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.

 

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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.

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!

 

How about a wellness gift?

You don’t have to break your head thinking about original and unique gifts for Christmas. You just have to think about those very special things that you would love and appreciate yourself.

Clothes, jewelry, shoes, electronics, yes, everything is useful, and chances are that all of us would love to receive any of those gifts during Christmas, but did you know that there are several options for you to give the gift of wellness?

Wellness is more than a trend, it’s a lifestyle that attracts millions of people around the world every year. It includes all sort of products, services, and activities. So, let’s explore some of those options. You might become the most popular Santa around!

  • Relaxing candles: They are perfect for meditation sessions because they fill the space with wonderful scents, while the offer a decorative option too.

 

  • Yoga Session: If the recipient of the gift is not a yogi yet, for sure, this present will activate the desire to at least know more about one of the most popular and fastest growing activities in the world.

 

  • Essential oils: Also known as volatile oils, or oil of the plants from which they are extracted. These oils are used in aromatherapy to induce relaxation, during meditation or massage sessions.

 

  • Cooking classes: It’s never too late to learn something! If we are talking about cooking, you will agree that there are always great things, tips, and recipes to learn and try, right? Healthy Cooking classes are offered not only in person but online, and they can make a great gift.

 

One of the greatest things about the gift of wellness is that it has a double effect, one in the person who receives it, and another in the one who is giving it. Isn’t that a great way to express your love during these holidays?

 

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!