Are you trying to find new ways to improve your memory, gain control over your emotions, and boost your ability to multitask?
A new brain scan study may be just the incentive you need to put yoga at the top of your to-do list.
Yoga is an art, a science and a philosophy that is more than 5,000 years old. It touches the life of humans at every level, physical, mental, and spiritual. It is a practical method for making one’s life purposeful, useful and noble. But it is more than that and that is why it has grown in popularity all over the world.
Even if you are not trying to be spiritual you will definitely benefit from yoga. And yoga can be practised by anybody regardless of age, body size. It is also safe for most diseases and illnesses and can be beneficial for those recovering from injuries.
CLEAR, STRONG MIND
Studies may have found a link between yoga’s movements, meditation and breathing practices and an increase in the size of key brain areas. Those areas are involved in thinking clearly, decision-making, memory and regulating emotions. Science may be leading us into the direction of yoga to being beneficial for healthy brain function.
Collectively, the studies pointed to a link between yoga and increased size in the brain’s hippocampus. Involved in memory and learning, the hippocampus shrinks with age and is the first part of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
KEEP CALM & DO YOGA
Yoga also appeared to expand the amygdala, a brain area involved in emotions; the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in planning and making choices; and the cingulate cortex, which plays an important part in regulating emotions, learning and memory.
Yoga practitioners were also found to fare better on mental performance tests, the study team observed.
In today’s busy and high pressure world, it is important to be able to control our emotions as this helps us to regulate and prevent stress. Yoga is a cure for negative emotions such as anxiety, anger and balances mood swings
FLEXIBLE, BALANCED BODY
Many of us under estimate the importance of stretching, it becomes more important as we grow older. Yoga focuses a lot on flexibility, balance and strength, especially of core muscles. This helps to improve our posture, which is important if you spend a lot of time seated at a desk. Stretching and flexibility and muscle strength prevent injuries such as lower back pains. Stretching and increased flexibility also relieves stress, which can be stored as chemical toxins in our muscles.
AFFORDABLE, FULL BODY EXERCISE
Anyone who does or has tried yoga will tell you that yoga is not easy. Yoga works all muscles, increases muscles strength and increases blood circulation. Most times all you need is a yoga mat. There are plenty free yoga videos on the Internet. A 30mins yoga session will burn around the same amount of calories as a 30mins fast-paced walk. There are also different kinds of yoga practices, some are more physically intense than others, making yoga a good all-round exercise routine for the very unfit to the very fit.
IMPROVED GENERAL HEALTH
Yoga has been scientifically proven to improve health all around. It improves the health of the heart by lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. Increasingly, people are starting to develop diseases such as high blood pressure at younger ages. Yoga also decreases inflammation in the body, if left untreated, inflammation can eventually cause cancers.
Yoga improves the quality of sleep. Sleep is a very important aspect of a healthy body. A good amount of sleep a day is important for the body to heal itself and regenerate.
There is still a lot more research that is to be done to find out what it is about yoga that is causing these effects, it would be an easy guess that yoga combines both mind and body, and is thus able to activate numerous pathways.
There is this mentally that yoga is not for men, but it is important to know that Yoga is not for sissies. It is a serious discipline and within this concept is the significant physical and cognitive stimulation.
It is also something you would need to practice repeatedly to get into the swing of things just like any new habit you be introducing to your body. It may be something you enjoy or not but that can only be determined by practising repeatedly. Before you shut down the idea or thought of incorporating yoga to your routine think of the health benefits mentioned.
It is important to try find an activity that is physically and mentally stimulating. It also may not be something you start doing immediately but doing something research around it and its benefits may lead into the right direction and yoga may just be that activity for you.
In the shower, every morning before I start my day, I always ask for the universe to bless me with more productive energy, because the universe knows better. For the longest time, I‘ve always believed that I was cursed with a sleeping disorder. I am literally those people, who jump out of bed, make their bed and before they leave the house, I look at my bed and say to it “I can’t wait to see you later” because if I’m being brutally honest with myself, that is my sacred haven. There is no better place in the world for me than my room, my bed. But this is not particularly something I am proud of. I wish I were more the type of person who hears their alarm go off once and springs out of bed. I wasn’t always like this though; I’d like to believe that my varsity time period had a lot to do with my changed body clock.
Back in my days, I use to be a part of the 5 am club. This is a concept by Robin Sharma who believes that the 5 am club is something practiced by some of the most successful CEOs in the world. The idea of waking up at 5 am means that you can do more with your day than others if you consider the fact that the average waking time for most people is at 7 am. You have a 2-hour head start, which means you can do more with your day. This was by far my most favorite routine as I found myself to be at my most productive during this time. It’s tricky now, I won’t lie, it being winter and all, but it is still a winning recipe. In those two hours, you can exercise, meditate/pray, journal, read, type up emails, work on a proposal and ideas you may have for yourself or your business. At times it may feel as if you are working with energy that you don’t even have to begin with, but the amount of energy you will have throughout the day is immeasurable.
This routine, including a supporting diet, is all one needs to be honest. The food that we eat contributes a significant amount to how hard we push during the day. Consume foods that flood your body with essential and good nutrition. You know during lunchtime, we tend to be unforgiving, especially if you work in the office and your colleagues just went to buy some food from the food truck station, and before you know it you’re also ordering your plate of a full meal with includes carbs, meat, salad, and excess oil. Not long after that meal you are stuffed. Being too full can hinder your ability to continue your day filled with energy. It’s imperative that we practice good diet habits and drink water regularly, and of course, get in those snoozes. Sleep is necessary; if you find that 7 hours of sleep may be too much, you can cut it down but nothing less than 5 hours. For as long your body rests, otherwise, it will eventually crash, and what is the purpose behind that?
Read more books that inspire your cause. There is honestly nothing as quite as motivating than reading books by authors whose journeys resonate with yours. It’s said that the top successful people in the world read an estimated 50 books a year, which is slightly over 1 book a week. You have to find the time to read. Nowadays there are audible books for those who aren’t big readers as yet, and for those who can’t find the time to sit down and read a book, it does, however, need your attention. But you must read, more than you are doing at the current moment.
Align your headspace. If there is clutter in mind you need to clear it pronto. You always need a clear head that steers away from the drama. Hence meditation is essential. A lot of people still do not understand the concept behind the meditation practice. But it’s basically about clearing your head from all of its distractions and finding a clear uninterrupted Zen that will allow you to connect better with God. Many people have reached unbelievable revelations about themselves, ideas, and answers through this process. There is no better way for you to get to know yourself. Just clear the clutter before each day then press the start button and you’re set. Lastly exercising, you need an exercising routine, one that works for you of course. These days I just find it impossible to be outside for too long, I just can’t seem to stomach the cold, so what I do is yoga, right in the middle of my sitting room. Whatever I do, I just make sure that I break a sweat at least 4 times a week. It motivates me, especially when I feel like I just cannot anymore. It reminds me of how much I can actually persist through, and it is pretty much the same with life.
Okay, let’s face it. I’ve been waiting for the longest time for gyms to reopen and for me to pick up my old exercising habits once again, but that does not seem anywhere close to my near future. I have accepted this and have decided to revert to my basic training days when a gym membership was not a privilege. So back in 2015, I witnessed my greatest weight loss transformation. When I mean transformation, I mean that a girl worked extremely hard to achieve those results. But back then l was mostly at home and didn’t have that many commitments. I try not to use this as an excuse. But it’s true. When you find yourself at home, it’s easier to set your mind on achieving something, especially regarding your body because there aren’t that many distractions to your disposal. I mean you can only watch TV for so long before it tires you. And so, I set out on working on my body.
The first thing I did was log on to my social media pages and looked for images of people who were known for being fitness gurus. This was not too difficult to find. However, they always posted their workout recommendations, from 15 min workout to full body workouts, etc. I also decided to download some home training videos that focused on different types of training from Hip Hop Abs, to Yoga, to Core workouts, lower back training, arms, and legs. The videos honestly helped me the most because they had momentum. They motivate you to finish what you started.
I knew my diet had to change. I probably had one big last crappy meal, cleansed my system, and began on a new foot. I will post something on diets soon. But I mostly consumed less starch, because I knew my body reacted the most to foods that were harder to digest, and stuck to white meat and seafood too. Understanding my body type meant that I had to train for my body type. I would consider myself gifted, in the sense that the universe did really bless me with a little bit of everything, depriving me of nothing. You can actually say that when I gain weight I gain weight in every inch of my body, and when I lose weight the same applies. Cardio training was high on my training routine followed by muscle building and core strength. But before anything I first had to shed a great amount of fat.
Running outside is the BEST and by far the most EFFICIENT way to burn calories. I would prefer running in the early mornings as the air was crisp and this would motivate me to stick to my clean eating habits throughout the day. You get better the more you train and your stamina improves. This is also a great way to warm up your muscles and to get your blood pumping. If you don’t know how long you should run for, at least run until you break a sweat. My exercise choice would differ every day but here are some recommendations:
• THE 100 WORKOUT
100 JUMPING JACKS
70 LEG LIFT
60 JUMPING JACKS
30 LEG LIFTS
20 JUMPING JACKS
RUN FOR 10 MINUTES
• SPELL YOUR NAME & SURNAME!
A: 50 JUMPING JACKS
B: 20 CRUNCHES
C: 30 SQUATS
D: 15 PUSH-UPS
E: 1-MINUTE WALL SIT
F: 10 BURPEES
G: 20 SEC. ARM CIRCLES
H: 20 SQUATS
I: 30 JUMPING JACKS
J: 15 CRUNCHES
K: 10 PUSH-UPS
L: 2-MINUTE WALL SIT
M: 20 BURPEES
N: 40 JUMPING JACKS
O: 25 BURPEES
P: 15 SEC. ARM CIRCLES
Q: 30 CRUNCHES
R: 15 PUSH-UPS
S: 30 BURPEES
T: 15 SQUATS
U: 30 SEC. ARM CIRCLES
V: 3 MINUTE WALL SIT
W: 20 BURPEES
X: 60 JUMPING JACKS
Y: 10 CRUNCHES
Z: 10 PUSH-UPS
• SATURDAY WORKOUT – Repeat 5x, 25 reps each
2. Wall Push-ups
3. Jumping Jacks
4. Shoulder touches
6. High knees
• ABS THURSDAY – Repeat 5x
1. 15 raised leg circles
2. 20 leg raises
3. 12 scissors
4. 20 flutter kicks
5. 20 mountain climbers
6. 20 knee pull-ins
• FRIDAY WORKOUT – Repeat 5x, 20 reps each
3. Mountain climbers
5. Jumping Lunges
6. Cross punch sit-ups
7. Bicycle crunches
8. Leg raises
9. Side plank crunches
There are a countless number of these kinds of workouts that you can source pretty much anywhere. All it takes is dedication and consistency. And they are perfect because you can do all of these at home, including the home workout videos. It gets even better and you get even stronger when you start adding weights into the mix. This, together with a clean and healthy diet and tones of water, and you’re set for a new you, all in the comfort of your home.
By Khanyisile Msebenzi
The Thursday before the lockdown in response to the COVID19 pandemic began in South Africa, I went to Clicks and Dischem looking to buy multivitamins, vitamin c in particular, and the shelves were empty. I panicked a little because I felt quite vulnerable all of a sudden, everybody new to take vitamins and bought them and now I had none, eek!
I eventually found a Vitamin C rich multivitamin and multimineral, but in all honesty, I don’t even know much about Vitamin C, except that we get it from fruits and veggies like citrus fruits and that it is good for preventing cold and flu. But I have totally forgotten my high school biology to really know why some media stories and medical practitioners were recommending 1000mg of Vitamin C a day…1000mg sounds like a lot to me.
Anyway I did some basic reading on Vitamin C, and perhaps this may help you. A quick search on Google showed that in a number of articles there was doubt that Vitamin C could help fight off flu and cold virus, let alone COVID19…so I had to research into medical journals…
Our bodies can’t produce Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid as it is known, and yet we need Vitamin C for important bodily functions, including metabolism and strengthening our immune system. We have to get Vitamin C from food intake and supplements. The foods with high levels of Vitamin C are fruits and vegetables, preferably fruits, where it can’t be cooked out with heat. Most multivitamins and multiminerals have Vitamin C.
Here is table of fruits and veggies with high levels of Vitamin C content:
|Food sources of vitamin C|
|Food (serving size)||Vitamin C (mg)|
|Guava (1 medium)||165|
|Strawberries (1 cup)||98|
|Cantaloupe (¼ medium)||95|
|Papaya (1 medium)||95|
|Bell pepper, red, raw (½ cup)||95|
|Orange juice (¾ cup)||60|
|Kale (1 cup, cooked)||53|
|Broccoli (½ cup, cooked)||50|
|Bell pepper, green, raw (½ cup)||45|
|Tomato juice (1 cup)||45|
|Mango (1 medium)||30|
|Lemon juice (½ cup)||30|
Recommended Adult Daily Intake:
The recommended daily intake for Vitamins C is 65 to 90 milligrams a day, with an upper limit of 2,000mg a day. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so any excess is usually excreted in the urine rather than stored in the body. It’s safe in almost any amount from foods, and supplements in recommended amounts are also regarded as safe for most people.
Benefits of Vitamin C:
- Necessary for growth, development and repair of all body tissues
- Helps to protect cells and keeps them healthy
- Needed in the formation of collagen
- Assists in maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones, cartilage, teeth
- Helps with wound healing
- Helps strengthen the immune system
- Helps the body absorb Iron
Lack of vitamin C can lead to:
- Bleeding gums
Studies have shown that dietary rather than supplemental sources of vitamin C are more effective in keeping blood pressure in check.
What happens if I take too much vitamin C?
Taking large amounts more than 1,000mg per day, say 2,000 or 3,000mg a day of vitamin C can cause:
- stomach pain
People with chronic liver or kidney conditions, gout, or a history of calcium-oxalate kidney stones should take no more than 1,000 mg a day.
These symptoms should disappear once you stop taking vitamin C supplements.
Does Vitamin C Assist In Fighting Off Cold & Flu?
Yes it does! “Vitamin C helps the immune system work well in order to protect the body from diseases,” Dr. Ross tells Bustle. A study in Nutrients in 2017 found that vitamin C is essential to many aspects of our immune system, including killing off microbes and producing B- and T-cells, which are both key parts of our immune response. People with vitamin C deficiency, the study noted, tend to have impaired immunity and are more susceptible to infection, and supplementing with vitamin C can help prevent respiratory infections — like the flu. The more effective our immune systems are, the better they’re able to fight off the flu virus.
Overall, reported flu and cold symptoms in the test group decreased 85% compared with the control group after the administration of megadose Vitamin C.
Vitamin C in megadoses administered before or after the appearance of cold and flu symptoms relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group.
I am taking between 1000 and 2000mg of Vitamin C in trying to ensure that if I happen to catch a cold, flu or COVID19, I experience mild symptoms. And as a disclaimer, I am not likening or inferring that COVID19 is a flu.
You know the feeling of wanting to try something new but never had the time to do so? Or you did try something new, but you only did it for 1 or 2 days? You may have either gotten bored of doing it or you just lacked the discipline of continuing with it.
Well, as we are all currently under lockdown for the next 21 days to control the spread of Covid-19, we can learn a lot during this time. Try something new for 21 days and stick to it, even it is something big or small, it is completely up to you.
Here are some ideas:
- Doing yoga in your home
- Reading a couple of books
- Quitting smoking
- Home workouts
- Cooking different meals
- Trying a new diet
- Drinking more water
- Trying out a new skin care routine
- Not biting your nails
- Quitting alcohol
- Quitting cool drinks
- A short online course
Why specifically 21 days?
This is based on a long-time belief that it takes 21 days to fully form a new habit. According to research it apparently takes 21 days to form a new habit into your routine. Research states 21 days is the time required to for a new neuropathway to be fully formed in your brain.
Now the 21-day trial in some cases is claimed to be a myth, however 21 days is a comfortable time period to build and maintain a new a habit. You will either learn that is something you like doing or not.
Why try it for 21 days first?
Many people have low commit levels and therefore start procrastinating on developing new habits, new habits are meant to be good and bring you significant benefits into your lives. The idea of doing something may be overwhelming.
When you try something for 21 days, the task becomes much more manageable. If you think about it 21 days is just 3 weeks which is much shorter commit period than forever. Since you are trying something new you don’t need to commit beyond 21 days if it something you didn’t enjoy. Instead you can either go back to how you were doing things or try something new for another 21 days.
2.Great way to try new things
Let’s be honest trying something new really won’t hurt in anyway. 21 days is a great way to try something new, challenge yourself. Explore, see what you like and don’t like. Learn about yourself in the process as well. The whole point is to experience a new habit and to do things differently for 21 days and remember this is a trial so if you don’t like it do away with it and try something else.
3.Good way to build good habits
Remember you should be testing out a new habit that will be good for you. So as much as you are trying something new, it should be something that you will benefit from. This may be something which is good for your health, self-esteem, build up your confidence, reaching your goals etc.
How to succeed in these 21 days
- Research about your new task
- Spend some time mentally preparing yourself for your new task
- Track your progress during the 21 days
During these 21 days try something new and see how it works out for you. 21 days is a long time to do nothing. Make the most of it and remember trying something new doesn’t have to be a daunting task keep your tasks simple and achievable for you.