manage workplace stress a lot better.

This will also have a positive impact on those around you, especially if you are managing a team or are responsible for dealing with customers.

Good health means less time off sick

Yoga has so many benefits, one of which is improved health.

Nobody wants to be the office sick note and unnecessary time off work due to avoidable illness can mean you get behind in your work or career.

It could make you look like less of a team player too, so yoga is a great way to keep yourself healthy along with a balanced diet and lots of sleep.

Incidentally, better sleep is also a pro to taking up yoga – the breathing exercises can help you to get to sleep quicker and sleep more soundly.

Productivity and concentration

A typical benefit of yoga is that it trains your mind and body to concentrate.

Concentration on your work can be hard when your mind might wander to what’s for dinner or the storyline of your favourite soap opera.

An occasional daydreaming is no bad thing, but when you need to you can call on your yoga skills to focus and bring your attention back to the project or task at hand.

At work you need to be concentrating fully and this benefit of yoga can only increase productivity day to day.

Understanding The Connection Between Mental & Physical Health

Mental and physical health are not two different things in your body.

They’re one complicated and connected way of living; they affect each other.

Someone who lives with a painful, lifelong condition is at higher risk of poor mental health compared to someone fit and healthy; someone with poor mental health will often find it harder to recover from illness or injury.

Depression has been linked to increased risk of death from heart disease and cancer.

Do you know how you can keep both your mental and physical health in good shape?

Exercise

Physical activity is a great way to produce endorphins, which are chemicals your body releases that make you feel happy.

It doesn’t have to be an hour on the treadmill, either.

It can be ten minutes brisk walking in the fresh air when you get out of the office for lunch, or a quick jog with the dog when you get in.

You’ll get fitter and happier even with gentle exercise.

Plus, if you take part in a sporting event, you’ll build camaraderie and friendships with the others who are there.

Diet

We all know that fruit and vegetables are good for us, and that we shouldn’t eat too many sweets.

But it’s not just to stop our teeth rotting; it’s also because getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals means our bodies and minds work well.

Don’t starve yourself of carbohydrates if you’re on a diet; you won’t have enough energy to perform at your mental best.

Don’t deny yourself that chocolate bar if you’re going to be thinking about it all evening.

Enjoy your food, keep paying attention to how much of each kind of food should be on your plate, eat well and be happy.

Being nice to yourself

Imagine you’re with a friend, and you’ve just fallen over.

Instead of asking if you’re okay, your friend says, “You’re an idiot. You’re so clumsy. Why are you so embarrassing all the time? Now you’ve got mud on you. You can’t even walk.”

I’d imagine you wouldn’t stay friends with them for long.

So why would you say the same things to yourself?

A positive mental attitude can do wonders for you and your self-esteem.

Laugh it off and head to the next challenge.

Yes, falling hurts, but if you don’t dwell on it, it won’t hurt as much.

Improve Wellbeing To Boost Performance

If you feel bad physically, you’re going to feel bad mentally.

Physical health has a remarkable effect on mental health, and mental health does the same to physical health.

Have you ever thought that you’d be doomed to have this cold forever, and it took ages to shift?

Or did you brightly reckon that you’d be over the worst of the cold by tomorrow, and then—surprise surprise—you were?

Boost your performance by looking after yourself.

Think about your body and mind like a Premiership footballer.

Is he going to be playing the best game of his life if he’s thinking about the nasty story in the papers about him, the rude chant the crowd have made up as he dribbles the ball, or how his ex-wife has told him she’s going to take the house away from him?

No.

But if he’s focussed on the trophy that he just needs to score one more goal to win, or of how supportive his teammates are, or that people seem to love him for being a great striker, he’s going to do better.

Think about your mental health as being as vital as physical health.

Imagine you’re that footballer again, but this time you’ve got a bad knee.

You’re not going to play as well as you usually would.

And that’s the same for your mental health.

So you have to treat yourself carefully, like the doctor working on the footballer’s knee or the person he speaks to about his problems telling him to try meditation for ten minutes every day.

Look after yourself, and take time for things you enjoy.

Here’s the secret; while you’re doing those things, you’re not really resting.

You’re actually just charging yourself for the next important thing you have to do.

It might be a big presentation at work, or it might be a meeting where it’s important you make a good impression.

And if you take time to take care of yourself and relax, you’re going to do so much better than if you’re brittle from lack of sleep, worried because you were going over the figures in your head and now you can’t remember which is which, or concerned that you’re going to forget someone’s name.

Wellbeing is the key to productivity.

Treat yourself well—better sleep, better food, better relaxing—and you’re bound to see the efforts pay off.

5 Psychological Benefits Of Yoga

Yoga has become incredibly popular in recent years, with more and more people trying to relax and improve their fitness.

The ancient techniques of yoga have been developed over 5,000 years and there are now a variety of different styles that are practiced all over the world.

There are countless benefits to practicing yoga, both physical and psychological.

Here are a few of the ways in which yoga can improve the state of your mental health.

Change your state of mind

The nature of yoga is to focus the body and calm the mind by concentrating on a series of poses and breathing exercises.

The combination of these things has a profound effect on your nervous system by changing it from sympathetic to parasympathetic.

This means that you go from fight-or-flight mode to rest-and-relaxation mode.

Improve brain power

It’s been shown that taking part in yoga can have a positive effect on your memory and general brain power.

The concentration that yoga requires helps your brain to empty itself of unnecessary thoughts and get used to the act of concentrating on a specific set of tasks.

Doing small yoga-style exercises such as neck rolls at work can also help reduce stress and increase concentration.

Help fight depression

Many people suffering from depression have seen an increase in their mental health by regularly doing yoga.

Studies have shown that after just 20 sessions people with severe depression noticed their mood improve and their anger reduce.

If you’re suffering from depression or you know someone who is, then yoga is definitely worth considering.

It’s easy to start, you can get free lessons online and it’s a lot safer than prescription drugs and other similar solutions.

Be more self-reflective

The teachings of yoga focus greatly on the idea of self-reflection and identifying qualities and characteristics in ourselves that we may be unaware of.

This will help you look inside yourself and identify things that you may want to improve on.

It will also make dealing with your personal issues a lot easier because you’ll be much better at identifying how you feel and then working out why you feel that way.

Improve relationships

Yoga is aimed at helping you become more peaceful within yourself and helping you deal with situations in a relaxed way.

The teachings of yoga help to keep you calm in stressful and confrontational situations.

Opening your mind and becoming more peaceful will help you resolve issues with your partner, family or friends much more easily and with a lot less stress.