Caruso's Health Blog
Find natural approaches to conditions, herbal use and supplements, recipes, fitness inspiration for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
What is Zinc's role in Men's Health It’s no secret that all vitamins and minerals play a vital role in keeping our bodies healthy and functioning at their best, but when it comes to men’s health, there’s no denying that zinc is amongst those nutrients at the top of the essential list. Zinc can be found in cells throughout the entire body, effectively putting into action numerous zinc-dependent enzymatic reactions and ensuring the proper functioning of many bodily processes, including reproductive system health, immune system function, skin health and antioxidant support, just to name a few. The vast majority of zinc can be found in the bones and muscles and is essential for the synthesis of male hormones and aspects of sperm health. Zinc has a major role in many facets of male health, so let’s have a closer look at why getting enough zinc is so important. Zinc and testosterone As we age, testosterone levels naturally begin to decline, but there are many other factors which can influence testosterone levels such as medications, diet and existing health concerns. Inadequate dietary intake of zinc is a big factor, so it’s important to ensure that you are getting enough zinc in your diet on a regular basis. Remember, your body doesn’t store zinc effectively, so it’s important to keep a healthy diet. Fertility If you are thinking about having children, keep in mind that good nutrition is paramount for both healthy eggs and sperm. Zinc is responsible for all aspects of sperm health, including both production and motility. Semen quality is also very important as it provides a protective and nutritive environment for sperm, zinc is an important factor for ensuring healthy semen. Immune Health Zinc is important for many aspects of immune health too. The immune cells within the body, such as white blood cells (neutrophils) rely on zinc in order to perform their function effectively and keep us healthy. Due to its antioxidant properties, zinc can help to stabilise cell membranes which may be affected by free radical damage when inflammation has occurred in the body as a result of injury or illness. Deficiency Although zinc can be obtained easily through the diet, it is also important to be aware of the ways in which we can lose zinc from our bodies. Zinc can be lost through sweat, so if you’re inclined to spend hours at the gym or have a labour intensive job which leaves you in a sweat, be sure to include zinc rich foods in your diet. Some medications, poor dietary habits such as too much alcohol or diarrhoea can also have negative effects on zinc levels. For such a busy mineral only a tiny amount is required to fulfil all these needs. The body doesn’t store zinc reserves so it’s essential to get enough zinc from our diet. According to the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, the recommend daily intake of zinc is 14mg. Zinc is widely available through every day foods, have a look through the list of different foods with high zinc content below, it’s easy to get enough zinc in your diet! Food per 100 grams Zinc Content Oysters (cooked) 24.9 mg Lamb shank 10 mg Beef (cooked) 8.2 mg Pumpkin seeds 7.5 mg Cheese (tasty) 3.55 mg Almonds 3.5 mg Oats 2.35 mg Source: www.healthdirect.gov.au
Exercises for Bone Health Pounding the pavement, excessive exercise and constant hard impact activity can take a toll on our body. Whilst these activities may be a younger person’s game, the long term complications can often be too great in later life. An adult’s body is made up of 206 bones, give or take a few if you have extra ribs or have had some bones removed. An infant has about 270 bones, some which fuse together as they grow into adulthood. Bones provide structure and shape to our body, they also have other jobs as well such as protecting our organs and producing new red blood cells within the bone marrow. If we did not have bones, we would be a pile of muscles and tissues in a puddle! Bones are amazingly strong, yet they are relativity light and are always changing and rebuilding. Bones are made up of a dense honeycomb-like structure, which contributes to bone strength. The total weight of the skeleton is between 1.5kg to 3.5kg depending on gender, so they are also light weight. So, what is the right amount of exercise as we get older and what are the best sort of exercises for bone health?As we age we need to keep physically active. Movement and activity helps to keep our muscles and bone structure healthy and mobile. Your ability to move daily does depend on your age and health. However, ideally at least 30 minutes of an activity most (ie: 5 days out of 7) days is recommended. Exercise is important to keep our body healthy, muscles engaged and our mind active. Our bones need weight bearing activity, which means an element of resistance with gravity to help our bones to change and grow, and stimulate new cell production. As a weight bearing activity it is also beneficial with your balance, strength and flexibility too. Best foot forwardWalking – walking is an easy and accessible activity for most of the population. No special equipment is required, no gym membership or great expense. If, however, you are a regular and keen daily walker it is important to add variety and change to your walking routine as this will help promote your bone health. For example, try some of these to your daily walk: Different surfaces – take your walk to next level, by walking on different surfaces such as through thick grass, sand, dirt track or bush. Pick up the pace – increase your pace or stride at different intervals, try lifting your knees higher or taking a slight side step for some of your walk. Increase resistance – take some small hand weights, ankle weights or a heavy backpack on your next walk. All these additions to your regular walk can help to challenge your body and improve your bone health and strength. Body resistance – this type of activity is using your own body weight as a force on the skeletal system. This means activities such as pushups (or on your knees), squats, lunges, wall sits or pushups against a wall. These type of activities help to build muscle strength as well as provide weight bearing exercise for your bones. Group activity – this is all about the fun! If you find exercise a challenge, try an activity that is in a group. Some ideas may include dancing, tai chi, gentle yoga or another group class. While these top tips may help to give you some ideas as to where to start, there are some exercises which may not be ideal for supporting bone health. Exercisers beware! If you have a bone condition, fractures or osteoporosis, then avoid these following exercises:Yoga – certain yoga or Pilates positions which involve intense twisting or compression on the joints or the spine, are not recommended. Sudden twisting movements – such as golf and tennis are not ideal. They can impact your body with a sudden twisting force action which may damage fragile bones. High impact action – running and jumping are both high impact activities which place strain on the skeletal system. These types of activities and are not recommended if you have low bone density. These types of activities may increase small fractures in fragile bones. If you have not been a keen runner, starting now with low bone density is not recommended. Swimming – whist we all love a good swim, relying solely on swimming to improve bone health is not a good idea. Swimming is a non-weight bearing activity, which means there is no weight or gravity on the skeletal system to stimulate your bones to improve. Cycling – like swimming, this is also a non-weight bearing activity. Cycling is great for cardiovascular fitness, but is not recommended as the sole activity if you are looking to improve low bone density. If you are planning to look after your bone health, then consider some of these activities. Remember the key points to exercise –weight bearing, often and of course have fun!
Top 10 Protein Rich Foods For Muscle Recovery During exercise, muscle damage occurs in the form of micro-tears along with the breakdown of proteins. When protein stores are replenished, this initiates the repair of muscle damage post-exercise, allowing muscle to strengthen and mass to build over time. There is an array of factors which impact this repair process, such as the type, intensity, duration, frequency of training exercise. Resistance training is ideal to build and tone muscles as the resistance to muscular contractions encourages the body to compensate as required and in doing so repeatedly, this will increase the muscle to fat ratio. A key element in muscle recovery is to consume adequate protein to facilitate in the muscle repair and building process. Protein contains amino acids which are commonly known as the ‘building blocks’ required to form a complete protein in muscle tissue – particularly the Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s): leucine, isoleucine and valine which increase muscle protein synthesis and enhance muscle recovery and growth, while also reducing fatigue and muscle soreness, known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).It is important to stretch before workouts and resting the muscle group after workouts as this maintains a healthy balance of muscle protein synthesis to muscle breakdown. To maximise muscle recovery with protein, it is recommended to consume this macronutrient within 45-60 minutes after exercising, however immediately is ideal. The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) of protein for adults is 46 g/day (0.75 g/kg) for women and 64 g/day (0.84 g/kg) for men. SeaweedSeaweed describes forms of algae including the red, brown and green variations. The highest protein content is found in nori, which is also commonly known as laver. Nori is the type of seaweed generally used to wrap sushi and as sheet snacks, containing 46.7g per dried 100g in comparison to raw nori, only containing 5.8g. Additionally, dried spirulina is a great addition to smoothies, containing 57g per 100g.CheeseCheese is a great vegetarian source of protein and with many variations, it’s easy to incorporate into your meals without feeling like you have repeated the same dish over and over. Parmesan cheese has the highest content at 38g per 100g, followed by gruyere 30g, mozzarella 28g, Swiss 27g, provolone 26g, cheddar, Edam, and Gouda providing 25g, Monterey Jack and Colby 24g and lastly, goat cheese 22g. LupinLupin beans are a type of legume, technically a seed. They are protein packed, containing 36g per 100g of dried mature seeds however reduce to 16g when boiled. The trick is to soak them overnight, softening them into an edible form while retaining nutrients including iron, potassium, calcium and folate. PoultryIn the category of poultry, chicken breast is an ideal source of lean protein, containing 32g per 100g, followed by wings 30g, thighs 24g and drumsticks 18g. The runner up, roasted turkey breast also contains a good amount of protein at 29g per 100g. Top Tip: chicken pate is an excellent source of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fats and antioxidants. Hemp SeedsHemp seeds are a complete source of plant-based protein, meaning they contain all of the 9 essential amino acids which is important to build and repair muscles. They are a nutritional powerhouse containing 32g of protein per 100g, plus various vitamins, minerals and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) including omega-3 and omega-6, with a low carbohydrate content. Hulled hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts are more common, however whole seeds contain a higher nutritional content. Red MeatLean pork chop contains 31g of protein per 100g when braised and also contains a higher amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids compared to beef. If beef is preferred, sirloin steak is the ideal choice as it’s a lean cut and contains 29g per 100g when broiled. Beef jerky however surpasses with 33g of protein. Although costly, organic selections of meat will help to avoid the unwanted intake of residual hormones and antibiotics which may be present in meats and similarly, grass-fed animals naturally contain higher amounts of healthy fatty acids. SeafoodDeep sea, cold water fish such as salmon are rich in protein and unlike chicken or red meats, contain a much higher content of omega-3. In the instance of muscle building in repair, anti-inflammatory omegas may provide benefit to muscle healing after a workout. Tuna contains 29g of protein per 100g which is comparable to anchovies. LentilsLentils are a highly nutritious alternative to meat containing 25-26g protein per dried 100g, plus they are rich in fibre, B-vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, manganese and potassium. Lentils contain natural antioxidant compounds known as polyphenols which provide anti-inflammatory effects. Brown, green, yellow and red lentils have varied nutritional compositions, slightly different flavours and also cook differently. Soy BeansSoy beans are a plant-based source of protein with the additional benefits of B-vitamins, vitamin K, iron, manganese, fibre, antioxidants and the mineral phosphorus, which helps with the growth and repair of tissues. Soy products can be prepared in many ways, for example, per 100g cooked edamame beans contain 12g of protein, tofu 8g with higher amounts in firm tofu, tempeh 20g, miso paste 12g and 6.3g in a cup of soy milk. EggsOn average, eggs contain 13g of protein per 100g or approximately 2 medium eggs. While egg whites have fewer calories, they also contain less protein content without the yolk – so to increase your protein intake ensure you are consuming whole eggs. A bonus when making an omelette with other protein-rich foods such as chicken or cheese topped with hemp seeds.If you are looking to increase your dietary intake of protein for post workout muscle recovery, why not try out some of these suggestions? Don’t be afraid to experiment a little!Disclaimer: Protein quantities are all approximate values which may vary based on multiple resources and quantities are measured per 100g, unless stated otherwise.Reference List Better Health, (2018). Resistance training – health benefits. Retrieved from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/resistance-training-health-benefits Carbone, J. W., & Pasiakos, S. M. (2019). Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit. Nutrients, 11(5), 1136. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051136 Daley, C. A., Abbott, A., Doyle, P. S., Nader, G. A., & Larson, S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition journal, 9(10). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-9-10 Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's Agriculture and Food, (2021). Reducing livestock greenhouse gas emissions. Retrieved from: https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/climate-change/reducing-livestock-greenhouse-gas-emissions Food Standards Australia & New Zealand, (2019). AUSNUT 2011-13 food nutrient database. Retrieved from: https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/ausnut/foodnutrient/Pages/default.aspx Healthline, (2016). 5 Proven Benefits of BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids). Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-bcaa#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1 Healthline, (2016). BCAA Benefits: A Review of Branched-Chain Amino Acids. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bcaa Healthline, (2016). Post-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat After a Workout. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eat-after-workout#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4 Healthline, (2019). Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Beef — What’s the Difference? Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/grass-fed-vs-grain-fed-beef#differences Kyriakidou, Y., Wood, C., Ferrier, C. et al. (2021). The effect of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on exercise-induced muscle damage. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 18(9). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-020-00405-1 Medline Plus, (2021). Benefits of Exercise. Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html Medline Plus, (2021). Dietary Proteins. Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/dietaryproteins.html My Food Data, (2021). Nutrition Facts Search Tool. Retrieved from: https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-facts My Food Data, (2021). Top 10 Foods Highest in Protein. Retrieved from: https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/foods-highest-in-protein.php National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), (2014). Protein. Retrieved from: https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/protein The President and Fellows of Harvard College, (2021). The Nutrition Source. Retrieved from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/ U.S. Department of Agriculture, (2019). Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means. Retrieved from: https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2012/03/22/organic-101-what-usda-organic-label-means U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. (2019). FoodData Central. Retrieved from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/ VanDusseldorp, T. A., Escobar, K. A., Johnson, K. E., Stratton, M. T., Moriarty, T., Kerksick, C. M., Mangine, G. T., Holmes, A. J., Lee, M., Endito, M. R., & Mermier, C. M. (2020). Impact of Varying Dosages of Fish Oil on Recovery and Soreness Following Eccentric Exercise. Nutrients, 12(8), 2246. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082246 WebMD, (2020). Branched-Chain Amino Acids. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/branched-chain-amino-acids-uses-risks
The common causes of fluid retention What is fluid retention? Fluid retention occurs when excess fluid is stored in the tissues of the body, rather than being directed to the kidneys where it can be naturally expelled. Fluid retention can cause areas of our body to swell and may even cause joints to become painful and stiff. There are many reasons why we might be retaining excess fluid; injuries, hormones, medications and diet can all play a role. Diet Salt, or sodium, is essential for life. Sodium helps to keep fluids in the blood perfectly balanced, it helps to keep our blood pressure regular and it’s also important for the healthy functioning of our muscles and nerves. When there is an excess of sodium in the body, your body will try to dilute the sodium levels by encouraging the retention of water. The body works hard to keep a perfect balance of fluid levels, however, too much sodium can cause a disruption in this balance. We only need a small amount of sodium from our diet to keep our bodies healthy. High sodium foods such as processed foods, takeaway foods, potato chips, crackers and processed meats can all substantially add to our sodium intake. Try to decrease the sodium in your diet by including more fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly foods such as green leafy vegetables, celery, cucumbers, lemons and ginger. Herbs offer great benefits too, parsley is a great natural diuretic, perhaps try your hand at making a big, fresh bowl of tabbouleh. Homemade juices are great too, try celery, green apple and ginger to help flush away excess fluid. Herbal teas can also assist in balancing fluid levels. Check out your local health food store for teas such as celery seed, nettle or dandelion leaf. These teas are caffeine free so help yourself to a few cups a day. Many people find that by taking a good look at their diet, they may be able to improve their fluid retention symptoms. Hydration Our water intake is important too, don’t forget that our bodies are made up of around 60% water. Although, seemingly counterintuitive, when we experience fluid retention, increasing our water intake can help flush out excess sodium and help to re-establish a normal balance of fluid within the body. Dehydration can also cause our bodies to retain fluid so try to get at least two litres of pure water every day to keep well hydrated. Movement Our daily activities can influence how we retain water as well. If your job keeps you on your feet, by the end of the day you may notice that your legs feel heavy or perhaps your feet are looking a bit puffier than they were in the morning. Sitting for long periods of time can also trigger fluid retention, think long haul flights or sitting at a desk all day. Movement helps improve blood flow and circulation, naturally helping to assist with fluid retention. Physical injuries or joints affected by mild arthritis can also result in fluid retention as the body draws fluid towards the affected area, creating swollen, painful joints. Gentle exercise or massage may help to mobilise this excess fluid, easing discomfort. Persistent fluid retention may be a symptom of a more serious health issue, so if swelling continues, please seek the advice of your health professional who will be able to provide you with more information about your treatment options.
The Healing Benefits of Yoga & Meditation Its Origins Yoga and meditation have both been around for so long, nobody can be certain exactly when it began. Ancient scriptures from around 5000 years ago hint at the early beginnings of yogic practice and meditation, however, it has only been in the last 200 years that it has gained momentum in the Western world. The popularity of yoga continues to grow in Australia. A survey conducted in 2017 showed that it was Australia’s preferred choice for cardio, strength and flexibility exercise with two million participants getting out their yoga mats1, while one in six adults in Australia will practice meditation2. Both yoga and meditation had been a pivotal aspect of wholistic health and wellbeing long before Instagram came about, they are not simply a trend and are here to stay. So why such enduring longevity? There’s no denying that modern lives can often be busy, rushed and at times quite stressful for most of us. Many people use yoga and meditation as a means of bringing calm and quiet to their lives. The benefits of both yoga and meditation are many and although often used in conjunction with each other, they also offer their own individual benefits. Yoga Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘union of the body and mind’. Using both physical postures and rhythmic breathing techniques, there are many forms of yoga, providing a broad range of options for every body type and level of agility. There are many benefits of yoga, here are just a few. 1. Improved Flexibility Most of us associate yoga with flexibility which may deter some people from taking up the practice. Yoga is suitable for all levels of flexibility, the more yoga you do, the more flexible and agile you will become. Yoga poses, or asanas, are slow and gentle, helping your body to ease into each position within our own capability. By improving flexibility, our bodies can move more freely as we increase our range of movement and develop strength in our muscles and joints. This conditioning may also lessen our risk of injury and improve our everyday functions like balance. 2. Stress and Anxiety Relief More and more people are turning to yoga to help them deal with their stress and anxiety. When we are stressed or anxious, we often hold it within our bodies. We tend to tense up, grit our teeth or clench our muscles. Yoga helps to ease out this tension by encouraging relaxation within our muscles and joints, effectively soothing both the body and mind. Several studies have shown that yoga can be an effective tool for supporting mental health3. A survey conducted in Australia in 2012 on 3892 participants, concluded that the majority used yoga as a form of stress relief4. 3. Pain Relief Modern-day living may see many of us sitting at our computers or hunched over our phones for hours on end. Extended time spent in the same position can cause tightness and stiffness throughout our muscles and joints resulting in back, shoulder and neck pain. Yoga can help to counteract these positions helping to prevent further complications which may include headaches and unwanted postural changes. Meditation Meditation is a mental exercise which encourages mindfulness, deep concentration and relaxation. When you meditate you are in a fully awake state however, the most common form of meditation is to clear the mind and aim your focus internally, rather than on what is going on around you. Meditation can be practiced by anyone young or old and is often used to help calm and clear the mind but there are many more benefits, here are just some of them. 4. Improved Neuroplasticity Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change throughout a person’s life by forming new neural connections through experiences. Studies have shown that meditation can help to support the neuroplasticity of our brains, effectively re-wiring our brains and boosting the health and function of our body and minds, in a similar way to that of acquiring a new skill6. It basically keeps our brains young. 5. Increasing Focus and Concentration Meditation helps us to be more mindful and in the present moment, it also helps us to fully focus and concentrate. Sometimes our lives can be so busy that we find ourselves multitasking so frequently that we may barely remember doing a particular task at all. Meditation helps to eliminate outside distractions and concentrate on the task at hand, enabling us to complete the task mindfully and effectively. 6. Focusing on the Present Research indicates that regular meditation can help to lift our mood and enable us to let go of negative thoughts and habits7. By resetting our minds through meditation, we can better move past repetitive thoughts on the past or future and focus more on the present moment. Often thinking too far ahead or dwelling on past issues can cause stress and anxiety, meditation can help to bring us back into the present moment and focus on what is important. Yoga and meditation are practices that all ages can benefit from. Take a little time for yourself to re-centre or calm your mind with some quiet meditation or why not involve your children in some wind-down yoga poses before bed? References: http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7544-yoga-pilates-participation-december-2017-201803290641 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17718647/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5116432/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3410203/ https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1809754 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944261/ https://ucdavis.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/the-effects-of-mindfulness-meditation-on-cognitive-processes-and-
Benefits of Turmeric For Joint Health Historical Use Of TumericMost of us are familiar with turmeric as an ingredient in cooking, nestled amongst the other herbs and spices in the spice rack, it’s hard to ignore with its vibrant golden hue. There’s no denying the warming and comforting goodness that a good bowl of curry can deliver, however, the benefits of turmeric are not a discovery of modern times, its use can be traced back to over 4,500 years ago!Turmeric was not only used as a culinary spice and a revered traditional medicine, but it also played an important part in religious practices, wedding ceremonies and was even worn as an amulet to ward off evil spirits. Turmeric was often used to dye the cloth for the vibrant, golden robes worn by Buddhist and Hindu monks.As a native plant of Southeast Asia, India has long been the largest producer of turmeric since its early beginnings. Turmeric root comes from the plant Curcuma longa which belongs to the same botanical family as ginger. The underground stems are called rhizomes which are harvested, dried and ground into a yellow powder. Because of this bright colour, turmeric has also been known as ‘Indian Saffron’.Currently, turmeric is enjoying the limelight as one of the most popular herbs on the market for joint pain and inflammation, and for good reason. Much research has been conducted on the medicinal uses of turmeric and you’ll find the internet and trendy cookbooks brimming with recipes for lattes, smoothies, dressings and of course, curries to help you incorporate turmeric into your diet1,2.So, what is it that makes turmeric so beneficial for inflammation and mild joint pain?The turmeric root naturally contains bioactive substances called curcuminoids, the most important of them being curcumin. Curcumin is the compound which is responsible for the medicinal actions of the plant. Although curcumin only takes up a small proportion of the total root, it possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin can be hard for the body to absorb, so when adding it to recipes it’s important to ensure that there is a fat component in the dish, such as yoghurt, olive oil or nuts to help get the full health benefits from the root.Unfortunately, a large number of us can expect to experience joint pain at some stage in our lives. Joint health is important for everybody, particularly as we age and turmeric has been shown to be effective for relieving inflammation and swelling of the joints. Turmeric has long been used to treat sore joints, including the symptoms of mild osteoarthritis, and for helping to improve mobility and stiffness. Turmeric is not only helpful for reducing inflammation, but it can also help to protect our bodies from free radical damage through its antioxidant action. Antioxidants help to keep our cells strong and operating as they should, keeping our body and its systems running smoothly. Oxidative or free radical damage has been linked to many health conditions, including poor joint health and function, so antioxidants are important to keep our bodies healthy.The popularity and medicinal benefits of turmeric have stood the test of time, if you suffer from sore joints and inflammation, or think you could use a few more antioxidants in your diet, why not give turmeric a try?
7 Natural Ways To Relieve Muscle Pain You may have experienced muscle pain, for example, when you have exercised too much and overworked your body, it can be so intense that it makes any physical movement difficult.This is a classic acute scenario of temporary muscle pain; however, muscle pain can also be a chronic condition for many people as well.Muscle pain occurs when microscopic tears are created in the muscle tissue after exercise or intense activity and often are associated with pain to the local area. The body then sets about to repair and rebuild the muscle tissue. It is this process of breakdown and repair that helps to build and strengthen muscle tissue.Muscle pain beyond exercise can often be problematic and chronic. There are sometimes other reasons for muscle pain, which may include inflammation, arthritis, repeated muscle cramps, flu or chronic illnesses. In this instance, further action may be needed to help relieve muscle pain.Let’s look at some natural remedies for muscle pain: Epsom salt baths – Epsom salt is an inorganic salt called magnesium sulfate. When you bathe in magnesium it can greatly benefit muscle pain. As your skin is warmed up through hot water your pores dilate and magnesium is absorbed into the body. Magnesium is a great way to relieve muscle cramps, aches and pains and calm the nerves. Cold compress – When muscle pain is intense applying a cold compress such as a soft ice pack or bag of frozen peas can help to reduce pain and swelling. A cold ice pack can help numb nociception (pain) receptors to pain, decrease circulation and decrease metabolic activity. Cold showers– Whilst you may cringe at the thought of dipping your painful muscles into cold water, new research has revealed the benefits of cold water immersion or showers for the regulation of pain. A human study concluded that we can activate areas of the brain associated with pain suppression in the periaqueductal grey area (PAG) using special deep breathing techniques and cold water.* This part of the brain (PAG) is part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) an area previously thought impossible to actually control.If this is appealing to you, it is best to build your resistance up to cold water, starting with cool or slightly warm water first and build up to a cold water over a number of weeks. Have a shower every day or every other day. Gentle stretching – Slow, purposeful, gentle stretching can help to relieve stiff painful muscles. Only do gentle stretching to your ability or as far as you feel comfortable. Move slowly with your stretching and hold each position for 30-90 seconds. You should not be in more pain than when you began. Super anti-inflammatory foods – With chronic muscle pain there is often inflammation. So, try including foods which have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, some may include blueberries, fatty fish such as; salmon, sardines and mackerel, avocadoes, olive oil, coconut oil, almonds, and walnuts to name a few. Magnesium – Magnesium is a micronutrient and important mineral required in over 300 enzyme reactions within the body. Magnesium is required for muscle and nerve function. Magnesium can help relieve muscle ache, pain and soreness. You can take a magnesium supplement or in food sources such as dark chocolate (70% or higher), avocadoes, dark green leafy vegetables and Brazil nuts are a few examples. Deep breathing – When pain is intense or prolonged and chronic. Deep breathing or relaxation techniques may help to modulate the pain response and perception. Deep breathing helps to reduce the stress hormones in the blood, regulate the immune system response and allow muscles to relax. There are a number of styles of breathing techniques, however the most popular requires you to: slowly breathe in deeply through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeating this cycle breathing 5-10 times. You may notice with each inhale you breathe slower and for longer. This type of rhythmical breathing can help you feel relaxed and calm. When you are in muscle pain, your body is telling you to take notice. It may be in a state of repair and recovery or chronic muscle pain may require you to take more assertive action and seek health professional advice. Only you can understand the intensity of your pain and some of these natural remedies may lead you on the path to recovery.Reference: *Otto, M et.al, 2018, Brain Over Body – A study on the willful regulation of autonomic function during cold exposure, Wayne State University, Michigan, USA
6 Steps Towards Healthier Joints According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2017-2018, a survey showed that one in seven Australians suffered from joint pain. Taking care of your joints and keeping them healthy is the best way to keep mobile and active as we age. There are plenty of ways to keep your joints healthy, here are just a few tips.According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2017-2018, a survey showed that one in seven Australians suffered from joint pain. Taking care of your joints and keeping them healthy is the best way to keep mobile and active as we age. There are plenty of ways to keep your joints healthy, here are just a few tips.Eat Well!It’s no secret that the first step to a healthy body is a good diet, this is especially true for your joints. While there is no miracle diet for joints, there are many delicious foods, full of healthy nutrients which can help ease inflammation. Try incorporating more of these foods into your diet: Omega-3 fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds or ground linseeds Colourful fruit and vegetables – the more colours, the more beneficial nutrients Green leafy vegetables, avocadoes and olives (including olive oil) Avoid fried foods, margarine and processed foods, these foods are not conducive to good health, let alone healthy joints! Maintain a healthy weightIt makes sense that if we keep a healthy weight our joints will ultimately benefit. Carrying excess weight puts further pressure on our joints, particularly weight bearing joints such as knees. Keeping a healthy weight benefits not only our joints but also our entire body and mind.Keep movingOften when people experience joint pain, they tend to stop exercising or moving as much as before due to the pain or discomfort. Joints are meant to move and gentle exercise has been shown to reduce joint pain, improve flexibility and keep your weight down. It’s also important to keep exercising to maintain good muscle tone. Strong muscles help to support bones and take the strain off joints.The type of exercise that you choose is important, it will depend on which joints are affected, however, keep it low impact and know your limits. You don’t need to be the fastest runner or swimmer, there’s no medal for who can endure the most pain! Tailor your exercises to your needs, generally low impact exercises are gentle and won’t overwhelm you. Try aqua aerobics, cycling, yoga or simply walking the dog. Take it easy, only you know what your body can handle and it’s always a good idea to speak to a health professional such as a physiotherapist for a more personalised exercise program if you need some guidance.Watch your postureBe mindful of how you are holding yourself. When part of us hurts, we tend to compensate by using other parts of our body to help out. This can lead to further joint or muscle pain, sometimes in another part of the body! That’s the last thing anybody wants!When you are walking, keep your shoulders back, when you are sitting, check that you aren’t slouching and when you are resting, ensure that your neck is supported with the right pillow. Muscle tone is important, particularly core strength. When your core is strong, your back is supported and your balance is improved, lessening the likelihood of injury.Be kind to yourselfIf you can, treat yourself to a gentle massage occasionally or seek some professional advice on learning self-massage. Sometimes a long soak in a warm bath can help ease away any stiffness, take a good book with you and enjoy a little time in your own company.Use it or lose itWe’ve all heard it a million times, the old phrase, “use it or lose it” but looking after and protecting our joints now, will pay off in the future. Joints that are under used, tend to become stiff and inflexible, limiting mobility and activities that were once enjoyed. The most important thing to remember is to keep moving, eat well and enjoy better mobility in the later years.
Importance of Magnesium What is Magnesium? Magnesium is a mineral found in abundance within our bodies. Roughly half of all the magnesium in our body can be found in the bone whilst the remainder can be found within cells and organs, leaving just a little to circulate in the blood. Hundreds of enzymatic reactions rely on adequate levels of magnesium; without it, our body simply couldn’t function properly.Magnesium has a vast array of functions within the body, however, most people may be familiar with magnesium and its use for mild muscle cramping or mild muscle twitches and spasms. Magnesium has a great affinity for muscular complaints, which makes it a great mineral to turn to when such ailments occur.How exactly does magnesium work for healthy muscle function?Magnesium works closely with calcium in the body. While calcium stimulates muscular contractions, magnesium promotes muscle relaxation. The coordinated movement of calcium and magnesium across cell membranes ensures that muscles contract and relax properly. Don’t forget that the heart is a big muscle, so the right balance of magnesium and calcium is essential to make sure that heart health is being maintained.Due to the high level of magnesium contained in muscle cells, it is especially important for athletes or those who exercise regularly. As magnesium is lost through sweat, those who are very active may experience a heightened need for the mineral1. Magnesium is an essential electrolyte which is why many sports drinks include magnesium to assist in replenishing levels that may have been depleted through perspiration.Recent studies have shown that magnesium supplementation decreases oxygen requirements during exercise, making workouts more efficient with better recovery. Further research suggests that improvements in muscle performance may be due to the role that magnesium plays in protein synthesis and energy production1.How can you use magnesium to support muscle performance and improve recovery time? Depending on the intensity level of your training and how much sweat you have lost, you may wish to supplement with magnesium after your workout. As magnesium is a water-soluble mineral and easily lost through sweat, this would be a great time to replenish your magnesium levels, helping to minimise muscle aches and mild cramping, and assisting with post-exercise recovery.Magnesium is not only important after a workout but research has shown magnesium to be beneficial pre-workout, particularly for those with inadequate magnesium intake. Research suggests that supplementation for individuals with low magnesium levels may deliver positive benefits to their muscle performance during exercise2,3. So make sure that your diet includes foods which are known for their magnesium content. Magnesium is an essential mineral which means that our bodies are unable to produce it, so we need to obtain it through our diet or via supplementation.Luckily, there are lots of delicious foods jam-packed with magnesium. Try keeping some nuts in your gym bag or adding a banana to your protein shake for an easy magnesium boost.Best sources of magnesium include: Green and leafy Vegetables Pumpkin seeds Flaxseeds Nuts such as almonds, cashews and walnuts Brown rice chickpeas Fruit such as avocados, bananas and figs Ensuring that you have adequate amounts of magnesium in your diet is easy. Try adding avocados to a leafy green salad or adding some chopped nuts to your next bowl of porridge. Don’t forget that dark chocolate is also very rich in magnesium, try to find a bar that contains at least 70% cocoa solids and try to limit it to a square or two and enjoy.ReferencesZhang Y, Pengcheng X et al, 2017, Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance? Nutrients doi: 10.3390/nu9090946Lukaski HC, 2004, Vitamin and Mineral Stats: Effects on Physical Performance. Nutrition, Vol 20, Numbers 7/8Nielsen FH, Lukaski HC, 2006, Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise. Magnesium Research, 19(3):180-9
Here's good news on how you may help & maintain healthy bones! Did you know that you need more than just calcium to build strong healthy bones? And did you know that the bone in your body is reformed about every 10 years1?This process is regulated by Osteoblasts, the cells that build up your skeleton and Osteoclasts, the cells that break down your skeleton. As long as the bone building activity of Osteoblasts exceeds the destructive action of Osteoclasts, the process of maintaining healthy bone is kept under control. In order for your body to build the bone structure, Osteoblasts produce a Vitamin K2 dependent protein called Osteocalcin. Osteocalcin binds calcium from your diet to your bone matrix helping to build healthy bones. Vitamin K2 helps maintain bone strength and may help support and maintain bone mineral density.Bone building nutrients work and belong together.Vitamin K2 naturally complements calcium as they work together as part of a team. You may take a calcium supplement to maintain the health of your bones. However a key additional vitamin for your bone health is Vitamin K2. While calcium is essential for good bone health, Vitamin K2 is also a co-factor in helping to maintain bone health.As we know the major use of calcium in your body is in your skeleton. You need calcium to help keep up the constant repair and rebuilding of your bones. However calcium does not function in isolation and it’s important to also maintain your intake of Vitamin K2. So if you want a quality vitamin, which may help your body build healthy bones, try Caruso’s Vitamin K2 today. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your Healthcare Professional. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet. Vitamin supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intakes are inadequate. 1.The Basics of Bone In Health & Disease. Office of the surgeon General U.S. National Institute of health. 2004
FITNESS WELLNESSHere's good news on how you may help & maintain healthy bones! Read more
Caruso's Keeps Me Going!-78 year old Triathlete Alf Lakin. Meet Alf Lakin. Gold Coast based triathlete now 78 years of age, representing Australia in various domestic and international events. Alf started competing in triathlons approximately three years ago, when he decided he needed a change from his usual track and field activity.He says that the "challenge of doing the sport" was what inspired him to give it a go. He also believes that keeping active helps to keep your mind and body feeling young. In a recent interview with Channel 7's The Daily Edition, Alf said he believed that being inactive causes things to "start slowing down". But doing triathlons "keeps me in good health and is better than sitting around".Alf credits his activity physically and the sense of satisfaction and community that it brings for his positive outlook, proclaiming during a chat with Caruso's recently "life is great!". Alf has been a long term user of Caruso's products and also says that he believes supplementation "makes a big difference". Frank and the team at Caruso's are proud to support Alf in his athletic challenges and as he inspires people all around the world to stay active, no matter your age. See his interview from August 2018 with The Daily Edition here Find Alf on Instagram
FITNESS WELLNESSCaruso's Keeps Me Going!-78 year old Triathlete Alf Lakin. Read more
Active Kids = Healthier Kids! Guest Article by Suzanne Robinson from Mummy to Twins Plus One- http://mummytotwinsplusone.com/ Having time outdoors is great for your brain and body. Fresh air and sunshine can make everyone feel better. In the 21st century, we have so many distractions that make being outdoors and present so much harder. Mobile technology -- smart phones and tablets -- are so easy to take with us. The consequence of this is that we never switch off. Time away from screens is important for everyone. My motto is little bit of screen time is fine, but if the weather is great they need to get outside and play. Did you know that spending time in nature helps with the following: more creativity, better vision and concentration, stress relief, and improved mood? So what type of things do my kids and I love to do? Park Fun I love to take the kids to the park. They run wild, play on swings and other play equipment. Bike Riding Bike riding is fun for everyone. My girls ride their bikes to parks and bike tracks so that they can have more practice and fun with their bikes. There are many benefits to bike riding for kids; fitness, having fun with family and friends, getting outdoors and experiencing your environment. Cycling is easy to do and the best one is that it is a free activity after you purchase a bike that is. Bush Walking Living in the Blue Mountains means so many choices for bush walks. Exploring different areas, seeing birds, animals, the wonderful trees, and flowers is a joy. Swimming My kids are definitely water babies. They all love spending time in the pool and when the weather is warm it is hard to get them out of the water. The twins invent games, play with friends and each other and also have fund with inflatables at the pool. Aqua Aerobics When I have the time I love to do aqua aerobics at the pool. I find that the water adds a degree of difficulty to stretches and allows you to be supported if you have issues with knees of joints during exercise. This exercise allows you to go at your own pace. If you wish to push yourself you can. Fresh air, exercise, a change of scenery and switching off helps you be a better you. What activities do you incorporate into your life? Which ones will you make sure to add to your list this spring? More about our Guest Blogger Suzanne Robinson is the mummy behind Mummy to Twins Plus One. Suzanne lives in the Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney. She is a mum to twin girls and a baby boy and yes, three kids keep Suzanne extremely busy. Suzanne is a blogger, writer, speaker, organiser of all, creative, and loves having fun with the family. Mummy to Twins Plus One covers everything from parenthood, ideas for dinners, parenting fails, giveaways, competitions, and some great craft and DIY ideas. Suzanne has a degree in communications and a Masters in Project Management. See her website: http://mummytotwinsplusone.com/
True Wealth is Good Health - 20 Minute Workout Video Exercising 20 minutes a day reduces the risk of developing Chronic Disease dramatically! About half of all Australians have a chronic disease, and around 20% of these people have at least two (multiple conditions) according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)1. These are shocking statistics! Older people are more vulnerable to developing many diseases, and Australians' increasing life expectancy means a greater chance for multiple conditions to arise. Nearly 40% of Australians aged 45 and over have two or more of the eight chronic diseases examined. For this age group, the two most common chronic diseases to occur in combination with any other chronic disease were arthritis and cardiovascular disease.* It doesn’t have to be this way. Health Care Professional’s have long known about the health benefits of regular exercise in the prevention of heart disease, obesity and other related health conditions. However with all the evidence supporting the benefits of exercising and the major role it plays in preventing chronic disease, over 70% of adults (almost 12 million Australians) don’t do enough physical activity to maintain good health. The good news is recent studies have shown that by exercising for as little as 20 minutes a day you can reduce your chances of developing chronic diseases dramatically but also help you manage the symptoms. The problem is many people who do exercise don’t exercise correctly or efficiently and as a result many muscles throughout your body are not engaged. It’s important that your workout includes exercises that engage multiple muscle groups through a range of body movements. Today I would like to guide you through my 20-minute workout program that is suitable for all ages. It includes 8 easy Functional Bodyweight exercises that you can do every morning as soon as you get out of bed, either before or after a light breakfast. The 8 Functional Bodyweight Exercises I will be covering today are: SQUATS LUNGES DIPS CRUNCHES GLUTE BRIDGE PLANK PULSE MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS and PUSH UPS Important Safety Tips Before I start demonstrating these exercises I have some important information so please read carefully. No 1 - If you have an existing health condition or injury you should talk to your health care professional before starting any exercise program. No 2 - It’s important to start the workout at a moderate pace until your body warms up. Start by doing the first set of 8 exercises slowly and then increase your pace and intensity. This helps blood circulation and reduces your risk of injury. No 3 – Always keep your abdominal muscles engaged during each exercise. I will be referring to these as CORE muscles throughout the workout. Our core muscles are important because they support our lower back. No 4 – Remember to breathe during each exercise - take deep breaths when muscles are relaxed and exhale when engaged. No 5 - If you have limited mobility, slow down your movements to a level where you feel comfortable. No 6 - You will be doing 20 repetitions for each of the 8 exercises – 1 set. Repeat the 8 exercises without stopping for a minimum period of 20 minutes. Remember to take deep breaths during the workout. No. 7 – If you haven’t exercised for years please start with completing 1 set for the first week, increase to 2 sets on the second, and continue adding 1 set every week until you reach a level of fitness that allows you to continue for 20 minutes without stopping. No. 8 – If you are pregnant, always consult your Medical practitioner first before attempting to perform any of the exercises Detailed overview of exercises The 1st exercise is SQUATS (20 x reps) Squats are known as the king of all exercises because they work multiple muscle groups. They engage your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and your core muscles just to name a few. It’s important that you keep your arms out in front, back straight, chest lifted, chin up while doing a Squat. Start slowly and move into a full squat as your body warms up. If you have limited mobility or lower back pain and can’t do a full squat that’s ok, just squat down to a level that’s comfortable for you. Exercise 2 - LUNGES (20 x reps) Lunges work your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves and core muscles. Like Squats, it’s important that you keep your back straight, chest and chin up while doing lunges. Try and get your knee as close to the floor as possible without touching. As you get stronger you can hold light dumbbells in each hand. Exercise number 3 - Chair Dips (20 x reps) Dips work your triceps, shoulders and upper back. Using a strong and stable chair, sit on the edge with both feet together. Place your hands on the edge of the seat on either side of your thigh and keep your feet flat on the floor. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and lower yourself towards the floor. Chair Dips are challenging so take it nice and easy. Exercise 4 - Crunches (20 x reps) Crunches are great for strengthening your core muscles. Lying back on the floor with knees bent, place your hands crossed over the chest and move forward by curling your shoulders towards your pelvis. Do these slowing without lifting your shoulders too far off the ground. For maximum results always keep your core muscles engaged. Exercise 5 - Glute Bridge (20 x reps) Glute Bridge strengthens and tightens your backside so it’s a great exercise for that dream bum. Start by lying face up on the floor with arms to the side, palms down, knees bent, and heels on the ground. Lift your hips off the ground until knees, hips, and shoulders are in a straight line making sure to squeeze your glutes as you reach the top of the movement. Avoid pushing your hips too high. All of your weight should be balanced between your shoulders and your feet. Hold for 3 seconds, and then slowly lower your hips back down slightly touching the ground before repeating the rep. Exercise 6 - Plank Pulse (20 x reps) Plank Pulse is a great exercise for strengthening and defining your core muscles. The correct way to do a Plank Pulse is up on your toes with both elbows inline with your shoulders so your chin is in line with your thumbs. Keeping your back and head straight, slowly pulse forward until your chin is in line with the end of your finger tips and then pulse back in the start position. Repeat this 20 times. For beginners start on your knees until you are strong enough to do them on your toes. Exercise 7 - Mountain Climbers (20 x reps each leg) Mountain climbers are a great total body exercise. They work multiple muscles, your legs, arms, core, shoulders, glutes as well as giving you a great cardio workout. Get in the plank position, arms fully extended and feet apart. Once you are aligned in the plank position, draw your right knee into your chest without your right foot touching the floor and then extend back into plank position. Repeat the same movement with your left leg and continue alternating until you complete 20 reps on each leg. Accelerating the speed of these movements increases your heart rate and burns more calories. Exercise 8, last but not least is and my favorite - Push Ups (20 x reps) Push ups also work multiple muscles; pectoral muscles, core, shoulders, triceps and deltoids. Lying face down on the ground, lift on your toes and place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width with fingers facing forward. While keeping your body straight, lower your body to the ground by bending arms at the elbows. Raise your body up off the ground by extending the arms. Repeat 20 times. If you cant do push ups on your toes it's ok to do them on your knees until you get stronger. That’s it. You are done. By now you should be sweating, if not you have not worked hard enough. Remember - Sweat is fat crying! Cooling Down and Stretching It’s important to take 5 minutes to cool down by stretching before taking a shower or having breakfast. There are many websites that demonstrate good stretching techniques so please adopt one that suits you. Please try and follow my 20-minute functional, bodyweight workout 6 days week and after a few weeks I promise you will feel fantastic, probably the best you have felt in years. After a few days you have more energy, be less stressed, sleep better, and be ready to start your day in a positive frame of mind. I’m over 60 and I can honestly say that I feel more alert, vibrant and enthusiastic about life today than I did in my early twenties. I’m a good example that if you embrace the principles of natural living you can live a long, healthy and vibrant life. If you make time for good health, you will always have enough health for a good time! Yours in vibrant health, Frank Caruso 1. http://www.aihw.gov.au/chronic-diseases
The Benefits of Tai Chi Tai Chi reduces tress, increases mobility, relieves pain, promotes happiness and improves quality of life! Tai Chi's popularity in Australia is on the increase and it is not just the elderly practicing Tai Chi in the local park! People of all age groups and walks of life are embracing the benefits of Tai Chi. So what is it about Tai Chi that is making many of us want to try it? Tai Chi aims to improve overall health an wellbeing including both the body and mind with a low-impact, slow-style exercise, designed to leave a sense of relaxation and calm after each session. Tai Chi is very different to many forms of exercise as it aims to relax muscles, rather than tensing muscles, using circular motions that flow and are never forces, whilst ensuring connective tissues are not over-stretched or over-exerted. Tai Chi originated in Ancient China as a martial art, often being described as "meditation in motion" due to the tranquility and fluidity of the movements involved. One of Tai Chi's beauties is that it can be practiced by nearly everyone, spanning across varying degrees of fitness and range of motion as the movements can be tailored to individual requirements. Tai Chi is said to cultivate and stimulate QI, the energy force believed to flow throughout the body. This then removes blockages that may have occurred and may be causing certain ailments in the body. Tai Ch also works on balancing Yin and Yang in the body. Yin and Yang are opposing elements that are said to promote balance and harmony. How could Tai Chi help you? Tai Chi boasts many benefits to health and wellbeing, including: Stress Tai Chi may help reduce stress levels from the gentle movement, breathing techniques and mental concentration required. During a session you are encouraged to remain tranquil, yet alert enough to consciously command the body. Balance and Fall Prevention Most research surrounding Tai chi's health benefits have been on fall prevention. With studies supporting Tai Chi's involvement in assisting balance and fall prevention, due to increased coordination in the elderly. Proprioception- the ability to sense the position of one's body in space - declines with age, meaning the elderly are at a higher risk of losing balance and falling. Due to Tai Chi's ability to be adjusted, it is an exercise form that many elderly can embrace and add to their lives. Muscle Strength Continued Tai Chi will improve muscle strength in both the upper and lower body, similar to that of bris walkgin or light resistance training. Increased muscle strength helps joints remain stable and protected, which may prevent certain types of injuries and may be beneficial in those who exercise frequently and more vigorously. Flexibility Flexibility allows us to move and improves our range of motion. Tai Chi is believed o be beneficial in those wishing to improve their range of motion, particularly after certain injuries. Other reasons to try Tai Chi You can do it anywhere as minimal space is required. Many people choose to practice Tai Chi outside, however this is not a requirement, just personal choice. Many classes available Australia wide as well as many DVDs and online classes available, if you prefer the comfort of your own home. The risk of injury is very low from Tai Chi. You can do it alone, at your own pace, or with others. No fancy outfits required, just loose clothes to move freely in and flat shoes that you can still feel the ground in. Look out for instructors or courses in your local area if you are beginning and / or buy or download some Tai Chi DVDs if you prefer to practice in the comfort of your own home an enjoy the many benefits Tai Chi can bring to your life. Disclaimer If you suffer from any medical condition or pre-existing injuries check with your healthcare professional before undertaking any exercise program.
Yoga Can Help with Aches and Pains Yoga is a simple process of reversing the ordinary outward flow of energy and consciousness so that the mind becomes a dynamic centre of direct perception which is no longer dependent upon the fallible senses but capable of actually experiencing the truth. In Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism the word yoga means “spiritual discipline”. Yoga is not new; it was developed in India more than 5000 years ago, and was used to unite the body, mind, and spirit. People often associate yoga with the postures and positions that make up the physical activity of the exercise, but after closer inspection it becomes clear that there are many more aspects of yoga. However, the progress of learning to still the mind and unify consciousness is also important in yoga exercise. Benefits of yoga Yoga practice can do more than to help improve the flexibility and strengthening of your muscles, most yoga poses are designed to flex and increase flexibility and reduce stress. Twisting your body into different shapes helps to release tension and ease the aches and pains. Mental Health: Yoga can be beneficial in achieving balance in physical, spiritual and emotional health. It helps you achieve deeper knowledge of yourself, and it facilitates in the discovery of your own power and makes you feel optimistic about yourself. It also helps to relieve irregularities in the brain and the entire Nervous System. Reference: A yoga intervention for young adults with elevated symptoms of depression. Woolery, A, Myers, H, Sternlieb, B and Zelter, L.2004 Immune system: Yoga practicing may enhance healthy living by allowing you to get enough sleep, eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of liquid. This kind of lifestyle will not only help in preventing you from being sick, but also in improving your health and strengthening your immunity by reducing your susceptibility to viruses which can cause ill health. There are many different types of yoga to practice. It is important to find out which type of yoga is right for you. Here is an introduction of a few of the most common and popular types of yoga: Asanas yoga: These techniques reach deep into the yogi’s body, massaging important internal organs. Helps to cleanse and maintain the nervous and circulatory systems, which automatically results in a healthier body and mind. Breathing exercises can also help in keeping a person healthy by supplying a fixed amount of oxygen to the muscles and internal organs. Ananda yoga: This type of yoga will appeal to the beginners who desire to cultivate spirituality and learn how to meditate as it focuses on gentle posture and is designed to move energy up to the brain. Hatha Yoga: Is the foundation of all Yoga styles. This is a basic form of yoga that has become very popular and easy to learn. It incorporates postures, regulated breathing, and meditation. The ideal way to practice the Hatha Yoga poses is to approach the practice session in a calm, meditative mood. One of the basic principles of yoga is to have a proper diet. The practice should be complemented by the right kind of foods in order to fully benefit from what yoga has to offer. You must have a well-balanced diet and it should nourish both your mind and body. https://carusosnaturalhealth.com.au/articles/harmonise-the-mind-and-body-with-yoga/
Cardio VS Weight Training For a long time there has been a great debate of what works better, with misconceptions and a lot of conflicting information, but what really is best? Believe it or not, you burn calories throughout the day regardless of what you are doing, but exercise helps increase the rate at which you burn those calories. If weight loss is your primary goal, you may think that focusing exclusively on fat-burning cardio exercise is the way to go, right? Whilst that may be true, an average cardiovascular session will burn more calories than a strength session. However, are you aware that strength training continually burns more calories throughout the day then a cardio exercise session? So if you add strength training to your regime, you will increase muscle mass and burn even more calories. Strength training has an array of benefits such as the following: Strength training helps with long term weight maintenance: Strength training not only aids in weight loss, it helps maintain it too. A recent study revealed that women who followed a weight-training routine 3 times a week increased the amount of calories burned in normal daily activity (in addition to those burned during exercise), helping them maintain their current weight. Strength training makes you stronger and fitter: Strength training is also called resistance training because it involves strengthening and toning your muscles. Strength training is based on the principle that the muscles of your body will work to overcome force when they are required to do so. There are two types of resistance training: • Isotonic resistance, which involves contracting your muscles through a range of movements such as weightlifting. • Isometric resistance, which involves contracting your muscles against a non-moving object, such as againstthe floor in a push-up. Both types of resistance training aid in making you stronger as well as fitter and more toned. Strength training helps you improve your body’s mechanisms: Strength training aids in improving your balance, coordination and your posture. Strength training boosts energy levels and improves your mood: Strength training will elevate your levels of “feel good” hormones, known as endorphins which will aid in improving your mood. That’s why we feel better when we exercise. Cardio is an essential part of any workout routine, with weight loss being one ofthe biggest incentives for people to docardio training. Cardio training will not only benefit you by burning calories, but also by: Improving cardiovascular fitness: Cardio exercise aids in improving the efficacy of blood to oxygen flow throughout the body, which aids in improving the physical conditioning of your heart and lungs. Reducing stress: Like most exercises, cardio aids in relieving stress, which may help in improving your mood. How to get started? Lifting heavy weights is not the only form of strength training. Simple exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and mountain climbers, are all examples of exercises that provide strength training. With cardio exercises, begin with a 30 minute slow walk and then begin increasing the intensity to a brisk walk and then to a jog, eventually building up to a run would be a great way to start. If you have any health issues, ask your doctor or fitness expert what type of training is best to meet your needs and abilities. Just remember a combination of both exercise types is the key. Not only will you gain all the benefits but you will also have a range of exercises to keep you motivated so you never get bored.
The Health Benefits of Acupuncture Ever wondered what drug-free pain relief looks like? Well take a look at Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the theory is that an energy force called “qi” flows through the body along an energy network (or conduit) called meridians regulating the functions of the body. Disharmony in the body is thought to be brought about by blockages or disruption to the flow of “qi” through the body. Acupuncture corrects the flow of “qi” in the body by stimulating specific points along the meridians of the body. This is done by inserting fine metal needles along the skin restoring harmony and balance within an individual. Did you know that in ancient China it was forbidden to dissect a body and the subject of anatomy didn’t exist? This meant that their knowledge of health and disease came from observing living subjects. It’s generally agreed that Acupuncture originated back in ancient China but how it evolved exactly is uncertain. Chinese history mentions that in the time of the Emperor Shennong, Han Chinese doctors observed that soldiers wounded in battle by arrows would be cured of their chronic complaints without having ever being treated with anything. What we do know exists is a document that records an organised system of diagnosing and treating called The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. This is the first ever written record of acupuncture and dates back to 100 BCE. In today’s modern life we are in a constant state of “busy-ness” and quick fixes are the easiest way of dealing with common ailments like stress, headaches, back pain or lack of sleep. Like all quick fixes they are only band aid solutions and over time these common ailments may become persistent. Then when problems become unfixable what options do we have? Acupuncture! Just about everybody is doing it or knows someone who has done it and if you’re not doing it you’ve probably wondered about it. If you’re thinking, “What’s acupuncture good for?” The short answer is ‘’anything you may need help with”. Acupuncture can work wonders for: Back, neck and shoulder pain Headaches Alleviating digestive problems Problems with sleep Skin conditions like eczema Menstrual irregularities Acupuncture is gaining acceptance across the wider medical community as more and more people are experiencing the positive benefits. Many physicians in Australia having seen the positive benefits their patients are getting from acupuncture for pain relief, and are taking their own initiative and looking into it further with about one fifth of GP’s in Australia going on to do post-graduate training in acupuncture. A randomised controlled trial using acupuncture in three Melbourne hospitals to alleviate pain from acute migraines, back pain and ankle sprain is now underway. If the results from this trial are positive, then it will certainly open the way for more acceptance and use of acupuncture in other Australian hospitals. But the idea of needles has scared you off? Ok you may feel a slight pinch initially or a tingling as the needle takes effect but if you’re suffering aches and pains on a daily basis, then the slight pinch of a hair-thin needle is a small price to pay for relief from those aches and pains. And it has such lovely side-effects too, like a good night’s sleep. You have to take the right dose for it to work. If the issue you’re seeking acupuncture for has been bothering you for some time, then more than likely you will need to have more than one treatment. Acupuncture works cumulatively, this means that with each treatment the effect gets better.So, if drug-free pain relief is something you’ve been looking for then give acupuncture a try. For more information or finding a practitioner visit the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese medicine Association LTD website: www.acupuncture.org.au
When You’re Fit You Don’t Feel Old As our working lives come to an end, life can start to take an exciting turn. The next chapter has a lot to offer – travel, time to enjoy the grand children, new hobbies, new friends, some long awaited “me time”, no rush hour… Just because we are getting older, doesn’t mean we need to slow down. Good health will enable us to get the most out of this time, and one of the best ways to maintain good health is with regular exercise. Regular exercise has been shown to: Improve insulin sensitivity, keeping our blood sugar levels healthy and lowering our risk of developing type 2 diabetes; Maintain normal blood pressure; Maintain healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels; Reduce the risk of a heart attack and other chronic diseases; Build strong healthy bones and lower the risk of falls Recover better after periods of illness or bed rest Manage our weight Improve our psychological wellbeing Improve overall general well being (more energy, a better mood, better sleep, stress reduction etc.) In addition to these health benefits, researchers are learning that physical activity can also affect the risk of cancer. There is convincing evidence that physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of cancers of the colon and breast. Several studies also have reported links between physical activity and a reduced risk of cancers of the prostate, lung, and lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Speaking to a healthcare professional before you begin any exercise program is always recommended, but once you have decided on a course of action, the sky really is the limit and you could find yourself fitter and in better health than ever before. Staying active doesn’t only provide the benefits mentioned above. Picking the right exercises will also help to maintain balance, mobility, agility and co-ordination into your later years. Exercises that replicate everyday activities will offer many benefits in this regard, whilst strength training will help to maintain optimal muscle and bone strength. A mixture of exercises that promote strength, mobility, co-ordination, balance and cardiovascular fitness is optimal and a qualified exercise physiologist or personal trainer will help you to develop a program that is just right for you. Warming up and cooling down are vital to help prevent injury, and don’t forget to stretch! Exercises that promote flexibility will help to keep you mobile for much longer. Exercises to Promote Strength Exercises which promote strength are many and varied and will often see you utilising either some hand held weights or your own body weight. If you are working out at the local gym then you may also like to use some of the machines on offer – speak to one of the trainers first to make sure you are using the machines correctly, as incorrect use may result in an injury. Strength exercises will usually isolate muscle groups such as those in the shoulders or thighs and should be done at least twice per week for best results. Frank Caruso has developed a strength training exercise video which you can do in the comfort of your own home. The program can be viewed in this blog or on the Caruso’s Youtube channel. These exercises have been designed to assist with strength training using your own body weight and will take just 20 minutes of your time. Start by doing them at your own pace and slowly build up so that you are able to perform them at least a few times each week. Don’t forget to check with your doctor first and if you have any trouble with any of the exercises, please seek the advice of a qualified personal trainer or exercise physiologist. Someone who is qualified will be able to help you out with correct technique and balance, or help you with some alternatives if you are finding these exercises too difficult. Exercises to Promote Balance and Co-ordination Believe it or not, golf is actually a really great game to play to help to promote balance, co-ordination and agility. Stability of posture through the golf swing requires balance and core strength. Balance is also practiced as you bend over to pick up balls and crouch down to check the logistics of a putt. Hand eye and general body co-ordination is trained as you are hitting the ball, and the muscles which stabilise posture are exercised as you carry your bag around the course. Other exercises to help improve balance and core stability include canoeing, kayaking or paddle boarding, surfing, cycling, boxing and bowling. Activities that may help to promote co-ordination include tennis, squash, cricket, softball and dancing. These types of activities are recommended to be done at least once per week for optimal results. Exercises to Promote Cardiovascular Fitness Cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise is the most beneficial form of exercise for helping to maintain healthy blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It will also help to promote oxygen flow to the muscles and therefore increase energy. Any activity that gets your heart rate up will be promoting cardiovascular fitness and a healthy heart. Try to incorporate some kind of aerobic exercise into your routine at least two to three times per week for optimal benefits. It may take a while to build up your endurance levels. Start out by doing 5 – 10 minutes at a time and try to increase this slowly over the course of about a month until you are doing about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times per week. Some examples of cardiovascular or aerobic exercise include water aerobics, brisk walking (golf or walking the dog), hiking, tennis, cycling, swimming and dancing. Even a big day in the garden or washing the car can count as cardiovascular exercise. Exercises that Promote Flexibility and Mobility Being flexible and maintaining supple joints will aid in overall mobility and keep you active for much longer. Some examples of exercises which promote flexibility include yoga, pilates and tai chi. Rest and Fuel Set aside one or two days per week as rest days. This will help your body to recover after all of that activity! Eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of fresh protein and some healthy fats from nuts, seeds and avocados will ensure that your muscles and bones are getting all of the nutrients they need to keep up with you. Drinking at least 1.5 litres of fresh, clean water daily will also help to maintain hydration and make sure your body is ready to do it all again tomorrow! Remember, the best exercise program is one that is not only tailored to you, but one that you will enjoy and look forward to doing. Combining indoor and outdoor activities will keep things varied and interesting, and that will keep you motivated, active and healthy well into the golden years.
Harmonise the Mind and Body with Yoga Yoga is a form of spiritual and meditative based exercise that originated in India over 5000 years ago. By following a sequence of postures (or “äsanas”), whilst applying careful breathing control, you are able to harmonise the body and the mind, achieving health and relaxation. Yoga can be used to strengthen and stretch the body, maintaining flexibility and suppleness of muscles. Yoga can be practised by people of all ages and fitness levels from beginners to elite athletes. This is because there are many different forms of yoga – from strenuous and fast to meditative and calming. To figure out which style you may enjoy, we have compiled a brief summary of the most popular forms. Hatha Yoga This form of yoga gives you a gentle introduction to the basic asanas. This is great for beginners or kids. It is done at a slow pace and blocks or other props are often used to make sure the postures are done correctly. Emphasis is placed on breathing control and meditation so this type of yoga leaves you feeling very relaxed and refreshed. Iyengar Yoga Iyengar yoga moves on from the basics and starts to see the poses becoming more precise. More props are used with this form of yoga as the focus moves towards body alignment in each asana. Poses are held for longer which can be challenging as body placement needs to be very exact. If you are interested in discovering more about how the body works and enjoy learning about anatomy, movement and form, this is the yoga style for you. Anusara Yoga Anusara Yoga is based on the belief that we are innately and intrinsically filled with goodness, and this goodness can be accessed and opened up through the practise of yoga and meditation. Anusara means “flowing with grace” and “following your heart” and it focusses on experiencing bliss and joy through yoga. The practise of this style of yoga provides the body and mind with resilience, happiness and balance, and is suited for those who wish for a type of activity that provides a total body, mind and heart connection. Bikram Yoga If you are looking for an entire mind and body workout that makes you sweat and burns hundreds of calories then Bikram may be for you. It consists of a specific set of 26 asanas and two breathing exercises performed over 90 minutes in a room heated to 40 degrees celsius and with 40% humidity, so remember to bring plenty of water! Bikram Yoga is great for improving fitness and flexibility. Practising yoga in the heat also engages your concentration, fortitude and patience to improve mental clarity and reduce stress. Vinyasa Yoga The word Vinyasa means “to place in a special way”. Vinyasa classes are often choreographed to music, and you move through each of the poses in a dance like fluid way. Those who get bored easily and love intensive exercise will enjoy Vinyasa yoga. No two classes are choreographed to be the same, the poses aren’t held for long and the pace of the class is quick. There are many more forms of yoga available – almost 800 different styles! At the end of the day though, you need to find a style that you feel comfortable with. Any type of yoga will develop strength, flexibility and balance, so once you find one you love, stick with it. The health benefits are best seen when you can practise yoga regularly. So, grab your yoga mat and your water bottle and enjoy!