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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How to Age Well - 5 Tips for Staying Independent As the Years Advance


Staying healthy is a worthy pursuit, no matter one's age. But for many seniors, living on their own and staying out of a care facility is the goal they strive for. Sound familiar?

Are you among those who want to enjoy their independent living accommodations for as long as possible?

Here are the mindsets and actions you can take that will help you stay independent, even as the years pass.

1. Know your limits.

Just because you have a youthful outlook doesn't mean that you are physically capable of everything you could do when in your twenties.

Believing that you have physically remained unchanged could be literally setting you up for a fall. And, according to the CDC, falls are one of the number one causes of injury and death in older individuals.

While you do not want to place limiting beliefs on yourself that could curb your potential, it pays to be realistic. Having a firm grasp of reality will help you work within your capability and not do something to threaten your future mobility.

In some cases, this could mean turning to a home care agency to help with certain tasks. In other situations, it might mean lowering the intensity of your gym sessions to keep your heart rate in check. Counsel with a doctor and be open to their suggestions.

2. Keep your brain agile.


Mental decline is common for seniors, but it is not a given. There are ways you can keep your brain young.

Harvard Health Publishing lists 12 actions that could prevent cognitive impairment. They cite mental stimulation at the very top of their list. Why? When you engage in activities that stimulate the brain, your brain continues to form new connections. This action and its results can go on to prevent future brain cell loss.

What does that mean for you? Anything that keeps your brain on its mental toes gets two thumbs up from your doctor. But you need not only turn to crossword puzzles and sudoku. Aerobic exercise provides the brain with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to perform at its best.

3. Have a network - and use it.

Do your children live close by? If not, do you have friends or a network you can call when needed? Do you talk with your neighbors? Do you have friends over weekly?

Your friends and those in your reading club are all part of your social circle, but they are also your network.

Take a moment to consider if you have someone you can call within your circle of friends if you needed a ride to a hospital immediately. What if you suspect you were a victim of fraud--who would you call? The network of people in your phonebook can act as a support system for you. Not only that, they can keep tabs on how you are doing emotionally and physically.

If no one immediately springs to mind, consider boosting your social circle or signing up for a support group.

4. Be optimistic.

Researchers reviewed 80 studies and found that optimism had a marked impact on one's health. The studies covered a wide range of health situations and outcomes, including longevity. Their findings? A positive attitude can provide a physical boost.

How can you cultivate more optimism in your life? Try gratitude as a path that can lead you toward a brighter outlook.

Start or end your day with an acknowledgement of everything that you are thankful for. And you just might be surprised by all the added benefits that accrue due to this shift in thinking.

5. Stay active in ways you enjoy.


If you don't use it, you lose it. The saying is doubly true for seniors desiring to stay independent. Exercise is one of the best ways to prolong your independent lifestyle. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, and then stay moving.

If you have tried to stay active in the past but have failed, consider a moderate approach. Look for ways to engage in an enjoyable activity that will also have you moving about. Make mall walking dates with your friends. Making exercise a social activity can help get you out the door when you are feeling like staying on the couch.

Be careful to not over do it. It's better to start off slow and safe then hurry toward an injury which gets harder to recover from as you advance in years.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Understanding Parkinson’s Tremors


One of the hallmark symptoms of the neurodegenerative disorder Parkinson’s is tremors, affecting about 80% of those with the disease. Understanding the types of tremors and how they are treated, may equip someone with Parkinson’s and their caregivers with tools to better manage the disease and improve day to day life.

What Causes Parkinson’s Tremors?
Different than other conditions like multiple sclerosis where tremors are most prominent with purposeful movement, Parkinson’s tremors often occur when limbs are at rest. Why exactly? The overall nature of Parkinson’s disease is a dysfunction of motor control centers due to damaged and dying nerve cells in the brain.

A decrease in dopamine production, a critical neurotransmitter, disrupts the normal communication processes between cells which help control body movements. When dopamine receptors are not sufficiently stimulated it causes a chain reaction in the brain of irregular neural impulses. As the motor cortex receives more and more irregular input from the thalamus which helps control motor and sensory signals, symptoms including tremors, bradykinesia (slowed movements), contractures, and balance problems.

Tremors specifically are believed to be the result of decreased thalamic output due to overstimulated of the globus pallidus interna (GPi), nuclei in the basal ganglia of the brain which regulate muscle tone. Skeletal muscles are voluntary which means they need specific signals from the brain to move, flex, etc. When those signals go haywire, you get movement dysfunction such as tremors.

What do Parkinson’s Tremors Look like?
While Parkinson’s tremors most often appear first in the hand, leg, or arm (and typically starting on just one side of the body), they may also present in the jaw, face, and feet. A cardinal Parkinson’s tremor is referred to as a “pill rolling tremor” because it looks like someone rolling something small, like a pill, between their thumb and forefinger, almost like a finger twitch.

Tremors in the leg when standing or lying down, as well as tremors in the hand when sitting, standing, or lying down, are often decreased when purposeful movement is taken like adjusting posture, reaching for something, or walking. Tremors may begin as minimal involuntary shaking, quivering or spasming and progress to very visible and disconcerting shaking that affects one or both sides of the body.

A clinical diagnosis from a neurologist will usually help someone with these types of tremors deduce whether Parkinson’s disease could be a factor. Other accompanying symptoms like lack of facial expressions, not blinking, not swinging arms at one’s side when walking, muscle stiffness and rigidity, and slowed movements contribute to a proper diagnosis.

Managing Parkinson’s Tremors
While some medications are used specifically to target tremor-type symptoms with dopamine-replacement therapy, there are also non-medicinal ways to mitigate the effect tremors have on your daily living at home:
  • Use a self-stabilizing spoon or other specially designed flatware which employs motion-sensing technology to counteract tremors when eating.
  • Keep up with aerobic exercises and low-impact activities which aid muscle flexibility, coordination, and balance (i.e. yoga, swimming, cycling, etc.)
  • Occupational and physical therapy can also re-train the body to better manage motor symptoms
  • Home health equipment like shower chairs, bed rails, and grab bars can simplify daily tasks and provide support and stability as tremors worsen
  • Tremors in the jaw and tongue may subside in part by chewing gum
Combined with slowed movements, muscle rigidity, and postural instability, tremors can increase risk for someone suffering from Parkinson’s to experience a debilitating, even potentially fatal falls. Taking precautions in the home to prevent falls can therefore significantly improve their health outcomes.

Fall prevention starts with clearing away unnecessary clutter from common walkways, as well as removing trip hazards like cords and curled up carpet corners. People with Parkinson’s and their loved ones may also consider installing fall mats by couches and beds where a lot of standing and sitting happens.

This is a guest blog post.

Monday, January 15, 2018

What Is So Important About The Stress Hormone Cortisol?


Cortisol is actually a key hormone in your body and regulates many of the daily processes; these include your immune response and your metabolism.

It is important to be aware that your body is a complex piece of machinery. There are thousands of different chemical processes which are carried out every day, disrupting even one of these can make a difference to your health.

Unfortunately, cortisol can disrupt nearly all of them! There is a good reason for this but, what really makes cortisol so important is modern society!

Stress

In times of stress your body releases the hormone cortisol. It has one predominant purpose, to prepare your body for a fight or to run away.

This is a primitive response but an essential one; in a life threatening situation you need to either run, or fight, potentially to the death.

The release of cortisol prevents many of your normal chemical processes from working. All available energy is redirected to your muscles; ready for action. Your body will also stock up on fat reserves, making you hungry; this is to help you survive if you have to flee.

The problem is that when your normal processes are prevented from working you’ll find there are drops in key chemicals. Men will notice a drop in testosterone. In fact, it is worth having your testosterone levels checked regularly by a reputable firm. There are many online forms which can check your testosterone and other hormone levels; testochecker is one which works hard to get you fast results.

How Modern Life Affects This Process

Releasing cortisol in a life or death situation is essential and the prevention of your normal process is acceptable. However, this is supposed to be a short term thing and your hormone levels will return to normal.

The problem is that your body doesn’t know the difference between an armed robbery which threatens your life and a stressful meeting at the office. Cortisol is released in both situations.

In short, your body is stressed the majority of the time and the result is an inability for your body to perform correctly.

The real reason cortisol is so important is that it prevents your body from working normally.

Dealing With Stress

There are many techniques for dealing with and limiting stress. Of course you can’t simply avoid stress altogether but you can choose moments to completely de-stress.

Yoga, physical exercise and even reading can all help to take your mind away from the stress of modern life. In fact any activity that you enjoy will enable you to put your worries aside and allow you to de-stress.

To ensure that your approach is effective it is advisable to have regular hormone tests. This will help you to detect any issues in your body while making sure that your cortisol levels are right.

Cortisol has an important role to play in your body but it must be in the right context. You need to monitor your hormone levels and periodically reduce your stress to ensure you retain the best possible health.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

How to Select the Right Medicine Ball


Medicine balls are fantastic workout tools that have proven their value time and time again. In fact, the use of medicine balls in workouts can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece!

Sure, the availability of medicine balls may have been more limited back then, but tracking down the right medicine ball today can also be a difficult task. Finding the best medicine ball can involve a number of factors, depending on a person’s physical size, as well as their fitness aims.

What are the uses of medicine balls?

Medicine balls can be used in a variety of ways, but a couple of areas are most common. Chiefly, medicine balls are used for power, strength, and endurance training exercises. Medicine balls can be used as a standalone fitness tool, or as part of a wider fitness regime, used in tandem to other strength exercises such as pushups to build overall muscle mass.

Beyond gym sessions and regular workouts, medicine balls can also be used for physiotherapy and other forms of rehabilitation. The diversity of all these uses means a medicine ball is a wonderful addition to any home gym, personal training regimen, or even a lounge room or office.  This is especially so as just like a bicycle or skipping rope can be used for a variety of training options, no matter how a medicine ball is used, it is always a fun piece of equipment to have.

How to choose the right medicine ball?

Medicine balls come in a number of shapes and sizes, and each size can provide different benefits. As a rule, a good fit in a medicine ball will be one that (roughly) fits the diameter of the user’s shoulders. For this reason, someone with narrow shoulders will require a different size of medicine ball compared to someone with broad shoulders.

As well as matching the diameter of the user’s shoulder, a medicine ball should also be properly weighted for the exercise it is used for. While plyometrics exercises will generally employ a smaller and lighter medicine ball, strength training and resistance exercises will require a heavier ball.

To some degree medicine balls can be used interchangeably - so two people with roughly the same shoulder width could use the same medicine ball - but it depends on an individual’s build. There are three main types of human body builds - ectomorph (slim shoulders), mesomorph (regular shoulders), and endomorph (wide shoulders).

The type of build an individual has will inform the type of medicine ball they choose, as an ectomorph build should avoid using a medicine ball that would best suit an endomorph’s build.
The same rule applies vice-versa.

What else is important to know about medicine balls?


It is also important to consider whether a medicine ball will be used with other equipment. For anyone that is engaging in plyometrics workouts - AKA pylos or jump training - a medicine ball is selected that can be used in complement to the pylos steps.  A medicine ball that may be perfectly suitable when used as a standalone tool could be too heavy for pylos and endanger a user or be too small and ineffective in use.

Over time it is completely fine for a user to increase the weight of their medicine ball as their strength and fitness increases, but maintaining a cautious approach to the use of medicine balls is essential. Just like any other weighted workout tool, the extra weight can come with extra risks, so careful use is a must.

Final thoughts

The addition of a medicine ball to regular physical exercise can provide a number of great benefits across the board whether it is for strength building, cardio fitness, or more serious physiotherapy and rehabilitation. While the benefits are numerous, there do remain two key factors that are very important when it comes to using a medicine ball.

First, that a medicine ball is selected that suits the physical size, fitness, and overall goals of its user. Secondly, that a medicine ball is introduced into physical exercise gradually. Like any activity, gradual incorporation is ideal to prevent the risk of injuries due to ‘too much too soon’.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Tips On How To Lose Weight Safely

When you’re feeling overweight, and it’s making you miserable, you might be tempted to try to lose that excess weight quickly. However, that can be dangerous, leading to health problems, as extreme dieting usually means you won’t receive the nutrients your body needs to keep healthy.

It can also be counter-productive, as the weight that you lose through a ‘fad’ diet, or a blast of quick dieting, is easily put back on again when that diet is unsustainable. It’s much better, therefore, to look at ways to lose weight safely. It may take longer, but you won’t make yourself sick, and if you can maintain your new regime, you won’t put the weight back on again either.

Exercise
One of the most important things that you will need to do to lose weight safely is to get active. You need to burn off more calories than you consume, and therefore exercise is essential. There are many different routes that you can take that will provide you with the right amount of exercise; you might join an aerobics class or start dancing. You might take up a new sport. You might simply go to the gym to lift weights and do cardiovascular activities. As long as you remember to warm up and wind down, take any advice your doctor gives you about exercising, and do it regularly, this will certainly help you to lose weight, plus it will help you to build more muscle mass, and keep your internal organs healthy too. If you need an added boost, you can take Sportsfuel sports supplements.

Food
If losing weight is all about burning off more calories than you take in, then it makes sense to supplement your exercise regime with a better, more balanced diet. This way you’ll be burning off calories and taking in less of them in the first place. Remember, eating fewer calories doesn’t (necessarily) mean eating less food, and suddenly drastically reducing your food intake can have terrible side effects, making you extremely unwell. The best way to diet properly is to switch your unhealthier foods to better ones. Eat more fruit and vegetables instead of snacking on cookies and cakes. Only have dessert as a treat now and then. Persuade your whole family to join in, and it will make creating healthy dishes much easier, plus everyone can encourage one another to continue.

Healthier Habits
Sometimes, getting healthy is more about ditching your bad habits and replacing them with healthier ones than anything else. Instead of driving to the local store, try walking. Stop smoking. Many people skip breakfast, but eating a healthy one means you’ll be less likely to snack later on in the day. Drink more water, especially before a meal as this will help fill you up, allowing you to eat less. Only eat when you’re hungry, and make sure you eat slowly, taking time to chew every mouthful. Try to eat at the table, with the family; if you eat while doing something else such as working, or watching TV, you might not realize when you’re full, as you’ll be distracted. Finally, don’t feel guilty if you leave food. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of the smaller portions that you need.

This is a guest blog entry.

Shoulder Separation Injury in Active Individuals

Do you lead an active lifestyle? If you do, then you probably worry about injuries that can dislocate, sprain or fracture your bones and joints. The fear is well-founded, indeed. Trauma to the shoulder is among the most common among such injuries. These include the separation of shoulder joints, a broken collarbone, or a fractured shoulder blade.

A shoulder separation injury happens when there is trauma to the acromioclavicular joint (AC joint) where the clavicle and the highest point of your shoulder meet. Usually, the separation of the AC joint happens when you fall directly on your shoulder.

You should never confuse a shoulder separation injury with a shoulder dislocation. Although symptoms may be similar at the onset of the injury, dislocation occurs at the large joint where the shoulder attaches itself to the arm. Separation, as mentioned previously, occurs at the junction where the collarbone meets the shoulder.

Causes and Risk Factors

Aside from falling directly on your shoulder, another common cause of shoulder separation injuries is a direct blow to the shoulder while engaged in contact sports or through an accident. In fact, the only reported risk factor of shoulder separation injuries is participating in contact sports such as hockey and football as well as those that involve falls like volleyball, downhill skiing, and gymnastics.

Nearly 50% of shoulder-related injuries are shoulder (AC) separation injuries are sustained through contact sports.

Signs and Symptoms
How will you know if you’re suffering from a separated shoulder? Here are some signs and symptoms to watch out for:
  • Weakness of the arm or shoulder
  • Bruising or swelling of the shoulder
  • Pain or tenderness at the end of the collarbone
  • A bump at the top of your shoulder
  • Restricted movement of the shoulder
As soon as you notice these symptoms, you should seek medical help. Treatment options for this injury may include undergoing physical therapy, performing some range of motion exercises, wearing shoulder braces, and taking prescription medicines.

Physical Therapy Treatments for Shoulder Separation

  • Most treatments usually start with exercise. The shoulder exercises will be painful at the beginning, however, they are essential to re-strengthening the shoulder gradually. Remember to avoid performing any motions that pull too hard or jerk the shoulder.
  • Shoulder separation treatment benefits greatly from adduction exercises. These are done to strengthen motion towards the chest. You can also do this at home by taking a pillow and holding it in between your chest and arms. Begin by squeezing the pillow lightly. Aim to hold it for five seconds or as long as you can. Increase the duration as you get stronger.
  • You can also try performing flexion exercises, which will strengthen the shoulder muscles responsible for moving your arm away from your body. Do this by standing next to a wall with your elbow pressing against it. Now push your fist against the wall while keeping your arm bent. Keep this up for five seconds and then release.
Range of Motion Exercises for the Shoulder
When your shoulder has regained strength, it is time attempt range of motion exercises. The flexing capacity of the shoulder is enhanced by standing and keeping the injured arm straight at your side. Begin by raising your arm then place it over your head. Keep this position for at least five seconds. Keep on repeating this step at least 10 times.

Improving the extension of the arm is also essential. Do this by holding your injured arm against your side then move it behind your back while keeping your elbow straight. Do not bend your elbows as it defeats the purpose of extension exercises. Keep this position for at least five seconds. As you continue this step, try holding it for a longer period. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

The last step for the range of motion exercises is geared towards improving the outward movement of your arm. Bring your injured arm up until it’s positioned like a wing. Hold the position for five seconds and repeat ten times.

Wear Shoulder Braces
A shoulder brace provides compression, rest, and support to allow healing of the shoulder. Choosing shoulder braces that are equipped with adjustable fasteners can allow the orthopedic doctor to control or change the range of motion of your shoulder, ensuring that only allowable movement is done during rehabilitation. You can also wear a shoulder brace to protect and prevent your shoulder injury from recurring.

Shoulder injuries can put a dent in your athletic career. Heeding your doctor’s advice when it comes to managing your shoulder injury will be the best course of action if you want your shoulder to recovery in the shortest span of time.

This is a guest blog entry.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Why shop in an Online Pharmacy?

The rise of vast accessible pharmacies has been an ongoing fad with different enticing offers. The value of prescription medication stimulated a thoroughly polemical topic within the healthcare industry and authorities all over the world.

Based on Healthsystemtracker’s National Health Expenditure data from 1960-2015 and 2016-2025, one out of four health consumers under prescription drugs experience complexity in paying their prescription drugs. A previous Kaiser Family Foundation public survey resulted in mutual cooperation between two political parties to stimulate awareness and movement in decreasing prescription medication charges. While the payment of medications for independent consumers stands still, the costs of the medical doctor’s expenditure will continue to increase as projected until 2025.

Reading between the numbers and figures, as a health consumer it is our right to know all the convenient options in buying medications and the most popular method nowadays entails prescriptions online. E-Pharmacy gives optimum convenience in providing significant health care benefits with the following reasons below:
  1. Centralization of patient information
  2. Systematic drug dispensation
  3. Support for drug interactions
  4. Digital prescription availability
As narrowed down by the PharmacyChecker, we can classify three different types of online pharmacies. The traditional online pharmacies entail an absolute requirement of obtaining prescriptions directly from your health care provider. They are proven to be cost-effective compared to pharmacies that provide in-house prescriptions. Main players in this belt are the huge U.S.-based links, Canada, Australia, India, Israel, New Zealand and the United Kingdom; vast regional and global mail order prescription fulfillment hubs. Generally, the traditional pharmacies host a complete coverage of medically prescribed drugs available in a physical drugstore with the exception of the bona fide online pharmacies strictly adhering to the international laws. They do not supply controlled medications outside of their respective countries.

An ease of access serves as a key feature of distinctive online pharmacies offering remote consultation to all limitations of a busy, working, or commuting patient. This enables the immediate solution of turning to websites as built-in consultation pharmacies. The innovation of providing portable medical consultation focuses on patient’s subjective symptoms, trust-based medical history as the primary assessment of an online physician. Getting a new prescription for simple medical cases is easily done due to this process. It saves time and effort and involves fast implementation of medical treatment. It is also noted that the concentration of remote prescribing pharmacies is mostly for non-habit forming medications which typically do not need tight health surveillance.

Precedently, the American Medical Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an advisory remark on remote medical dialogues as an inferior medical practice denoting an absence of ascertained conduction of initial physical examination. Nevertheless, various well-known health insurances support the choice quality of telemedicine. Another interesting study involves the Mayo Clinic which resulted in a conclusion that such competently implemented outlying consultations are equally or more successful than conventional medical sessions.

The third type of online pharmacy is called «rogue» due to their deceptive strategies. These pharmacies tend to sell prescribed drugs to customers regardless of the lawful requirement.

Purchasing via these websites is critically hazardous to one’s health and might also implicate terrible fraudulent financial activities on any customer by stealing private information. The classical attribute of an astucious online drugstore can easily be identified now.

Among the trusted, thriving selection of conducive yet economical web drugstores, Meds4sure.com showcases its endeavors in implementing its diverse assortment of medicinal goods and optimized collaboration with PharmaDoctor to ensure patients benefit from online consultation seamlessly for prescripion-specific therapies.

The cost-effective commitment of Meds4sure maintains price matching standards affirming its competitiveness as one of the country's reliable healthcare treatment provisional in the digital market. Achieving a warm average-rating, this pharmacy indicates a tremendous effort in addressing complex needs with consistency in serving people.

Recognizing all productive signs of a quality web pharmacy to observe and check prior to placing orders for your medications should be done. Online shopping for medicines must be taken seriously and carefully. It can be an advantage to aid patients with limited capacity, pinch pennies fashionably and uphold healthcare's advocacy in every way. Hence, maximizing the convenience of ordering medicines via the internet is a privilege that this ever-changing technology imparts in our healthcare industry.

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, January 05, 2018

5 Unexpected New Year's Resolutions That Can Help You Lose Weight

It's not uncommon for people to make weight loss one of their resolutions for the new year. With this year coming to an end, you may be thinking about ways you can set yourself up for success in the new year. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can ensure weight loss and better health going into the future. In this article, we're going to help you by offering 5 resolutions you can make for a better life.

Make Smaller Goals
A lot of people go into the new year planning to lose a specific amount of weight, but they tend to take all the weight they want to lose into consideration. Instead of thinking about losing 50lbs, for example, break it down into smaller amounts. Think about losing 5lbs or so, and then focus on reaching that goal. After that, tell yourself you'll lose another 5lbs.

By breaking it down, the small amount allows you to focus on a realistic goal instead of overwhelming yourself with a massive number. You can also break it down by asking yourself what you can do on a daily or weekly basis to contribute to that goal. For example, you might decide to spend 30 minutes on a spin bike every day. Over time, these small goals add up to serious gains.

Keep a Food Journal
Another resolution you can make is to keep a food journal. Initially, you can start by just tracking everything you eat and drink without judgment or making any changes. Once you've tracked for a week or two, take a look at what you've written down and find one or two small changes you can make to move toward a healthier diet.

It's also a great idea to focus on adding things rather than subtracting. When possible, think of adding things like fruits and vegetables into your diet instead of telling yourself to cut back on sugars and other unhealthy foods. When you do that, you'll eventually start to eat enough healthy foods that you won't have room for as many of the unhealthy options. It's all about making small changes that add up over time.

Try Out a Meal Delivery Service
For some, finding a recipe, gathering all the ingredients and combining them in the right way can get confusing and complicated. If you tend to have trouble with meal planning, there are a number of growing services that can help you with cooking healthy, home-made meals.

These kinds of meal delivery services understand that you may be busy, or just have trouble planning meals. It certainly isn't a task for everyone. In those cases, a food delivery service may be just what you need to create easy, healthy meals.

Do It Together
Regardless of how big or small your resolution is, it's a great idea to work with someone to reach it. This could be a friend who also wants to work on their weight loss as a New Year's resolution. In which case, you won't have to worry about being judged because they're working toward the same kind of goal. You'll also be able to rely on each other for support, share healthy recipes and more.

Another option would be to hire a personal trainer, who will be able to help you reach your goals by tailoring an exercise plan for you. They can also push you when you're feeling sore or unmotivated.

Stay Positive
When it comes to any goal and particularly a weight loss goal, it's very important to stay positive. Losing weight can come with its ups and downs and it can be a slow process. There might be times when you feel beaten down and want to give up, but if you pushing forward, you will get there in time.

On the same note, trying to rush your weight loss can lead to more frustration and also be damaging to your body. The best way to create effective weight loss is to take it little by little and make changes that will be lasting, that way your body will get used to the changes and a new weight.

Conclusion
There are a number of smaller resolutions you can make for the new year that will help you to reach your ultimate weight loss goal. There are also some you may not have thought about before, such as staying positive or trying out a food delivery service for healthy recipes and convenience.

Making smaller goals that will be easier to reach will not only allow you to reach your larger goal more quickly, but can also help to make the effects more lasting than forcing yourself onto a strict diet and exercise routine to drop the pounds as quickly as possible.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Three Tips to Soothe Arthritis-Related Hand and Finger Pain


Throughout the United States, arthritis is an incredibly common condition. More than 50 million people currently suffer from one form of arthritis, and, by 2030, that number is expected to increase to almost 67 million.

One of the first places people with arthritis start to notice pain and stiffness is in the hands and fingers. This pain can make everyday tasks like cooking or tying your shoes incredibly difficult.

Fortunately, there are a few different solutions out there that can ease your pain and improve your quality of life. 

Hot/Cold Therapy

Alternating between hot and cold treatments is a tried and true method for soothing arthritis-related pain in the hands and fingers (and throughout the body.)

Heat helps loosen up stiff joints, and cold temperatures help numb pain and reduce inflammation.

You can apply heat to the hands and fingers in the form of a heating pad, a hot water bottle, or just a towel soaked in warm water. Make sure the heat is tolerable (you don’t want to accidentally burn yourself) and avoid applying heat to any area for more than 20 minutes at a time.

When it comes to cold therapy, ice packs or even frozen bags of vegetables are great options. It’s helpful to put a towel or cloth between your hands and the ice pack to avoid discomfort from the cold. As with heat therapy, don’t apply the ice to your hands for more than 20 minutes at a time. Cold therapy also isn’t recommended for people who have circulation issues.

Finger Splits

If you’re suffering from finger pain and stiffness, arthritis finger splints are another good treatment option, especially if you have difficulty straightening the finger joints and opening and closing the hand.

Finger splints come in a variety of styles, including the following:
  • Buddy splints (attach one finger to another)
  • Static splints (hold the joint in a fixed position)
  • Stack splints (fit over the end of the finger to keep the first joint from bending)
  • Dynamic splints (provide a prolonged stretch for stiff joints)
  • Ring splints (work in a similar way to stack splints, but they’re thinner and have a more stylish appearance)
The type of finger splint you use will vary depending on the parts of your fingers that are experiencing the most pain and stiffness.

Research shows that finger splints are especially effective when worn at night. One study even found that participants who wore splints every night for one year saw a 50 percent decrease in pain compared to those who did not wear the splints regularly.

Hand Exercises

Exercises to stretch and strengthen the hands and fingers can also work wonders in increasing mobility and minimizing pain and stiffness.

You can do the following exercises anywhere, anytime, without any equipment.

Make a Fist

Start by extending your hand and straightening all your fingers as best you can. Then, slowly bend your fingers to make a fist with your thumb on the outside. Don’t squeeze your hand too tightly.
Repeat ten times, then perform the entire sequence on the other hand.

Finger Bends

Extend your hand and straighten all your fingers. Then, bend your thumb down toward your palm. Hold briefly, then straighten your thumb. Repeat with each finger, then repeat the sequence on the opposite hand.

Thumb Bends

Extend your hand and straighten your fingers. Then, bend your thumb in towards the base of your pinky finger. If you can’t reach it, don’t worry. Just bend it in as far as you can. Return to the start and repeat 10 times. Then, repeat with the other hand.

Make an “O”

Extend your hand and straighten your fingers. Then, bend all of them inward until they touch and form an “O” shape. Hold for a few seconds, then straighten. Repeat 10 times, then switch to the other hand.

Finger Lifts

Place your hand flat on a table with your palm facing down. Slowly lift each finger off the table one at a time, starting with your thumb. Hold each finger in an elevated position for a couple seconds before lowering it. Repeat on the opposite hand.

Wrist Stretches

You wrists need attention, too. One of the easiest ways to stretch them out is to extend your arm with your palm facing down. Then, use the opposite hand to gentle place the right hand down until you start to feel a stretch in your arm and wrist. Hold this position for a couple of seconds and repeat it 10 times before repeating with the opposite wrist.

Repeat these exercises daily, and use ice, heat, and finger splints as needed and you’ll soon find that your hands and fingers feel stronger and more flexible.

This is a guest blog entry.

5 Surprising Herbs and Spices That Relieve Pain

Whether or not you consider yourself an able cook, chances are you’ll have a pantry full of herbs and spices to add to your dishes. You might grow them from seed in your garden, add them to flower bouquets, or buy the dried variety from the store to use in your cooking; but have you ever considered that these kitchen staples could deliver more than just flavor?

Most of us buy painkillers and over the counter remedies without realizing how many natural medicines we already have in our kitchen cupboards. With so many flavors at our fingertips, it's easy to forget that most herbs and spices boast a medical history dating back thousands of years. Thankfully, it’s never too late to rediscover the miracle of ancient medicines – here are some of the world’s most surprising natural pain relievers and the ailments they can cure.

Chamomile

Not only will a cup of chamomile tea calm an anxious mind, but the fragrant flower can also help relieve menstrual cramps. If you want to enjoy the full medicinal benefits of the fragrant bud, however, you will need to invest in chamomile capsules. According to research, it would take around 14 teabags stewed in two cups of water to relieve acute menstrual pain, which amounts to a lot of tea!

Turmeric

Known for its yellow color and unique flavor, turmeric is a staple for your medicine cabinet as well as your curries. The spice contains an antioxidant called curcumin, which is known to treat indigestion, ulcers, stomach upsets and general aches and pains. You can add turmeric to soups, curries, and stews, as well as mixing it into teas and plant milk to aid digestion. Just be careful not to get it on your clothing, as turmeric will stain your clothes.

Cloves

These brown, twiggy buds may look strange, but cloves can be used to treat many conditions, making them an essential addition to your spice rack. Thanks to their active ingredient eugenol, ground cloves or clove oil can help relieve toothaches, headaches, and nausea. The spice can be added to food to provide an aniseed flavor, or purchased in capsule, powder, or oil forms.

Cannabis

Although the use and possession of cannabis are illegal in the United States, the Asian plant has been used medicinally for thousands of years. In America, the use and distribution of medical marijuana are permitted in 29 states to help treat pain, nausea, and neurological disorders in patients. The evidence may be controversial, but it’s hard to deny the plant’s effectiveness when you consider that it was given to laboring mothers in Ancient China. If you’re in the medical field and you want to learn more about the different types of cannabis, visit the WeedSeedShop website.

Thyme

Many people use thyme in their dishes without realizing how many health-boosting qualities this herb possesses. The evergreen plant can help to fight infection, clear out the lungs, and even reduce migraine symptoms. Thyme it also smells great, which is why the Ancient Greeks used it to “purify” their homes. You can include thyme in your cooking, either fresh or dried, or buy it in oil form to add to healthy salads.

This is a guest blog entry.