Archive for Health

Calm Your Nerves and Get Rid of Stress With These 6 Amazing Benefits of Meditation

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is an art that dates back to ancient times, all the way back to the first hunters who are said to have altered their state of consciousness by letting their senses be lulled into a deep trance after staring at the flames of their fires. Some of the earliest recorded documents regarding meditation stem from the teaching of the Vedas in ancient India. The practise of Meditation was mostly developed and polished into a refined art by Buddhism in India and in Taoist China.

Meditation does wonders for the mind by cleansing and giving it a refreshing feel which in turn also affects the health and stability of the body. Although it might seem like the person isn’t doing much physical activity, the real beauty of meditation lies in the physiological change undergone by the body owning to the spread of prana or healing energy to every cell. The following benefits of Meditation can be achieved by any other technique.

6 Indispensable Benefits of Meditation

 

Meditation is an Ideal Stress Reliever

Anti-stress MeditationThe result of this process is a joyful, peaceful, refreshing and enthusiastic state of body and mind that cannot be attained in any other way. Not only does it improve concentration and clarity, research has shown that meditation also improves the physical health and mental well being of a person by reducing stress, anxiety attacks and providing emotional stability.

It can be done in different ways either by focusing on the breathing, any particular sensation in the body or by focusing on a specific object.

Helps Improve Concentration

Meditation is especially helpful for school or college students who deal with a stressful environment almost every day. Research shows that it helps sharpen the mind and gain focus by relaxing the mind and easing it of racing thoughts. It helps decrease anxiety and brings about emotional stability by releasing serotonin which helps increase the mood and behaviour.

People in stressful environments learn to control their emotions and temper better due to an increased blood floor and breathing techniques which boosts the oxygen supply to the brain, thereby instilling a blossoming calmness through the insides. During exams, students who meditate show better results as it increases their concentration, focus and memory power. It also helps to better multitask and reduces the ability to distract often.

Encourages a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy Lifestyle, MeditationA person gains a boost of energy from their inner well which also helps boost immune system and improve the overall health. Meditation also helps to reduce or obliterate any tension induced pains such as headaches, ulcers, muscle and joint problems or even cures insomnia.

It also helps lower the blood pressure, reduces anxiety attacks and lowers the levels of blood lactate. It has been shown to give a boost of energy and freshness that keeps the person going the entire day, encourages them to eat healthy food and live a satisfied lifestyle.

Helps Practise Self-awareness

Meditation helps a person attain self awareness and acceptance for an overall well being. It helps the person understand their shortcomings and embrace them instead of letting their temper take control to cause widespread damage.

It helps clear their mind and calms them down leaving no room for stress or constant worry.

Slows Down Aging

Meditation Slows Down AgingResearch upon the benefits of meditation has found out that it slows down the aging process by altering the brain physiology. In this regard it helps reduce the overall stress and its effects on the body, thereby slowing down the degeneration of the brain cell matter to add a few more years to life.

It also helps a person to relax which causes the nitric oxide compound to increase, directly causing the blood pressure to drop by inducing the opening of the blood vessels. Research showed that patients taking medicine for high blood pressure can stop their medication by practising medication regularly.

Guarantees Happiness and Contentment

People who practise meditation on a daily basis are said to be more content and satisfied with their lives, owing to the decrease of negative thinking due to a brain signalling in the left side of the prefrontal cortex.

This portion of the brain is responsible for positive emotions and meditation decreases the signalling activity on the right side which is responsible for negative thoughts and emotions.

Conclusion

To get the most out of meditation, it needs to be infused into the daily schedule and practised regularly.

It is like a warm glow that softens the harsh reality of the stressful world by helping you focus on maintaining your tranquillity and happiness.

Commit To a Healthier Lifestyle – Reduce you Sugar Intake

sugars

Everybody knows that sugar rots your teeth. Did you also know that sugar turns your body into a fat storing machine?

Sugar consumption results in your blood sugar rising and triggers the pancreas to release a surge of insulin to enables your muscles and cells to use the sugar in the blood. This blood sugar spike sets up a pattern of mood swings and cravings that sap your vitality and inflate your waistline.

As you crave more sweet or starchy foods, your body metabolizes them into sugar, which spikes your blood sugar and sets the vicious cycle in motion again.

In this respect sugar acts like an addictive drug. You should also stop eating so much processed sugar because excess sugar in the blood attaches to the proteins that enable the muscles, cells, and fat to respond to insulin. When these proteins are coated with sugar, they no longer respond to the insulin. This triggers insulin resistance, otherwise known as metabolic syndrome. People with insulin resistance are at risk for developing diabetes 2 and heart disease.

junk foodSome other reasons to stop eating sugar that you might not be aware of are that sugar is a primary contributor to blemishes, edema-related puffiness, under-eye circles, and wrinkles. Sugar destroys collagen and leads to the cross-linking of fibers that provide skin’s elasticity. This causes the development of wrinkles.

Sugar breaks down protein in the skin and the rest of the body in a process called glycation. This process results in brown spots, inflammation, sagging, and pre-mature aging.

All forms of sugar produce the same results, regardless of whether you use refined white sugar, raw turbinated sugar, or dehydrated cane sugar. Excess glucose and insulin also make your blood acidic, and as your body fights to neutralize it, problems can develop. In particular, sugar creates uric acid in your body. This raises your blood pressure, and can cause inflammation. The result can be any of the following: Diabetes, Obesity, Cardiovascular Disease, It speeds up aging, Dementia, Kidney, and Liver problems. These are only a few of the potential problems.

Following are some tips to avoid sugar crash:

  1. Eat a balanced breakfast with no added sugar (i.e. avocado on toast or museli)
  2. Limit sweets to 2 times a week or less if you can avoid it
  3. Stay away from white flour and eat plenty of vegetables
  4. Eat metabolically balanced but smaller meals each day (protein, fat, carbohydrates)
  5. Eat sweets only after a balanced meal (with plenty of protein)
  6. Eat plenty of complex carbs throughout the day (vegetables and whole grains) 7. Don’t consume processed sugar before you sleep

So try and reduce your sugar intake starting now! Take a look here for more great health tips and ideas.

Tips to Improve Posture and Reduce Lower Back Pain at Work

the correct posture for sitting

Office jobs come with their risks and hazards too as sitting all day exposes you to a myriad of health and wellness problems. Coupled with bad posture, sitting all day threatens your emotions, self-esteem, and even appearance.

Fortunately, you can escape this fix and balance your work and health by assuming the correct sitting posture and doing light exercises. Here are some tips to get you started from the team at Living Chiropractic in Sydney.

1. Get a Lumbar Pillow

Slouching is a bad habit that many people do unconsciously and hence find it difficult to avoid. As such, you should consider getting a lumbar pillow to get you started. The pillow will be a constant reminder for you to stop slouching as it will occupy some space behind you. Additionally, it will support your spine and make you healthier, more energetic, and give you focus to concentrate on your job.

2. Put that Foot Down

Crossing your legs may feel comfortable, but it is a potential health and fitness hazard. For wellness purposes, it is recommended to sit with both feet flat on the ground. The legs should be at a 90 degree position, so avoid stretching them out for long periods.

Like most people, you may find it difficult to adopt this sitting style. To get you started, consider using makeshift props for supporting your feet.

a lumbar support

A lumbar support pillow

3. Align Your Shoulders and Ears

You may often find yourself leaning too far forward or backward for prolonged periods. This not only leaves you tired but also makes your back ache. An easy way to beat this bad habit is to align your ears to your shoulders whenever you are seated. This will ensure that both your back and neck are always in an upright position as they should be.

4. Draw Your Shoulder Blades

Bad sitting postures will do a number on your appearance too as they result in rounded shoulders. To avoid this, practice pulling your shoulder blades back whenever seated. This will bring your chest out, align your spine and neck, and help you retain that firm and fit appearance that inspires self-confidence and self-esteem.

5. Move Around

Assuming the correct sitting posture is not enough. It is important to exercise the muscles and joints by moving around often. There are numerous excuses for you to get up every hour or so and move around: making coffee, visiting the bathroom, or just taking in some air.

Additionally, make sure that you make the most of your walks by moving substantial distances and performing strenuous activities such as climbing the stairs.

6. Exercise Your Chests and Shoulders

Light exercises offer great relief to fatigue and back pain, and they are so simple that they can be performed in the office without drawing attention. Perhaps the simplest of them all is shoulder shrugging, which entails just lifting and lowering your shoulders up and down.

The Wall-Angle is also effective and more engaging. It involves standing with your back flat on the wall, legs apart, and arms held up against the wall at a 90-degree angle. While in this position, all you have to do is move your arms up and down for at least 15 times.

desk yoga

Why not try your hand at some extreme desk yoga?

7. Embrace Desk Exercises

Desk exercises are more effective, diverse, and easy to perform. Some effective desk exercises include:

  • Desk yoga, which lasts only six minutes.
  • Stretch each foot out and moving toes upward and forward repeatedly.
  • Cross your left leg over your right left, place your right arm over the left leg and then twist slightly to look behind your left shoulder. Repeat this with the left leg and right shoulder.
  • Sitting upright, lift your arms upwards with your elbows straight and interlace your fingers. Proceed to bend slowly to your left and right sides for several times.

Conclusion

You do not have to condemn yourself to bad health for working in an office. Try out these tips and tricks to develop a healthy upright sitting position and keep your muscles and bones exercised throughout the day. Also remember to exercise occasionally during your free time to reverse the damage already done.

10 Chair Exercises That You Can Easily Fit Into Your Day

The Benefits of Chair Exercises

In the busy world that we live in, it can be tough to find the time to exercise. If you are looking for some quick and easy exercises that can be done at work or home, then you’re in luck! This post is all about getting you moving from the comfort of your desk or lounge. Combined with the correct posture at your workspace, these exercises will go a long way to help prevent pains and injury.

To lose weight and be healthy, you don’t need a gym subscription and you don’t have to spend an hour or more working out every session. Brendan McCann, Exercise physiologist at Live Well Rehab Brisbane told us that exercise in small bursts has actually been proven to give the same results and it’s more maintainable for most of us, especially for anyone suffering from musculoskeletal disorders, or undergoing pulmonary or cardiac rehabilitation.

Brendan was also kind enough to provide us with his 10 favourite chair workouts. While aimed at burning calories and toning your body where you need it most, many of these exercises can be done as low impact exercise for anyone recovering from injury or undergoing injury rehabilitation. Many of these don’t even require you to get off your butt so you can do them while working at your desk, or even when watching TV! If you’re seeing a physical therapist, you may recognise some of these modified exercises from your exercise physiology program.

Seated Jacks

Seated Jacks how to toJumping jacks are a popular exercise to get the heart pumping but the ‘seated jacks’ are a nice alternative and mean that you can stay sitting down.

– Sit up tall towards the end of your chair, with your knees bent and brought together in front of you. Your toes should be pointed and just touching the ground. You should also bend your arms and have them our at your sides with your palms facing forwards.

– Quickly open your legs out to the side, flexing your feet and putting your arms overhead like you would with a regular jumping jack. Return to the starting position and do 20 repetitions in a row (the quicker, the better!)

Skater Switch

How to do Skater switch exerciseThe sitting skater move will burn calories in addition to targeting your core, arms and inner thighs! This is definitely the exercise for you, especially if beach season is fast approaching.

– Again, you need to be sitting on the edge of your chair for this move.

– Bend your right knee out to the side and extend your left leg to the other side, straight with your toes pointed.

– Extend your arms and quickly move forward, as you do so – reach your left arm down to your right foot. As you do this, raise your right arm up behind you and twist your torso.

– Switch sides and repeat 20 times or so.

Hinge & Cross

Hinge and cross exerciseThis toning move focuses on your abs, I bet you never thought that you could get a six pack while watching your favourite TV show but you can by doing the hinge & cross regularly.

– Sit down towards the end of the chair with your knees bent and your toes pointed just touching the floor in front of you.

– Put your hands behind your head, engage your core and lean back on the chair.

– Bring your body forward and cross your right elbow to the outside of your left knee.

– Don’t forget to do this on both sides and for 25 reps each.

The Magic Carpet

abs hold chair exerciseThis exercise tests your strength and is different to most chair workouts that you would find.

– Sit in the chair with your legs crossed and your hands on the armrests.

– Take a deep breath and raise yourself above the seat using your core and arms.

– Hold for 20 seconds before lowering. Rest and repeat a few more times.

Abs Hold

Another great one for the abs and quite an easy move, once you get the hang of it.

– Sit up straight on the edge of your chair, placing your hands either side of you for support.

– engage your core and stretch out your legs while lifting your butt off the chair so your body straightens to plank position

– Hold for around 10 seconds before lowering. Rest and repeat a few more times.

Chair Running

chair running exerciseMaybe you aren’t REALLY running with this chair workout, but it still gives your body a metabolism boost, burn calories and helps to tone.

– Sit down towards the end of your chair with your legs extended and your arms bent to your sides.

– Lean backwards until your shoulder blades touch the back of the chair.

– Lift your legs slightly and bring your right knee into your chest, turning your left shoulder in towards that knee and pulling your right elbow back.

– Repeat around 30 times, ensuring that you alternate sides.

Chair Twists

chair twists This movement burns calories and also helps to give the abs and obliques definition over time.

– Sit up straight on the edge of your chair, placing your feet on the floor shoulder width apart and your arms out to the side, parallel to the ground.

– Move your arms and body to the left side in a gentle twist movement, before doing the same on the other side for around 20 reps each.

Oblique Bends

If you suffer with the dreaded love handles and could rather do with out them, these oblique twists are perfect for banishing them once and for all.

– Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet hip width apart and your hands behind your head.

– Ensure that your back stays straight, use your core to lower your right elbow towards your right hip.

– Return your body to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Leg Contractions

Working on your lower body is also important and this exercise does just that. It is also good as a general stretching exercise which is important if you are on a chair for a large portion of the day.

– Sit on the edge of your chair with a straight back.

– Flex your core and bring your legs towards your chest, as you lean back slightly. Your body should pretty much be making a “V” shape.

– Take your current position a step further, by pulling your knees in towards your chest and holding.

Buns and Guns

buns and guns exerciseAlthough just a small exercise, this will tone your inner thighs in addition to your triceps and glutes.

– Sit on the edge of your chair, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your hands should be rested on the chair, just outside your shoulders with your elbows slightly bent.

– Squeeze your knees and your butt together, push down with your hands and extend your elbows.

– Release and do 30 super fast reps of this move for the best results.

Big thanks goes to Brendan for sharing his exercise knowledge with the Ideas for Good team . If you need an exercise physiologist in Brisbane pop in and see him and his wonderful team, or follow Live Well Rehab on Facebook for more health tips!

5 of The Best Free Health Apps

apps on an apple watch

Almost every aspect of life nowadays has an application to suit. From mobile phone banking to sleep cycle tracking, you can rest assured that there is an app (or ten) our there to make your life easier.

The biggest problem we face now when it comes to app selection, is which ones will best suit our needs. Sure you can read reviews on the iPhone App Store or Google Play, but we all know these can be faked, and we certainly don’t want to be spending money buying them when we’re not sure we’ll even use them.

Thankfully thought the team at Sold My Device, a cell phone buyback company have put together a list of some of their favourite free health apps for us to share. Have a read below and see if you think any these apps might be of use to you.

1. MSN Health & Fitness: The iPhone and Android App for a Healthier You

The MSN Health & Fitness App has numerous tools which can help its user maintain a healthy lifestyle. Among its more notable features include a GPS tracker, steptracker (pedometer), diet tracker, cardio tracker, workout and yoga archives, health and fitness articles, and symptom checker.

2. Power Nap

Never belittle the benefits of a power nap. Countless studies have shown and advocated the numerous benefits of a quick sleep during the day. So how can you make the most of this knowledge? By downloading the powerAPP! This app will help you track your nap schedule/pattern, provide soothing background music, napping tips and a unique alarm system.

3. Period Tracker

This is one for our women readers only. The Period Tracker accurately tracks your menstrual cycle and provides a reliable calendar showcasing your next expected period, ovulation period and fertile stage. All these data are shown in a visually appealing yet clear and organized interface, so you can make sure you’re body is running on schedule.

cell phone apps for health

 

4. First Aid Guide

Accidents happen, and we’d be lucky if there were people around us who would be able to administer the proper medical aid or attention to help solve the problem. For those of us who aren’t nurses or doctors, having this first aid guide app would definitely come in handy. The interface is simple and easy to use. The top most search box directly link you to the solution for any problem (that which can be helped with first aid). The instructions are all simple to understand and easy to administer.

5. Relax Melodies

The hustle and bustle of everyday life can often prove to be incredibly taxing. Sometimes there are be days when you just want to tune everything out and get away from it all. Simply download this app, and have everything you’ll need to attain the peace and quite that you are looking for.

Do you think you could benefit from any of the above? If so you’d better get your cell phone now and start downloading, while they’re still free!

Switch to Tea, and Reap the Benefits!

There’s nothing like a hot cup of tea to soothe your senses especially on a cold winter’s morning. This warm, tasty, caffeine-free pick-me-up also has a lot of wonderful benefits for your health and wellness. Teas and the herbs in herbal varieties have a number of great healing powers, from soothing a troubled stomach to easing insomnia and providing relief from anxiety.

Drinking a well-steeped herbal tea regularly is also a great source of vitamins and minerals as we get all the benefits from the plants in a form that is easily digestible.

a cup of herbal teaThere’s also an element of aromatherapy in drinking herbal tea and you can drink it with other people. This way you can be social while at the same time also getting a great health boost. Keep in mind however that the tea should always be steeped in an enclosed container so you can maximize the medicinal properties that the drink has to offer.

When choosing the perfect tea for its health benefits, it’s important to avoid purchasing those that have additives such as artificial flavouring, so you can really maximize the full benefits of the plant. There are so many kinds of tea for you to try. Here are a few of the most common and most delicious ones:

Chamomile Tea

Soothe your senses with this calming and therapeutic tea made from flowers. Chamomile tea can be helpful for those experiencing insomnia or restlessness. It’s a good to drink after a meal for smooth digestion and is also recommended for cases of cough and bronchitis, or colds and fever. Another benefit is you can also use it for gargling to relieve inflammation in your throat. Don’t forget to steep it thoroughly to get all its medicinal benefits.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is the easiest herb to grow. You can make a fresh cup straight from your garden. It’s great for relieving abdominal pains and bloating. It can also relieve muscle spasms and is good for nausea without the vomiting. It also helps heat up the body to release sweat. But if you have indigestion or heartburn problems, doctors recommend avoiding peppermint in general.

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is another great aid for digestion, and can be used to prevent nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness. You can make fresh ginger tea by simmering a small piece of ginger root on the stove for about 10 to 15 minutes. If you have a cold, you can add fresh lemon juice and honey to add a zest of protection for your immune system. Powdered ginger is also good for making tea to ward off a potential cold.

Rosehip Tea

Rosehips are the fruit of the rose plant and are one of the best sources of Vitamin C from plants. Vitamin C is very essential to the immune system, skin and tissue health, and for adrenal function. Be sure to try rosehip tea whenever you need a health boost.

Milk Thistle and Dandelion Tea

Milk thistle and dandelion, when made into tea, can be gentle liver cleansers because they can help the liver to regenerate and function at a higher capacity. It can also help with our digestive process.

While these above teas all have their own benefits, there are thousands of teas, both herbal and non-herbal that all offer different benefits. Look online for a range of organic teas, and try a few to find out which ones you like the best.

Prevention: Better Than a Ton of Cure

We’re all about preventative medicine here at Ideas for Good. Making small changes to your life now can save you big-time in the long run. Preventative health maintenance can not only save you from severe pain and reduce deterioration of your senses as you age, but they can also save you a lot of money. Sure some of the following tips may cost you a little bit now, but it’s just a little short term pain for a lot of long term gain.

You may have read our recent article on the steps you can take to save your back from aches and pains, as you get older. Following are a few other tips on preventative health care for other areas that will also benefit you greatly in the long run.

Vision

It is inevitable that your vision will deteriorate as you age, but there are steps you can take to keep your eyesight in peak shape for as long as possible. In today’s society where everybody constantly has their head in their smartphone when they’re not

staring at their computer monitor at work or television at home, it makes sense to give your eyes a break. If you stare at a screen for long hours, try and take a break for a few minutes every hour or two and try and focus on things in the distance. Yes, you might have to go outside to do it but you’ll be happy you did when you can still read without wearing spectacles in your older years.

officeworker

Another benefit of stepping outdoors is that you give your eyes the chance to get some sunshine! A 2008 study comparing the vision of children in different countries, found that children who spent more time outdoors and therefore whose eyes were exposed to more sunshine, has much better vision than those who spent most of their time indoors. So why not take a break from reading this article and take a step outside for 5 minutes? We’ll still be right here when you get back!

Teeth

Nobody likes a visit to the dentist, but staying away for too long between visits will almost certainly cost you in the long run. If you maintain perfect dental practices and have a healthy diets with limited sugar intake then you might not have any dental issues, however for the majority of us who aren’t angels when it comes to eating junk food and brushing softly in a swirling motion twice a day then there are almost certainly some dental concerns on the horizon.

Here the best preventative health advice is to stop eating sweets and processed foods, but for those of us who can’t stand up to the sugar monster there are still steps you can take to ensure your teeth outlast your taste-buds’ cravings. One dentist in Boronia, near Ferntree Gully in Melbourne suggests that people get a check up at the absolute bare minimum once every two years. While more regularly is better and every 6 months is optimal, if you’re an avid dodger of dental visits once every few years is still better than nothing.

Many of us forget about our dental health once we finish schooling with compulsory dental visits. However, oral healthcare is one of the largest medical costs for Australian’s in their later years, so it’s highly beneficial to keep your teeth in good condition. Regular dental visits can help you notice problems before they escalate, and can save you thousands of dollars in dental bills. If you don’t want to have dentures by the time you turn 50, perhaps it’s time you booked for a checkup?

Hair

Nobody wants to lose his or her hair or go grey, but it’s another one of life’s inevitabilities. Many people just accept that it’s the way things have to be, but there is a way to maintain your youthful locks for longer. We spoke with our hairdresser friends at Unsurpassable about how they help their salon clients maintain their colourful and volumous hair. Ashlea has plenty to say on the topic.

“Most people don’t realize that hair is an extension of your body, so your hair reflects your bodies overall level of health. Is your hair going grey or thinning out at a young age? While genetics does have something to do with it, there’s a pretty good chance your lacking certain nutrients in your diet or your body is not healthy in some way.” Ashlea recommends to all her clients that they ensure they are getting enough nutrients through eating plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, and taking it easy on the booze. “I’ve noticed huge differences in my clients hair when they’ve changed their diets. Getting the proper vitamins and minerals through dietary changes can really make an impact!”

So there you have it. If you’re starting to thin or go grey early, perhaps your diet is to blame. Why not try a few weeks of eating less meats, carbs and fats and dining on more raw produce and see if it makes you feel different. Not only will it be good for your hair but it will also be good for your waistline.

That’s all from us today on preventative health, we’ll be sure to bring you more tips on the topic in the future though, so stay tuned to Ideas for Good for all the best advice and guidance on health, community and life.

Save Yourself a Trip to the Physio

Maintaining the Correct Posture while Sitting at your Desk

 

As more and more people are switching from an outdoor working environment to an office desk job, backaches and complaints are on the rise. This is because sitting in a chair for 8 hours straight is unnatural and puts unnecessary pressure on the lower spine. This pressure can cause stiffness and pain and if steps aren’t taken to alleviate it, these minor annoyances can become costly long-term injuries. Unless you want to spend the rest of your life visiting a chiropractor or physiotherapist, you need to be aware of the dangers of sitting down all day. This way, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

BackpainLike millions of other Australians who sit at a desk each working week, it is essential you learn how to position yourself with the correct posture to ensure the health and longevity of your spine. We spoke with several medical professionals about their experiences helping those who neglected twinges in their backs while sitting at work, and are now paying the price through regular visits to a physio.

Here are some tips on how you can save your back, brought to you by a well-known Brisbane physiotherapist at Elliot Campbell Mobile Physiotherapy:

Tip #1 – Maintain a Healthy Posture

It’s easy to forget about correct posture and slump or slouch at your desk. Not only is this bad for your spine but it can also reduce your productivity at work. Ensure your feet are kept shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground and your lower back in supported. If your chair does not support your lower back, you can use a rolled up towel or small cushion and place it behind you for support, or switch to a more ergonomic chair.

Tip #2 – Pivot With Your Feet

Although it takes slightly more effort – pivot on your chair by moving your feet, not twisting your spine. Especially if you haven’t been moving for a while, twisting your spine can cause undue stress on your back and is just asking for trouble. A twinge after a twist can imply muscle strain or even disc herniation. Ensure this doesn’t even happen by always pivoting with your entire body.

Tip #3 – Maintain Strength and Flexibility

Many of us exercise or go to gym, but how much attention do we really give to our backs? Stretching is the key to flexibility, which is key for improved efficiency and performance during physical activities.  Regular movement through our entire range of motion, and exercise to develop those muscles we rely on so much but often ignore, can save you. All physiotherapists will recommend balancing your muscle workouts across all body areas to maintain spinal alignment and prevent recurring back pain.

Tip #4 – Stay in Shape

Maintain a healthy weight and stay in shape through regular exercise. Walking to and from work or around a shopping centre once or twice a week is not enough! Dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes a day to moderately aerobic movement, where your heart rate increases and you find yourself getting puffed. This will mean you will have to do more than just have a light stroll around a park. Breaking a sweat now could save you from having to see a physio later. Not only does it makes sense for your back health, but regular exercise has a plethora of positive benefits on other aspects of your life as well.

Tip #5 – Get Up and Move Around Occasionally

This seems like common sense but many physiotherapy visits could have been avoided if only people got up and moved around once in a while. Try and get out of your chair for 5 minutes at least once an hour. Go and get yourself a drink, or take a toilet break. Whatever the reason, it’s good for you to take a break from sitting at your desk and you’ll appreciate the refreshing break from your work.

Follow the steps listed above and you should be able to maintain a healthy posture and spine even if you must work for long hours at a deskjob. If you would like more information on how to keep yourself in good shape be sure to check out the Mobile Physio Brisbane Blog for regular articles like this one.

Colour Therapy and Your Walls

Colour therapy and its effect on people is a hotly debated topic among holistic healers and scientists with no proof of either being correct. Supporters of colour psychology believe that colours are able to influence our mental state, our mood, and even our energy levels. And, that their appearance throughout your home can have a direct effect on the emotional well-being of its occupants.

feature wall mural

With this in mind, it is worth considering what colours are suitable for the walls in your home and what colours your rooms should be for the most emotionally pleasing results. To decipher this enigma of what colour you should paint your feature walls, we asked wall art and murals experts Wall Vision to help. Using their extensive knowledge of art theory and years of experience with removable wallpaper designs, they came up with a great summary on what colours to pick.

Colour can communicate a look and feel by triggering physiological responses, evoking shared memory and harnessing cultural associations. It can also create impact by making our walls visually interesting, and reinforce organisation of elements within design. Colour can also be harmful to both the form and function of a space if its effect is not considered beforehand.

Isaac Newton established that we have a physiological response to colour. He split white sunlight into red, orange, yellow, green, cyan & blue beams, then joined the two ends of the scale together. He also invented the first colour wheel in approximately 1672. Johanne Wolfgang Goethe questioned Newton’s colour theories in 1810. Goethe recognized that the ambiances of colour reaching our brain were also shaped by our awareness, by the mechanics of human vision, and the way our brains decipher material. Therefore, it is possible to suggest that although individual perception plays a factor, you can definitely draw a similar emotional response across all people from certain colours.

So coming back to your home. What kind of emotional response so you wish to create in a certain part of your home? The living room benefits from warm tones like reds, oranges and yellows and combinations of earthy tones like dark brown and tan. These colours foster conversation and make people feel warm, if you were to install a wall mural, perhaps a bright sunrise or sunset may be a good idea.

In the bedroom you want to be able to relax and drift off into dreamland peacefully. To do this you are looking for calm colours like blue, green, and a combination of pastel tones. The more intense and deep the colour the greater the effect, so perhaps a mural of the ocean or a field of lavender may be a relaxing choice.

Your dining room may benefit from some deep reds, maroons, and other red hues. Red is described as a stimulant, and can even have an effect on your hunger. Your dinner guests may even think that you’re a better chef! If plain colours aren’t your thing, maybe a mural of roses may work to brighten the walls.

Whatever colours you choose, the effect on the aesthetic of the walls is greatly important. But for more positively charged emotions throughout your home, try and incorporate a few of these suggestions.

Less Chemicals. Better for the Environment. Better for you.

Recent developments into research into the long-term effects of chemicals on the planet and the human body have seen a shift away from the use of plastics and chemicals. Organic is the new buzz-word and people aren’t just making the switch for the image associated with it, but also for the plethora of good health benefits. These days there are chemicals in your water, in your hair products, in your processed foods, in the containers they are stored it, in your make-up, in your cleaning products, and in your clothing and laundry detergents.

Twenty, ten or even five years ago, many of the effects from chemicals we come into contact with everyday were not well known or understood. Today is a different story and the younger generations need to be aware of the implications of regular exposure to toxic chemicals because of the potential harmful side effects. Here are some that you should be aware of:

Bisphenol A – Also known as BPA, Bisphenol A is used to make most plastic and epoxy resins. It is also used as a liner on tinned foods. The problem with BPA is that is exhibits estrogen like properties so your body thinks it is a natural hormone and absorbs the chemical. This can cause cancer, neurological and physical disabilities. Because of this the use of BPA has been banned in some plastics in both the European Union and Canada. Unfortunately that is not the case here in Australia.

You have probably noticed a trend with people who no longer use plastic drink bottles, preferring to drink from stainless steel or glass containers instead. Heating food in plastic in a microwave (or even using a microwave in general) is being more often discouraged, and even storing food in plastics in no longer considered to be perfectly safe. Many people are opting out from eating tinned foods as well because of the BPA in the lining. BPA is not the only nasty chemicals contained in plastics, but it is one of the more toxic.

Parabens

Another chemical endocrine disruptor with links to the occurrence of cancer, Parabens are widely used as a preservative in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Used primarily for their bacterial and fungicidal properties, these chemicals can be found in hair shampoos, moisturizers, topical pharmaceuticals, makeup, salon cremes, toothpastes, personal lubricants and shaving gels. Some recent studies indicate that when applied topically to the skin, some parabens react with UVB, increasing skin aging and damaging DNA. Many professionals including hairdressers, make-up artists and naturopaths refuse to use products containing parabens due to the dangers. To them the benefits of using such products don’t outweigh the associated risks.

Ella, a stylist at Unsurpassable, an award-winning hair salon in Brisbane had a lot to say when asked about parbens and the product lines they use at the salon. “We try and stay away from chemical products as much as possible. Too many shampoos, hair conditioners and other cosmetic and salon products contain a plethora of chemicals that can’t be good for your skin. By using organic products and limiting our exposure, not only do we get better results but we also keep the hair naturally healthier over the longer-term.” Ella noted that there had been a shift among her hair salon clients and the general populous in Brisbane, away from chemical products as awareness of their dangers increased.

DEET

Almost all bug sprays contain DEET a chemical containing Toluene which is a nervous system depressant. Did you really think those sprays that are so deadly to insects wouldn’t have any affect on you? Insect repellants also often contain this poisonous chemical.

DEET is so toxic that some countries have banned its usage in products above certain concentrations. Here in Australia however, no such laws exist. Keep this in mind next time you spray those ants of cockroaches, or put repellant on your skin to keep away those mosquitoes. After spraying any bug, leave the room for at least half an hour and make sure it is aired out sufficiently. Remember the chemicals in DEET linger on for much longer than you can smell them!

There are currently many safer alternatives to DEET based repellants. In studies conducted at the University of Florida, lemon eucalyptus lotion was found to be extremely effective in repelling insects, as was citronella. These are just a few of a number of alternative repellants available, all of which are almost certain to be less toxic to you than anything containing DEET.

These are just a few examples of the huge range of dangerous chemicals you come into contact with on a regular basis. While you can’t escape from them all, you can make a difference to your health by staying away from them as much as possible and limiting your exposure. If everybody stopped buying products containing such chemicals, it would no longer be profitable to manufacture them! So next time you’re out shopping, think about buying organic and staying away from nasty plastics and chemicals. Not only will you be doing yourself and your family a favour, but you’ll be helping to make our world a nicer place to live.