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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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?

 

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!

 

Your skin talks about you…take care of what it says

It’s the largest organ of the human body, our protection against the environment, the case that guards every single inch of that whole composed of bones, muscles and more organs…our skin is our armor.

Yes, the skin is an organ, the largest one, as we said before, but sometimes we tend to forget how important it is to keep it not only clean but healthy. Even with clothes on, the skin is always exposed to everything, and although it’s not easy to detect always its deficiencies, we should know that a lot of internal problems in our body could be avoided if we take good care of that special body lining we have.

You should know that protecting the skin goes beyond using sunscreen and moisturizers, which by the way, are two very important practices that you should introduce into your skincare routine.

What we consume affects the skin, and what we drink affects it too. It means that a healthy and balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables and a lot of water, is determinant to have the skin you wish. Here are some quick and simple tips that could help you to take care of the story that your skin will tell:

  • Determine your skin type to know what kind of products are better for you.
  • Daily gentle cleansing: Limit your shower time, use warm and not hot water, and avoid strong soaps.
  • Don’t smoke: Wrinkles, stains, and change of color are some of the consequences that smoking will have on your skin.
  • Remove the makeup always with gentle products. Remember that your lips and the area around the eyes are very sensitive, and they need extra care and attention.
  • An exfoliation routine at least once a week is essential to purify and clean your skin
  • Remember that your whole body is covered by skin, and every part of it requires the same dedication from you.

Build a daily skincare routine. Once you start doing it, you will see the results. A brighter, healthier and softer skin will be your best reward.

Is it a cold, or are they allergies?

Who knows, right? Symptoms are so similar and both of them are very common at this time of the year. A runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, headache, sensitive and watery eyes…how can we know if we need an antihistamine or a medicine against the cold symptoms?

Well, it could be tricky, but is not impossible, and it’s important to know the difference in order to get the appropriate treatment.

Now, allergies, cold, and flu, all affect the respiratory system, but each one of them has specific symptoms that differentiate from the others.

Let’s start by saying that when you are suffering from allergies your body’s immune system is fighting against an allergen, which means that you will experience the symptoms for as long as you are in contact with the trigger, or the element that you are allergic to. If you are allergic to a specific flower, or to pollen, for example, your allergies are going to be present while those allergens are around you. We can be talking about an entire season of many weeks or even months.

When we talk about a cold or even the flu, two weeks should be the regular time that takes to fight against the virus, because instead of trees, dust or animals, the cold is generated by a virus.

Besides a runny nose, the watery eyes and the other symptoms that are easily confused with those of the allergies, when you have the flu or a cold, you will probably present fever, fatigue, and body ache.

Even though there are some over the counter medicines that offer relief for the cold symptoms, there is no a real “cure” for a cold, and most people could recover on their own without the need to visit a doctor.

There are also non-prescription medicines to help with the allergies, but in most cases, it’s important to consult a specialist in order to know what are you allergic to and maybe to explore a long-term treatment.

The main message here is to be careful and to listen to your body. Don’t use medicines if you are not sure about the origin of your symptoms and always, always, consult a doctor if those symptoms persist more than normal.

 

 

 

Let’s dance!

You may love to dance, maybe you enjoy just the fact of enjoying your favorite music while moving around following the rhythm. If that’s you, this is going to make your day!

Experts say that dancing is actually good not only for your spirit but also for your health! Yes, and the benefits extend from there.

So, every time that you dance you are activating a series of benefits that cover your brain, your body, and even your mood.

Many studies have found that your balance improves through the act of dance, and it includes elderly people. The reaction time, motor performance, coordination and walking speed are also part of the gains that the dance offers to any person who practices it.

If your favorite tune is jazz, folk, tango or ballroom, specialists say you are getting more than a fun time from every dance session. However, they say, any kind of music you enjoy on the floor will have a benefit over your health.

Now, another very interesting thing about this is that you don’t need a partner, a designated time, or a special location to enjoy a good dance or to get the benefits from it. You can dance at home, you can dance in the morning, at night, on a weekday, or during the weekend, all you need is that music you love and yourself. If you are part of a social dancing activity it’s even better! Let’s say that you are at a wedding or simply enjoying a night out with friends, in that case, your cardiovascular workout will last longer.

If you take classes, your workout will keep improving while your joints and muscles are getting in good shape. And don’t forget the weight loss benefits! By now, dancing routines like Zumba, aerobics and much more are famous around the world for their impressive results for those looking to stay fit and for those trying to lose weight.

According to a review published in 2009 in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, dancing could help people with Parkinson’s disease, a condition that is characterized by slow movements, impaired balance, and rigid muscles.

Think about this, if listening to your favorite music is always helpful to turn a bad day into a nice time, imagine what happens when you not only are listening but dancing that music! The results in your mood are amazing! Actually, some doctors call dancing a great tool for you to have a “mental break”, saying that it’s the perfect opportunity for your brain to escape from routine and stress when need it. So, let’s dance!

Becoming a vegetarian? Organization and information could be the secret

We all have thought about that, either by curiosity, by interest, or by a legitimate decision to make changes. How is it to be a vegetarian? Reality is that every day thousands of people around the globe make the decision to start more than a new diet regime, a new lifestyle, as vegetarians.

The reason? Well, there are several. First, we can find those who refuse to consume animal protein in an attempt to preserve those lives and to set a precedent against what they can see as animal cruelty. Others have done their research to realize that they can get their protein intake just from plants and grains, and decide to go that way to avoid the cholesterol, antibiotics and other things that you could have while consuming animal protein. Finally, there is a whole group of people that follow the idea that all the animal proteins are not only bad but also a trigger for a good number of health conditions that kill thousands of people every year. We are talking about cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, just to mention a few ones.

Is all that true? It depends on who you talk to. It is true that well-known experts from around the world have studies and research that show a certain connection between the consumption of animal proteins and the risk of developing diseases like breast cancer and diabetes. It is true that there are documented cases of patients which have greatly improved their health by changing to a vegetarian lifestyle. It is true that most of the meat and chicken that we find at any supermarket in the country is plagued with antibiotics and other substances. It is true that animal cruelty has been a common practice in several farms where chickens, pork, and cows are hosted for production of meat, eggs, and milk. We all have seen the images, articles, and investigations around those topics. But the only truth that you should consider is your own one.

Every person is a unique universe. Only you can determine what is good or not for you. Only you can make the decision to try different things or to stay with what you already know. What’s important here, is to research, to read about the topic, to talk to different kind of people, to evaluate the pros and cons, to consult your doctor and to finally make a decision having in mind that you are who best know yourself.

In case you decide to become a vegetarian, start by reading about the benefits and the possible effects in your body. The internet is full of websites and pages where recipes, tips, and even coupons are available for those who have decided to start leaving behind the animal proteins.

Organize your menus, make a budget, look for easy recipes and plan ahead your meals, and take baby steps. Once you know what you are going to eat every day, it’s easy to continue. The struggle is to look for new dishes, but again, your cyber friends could be the key.

We always say that changes are good. If this is your case, enjoy it! You will discover a whole new world ahead of you. Just remember that balance is a good word to define whatever you do in life.