Why Pilates?

Some of us learned just recently about pilates, just a few years ago, or probably a decade ago. The reality is that over the years, it has become increasingly popular, and it’s been almost impossible to ignore its presence around us.

The question is, why pilates? Why is it that so many people are conceding wonderful benefits to this discipline?

Well, let’s start by saying that Pilates is not new. It was back in the 1920s when physical trainer Joseph Pilates introduced it into our country. Athletes and dancers injured practiced it as part of their rehabilitation therapy, and it allowed them to go back to their exercise routines and to maintain their fitness in a safe way.

Today, the practice of pilates has spread among the general population, but it keeps being essential for those who are looking for core strength, flexibility, muscle control, and balance, among other things.

One of the pilates pillars is the concentration. Those who practice it, know that you have to focus in order to move your body in a very precise range, managing to create balance and control of your muscles by using also your breathing.

One of the favorite things for the enthusiasts of Pilates is that it can work and it can be adapted for high-performance athletes, new followers, or just curious people trying to know more about the discipline. The individual approach of pilates is one of its biggest strengths.

The great thing about its popularity is that you can find a pilates studio probably around the corner. Since its practice started as a rehabilitation therapy, it’s common to find classes also at clinics, hospitals, or physiotherapy locations.  Now, take into consideration the type of work that it involves. If you would like to give it a try, you may want to consult your physician first. Remember that every time that you initiate a new physical activity, or eating routine, is better for you to have the clearance from your doctor.

If you are ready to start, and your goal is to improve your core strength, balance, and muscle control, look for a class or an instructor and start enjoying the benefits that pilates will bring to your health.



Living with Eczema

In a world where appearances have taken so much importance, living with a condition that affects the skin can become really traumatic for so many people.

But regardless of the effect, it can produce superficially, eczema is a medical condition that produces patches on the skin that can become rough and inflamed. Its blisters cause itching and in some cases bleeding.  Living with eczema could be not only uncomfortable but painful.

Lab tests are not necessary to diagnose eczema. Your doctor will examine the areas of your skin that show the patches and will review with you your medical history. It’s important to understand that atopic dermatitis, or eczema, could be related with specific allergies to food, or other elements, therefore, it’s relevant for your diagnosis to offer any information or observation that you can provide to your physician.

Once you are diagnosed with this condition, the road could be long and full of challenges until you actually find the relief you are looking for. As in many other medical conditions, not all the medicines act in the same way for every person. Persistence and patience are critical for you to succeed in the search for the right treatment.

In some cases, the treatments could take months or even years before they actually work as expected, but even when they finally work, the symptoms could come back, that’s why you should be conscious about the possible triggers around you.

Make sure that you change or include some habits as part of your daily routines. To moisturize your skin as many times as possible every day, should be part of your priorities, as well as maintain an appropriate diet that should follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Protect yourself from sun damage and extreme weather conditions. Since direct exposure to heat and cold could trigger your eczema episodes, you could find special sleeves to wear during summer or winter.

Some lotion, soap, sunblock, and even detergent ingredients could be bad for your skin with eczema. Ask your physician about safe brands, or a list of ingredients to avoid.

Even though eczema could be a very uncomfortable condition to live with, there are different things that you can do or avoid to help ease the symptoms. In any case, your best option is always to consult a doctor to understand the causes, and to receive your own treatment.


Flu shot: to get it or not?

It’s part of the headlines. With at least 30 kids dead by now during this flu season, the question about the effectiveness of the vaccine is once again, the 1 million question.

The skeptics assure that with so many different viruses that cause influenza (more than 200 known today), it’s impossible for doctors and pharmaceutical laboratories to assure you that you will be protected by getting the flu shot.

On the other hand, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), say that the risk of not getting vaccinated is too great, to avoid it.

So, what to do? Who should you believe if you are not sure about getting your family vaccinated?

The answer is simple: you are the only one who can make that decision. Is not easy, but information is the key.

Every single case is different, and the possible implications of the flu shot depend on your own medical history. The first step for you to make a decision could be to talk to your doctor.

All the specialists and physicians can provide information about the vaccine, its ingredients, side effects, and expectations.

If you still have doubts, the internet has a broad spectrum of research options. Be cautious about that, and make sure that you are consulting a credible and trusted site.

Remember, every person is a unique world, and other people experiences or opinions might not be your best ally to make an informed decision. What you should know is that doctors, scientists, and even the most skeptical coincide about a single topic: a good and strict hygiene could be critical for you to avoid the spread of influenza.

Prevention is essential! Talk to your family about the practice of the following habits:

  • Wash your hands constantly.
  • If you are sick, stay at home.
  • Avoid sharing foods, utensils, and even clothes with others, especially during the flu season.
  • Clean your house and office surfaces at least twice a day with an antibacterial cleaner.


Finally, if you detect the first strong symptoms like fever or  body ache, visit your doctor immediately.


Trying to sleep and you can’t? Here is what you can do

You are not alone. The first thing you need to know is that this is more common than you imagine. Insomnia is a very common problem that affects millions of people around the world, and there are all sort of studies, gurus, home remedies, and even miraculous solutions around.  Now, while each case must be handled individually because the causes of insomnia can be related with very personal and specific reasons, there are simple steps that you can take in order to make the problem less invasive as soon as it presents to you.

So, as it’s very difficult to talk about how to cure or solve insomnia, let’s better focus on what you can do at the precise moment when you start struggling to get to sleep, or when you wake up in the middle of the night facing probably a long night.

We all know that a night with bad sleep translates into a bad mood, low energy, and tiredness the next day, and nobody wants to go through that. The good news is that some experts say that there are easy tips for you to apply in order to detect possible habits or problems that could be affecting your sleep.

  1. Are you taking new medications?
  2. Did you change your work schedule recently?
  3. Are you going through a new diet program?
  4. How frequently are you exercising?
  5. When was your last meal before you went to bed?
  6. What’s the most stressful part of your day?

By answering those questions you might detect basic issues that could be affecting your ability to fall asleep, or just to sleep without interruption.

Some unhealthy habits, like late meals, lack of exercise, sudden change of habits and/or routines, can be part of the problem, and they can be easily addressed by you, once you are conscious about their presence around you.

Some basic recommendations from experts are to write down your regular schedules so you can detect holes, changes or possible alerts. Set up time for you to exercise every day, even 15 minutes of good walking could help you to release the stress. Analyse your diet. Remember that some foods are difficult to digest and they shouldn’t be part of your dinner because your metabolism won’t have enough time to process them. Finally, turn of all the screens at least an hour before you go to sleep. The blue light emitted by those screens disrupts your body production of melatonin and it combats sleepiness. Don’t feel hopeless, there are ways to fight insomnia, and seems like part of the solution could be in your own hands!


How to take care of your health during 2018

It’s the beginning of a new year. New resolutions, new opportunities, and new challenges are ahead. But the new calendar offers also many chances for you to take care of your health and wellness.

Remember that time flies, and it’s important to use it wisely. Regular check-ups must be part of your routine for this year. It doesn’t matter if you feel perfectly fine. There are annually suggested health appointments that include cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, as well as some immunizations, and other physical tests.

Your mental health should be also a priority. A good way to take care of it is to set time for you to relax, to enjoy outdoor activities, or just to take some rest, so you can actually feel good and build happy memories.

When we talk about some rest, think about sleeping as part of that package. The right amount of sleep time is not only good for your health but necessary for your body and brain. 7 to 9 hours of good sleep every day is what experts recommend for adults. Remember that sleep deprivation alters your behavior, your ability to make decisions, and even your heart health.

Once you realize that little steps can make a big difference in your health, you will probably want to make changes in your eating and exercise habits. A balanced and active lifestyle will offer you a whole new world of healthy opportunities.

Don’t forget to take care of your brain too. Reading, writing, listening to music, practicing a new hobby like drawing or playing an instrument, could be a great way to improve your brain activity. Every time you train your brain to do something new, you are forcing it to renew itself, to keep its parts active so it can work like a very well tuned clock.

In 2018 think more about yourself in terms of someone you have to take care of. Make the best of the calendar you have in front of you. Plan your health appointments, start new habits, and be aware of the importance of protecting and keeping all your systems active.

Fitness and workout apps: Do they actually work?

At this point, and talking about health and technology, we are living under two undeniable realities:

  1. Obesity is an epidemic that is growing by leaps and bounds.
  2. Technology has a lot to do with the rapid progress of that evil, but it can also help us to fight it.

Now, it’s up to you if you want to use the technology in your favor and actually make it work for you to reach your desired point of fitness and health. A good start may be to explore the different applications that exist to help you stay fit and healthy.

There are tons of apps around as part of the fitness and wellness world. All of them promise to deliver great results, with easy instructions, basic knowledge needed, and with options that fit all tastes and lifestyles.

Yoga, Pilates, running, swimming, walking…whatever is your favorite activity, you can incorporate any of the tech marketing tools available into your routines to follow your progress or understand how and where to improve.

The real question here is which of all those apps actually work? The answer is simple: it depends on your attitude and commitment to make it work. In a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, experts concluded that fitness apps can promote positive changes in the behavior of its users. Seems like a good majority reported to be more active and to have a better attitude towards healthy habits, in comparison to those not using an app.

The apps require information and periodic and specific updates from the users, and that could be part of the key. You are not accountable to a trainer, or a coach, you have to be accountable to yourself. No lies, no skipping answers, no tricks. This is a commitment to your own desire, with your own health and nobody is there to judge you or to ask for more.

Since a good portion of those apps is free to use, you are not investing a dime. You don’t need to move from home if you don’t want to, you don’t have to go to a place at a specific time of the day in order to make your app work. Basically, there are no excuses!

Now, it’s important for you to understand that an app by itself doesn’t do anything. The app should be the result of your interest in becoming a healthier person, in having better habits, and definitely, in getting more active. Step by step you can do it. Have in mind that technology is just a tool that you can use to get the results you want. Those results must come from a better diet, a physical activity routine, and changes in bad habits. Think about the app, in terms of an assistant who will track your results, archive your data and give you advice for you to understand how to get to your new and healthier you.


Dealing with Pneumonia


So you have been diagnosed with pneumonia, and the only thing you know about it is that it could be fatal, or at least that’s what you have heard. Well, truth is that yes, pneumonia could be fatal, but there are different types of pneumonia and its intensity could vary depending on other factors.

The first step is to understand what is Pneumonia. It’s a lung infection usually caused by viruses or bacteria. Once you breathe the virus or the bacteria, it goes directly to your lungs affecting its normal functioning and making hard for you to breath.

People with chronic or long-term diseases like asthma, diabetes, cancer or heart disease are more likely to get pneumonia, and they will need not only an early diagnosis but also a timely treatment. Due to their condition, it’s possible that the doctor decides to do that treatment at the hospital, and not at home.

Some of the symptoms related to pneumonia are fever, shortness of breath, cough, mucus, and fatigue. However, there are other symptoms that could be present like nausea, diarrhea, chest pain, and shaking. In some cases, patients could develop the disease without major symptoms; the key to a prompt and complete recovery lies in the fact that once the symptoms begin, you seek medical advice. If you already have a diagnosis, it’s very important to follow your physician instructions and recommendations.

Don’t rush the recovery! Get plenty of rest, and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. If a cough is preventing you to sleep or rest, talk to your doctor. If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, you will need to finish the whole dosage recommended. Your recovery time will depend on the type of pneumonia, but have in mind that we are talking about a period that could go from 2 to 4 weeks before you regain your strength.

There is never a good time to get sick, much less to have something like pneumonia, but if you have already been diagnosed, it’s best for you to take things slowly. Use the opportunity to read a good book, or simply to rest and to recharge your batteries.