Taking care of our bodies is of vital importance. From beauty tips, workout routines and meal prep ideas, check out all of our articles on health and wellness below.
Having a strong core is essential for having a fit, healthy body. Even if you don’t want that chiseled six-pack look, it can help you with other lifting movements like deadlifts and squats. Keep in mind that these exact exercises may not meet all your training goal needs but are a solid place to start. The best workouts for abs depend heavily on your training level and goals. Something to remember is that no ab exercise will give you visible abs. They’re used to strengthen them to enhance training performance and general health. If you want visible abs, you can shoot for a healthy body fat range. A manageable body fat percentage is 10-14% for men and 15-19% for women to see definition in your abs. Now is the part you’ve been waiting for: The four best workouts for abs. 1. Alternating Arms and Legs With Deadbug This exercise focuses on activating your core muscles. It is lower-intensity with no weight or resistance. Use this exercise to channel the proper core muscle activation and lumbar stability. This is a beginner-level exercise and can be performed at home without any equipment. How to perform a deadbug: Lay on your back with arms straight in the air while your legs are in the air with a 90-degree bend in the knees.Lower one arm above your head while the opposite leg straightens as you move it downward. Each limb should be straightened while hovering over the ground.Reverse the movement and return to your original position.Repeat on the other side. Remember to stay engaged in this movement. Keep your spine pressed into the floor as you go. An excellent way to make sure is by controlling your breath. Inhale as you lower your limbs and exhale when pulling them back up to the original position. 2. Hanging Knee Raises Hanging knee raises are another beginner-friendly exercise. All you need is a place to hang from. It’s a great exercise because, once you master the basic movement, you can add resistance weight to your feet for a more significant challenge. A plus to this exercise is increased grip strength to help with other exercises you do! This is how to execute the hanging knee raise: Hang from a bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Keep your shoulder blades activated by squeezing them together.Keep your legs pressed together as you pull your knees into your chest. Try to keep from swinging your body, which uses your momentum over actually engaging the core muscles. To prevent this, extend your legs slightly in front of you before lifting them. 3. Cable Woodchopper You can transition into more challenging exercises when you get the hang of activating your core. These may have opportunities to implement weight and resistance. You can focus on the same muscle engagement through directional movements while building core strength and endurance. Here’s how to do a cable woodchopper: Set your cable up slightly above shoulder level. Use a single-handle cable attachment.Stand with your shoulder parallel to the cable machine in a lunge position.Engage your core muscles and rotate diagonally while pulling the cable across your body. You should feel your oblique muscles doing a lot of the work while you keep the motion controlled. 4. Kettlebell Hip Flexor Lift An advanced move would be a kettlebell hip flexor lift. These are movements that are functional and include lots of stability. You will be able to add more weight as you master the movement. Here’s how to do a kettlebell hip flexor lift: Stand on a box with one foot stabilized and the other with your foot in the handle of the kettlebell.With your weight on the stabilized foot, pull the leg with the kettlebell to a 90-degree angle at your knee.Control the leg in a repeated up and down motion. Get Training! There you have it! The best workouts for abs for each training level. Remember not to rush into anything too advanced to avoid any injuries. Take your time and enjoy the process of mastering each movement for optimal core strength.
When you have an allergy, the dream of pet ownership might seem too far out of reach. Everyone deserves to have man's best friend by their side. More dogs are hypoallergenic than you might think. Several breeds have specific types of coats that prevent shedding, but as a result, they may need regular grooming. Here are some of the best dogs for people with allergies — and only a few have little or no hair! 1. Chinese Crested Dog When people picture the Chinese Crested Dog, they often think of the dog with tufts of hair on its head, but this breed also has a "powderpuff" variety with plenty of hair. If you want a great dog to reduce your allergies, pick the variation with little hair. This breed, regardless of hair amount, is playful and alert. It does best in a family with children who will treat it gently. The Chinese Crested Dog is small and loves to play, but it needs to be well cared for. 2. Bedlington Terrier Many breeds you'll see on this list are in the Terrier group. These dogs typically have different coat types and are some of the best hypoallergenic dogs you'll find. The Bedlington Terrier is no different. Though it might look like a lamb, it's a dog! Its curly coat makes it less likely to shed, meaning less hair and dander around your home. Even better is that it doesn't have a ton of energy like a lot of Terrier breeds do — regular daily exercise will keep this pup happy! 3. American Hairless Terrier These little guys are the perfect apartment dogs for people with allergies. Another breed in the Terrier group, its hairlessness actually results from a recessive trait in its genetics, but there are still some circumstances where individual dogs can have hair. This pup doesn't require a lot of exercise, making it a great companion dog you can cuddle up on the couch with. 4. Standard Poodle Standard Poodles are a bit larger than their counterparts, the Miniature Poodle and Toy Poodle. While both of those variations of the breed are hypoallergenic as well, the Standard Poodle is great for individuals because of their high activity needs, and they're intelligent dogs who need some sort of mental stimulation every day to keep them happy. They might be challenging to train for a first-time dog owner, but as they're one of the smartest breeds out there, a Poodle will be well worth any trouble you have. You'll have to devote regular trips to the dog groomer if you want to keep your Poodle's coat looking neat and tidy. This variation of Poodle definitely needs regular exercise, so it's a great breed for an individual or family looking for a smart dog to kick them out of their couch potato habits. 5. Irish Water Spaniel This breed's curly coat results in minimal shedding, making it one of the best dogs for people with allergies. It's the tallest of all spaniels, and it's majorly goofy. Still, even with its fun-loving personality, the Irish Water Spaniel is an intelligent breed that is always willing to learn and do what it takes to please its owner. This breed has a lot of energy, so you may find yourself more active than ever trying to keep up with it. Just remember not to push yourself — having a rest day is essential to your body mending and preparing for more movement. A tired Irish Water Spaniel is a happy Irish Water Spaniel, but your pup will be content to just pass the days with you. 6. Schnauzer This breed's major charm is its little mustache and beard, which you must regularly groom to take care of properly. The Schnauzer comes in three sizes: Giant, Standard and Miniature. Miniature Schnauzers are popular dogs today, though they were originally used for catching rats and herding sheep. Schnauzers can be protective, and they need lots of exercise. They may not be great apartment dogs, especially the larger variations, but as long as you can devote time to them every day, they'd do well with an active family or folks with a big backyard. 7. Yorkshire Terrier In the past, Yorkshire Terriers have been lapdogs of choice, but before that, they were chasing rats out of places they didn't need to be. These little dogs love to be pampered, but they also have great energy that can be channeled into being the perfect watchdog over a smaller space, like an apartment or condo. This breed is luxury in an energetic package, and you're sure to have adventures daily with this hypoallergenic breed by your side. More Dogs for People With Allergies Than You'd Think Many people think they have to feel limited to hairless dogs when they have an allergy. While there are plenty of cute hairless dogs for people with allergies, you shouldn't feel limited to a certain look. Hairless, wiry and curly-coated dogs can offer you the same hypoallergenic experience with vastly different temperaments and exercise levels. All you must do is research which breed will work best for you, and you can find the cutest and best-suited breed for your household.
First dates can be fun and nerve-racking at the same time. Between the shy smiles and the excitement of getting to know someone new, sometimes you aren’t quite sure what to talk about. Luckily, this list of first date conversation starters can get you off on the right foot. Have You Been Here Before? To begin with, keep things light and gather some basic information. This question is a good segue to talking about the venue, your date’s hobbies and perhaps their friends and family. For example, if you’re at a bowling alley, maybe your date will tell you they’ve never been bowling and have no idea what they’re doing. Then, you can engage in some playful banter and teach them how to bowl. Where Are You From? Another neutral question, this gives you some background info and serves as a basis for talking about shared lifestyles, childhood memories and what brought you to your current location. For example, maybe you’ll find out you both grew up in Milwaukee but never ran into each other. That would be an interesting tidbit that could lead to further conversation. Do You Like Living Here? Does your date love the city? Are they only here while they attend school, but can’t wait to get out? You should find this out on the first date. After all, you want to date someone who likes living in the same area as you so you’ll get along if you end up dating. Even if they don’t like the particular location you’re currently in, maybe they love cities in general, for example. What is a Day at Work Like for You? This is a great way to ask about your date’s career. Maybe they dislike their job but work hard to pay the bills, or they barely make ends meet but have a fulfilling career that’s closely tied to their identity. Is their lifestyle compatible with yours? What about their work schedule? It’s also a good way to see if someone will complain if given the chance to do so, or whether they’ll gloss over the less-than-stellar parts of their job as a nurse. Nobody needs all the details. What’s Your Favorite Food? A lighthearted question that works best when you’re ordering food, a straightforward answer to this question doesn’t tell you much about your date’s personality. But, it can be a lead-in to things like whether they enjoy cooking, if they have any food allergies or they always loved the casseroles their grandma baked when they were a child. Do You Have Any Siblings? You can find out if they’re the youngest, oldest, a twin or an only child. What was it like growing up with four brothers? Did your date enjoy being alone, or did they always wish they had someone to play with? You can also find common ground by talking about your own siblings. What Did You Want to Be Growing Up? Everyone loves to talk about what they wanted to be as a child. The answer might come out of left field — maybe your date wanted to be a mime or a horse wrangler — or it could reveal a yet-unmet goal that they’re still working toward. Or, maybe they knew all their life that they wanted to be a gardener, and they finally started their own homestead. This first date conversation starter can reveal a lot about how someone’s personality changed or stayed the same over time. What Are Your Hobbies? Does your date watch movie marathons on the weekends or would they prefer to be hiking? Maybe they’d love to spend a day at the farmers market with you. A person’s hobbies can give you a clue about how active they are and what they value. Of course, it’s great if you have some of the same hobbies, but variety keeps things interesting. Do You Have Any Nicknames? Here’s a silly, playful query that doesn’t have a wrong answer. This can lead to an interesting story about why their friends call them Birdman, Pokey or Shades. What did they do to earn such a funny moniker? What’s Something I Wouldn’t Guess About You? The ball is in their court. The answers to this open-ended question could run the gamut from funny to sad, from interesting to a potential red flag. Oh, your date still lives with their ex? Yep, you definitely wouldn’t have guessed that. Or maybe they have a huge coin collection, and it turns out that you do, too. Where Would You Love to Travel? Do they love warm, sandy shores or rugged mountains? Or is their dream vacation spending a weekend in Las Vegas, doing all the touristy things? You’ll never know until you ask. Do You Have Any Pets? This is a good one to get out of the way on the first date. Maybe you’re a cat person and they’re allergic. Maybe you’re both crazy about animals and each have four dogs already. Find out how compatible you are in the pet department with this first date conversation starter. What’s a Crazy Adventure You’ve Had? Maybe they got chased by a moose while hiking, or accidentally went into someone’s house thinking it was a store. This question is probably fun for your date to answer, and you can get an idea of what they consider to be an adventure. Perhaps your definitions are different — you were thinking of the day you went skydiving, while they talk about the one time they left their hometown. Can you see yourself going on adventures together? Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years? Your date might reveal that they see themselves living somewhere else, staying in the same line of work, having children or going back to school. This is another fairly open-ended question that your date could interpret in many different ways. What’s Your Favorite TV Show? Keeping it lighthearted, ask your date if they have a favorite show. Maybe you’re both up-to-date on the same episode of the Simpsons, and you can plan to watch the next one together. Do You Have a Favorite Childhood Memory? Maybe they’ll talk about going fishing with their dad, and indicate that they’ve been closer ever since that trip. Or, it could be something you also enjoyed doing as a child, like playing hide-and-seek. You can almost always find common ground with this inquiry. It also helps you fill in your date’s background a little more. What Would You Like to Accomplish in Life? Do they have any big goals they want to achieve? Maybe their idea of accomplishment is to climb every fourteener or simply bake a really nice cake. Or maybe neither of you knows what you’re doing yet and you can set a goal that you’d like to achieve together, like going on another date. What Are Your Hidden Talents? Here’s another one that can be lighthearted or revealing. Can your date lick their own nose? Are they actually a famous pop star that you didn’t recognize because of the wig? It’s a great opportunity for your date to make you laugh or impress you with their skills. How Do You Spend Your Days? Try to find out the answer to this one early on. You might both enjoy doing watercolors or going to the same park in your free time. Maybe one of you is more active than the other. This question gives you a lot of info about your date’s personality. Do You Have Any Fun Weekend Plans? If the sparks are flying, set up your next date with this inquisitive query. Who knows? Maybe they enjoyed bowling with you so much, they’re willing to be bad at it again next weekend. Good to Go Hopefully these first date conversation starters gave you some ideas to prepare for your get-together. If there’s a moment of awkward silence, you can ask a question to get things moving again. Or, you can always pause and enjoy that moment of stillness, communicating without words for the first time. Years from now, you and your partner might remember it fondly.
Winter is almost here, so the annual cold and flu season has arrived. After the summer’s heat, you’re ready for a break in the weather, but why do stuffy noses and sniffles have to be part of the equation? Fortunately, you can reduce your chances of seasonal illness by taking proactive steps to safeguard your health. Although there are no guarantees, you can whip your immune system into shape and create an environment discouraging germ spread. How? Here are eight autumn health tips to help you prepare for winter. 1. Take Your Vitamins You might have heard that certain nutrients can shorten a cold’s duration. Scientists have found evidence to support vitamin C’s efficacy, but it won’t do you a lick of good to supplement after you already feel like death warmed over. For these remedies to work, you must take them at the first sign of symptoms, preferably before. Your best bet? Start supplementing now and eat more foods rich in the nutrient, like the following: Bell peppers (especially red ones) Citrus fruits Strawberries Tomatoes Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower White potatoes Zinc is another nutrient to get plenty of this time of year. The same rule applies — don’t delay a supplement. Get some in your system now by consuming more of these foods: Shellfish Legumes Seeds Nuts Dairy Whole grains Another benefit of nuts is that they’re high in magnesium and selenium, crucial nutrients for nourishing psychological health. Try to eat more nuts and seeds if you’re prone to the winter blues. Finally, you need to get more vitamin D, especially if you live above 37° latitude, like much of the United States. Your skin can’t make enough, especially during winter, so consider a supplement to bolster your immune function. Avoid artificial flavoring, added salt and sugar to clean up your diet. 2. Switch Up Your Fitness Routine You might be born to run, but it’s a downright dangerous activity when three feet of snow are on the ground. What can you do if the mere thought of a treadmill bores you to tears? Welcome to the wide world of indoor sports and fitness. Why not try out a new class or two at your local gym when the weather’s foul? Cross-training is an excellent way to break through plateaus and you might meet a new friend or two in a group setting. No money for a membership? Don’t worry — you can find plenty of fitness classes streaming for free on YouTube, although you’ll miss the social aspect somewhat. However, many content creators love it when you interact with them in the comments — it helps the algorithms. Check out your local YMCA, too. Many have more affordable memberships than commercial gyms and often contain swimming pools. Perhaps this year will be the one when you train for that triathlon? 3. Get a Handle on Your Schedule Winter means the holiday season — your schedule grows tighter as the days shorten. All that hustle and bustle can lead to an inordinate amount of stress. Keep from going crazy by getting a handle on your schedule now. If you aren’t yet in the habit, a planner is invaluable. Sit down each Sunday and chart your week, including time for exercise and self-care. Now’s also the time to brush up on boundary setting and learn how to say no assertively yet politely. Rehearse phrases such as, “I can come but only stay for an hour,” and “I can only wait ten minutes, max if you’re late.” Get comfortable communicating your limits with statements like, “I’m not comfortable discussing that,” so that you’re ready to deal with your inevitably boorish uncle at family gatherings. 4. Keep Toasty Can the cold make you sick? No. Temperatures don’t directly cause illness — you need a germ to do that. However, frigid weather affects your immune system, lowering your resistance to the bacteria and viruses you encounter. A practical autumn health tip is to find ways to get warm, especially if you’re struggling with heating costs. Consider investigating the following resources if you’re having a hard time: Federal aid: You may be eligible for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). You automatically qualify as a SNAP or SSI recipient and veterans and those on other assistance programs may be eligible. State aid: Some states and municipalities also have programs to help low-income individuals. Call 211 to find available resources in your area. Investigate alternative heaters: Today’s space heaters are safer than ever, although you still need to follow rules like unplugging them when you leave the room. You also have options like biofuel and kerosene. Create a dedicated “heat” space: Choose one well-insulated room and have everyone gather within to preserve body heat. You might also try a dual tent set up in your living room to trap your warmth while you sleep. Please dress in layers when traveling back and forth from indoors to outdoors. You’ll be able to maintain a more constant core temperature by shedding what you don’t need upon arrival. 5. Care for Your Indoor Air Winter means spending more time indoors and that means sharing airspace. If you haven’t changed your HVAC filters for a while, please do so. A fresh one can help reduce airborne contaminants — it’s also wise to swap these out upon recovering from a cold. After that, do so every three months, more often if you have pets or smokers in residence. Furthermore, consider investing in a humidifier. Why? Your mucous membranes are your first line of defense against germs, and dry, indoor air leaves them parched. You're more likely to get sick without this thick coating in your nasal passages. Keep them moist with a little water. For an extra goodness boost, why not go for a combo device that includes aromatherapy? Certain scents, like eucalyptus, activate scent receptors in your nose that travel to your brain, prompting it to ramp up your immune function. 6. Go Outside as Much as Possible As much as you might like to hibernate this winter, please resist the urge. Getting outdoors more has oodles of benefits. For one, it helps stave off seasonal depression by exposing you to natural sunlight, the best antidote for this condition. Furthermore, getting out for a stroll in the woods could improve your immune system. Research on forest bathers indicates that human immunity kicks into high gear when exposed to the phytoncides trees and other plants emit. 7. Winterize Your Automobile What does winterizing your automobile have to do with autumn health tips? If you’ve ever seen your life flash before your eyes after hitting a patch of black ice, you understand. What should you do? Please take the following steps: Schedule service: Get an oil and filter change and have your technician check the battery and hoses. Cold temperatures can drain one and crack the others. Replace the oil with one rated for cold temperatures. Switch your tires: Consider switching to snow tires and obey chain regulations if applicable in your area. Wax your baby: Snow and ice can take a toll on your car’s exterior, and a fresh coat of wax can prevent some damage. Unfreeze: Spray silicone in door locks to keep them from freezing and ensure you have plenty of antifreeze. 8. Find Support and Coping Resources Finally, seasonal affective disorder is a real condition. Approximately ten million Americans suffer from this more severe form of the winter blues, but few seek help. Look for online support groups — they’re often more convenient when the weather is foul. If you can afford it, consider talking to your doctor. They can refer you to psychiatric care or prescribe an antidepressant to help you get through the season. Autumn Health Tips Fall is traditionally the time for getting ready for winter. You might not be a squirrel, but you can take proactive steps to safeguard your well-being. Follow the autumn health tips above to get ready for the cold season. Your hard work will pay off in a healthier, happier winter.
It’s a lovely summer day in Death Valley National Park. As you hike across a glittering white salt flat, you start to feel woozy, sweating more than normal. Your water ran out a couple miles back, but you know you’ll get to the car soon. Your head is pounding and you can't remember any health tips. A passing visitor offers you some water, and you reluctantly accept it, irritated at the man’s cheerful demeanor. Within minutes, you’re feeling clear-headed and cool again. This situation can happen to anyone. Even if you’re just doing yard work on a sunny day, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illness. Always remember these seven health tips during hot weather. 1. Stay Hydrated Water is your greatest ally and arguably the best health tip there is. Start hydrating before you exercise outdoors, and drink 24-32 ounces (roughly one liter) of water per hour that you work outside in the heat. It’s best to sip water slowly throughout the day rather than trying to drink a lot of it at once. Never drink more than 48 ounces (1.4 liters) per hour, as this can dangerously decrease the amount of salt in your bloodstream, and never drink alcohol while exercising. You can also pour water on yourself while exercising to cool down. After exercising, continue drinking water to ensure you’re properly hydrated. Remembering to drink plenty of water is an important health tip during hot weather. 2. Keep Your Electrolytes Up When you sweat, you lose electrolytes, which are composed of salt and other minerals. They perform essential functions in your body. Sports drinks can help replenish them, but you also get electrolytes from food. It’s okay to only drink plain water throughout the day as long as you also eat regular meals. If you want to drink something with added electrolytes, like a sports drink, pay close attention to the other ingredients in the beverage. These types of drinks often have massive amounts of sugar and caffeine, which can cause your blood sugar and heart rate to spike. Alternatively, you can make your own cheap, healthy electrolyte drink by combining two tablespoons of sugar, three-fourths of a teaspoon of salt and one quart of water. Add lemon or lime for flavor if you like, or mix in some sugar-free flavoring. 3. Go Outside When It’s Cool There’s a reason so many cultures incorporate a siesta, or afternoon nap, into their schedule. Unless you’re obligated to work outside in the heat of the day, stay indoors when it’s very hot. The hottest part of the day is between 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. Walk the dog, do your gardening or mow the lawn in the morning or evening. Stick to shaded areas if you must go outside while the sun is overhead. 4. Take Breaks If you work outside in the heat, take frequent breaks indoors or in the shade. During your breaks, you can sip water, splash cool water on yourself or lie down for a few minutes to rest. Try to take these rest periods frequently, even before you think you need one. It’s better to pause for a few minutes than to overexert yourself. 5. Keep the Car AC Running If you need to drive somewhere, keep the air conditioner running in the vehicle. This is especially important for people with young children or pets, since caregivers sometimes leave them in a hot car while running errands. This practice is dangerous. Even a quick trip inside can be deadly for kids or animals left in a hot car, so always leave the air conditioner on. Or, better yet, bring everyone inside when running errands. 6. Wear Cool Clothing Another one of the important health tips during hot weather is to wear the proper clothing. Wear a hat or bandana, sunglasses and sunblock outside. Choose a shirt with long, thin, loose sleeves and wear pants made of breathable fabric to protect your skin from UV exposure. You can even wear sun gloves to shield your hands. Since sunblock wears off your hands quickly as you wash them, do yard work or go fishing, for example, a lightweight pair of gloves keeps them from getting sunburned. Have you heard of cooling vests? You can wear them under or over your clothes, depending on which type of vest you get, to keep you feeling cool throughout the day. They operate via evaporative cooling, cold gel packs or water circulation, and they’re an excellent idea for anyone who has to work in hot conditions. There are also cooling bandanas and hats which you activate by soaking in water. Consider buying some specialized clothing like this if you frequently go out in the heat. 7. Watch for Signs of Illness Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are both caused by exposure to high temperatures, especially if you’re dehydrated or performing strenuous physical activities. They can happen to anyone, but children, pregnant women and older adults are especially prone to heat-related illness. Heat exhaustion is less severe than heat stroke, but it still requires prompt attention. Symptoms include heavy sweating, a headache, nausea, dizziness, thirst, irritability, weakness, urinating less than expected and having dark urine. You can usually treat this yourself, but call for help if you need it. If you start feeling sick, don’t try to push through it. To treat heat exhaustion, get to shade and cool off immediately by sipping water. Drink slowly so you don’t throw up. Pour water on yourself. Remove any excess clothing like socks or a jacket. If you’re at home, take a cold bath to rapidly cool your body down. If untreated, heat exhaustion may lead to heat stroke. This is a medical emergency, and you should call for an ambulance as soon as possible. Symptoms include hot, dry skin that may be red all over, fainting, sometimes profuse sweating, confusion, coma, high fever, seizures, rapid heartbeat and a staggering gait. While waiting for emergency services to arrive, begin treating heat stroke the same as you would treat heat exhaustion: get into a cold bath and start sipping water. Hot Weather Health Tips It’s good to remember these health tips during hot weather, especially if you live in an area that doesn’t get hot very often. Keep an eye on yourself and your loved ones, making sure to drink plenty of water, stay indoors during the hottest part of the day if you can, wear cool clothing and watch for signs of heat-related illness. Even if it’s hot out, you can still safely enjoy your summer.
Have you considered taking a supplement? What was your reasoning, if so? Many people turn to taking vitamins for energy, but which are the best? The right diet will help you perform at your best. Nutrients perform various functions in the human body, from helping you convert the foods you need into fuel to supporting healthy tissue in your heart, brain and other organs. You do best to get most of your nutrients from food, letting supplements fill in the gaps. That said, what are the best vitamins for energy? Here are eight you should know. 1. Vitamin B12 If you ever investigated the best vitamins for energy online in the past, you undoubtedly saw B-12 on the list. This stuff has a stellar reputation for increasing your pep, but does it work? Some physicians claim it benefits those with deficiencies the most. However, it’s not like you run around with a blood test capable of analyzing your blood nutrient count at any given time. Most teens and adults get by fine with 2.4 mcg daily, although requirements are higher for teens and pregnant women. Most Americans consume enough, thanks to a diet heavy in eggs, meat and dairy products. However, two subsets of the population have to take extra measures to get sufficient vitamin B12. Those with pernicious anemia: Some people lack intrinsic factor in their intestines, making it difficult to absorb enough B12. Vegans: Since B12 predominates in foods of animal origin, it’s quite common for this population to become deficient. Are there any plant-based sources of vitamin B12? It’s tricky and depends on how strictly you adhere to the definition of veganism. Fortunately, two types of seaweed, purple laver and nori, contain sufficient amounts of this nutrient if you can stomach the flavor enough to eat it daily. Nutritional yeast is the go-to for many vegans. This stuff has synthetic B12 added for this purpose. Additionally, some green tea grown in a fish meal substrate absorb B12 through the soil. However, vegans who espouse the lifestyle out of animal welfare concerns may find this growth medium objectionable. 2. Vitamins C and Zinc You might not think of these two nutrients as energy producers, but how peppy did you feel the last time you got sick? Your answer is probably, “not very.” Both vitamin C and zinc can shorten a cold’s duration, but there’s a catch — you have to have ample amounts in your system when symptoms first appear. They won’t prevent you from getting sick, but they will help you feel better faster. Your solution? Keep up with your morning OJ and add some red pepper strips to your lunchtime salad or wrap — each one has three times the vitamin C of an orange. 3. Niacin (B3) You might notice that the rest of the best vitamins for energy on this list all fall into the B family. That’s because these nutrients play vital roles in helping you convert what you eat into energy or ATP at the cellular level. Niacin is one you commonly find in over-the-counter supplements for this purpose. You’ll also find it in certain energy drinks. Have you ever noticed an uncomfortable warmth and red flush after consuming such a beverage? If so, what you’re probably experiencing is a niacin flush. While this condition is harmless and should abate in a few minutes to an hour, excessive supplement doses can harm organs like your liver. Therefore, please take the time to read labels and avoid overdosing on certain nutrients. You won’t gain more energy, and you could cause permanent damage. 4. Folate (B9) If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know how important folate is to your unborn child’s development. This nutrient is crucial to neural tube development to prevent cognitive disabilities in your baby. This nutrient predominates in dark, leafy greens, legumes and nuts. Like all B vitamins, it plays a crucial role in overall neurological functioning. Symptoms of deficiency in adults include: Extreme fatigue Pins and needles sensations, especially in your extremities Muscle weakness A sore red tongue and mouth ulcers Disturbed vision Psychological problems like depression 5. Thiamine (B1) Thiamine is another B vitamin involved in neurological health and converting foods into glucose for energy. Deficiency in this nutrient causes a condition called beriberi, which has many of the same symptoms as too little folate. However, you can also develop trouble breathing, thanks to fluid buildup in the lungs. Additionally, people with alcohol use disorder often develop a rare form of thiamine deficiency called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. It’s characterized by dementia-like confusion and uncoordinated movements. While high doses of vitamin B1 can restore motor function, the memory loss is permanent. 6. Riboflavin (B2) You might want to get more riboflavin in your diet if you frequently suffer migraines. According to one government source, taking a supplement reduces migraine days by an average of two attacks per month. It works best in conjunction with other nutrients, so consider a multivitamin supplement. Better yet, work on getting more deep, leafy greens, almonds and lean meats in your diet. 7. Pantothenic Acid (B5) You might recognize this ingredient from your shampoo bottle. Pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 helps keep your hair looking lustrous. When taken internally, vitamin B5 plays a crucial role in breaking down fat for fuel. It appears in high levels in avocado — perhaps why this fruit appears in so many DIY hair care recipes — so throw a bit of guac on that burger to aid digestion. 8. Vitamin B6 Vitamin B6 protects your brain and nervous system and also plays a crucial role in your body’s immune response. It plays a pivotal role in the production of T cells and leukocytes, two types of killer cells that fight infection. One study on intensive care patients showed that intravenous supplements of B6 showed an increase in these vital cells. It might be worth adding a supplement, especially during the cold and flu season. The Best Vitamins for Energy You need a mix of nutrients to stay healthy. The ones listed above may be the best vitamins for energy, but you can’t supplement your way out of an unhealthy diet. Your best approach is to consume a diet rich in whole foods close to their natural forms. You can also supplement with these best vitamins for energy to fill in any gaps and ensure your body functions at its peak.
When you hear the word “yoga,” your mind might turn to various stretching and strengthening postures — but that’s based on the Western concept of this ancient practice. The word means “union” and encompasses mind, body and soul. Although you won’t perform a single pose in yoga nidra, it’s fabulous for sleep and anxiety. Yoga nidra translates to “yogic sleep.” It’s a series of techniques for inducing a deep state of relaxation, altering your brain waves and promoting sublime rest. Some practitioners claim that one hour is as restorative as a full night’s rest, as you achieve a delta wave state that many people with insomnia don’t get enough of. It’s also a fabulous way to help you get more Zzzs. Additionally, this method can help you regroup when panic strikes, knocking you seriously off-kilter. Could you use this healing practice in your life? Here’s how to use yoga nidra for sleep and anxiety. How Does Yoga Nidra Work? It helps to understand the process to know why yoga nidra is so effective for sleep and anxiety. It works through the science of brain waves. You have several types, the big four being: Beta: Awake and consciously thinking or engaged in an activity. Alpha: Relaxed and lucid but not thinking — your default state. Theta: Deeply relaxed and meditative. Delta: Deep, dreamless sleep. The entire goal of yoga nidra for sleep and anxiety is to gradually move you into a deep state of relaxation through a series of mental exercises that take your brain out of the active beta state and progressively move you through theta into delta wave activity. To get you there, yoga nidra moves you through eight distinct phases. However, you might only go through the first few, depending on the intent of your practice. Here’s how the process works. The Stages of Yoga Nidra The eight stages of yoga nidra are as follows. 1. Settling This is your “nesting” phase. It’s when you prepare for your practice by getting snug and cozy. The best place to practice? Your bed! Many practitioners take savasana, sometimes placing pillows beneath their knees and heads to increase comfort. Others prefer to curl up in their favorite sleeping position. Whichever position you choose, do everything you can to make yourself as comfortable as possible, adjusting the temperature and covering yourself with blankets — you’ll be lying still the entire time and may get chilly. You might also take a few deep breaths here to calm yourself. However, breathing exercises aren’t the primary focus during this stage — it’s all about nestling in and getting cozy, baby. 2. Sankalpa The second stage of yoga nidra is Sankalpa. It’s part of the yoga philosophy that refers to a heartfelt desire, solemn vow or, in psychological terms, a deeply held core belief. Sankalpa is often referred to as intention-setting, but unlike a personal goal, it doesn’t center on what you hope to achieve. Rather, it is a statement of what is, a positive declaration of your true nature. For example: Not Sankalpa: I want to reach deep rest. Is Sankalpa: I am resting deeply to heal my body and mind. 3. Rotation of Consciousness The next stage of yoga nidra for sleep and anxiety is the rotation of consciousness. This process is very similar to a meditative body scan but much more intense. For example, you might begin by drawing awareness first to the minute sensations within your mouth: The tip of your tongue The root of your tongue The roof of your mouth Your teeth and gums Inside the right cheek Inside the left cheek This stage is one of the longer ones, and many practitioners fall into a deep sleep before ever progressing to the latter phases. If this happens to you, rejoice! You’ve successfully used yoga nidra for sleep and should enjoy a good night’s rest. You can repeat the process if you wake up halfway through the night. 4. Breath and Energy Awareness Here’s where you’ll use breath awareness to further induce deep relaxation. However, you need not follow any prescribed pattern other than consciously focusing on the rise and fall of your navel. From here, count your breaths backward, starting from 27 and working your way to one. If you become distracted and catch your mind wandering, start over with your count. However, don’t be surprised if you fall asleep here (if you haven’t already). 5. Sense Perception By now, you will have been in yoga nidra for more than ten minutes, sufficient time to ease anxiety and induce a quieter, more meditative brain state. Now that you are receptive, it’s time for an advanced yoga technique. This stage entails sitting with both positive and negative sensations and emotions. Here’s where using yoga nidra for sleep and anxiety diverges. If using it for sleep, you’ll focus more on sensations, such as hot and cold, by recalling a time you felt chilly, reliving those sensations in your body. Then, you’ll remember feeling comfortable and warm, indulging and savoring that cozy feeling. If you use yoga nidra for anxiety, you might choose to bring up whatever is triggering intense fear and panic. Your goal is to simply sit with this feeling, then let it go. Follow it with a recollection of a happy, carefree time, reliving those sensations and emotions to rebalance your brain. A word of warning: This process can be intense. If you work with a therapist, you may wish to go through it with them or have them ready for your call if you experience severe emotional upset. However, getting your brain into this deep resting state first can also be an extremely powerful way of achieving breakthroughs and promoting true healing and freedom from anxiety, so keep an open mind and approach it when ready. 6. Visualization This stage helps dissipate any lingering mental tension. You’ll visualize a random series of objects — for example, a green butterfly, a burning candle or a hopping rabbit. The images generally inspire inner peace and tranquility and always end with such a visualization to restore your sense of inner peace and balance. 7. Sankalpa After visualization, you’ll return to your Sankalpa. Your mind is now more relaxed and receptive, so restate it affirmatively three times with intention. 8. Return to Consciousness or Externalization Returning from this deep resting state takes time, so wake yourself up gently. You might take a few deep inhales through your nose, exhaling through your mouth. Begin to wiggle your fingers and toes and do whatever gentle stretching motions feel natural as you gradually return to a regular state of consciousness. The Primary Difference Between Using Yoga Nidra for Sleep and Anxiety The primary difference between using yoga nidra for sleep or anxiety lies in the intent. You’ll reflect this in your Sankalpa. However, again, it is crucial to make it a positive, affirmative statement of what is, not a wish or desire. For example, if using yoga nidra for anxiety, your Sankalpa might be: I am strong enough to handle powerful emotions. Not: I will work through X trauma today. Yoga nidra is not a cognitive process. Although it involves your mind, it isn’t CBT or DBT. Yoga nidra for anxiety works differently, preparing your body and physiology to weather tough feelings at an emotional level. There’s no “thinking” about it — you feel your way, which is why it is healing at such a deep level. Getting Started With Yoga Nidra It’s best to practice yoga nidra with a trained practitioner at first. Search Google for your local listings or contact yoga studios in your area — they may refer you to someone even if they don’t offer this service as part of their regular schedule. However, there are also DIY resources you can use. Ally Boothroyd has an amazing YouTube channel with dozens of yoga nidra recordings you can use for free. You can also find paid yoga nidra recordings wherever you buy music or podcasts. Yoga Nidra as Complementary Therapy Most people have fabulous results from using yoga nidra for sleep and anxiety. It can also be an effective complementary therapy if you are in treatment. However, talking with your therapist is essential if you intend to try healing work and not simply achieve a deep resting state. Real talk moment. In a perfect world, everyone who needed one would have a therapist they could trust. However, mental health care can be challenging to get, especially in the United States. Yoga nidra can deeply heal you, but it can also open up old wounds. If you try it at home for anxiety, practice other positive self-care like having a trusted person you can talk to and process tough feelings that come up that you don’t feel prepared to handle alone. Using Yoga Nidra for Sleep and Anxiety Yoga nidra sounds esoteric, but this ancient practice of yogic sleep is a potent remedy for sleeplessness and anxiety. Nestling in and tuning into a recording is one of the best ways to get quality rest and induce deep slumber. Follow the above guide to using yoga nidra for sleep and anxiety. This practice can help you learn to sit with difficult emotions with a greater sense of inner peace or ease you into dreamland.
Muscle strains can interfere with you doing the things you enjoy, so understanding the causes and learning to manage the pain can help you find peace and comfort. In this article, we’ll discuss what’s going on beneath the surface when you strain the front of your neck, as well as ways you can deal with the pain. What Is a Muscle Strain? To understand what muscle strains are, we must first define muscles. A muscle is a band of soft tissue that connects to your bones via tendons. When you want to move a part of your body, your brain signals to the muscles that it’s time to activate and move the corresponding bones. Muscles move quickly and are fairly flexible. However, moving too hard, too fast or in the wrong direction will injure your muscle or tendon. A strain, characterized by tightness and pain, is a minor injury to your muscle or tendon. However, while the injury is minor, it can still be painful and limit your mobility. How Do Muscle Strains in the Front of the Neck Occur? A neck strain can occur from the overuse of its muscles or rapid motion. Common causes include: Looking upward or downward for too long: Whether you’re looking down at a book or up at a TV, spending too much time in these positions may strain the muscles in the front of your neck. Sleeping in an uncomfortable position: It’s best to sleep in a way that keeps your spine in its naturally curved position. Tilting your head awkwardly while sleeping may strain your neck muscles. Whiplash: Whiplash occurs from sudden forward and backward motion. You may strain the front of your neck during a car accident, rollercoaster ride, contact sports collision or sudden fall. Repetitive motion: Activating the same muscles repeatedly can wear them out and cause a strain. Even the movement from frequent coughing or sneezing can cause a minor strain. Injuries elsewhere in your body: Your neck’s muscles assist motion throughout your body. As a result, an injury to your shoulders, back or jaw could cause pain to radiate to your neck. Should You See a Doctor for a Neck Strain? In most cases, the muscles in the front of your neck will heal on their own after a strain. You can manage your pain symptoms by applying ice and heat or taking over-the-counter medications. Consider visiting a doctor if your neck pain is severe or persists for more than a couple of weeks. Of course, you should always see a doctor if you are in a traumatic accident that strains your neck. Exercises That Alleviate Pain When You Strain the Front of Your Neck After the initial inflammation and pain of your muscle strain subside, you can alleviate the discomfort in the front of your neck by practicing a few exercises, including: Passive neck stretch: Lie down and support your neck with a rolled-up towel. Then, tilt your head back to gently stretch the front of your neck for a few seconds. Standing neck stretch: Stand up straight and, holding a small weight in your right hand, tilt your head to the left and hold this position for a few seconds. Switch the weight to your left hand to repeat this motion on the right side. Anterior neck stretch: Overlap your hands on the front of your chest and, with your shoulders relaxed, tilt your head backward until you feel a stretch in your neck. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Then, with your neck still extended, tilt to each side for the same duration. For each position, move your head around until you feel a stretch that addresses the area that hurts. Now that you understand what causes pain in the front of your neck and how to avoid or mitigate it, hopefully, you can resolve your discomfort in the future and prevent strains before they occur.