Top 5 Benefits of Running

May 30th, 2013

If you’re looking to get back into shape for the nearing summer, then taking up running is a good idea. Affordable and effective, there are many health benefits from running.

If you own a good pair of running shoes and live near somewhere suitable for runs or jogs, then skip hiring the pricey personal trainer and cancel the gym membership, a great and free workout is waiting for you outside! Still not convinced? Well here are five of the absolute best health benefits of running daily:

1. You Will Burn Calories

While there certainly are benefits of running on a treadmill, you will generally burn more calories running outside due to the ever changing incline and declines of outside terrain. If you’re looking for a cheap but highly effective way to burn hundreds of calories in a single workout, running is a safe bet. In fact, you can easily burn 300 calories or more in just half an hour of steady running.

2. You Will Feel Better

As well as physical benefits, there are also many psychological benefits of running which include lifting your mood. The endorphins released in running can make you feel better mentally and provide a spur of energy. A great bad mood buster, a daily run is virtually guaranteed to put you into a good mood.

3. You Will Get in Shape

Running doesn’t just tone the legs, it also works out the buttocks, stomach and even the arms. Great for getting your entire body into shape, running is a basic yet incredibly effective way to work out.

4. You Will Feel Healthy

Running is an excellent solution to feeling healthier as not only will you start to look healthier from regularly running but you will also start to feel it. Strong links and connections have been made between strong immune systems and physically fit people, so you could give your immune system a major boost just by getting fit via running.

5. You Can Run Socially and For a Cause

The great thing about running is that although you can run solo, it’s also a fantastic social activity. Many runners run in groups or pairs which can be a great motivator. Once you’re a regular runner you’re virtually guaranteed to make friends within the running community and there’s also always the opportunity to run for a great cause as charity runs are held all over the country practically every weekend.

Running Tips for Beginners:

If you’re just getting into running, it’s important to take health and safety seriously, as injuries associated with runners are far from uncommon, especially with newbie runners. To help you get started, follow these tips:

  • Start off Slow – The first time you run it’s likely going to be difficult – but don’t be too hard on yourself! Start off slow and gradually build up and before you know you’ll be able to run a couple of miles nonstop easily. You may even want to try walking for two minutes followed by running for two to start off with.
  • Buy Decent Shoes – Put your best foot forward from the get go by investing in a pair of good quality running shoes. These will help reduce your likelihood of suffering from common running health problems such as knee strain and make for a more comfortable running experience.
  • Run Consistently – In order to see fast results and become a stronger runner faster, aim to go at least a couple of times a week and eventually daily. Inconsistent running will lead to substantially slower progress and so the best way to become a great runner fast is to stick with it and practice as regularly as you can.


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Top Ten Superfoods

April 29th, 2013

If you keep up with health news and health blogs, you’ve likely heard a thing or two about “superfoods” over the last few years. Superfood has become the latest buzzword in the health and nutrition world, thanks to the multiple health and fat fighting benefits many of these healthy foods contain.

What are superfoods? They are essentially foods that have been singled out for being extremely good for you. While there’s no definitive list of the best superfoods, here’s a list of 10 superfoods that are affordable and likely readily available at your local grocery store:

1. Avocados
Avocados have the unusual benefit of containing high levels of the “good” type of fat – monosaturated fat. This type of fat can help protect your heart from disease and avocados are also very high in fiber. Add avocados to your salad or even smear it onto your toast in the morning.

2. Quinoa
Quinoa is a very healthy alternative to rice or pasta and its mild taste allows it to go well together with a variety of different foods. This top superfood is so healthy because it is high in fiber and also contains high levels of iron, zinc, vitamin E and selenium.

3. Kale
Kale is a leafy green that contains beta carotene, vitamin C, calcium and vitamin K. It also contains sulforaphane which many studies suggest has anti-cancerous properties. Add kale to your salads, bake it or add it to your stir frys.

4. Dark Chocolate
Not all chocolate has to be bad for you! And this is especially the case with dark chocolate. Its high levels of flavonoids make it the perfect healthier choice for a tasty desert or mid morning snack. Flavonoids help lower blood pressure and benefit overall heart health.

5. Blueberries
Delicious to taste, blueberries are also extremely good for you. This particular superfood contains phytochemicals which have been linked to helping prevent cancer from developing. Blueberries also have high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin B6.

6. Spinach
Spinach benefits include being high in beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, Lutein and zeaxanthin – all which have tremendous health benefits. Spinach also contains high levels of iron, which is essential for maintaining energy levels and keeping nails and hair healthy.

7. Pumpkin
Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween; they are also a top superfood very much worth adding to your diet. Pumpkin contains high levels of beta carotene and potassium. Just make sure you buy canned pumpkin with no sugar added to get the most out of this best superfood.

8. Beans
Beans are one of the best superfoods to eat thanks to their rich fiber and protein content. Fiber and protein help you stay full and for longer, making beans a top choice for anyone that wants to lose weight the healthy way. For the healthiest bean selection, aim for no salt added cans of pinto, black, lima or kidney beans.

9. Egg Whites
Egg whites are a lower calorie solution to regular eggs, and are still high in protein which is essential for maintaining energy levels, strong bones, hair and nails. Enjoy egg whites with whole wheat toast in the morning or consider using it as an alternative in egg salad.

10. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers contain extremely high levels of vitamin C, in fact much more so than even oranges and apples. This popular superfood is also delicious, and is tasty eaten raw or cooked. Add this super food to your salads, sandwiches, stir frys or pasta sauces – it’s very versatile.

Get healthier today by adding the above superfoods to your diet. Enjoy!

2013 Flu Season Statistics & Prevention Suggestions

March 28th, 2013

The 2013 Flu Season has been one of the worst in recent years, with high numbers of sufferers reported and many cities across the nation so badly affected that they ended up declaring health emergencies.

The most vulnerable demographic reported are those 65 and older, who have had the highest rates of serious complications, including death. However, people of all ages and demographics have been affected, making it imperative that everyone take preventative steps against this potentially deadly disease.

The H3N2 strain proved to be the most prevalent strain this year, and the current flu shot did provide coverage for this strain, offering those who opted to get inoculated with a 62% chance of protection from contracting the virus. Although 100% protection isn’t guaranteed, the flu shot is one of the most effective ways of preventing the flu and as the average flu shot is either covered by many health insurance plans, or costs on average just $12.57 even without any health insurance – it is a very affordable preventative measure that everyone should consider next time around.

Other ways you can avoid the flu include regularly washing your hands, avoiding physical contact with those that have the flu and maintaining a healthy diet.

Below you’ll find a summary of essential statistics from flu season in 2013, including flu prevention tips and the economic costs of the flu on the total economy. If you find this infographic useful, please share it with your friends!

Please share this infographic by copying and pasting the text below to your own site.

The Health Benefits of Quinoa

February 7th, 2013

Quinoa is becoming an increasingly popular superfood, and you’ve likely read plenty about it in health related magazines and blogs. Quinoa is a grain-like crop that’s seeds can be boiled, steamed or toasted to make a tasty and very healthy substitute for rice and pasta.

When cooked quinoa becomes light and fluffy in texture and has a fairly mild flavor. For this reason many quinoa recipes involve adding some kind of flavoring, such as lime or lemon juice or a powdered spice. Quinoa nutritional value is great, which is why quinoa turns up so often on top healthy foods lists and in many healthy themed cookbooks.

So just what makes quinoa so healthy? Here are the top quinoa health benefits:

  • Quinoa is Protein Rich – Quinoa is incredibly protein rich, containing all 9 essential amino acids. Due to its high protein levels, quinoa is a particularly popular choice for vegans and vegetarians, who can use quinoa as a substitute for the protein they are lacking from meat and animal products consumption.
  • Quinoa is High in Iron – Quinoa contains high levels of iron, so much so that one cup of quinoa almost meets the standard recommendation for daily intake of iron. Iron is an essential daily component to a healthy diet, as it helps keep red blood cells healthy (among other great health benefits) and quinoa is an excellent way to assure that you get a healthy daily dosage of this powerful nutrient.
  • Quinoa Has High Levels of Magnesium – Magnesium is an essential vitamin that is often missing from many peoples diets, and thankfully quinoa contains high levels of this important vitamin. Magnesium plays several important roles in health, including regulating body temperature, detoxifying, increasing energy production and aiding in the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
  • Quinoa is a Very Good Source of Fiber – Quinoa contains amazingly high levels of fiber. In fact, a serving of quinoa contains nearly twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is often recommended for relieving constipation, but it is also great for lowering cholesterol and glucose levels. Quinoa seeds are ultimately an easy and quick way to increase your fiber intake.
  • Quinoa Contains High Levels of Riboflavin (B2) – This important B vitamin can be easily obtained by eating quinoa on a regular basis. Riboflavin (B2) is important for your diet as it improves energy metabolism and also helps protect cells from oxygen damage.

Easy Quinoa Recipes

Now that you know all about the quinoa nutrition facts, here are some quick and simple quinoa recipes you can easily fit into your weekly meal plan:

Chicken and Quinoa Burritos

Quinoa makes for a lighter and healthier rice substitute, making it for a perfect addition to a chicken burrito.


    • 1 cup cooked shredded chicken
    • 1 cup black beans
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
    • 1 cup freshly chopped cilantro
    • .5 cup low fat Greek yogurt
    • 1 cup sala

To prepare:

  • Stack the chicken, beans, quinoa, cheese, cilantro and Greek yoghurt in the burrito and roll into a burrito shape
  • Serve with the salsa

Quinoa with Mushrooms, Kale and Sweet Potatoes

This super easy to make dish combines three superfoods – kale, sweet potatoes and of course quinoa as well as nutritious mushrooms.


    • 1 cup quinoa
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 sweet potatoes
    • 10 ounces mushrooms
    • 1 bunch of kale
    • .5 cup of dry white wine
    • .25 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

To Prepare:

  • Cook the quinoa by boiling, and once boiled allow to simmer covered for 12-15 minutes
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot
  • Add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms and saute until golden in color (around 6 minutes)
  • Add the kale and wine and toss all the ingredients until they are tender, around 10-12 minutes
  • Serve the cooked vegetables over quinoa and sprinkle with the Parmesan

Healthy Quinoa Bowl

Replace your regular lunch salad with this tasty quinoa bowl dish that will be sure to entice your taste buds.


      • 1 cup cooked quinoa
      • 1 bunch of kale
      • 1 cup shelled edamame (lightly steamed)
      • .5 cup cashews or walnuts
      • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
      • 1 cup cooked tofu
      • Low fat dressing of choice

To prepare:

Saute the kale until tender, about four to five minutes. Then combine all of the remaining ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with your desired low fat dressing.

Quinoa is an easy way you can increase your iron, fiber and protein intake and is very easy to make. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to regular rice and pasta, definitely consider this top superfood. Enjoy!

10 Ideas for a Healthy Valentines Day in 2013

January 10th, 2013

Ways to have a healthy valentines day

Valentines Day may traditionally be a day for indulging in chocolate and fatty fine dining meals, but this year can be different. This is because there are many healthy and romantic Valentines Day ideas that don’t involve overeating at all. There are many great ways you and your loved one can experience a truly memorable and romantic day that incorporates health and wellness as well as a lot of romance.

For inspiration on healthy, good Valentines Day ideas, check out our top ten tips for a healthy Valentines Day this February:

1. Send a Healthy Food Gift

Sending a healthy food gift can be a great Valentines ideas for her. There are many companies online that specialize in fruit gift baskets, which will make for a far healthier gift than the traditional chocolate box. This gift will provide a healthy, less calorific edible gift that is actually tasty and that will without a doubt be aesthetically pleasing to receive.

2. Plan a Healthy Activity Date

Add a healthy twist to your planned Valentines Day date by arranging a fun healthy activity such as rock climbing, horse back riding or skiing. These could turn out to be just as romantic as the traditional dinner and movies date with your Valentine and could prove to be a lot more fun to boot.

3. Give the Gift of Wine

Instead of gulping unhealthy cocktails or fatty beers on Valentines Day why not indulge in some fine wine? Numerous studies indicate that wine (in moderation of course!) can actually be very good for you and even contains some powerful antioxidant properties. Wine is one of the best healthy valentines day treats out there, and you could even center your whole Valentines around it by attending a wine tasting at a local winery.

4. Make a Healthy Dinner

Why not stay at home this Valentines Day and create a healthy meal from scratch? Your partner is bound to appreciate your effort and simple romantic touches such as candles and rose petals can make it extra special. There’s a ton of free healthy Valentines Day recipes available online, so there’s no excuse not to make something that’s both healthy and delicious on the big day!

5. Order From the Light Section of the Menu

If you decide to have a traditional Valentines Day experience and opt for a meal out, stay healthy by ordering from the light section of the menu, which is usually either on a certain page or the healthier options will be highlighted throughout the menu. This way you can still enjoy the ease and pleasure of someone else cooking for the both of you, but you don’t have to risk eating unhealthy food.

6. Enjoy a Spa Day

Take your partner on a romantic spa day, you’re both bound to appreciate it! Spa days can be incredibly rejuvenating and relaxing, and also very healthy, especially if the spa prepares you healthy meals and you engage in some kind of physical activity such as a yoga class or gym session. While this is a pricey option, it is also one of the most special.

7. Give a Healthy Gift

If you plan on giving your partner a gift, aim to make it a healthy one. This could be a piece of gym equipment he or she has had their eye on for a while or a new workout playlist on their iPod. Whatever it is, try to choose something that encourages a healthier lifestyle and that he or she will definitely appreciate.

8. Take a Hike

Choose a romantic and picturesque hiking trail nearby and indulge in a couple hours of walking. This can of course be a great workout, and it also can provide a chance for you to really tell your significant other how much he or she means to you. As an added bonus, it’s completely free – so it’s well suited for anyone that’s on a tight budget this Valentines Day!

9. Take a Healthy Cooking Class

Need some help with healthy cooking? Then why not sign up for a healthy cooking class for your Valentines Day? This can be fun, educational and really help the both of you understand more about healthy cooking and eating. Just make sure you sign up for one of these well advance as they can book up super fast.

10. Embark on a New Health Regime Together

If you’ve already fallen off your New Year resolution health kicks by the time Valentines Day rolls around, now’s the time to get back on it. Make a pact that you will embark on a new health regime together and that you will support each other every step along the way. The support of a partner can help you reach your health goals faster and can also help make your relationship even stronger.

Use these ideas to make your Valentine’s Day a healthy experience and one that you’ll never forget. Give the gift of health this Valentines Day!

5 Tips for Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

December 10th, 2012

staying healthy during the holidays

For anyone that is trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, the holidays can be a major problem. The abundance of fattening food and drinks served throughout the holiday period can be a dieters worse nightmare, and the increase in party invitations and events can make it tough to schedule in exercise.

You may worry that the only way to have a healthy holidays is to avoid holiday parties and events, but this really doesn’t have to be the case at all. In fact, there are many ways you can still stay healthy during the holidays without having to give up your social life. To help you out in your quest for a healthy holiday, here are 5 essential tips for staying healthy during the holidays:

Schedule Time to Exercise

Your calendar may be jam packed with holiday parties and other festivities, but this doesn’t mean you have to abandon your exercise regime all together. If you can’t find time to make it to the gym, try working out at home instead. Perhaps you own some exercise DVDs you could put to good use or go for a jog round your neighborhood.

Try these for some quick at-home-workouts that require no equipment and that can be done anywhere, anytime:

  • Pushups
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Sit-ups
  • Yoga
  • Jogging

Even if you have to cut back on your exercise routines to save time, be sure to still find time to exercise each day, as otherwise you could find the pounds creeping on as the holiday season progresses.

Make Healthy Holiday Treats

A quick search online will reveal that there are plenty of delicious healthy recipes for the holidays out there, and many of which are surprisingly easy and affordable to make. Not all holiday treats have to be calorific and fattening, with a little imagination you can add a festive spin onto virtually any healthy dish. Of course there will be times when you’ll want to indulge in some unhealthy holiday treats but for the most part try to mainly stick to healthier options.

Pack Healthy Snacks

For a lot of people the holidays means a lot of traveling, which can lead to a limitation of healthy food available. However, you can easily skip having to get fast food at the airport or during your road trip by simply bringing some healthy snacks with you for your trip. Try packing some of the following items next time you’re out so that you have something healthy to snack on:

  • Granola, or granola bars
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Whole wheat crackers

Not only will this help you stay on top of your healthy diet, but it will also likely save you a small fortune to boot.

Watch Your Alcohol Intake

The holiday season doesn’t just include plenty of unhealthy foods, but also a ton of alcoholic beverages served at holiday parties and events. Alcohol can be surprisingly high in calories, and so it is best to avoid drinking excessively during the holidays to avoid packing on the pounds as well as to avoid those pesky hangovers. Of course you’ll likely want to enjoy a drink or two on a night out during the holiday season so try to alternate between alcholic and non-alcholic drinks to cut down on your calorie intake, or try one of the following “low-cal” mixers with your drink:

  • Diet soda
  • Orange juice
  • Coffee
  • Lemon or lime juice

Be Realistic

The truth is, you’re probably going to treat yourself to generous sized meals and sugary treats more often than you expect to during the holiday season, so don’t be too down on yourself if your diet and exercise goals don’t go exactly to plan. Definitely try to exercise regularly and eat as healthy as you can, but don’t punish yourself too harshly if you do let things slide a little. The holidays are supposed to be fun after all, so do remember to enjoy yourself!

With a little planning and a lot of motivation the holidays can be as healthy and active as you want them to be. Happy Holidays!

How to Stay Fit When It’s Cold Outside

October 23rd, 2012

As the cold months roll around, getting motivated about staying fit and active can be extremely challenging. When it’s dark and cold outside, our natural reaction is often to stay inside where it’s warm and go into virtual hibernation mode. Unfortunately, this can lead to weight gain and have other unhealthy consequences.

Although it can be a major struggle to stay fit and healthy during the fall and winter, it is still within your reach. Here are some tips for staying healthy this cold season:

Get a Gym Membership

If it’s too cold to workout outside, why not head over to your local gym? Unless there’s hazardous winter weather conditions, there really is no excuse not to still go to the gym during cold weather. If your gym routine is getting a little stale and you feel unmotivated to go, try spicing up your routine a little. You could try using new machines and try out new exercises or even start attending a new fitness class. Overall gym memberships can help you stay motivated and on top of your exercise routine while giving you somewhere with temperature control during the winter.

Use Fitness DVDs

Home workout routines can provide a fantastic way to beat the winter blues and stay in shape. If you don’t feel up to facing the cold weather, there’s no reason why you can’t still enjoy an excellent workout routine from the comfort of your home. Try to choose exercise DVDs that you think you’ll actually enjoy and will commit to long term. There’s a huge range of fitness DVDs out there catering to many different genres so there should be plenty that will spark your interest and help you maintain your fitness levels throughout the cold weather.

Play Indoor Sports

If you’re the sporty type, you know that sports aren’t just for the summer. There’s a plethora of indoor sports that can be played all year round, and that can be a lot of fun. Even if you’re not much into sports, there are still some sporty activities you may still enjoy during the winter months. For example, you could try rock climbing or ice skating. The important part is to keep moving during a cold snap and sports can help make doing this more fun and enjoyable.

Exercise at Work

Exercising before or after work can be tough, as you may feel too exhausted or stressed to dedicate time to exercise. If this is the case, there are fortunately many exercises you can do at work. Try storing some lightweight dumbbells in your desk drawer and doing some reps when you next find yourself on a lengthy conference call and try to take the stairs whenever you can. Think of creative ways you can exercise at work and this may spare you the hassle of having to workout when you get home.

Brave the Cold

Sometimes it can feel great to just wrap up warm, brave the cold and workout outdoors. As long as the weather conditions aren’t dangerous, exercising in cold weather can be refreshing, invigorating and energizing. Try taking a jog outside one winter day and see how it feels. Just make sure that you do wrap up extra warm and definitely bring a bottle of water with you.

Doing in exercise in cold weather may seem unappealing, but if you want to stay in shape and not put on excessive weight during the winter period, it’s essential that you maintain your exercise routine throughout the cold months. Use the above suggestions to help you find a winter workout routine that works for you, and good luck!

How to Prepare for Flu Season

September 26th, 2012

As fall approaches, flu season is about to get in full swing. Flu is a dreaded disease, which often leads its victims to be bedridden for days at a time and in severe cases can even result in hospitalization. Flu can be contracted by anyone but particularly vulnerable victims are young children, the elderly, pregnant women, healthcare workers and people that are undergoing medical treatment that weakens their immune system, such as chemotherapy.

According to common flu symptoms include:

  • A 100°F  fever or higher/feeling feverish
  • A cough or sore throat
  • A stuffy or runny nose
  • Headaches or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting

Preventing the flu isn’t always possible, but there are some simple steps you can take to decrease your chances of catching it this year. Don’t let the flu ruin your fall or winter, take these preventive actions to help you avoid it:

Wash Your Hands

This might seem obvious advice, but you may not be washing or sanitizing your hands as much as you should be. Washing or sanitizing your hands shouldn’t just be reserved for bathroom trips, as dangerous flu germs could be anywhere. Be especially conscious of keeping your hands clean when you’re out and about in public spaces, and particularly on public transport and when using a shopping cart.

Keep Your Living and Work Space Clean

Just as with your hands, it’s important to keep your living and work space as clean as possible. Aim to clean your living surfaces regularly and change your bed sheets on a consistent basis. This will help get rid of germs that could have found their way into your house. Likewise keep your work environment clean. It’s  important to keep your keyboard, phone and mouse well sanitized, especially when you consider how much you’re in contact with them.

Get a Flu Shot

You may want to get a flu shot this year. Flu shots can make you immune from certain flu strains, and can usually be administered at your local pharmacy for a relatively small fee. Just bear in mind that a flu shot doesn’t make you immune to every flu strain out there, so you still could potentially contract some kind of flu this year even with a shot.

Eat Healthily

A healthy diet doesn’t just benefit your waistline, it also helps you build up a strong immune system that can help block illnesses such as the flu. Although it’s tempting to binge on yummy holiday foods during the fall and winter, try to still eat healthy in between major holidays. Aim to get your five fruit and veggies each day and avoid sugary sodas and heavily processed foods.

Take Vitamins

You can give your immune system an extra boost by taking vitamins daily. This will insure that you get the vitamins you need to combat the flu, even if you don’t always eat as healthily as you should. Particularly great vitamins to take to help strengthen your immune system are vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc or you could just stick with a daily multivitamin.

Have Flu Medicine at the Ready

As soon as you can feel the early stages and symptoms of flu developing, make sure you have flu medicine that you can take immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to stop a flu virus from getting out of hand and in turn avoid the need for taking excessive days off of work or having to be hospitalized. Stock up your medicine well in advance of flu season, as you know what they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Stay Warm

Exposing yourself to cold and damp weather can lead to developing colds and even the flu, so always go out into the elements well wrapped up. Be especially aware of this when you’re drinking alcohol, as alcohol has the ability to make you feel much warmer than you actually are. If you live in a particularly cold climate, always leave the house prepared for chilly weather. Likewise if you live somewhere that’s very wet, always travel with an umbrella in flu season.

Drink Plenty of Water

Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, as staying hydrated is a key component to preventing colds and the flu. Note that sodas and coffees aren’t particularly hydrating, so it’s best to mainly stick with water around this time of year. If you forget to drink often, carry a 2 liter bottle of water with you when you’re out and about or to work and make sure that you’ve drunk the entire bottle by the end of the day.

Get a Good’s Night Sleep

Not getting enough sleep doesn’t just make you feel run down, it can also weaken your immune system. The ideal sleep time for most adults is 8 hours a night, but if this simply doesn’t fit into your schedule aim to get at least 6 hours of sleep. You’ll likely be surprised at just how much energized and healthy you feel after a good night’s sleep.

Use the above flu season tips to stay healthy. If you do begin to experience flu like symptoms, contact your doctor straight away.


How to Get into Yoga

September 14th, 2012

Yoga is an ancient exercise and meditation practice that has become increasingly popular all across America in recent years. Yoga focuses on breathing, meditation, flexibility and strength. Many people practice yoga to ease physical and mental tension, and also because it can be an effective strength building and toning workout.

Getting started with yoga can be a little  intimidating at first, especially if you know little about it or aren’t particularly flexible. However, most yoga studios offer yoga classes for beginners and you’ll likely be surprised at just how welcoming and non-judgmental most yoga classes and practitioners are. If you want to get into yoga, but don’t know where to start, here are some tips for helping you begin your yoga journey:

Choose the Type of Yoga You Want to Practice

A lot of people have the misconception that yoga is a one size fits all type of exercise, but there’s actually a huge amount of different types of yoga out there. Each type can differentiate hugely from one another, so it’s important that you choose a yoga type that suits your exercise and meditative goals the most.

Popular yoga practices include:

  • Ansura
  • Bikram
  • Hatha
  • Power

See here for a  comprehensive list of all of the main types of yoga practiced in America.

Pick a Class or Studio

Now that you’ve narrowed down a type of yoga you want to try, you’ll need to find a class or studio that offers it. If you have a gym membership, your gym may offer this type of yoga class and the chances are you live fairly close by to many yoga studios. Use online review sites such as Yelp to help you find top rated yoga studios, and also look for any online deals or coupons that are available. Many yoga studios offer free one week trials or cheap bi-weekly deals, so definitely look out for these.

Prepare for Your Class

If you’re a little nervous about what to expect from your first class, do a little online research before hand. Watch YouTube videos of practices and find out what you’re expected to bring to class. You may need to invest in a yoga mat (although most gyms and studios provide on site mats) and you’ll want to bring plenty of water with you. Also make sure that you wear comfortable and loose clothing to your class, as this will help you move from position to position more freely. Attending your first yoga class can be a little daunting, but if you prepare in advance you should be fine.

Take it Easy

Even if you start off with a yoga 101 or yoga for beginners class, you still might find yourself trying to compete with other class goers. Try to always go at your own pace and don’t over extend yourself. It’s important to gradually ease into yoga, because forcing yourself into tough stretches and poses could result in serious injury. Also note that yoga shouldn’t be based on competitiveness or being the most flexible, it’s about building on your own capabilities and enjoying your personal progress.

Practice from Home

If you’re only intending on going to a yoga class once or twice a week, it’s a good idea to practice basic yoga poses each day from home. Even if you only take a couple of minutes out of your day to stretch, you’ll soon begin to see major progress and find your yoga classes easier. Moreover, if you can’t remember a lot of your classes moves, try looking up yoga for beginners online and use online tutorial videos to help you finesse your poses. Yoga is more than just attending a class, it’s a lifestyle.

Once you’ve taken a couple of yoga classes, you could easily catch the yoga bug and be hooked for life. Yoga is a great workout and can really help cleanse your mind of stress and worry. Use the above tips as guidance and give yoga a try – discover this amazing ancient practice today!