Tuesday, 27 October 2020

10 Healthy Habits To Live By: Lifestyle improvements for a better you


Exercise to help boost wellness: Photo credit Unsplash

These days, an increased majority of people are tapping into healthy habits to change and improve their lives for the good. Living a lifestyle steeped in stress can lead to ill-health and  concerns that may hamper wellness. 

But thankfully, there are some good habits to follow. These little changes can help to improve your wellness on a large scale. 

Why do healthy habits matter? 

Getting into healthy habits will benefit you and your family in many ways. When you eat and live healthily, you may avoid health conditions that develop as a result of bad eating choices and other negative practices. 

Healthy habits matter because it leads to:

Better health 

Improved wellness 

Improved weight-loss 

Weight control 

Higher energy levels  

1. Healthy eating

It’s important to maintain not only an active lifestyle but also a healthy diet. Bearing this in mind you can consider starting off wit breakfast. Let’s face it, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and starting your day with a good breakfast will fuel and help you to get through your day.   

When you’re eating healthily with your kids, you teach them from a young age to practice these healthy habits. Not only you will benefit, but your children too. 

Healthy breakfast examples: 

Oats topped with fruit and nuts

Bran cereal with fruit

Muesli and yoghurt 

A fruit smoothie

Protein such as eggs, bangers and or a strip of bacon (opt for less greasy)

**Tip: Eat healthily throughout the week and spoil yourself with treats on the weekend. Never deprive yourself of your favourite foods as it will only lead to binging. 

2. Plan your meals

Eat for wellness: Photo credit Unsplash

Good eating habits come with carefully planned meals. Preparing your meals ahead of time will not only reduce the prep time on the day, but it gives you a better perspective about  ingredients and what you’ll eat throughout the week. 

Preparing your meals will also help you to have a better handle on ”what you put into your body.” In other words, you won’t feel the urge to buy that greasy cheese burger and chips if you’ve packed a healthy, tasty lunch. 

**Tip: You can prep breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinners a week ahead of time. 

3. Habits of health includes drinking water 

Drink more water, the fresher the better. Photo credit Unsplash

Water has so many positive benefits for your health and because our bodies are primarily made up of water it is crucial to stay hydrated. Water also helps to supress hunger because feeling hungry can also be a sign that you’re dehydrated. 

**Tip: If you’re not sure how much water you’re drinking, try measuring via flasks. 8 glasses a day is very good. You can also drink warm to hot water to help clean the gut of toxins. 

4. Good health habits through exercise

Moving more is what your body needs to be healthy. Our bodies are such amazing creations it has the ability to maintain itself and heal when injured or infection occurs. It’s important to lead an active lifestyle by exercising more often. If you can’t go to the gym, simply incorporate 5 minutes of brisk walking into your day, every day. 

If you have more time then walk longer, 10 to 15 minutes a day. It will do your mind and body wonders of good. Putting it into practice or routine is another way to keep the momentum going. 

**Tip: Make exercise part of a daily healthy habit. 

5. Unplug from online activity

Take a break from the screens: Photo credit unsplash 

Unplugging your mind and body from the digital world is extremely important. Our lives are very involved with digital activities like social media, messaging, emails, video calls, cute cat videos, and the list goes on. 

Digital aspects form part of our personal and professional lives and this is even more reason to unplug from it all. 

*Tip: Set a time to unplug from social media and screen time. Instead of these, you could take part in therapeutic activities like drawing, listing to music, and spending time in nature. 

6. Quit smoking

Kick the bad habit: Photo credit Unsplash

Smoking doesn’t have any positive effects on our health. There are many health studies that show smoking can lead to heart disease, cancer, lung disease and lots more health conditions. If you are a smoker, try to quit ASAP. If you’re not a smoker, don’t be tempted to start. 

**Tip: If you’ve quit, try and manage weight gain. Oftentimes people who quit tend to gain weight. 

7. Get into a healthy habit of sleeping well

Insomnia is one of the number one reasons we feel even more exhausted the next morning. A lack of sleep is often the cause of increased feelings of agitation or irritability and even feeling under the weather. 

Getting enough sleep is a very important healthy habit to practice. 

**Tip: Try to go to bed at night at the same time every evening to help get your body into a rhythm.

8. Keep your muscles healthy 

Keeping muscles strong: Photo credit Unsplash

Our muscles play such a huge role in us being able to move and do things. When the muscles become weak, it can lead to easy injuries and even weight gain. Weight training can help you to build and strengthen your muscles. At the same time, you’ll burn fat. 

**Tip: You don’t have to use weights when exercising, but you can use the weight of your body as well.

9. Go out and enjoy nature

Nature is beautiful, a creation so amazing it can literally uplift our mood. What better way to improve how you feel than to step out and enjoy some sun on your skin, the breeze of the wind and fresh air into your lungs. Breathe deeply and unwind. 

**Tip: Go for a walk on the beach, or enjoy a picnic with the family. Make it a weekend ritual or habit. 

10. Learn a new skill

Enjoy nature an learn new skills: Photo credit Unsplash

This may not sound like a healthy habit, but learning a new skill will help with mental and overall wellness. You may want to improve on an existing hobby or learn a brand new thing. Again when doing this think about the therapeutic benefits that some activities have to offer. 

**Tip: Learn to dance, sing, play an instrument, paint, arts and crafts. Have fun and enjoy every moment. 

The Conclusion about incorporating healthy habits into your life

I cannot stress it enough that balancing life, work, and healthy habits is what’s needed for a positive way of living. It isn’t always easy to simply “slide” into healthy habits but it is possible. While not everyone is able to implement big changes, you can go ahead with smaller changes first and progress from there. 

What are you doing to include healthy habits into your life? 

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

A Beginners Guide To Back Stretches For Flexibility

Strong, flexible back
Photo credit: Unsplash - Strong back muscles


Your back is one of many crucial components of the body. Not only does it help with balance and posture, but it also connects various parts of the body such as the torso with the hips, the shoulders and neck, and the buttocks. 

Still, while the back is a very important muscle, it is often taken for granted and neglected. Strengthening your back has a multitude of benefits which I will mention a bit later on in this post. 

What causes back pain?

Photo credit: Unsplash - Back pain treatment

Bad posture is often a major culprit and the cause of back pain. Poor posture when sitting down, standing, or lifting things can lead to long-term chronic back pain. Strengthening the back muscles will not only enhance aesthetics, but also improve your wellness and reduce the chances of injury and strain. 

Why is back stretches for flexibility a good thing? 

Photo credit: Unsplash - Flexible back

Flexibility is essential for all muscles in the body, but for this post, I want to focus on the large back muscle. Daily poor posture can result in muscle strain. This includes sitting for long periods of time. The strain exerted on the back can cause shoulder and lower back pain. 

Back stretches for flexibility has many pros. 

Reduced risk for injuries 

When your back is more flexible and you practice proper posture, then the chances of injuries to your back is reduced. 

It may speed up the healing time of back sprain

If you've hurt your back by straining it, it takes very long to heal and hampers your normal movement abilities. But, when it comes to spinal flexibility, you'll notice a faster healing time.   

Better posture and balance 

With spinal flexibility, it helps to improve your posture naturally as well as balance. This is good news and thus reducing the risk of falls especially in the elderly. 

Easy back stretches for flexibility: Beginners are  welcomed 

Photo credit: Unsplash - Improve balance 

Sphynx pose 

This gentle back pose is excellent for beginners and intermediates. To do the sphynx pose: 

Lie on your stomach 

Lift your arms up under your shoulders and rest your forearms on the ground (similar to a plank) 

Stay in the pose breathing 5 to 10 breaths 

Cat/Cow pose 

On all fours hands and knees get into this position

With an inhale flex your back towards the ground turning your gaze towards the ceiling

On the exhaled breath, arch your back extending it towards the ceiling 

Do this for 5 breaths 

Bow pose 

Lie on your stomach and bring your legs up at the back to grab your ankles 

With your chest lifted away from the ground make sure the knees are apart

Hold this pose for 5 breaths or longer if you can

Supported bridge 

While lying on your back, lift your hips and support your weight with your feet

The bridge pose with support should have a block underneath your hips to create support 

You can hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths 

Senior yoga or chair yoga

Photo credit: Pexels - Senior yoga

Age is just a number and you can still take care of your wellness throughout your years. The wonderful practice of senior yoga is excellent and improves posture, balance and range for elderly folks. What's more is that there isn't strain and overexertion during the poses because it is low impact yet effective. 

Furthermore chair yoga can also:

Reduce muscle and joint stiffness

May help improve blood pressure

Improves blood circulation

Improve coordination

May help to reduce inflammation and arthritis pain 

       May improve spinal flexibility

The conclusion about why you aught to embrace back stretches for flexibility

Photo credit: Unsplash - exercise for back pain
Photo credit: Unsplash - Exercise for back pain

Sometimes when working an office job, sitting behind a desk is part of the process. But when you change your seating area and create a more ergonomically comfortable space, your posture and back will thank you later. 

If your regular exercise routine doesn't feature these back strengthening and flexible exercises,  then implementing it will help. You can add it to your routine along with the breathing techniques following through.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

4 Effective Breathing Techniques For Anxiety, Stress, And To Help Cope With Depression

Breathing for wellness
Deep breathing is good for your wellbeing 

Mental wellness is very important and during the current age and times we're living in, there is a huge concern for the mental wellness of people. Often, adapting to some kind of new normal is harder than it looks. 

Part of what makes these difficult times harder includes people having lost their jobs, businesses forced to shut their doors, an inability to freely go out, the coronavirus, and things are just not the same way as what we could relate to before. 

Focusing on natural ways to lower stress levels, anxiety, and depression will go a long way to help improve mental wellness. There are various ways to cope and manage stress and anxiety without resorting to extreme measures. This includes different types of lung exercises, or yoga breathing. 

Mental wellness has an effect on our physical wellbeing - Breathing techniques are very important

When our mental wellness is effected, it tends to have a bearing on our physical wellbeing. For example, anxiety may increase stress hormones which leads to even more stress and emotional instability. 

Oftentimes, people develop chronic health conditions as a result of stressful jobs or lifestyles. These can include high blood pressure (hypertension), insomnia, headaches, palpitations, and may increase allergies. 

Sometimes it's easy to forget how important breathing techniques are or the fact that a simple few deep breaths can lower stress and anxiety levels. One of the reasons yoga makes us feel so relaxed because yoga breathing helps to improve wellness on a wide scale. 

Some factors that contribute to stress include financial stress, poor health, sedentary lifestyles, unemployment, low income, and a lack of education to name a few. 

By changing your lifestyle, it improves the chances of better health and overall wellness. This is often easier said than done, but slowly implementing positive changes will produce positive results. 

Why do we need oxygen and how does breathing techniques fit in?

Oxygen into your lungs: Unsplash

Breathing is a natural response of the body. We breathe and inhale oxygen into our lungs. Oxygenated blood travels through to the organs and provides it with essential O2 helping it to function. O2 also contributes to the process of energy production and the breaking down of sugars and fats. 

But how we breathe also plays a very important role in how we feel. For example, shallow breaths or (chest breaths) increases cortisol and adrenalin. These chemicals are needed in fight-or-flight responses and not as part of regular breathing. 

But because when we're faced with difficult situations, our body tends to respond in this manner. The best way to adjust this is to practice proper deep breathing or what's also known as "diaphragmic breathing."

You'll notice in yoga or martial arts for that matter, that deep breathing plays an integral part of focus and energy. 

Breathing techniques for wellness

Breathing for wellness
Deep breathing promotes focus and clears the mind: Image Unsplash

#1 Take deeper breaths (deep breathing)

While breathing properly is very important, breathing deeper is highly recommended for it's health benefits. Full diaphragmatic breathing is when you  feel your stomach and chest expand upon inhalation and contract when exhaling. 


It can help to lower your stress levels naturally by redirecting or altering the chemical reactions. 

Deep breathing is also invigorating and may improve your ability to feel awake and energised. 

It helps to manage pain by increasing serotonin and dopamine hormones

#2 Alternate nostril breathing exercises for anxiety and more

Alternate nostril breathing is an effective way to instil a sense of calmness and focus. This is a wonderful practice and one of many good breathing exercises for anxiety, as well as improved mental focus. It's easy and can be done at anytime and anywhere.


It works to help your body to calm down

You'll feel less anxious 

It may improve cardiovascular function

#3 "Ujjayi Breath" aka Victorious breath (yoga pranayama breathing)

Breathing (pranayama) yoga breathing: Image Unspalsh

This is a very good breathing exercise and is usually paired with yoga vinyasa. The Ujjayi breath is a relaxing practice with many advantages. Along with the yoga poses or vinyasa, the breath helps to create focus and mental clarity. 


Activates energy for mental focus and clarity

It increases concentration throughout the yoga practice  

It may help to release tension in the body 

#4  7/11 Breathing or 2:1 breathing techniques

You've probably heard of this breathing exercise because it does wonders to create a feeling of instant calmness.  This is especially effective when you're anxious and it can help you to feel more relaxed. Hyperventilation is also sometimes due to anxiety amongst other possible contributors.

When our breath is shallow and rapid it's often due to stress or feeling anxious. As mentioned, to help reduce this reaction, its important to breathe properly. 

Two-to-one (2:1) breathing is breathing in for a shorter count and exhaling on a longer count. This is the same principal for 7/11 or 3/5 breathing. It's a long breath in and longer exhale to almost empty your lungs as much as possible. 


2:1 enhances relaxation and prolongs the parasympathetic responses throughout the breathing practice 

It helps to quiet the mind and improve focus 

May help the body to manage and reduce hypertension 

Conclusion about breathing techniques for a healthier lifestyle

Your body starts to find balance: Image Unsplash 

While stress, anxiety, and depression form part of the most common mental conditions in the world, following a road to healing and wellness is important. 2020 Is and has been a very difficult year and for many of us, and as a result, an increase of emotional stressors. 

Practicing these breathing exercises for anxiety and wellness may not be an overnight change, but will definitely improve your life and wellbeing. The key is to help condition the body to tap into its already present ability to "heal" itself. At the same time your body will adapt to finding balance.