Friday, May 11, 2018

Tips for more effective ab exercises


Churning out those crunches in the hope of getting a washboard-stomach? You need to read this first.


Toned abs don't just look great, they're also vital for good posture and avoiding lower back pain.
But there's a limit to how far the exercises, known as crunches, will go toward getting you those six-pack abs. These exercises create definition, but they won't get rid of belly fat, according to a report in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Working smarter
That goal needs the one-two punch of exercise to firm muscle and diet to reduce fat. That being said, crunches belong in a core workout – that's one that targets all the muscles in your torso.
When it comes to crunches, working smarter is more important than doing hundreds of them.
Improve your ab workout with these quick tips:
  • Increase the number of reps per set.
  • Increase the number of sets.
  • Shorten resting time between sets.
  • Increase the angle of exercises.
  • Wear ankles weights for more resistance.
  • Hold a weight plate against your chest.
Here are specific pointers to improve the effectiveness of the most popular exercises:
1. The basic crunch
For the basic crunch, lie on your back, knees slightly bent, feet flat on the floor and hip distance apart. Breathe in, then exhale as you tighten your abs and lift your head and shoulders toward the ceiling. Do not curl up toward your knees. Hold briefly, then slowly return to the starting position, inhaling as you lower yourself to the floor. Start with 10 reps done in good form – no jerking or rushing.

Monday, April 23, 2018

6 ways to train less and still get stronger


“I’m really disappointed in my performance today. I guess I need to train harder.”
If I had a rand for every time a rider I was working with uttered one of those phrases, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a brand new carbon fork and frame.
The answer to these crestfallen cyclists is rarely ever, “Yes, you should train harder.”
Many of them dig so deep, they’re already a few inches shy of six feet under, metaphorically speaking. Instead, what they really need to do is to train smarter.
Next time you think, “I need to do more,” consider that maybe that more is actually less, and try these six training strategies that are all but guaranteed to help you make gains.
Step 1: Take a rest day (or two) already!
Many of us (guilty as charged) get sucked into pushing ourselves too hard too often, because it feels good to go hard and blow off stress, whether you’re on your bike or in a CrossFit box or running on your favourite trails.
That is, until you start to feel flat and sluggish because you’re breaking your muscles down without ever giving them the proper and complete rest they need to build back up.
That’s not just bad for your bike performance; it’s bad for you.
In a study published earlier this year, Canadian researchers found that Olympic rowers had lower levels of bone-building protein in their blood and higher levels of inflammation during hard training blocks, compared to recovery periods, where they took days completely off.
Research has also found that successive intense workouts without a recovery break can lower your immunity.
When you’re riding hard and training lots, schedule one day off each week to recover.
Step 2: HIIT your max
I feel bionic. That was my exact thought while I was out doing an interval workout a few weeks ago. My legs felt fresh. I was hitting my max heart rate. I wanted to push as hard as I could and nail my workout – a sensation I hadn’t felt in a while. What made the difference?
I had taken a very easy week with two rest days the week before. That’s the magic of actually following Step 1; you have a full tank of gas and a head of steam for Step 2 – go really hard.
Sprint intervals are the quickest way to get strong and fit fast. They literally take almost no time – mere minutes (this is also a good way to psyche yourself up for doing them; remind yourself that they’re really short).
The key is going mad-dog frothing at the mouth hard for 10 to 40 seconds. Do six to eight efforts with about one to two minutes recovery in between to let your heart rate come down.
If done a couple times a week, this type of training raises your V02 max, lactate threshold, and levels of human growth hormone and testosterone, which help you build muscle and burn fat.
In a study of 22 trained cyclists, those who replaced part of their usual training with intervals for eight weeks improved their power output during a 40K time trial by nearly 8%, while the others saw no measurable gains.
Step 3: Lift (really heavy) things up and put them down
When I’m just riding lots, I feel pretty fit, but after a few months, I definitely feel a loss in torque and power. Intervals help. So does strength training – another scientifically proven way to get stronger and faster in less time.
Strength training especially benefits women and masters riders (who have less muscle mass to start or are at a point where lean muscle mass dwindles with the passing years), but it has been shown to produce gains for young riders, as well.
When Scandinavian researchers had a group of young elite riders swap in some heavy “leg days”, including moves like half squats for their usual endurance training once or twice a week for 25 weeks, they significantly improved their peak wattage during a 30-second sprint test, as well as their average wattage during a 40-minute all-out TT, compared to a group of their peers who stuck to their usual on-the-bike endurance training, despite the fact that the strength trainers actually spent a little less time training overall.

Yoga for children


Yoga is not just for adults; it is a great way to usher tiny tots into a healthy regimen. Yoga is a multifaceted subject. Aspects of yoga, when properly taught under a yoga practitioner, will provide children with sound physical and mental health and lead to balanced growth.
Children should first be taught asanas that correct anatomical defects and create flexibility. Having prepared the foundation properly, the teacher should proceed to teach complicated asanas that affect physiology and psychology of a child. Yoga asanas are not contortion of the body. Skill in the performance of yoga asana means correct placement of limbs and muscles in difference postures.

Physiological Importance of Yoga for Children

  • It improves circulation vital to proper functions of the body
  • It nourishes and stimulates the endocrinal gland which governs growth and development
  • It helps to establish regular and easy menstrual cycle
  • It enhances mental capacity
  • It strengthens the nervous system thereby improving endurance
  • It helps the child to become self-disciplined and self-controlled and less prone to extremities of behaviour
  • It regulates the adrenal glands, thus check aggressive behaviour
  • It regulates pituitary and pineal functions thus correcting brooding behaviour in girls
  • It checks lethargy
  • It builds self-confidence
  • It helps to develop moral, ethical character

Yoga Asana for Children

Standing Asana

  • This helps to improve the arches of feet
  • Helps to trim waist
  • Builds up chest

Sitting Asana (Vir Asana)

  • Corrects flat feet
  • Removes pain in legs
  • Ideal for sports people
  • Makes knee joints flexible
  • Helps in digestion

Forward Bending Asana (Paschim Motta Asana)

  • It invigorates abdominal organ, rests the heart, and refreshes the brain

Inverted Asana

  • Increases blood circulation to brain. Improves memory and will power and promotes growth

Supine Asana

  • It refreshes body and mind, keeps abdominal organs healthy

Prone Asana

  • Strengthens the back, hips, and thighs

Twisting Asana

  • Provides relief from stiff neck and sore back

Backward Bending

  • It corrects rounded back and shoulder, improves respiration, and removes dullness and laziness

Keep your Kid Healthy with These Yoga Poses



We are in an age where everything is fast and in order to keep up with times, we need to maintain our health. This age of technology (computers, television and competitive sports) gives rise to tense, exhausted bodies and stressed minds. More and more children are spending time in front of the TV. In this challenging scenario, yoga may be just what they need for greater health, energy and enlightenment.
Yoga is just the right kind of exercise for children as it is gentle, non-competitive and works on not only the entire body but also on the mind and the soul. You cannot deny the fact that a kid has many activities to take care of. Starting right from attending school to curriculum classes, sporting activities, etc., they have to face it all. If you expect so much from your kid, then remember that yoga for kids is crucial to let them survive in this competitive world. 
How Yoga Helps Children?
Yoga helps kids nurture their tender minds and bodies. It is a holistic technique of relaxing distracted minds and gaining composure. Moreover, children can develop an intimate relationship with their inner-self and the surrounding world.
Yoga helps boost concentration levels, focus and attention of kids. It increases their self-esteem and confidence, enhances their creativity and imagination, develops strong, flexible and healthy bodies and gives them an experience of a relaxed state of body and mind. Fun Ways of Yoga Practice
Over the years, several fun-based yoga programmes have come up. These involve theatre and stories (each story has value in it). Stories often take the mind to far away places and to get there you have to fly. Yoga is being taught differently from the way it is taught to adults. The programs also include shlokas, mudras and pranayams.
Yoga means connecting to God. A child's mind is pure and body flexible. They'll absorb everything that is given to them. The earlier your child begins the better he/she will feel. Let Yoga be his guide into the world of good and harmonious living. Give them a gift to stay healthy, happy, positive, self-confident and emotionally independent.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Triggers and treatment for migraine headaches


Migraine attacks can be an extremely debilitating. The condition of recurring headaches may run in the family, may be related to stress or triggered by certain foods. Irregular eating, sleeping patterns, allergic reactions and weather are other migraine triggers.

There are three different levels of migraine treatment – preventative treatment, acute treatment and rescue treatment.

Medications

Medications used for treatment of migraines headache can be classified into two broad categories:

Pain-relieving medications (that is acute or abortive treatment) - These drugs are given to stop the symptoms that have already begun and can be taken anytime taken during migraine attacks. These are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Triptans, Ergot, Anti-nausea medications, Butalbital combinations and Opiates.

These medications are most effective when taken as soon as you experience signs or symptoms of a migraine. Rest and sleep after taking the medication can increase the efficacy of the medicine.
Preventive medications - These medications are taken regularly (if needed daily) to control migraines (i.e. reduce the severity or frequency of symptoms). These include cardiovascular drugs such as beta blockers (such as propranolol), calcium channel blockers (verapamil), antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, cyproheptadine and botulinum toxin type A (Botox).

Preventive medications however, are not effective in completely eliminating headaches. They can cause some serious side effects. If the preventative medicines are effective and you have been migraine-free for six months to a year, your doctor may advise you to lower the dose to see if you remain migraine free or the migraine headache returns without it. For migraine treatments to be effective, take the prescribed medications as your doctor recommends.


Best treatment for hair loss



Those suffering from hair loss know that there are millions of treatments on offer for the malady. It is thus inevitable for the patient to become suspicious of this profusion of promises. The best available treatments for hair loss can be narrowed down to a few categories but you should make an informed choice having consulted doctors and professionals in the field.

Focus

To identify a suitable action for your specific hair loss problem you need to understand the nature of the condition. If your doctor has been able to investigate the chief causes then a proper treatment can begin. Are you losing hair because of undue stress or could it be a genetic cause? Thorough inquiries will make clear the uniqueness of your ailment.

Propecia

Finasteride marketed as Propecia is perhaps the most successful known pill to treat pattern baldness in men. It works by preventing the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone thereby limiting the androgenetic progression of hair loss. This direct intervention may stop hair fall but comes with adverse side effects. The patient will be at high risk of prostate cancer, reduced sperm count and impotence. 

Rogaine

Minoxidil is marketed under many names, the popular being Rogaine. The chemical used for topical application shows fast results in treating male pattern baldness. It has been considered revolutionary but Rogaine is typically effective till the time one uses it. A women’s version is also available. During use one should be aware of the mild to extreme side effects that range from itching to unexplained weight gain.

Herbal

If chemicals are not your cup of tea then traditional and natural treatments are the best bet. Chinese swear by Ginseng’s multiple healing properties. Hair regeneration is of course on the top of the list. The ginger like roots can be boiled and had in tea or ginseng oil can be directly applied to thinning hair. Indians rely on Amla Reetha and Shikakai as natural conditioners that aid the hair with vital nutrients.
Supplements
Your hair is mostly Keratin and therefore a protein rich diet can prevent or decelerate the process of hair loss. When mixed with hair oil, Vitamins A and E give best results in reviving inactive hair follicles. Almond oil is known to be a rich source of Vitamin A and can be mixed with Vitamin E capsules for application on the scalp. 


Try these 5 yoga asanas to reduce tummy



Yoga has become popular among people because of its property of being the best medicine to get rid of fat and stress simultaneously.
Here are some yoga exercises that can help you lose excess belly fat. 

Kapalbhati Pranayama

This breathing technique gives a thorough exercise to the abdominal muscles.
  • To do the Kapalbhati posture, sit on a flat surface with your legs folded.
  • Relax all the joints and ensure that your spine is erect.
  • Once you have attained this position, close the eyes and blow air out of your nose slowly while contracting the muscles of the stomach inside.
  • Inhale deeply and let the stomach contract and expand vigorously. Repeat this breathing technique for several times for ten minutes and fasten the pace as you repeat.
As you become an expert in this breathing technique, increase the time period of the exercise from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. 

Anulom-Vilom

Anulom-Vilom is highly effective in regulating the movement of oxygen in the body and gives the abdominal muscles a good work out.
  • To do the Anulom-Vilom pranayama, sit on a flat surface with your legs folded.
  • Relax the joints and ensure that your spine is erect.
  • Close your eyes and hold the right nostril with the right thumb and press it against your nose so that the only way you can inhale is through your left nostril.
  • Take a deep breath with your left nostril and ensure that your stomach expands as you inhale and fill your stomach with oxygen.
  • Hold the breath for a while and release the breath from the right nostril after holding the left nostril with the forefinger of your right hand.
Practise the same with the right nostril and practise the pranayama for at least 40 counts. 

Naukasana

A common yoga posture that works wonders on your abs.
  • Lie flat on the ground, with your back on the floor.
  • Raise your upper body and legs to an angle of 30 degrees and hold the posture for 30-40 seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat this asana for 10 times to begin with, graduating to 30 times. Breathe normally all through the work out.
Holding onto the posture tightens and contracts your upper and lower abs while repeating the movement tones them up. 

Ushtrasana

  • It is the counter pose to naukasana .
  • Stand on your knees, with heels facing upwards.
  • Arch your back, placing your hands on your knees one by one.
  • Hold your head behind pushing your belly outwards.
  • Hold this posture for 30 seconds and repeat 30 times.
Ushtrasana releases the tension by giving your tummy a good stretch.