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How to Warm up Your Yoga this Winter

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Winter yoga

Cold temperatures and icy streets dampen everyone’s motivation to move. It’s tempting to curl up with a cup of tea or coffee and just avoid everything until it warms up. But, as a yogi, you know that getting yourself to your mat always helps you feel better about yourself and helps you ignore the weather. So, you probably make even more of a priority to get to class when it’s miserable outside. Or, maybe you take that as your time to design your own home practice and focus on what works for you. By the end of the practice, the chill feels just a little less unbearable and you feel less like turning into an icicle.

But, yoga can do a lot more to brighten your winter than just help you get through it. Even if you aren’t taking class in a hot studio, the way you sequence poses and the intent with which you execute them can make your practice a wonderful tool for igniting your physical and mental inner fire.

Of course, some techniques to do this are common sense—you can move more quickly or focus on more difficult poses. And, there are a few twists on standard poses that also help rev up your time on the mat.

When you’re trying to craft a warming practice, the key is to find poses and sequences that raise your core temperature. Vigorous movement and breath help (think Breath of Fire or strong poses like Plank Pose). Adding a flow or vinyasa between poses is another great way to bring the heat. The more dynamic your practice, the faster it will heat you up.

Here are some yoga tips for winter:

1. Amp Up Your Warm Up

If you usually start with three series of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar), try five. The flowing movements of this basic sequence are a great way to warm up your entire body. Plank Pose helps you engage your shoulders, core and back. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) gently releases your hamstrings. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) helps lengthen your calves. As you get the blood flowing through each muscle group, your core temperature will start to rise, getting you ready for the rest of your practice.

Must Read: 5 Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness

Yoga to increase body heat

2. Use Core Power

Engaging your core muscles makes your body work harder in any pose, and that drives up your practice. Think of drawing your navel to your spine in each pose you perform. Imagine your abdominal muscles drawing together to help lengthen your torso as you move. And, add in core strengthening yoga poses like Boat Pose to your practice during the cold weather. You can add it early in your practice to help get your core going faster, or at the end if you prefer.

3. Add a Dynamic Twist

While not strictly classical yoga, many of the movements that have become part of the lexicon for styles like vinyasa and flow help you get warmer. Try moving from Downward-Facing Dog Pose to Plank Pose. Or, you can try starting in Downward-Facing Dog and bringing one knee to the opposite elbow. Repeat on the other side and switch legs for a total of eight sets on each leg. Think of contracting your core as you perform these movements. You can also add in your arms in poses like Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I). Draw your hands into fists and exhale powerfully as you bring your elbows by your sides. (This variation comes from yoga teacher Sadie Nardini).

4. Involve Your Breath

Warming yoga poses for cold winter days

Breathing is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to heat your body. With every breath you take, imagine the warmth traveling throughout your system, from your head to your toes. As you exhale, visualize that deep heat being retained in your body. Keep your breath deep and even—breathing faster doesn’t help. Instead, try to make each breath as deep as you can.

5. Use Visualization

It can also help to set a heat-related intention for your practice. Take a minute before you start your session to visualize a warm place, color or object. As you practice, put yourself into that image. Feel warm air on your face. Imagine your muscles loosening in the heat. At the end of the practice, take your time in Corpse Pose (Savasana) to let those feelings run through your body before you leave your mat or hit the studio door.

6. Be Practical

If you are practicing at home, you might want to wear warmer clothes than usual. If you are going to a studio, make sure you have plenty of warm layers so you don’t get chilled leaving the studio.

These are just a few ways to help your yoga heat you up inside and out. Do you have any other ways you warm up your yoga in cold temperatures? Please share them in the comments!

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Fitness

Five Things to Do on Your Next Rest Day to Reach Your Goals Faster

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How often do you take rest days? Do you ever find yourself afraid to take a rest day, or worried that resting will slow down — or even halt — your progress?

When I first started working out, I was convinced that rest days should be taken as sparingly as possible.

I thought that I needed to work out at least six days a week if I wanted to see any results. I didn’t actually get the results I was looking for working out this way. I just felt tired and stressed out and mentally drained.

Rest days are not just important; they’re essential for you to make progress toward your health and fitness goals. But, what you do on a rest day is just as important as what you don’t do.

Here are five things you ought to be doing on your rest days to ensure you’re seeing maximum results and getting closer to reaching your goals.

Why are Rest Days so Important?

Why do you need to take rest days? What happens when you give your body a break?

When you’re working out, you’re breaking down your muscle tissue. When you rest, your body has a chance to repair itself. During deep sleep, your body produces the bulk of its growth hormone, which is necessary for muscle repair and recovery.

Regular rest days also help you avoid injuries. When you’re regularly over-exercising, you put a lot of stress on your body and are more likely to experience overuse injuries. If you’re chronically stressed, you’re also more likely to experience other injuries like muscle strains and stress fractures.

Rest days also give you an opportunity to mentally recharge. Contrary to what fitness enthusiasts on Instagram will tell you, you need to take a break sometimes.

Burning the candle at both ends will just leave you feeling depleted and increase the likelihood that you’ll give up on your fitness goals altogether. It can also make it harder for you to see progress, which, in turn, may lead to disappointment and increase your chances of giving up on your goals.

How Many Rest Days Should You Take Per Week?

Okay, so rest days are important. But, how often do you need to be taking rest days?

As with many things health and fitness-related, the short answer is that it depends. Depends on what?

The following are some factors that influence how often you ought to be resting in between workouts:

  • Your specific fitness goals: If you’re training for a bodybuilding competition, you’re going to need to train more frequently than someone who just wants to lose a few pounds. Think about what kind of results you want to see and ask yourself how often you need to work out to — realistically — reach these goals.
  • The type of workouts you like to do: Generally, a good rule of thumb is to avoid working out the same muscle group two days in a row (at least with the same level of intensity). So, if you work your legs on Monday, you probably shouldn’t work them again until at least Wednesday.
  • The intensity of your workouts: The more intense your workouts are, the more rest days you ought to be taking. If you only do light mobility work, you can probably get away with exercising more frequently and taking fewer rest days. If you do intense weight-lifting or cardiovascular exercise, you need to rest more often.
  • Your current health status: If you’re a generally healthy person, you probably don’t need as many rest days as someone who is struggling with a chronic illness or recovering from an injury. If you fall into the latter group, excessive exercise could leave you feeling worse, rather than better.

There are many other factors that influence the number of rest days you need to take. But, taking these guidelines into account is a good starting point.

Five Things to Do on Your Next Rest Day

The following are five things you can do on your next rest day to promote recovery and help you feel more energized and ready to take on your next workout.

1. Go to Sleep

Remember, it’s when you’re sleeping that your body produces the most growth hormone. If you want your muscles to repair themselves, quality sleep is a must.

What does quality sleep look like? Sleeping all the way through the night without interruptions. Waking up after a reasonable period of time (7-9 hours) and feeling rested and ready to take on the day. Falling asleep relatively quickly without a lot of tossing and turning.

If quality sleep doesn’t come easily to you, you may need to address your sleep hygiene to ensure you’re maximizing your rest days.

2. Move

A rest day is not the same thing as a sit-on-the-couch-and-do-nothing day. While rest is important, you still need to be moving throughout the day.

Going for a walk, stretching, working on your mobility, and foam rolling are all good options that help to loosen up your muscles and minimize soreness.

Remember, rest is important, but there’s a middle ground between being totally sedentary and intense exercise. Shoot for that middle ground so you reap the benefits of movement while still giving your body a chance to recover.

3. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated helps minimize muscle soreness and cramps. It also ensures that your body is functioning optimally, which is essential for muscle repair and muscle growth.

A good rule of thumb for water consumption is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day.

I like to add lemon juice and sea salt to my water at least once per day. This helps to ensure you’re getting sufficient amounts of electrolytes, which are needed for your cells to actually absorb the water you’re drinking.

I prefer the lemon juice/sea salt combination to sports drinks like Gatorade, which are typically full of sugar or artificial sweeteners.

4. Eat Repair-Promoting Foods

What you eat on a rest day matters just as much as your activity levels. Eat foods that are known to promote muscle recovery, including the following:

  • Whole eggs: A great source of protein and minerals like iron and phosphorous.
  • Salmon: Another great protein source that’s also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which help minimize inflammation and promote cellular health.
  • Sweet potatoes: A great source of complex carbohydrates that can help replenish muscle glycogen stores and promote faster recovery.

5. Keep the Muscle-Building Signal Going

Finally, if muscle growth and increased strength are goals of yours, you may want to consider doing “trigger sessions” on your rest days.

Trigger sessions promote muscle growth by allowing you to increase the frequency of your workouts. They don’t damage the body, though, because they’re performed at a lower intensity.

If you want to work on growing your shoulders or legs, for instance, you might do a few rounds of resistance band lateral raises or bodyweight squats on your off days to keep the muscle-building signal going with promoting soreness and muscle breakdown.

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Health

The Guaranteed Way To Quit Smoking

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Guaranteed Way To Quit Smoking

Lot of people in the world adopts the habit of smoking due to many causes like life style, living environment and so on. Once people are used to certain habits, it is quite difficult to quit those habit. Many suggest the revolutionized device the personal vaporizers so called the electronic cigarette to get rid of the smoking habit.

It mimics the traditional smoking which aids in the replacement for tobacco in most of the countries. The liquid or the solution present in the cigar vaporizes into mist that does not contain the toxic substances as in the original tobacco cigarettes. This device is credited by the users for its long term success of smoking cessation. The smokers have the opportunity of choosing the amount of nicotine and flavor with this e-cigarette which is not possible with the conventional cigarettes.

The researchers say that this electric cigar could definitely help the smokers to quit their regular and routine habit of conventional smoking. Health organizations like WHO and others have insisted that these cigarettes are better for replacement therapy as it is safe and effective. The components that include electronic cigarette starter kit are cartridges, batteries, atomizer, wall charger and USB charger. The e-juice or the e-solutions are available in various flavors for refilling the cartridges. The tobacco flavors with these personal vaporizers help the smokers to forget the traditional tobacco smoking. This in turn reduces the mind’s buzz and prevents the addiction.

The choice of nicotine level is left in the hands of e-cigar smokers and this induces the person to completely quit with replacement therapy. The safe alternative electric cigarettes are guaranteed way to quit smoking as the level of carcinogens are thousand times less than the regular cigarettes. Moreover it is considered to be very effective and easy than any other replacement methods like yoga, meditation, chewing gums and other natural quitting techniques. The active and passive smokers of these electric cigarettes are satisfied because it does not harm the second hand smoking. It is free from the bad breathe and stain of teeth and fingers.

Starter Kit and its Advanced Features

The electronic cigarette starter kit provides advanced features like easily chargeable icons on the sides. This helps to check the level of charging process of the pack. In addition to these feature, the pack has switches to activate and deactivate the packets depending on the usages to save the battery. The packets are also provided with mini USB for efficient charging of this electronic device. The atomizers are with the new cartridges for maximum smoke. The liquid are tailored for perfect flavor. The long lasting batteries, built in atomizers, silicone tip, size of the cigarettes assure complete satisfaction of the smoker. The electronic cigarette starter kit is available with warranty for the device. It is said that one cartridge can be equivalent to the forty original tobacco cigarettes. This absolutely saves money too.

The many studies in relation to this electronic smoking also imply that they cause less harm to heart and lungs when compared to traditional tobacco smoking. People can just try these alternative devices and stay away from the disease causing toxic substances that are present in the conventional smoking.

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Health

Top 8 Benefits of Dietary Supplements

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There is nothing better than consuming a well-balanced diet to get your requisite source of vitamins and minerals. However, sometimes it is not enough to depend on the food alone. You must also take dietary supplements to ensure that you are getting all the necessary nutrients in essential quantities.

These supplements are helpful in preventing food disorders and also make up for lacking nutrients in your body. While supplements can be really helpful in a number of ways, it is recommended to consult your doctor before self-administering these medications to prevent any side effects.

Thanks to its numerous benefits, dietary supplements are an important part of American diet these days. With so many options out there, it is nearly impossible to choose the right option off-the-bat.

Since supplements are not monitored by FDA, it is very important to source your vitamins from the right manufacturer. Experts recommend that you should only buy your supplements from reputed suppliers like https://microbeformulas.com/ that are known for their production and safety standards.

When a reliable product is enriched with a healthy diet, dietary supplements have shown tremendous health benefits. Here are some of the health benefits of taking your supplements as prescribed.

The health benefits of dietary supplements

Improved Metabolism

After you consume your meal, your body begins the digestion process by breaking down the carbs, fats, and proteins to source its nutrients. The absorption of these nutrients depends on B-class of vitamins that you must take every day. Supplements can help you maintain the regular intake of B vitamins that are responsible for preventing vitamin deficiencies, skin disorders, anemia, etc.

Stimulates Tissue Repair and Maintenance

By consuming dietary supplements as per your body’s requirement, you may also encourage tissue repair and maintenance which is a lifelong process. Your daily activities can put stress on your existing tissues.

However, certain cells in your body can produce a protein that is necessary for the replacement of old and damaged tissue. When this process is interrupted, it can lead to diseases that usually occur due to aging. By supplementing your diet with vitamin D and calcium, you can accelerate the tissue growth and encourage bone strength.

Strengthened Immunity

Did you know that some dietary supplements may mitigate the risk of cancer? Essential vitamins such as Vitamins A, C, and E have natural antioxidant properties that can alleviate the oxidative stress in your cells and help purge your body of all toxins. These supplements can offset the free radicals that cause damage to your cells, causing the development of cancer. While the jury is still out on antioxidants’ ability to fight cancer risk, there are many proven benefits of these vitamins that can still provide plenty of health benefits.

Weight Loss

People who go on a severe diet for weight loss purposes can often do more damage to their bodies than good. However, you can append your diet with these supplements to make up for the loss of nutrients as a result of limited calorie intake. Additionally, it helps in detoxifying your body of all the toxins and helps you maintain your weight in the long-term.

Consuming multivitamins along with a nutrient-dense diet and regular exercise can work wonders in helping you lose those pesky pounds and that too in a healthy manner. Consult your doctor to choose the right supplement that will deliver the promised results.

Fight Heart Diseases

According to research, certain supplements may also help reduce the risk of heart disease. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide?

You may not know this but there is a number of reasons that can elevate the risk of heart diseases, such as blood pressure and high quantities of LDL cholesterol. To overcome this risk, many doctors recommend people to take vitamin C supplements to keep their cholesterol and triglyceride levels in control. Vitamin C is an active component that can keep these factors in check and mitigate the risk of a heart disease.

Increased Nutrient Absorption in Pregnant Women

Dietary supplements also help pregnant women by increasing their nutrient absorption. Doctors often prescribe prenatal vitamins and minerals to ensure that the mother and the baby get an adequate amount of nutrients. In addition to meeting their regular needs, a multivitamin can also help babies prevent certain birth defects.

Build Bone Mass

Studies indicate that taking the adequate quantities of vitamin D and calcium along with a balanced diet can help strengthen the bones during adolescence and childhood. It is also effective in slowing the bone loss process that occurs naturally due to aging.

In today’s time and age, people don’t get enough calcium and Vitamin D, especially amongst women. Therefore, it is recommended to supplement your diet with these essential vitamins to improve bone density and also protect your overall health.

Slows the Aging Process

With age, our cognitive abilities, lung function, and neurological functions all suffer a beating. However, studies suggest that taking certain nutrients can protect various bodily functions, such as lungs, vision, brain etc., from deteriorating.

It also helps maintain the skin and muscle strength and makes the immunity system work efficiently in aging people. A long-term research revealed that the study participants on regular intake of Vitamin C and E supplements faced reduced risk of dementia. In fact, these participants witnessed an improvement in their cognitive function.

Dietary supplements are consumed by most adults in the United States these days. More men and women are making it a part of their daily routines. With its noted benefits and wide acceptance, the use of supplements has increased exponentially.

Health professionals all over the world also recommend the use of supplements daily as prescribed by your doctor. Supplement use will not only help you make your body stronger but also encourage you to follow a path of a healthy lifestyle that involves improving food habits and following a daily routine of physical exercise.

While further study is required to know the ability of supplements to prevent chronic diseases, there is enough scientific evidence proving its overall health benefits.

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