Four Easy Ways to Help You Improve Your Posture

Having great posture goes a longer way than simply staving off a slouch and making you look tired or unconfident: great posture is also about keeping your body, and more importantly, your spine, aligned correctly in order to minimize strain. With proper posture, you will not only experience far lesser pain in your neck, shoulders, and back, but you also help strengthen otherwise weaker muscles, and even improve your overall breathing.

Here are five easy ways that will help you improve your posture:

Lifting

Maintain a straight back when carrying a load. Ideally, you should be lifting items with your core engaged and your heat upright while your knees are bent and taking most of the weight. As you lift the object towards you, position your shoulders and bend only at the hips and knees.

Sleeping

Maintaining proper posture when sleeping is just as important when you’re awake. Whether you’re lying flat on your back or on your sides, keeping your spine straight is a great way to reduce back pain and guarantee more, and better, sleep. To do this, be sure to maintain your spine’s natural posture by keeping only one pillow and let your head rest on it, rather than your shoulders on your neck.

Standing

Slouching when you’re standing not only gives other people the impression that you’re unconfident, but also add more stress to both your feet and your spine. To avoid this, it’s important to keep in mind that standing properly involves positioning your pelvis and your spine to take that stress, rather than the spine and the feet. Aside from wearing flat shoes for better support, be sure to follow these steps in order to stand upright properly:

  • Keep your head upright and center (chin must be parallel to ground)
  • Pull back your shoulders gently
  • Draw in your stomach slightly
  • Unlock your knees
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width
  • Center your weight on your feet

Aside from appearing more confident, which is a definite plus wherever you go, standing straight also gives you the boost of energy that you need to get through the day.

Sitting

When you’re facing a computer screen all day, it can be difficult to maintain proper posture when it’s much easier to simply slouch. However, this has the cost of straining your back muscles and ligaments, as well as adding unnecessary pressure to your spine.

Aside from choosing the right chair that accommodates your height, it’s also important to keep your arms bent to ninety degrees and allow your back to rest on the chair’s lumbar support, which you can do by standing straight.

Additionally, be sure to prevent unneeded neck strain by making sure your computer screen is within eye level.

Five Crucial Ways to Keep Your Blood Pressure in Check

Unlike other types of health conditions, having a high blood pressure isn’t always something you can see or feel, and you don’t usually know you have it until it’s serious enough to cause significant problems and increase your chances of getting other complications.

However, the good news is that you don’t always need medication in order to improve the symptoms of hypertension. In fact, there are many lifestyle changes you can adopt in order to keep your blood pressure in check, such as the following:  

Decrease your salt intake

Sodium is the easiest way to raise your blood pressure, and if you notice that your heart rate is up after eating a hearty meal, then you need to change your dieting habits. While you can’t eliminate all sources of sodium from your diet (you still need to consume a small amount for your body’s daily needs), you can shift towards a cleaner and healthier diet with more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Watch your waistline

The bigger the number on the weighing scale, the higher the blood pressure also tends to be – but that’s not the only thing you need to be looking out for. Aside from a high blood pressure, having a high body mass index in proportion to your height can lead to conditions such as sleep apnea, which can also further raise your blood pressure. Losing a small amount of weight can be really helpful here, as well as keeping an eye on your waistline.

Take deep breaths

When you have high blood pressure, means that your system is compensating for not having enough oxygen by trying to get it as quickly to your entire body as possible, and this is where deep breathing comes in. The best way to inhale is by imaging your stomach as something like a balloon. Take a deep breath slowly and allow that balloon to inflate, and exhale slowly.

Sleep early, wake up early

Not getting enough sleep is another big factor that contributes to stress, which in turn contributes to higher blood pressure. To make sure you get enough sleep, you can try setting your alarm to make sure you go to bed early at night and early in the morning for a full seven to eight hours of sleep.

Learn effective stress management

The most important thing you need to know when you have high blood pressure is that you not only need to minimize getting into stressful situations, but that you also need to know how to handle them better if you do encounter them.

This includes, but isn’t limited to, balancing work and life in a way that lets you get the most out of both. If you think you’re focusing on work too much, it’s best to allow yourself to take a break to focus on your loved ones and your health.

Adverse Effects of Over-Illumination

Here in Singapore, the streets come to life at night with the help of artificial lights. Yes, some are unnecessary lighting but it can attract attention, that is important. But do you stop for a while and contemplate about light pollution especially when you see high intensity lighting? Singaporeans should understand light pollution particularly its one type – over-illumination.

Light pollution can have ill effects on humans as well as the ecosystem. Light pollution is actually the result of globalization and development. With this in mind, many people just think that it is inevitable. This kind of thinking will be our downfall. It is time that we are aware of our surroundings and do our part to make it a better place.

Where does over-illumination come in? Over-illumination is actually one type of light pollution. It happens when there is too much light for a particular activity. Before resolving this issue, it is crucial that we know the ill effects of over-illumination. Getting too much artificial light can have ill effects. Here is the list:

• Headaches: Having headaches with over-illumination is not a surprise because you often suffer from this. Over-exposing yourself to artificial light can even trigger migraines. While it is true that headaches or migraines have different factors that trigger it, the bright light can always intensify the pain.

• Hypertension: It is important that lights are turned on and off at appropriate times. If not, it can disrupt circadian rhythms and melatonin production. This will eventually lead to imbalances like high blood pressure and other related health problems.

• Insomnia: The disruption of melatonin production can cause sleepless nights. The disruption is caused by over exposure to artificial lighting. If your brain is overly stimulated because of intense lights, it cannot relax.

• Fatigue: Fatigue is actually stress that is taking over the body. It was mentioned earlier that artificial light can disrupt the body rhythms and it can cause chaos inside the body. Remember that when melatonin and circadian rhythm are off, it will be severe.

Now that you know over-illumination is not as harmless as it seems, you have to act while it is not too late. There are things that you can do to make it better. For example, when lighting a room, make sure that it is just enough and when it is not in use, turn it off. You do not only address over-illumination but also energy consumption.

Just continue to think of things to curb over-illumination. Do not wait for it to strike before taking action.

Dealing with Concussions  

Worse things happen but we can take solace from the idea that we are prepared to handle it. For example, we do not want our children to suffer concussions but because of their dauntless actions, we should at least know how to deal with it so when it happens, we can lessen the injury.

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Many Singaporean kids or even adults go to hospital emergency rooms because of concussions. Concussions are usually from heavy blows on the head. The heavy blows often lead to unconsciousness and confusion. If our child suddenly becomes unconscious because of a heavy blow on the head, we have to call the medic or rush him/her to the hospital.

Also, there is a need to call the medic or bring our child to the emergency room immediately if we notice vomiting repeatedly, agitated, weak, neck pain, seizure and slurred speech. If the victim does not suffer any of the symptoms mentioned above, we can consider first aid remedies before bringing him/her to the hospital.

Here’s how to deal with concussions:

  • Prevent the swelling: The victim should stop the activity that caused the concussion. In the case of our kids, when they realize that the blow hurts, they will stop it. It is important that the person stop whatever activity he/she is doing and then rest. We also need to apply ice unto the affected area using a washcloth.
  • Treat symptoms: The pain will be there and it will not go away instantly. For the pain, we can consider over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol). We should be careful not to give Aspirin or Ibuprofen as it may make the bruising worst.

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  • Monitor: We have to make sure that our kid is okay even if he/she insists that he/she is okay. If it is possible, we should be by their side for at least twenty four hours and observe or monitor their condition.
  • Go to the doctor: Concussions are serious so doctors should be in the picture even if we think we successfully treated concussion. It is crucial that concussions are checked by the doctors whether it is serious or not. Should the symptoms persist after discharge, we have to consult the doctor again especially if the patient develops conditions like recurring headache, vomiting, dizziness or drowsiness and confusion.

If the concussion is successfully treated, the patient’s condition will improve after seven to ten days. Hopefully our child now understands the repercussions of reckless activities. We need not be afraid of concussions if our child’s life depend on it.

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Facts About Digital Eye Strain  

The digital age has its perks but we have to be wary about its long-term effects when it comes to our health especially our eyes. For Singaporeans who spend most of their time in front of computers and other screens, they might encounter digital eye strain.

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Vision Council recently concluded its studies about digital eye strain. According to the council, one third of the population spend at least 9 hours in front of digital devices. 60% of this population is vulnerable to digital eye strain. Digital eye strain refers to the eye strain instigated by staring at digital devices for long periods.

If we are not familiar about digital eye strain, here are some truths about it:

  • Symptoms: Symptoms include irritated eyes. If we notice that our eyes are uncomfortable characterized by redness and dryness, we have to see our ophthalmologist. Other symptoms include blurry vision, headaches and back and neck pains. There are many doctors here in Singapore that specializes in eyes. We should immediately consult them.

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  • Prevention: It was emphasized earlier that prolonged exposure to digital screens lead to digital eye strain. We can conclude that if we spend less hours of staring on digital screens, we lessen our risks of acquiring such. If it cannot be helped, we have to secure computer lenses and adjust display settings.

Vision Council is also advocating the “20-20-20 habit” – every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds break and look at anything 20 feet away. This will help us protect our eyes and our vision in general. It will also help if we take vitamins and supplements good for the eyesight.

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Beat The Summer Heat!

5 Cool Drinks and Foods to Keep You Hydrated This Summer
Staying hydrated is always a great idea, especially now that the summer temperature is rising up. But how can you ensure that you stay hydrated this whole summer season if drinking at least eight cups of water daily is not your thing? Curious enough? Well, here are other ways on how you can get your hydration fix on this scorching hot summer season.

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  1. Flavoured Waters

Almost all of us know someone who can’t stand drinking water. It’s true that water can really get dull after some time, but you can now spice up the boring drink by adding some natural flavour in it like a zest of lemon, cucumber, mint leaves, lavender and cayenne. Not only will you stay hydrated with this drink, you’ll also get special health bonuses like drinking a glass full of vitamin C and antioxidants.

  1. Smoothie Bites

Another great way to get your hydration fix this summer is through making some smoothie bites. All you’ve got to do is blend you favourite fruits together, pour it into an ice cube tray, freeze them and pop them in your drink. For a refreshing smoothie bite start, try the fruity combo of pineapple, mango and coconut water.

  1. Green Juices

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If you haven’t tried a green juice yet, then it’s probably time to experience and see what the green juice hype is all about. For starters, try out the green juice made from apple, celery, kale, spinach and parsley then pair it with a bowl of raw almonds for that perfect afternoon snack.

  1. Oatmeal Bowls

Although it may not look like it, oats are actually hydrating. They tend to soak up the milk or water they’re cooked in, making them rich in water. But if you’re not into hot oats, try out a cold oatmeal bowl topped with berries and bananas for breakfast. All you’ve got to do is add some water to your uncooked oats and keep the in the fridge overnight. In the morning, top your cold oats with some freshly cut fruits and almond butter for a delicious and balanced breakfast meal.

  1. Summer Soup

Soup is definitely the last thing you’d want to eat during summer season, but wait until you’ve tasted some cold soup. We promise, it tastes a lot better than it sounds and is one of the ideal summer hydration alternatives. Two of the must-try cold summer soup are the creamy gazpacho or avocado soup. Up the nutrient and water content of your gazpacho soup by adding more veggies. If you’re all in for the avocado soup, just blend some scallions, avocado, cucumber, veggie broth, and presto – you now have a creamy avocado soup.

With these easy-to-do and cool alternatives for your hydration fix, you no longer have an excuse to fall behind on your 8-cups-8-ounce rule this summer. So start drinking up now and soak the summer heat with these tasty drinks.

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5 Myths About Exercising During Your Period  

You have probably heard so many different things about the relationship between exercise and menstruation. You might even be practicing some of them. However, not all of these beliefs are true. If you want to find out which ones are facts and which are just make-believe, here are five of the most common beliefs about working out “on the red”.

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  1. Myth: Working out would worsen your mood

Fact: Working out helps control mood swings

Although you’ve always been told to take things easy during your menstrual period, doing light exercises will actually help you in managing your premenstrual symptoms. According to Singapore health experts, exercising helps in releasing endorphins, which is responsible for sending happy thoughts all over the body. So avoid sulking in the corner, and instead, perform some light cardio to lighten up your mood.

  1. Myth: Exercising will deplete all your energy

Fact: Exercising may probably boost your energy

Your body releases more hormones the week during and after your period, which gives your body an extra energy boost. Although you may feel grumpy and bloated, your body during these times is actually in the best condition to do some workout routine. Just take it easy and exercise only if you really feel up for it.

  1. Myth: It’s okay to perform extreme routines on regular days

Fact: Stick to your comfort zone or “controlled stress” level

Make sure exercise on a level that’s comfortable for you if you during regular days. If you happen to get to a much lower body weight percentage than is normal for your height, then your body will start to shut down functions that it deems unnecessary, which could result to a delayed period, or a skipped menstrual cycle. So, just stick to your regular workout routine and avoid overdoing it.

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  1. Myth: Water is definitely off-limits

Fact: You can relax in a hot shower

Most people think that the pool is off-limits when you have your period, but that’s not really the case. In fact, swimming a little or relaxing in a bath or in a shower after your workout routine will help relax your muscles. Just make sure that you wear a tampon, of course.

  1. Myth: Avoid stretching your body

Fact: Yoga is your best form of exercise

If you’re not in the mood to perform your cardio exercise while feeling bloated, then doing yoga routines might serve as a great solution to tone your muscles and ease your cramps. Performing yoga positions is excellent for your body, especially if you’re suffering from lower back pains during your period.

Now that the facts have been cleared, you can now perform your workout routine even if it’s your time of the month. Just exercise safely and consider your current condition.

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