Benefits of Ab Workouts

These workouts will make the difference between having good abs and great abs. Although we talk about having a great six-pack, the abdominals are actually one muscle. However that doesn’t mean one exercise(crunches) is all you need to train them. The secret to great abs is variation, and by doing diverse ab exercises you’ll achieve a firmer, flatter, stronger midsection in less time. These exercises put emphasis on different areas of the abdominals by using different leg positions to target different abdominal fibres.

The other secret of fantastic abs is to make sure you exercise the deep stabilizing abdominal muscles, the ones that really pull in and flatten the stomach, even when you’re at rest The deep muscles are called the ‘core’ muscles because they compress your internal organs and straighten and strengthen the lower back. If you haven’t learnt how to locate these in gym classes, practise this before you do this workout, as your core muscles should be activated throughout all the workouts. Once they’re in tone, these are the muscles that will give you great posture.

By strengthening not just your six-pack, but your entire midsection- back, front and obliques- this workout will also improve your sports performance. Your trunk is the body’s central link for nearly all sports performance. External and internal obliques help you twist and bend, the deep core muscle straightens and strengthens your back. If you only work your abs, you’ll get a great looking body that gets hurt as soon as you challenge it in real life or sport. That’s why this workout includes lower back exercises, to keep your muscles in balance.

People’s abdominal strength varies hugely, so this workout comes in two levels beginner and advanced. The beginner’s version tones abs at the same time as working to get them out from under all that abdominal fat! Start with the level that suits you. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and abs can’t be built in a weekend.

Locating Your Core
Start by lying flat on your back with your legs bent at the knee and feet flat on the floor. Rock your pelvis gently so that first you flatten your spine against the floor, curling your tailbone towards the ceiling, and then release the other way. Let your spine settle in between these two extremes, in a neutral position. Exhaling, draw your stomach in from the pelvic floor upwards, thinking of trying to contract your belly button back towards your spine. Then inhale, flattening your stomach against your spine further. This is what it feels like to have your abdominals engaged. The aim is to have this active core as the starting point for all the exercises.

5-Minutes Full Body Stretch

Do these stretches after every workout, holding each for 30 seconds each. They target every muscle in the body from top to toe. All the following exercises are done standing with feet shoulder-width apart.

Neck
Procedure: Gently tilt the head to one side until you feel a stretch on the opposite side of the neck. Then repeat on the other side.

Tip: Increase the stretch from neck to shoulder by placing your right hand on top of your head as your head tilts to the right.

Upper Back
Procedure: Clasp your hands together and push your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder level, parting your shoulder blades.

Tip: To create a more intense stretch, use a pole or gym machine that you can hang backwards from to increase the stretch.

Lower Back
Procedure: Lie on your back and pull your knees to your chest so your tailbone curves gently off the floor. Rock your knees back and forth slowly for 15 seconds. Then with hands on knees gently circle the knees clockwise, then anticlockwise for 15 seconds.

Tips: If you want to take longer doing stretches you may- you can never do too much. But the stretches I’ve designed here are for speed and efficiency.

Chest
Procedure: Hold your abdominals tight and keep your head, neck and shoulders relaxed. Clasp your hands behind your back and lift your arms behind you until you feel the stretch across your chest.

Tips: If you are working with a buddy, increase the stretch by getting them to raise your hands at the back. Don’t lean forward: keep your head in the same position.

Shoulders
Procedure: Bend one arm and bring it across your body at shoulder height. Place your opposite hand or forearm on the upper arm and push to increase the stretch. Repeat on the other side.

Tips: Be careful not to shrug your shoulders as you do this. Keep them down and relaxed.

Triceps
Procedure: Raise your left arm in the air, bend at the elbow and place the hand behind your head in the middle of your shoulder blades. Place your right hand on the left elbow and push against your arm to increase the stretch. Keep your back and neck in alignment as you stretch. Repeat on the other side.

Tips: Push your head back on to your arm to increase the stretch slightly.

Quads (Front Thighs) And Hips
Procedure: Stand up straight with one hand on a wall, chair or your workout buddy. Bend one leg at the knee, pulling your foot towards your buttock and keeping your knees together. Repeat on the other leg.

Tip: Keep your tailbone tucked under so there is a straight line down the front of your body- this will increase the stretch on your hip flexors and thighs. The supporting leg should be slightly bent.

Hamstring (Back Thighs)
Procedure: Stand and place one leg straight out in front of you, with your heel on the ground and toe flexed. Bend your supporting leg slightly then bend forward from the hips, keeping your abs pulled tight. Repeat on the other leg.

Tip: To increase the stretch, bend further forward from the hips, keeping your back stretch.

Calves
Procedure: Stand with your hands against the wall at shoulder height and step one foot back behind you. Keep your front leg slightly bent and the back leg straight. Push the heel of your back leg into the ground. Repeat on the other side.

Tip: Place the other foot on the back of your heel to increase the stretch.

The Mindset
As you stretch out, think about what you have done and congratulate yourself on it. Allow your body to feel strong. Tell yourself that you’re fit, strong and flexible­ even if you don’t feel like it. It’s mind over matter: let your mind override your body and feel the fitness high.

How To Know When You Need To See An Allergist

Millions of people suffer from allergies, but if allergy symptoms are new to you, you may confuse them with a regular cold. If you’re lucky, your allergy symptoms may be easily managed by the use of an over the counter medication or by staying away from pollen or other known allergens.

For others, though, allergy symptoms may be more severe, and you may have a harder time alleviating the symptoms or determining exactly what it is that’s causing your symptoms. If you’re suffering from allergies, or what you believe to be allergies, you may want to consider seeing an allergist to help you determine what it is you’re allergic to and how to prevent your symptoms from getting worse. The following tips can help you determine if you should see an allergist.

You want to know what you’re allergic to.

If you’ve been suffering from allergy symptoms for an extended period of time, determining exactly what you’re allergic to can help you to combat these symptoms. An allergist can perform a variety of tests to find out exactly what it is that you’re allergic to. For example, they can find out if you’re allergic to mold, certain foods, pet dander, environmental stimulants or anything else. Most tests will require your blood to be drawn, and they’ll possibly do a scratch test in which they scratch your arm and test to see if you have a reaction when certain stimulants are applied. By learning what it is that you’re allergic to, your allergist can help you find ways to control your symptoms.

You want stronger medication.

When most people realize they have allergies, they’ll turn to over the counter medications before seeing an allergist. If you’re taking over the counter allergy medications that don’t seem to be helping your symptoms, you’ll want to see an allergist. Not only can they help you determine the cause of your allergy symptoms, but they can also prescribe stronger medications that will work much better than your over the counter options. Plus, some people may suffer from severe allergies that they require a shot instead of oral medication, and this can only be done by an allergist.

Your allergies are interfering with your daily activities.

If your allergies have gotten so out of control that they’ve made it difficult for you to get out of bed or to breathe, then you need to see an allergist. Sometimes allergies can lead to other diseases, such as nasal congestion, sinus infections or even asthma, and if you’re suffering and finding it hard to get through the day, then you’ll want to see an allergist in order to get the right medications and help.

You want more allergy information.

Sure, you can turn to Google to research information about your allergies, but there’s so much information on the Internet that it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s false. If you want to learn more about allergies in general or what you can do to prevent your symptoms from coming back aside from taking medication, an allergist can be a big help. Not only will they prescribe you medication to alleviate your symptoms, but they can also teach you how to prevent your symptoms from coming back and which allergens you need to avoid in order to be allergy free.

Living With Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. The uric acid crystalizes and leaves deposits in the joints, most often in the feet. Women tend to suffer from gout less commonly than men and usually the onset comes after the age of 60 but I started to suffer symptoms in my 40’s despite eating a healthy diet and not being overweight.

Everyday Life
For the most part my everyday life is not impacted greatly by gout. I can move around normally without pain and barely know I have the condition unless I knock my elbows in which case I want to scream! The real issue is engaging in sporting activities which is a shame because weight gain has a negative effect on the condition and is to be avoided.

Sport
It is my feet which are most severely affected and this is a major inconvenience if you love sport! I really enjoy hiking but have found that I have to try literally dozens of walking boots before I stumble across a pair that are perfect for my feet. I now have a pair of Berghaus boots in which I can walk comfortably for hours and so I am praying that they will last for years. The biggest issue currently is skiing and that is causing me all sorts of problems.

Skiing
Deciding to take up skiing when you are 50 is hard enough but with bad feet it is a nightmare. After three sessions on the indoor slope I have now had to have custom foot beds made for my boots as I was in agony after just a few minutes. I am praying that the new foot beds and the moulding of my liners will improve the situation otherwise I am in real trouble. I have also discovered that it is rather painful to get up after a fall but I hope that as I improve I will fall less often!

Fashion
My feet also cause problems on the image front. Most fashionable footwear is not an option so you won’t see me teetering around in high heels and platforms. This is not a sacrifice I feel too strongly about as I was totally incompetent in heels anyway and my footwear always tended to be a triumph of comfort over style but I need to be even more careful now. Boots are best overall but in the summer I have found that leather footwear from Rieker or El Naturalista works best.

Trainers
You would think that trainers would be a comfortable solution but I have had mixed results. Some sports shoes leave me in agony but Skechers trainers are brilliant for my feet. This is fabulous because they are my favourites! At least I don’t have to make sacrifices here.

For the most part living with gout is really not that bad as long as you can survive without the Jimmy Choos. It is a bit depressing peering into shop windows and seeing an array of funky footwear that you know you cannot wear and the skiing is going to be tough. I will just have to find a way to accommodate my feet in those boots and to stop falling over if only to avoid the humiliation!

Free Yourself From Phobias With Hypnosis

Phobias are something that nearly everybody has. Even the most fearless among us would probably admit that they are scared of something. But having a phobia is not the same as having an innate reaction to flee from something dangerous. The definition of a phobia is a persistent, irrational fear of something or a situation.

That is to say, phobias are things that logically we shouldn’t really be afraid of. For example, the fear of flying is known as aerophobia but it is totally illogical to be scared of flying as this act alone is never likely to cause you harm. The real fear in this instance is the fear of dying. Now that’s something to be scared of.

A Simpler Solution

Phobias really can be crippling and often stop us from living our lives in the way we would like. The fact that they are irrational means that curing them is not as difficult as you might think. Most people like to prescribe the act of facing your fear in order to cure it but, if that doesn’t sound like something you’d be willing to do, then there is an easier way. Hypnosis can help you control your phobia in relaxed and calming surroundings and without having to confront it in the flesh.

How Does It Work

Hypnotherapy for phobias works simply by helping the patient to unlearn any irrational fears that they have developed. From birth, we only have two innate fears; the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. That means that anything else has been a result of our environment and can easily be reversed.

Hypnosis is targeted at the emotional trigger behind the fear and aims at removing it. Once this is done, techniques will then be taught to the patient to enable them to remove the negative feelings towards the subject of the phobia. This is done by getting the patient to associate this subject with more positive and relaxed feelings, rather than the frenetic ones brought on by the fear.

Some Strange Phobias

Some people may be struggling to see their phobia as something that is totally irrational and that’s mainly because when you have that fear, it’s hard to see it from any other point of view. If you are still finding it hard to believe then check out some of these phobias and ask yourself how rational they seem.

Peladophobia – The fear of bald people.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – is ironically the fear of long words. Not of Hippopotamuses.

Arachibutyrophobia – is the fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of your mouth. Seems rather inevitable really.

Allodoxaphobia – is the fear of other people’s opinions. I’ll tell you what I think of that.

Gnosiophobia – is the fear of knowledge. Perhaps this is one people don’t realise they have.

Levophobia –is the fear of things being to the left hand side of the body. That can’t be right.

Oenophobia – is the fear of wine. I’ll drink to that.

Papyrophobia -is the fear of paper. Better write that one down.

Verbophobia – is the fear of words. I don’t know what to say about that.

Creative Teeth Whitening Tips

With the holidays in full swing maybe you will be spending more time with family and friends and you want to look your best.

Just because it is the holiday season doesn’t mean you need to gain weight or overeat. In fact, taking care of yourself can be fun and easy especially this time of the year.

Maybe you want to make a first impression at the next family or social gathering. One of the easiest ways to do that is to have white teeth.

When we age, our teeth naturally stain from environmental factors and from regular eating and drinking.

This season you can have a bright white smile with these creative teeth whitening tips.

Avoid dark-colored foods and beverages

Dark-colored foods and beverages such as red wine and chocolate can stain your teeth. Try to avoid them this holiday season. Try to eliminate them for a healthy smile. If at all possible leave them out of your diet or reduce them for a way to naturally keep your teeth whiter.

Chew sugar-free gum

Chewing sugar-free gum is one of the best ways to keep your teeth white and clean. Chewing gum is good for your smile because it will remove food particles that stay on your teeth after meals. When you chew sugar-free gum your mouth will naturally produce more saliva. This can help act as a mouthwash which can keep your teeth shiny and clean.

Brush your teeth after every meal

Brushing your teeth is important especially if you’re trying to keep your teeth white and clean. Brush your teeth after every single meal or snack for an added shine. The holidays season is a time of extra food and eating so be prepared with toothbrush.

Smile More

Chances are you may be happy because it’s the holiday season. But maybe you are stressed out and overwhelmed as well. There’s a chance that you are insecure because of your teeth color, so maybe you are not smiling as much as you want to. Studies show that people who smile are more happy than people who choose to frown. The trip is smiling will make others feel more happy and they won’t even notice the discoloration of your teeth.

As long as you’re having fun and making the most out of your time with everyone. When you smile, other people will feel happy to be around you. Put your health first this holiday season.

5 Habits That May Harm Your Skin

What you do on a day to day basis has a bigger impact on your skin than you may think. You may just assume that a quick wash at night is going to take care of your skin for life. Wrong! If you want to have the healthiest skin possible, you need to make sure adjust your lifestyle for it. Here are five habits you may have that cause damage to your skin.

Drinking

Drinking isn’t really good for any part of your body, so you need to do this only in moderation. Of course, the occasional girl’s or guy’s night isn’t going to turn you into a raisin overnight. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to control your habitual drinking if you go out on a regular basis. Limit yourself to one glass or can of whatever beverage you like, and then stick to water for the rest of the night. Your skin will look better as your body establishes a normal function.

Smoking

Cigarettes are full of toxins that dull and damage your skin. Marijuana and cocaine obviously aren’t any better. If you have been smoking for a long time now, you may have already done serious damage to your skin, from the inside out. Try to quit as soon as possible, and go on a cleansing diet to get rid of the crap that’s stuck in your system. Finish off with a microdermabrasion treatment to remove surface issues, and you’ll start to look the way you should.

Staying Up

It doesn’t matter how busy you are. You need to find some time in the day to go to sleep. If you are staying up night after night, your body doesn’t have any time to reset itself. What does that mean for you? Wrinkles, dry spots, pimples, and a sea of other problems you don’t want. Rest well at night and then tackle tomorrow’s problems tomorrow. You’ll find yourself more efficient this way in the long run.

Stressing Out

Stressing out may not be a habit that you develop willingly, but it is something you need to break. This is going to mess up your digestive system, your sleeping schedule, and your skin’s ability to keep itself clear. You’ll soon get dark circles, bags, and everything else you don’t want to see on your face, all because you can’t stay calm. Just breathe for a second and let the weight of the world fade into the distance.

Sitting Around

Finally, you need to work on a little thing called laziness. This is a big contrast to the two habits mentioned above, but it can be equally damaging to your skin. Stay active and healthy, and you will be rewarded with clear skin. I guarantee it.

5 Ways To Eat Sugar For A Diabetic

The doctor announces that you are at risk of getting diabetes or perhaps you already have it. The first thought that comes to mind is “Wow! Welcome, boring life.” As they guide you through the changes you have to make in your life, your mind wanders to all the lovely food you have to give up and the activities you will now cease to partake in. Your mood drops and you just want to get your medications and leave the office.

If these are your thoughts well then let me add a new one, you can have your cake and eat it, literally!

A diabetic life does not have to be boring and bland. You have a life to live and it still has much excitement. No, I am not talking about supplements or promoting a certain sugary medicine. It’s about the real stuff: the actual sugar and candy! The key to living a sugary diabetic life is moderation and combinations. However, let us set some of the assumptions right first.

You cannot have any sugar
This is an outright lie. You can have sugar, just not as you used to take it. The solution is to plan beforehand what you will eat and incorporate some sugar in your diet. What you must avoid is taking spontaneous treats because chances are that you will consume more sugar if you do so.

Stick to proteins in your meals
Proteins are important for the diabetic but your diet should not contain too much of them. Your body, diabetic or not, can only take a certain amount of protein and too much of it especially the animal protein is bad for you. What you need is a balanced and healthy diet.

There are special meals for you
Much marketing is out there stressing there are certain special food for the diabetic. The advertisements are not a lie but they are not entirely true also. The simply combine what your body needs and place them in a pack and charge extra. They have no extra benefit to the individual just know your nutrition needs and assemble them in the diet. Keep a healthy and balanced diet full of fibers and vegetables.

No carbs and very little calories
Despite the fact that carbs add your weight, which is a risk factor in diabetes, you do not have to cut on them completely. As stated above, the key is to have a balanced meal. Include the 3 main food groups and you will be fine.

Now that you know what your diet requires, I am sure you are very eager to know how to incorporate sugar in your diet without placing yourself at risk. Here it is, folks!

5 ways to include sugar into your diet

Do not eat sweets and sugar stuff alone: Make them part of your meal. Eating them as a snack alone will cause you to get high blood sugar. When you take them as your meal, for example raisins in your salad, your body will adjust accordingly.

Choose carbohydrates or sugar: In your diet, you have to choose between one of them. On the days, you are having dessert, lower greatly the amount of carbohydrates you take. Both sugar and carbs contribute to blood sugar so having them both will place you at risk. Again, do not use this trick daily. Have days for the pasta and others for the dessert

Fat is good for you: When mentioning fat, this is not the kind found in fries and donuts. It is the healthy fat in yoghurt and nuts. You may want to keep away from fatty foods, but you should not. Indulge in fat occasionally but make sure it is healthy. Fats slow digestion making your body absorbs sugar slowly. Rapid absorption results in high blood sugar.

Get sugar substitutes in meals: If a recipe calls for sugar, use vanilla extract instead. Alternatively reduce the amount of sugar required by half then add flavors like cinnamon and nutmeg to give the food a great taste.

Keep hydrated: When we feel weak, our body demands for blood sugar making you desire the treats. When you drink a lot of water, you reduce the desire to eat too much sugar. Regain your energy by adding some little juice or taking flavored water.

How Botox Works

Botox is the most common trade name for the protein botulinum toxin type A. Botox is most famous for its usage in cosmetic treatment where it removes wrinkles and deep creases in the skin for a temporary period of time. While Botox parties involving a number of people receiving the treatment at a friend’s home are becoming increasingly popular, patients are advised to undergo the treatment in a medical office to emphasis the gravity of this procedure.

What is Botox Used For?

In cosmetic treatment, Botox is most commonly used to soften brow furrow lines, wrinkles and facial creases as well as prevent uncontrolled blinking and lazy eye. Other medical procedures that use Botox include cervical dystonia, writer’s cramp, excessive sweating, head and neck tremors, chronic pain, neuropathy, achalasia, migrane headaches and facial spasms.

Why Does Botox Work?
Muscles contract when nerves send signals by releasing a chemical called acetylcholine. The acetylcholine binds to the muscle initiating a chemical reaction that leads to a muscle contraction. Botox blocks the acetylcholine receptors of the muscles so the chemical is cannot bind with the muscle. The muscles are therefore unable to receive signals from the nerves and are set in a state of paralysis. As the muscle can no longer contract, the presence wrinkles appears less pronounced or symptoms of a medical condition become diminished.

What is the Botox Procedure?
The Botox procedure involves injecting a diluted amount of botulinum toxin into a particular muscle or muscle group. The botulinum toxin must be directed very precisely to avoid other muscles in the body becoming affected and therefore unable to function properly. No anesthesia is needed and the procedure only takes a few minutes to complete.

When Does Botox Start to Take Effect?
Results from cosmetic Botox treatment are usually visible within two to four days. Patients will usually require additional treatment every three to eight months, however, each time crease lines become less severe. Before the muscle naturally becomes able to contract again, the procedure is irreversible. Patients are recommended to refrain from drinking alcohol for one week before treatment and should avoid aspirin and anti inflammatory drugs for two weeks. This helps to reduce the chance of bruising around the affected area.

How Does Botox Differ From a Facelift?
A facelift tends to be more suitable for older patients who are looking for more dramatic results. A facelift affects the entire skin of the face whereas Botox tends to treat just one or several of the patient’s deepest wrinkles.

Diets – Which Will Suit You?

There are lots of different ways you can lose weight and there are new diets out there every day but there is always one that suits your lifestyle better. Eventually you will be able to find the perfect diet for you and you will be able to watch the weight fall off. Take a look at some of the most popular diets at the moment…
Everyone has issues with their body and weight is probably the most common. There are so many different people telling you to do so many different things that you don’t know where to start and end up back where you started. A lot of diets are hard to stick to and are also extremely bad for your health however, there are some that allow you to carry on eating all of the things you like while losing weight, take a look at some of the most effective and safest diets around.

Slimming World
This is a club of people all aiming to lose weight, some may want to lose a pound some might want to lose a stone it doesn’t matter – anyone can join. You either attend a weekly class with a weigh in or an online web based programme which can be completed at work, at home or anywhere with a computer at your convenience.

The main aim is to eat ‘free’ foods which you can eat as much as you want; there are also ‘sin’ foods of which you have a daily limit. With slimming world you can eat whatever you like as long as you don’t go over your ‘sins’ for a day and stick to your easy to follow plan.

Weight Watchers
As above this is either done by attending weekly classes with a weigh in or an online web based programme which can be completed at work or at home at your convenience. You are given a daily limit of ‘pro points’ and certain foods are higher in points than others. This diet is easy to follow as long as you keep a record of how many points you’ve taken in throughout the day. Again, as with the Slimming World diet you can eat all of the things you like, in moderation.

Slimming Pills
There are lots of pills that can be purchased online or through your local pharmacy. This is a cheat’s way of dieting and can give fast results. All you do is take a pill and you’ll start to lose weight but when you stop taking the pill you stop burning fat as quickly and your appetite then increases. This will make you gain weight at a fast rate. This method is not recommended by a lot of people but if you want a fast and easy way to lose weight this is a great option.

Diet & Gym
By sticking to a healthy eating plan and going to the gym you will aid your weight loss greatly. As well as losing weight you will also be keeping healthy and toning up at the same time. A lot of people however don’t have the will power to carry on going so they choose to go to a slimming club as they have ‘weigh ins’ that shame you into sticking with your regimes.