Thursday, 30 June 2016

What are the benefits of doing cardio exercises like Running?

Cardiovascular exercises get your heart pumping and make you sweat a lot. They increase your heart rate and increase blood circulation. Cardio exercises are very important for a healthy body and these exercises need to be incorporated into your fitness plan.

Most individuals do cardio exercises as a means to burn off calories and lose body fat. But the benefits of doing cardio exercises exceed more than that. Here are the benefits:

Improved Heart Condition: The heart is a muscular organ in the body and it needs to be strengthened just like any other muscle. Keeping your heart pumping for about 30-40 minutes every day is extremely beneficial for your body. 

Increased Stamina: People who follow sedentary lifestyles get tired climbing 3 flights of stairs and are completely out of breath when they reach the top. Doing cardio exercises will greatly improve your stamina levels. Take running, for example, start off by running one kilometer without stopping at an average pace. Increase this distance slowly to 2 or 3 kilometers in two weeks. By the end of one month, you’ll be running 5 or 6 kilometers at a very good pace within a short duration of time. Won’t be so hard to climb those 3 flights of stairs anymore right? 

Better Metabolism: Cardio exercises are a boon for your metabolism. More intense workouts increase your metabolism quickly. An increased metabolism means; you have an easier time losing weight or gaining weight or your body can synthesize proteins and other essential components much faster.

Hormone Levels: Hormone levels are greatly changed for the better after a good cardio workout. For example, testosterone, the male reproductive hormone increases shortly after a cardio workout for a short duration depending on your age and fitness. Low testosterone levels contribute to heart diseases and abnormal heart rhythm.  

Here are a few exercises to keep your heart pumping:

• People in their 20’s or early 30’s can try to run for about 15-20 minutes at a medium pace and try to sprint for about 1 minute within the 15-20 minutes after this do a bit of cycling for 10-15 minutes.
• For people above 50, taking a brisk walk for 30-40 minutes in a well-ventilated place with fresh oxygen should get your heart working real hard.

• Swimming is one of the best cardio exercises that anyone at any age can do. It is proven to be more efficient than running.

After working out, you feel good instantly. Why don’t you start your exercise program today!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Heart Diseases and Symptoms - A Mini Reference Guide

There are several types of heart diseases that can end in fatalities, therefore, understanding the warning signals your body expresses and heeding the physical symptoms, can save your life. In this blog an attempt has been made to list out the various types of heart ailments and their symptoms. This is a quick reference guide. 

Angina – also known as angina pectoris is indicative of an underlying heart condition, where the heart is receiving insufficient blood supply, which culminates in lack of oxygen supply to the muscles of the heart. This happens when one or more arteries carrying the oxygenated blood has narrowed. This condition is called Arteriosclerosis. People over the age of 50 most commonly are impacted by angina.

There are 5 types of Angina:

  1. Stable Angina – when the heart has to work harder than usual, pain occurs and if you are under treatment, then after taking your medication, the pain goes away after a few minutes. Pain occurs only due to extra exertion, therefore, it will be possible for you to predict a pattern of such occurrences and adjust your lifestyle suitably.

  2. Unstable Angina – this is a more serious form of angina and as it is unstable, there is no predictable pattern. People with unstable angina are at a risk for heart attack and when pain occurs, it should be treated as an emergency. The pain is a precursor to an imminent heart attack, so take it seriously and get to a hospital.

  3. Variant Angina – or Prinzmetal’s Angina is known to happen, generally between the hours of midnight to 8 am, when a person is at rest. It also has no predictable pattern, causes excruciating pain which is brought on by a spasm in the coronary artery. People who experience Prinzmetal’s angina, generally have a huge buildup of plaque (fat) in the arteries and when a variant angina happens, it usually is when there is a near total block.

  4. Microvascular Angina – occurs when, tiny blood vessels in the heart narrow down and stop functioning. This condition is also called Syndrome – X. Even though the larger arteries are not blocked by plaque, the dysfunctional smaller arteries trigger a microvascular angina condition. This type of angina is normally treated with medication.

  5. Atypical Angina – this type of angina often does not cause pain. However, it may cause some discomfort in the chest region and shortness of breath. Additionally, there may be fatigue or nausea, and the patient may experience indigestion, pain in the back, or neck region.
Other Common Cardiovascular Diseases

  1. Rheumatic – this heart disease is caused by rheumatic fever and often occurs during childhood. The heart, the valves of the heart, the sac surrounding the heart and the muscles of the heart get damaged; example, scarring of the valves and weakening of the heart muscles.

  2. Hypertension (high blood pressure) – Primary hypertension of unknown origins or secondary hypertension, (caused by specific infections or diseases, such as disease or damage to the kidneys, a tumor in the adrenal glands, or the blood vessels of any of these organs in the body), affects the heart.

  3. Ischemic – a cardiovascular disease that happens when the blood supply to the heart is reduced because of the narrowed passage of the coronary arteries.

  4. Cerebrovascular – refers to disease in the blood vessels of the brain, caused by either a stroke or an accident to the brain, consequently impeding blood flow to the brain.

  5. Inflammatory – the myocarditis or muscles of the heart, the pericarditis or membrane sac enclosing the heart, the endocarditis or the inner lining of the heart, become inflamed due to either a known toxic agent, or because of an infection of either known or unknown origin.

  6. Hypertensive – A bulge in the wall of the blood vessel, also known as Aneurysm can occur and grow bigger with time, consequently it could even rupture, which is a life threatening situation. Aneurysms can happen because of weak walls in the blood vessel (s) or due to high blood pressure. Aneurysms can occur anywhere in the body, in the arteries, but most commonly occur in the arteries at the base of the brain and in the abdominal aorta.

  7. Valvular – the heart is comprised of 4 chambers called the right / left atria and the right left ventricles. The blood flow, through the opening between the upper chambers or atria to the lower, more muscular chambers, the ventricle, are controlled by valves, which ensure that the blood flows in the right direction. However, several types of conditions can cause damage to the valves, which include:
   - Regurgitation or insufficient blood supply (leakage)
   - Stenosis where the valves narrow down preventing blood flow
   - Prolapse where the valves do not close evenly or smoothly

Valvular heart disease can occur due to radiation treatment from cancer, because of certain infections to the connective tissues or due to rheumatic fever.

  1. Congenital – malformations in the structures of the heart, at birth are called congenital heart diseases. Examples of congenital heart diseases are abnormal chambers in the heart, hole in the heart and abnormal valves. This maybe either genetic or due to exposure to certain elements while the baby was in the womb.

  2. Pericardial Disease – pertains to the sac that encloses the heart. The disorders that affect the pericardium are, pericardial effusion (accumulation of fluid), pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium), and constrictive pericarditis (stiffness of the pericardium). The causes for these disorders vary.
Cardiomyopathy – disorders in the muscles of the heart, is called Cardiomyopathy. The underlying causes for this could be genetic, could occur due to infections, or for some reasons still not understood. The most common conditions are, where the heart is enlarged (idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy) and Hypertrophic (thickening of the heart muscles).  

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Yogic Chakras for Health

Chakras are the vortexes of energy in the subtle body. There are 7 key points and blocking of a chakra, releases the emotional, physical and mental imbalances that manifest as symptomatic disorders, such as poor digestion, apathy and physical imbalances.

Using the chakras, you can create your own blueprint, architecting your yoga practice to augment your health.

  1. Root Chakra is associated with element “Earth”, and its life theme is governed by feelings of belonging, guardedness and survival. In a blocked state, it creates a neediness within, lowers self-esteem, and raises feelings of self-destruction. When in balance it promotes confidence, ability to stand on one’s own feet and boosts inner strengths.

  2. Pelvic Chakra is associated with element “Water”, and its life theme corresponds to creativity, fluidity, fertility, reproductive and sexual organs.

  3. Navel Chakra is associated with element “Fire”, and its life theme is expressed as “firing on all cylinders”. When in balance it promotes a sense of well-being, self-esteem, confidence thus increasing your productivity. When thwarted, it creates low self-esteem, creates inertness, stagnation, and scared.

  4. Heart Chakra is associated with element “Air”, and its life theme is related to unconditional love, radiating through compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness. When blocked, possessiveness, codependency, withdrawal and involvement in dysfunctional relationships occur.

  5. Throat Chakra is associated with element “Ether”, and its life theme is communication. When stimulated, emotional communications are conveyed in a healthy manner, amenable to advice and will honor other’s personal confidences without pre-judging them. When in imbalance, a person is extremely talkative or unable to speak up, and will not pay heed to well-meant advice.

  6. Eye Chakra is associated with element “Light”, and its life theme pertains to the sixth sense, intuition and functioning of all the other chakras. When in balance, inner wisdom, insights, trust, capability to make choices and face life’s challenges are strong. Imbalance generates a closed mind, an untrusting attitude, cynicism and an attachment to logic.

  7. Crown Chakra, associated with element “Cosmic Energy”, and its life theme relates to beauty and spiritual dimensions. It hovers over the head. When open, it awakens the inner soul and helps you to understand who you are. When blocked, unhappiness and suffering engulfs you.

Every chakra has a particular yoga asana to help you boost your physical, emotional and mental health. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

What is your stress score?

How many of the following life crises have you experienced in the last six months?
Add up your score on this events table to find out how much “Stress Cushioning” you need.

Death of a spouse          100
Divorce          73
Marital Separation          65
Jail sentence          63
Death of a close family member          63
Personal Injury or Illness          53
Marriage          50
Losing a Job          47
Marital reconciliation          45
Retirement          45
Change in health of a family member          44
Pregnancy          40
Sex Difficulties          39
Gain of a new family member          39
Business Readjustment          39
Change in financial state          38
Death of a close friend          37
Change to a different line of work          36
More or fewer arguments with spouse          35
High mortgage or loan          31
Foreclosure of loan          30
Change in responsibilities at work          29
Son or daughter leaving home          29
Trouble with inlaws          29
Outstanding personal achievement          28
Spouse beginning or stopping work          26
Beginning or ending school or college          26
Change in living conditions          25
Change in personal habits          24
Trouble with the boss          23
Change in work hours or conditions          20
Change in residence          20
Change in school or college          20
Change in recreation          19
Change in religious activities          19
Change in social activities          18
Moderate mortgage or loan          17
Change in sleeping habits          16
More or fewer family get togethers          15
Change in eating habits          15
Vacation          13
Festivals          12
Minor violation of law          11
Results: Add up your score. 

100 and Over: 
Your stress level has reached worrying proportions. 
You must change some aspect of your life to try to reduce the score. 

80 – 100:
You are over stressed and your score is reaching the critical area. Learn to relax. 

You are under average amount of stress

59 or below:
You are enjoying a particularly stress free time. Make the most of it.


Source: Readers Digest

Monday, 13 June 2016

Physical symptoms of Stress

Do you recognize two or more of the following in yourself or someone close to you? If so it needs to be tackled immediately. 

a. Have your eating habits changed?
b. Has your sleep pattern altered?
c. Is your digestive system upset?
d. Have you developed any nervous habits, such as fidgeting or touching your face or hair repeatedly?
e. Is your blood pressure raised?
f. Do you have frequent headaches, cramps and muscle spasms?
g. Have you become hyperactive?
h. Has your sexual performance deteriorated?
i. Are you drinking or smoking more?
j. Has your child reverted to an earlier outgrown habit such as bedwetting, temper tantrums or thumb sucking? 

Monday, 6 June 2016

The importance of the Hospital Caregiver in Dementia patients

If your loved one suffering from Dementia is hospitalized for further treatment in a hospital, your role as a CareGiver or Attender is very important. Here are a few pointers you should keep in mind:
  • Keep to the bedside of the patient except when times when you have to pop into the pharmacy or canteen. It’s better you inform the Nurse on duty when you will be away for a few minutes. The patient may be only used to your presence and not strangers. You will have to gently explain why he or she is at the hospital and reassure that all is well. Patients with Dementia may not be able to express themselves so you will have to watch out for signals like pain and discomfort. Meal times may get difficult and your familiar presence might help the patient eat a good meal.  
  • The staff on duty might not understand certain whims and fancies. The caregiver has to enlighten the nurse. For example, “He likes to listen to music to fall asleep” “She hates spinach” 
  • Make sure your loved ones spectacles, hearing aids, dentures, books and favourite pillow are packed and taken to the hospital. Sometimes the plate and glass too. Familiar things used at home taken to the hospital will bring a sense of comfort to the patient. 
  • Make sure you understand all the new medications prescribed so that you can administer when you reach home. 
  • Make sure you ask all the necessary questions to the doctor and jot down every question and answer lest you forget. Do not hesitate to ask again if you do not understand anything. Clarity is very important. Dementia patients will not be listening to the doctor’s advice but you have to. 
  • It’s very important that the right dosage is given and no tablet is missed. So organize yourselves well before the patient gets discharged. Your hands will be full as soon as you reach home.
Good Luck! Pat yourself on your back, as you are doing tremendous service with so much of patience and love. Take time off at least for a couple of hours every week by hiring a substitute caregiver. You need this time off. You deserve it. 
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