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.


Let’s color!

It’s more than a trend…it’s a madness that infects thousands of people every day. They end up carrying colored pencils and books full of pages with flowers, mandalas and all sort of coloring designs. Yes, coloring! Adults are coloring and they do it because they want to!

This relatively new way of relaxation is gaining fans and followers all over the world. While new designs are launched every season, forms and challenges pop up also to inspire and attract new adepts. Why? people are discovering that their problems, their stress, and their worries can disappear, at least while they are immersed coloring.

A recent article published by the Cleveland Clinic says that according to clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea, Psy.D. it has everything to do with refocusing our attention.

Adult coloring requires modest attention focused outside of self-awareness. It is a simple activity that takes us outside ourselves. In the same way, cutting the lawn, knitting, or taking a Sunday drive can all be relaxing.”, said Dr. Bea.

All the specialists talking about adult coloring coincide in saying that this activity basically relaxes the brain while is forcing it to focus on a simple action. Coloring doesn’t require exceptional skills, and before starting you already know how the result will be, therefore, there are no expectations that can create anxiety or pressure on yourself. One of the most rewarding benefits could be probably that since your attention is directed to the specific activity you are executing, there are not thoughts about yourself or the problems you might be experiencing, which is what happens when you meditate.

There is no space for negativity while you are coloring. Once you start working on your project, everything is just like the design you are detailing: colorful, beautiful, positive and full of opportunities, and guess what? You are replacing the one that was once your inseparable electronic, for a beautiful box of colored pencils and your designed papers.

In a few words and concluding, coloring will free your brain of pressure, anxiety, and worries. You will have a relaxing time, and who knows? Maybe you have the opportunity to discover that it could be more than a hobby.

So, let’s color! Pack your pencils, print some designs if you don’t have time to buy a book now, and start enjoying a new, healthy, and rewarding activity!


Hair loss shouldn’t be taken lightly

Losing hair is something that affects much more than the physical appearance.  Who begins to see the changes due to this condition, begins to perceive other effects that can range from anxiety to depression.

For most women, for example, hair is more than just the fibers that cover their skin. Hair could be a very important part of their personality, a way to express their own self, and that’s one of the reasons why hair loss can’t be taken lightly.

Even though hair loss has been linked mainly to guys, women also suffer from it, and it can be as devastating or more as it is for a man. But in both cases, for males or females, the first step before pursuing any hair loss treatment, is to start looking for a possible cause, and according to experts, those causes might vary from men to women. However, there are a few common causes detected that can affect both, male and female patients:

  • Heredity (Family History)
  • Stress
  • Medical Conditions or Infections
  • Some Medicines
  • Poor diet
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Certain Hairstyles


For some of those causes, specialists have certain recommendations that could help you to stop or avoid the hair loss process:

  • Avoid tight hairstyles if you have thin and fine hair
  • Consume a balanced diet
  • Before using some beauty treatments, read carefully the labels
  • Avoid extreme temperatures on your hair
  • Take good care of your hair by brushing, cleaning and conditioning when needed

There is no reason to feel desperate. If you believe that the cause of your hair loss goes further, consult your doctor. Sudden hair loss or hairless patches could be a sign of a medical condition that has to be diagnosed by a physician.


Holiday stress can be worse than you imagine

For many, it’s the best season of the year, but for others, this is a time of stress, anxiety and even depression. Holidays can be wonderful, colorful and joyful, but at the same time, they involved so many activities and expectations, that they can be also overwhelmingly stressful.

For those who have lost a loved one, this is an inevitable moment to think about them, and to miss them around. Sadness, anxiety, lonely feelings, and nostalgia could be present during the entire season, adding even more pressure.

The good news is that there are ways to cop and handle the situation in order to say bye-bye to the depression and the stress. Let’s focus on what to do to spend a healthy and calm holiday season. Here some tips that experts in behavior and  psychology suggest us to apply:

  • Plan ahead your activities, shopping trips, and meetings. Once you see everything on the calendar, it will be easier for you to know what to expect in terms of time.
  • If you experienced a loss recently, don’t try to avoid or hide your feelings. To acknowledge your own situation will help you to process it.
  • Be honest with yourself and your closed ones. If you are not in the mood to attend a party, let them know.
  • If loneliness is knocking on your door, look out for social,  community, or faith events.
  • Eat and sleep consciously. Your body might need extra energy, but it only comes if you are feeding and resting properly.
  • Physical activity will always help you to relax. Even a short walk around the block could help you to see things differently.
  • Don’t stress about family gatherings. Unexpected guests or tumultuous dinners could be overwhelming, but remember that everything is temporary and, at the end of the day, family, is family.
  • Perfection is imperfect. You are the one who decides what an ideal holiday season is for you. Make the best of what you have around, and enjoy!
  • Shopping while keeping a budget could be difficult, but not impossible. Explore different gift options. There is always a way to say “I care” or  “I love you” without emptying your pockets.

The last tip it’s probably the most important. Seek professional assistance if you need it. If you tried to overcome your sadness, your anxiety, or your depression and you believe it didn’t work, maybe it’s time to ask for help. Nothing is more important than your health!

The benefits of gratitude

Specialists from different disciplines have said this for a long time: there are scientifically proven benefits of gratitude that will inspire you to express it not only during these days around Thanksgiving but every single day of your life.

According to many researchers, gratitude is a powerful practice, so powerful that it could radically change your life and your environment, but for that to happen, you have to practice it conscientiously.

Experts say that once gratitude is part of your daily life, you can see positive changes and effects in your personality, your health, your career, your emotional status, and your social development. Why? Simple, because the world around you will see a person who cares, a person that enjoys life, a person who wants to give back, and that kind of attitudes can only produce positive outcomes.

There are several studies made in the world in order to measure the effects of gratitude in the life of a person. The results are extraordinary!

A grateful person will avoid toxic emotions, reducing also pain, stress, and frustration. We are talking about a person that will have more energy, a better awareness of wellbeing and health, and therefore more initiatives to exercise and to practice better life habits.

But that’s not all. When you feel grateful for your life and everything that happens around you, you tend to be more sensitive to other people, and about situations that otherwise would bother you. Why is that important? Because it allows you to face problems with an optimistic attitude. In terms of career, that’s a huge pro! It will translate into mentoring opportunities, better chances to be recognized and a better performance.

Now, if you have sleep issues, and although it may sound strange, gratitude could be a good answer to your problem, or at least a good beginning. A study published in 2011 in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, says that writing in a gratitude journal before bed could help you to sleep better.

In short, being grateful can bring to your life more happiness, harmony, balance, and success, so, why to reserve it only for one day a year? Let’s practice gratitude every day!