Archive for March, 2012

Ageing Gracefully

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

You may not want to act gracefully as you get older – after all, where’s the fun in that?! – but you do want your skin to age gracefully. For youthful looking, fresh-faced skin without going under the knife or subjecting your face to a barrage of needles, follow a few basic rules. The important thing to remember is that the aim is to look more Helen Mirren and less Donatella Versace – you want to look youthful and healthy but still yourself. Laughter lines are a sign of a life well lived!

Use SPF every day of the year

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that in winter and when it’s cloudy the sun’s rays don’t penetrate. If it’s light enough to see in front of you, ultraviolet rays are getting through. UVA rays, which cause premature ageing of the skin and skin cancer, and UVB rays, which causes your skin to burn, penetrate every day of the year so it is vital to protect your skin with a daily SPF moisturiser throughout the seasons.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Other than protecting your skin from the sun, there is no skincare rule that is more important than daily moisturising. Estrogen helps to keep the skin supple but as our levels of estrogen decline with age, so too does the skin’s ability to moisturise itself. Hot showers and harsh detergents are best avoided as they strip the skin’s humectant layer which both draws moisture into the skin and acts as a barrier to prevent it from escaping. After washing, you should immediately re-hydrate with a rich cream, preferably whilst the skin is still damp. Look for moisturisers containing hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water.

Get Buff

The skin cell renewal process gets more and more sluggish as we age, leading to dull, tired looking skin. Exfoliating twice a week with a scrub containing gentle spherical beads or natural fruit enzymes will rid the skin of dead cells, create a healthy glow and give the skin’s renewal process a boost, all of which leads to a brighter, smoother complexion.

Don’t forget your décolletage

When it comes to skincare, many women stop at the breastbone but your décolletage is often on show and is therefore subjected to all the external aggressors that your face is, including UV rays, the wind, the cold, and pollution. There’s no point having a youthful looking face if your décolletage shows your real age, unless of course you are happy to hide beneath turtlenecks and scarves. As the skin on the décolletage is so fine, it is susceptible becoming thin and crepey, as well as forming hyper-pigmentation and wrinkles, all of which are largely sun damage-related. Ensure that you protect the area with an SPF moisturiser before you go out and treat it with a moisture-rich cream at night.

 

As a beauty writer, Emily Buckley has written a number of health and beauty articles, most recently for Laser Sight, Australasia’s leading Lasik laser eye surgery specialists.

Yoga and Strength Training: A Powerful Workout

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Yoga has been known to provide a very complete workout – physically, mentally and spiritually. But when you ask a person which exercise is most effective in toning and building up muscles, the first thing that comes to mind is strength training. Many people believe that the simple yoga poses are just for relaxation and stretching and that it is not enough to tone the muscles in the same way that lifting weights can. Truth is, there are yoga poses that are very effective in building up muscles. Not only will they tone the muscles but they will give your body stronger and more flexible muscles. When these two are combined, the results will inevitably be impressive.

If you are not so familiar with yoga, the exercise requires a person to make different poses and hold it for a few seconds. In relation to strength training, yoga uses a person’s own weight in each pose. Anyone can begin with the basic, essential poses and from there, work to advance to a higher level of capacity.

Weight lifting, in reality, can become a disadvantage because it may cause an unbalanced build up of muscles. The usual target muscle areas of weights are normally the muscles we see in the mirror, like the biceps, chest and abs. When a part of the body becomes stronger than all the other parts of the body, that will eventually create imbalanced muscle proportions and this will cause the spine to move out of its natural alignment.

Because the most basic principle of yoga is balance, the stretches and poses are guaranteed to provide your muscles equal amounts of exercise. So you see, using yoga as strength training will improve your body’s overall physique without putting your body in real danger of deformity. Some yoga equipments can also be employed such as resistance straps that are very good for stretching tight muscles and sandbags that weigh 10-pounds can also be lifted in certain postures.

There is no need for equipment when you practice strength training through yoga because all that you need to make use of is your own weight. When you hold a pose, for example the warrior pose, for 5 minutes or even longer depending on your level of training, the leg muscles especially quadriceps are effectively toned. However, there are some other yoga practitioners who makes use of wrist or ankle weights while moving through postures or even lift dumbbells while doing some standing poses.

When you employ powerful strength training yoga poses such as upward facing dog, peacock-pose, plank pose and warrior pose during a sequence while increasing the duration of holding such postures, you will improve your core strength and tone the muscles in your body. Some of the other benefits of yoga strength training include prevention of osteoarthritis, improved flexibility, burning of fat, increased exercise endurance, stress reduction and improved focus and clarity.

For a person who wishes to tone and build muscles, it is highly recommended by experienced yogis that they practice strength training through yoga three to four times per week. This is to keep the momentum of the exercise going.

 

 

Article by David a staff writer for iYogaMats.com.

The Best Ways to Increase Everyday Mobility

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Exercise can often seem a daunting prospect,
especially if you are conscious of disability, increasing age or a medical condition. But a little gentle exertion can actually improve general health and help keep the body working as well as it possibly can. You don’t have to be a gym member to stay fit and active as there are plenty of easy ways to increase mobility gradually and many can be done at home.

Improving Mobility at Home

Many types of exercise equipment can be used indoors or outdoors in the home environment where you may be most comfortable. Exercise bikes, step machines and dumbbells can all be used easily and don’t require much space. Even small things such as wrist rotations and foot rolling when sitting down can make all the difference. Gardening is a good way to keep muscles strong and healthy and it gets you outdoors. Everyday activities such as walking up and down the stairs can also keep the body moving.

Mobility Support

Those who have been through surgery, are aging or have a disability may find their mobility decreasing and this can be very difficult when it comes to getting everyday jobs done independently. Thankfully, there are many ways to improve everyday mobility and to stay as active as you can, whether that means taking up a form of exercise or using one of the many special mobility aids on the market. Running bikes are one such aid which can be used by people of all ages and abilities and are incredibly flexible. Particularly useful for people with conditions such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease and muscular dystrophy, the strong rolling frame and low centre of gravity offers a great deal of stability and support while walking or running.

How to Begin

The key to any exercise is to start very gradually and build up to more as your stamina and fitness levels improve. Set realistic and achievable goals and choose a form of exercise you enjoy because it will be easier to persevere. Always warm up and cool down, as this prevents strain and injury and gives the muscles and joints a chance to adjust.

If you like being active and sociable at the same time, both swimming and walking are good forms of exercise and can be enjoyed with a friend. Both are good for increasing whole-body mobility and you can start as gradually or slowly as you wish.

Taking Things to the Next Level

To remain interested in any activity, you have to enjoy. This is why it can be good to exercise with friends or as part of a group to increase motivation. It may be necessary to alternate activities or to mix things up a little to keep up your level of interest.

Some investment may be necessary but the benefits can far outweigh any initial costs and the rewards will speak for themselves. Increasing everyday mobility can bring with it greater health, renewed energy, a better quality of life and a degree of confidence. Regardless of any additional needs, there are simple ways to help the body work to its full potential and increase independence and mobility for all.

 

Francesca is a freelance writer and blogger who enjoys writing about a variety of subjects from health and fitness to travel and food. She currently writes on behalf of All Ability Cycling.