5 Steps to Maintaining Your Exercise Motivation

5 Steps to Maintaining Your Exercise MotivationDo you find it difficult to lace up your running shoes or step through the door of the gym once the initial excitement of a new exercise regime is over? Perhaps you get enthused by the thought of a new routine, only to get bored after a few weeks. If you, like many others, struggle to maintain your fitness motivation long-term, try this five-step plan to keeping happy and interested in your fitness plans.

1. Think of a goal. An inspiring plan includes a target or a goal you will be working towards. When you have something to measure your progress against you are more invested in the outcome and more interested in continuing to exercise on a regular basis. Your goal could be competing in a 5K race, losing 10 pounds, or running two miles on the treadmill.

2. Plan the steps you need to take to achieve your goal. Make sure your goal is achievable yet not so simple you will get there within a few days. Work out what you need to achieve and when you can achieve it. If you can, schedule exercise at regular times during the week so it becomes a habit and part of your daily life. Once you reach your goal, reward yourself then think of another target to hit.

3. Focus on the benefits you are getting from your fitness regime and don’t dwell on the problems. Think about how your muscles are getting stronger, how you are dropping the weight slowly but surely, and how good you feel at the end of a workout. Don’t dwell on the difficulties of getting out of the door for a run on a cold night.

4. Erase negative thoughts and talk with positive messages. Replace things like “I can’t do it” with “I am doing it” or “I am good enough.” Fill your head with positive messages and you will start to believe your own hype.

5. Find support that will be there when you falter. Because you will falter – everyone has good days and bad days. If you are lacking motivation and feeling unfit today; tomorrow or next week may be a different story. Draw on the support of friends and family to encourage you to stay on track with your fitness goals.

What to Drink (And How Much) For Proper Hydration

What to Drink (And How Much) For Proper HydrationSpring is here and it’s time to relax and enjoy the warmer weather while taking a walk or a hike, swimming, playing soccer or simply having fun with the kids in the backyard. But while it is great to enjoy the sunshine, you also need to be more careful with hydration in the warmer months. Proper hydration is important, and it is not only applicable to people running marathons or training as a professional athlete. Anyone can become dehydrated, and being dehydrated means health problems. Here’s what to drink to stay in top form this spring.

What Should I Drink for Proper Hydration?

Water, water, and more water. Water is the cheapest and most effective way to hydrate. You don’t need to worry about sports drinks unless you are exercising at a high intensity for an hour or more (sports drinks replace the salts you lose through high-powered exercise but they are also high in calories). Water is calorie-free and always available. Fruit juice and sodas are good from time to time as part of a balanced diet, but watch out for the sugar. Coffee and tea will hydrate you to a certain extent but because they also contain caffeine – which is a diuretic – you can’t rely on these drinks for your hydration needs.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

Drinking plenty of water is the best way to avoid dehydration. The amount of water you need differs for different people, but you should aim for 6 to 8 glasses of water a day – at least. If you are exercising outdoors you will need to drink more in order to stay properly hydrated. Drink before, during, and after any physical activity especially when the weather is warm.

How Do I Know if I am Dehydrated?

You may start to feel tired or dizzy; you may lose your appetite or have flushed skin. Other signs of dehydration include a dry cough and an intolerance of heat. If you feel thirsty, chances are you’re already dehydrated. Drink water before you feel thirsty – don’t wait for the signal. If you want to check whether you are properly hydrated, look at your urine. If it is a pale yellow color then you are hydrated. Darker colors signify dehydration and the need to supplement with extra fluids.

8 Home Remedies for Allergy Relief

8 Home Remedies for Allergy ReliefIt’s difficult to suffer from allergies but it is even more frustrating when you also feel drowsy and dizzy because of your anti-allergy medication. Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn to something natural, free from side effects, to treat the symptoms of you allergies? We looked at eight possibilities – natural remedies to soothe irritating allergy symptoms.

  1. Take quercetin for allergy symptoms

Quercetin is a flavonoid and its antioxidant powers make it useful for stabilizing cells and limiting inflammation. Take quercetin supplements to block the release of histamines.

  1. Use butterbur for allergies

Butterbur is a popular herbal remedy for allergies, particularly hay fever. Butterbur has been tested in various studies and shown to be as effective as standard antihistamine medication.

  1. Use a neti pot

Use a neti pot to pour saline solution into your nostril – the solution flows through and out of the other nostril in order to cleanse the nasal passages of irritations and reduce the symptoms of allergies. Try it – it just might work.

  1. Drink apple cider vinegar

Mix organic apple cider vinegar and water, sip the mixture three times a day, and see if there is a reduction in the amount of mucus you produce and a lessening of the congestion.

  1. Take probiotics

Some people believe that allergies are linked to the amount of good bacteria in the gut – supplementing with probiotics can tip the balance in your favor.

  1. Try nettle leaf for allergies

Take a supplement containing extract of stinging nettle leaf. Nettle is a natural antihistamine and can reduce allergy symptoms.

  1. Eat honey for relief

Locally produced honey can help your body adjust naturally to the allergens in your local environment, making it more likely the body will not mount an offence against them. That’s the theory, and many people swear by natural honey for allergy relief.

  1. Try changing your diet

Sometimes allergies are the result of your diet, and certain negative interactions with foodstuffs or nutrients – changing your diet can help to reduce allergy symptoms in certain cases.

While these remedies are natural and free from the side effects associated with anti-allergy medication, remember that they may interact with other medications to produce unwanted effects. If you suffer from another health condition, consult your doctor before taking any natural allergy remedies.

7 Sun Health Benefits You Can’t Afford to Ignore

 Sun Health Benefits Springtime brings with it longer days and more sunshine. But when you turn on the news all you hear are warnings about how the sun damages your health. Sunlight can cause cancer as well as give you lines and wrinkles. Sure, spending too much time in the sun, getting sunburn or not using sun protection can all harm your health. But did you know there are health benefits associated with sun exposure? Don’t avoid the sun – enjoy some safe sun exposure. Here are seven of the surprising benefits of the sun that will help improve your life.

Sunlight Helps Prevent Disease

  1. The Vitamin D supply you get from being outside in the sun can help to protect against some forms of cancer, such as colon cancer, rectal cancer, and breast cancer. In order to get the direct benefits of vitamin D, exposure your skin without sunscreen to a small amount of sunlight – experts suggest up to 10 minutes a day, without burning the skin.
  2. Exposure to sunshine as a child, and also higher maternal levels of vitamin D through sun exposure, are linked to lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis as an adult.
  3. One of the main benefits of vitamin D is how it assists the body with using calcium for making healthy bones. Vitamin D from the sun therefore helps prevent bone disease, osteoporosis, and fractures.

Sunlight Helps Minimize Disease Symptoms

  1. Sun exposure has been linked to a lessening of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The results of one study show that exposure to bright light in the daytime helps relieve depression, improve cognitive function, and improve sleep in Alzheimer’s patients.
  2. Sunlight may also help relieve the symptoms of autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and lupus.

Sunlight Brings Mind-Body Benefits

  1. Getting out in the sun can help you sleep better, which in turn promotes better health. When your body is exposed to sunlight it triggers the brain to put a halt to the production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that helps you sleep. Cutting down production of melatonin in the day means there is more at night when you need it.
  2. Sunshine is a powerful mood-booster and makes you feel better – this free mood enhancer is available whenever the clouds roll away, so make the most of it to help lower levels of depression and feel more positive.

Good Balance: Why it is Important to Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet

Healthy DietIf you want to live a healthier life and feel better then look closely at your diet. Are you eating a balanced diet with the right mix of vitamins and nutrients to help your health? A balanced diet is important if you want to prevent illness and keep to a healthy weight. But how do you eat a balanced diet – how do you know if your diet is up to scratch? Here we talk about the components of a balanced diet and why it is important to eat well.

Balanced Diet: A Definition

A balanced diet essentially means eating a variety of healthy foods from the different food groups, and limiting your consumption of less-healthy choices. The major food groups are: fruit and vegetables; carbohydrates; protein; and dairy. You should be cutting down on foods with added sugar, salt and fat in order to benefit from a healthy balanced diet.

The Importance of the Four Food Groups

  1. Fruit and vegetables: The importance of eating a good supply of fruit and vegetables is connected to their high levels of vitamins and minerals, and their low fat content. Fruit and vegetables provide a low-calorie way to get a variety of nutrients that are essential for healthy bodies. You should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and choose a variety of different colors of fruit and veggies so you can be sure you are getting the right spread of vitamins and minerals.
  2. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are important because eating them gives you energy. Carbohydrates also contain fiber which is essential for a healthy digestive system. Base your meals around carbs – each meal should be around one-third carbohydrate. Choose wholegrain options where possible like brown rice, wholemeal pasta, wholemeal bread, lentils, nuts, and legumes.
  3. Protein: Protein is a building block – protein helps your cells grow and keeps them healthy. If you don’t get enough protein you could suffer from muscle deterioration, growth problems, heart problems, arthritis, and hair loss. Get your protein by choosing foods like meat, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, seeds, eggs, nuts, and soy.
  4. Dairy: You get calcium from dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. Calcium is essential for building strong and healthy bones and to avoid diseases like osteoporosis. It is best to choose low-fat dairy products and to eat around three portions a day.

How Can I Treat Back Pain with Chiropractic?

back painChiropractic is the practice of moving the spine into correct alignment so that it benefits your overall wellbeing and improves general health, as well as reduces pain. Chiropractic is a popular treatment for back pain and it can bring excellent results. Chiropractic also treats other health conditions like headaches and knee pain, but many people use it for the practical benefits at reducing back pain.

What Can Chiropractic Do For My Back Pain?

Chiropractors use manual manipulation, also called spinal manipulation, to push spinal joints into place and realign the joints and bones in the spine. This helps to correct postural problems, ease stress and tension on the nerves, and reduce pain in the back.

Will I Have a Consultation?

Most chiropractors will first start with a consultation session to find out about your back pain symptoms, your pain levels, and your general health. You may also have x-rays or other tests to locate the source of the pain and find out more information about the problem. After the consultation, the chiropractor will suggest a treatment plan for you based on your needs and your treatment goals.

What is involved in a Chiropractic Treatment Session?

Your chiropractor will apply pressure to specific areas of the spine in order to ease stress and tension on the joints and realign the spine to its correct position. This is called manual manipulation. In addition to manual manipulation, you may have massage, heat and ice treatments, physical therapy, and other treatments to bring relief.

What are the Benefits of Chiropractic for Back Care?

Back pain is not only a problem for the specific area affected – it is often the result of a whole-body issue, and can affect the entire body. One of the benefits of chiropractic treatment is the way it looks at the body as a whole and works on the assumption that everything is linked. You will also receive advice and help on how to prevent back pain from occurring in the future. Chiropractic is drug-free and you do not need to undergo complicated surgical procedures to find relief from back pain. Chiropractic is also a simple and pain-free way to treat backs. Your treatment plan is individual and specific to your needs – this maximizes the chances of effective pain relief.

Effective Pain Management with Rehabilitation Therapy: How and Why?

Rehabilitation therapy Rehabilitation therapy – also known as rehab therapy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy – is a popular way to help manage pain after an accident or injury, or following surgery or illness. One of the main reasons for choosing to manage pain with rehabilitation therapy is the lack of pharmaceutical medications required – drugs can numb the pain but also bring side effects and overuse risks. Rehabilitation promotes healing in a more natural way, and also helps to restore movement and mobility, and stop injuries striking again in the future. Here’s how rehabilitation therapy can help you manage pain, and why you should consider it.

Rehabilitation Therapy and Recovery

Rehabilitation therapy can help you recover more quickly, and in a more complete way. When you have treatment from a trained professional over a significant length of time you will find that your recovery from injury is more complete than if you had not worked on your health in this way. Many people make a full recovery with the help of rehabilitation therapy, and where a complete recovery is not possible, others get back the majority of their pre-injury or illness function.

You may also find that you recover more quickly when you have rehabilitation therapy. This is important because you will no doubt want to get back to normal as soon as possible – you have a busy life with a family to care for and work to do. But it is important to manage your recovery in a controlled way because doing too much, too soon, can result in pain, discomfort, and a possible relapse. Rehabilitation therapy helps you recover in a controlled manner, without extra pain.

Rehabilitation Therapy to Improve Functioning

It is frustrating when an illness or injury results in your body operating at a sub-par level – you cannot walk properly, or you cannot use parts of your body as normal. Rehabilitation therapy seeks to return you to your pre-injury levels, and can help to get you walking again without pain, or back into exercise and sport. Rehabilitation therapy is particularly important if you are a professional or semi-professional athlete that needs to get back in the game as soon as possible.

If you have questions about rehabilitation therapy and whether it will help you recover from your injury or illness, schedule a consultation with a pain management specialist. 

Facts and Information about Herniated Discs

Herniated DiscsThe vertebrae (your back bones) are cushioned by a series of flat, rubbery discs that offer shock absorption and stability to the spine. The spinal discs are made up of a tough exterior with a softer interior. In the case of a herniated disc, the inner material is forced out of a crack in the disc’s casing and presses against a nerve – herniated discs most commonly occur in the lower back and are also experienced in the neck. Herniated discs can be very painful. What are the causes of a herniated disc and how can you treat the condition?

What Causes Herniated Discs?

  1. Age is a factor in the risk of herniated discs. As you get older you lose water from the discs in the spine, which leaves them at greater risk of damage as they are less flexible.
  2. Discs are damaged when you twist and turn when lifting a heavy object, when you bend awkwardly, when you are injured playing sports, or when you try to push a heavy object.
  3. When the disc has already been damaged by age, a relatively small movement or a fall could cause the disc to rupture or break.
  4. Herniated discs are associated with a genetic predisposition to disc degeneration.
  5. People who work in professions involving a lot of heavy lifting are more likely to suffer from a herniated disc.
  6. If you are overweight you put more stress on the spinal discs and are at greater risk of damaging the discs.

What are the Symptoms of Herniated Discs?

  1. Pain, discomfort, tingling, burning or numbness in the affected area – the buttocks, legs and feet when the herniated disc is in the lower back, and the shoulders and arms when the herniated disc is in the neck.
  2. Usually one side of your body is affected and pain is felt in one leg or one arm.
  3. Herniated discs can cause mobility problems.
  4. The pain from a herniated disc is usually more severe when you stand, sit, or walk.

How are Herniated Discs Treated?

Most herniated discs will heal without the need for surgery. Surgery is not normally the first or preferred treatment option because of the intrusive nature of the procedure. Treatment can be carried out with physical therapy – techniques like hot and cold applications, ultrasound, massage, manipulations and exercises can relieve the pain of a herniated disc. You can also help yourself to a recovery by taking care not to overuse the affected muscles and nerves, taking care when you lift and move heavy objects, and not sitting in an uncomfortable position for a long period of time.

Peripheral Neuropathy – How to Prevent and Treat

Peripheral NeuropathyPeripheral neuropathy is a painful condition that can be disabling – this condition causes pain, numbness and weakness in parts of the body like the hands and feet, and can significantly reduce your quality of life. Can peripheral neuropathy be prevented, and how can it be treated if you suffer from this condition?

Peripheral Neuropathy: The Facts

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition caused by damage to the nerves. It most often affects the nerves that lead to your feet and hands but it can also be a problem for other parts of the body. This nerve damage may be the result of nerve injury or trauma, infection, or metabolic problems. In the case that one nerve is affected, the condition is called mononeuropathy. When two or more nerves are affected it is called multiple mononeuropathy and when many different nerves are damaged the condition is called polyneuropathy.


Peripheral neuropathy may be prevented if you understand the risk factors for this health condition. However, in some cases it is unavoidable. Risk factors to take into account are exposure to heavy metals, chemicals and other toxins, medications to treat cancer, and vitamin deficiencies. If you have diabetes it is more likely you will suffer from peripheral neuropathy unless your diabetes is properly controlled – this lowers the risk. Some factors which you may not be able to avoid include bacterial and viral infections, tumors, and injury or trauma to the nerves as the result of an accident.

Peripheral Neuropathy: Understand the Symptoms

Symptoms that normally affect people with peripheral neuropathy include a tingling or numb sensation in the hands and feet that begins gradually and can spread to other parts of the body. There may be pain – either a burning pain, or a sharp, stabbing pain. Other symptoms include sensitivity to touch, skin and hair changes, lack of coordination, muscle weakness or paralysis, intolerance to heat, digestive problems, and changes in blood pressure.


When treating peripheral neuropathy a physician will control the underlying health condition that causes nerve damage and will also treat the pain and discomfort associated with the problem. Pain treatment is important so that you can live a normal life – massage, exercise, physical therapy and alternative therapies are used to keep pain at bay. Other factors in pain management and controlling peripheral neuropathy include eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol, and trying relaxation techniques.

How to Use Chiropractic to Benefit Your Health

chiropractic adjustmentIf you have back pain, neck pain, knee pain or any other health condition that prevents you from moving around easily and causes you discomfort, then you’ll be interested in finding a way to relieve the pain and live a more normal life. Chiropractic is the solution you’ve been looking for – here’s how to use chiropractic as part of an effective pain management strategy.

1. Understand Chiropractic and What it Does

Learning about chiropractic is one way to be able to take full advantage of the benefits this healthcare system has to offer. A doctor of chiropractic uses a variety of different methods in order to bring proper alignment to the musculoskeletal structure and help the body function well. As a consequence, muscle and joint pain and pain in the connective tissues – cartilage, tendons and ligaments – is also eased. Chiropractors will use manual manipulation techniques to align the spine and also make use of other techniques like massage and physical therapy in order to improve mobility and reduce inflammation.

2. Attend a Chiropractic Consultation

If you suffer from neck pain, lower back pain, osteoarthritis, headaches, sports injuries, or fibromyalgia then you could benefit from chiropractic treatment. When attending a chiropractic consultation you have the opportunity to explain how pain is affecting your life and also let the practitioner know about your general levels of health and any other ailments that are troubling you. Following the consultation, the doctor will draw up a personalized plan of treatment that takes into account your specific need for pain management and also your lifestyle.

3. Undergo Safe Treatment Sessions

You don’t need to undergo any surgical procedure and the chiropractic sessions are safe and pain free. In addition, you do not need to take any prescription drugs in order to bring about pain relief. This makes chiropractic an effective healthcare procedure without the reliance on drugs or surgical intervention.

4. Use Chiropractic with other Healthcare Procedures

A doctor of chiropractic recognizes that health is a whole-body concept and not just defined as the absence of disease. Chiropractic pays attention to how the body functions as a whole, and any problems that may be affecting the smooth-running of the system. As well as the techniques used in a chiropractic session, practitioners may make use of other healthcare procedures and give the patient recommendations on what to try to feel healthier.