Young woman practicing yoga in the nature

4 Blue Zone Habits You Can Adopt Today For a Healthier, Happier Life

Young woman practicing yoga in the nature

Did you know that there are five locations in the world where people are measurably happier, healthier, and live longer?

Dubbed blue zones, Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Sardinia (Italy), Loma Linda (USA), and Ikaria (Greece) have the highest number of people who live past 100. Research has also shown these people are healthier and happier than the average citizen.

Short of moving to a brand-new country, there are ways you can incorporate blue-zoning into your life to reap the mood and health-boosting benefits of these long-living communities.


What’s different about blue zone locations?

National Geographic Fellow Dan Buetter discovered that these five locations have the longest life expectancy, and there are a lot of factors they have in common. Despite being spread across the globe, these locations all follow similar diets that are heavily plant-based and feature pulses, beans, and nuts.

The residents of these nations are also more physically active and get better rest – two activities that are becoming scarce in the UK. But if you think you need a gym membership to replicate the blue zone life, don’t worry – this exercise comes in the form of healthy daily habits including walking, gardening, farming, and chores.

Blue zoners tend to have a strong purpose in life, which has in part been attributed to the spirituality and religious roots of these locations, as well as their deep connections with friends, family, and their communities.

Now, we’ll cover some of the ways you can incorporate the blue zone lifestyle into your own life.


Find tranquillity in your home

Our homes are supposed to be restful environments, but they don’t always end up that way. Chores, family responsibilities and even work can impact our ability to rest and recharge at home. Creating a homely space where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can help you to reset.

Spirituality and looking after your mental well-being are core to the blue zone lifestyle, so having a safe haven in your home where you can practice mindfulness and switch off is important. This could be a spare room, your bedroom, or even a little nook in your living or dining room that is designated for recuperation.

Making the time and space for meditation has been linked to improved sleep, which is another feature of blue zone living. So, curl up in your cosy spot, tea in your favourite floral mug in hand, and let your mind relax.


Introduce your diet to more variety

A diet filled with fish, fruits and vegetables, beans, pulses, and nuts is core to the blue zone way of life. While the meals of an Ikaria resident won’t be exactly the same as Okinawa, the same building blocks are there. Blue zoners limit red meat and processed foods, opting for fresh harvests and leaner cuts of meat.

You don’t need to overhaul your entire diet to make it more blue zone – and we’d encourage you to add to it rather than taking away from it. Instead of trying to cut out entire food groups, why not add more variety to your dinner plate? Adding additional vegetables to your meals and snacking on nuts is a great way to incorporate these nutrient-dense foods. Then you can look at swapping red meats for seafood or poultry to make your meals even more nutritious.


Get your steps in

Blue zoners aren’t gym bunnies, but they do get a lot of exercise. That’s because physical activity is built into their everyday habits. Whether they go on walks in their beautiful surroundings daily, own a farm that they tend to, or keep on top of their chores, they’re active groups of people.

Walking is a big part of life in these areas, and because the locations feature beautifully rolling hills and breathtaking mountain scenes, they’re naturally going to work inhabitants’ bodies harder, so people are reaping the health rewards. Walking more can increase cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and lung capacity, as well as reduce symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression, so it’s definitely worth fitting more steps into your day.

If you’re constantly busy, you could choose to walk to the local shops instead of driving, or add more walking on your way to work if you use public transport – try jumping off a couple of stops early. Don’t forget that all your chores add up too – even pottering around hoovering will contribute to keeping you healthy.


Get into gardening

Gardening is central to many blue zone communities and is another great way to make sure we’re building physical activity into our everyday habits. But there are plenty of other benefits to it. Gardening is great for our mental health for a number of reasons. Immersing ourselves in nature is one of the most powerful ways to boost mental well-being because it can “rest and recharge our brains”, according to Professor Alistair Griffiths.

Cultivating your crops of flowers, fruits, and vegetables gives your mind something to focus on, meaning there’s less mental space for negative thoughts and feelings. What’s more, as you see the literal fruits of your labour grow and develop, you’ll get a self-esteem boost. It’s rewarding to see your hard work flourish into something beautiful (and sometimes edible!).

Our lives are hectic, and that can sometimes leave us feeling like we don’t have the time to practise healthy habits. But by taking a leaf out of blue zoners’ books and building health into our everyday activities, we can boost our mental and physical well-being. Will you be adopting these blue zone habits?

Construction worker accident with a construction worker.

Four Common Work-Related Minor Injuries that Often Go Unnoticed and Can Lead to Long-Term Health Issues

Construction worker accident with a construction worker.

In the workplace, accidents can be quite frequent, and some can result in serious and minor injuries. It has been estimated that 270 million workplace injuries occur across the world each year.

When it comes to Britain, work-related injuries and health issues tend to be on the daily agenda too. Every year, about 1.7 million employees will suffer from some sort of occupational ill health, and 0.4 million will end up picking up non-fatal injuries.

In the event of an accident that has happened due to the employer’s negligence and has had a negative impact on the person’s life, workers can file a work accident claim to receive well-deserved compensation.

That said, it is common for less resounding incidents to go unnoticed. But the truth is, in the long run, they can gradually escalate into a bigger problem, causing extended pain and suffering.

Here, we take a look at habitual, work-related minor injuries and health problems that are often overlooked when, in reality, they shouldn’t be.    


1.     Slips, trips and fall-induced injuries

Slips and trips are the most recurring cause of injury in the workplace. In fact, they are responsible for more than one-third of all significant injuries and can often lead to further accidents, such as falls from height and into machinery.

Slips and trips are so common because they can easily happen in any environment, from ‘standard’ offices to construction sites. Tendentially, they occur when floors are wet or contaminated due to poor maintenance and housekeeping. As they are a very frequent form of accident, it is easy to brush off the episode if there is no noticeable, immediate consequence.

However, slips, trips, and falls can originate an array of severe injuries and health issues. For instance, they may result in head and brain injuries, cuts, lacerations, soft tissue injuries to the back, and fractures. Some of these injuries may show very feeble symptoms at first. But if ignored and left untreated, they can quickly worsen and have a negative impact on the lives of those affected.

 

2.     Whiplash injury

The nature of some jobs may require workers to hit the road on a daily basis. From couriers and florists to dog groomers and street food restauranteurs, there are many occupations where driving is an inescapable part of the job description.

When out and about, especially during rush hours, mishaps can take place at every turn. Even slamming the breaks to avoid colliding with another vehicle or a pedestrian can be harmful. You are likely to suffer an abrupt movement of the head and neck, which may result in whiplash injury. The effects of whiplash can take up to 24 hours to manifest and could be confused for tiredness or a normal headache. However, in some instances, whiplash can become a serious, long-standing condition that causes chronic pain, concentration and memory problems, and inability to sleep soundly.

Susanne McGraw, Head of Personal Injury at Watermans, said: “As part of a team of personal injury lawyers, I support many people who have suffered a whiplash injury when at the wheel of their vehicle. Most of them will recover within days, whereas others have to deal with its effects for weeks or even months.

“My recommendation is to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. This will give you the chance to get the treatment you need and alleviate feelings of discomfort in a timely manner.”

 

3.     Noise-induced hearing loss

Work-related hearing problems affect about 14,000 employees in the UK every year. This is usually the result of spending prolonged hours in a loud environment, especially when sounds surpass 85 decibels. For instance, workers who handle electric hand tools or other sound-emitting equipment have a good chance of suffering from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

The problem with NIHL is that it tends to happen and escalate gradually. This means it is difficult to catch before the damage has ultimately been made. It is likely that the sufferer will not even realise that it’s occurring until it is too late. It is important to look out for subtle symptoms such as sensations of ‘fullness’ in the ears and an intermittent or continuous buzzing. If you notice you are struggling to hear people talking a few feet away, you should start asking yourself why, especially if you work in a noisy environment.

To prevent NIHL, make sure you always wear noise-reducing earmuffs. Where possible, it is wise to collaborate with your employer to find methods to both measure and control noise levels.

 

4.     Repetitive strain injury

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a common injury that happens when muscles, tendons, and nerves carry out the same action. Manual occupations often require you to perform specific motions repeatedly. This, in turn, can favour physical damage over an extended period of time.

Because the damage is gradual, RSI can go unnoticed for a long time, and it usually affects the hands, wrists, elbows, neck, and shoulders. If not diagnosed early, RSI can deteriorate and become chronic, making the recovery process very challenging. Some of its most prominent causes are constant movements such as typing, poor ergonomic conditions, and not taking regular breaks.

One of the problems with RSI is that its symptoms are easily neglected. At the start, it will only manifest itself through tingling and sensory disturbances in the forearm and hand, which quickly subside as you rest your limbs for a short while. This can wrongfully tempt people to postpone seeking medical advice.

One of the best ways to prevent RSI issues is to assume a straight sitting posture with relaxed arms and shoulders. Not only that, but it’s also to vary your movements as much as possible and avoid repetitive motions.

From whiplash and repetitive strain to noise and slip-induced injuries, there are many issues that can emerge as a result of work accidents and habitual job duties. If you start experiencing mild symptoms that you cannot explain, don’t put up with it – make sure to see your doctor. A medical appointment can nip the problem in the bud, sparing you from chronic pain and suffering in the long term.

Toddler FAQ: A Quick Guide For New Parents

Are you a new parent bringing up a toddler? You might be here because you’re having trouble with their development and feeding program. Well, you aren’t alone. Worrying is okay and normal, especially if you lack experience with small children.

Nevertheless, you don’t have to remain problematic or uncertain. It will be best if you schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor to address your concerns. They’ll help you understand how much and what to feed the baby, how their developmental milestones should proceed, and inform you when to seek medical treatment.

As far as asking questions is concerned, here are frequently asked questions regarding toddlers:

My Toddler Is A Picky Eater. What Should I Do?

Most toddlers are picky eaters, and so are adults. But such fussy eater adults probably started the habit when they were still young. To prevent your toddler from getting there, ensure to introduce a variety of foods once they start eating solids. If you’re yet to introduce different foods with various flavors to your child, try out food pouches from leading child food companies such as Serenity Kids. Such food pouches are packed with nutritious and healthy food for young ones, leaving them yearning for more. It’s also a great way to introduce them to solid foods.

On the other hand, your toddler is more likely to imitate your eating habits. If you are picky with food, expect your toddler to do a good job choosing what to and not to eat. That said, it’s essential for you, as a parent, to be a role model to your child. Prepare healthy meals and stock up your kitchen with fresh, healthy food.

Another way to make your child eat various foods is to bring them along when shopping. Let them pick different vegetables and include them when cooking. Once the food is ready, you’ll notice they’re eager to try what they choose and will gradually start liking new foods.

How Much Should A Toddler Eat?

The answer to this question is a bit diverse since the amount of food a toddler should eat depends on their weight. However, for average toddlers between the age of one to three, about 40 calories for every inch a day will be enough.

A typical toddler meal should consist of one or two tablespoons of protein, two tablespoons of vegetables and fruits, and a single tablespoon of starch. If you’re having trouble determining the number of nutrients your child takes, consider visiting myserenitykids.com and ordering healthy baby food pouches for your baby.

Contrary to what most parents think, it’s not advisable to restrict a child’s diet daily since sometimes they tend to eat more or less. A rule of thumb is that if your child is developing as supposed to and is healthy, avoid food restrictions since they always come around when hungry.

Are These Tantrums Normal?

As they grow, toddlers want to learn and do new things without their parents’ help. On the other hand, as a parent, you see your baby as a fragile human who still requires your help. This perspective leads to you stepping in whenever they try doing something independently. Since they can’t verbally say they don’t need help, the conflict results in outrageous behavior.

Throwing tantrums is normal in toddlers and shouldn’t worry you. All you need is to step aside and avoid apologizing, bargaining, or begging, even if it’s tempting. When you show too much attention, they’ll learn and want to control you with tantrums whenever they need something. Once you step aside, wait until they’re cool. Hug and assure them of your love despite losing control and move on to a new activity.

As a parent, you shouldn’t act out whenever your child throws a tantrum. You must understand they haven’t developed proper communication skills yet. And all they can do to demonstrate their feelings is to cry and do different sorts of things. Nevertheless, if the tantrums don’t go away over the years and seem to get worse, consult your doctor as the child could be experiencing sleeping issues, anxiety, or other health issues.

Conclusion

Bringing up a toddler can be challenging for new parents. During this period, the child is developing fast, and you don’t know how to keep up with the pace. For example, you might not know what to feed the toddler and how much. If you feel you’re doing some things wrong or don’t know how to keep them healthy, consult your doctor for professional advice.

Spinal Cord Compression

5 Symptoms Of Spinal Cord Compression

Spinal Cord Compression

Any condition or injury of the spinal cord is a severe matter to the patient and the doctor who treats these patients. Spinal cord compression isn’t a condition that passes by itself; it only causes the symptoms to worsen over time if the patient doesn’t seek medical assistance.

The patient will show signs of deterioration of the discs between the vertebrae in their back or neck, which act as a shock absorber that keeps the channels open for nerves to flow through. Nerves leaving and entering the spinal column carry signals between the body and brain, so naturally, the function will be affected.

When the brain can’t successfully supply instruction to a part of the body or the message it receives is construed, the patient will have varied physical responses. Below are some of the symptoms medical professionals will observe in a patient with spinal cord compression:

 

Pain or Stiffness In Some Body Parts

One of the first signs patients will report to their doctor is pain or stiffness in some of their body parts. The pain and stiffness typically come and go at first but worsen over time as the condition progresses. Patients will seek medical attention from their doctor, who’ll refer them for other treatments or therapies.

The first go-to therapy for these patients will be chiropractor treatments that could bring them some relief from the pain and stiffness they experience. Ongoing sessions will assist them over time to improve function in the affected area.

 

Numbness, Cramps, Or Weakness In Some Areas

Another common symptom of spinal compression is numbness or tingling in some areas of the body, especially those that connect to the nerves affected by the added pressure in the spinal cord. It may also cause cramps or weakness, which could worry these patients.

They may struggle to open jars, have trouble keeping themselves upright, or even avoid postures or body positions that cause further pain or aggravate the symptoms. Their inability to support their body correctly may lead to secondary complications that chiropractic treatment or a physiotherapist must address.

 

Loss of Sensation In the Extremities

Patients are less inclined to worry about a bit of numbness in their fingers or toes, and most don’t realize it until they consciously try to think about it like when doctors test for sensation in their extremities. Where numbness may fluctuate, the patient’s loss of feeling could be more constant, and some patients could even receive a referral for neck surgery, among other procedures.

Many become seriously concerned when they lose feeling in other areas of their bodies like between their legs, the back of their thighs, and their buttocks. These symptoms are severe, and when patients notice any loss of sensation, especially in those areas, they should seek medical assistance immediately by going to the emergency room or seeing their doctor immediately.

 

Muscle Coordination Issues

Muscles of the body coordinate with each other to provide the person with the functions they need to perform daily. If the coordination between muscles and signals from the brain that gives the instructions are out of sync, the patient will have reduced function in those body parts.

The person may think they want to pick up an item, but that message never reaches their hand muscles to properly grab and hold onto the thing they were thinking of getting. Uncoordinated leg muscles could make it difficult for a person to move their legs, sit properly, or walk.

 

Total Loss of Function or Control

In more severe or advanced stages of spinal compression, the patient could exhibit a total loss of function or control over certain bodily functions like in the case of spinal injuries. They may lose control over their bowels or bladder, making for an embarrassing situation for the patient.

Another function that’ll often suffer from spinal compression is the sexual function, which could be distressing to patients who previously had no issues in this area. These symptoms are enough for a patient to be admitted for emergency medical treatment by a multidisciplinary team.

 

Conclusion

Although any strange feelings or sensations in the body worry patients, doctors, and other medical professionals will be more concerned, especially when there’s a significant loss of function. Spinal compression can cause many issues for the patient, but the excruciating pain that some report is usually one of the most debilitating symptoms.

One of the most successful treatments to relieve some of the discomforts of these patients is chiropractic sessions, among other procedures. Depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms they experience, the medical professionals will do their best to assist these patients to live a full and happy life even with their spinal compression.

Mental Health Counselling

Mental Health Counseling: How It Works and Why It’s Important

Mental Health Counselling

Mental health counseling is becoming a critical part of regular medical appointments because it helps medical practitioners determine the best care for their patients. It entails having an open conversation with your psychiatrist as they try to analyse your mental state.

Aside from finding the cause of mental health issues, meeting your psychiatrist will help you develop ways to overcome problems that arise from imbalances in your emotions, feelings, and actions.

However, most people with mental health problems find it difficult to get help from a counsellor due to the stigma surrounding the subject. Lack of information is probably to blame for the misunderstanding about mental health counseling.

Luckily, mental health counsellors are now finding ways to reach out to people willing to open up and find a suitable treatment for mental health problems. You can visit websites like https://www.insightnorthwest.com/counseling-portland-oregon to book an appointment for a psychological evaluation or a consultation.

How Does Mental Health Counseling Work?

Also known as clinical mental counseling, mental health counseling is a doctor-patient partnership that observes confidentiality requirements in a health institution. A psychiatrist will endeavour to work with you and find a solution to whatever mental issues you have.

Mental health counsellors address many mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and personality disorders.

Furthermore, mental health counseling relies on research to identify the real issues or triggers and apply techniques to handle mental disorders. Here’s how it works.

1. Initial Consultations

It takes a lot of courage for someone to admit that they have a mental health disorder and to seek professional assistance. Counsellors can recommend that you plan an initial consultation to try and find a solution for struggles you might be having.

In addition, the initial consultation is an icebreaker and can help the counsellor pick crucial points to develop a therapy plan for you. You just have to go with an open mind and be willing to express yourself without holding back.

2. Mental Health Assessment

Mental health counsellors must conduct a cognitive assessment on all their patients to determine the best approach to treatment. It’s an exercise that takes longer, depending on the patient’s mental state, and it contributes to doctor-patient consultations.

It will highlight the main stressors causing mental disorders in patients, such as relationship problems, changes at work, money, and family conflicts. The counsellor can give a conclusive report to the person with a mental health condition and recommend alternative ways to overcome the issues.

3. Trigger Identification

Trigger identification is perhaps the most vital part of mental health counseling. It gives mental health professionals an idea of what their patients are struggling with and the probable causes of mental disorders.

Patients could suffer from chronic panic attacks or depression due to exposure to a toxic work environment or stress at home. It’s essential for mental health professionals to learn precisely what state of mental disorder their patients have to determine which counseling techniques to use.

4. Mental Health Counseling Techniques

Several techniques that are applied when counseling a mental health patient have worked for many who sought help. Using these techniques goes hand in hand with psychological evaluation and a professional’s area of specialization in mental health counseling.

For instance, a mental health patient going through a rough patch due to drug addiction requires counseling tailored to the habit. So, professionals must review the mental health analysis or evaluation to prescribe the best technique for their patients.

However, other methods, such as Regarian psychology, are person-centered to provide mental health counseling that most therapists use in their practice. Thus, mental health professionals need to familiarize themselves with such material to offer quality services.

5. Follow-Up

Mental health professionals need to monitor their patients constantly to ensure they’re following corrective actions required by counseling techniques. It’s common practice for them to revisit their patients and assess if the treatment works.

This gives them the reassurance that their patients are getting better and that their counseling services are measurable. It’s also an opportunity to reassess the mental state of their patients and show their support.

Why Is Mental Health Counseling Important?

There are many benefits of mental health counseling that most patients aren’t aware of. Mental health counseling is one way to regain physical and mental health lost in psychological battles. Read on to find out why seeking mental health counseling is essential.

1. Personal Empowerment

Personal empowerment has become a necessary component of mental health counseling. It’s an information filtering process used by mental health counsellors to separate self-esteem and mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety.

Aside from eliminating negative thoughts in patients, personal empowerment seeks to change self-defeating behaviours and patterns of life that can leave you trapped with mental issues. Self-empowerment helps to open your eyes and mind to better options in life and ways to turn things around from negative to positive.

2. Hope

Mental health patients need to look forward to something in the future to pull them out of the unfortunate state of mind. Hope plays a crucial role in repairing broken dreams and giving reassurance of a better tomorrow.

As a mental health counsellor, it’s crucial to ignite the fire of goodwill and encourage your patients to strive for the best by being optimistic and determined to get mentally fit. However, when suggesting hope as a solution, the journey to recovery depends on the patient’s willingness to start the process and their situation or conditions.

3. Overcoming Stigma

Stigma, prejudice, and discrimination are probably why mental health issues continue to rise in society. You’ll find patients suffering in silence. As a result, they isolate themselves to avoid exposure to public criticism.

Mental health counseling aims to clear the air and instill confidence to face a society that doesn’t understand mental health issues. This practice looks to treat patients through techniques so that they can overcome all types of stigmatization they might be experiencing.

For instance, a mental health counsellor can suggest to a patient to upskill by returning to school to further their knowledge and advance in their career. This kind of advice can help the patient overcome the institutional stigma that can be found in the corporate world.

4. Acceptance of Life

Painful thoughts and feelings from life experiences can be unbearable, and patients might look for ways to make their negative feelings go away.

However, mental health patients must first accept the realities of life and find positive ways to subdue the feelings. Mental health counseling can guide them through figuring out the best approach to deal with the ups and downs of life and tackle challenges with acceptance and confidence.

5. Personal Insights (Self-Discovery)

Mental health patients can have several symptoms that can be hard for them to understand or recognize. A keen mental health counsellor can determine traits displayed by someone having a mental disorder.

In addition, mental health patients will often brush off the need to visit a counsellor. They’ll probably assume everything is okay, but their behaviour or actions will communicate a different message.

6. Life Skills

Recovering the mental health process is a consolidation of what patients learn when attending therapy sessions. Mental health counsellors can highlight life skills that might benefit the treatment process and help their patients deal with mental health disorders.

The skills focus on identifying triggers and symptoms that can affect your mental state and forming action plans to manage mental issues at once. Such skills like stress or mood management can be easy to learn with the help of an experienced counsellor.

7. Wellness

Your well-being closely relates to mental health and may affect how you function. Every aspect of your life can significantly change if you’re mentally healthy and can freely express yourself or live a full life. Lack of wellness can alter how you live your life, and things might turn either bad or worse.

Mental health patients need guidance on enhancing wellness and finding alternatives when a mental health problem develops. Achieving wellness helps to avoid creating room for other medical conditions that they may experience eventually.

8. Prevention of Recurrence of a Mental Illness

Prevention and early intervention are the most crucial part of mental health counseling that you can expect. It entails finding suitable strategies to protect and reset how patients think, feel, and act.

Mental health issues can recur due to environmental factors, such as bad weather, and can affect patients negatively. Identifying such stressors can help patients adjust how they respond and learn to stay calm and handle stressful situations.

Final Thoughts

Mental health counseling is a practice that’s fast becoming a significant component of societal well-being. You or your loved ones might suffer from mental disorders but prefer to downplay them because of stigmatization. Overlooking the need for mental health counseling is risky and may even worsen your health. For instance, you might develop other medical conditions, such as diabetes or paralysis.

So, don’t be afraid to reach out. Break the silence and take the bold step of seeking the help of a mental health counsellor. With a professional’s guidance, you’ll become stronger and more confident, as well as learn how to deal with issues caused by friction between your emotions and psychological and social wellness.

Ageing Health

Keeping Your Health as You Grow Older

Ageing Health

Everyone is aware that a healthy diet and regular exercise are the cornerstones of good health. Still, it’s crucial to comprehend why you should keep up these habits as you get older, even if you’re not as physically fit and mobile as you were when you were younger. Learn why it’s so crucial to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise as you get older by reading on. Will Medicare be all that helpful? It’s certain that AvaCare Medical is helpful.

 

Why Physical Exercise is Important

As you age, staying physically active is crucial for several reasons. By staying active, you can prevent muscle wasting, maintain a healthy weight, and improve your heart and cardiovascular health. Exercise has also been shown to lower the risk of numerous conditions and diseases common in old age, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

 

Other Advantages of Exercise

As you get older, regular exercise has a variety of additional advantages. Exercise has numerous positive effects on mental health, and the endorphins it releases can help you relax. Regular exercise can also be a fun hobby, which people can do alone or with others (many seniors struggle with loneliness and isolation). Additionally, many people discover that regular exercise can support restful sleep, which is essential for overall health and wellbeing.

 

Keeping it up

Naturally, as you get older, you might not be able to exercise as much as you could when you were in your 20s. Many people must therefore modify their exercise routines to avoid injury. In general, low-impact exercises like walking, cycling, and swimming are best. Numerous walking sports are now available to help people enjoy their favorite activities without the negative effects (these can also be fantastic social activities). For any pain you are feeling, such as back pain that can affect all facets of your daily life, you should pay attention to your body and consult a specialist.

 

Nutrition: Its Importance

Nutrition is the other aspect of the equation. Your body will receive the nutrition it needs from a healthy, balanced diet to produce energy, maintain a healthy weight, and fend off conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. Even if you frequently exercise throughout the week, maintaining good health will be difficult if your diet is not in order. This is why you should base your diet on vegetables, fruit, protein, whole grains, and treats that you enjoy occasionally. 

Too many seniors neglect their diet and exercise as the allure of the big screen TV and Netflix makes it so easy to just sit around all day. And why bother making a fresh green salad when it’s so much easier to open a can of chili to heat in the microwave? So don’t let the golden years start to tarnish by abandoning the healthy habits of a lifetime! Maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you age will enable you to enjoy an active lifestyle as you approach retirement, a period of your life that you’ll want to enjoy to the fullest. 

Happy girl

Here are the Healthiest Cities to Live in the UK!

Happy girl

If you love the tranquillity and allure of the countryside and the fun of the city, you’re not alone. There’s certainly something to be said about the fresh air, privacy and expansive greenery of living in a rural area, but cities tend to offer easier access to a wider range of amenities and better transport links.

However, it needn’t be a trade-off. The health and wellness gurus at Made4 Vitamins have analysed which of the UK’s 25 largest cities will allow you to live the healthiest lifestyle, considering factors such as air quality, walkability, access to green spaces, sunshine, life expectancy and more. If you’re looking for the charm of the countryside with the hustle and bustle of the city, then don’t miss out – now, you can have both.

 

Key Findings:

  • Of the top 25 cities in the UK by population, Edinburgh offered the best air quality, followed by Leicester and Birmingham.
  • Bradford offered the worst air quality, followed by Brighton and London.
  • Edinburgh also offered the greatest amount of green space per person, with 3m2 of green space available per head.
  • Sheffield ranked second in green space per person with 155m2 of green space per head.
  • Edinburgh also ranked highest in walkability, followed by Sheffield and London.
  • Of the top 25 cities, Plymouth ranked highest in the UK (2nd) in terms of sunlight per year, with Bristol coming in eighth.
  • Cities in the north of the UK were more likely to experience vitamin D deficiencies than cities in the south.
  • Cities in the north of the UK tended to have lower life expectancies than cities in the south.

 

Air Quality – Edinburgh

Air quality can have a huge impact on your health and wellbeing – fresh air has been associated with a healthy digestive system, improved blood pressure and heart rate and more, whilst polluted air can result in various cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and cancers.

As such, the World Health Organisation has established guidelines for acceptable air pollution levels, based on the concentrate of PM2.5, fine particulate matter of 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter, in the air.

Of the top 25 most-populous cities in the UK, Bradford ranks worst for air quality according to IQ Air, with their 2021 air quality exceeding the WHO guideline by 2-3 times. The second-worst UK city by air quality was Brighton, followed by London, Bristol, and Belfast.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh offered the best air quality of the top-25 cities, followed by Glasgow, Leicester, and Birmingham.

 

Green Spaces – Edinburgh

Green spaces add a charm and freshness to any city, breaking up the monotony of skyscrapers and tower blocks. Not only that, but they create a safe space for community and exercise, for kids to play and to meet friends in.

According to Natwest’s Green Cities report, Edinburgh is the number one city in the UK in terms of green space. The city offers a massive 233.3m2 of green space for each person living there, beating out second-placed Sheffield who boast 155m2 of green space per head. Public-access parks and green spaces constitute a whopping 49.2% of the city, meaning that there are plenty of great options when it comes to getting a bit of fresh air.

Sheffield also ranked well when it came to other metrics such as green energy production, residents’ energy consumption and the percentage of car owners with ULEZ vehicles, and topped the NatWest study’s list of Greenest Cities. At the other end of the list was Wolverhampton, where there was just 25m2 of green space to each person, and high numbers of people commuting by car.

 

Walkability – Edinburgh

If a city is lacking proper infrastructure for pedestrians, you’re much more likely to get into unhealthy habits, such as driving or taking public transport everywhere. Luckily, that problem is much more common in the US, where cities fail to provide proper pedestrian areas or walking routes.

Edinburgh topped the list of UK cities for walkability too, no doubt helped in part by the sheer number of green spaces on show throughout the city. A survey by Living Streets quizzed residents on how they felt about their city’s walkable access to shops and parks, the quality of pavements and streets, and whether they felt safe walking there.

Again, Edinburgh ranked highest for walkability, followed by Sheffield, with London in third place. 82% of respondents found Edinburgh’s streets to be of good quality, with 67% of respondents finding it easy to reach a park on foot and 65% finding it easy to get to the shops on foot.

 

Sunlight – Plymouth

Though the UK’s sunniest city, Chichester, falls outside the top-25 population ranking, two of the UK’s most populous cities make the top 10 – Plymouth and Bristol. Plymouth was ranked the UK’s second-sunniest city in the country in a 2018 survey, having enjoyed 1730.1 yearly hours of sunshine. Meanwhile, Bristol took eighth position on the list with 1627 yearly hours of sunshine.

Ensuring you get enough sunlight can be crucial for your health – a failure to receive enough sunlight can result in an insufficiency or even deficiency of vitamin D. A 2021 study backed this up, with areas in the north of England most likely to suffer from insufficient vitamin D. Scotland was the most likely area for this to happen, though residents in London were also likely to have lower vitamin D levels.

 

Life Expectancy – Westminster 

When it comes to judging cities or even regions on their life expectancy, it can be a little trickier to gauge due to disparities that exist in each city. For example, there are significant fluctuations within London when comparing areas such as Kensington and Newham. The highest life expectancy in the country, according to data from 2017-19, is from the London borough of Westminster, where men tended to live to around 85, and women to 87.

 

Overall, however, data highlights the fact that places in the south of the UK tend to have higher life expectancies than places in the north. Though these figures vary across London, the capital city as a whole boasted approximate life expectancies of 81 for men and 85 for women according to figures from 2017-2019.

Meanwhile, Newcastle and the surrounding areas had the lowest life expectancies in England. Many other cities north of the Watford Gap had a noticeably lower life expectancy than London, including Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, where life expectancy tended to be around 78 for men and 82 for women. These numbers were lower still in Scotland, where life expectancy was 77 for men and 81 for women.

Though the life expectancy is lower in Scotland, Edinburgh remains a similar level to Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, and boasts significantly better walkability, access to green spaces, and better air quality – it therefore tops our list of the healthiest places to live in the UK.

Dr Bhasha Mukherjee, Medical Lead at Made4 Vitamins, commented: ‘it’s crucial that wherever we live grants us the ability to live a healthy lifestyle, whether that’s in terms of air quality or being able to exercise safely. Edinburgh’s amazing pedestrian infrastructure and expansive green spaces make living healthily a breeze, and that’s why it tops our list!’

People exercising

How Exercise Can Help You – Both Physically and Mentally

Exercise is a much-vaunted, well-encouraged form of activity for people in the UK, and forms a core part of the government’s health messaging. But at a time when people are struggling to justify the cost of their gym membership, it can be important to remind oneself exactly how helpful exercise can be. Here are the key benefits of exercise in brief, as well as the specific benefits of exercise as a form of rehabilitation.

Physical Benefits

The physical benefits of exercise are no secret; indeed, they are taught to every schoolchild and widely reported media, popular culture and even advertising. Even still, though, people often misunderstand the extent to which exercise can improve their health.

Adopting a regular, varied and balanced exercise routine enables you to not only target any number of key health goals – whether controlling weight levels or building strength – but also to improve your health in less visible ways. As a key example, increased regular exercise can help to reduce your risk of stroke by as much as 27%.

Mental Health Benefits

Of course, the benefits of exercise are not confined to physical ones. Exercising can also have a profound effect on your mental health, with a number of different facets working to improve your overall mood as well as the symptoms of mental illness.

Firstly, regular exercise of any kind can boost the release of endorphins in your brain, regulating your mood and rewarding you with a sense of happiness. Secondly, exercise forces you on your feet, and even out of the house – allowing you to get a little fresh air and perspective where you may have otherwise been stuck in a rut.

Exercise and Rehabilitation

Exercise can also form a crucial part of recovery, if you recently suffered an accident that wasn’t your fault or if your quality of life was affected by injury. Injuries, however localised they may be to specific areas, can have consequences for your body on a holistic level; a long-lasting leg injury can lead to poor balance and posture, affecting your spine health. Also, injuries can inspire extended periods of reduced exercise and movement, whether due to physical discomfort or mental decline.

Entering into a recovery-oriented exercise regime can help you return to your former fitness levels, and manage your injury – both in terms of physical health, and any mental side-effects that may have resulted. Physiotherapy uses targeted exercises to restore function to parts of the body, and to build muscle back up after periods of wastage. The activity can boost endorphin levels, too, ensuring a safe and happy recovery process.

Jogging

Simple Ways to Stay Safe When Jogging

Jogging

Jogging remains among the most popular sports for anyone who wants to improve their health and fitness. This is something that anyone can do without any special training and without spending a lot of money on equipment. Yet, you also need to take a moment to consider how to stay safe when starting this sport.

 

Join a Friend

The best way to jog safely is to do it with someone else or in a group. If you’re planning to start this type of exercise, it’s a great opportunity to ask friends, relatives, and work colleagues if they’d like to join you. A lot of people are interested in taking up this hobby and you might find someone who is keen to join you.

You might also find that you can join a local running club, which turns it into a social event as well as a form of exercise. This kind of running community is becoming increasingly popular but you’ll want to check that the level is right for you.

Some running clubs are geared toward competitive running while others take a more relaxed approach. Read their website or social media page to find out what their goals are and what existing members say about them.

 

Choose Your Routes Wisely

This point is particularly valid if you’re planning on running alone, but you should be aware of the dangers of unlit parks and other areas to be avoided even if you’re jogging with a partner. Choosing a route of the right length and difficulty is also important when you’re getting started.

You should be wary of areas with a lot of traffic. If you’re injured by a vehicle while running you could look at the process for compensation for personal injury claims, which can take several months to resolve. You can claim if someone’s negligence causes you to be injured, although if you are partly to blame this is called contributory negligence and can affect the outcome.

Ideally, you probably want to run in parks with no traffic and do it during the day, but this isn’t always possible. Consider the surface too, as grass or dirt tracks are gentler on your joints than concrete in the long term.   

 

Use the Right Gear

As mentioned earlier, the equipment needed to start jogging isn’t particularly expensive, and you might already have most of what you need at home. However, unsuitable clothing and footwear will make things more difficult and could even cause you injury, so it’s a good idea to consider the clothes and gear you need to buy.

Bright coloured clothing is ideal, and you might also consider using reflective gear if you’re planning on running at night. Comfortable running shoes are essential as using the wrong type is one of the main causes of jogging injuries, but this doesn’t mean that they need to be expensive.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to start jogging safely and without any worries on your mind, which is the ideal way to get started with a new hobby like this.   

Healthy Joints

7 things You Can Do to Keep Your Joints Healthy, According to a Fitness Expert

Healthy Joints

Regardless of your age, joint pain can be an issue which impacts your daily activities. Whether you’re playing sports or working out, your weight-bearing joints: knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and wrists, can become stiff or dislocated. Healthy joints can help you to stay mobile as you age, but regardless of how old you are, it’s time to start taking care of your joints so you can enjoy life to the fullest.

The great news is that with adequate care and the correct training principles, you can avoid any joint injuries and relieve pain from painful conditions such as arthritis. Fitness expert at Goodnick, Emma Goodman-Horne has shared 7 ways to keep your joints healthy.

 

1) Focus on your nutrition

Reducing inflammation is a key part of keeping arthritis symptoms under control and improving overall joint health. An anti-inflammatory diet involves avoiding foods which increase inflammation, such as red meat and including the ones that decrease levels, such as salmon. Diets that have more alkaline are known to improve your energy levels, opt for foods such as berries, apples, and ginger. A diet which is low in saturated fat and processed foods can also be beneficial to your joints, think whole grains, and nuts.

 

2) Cold water therapy

Cold showers are a simple way to stay healthy as they offer a range of benefits. You can have it cold enough so it’s not uncomfortable or even save a burst of cold water for the last minute. Cold showers veer off hypertension, varicose veins and hardened arteries as well as increasing the overall performance of the circulatory system. Warm water opens your pores, whereas cold tightens them. If you suffer joint aches and sore muscles, cold water therapy is key for pain relief.

 

3) Wear the right shoes

Regardless of the activity you are doing, shoes should provide you with stability and cushioning. The arches of your feet are either high, normal, or non-existent – and finding out your foot strike pattern, either overpronation, under pronation or neutral is key to find the right shoe. Consult a podiatrist to analyse your pattern and find the perfect fit for you.

 

4) Keep moving

Staying active is vital to reduce stiffness in your joints. Try to move around as often as you can during the day and avoid sitting in one position for too long. Low impact exercises such as swimming or strength training helps your joints stay mobile. Always take any form of exercise slowly, and warm up adequality.

 

5) Have a correct posture

Poor posture can lead to tightened muscles, and eventually long-term back pain. The vertebral discs have poor nutritional blood supply when your body is static. By getting up and moving around each hour, you can combat any impact and reduce spinal pain. Make sure you maintain angles of 90 degrees if you are sitting as this will be beneficial for your elbows, hips and knees. Having a chair with low back support is great, or alternatively you can prop up a pillow or bath towel and place it behind your low back.

 

6) Try low-impact exercises

The benefits of regular exercise can be achieved with low-impact exercises. This type of workout is gentle and minimises the stress it puts on joints during high-intensity workouts. You can try stationary or recumbent bicycles to keep active whilst protecting your joints. Programmes such as Goodnick will help you stay on a consistent exercise plan tailor made to suit your level of pace and impact desired.

 

7) Listen to your body

Your body knows best – when it’s time to stop a certain movement make sure you listen. Sometimes, over doing it can make all the difference between a performance improvement and a dislocated joint. If you feel any pain during exercise or sport, it’s vital to stop and rest. If the problem is ongoing, consult a doctor to check for any permanent damage as this can lead to long term joint issues.

Good Mental Health

The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Good Mental and Behavioral Health

Good Mental Health

Sometimes, the hustle of daily life becomes too much. With it comes anxiety, stress, or the fear of the unknown, affecting your mental health and behavior. Handling everyday challenges and managing your feelings and behaviors are critical to maintaining your overall well-being. While it can be challenging, there are certain things you can do to improve your overall mental and behavioral health.

In this article, we’re sharing a comprehensive list of tips on achieving good mental and behavioral health.

 

1. Ask For Professional Help

We’re starting our list with the most effective method, especially for those struggling for a long time.

Admitting that you’re having issues can be difficult. However, there’s no shame in it. If you feel sadness, stress, anxiety, negative feelings, or your unwanted behaviors are piling up and hindering your daily life, consider consulting a professional.

Seeking help from a mental or behavioral health professional can help you share your burdens without worrying about bias or judgments, helping you process your feelings more fully. Professionals can also help you get treated with tried-and-tested methods such as counseling, therapies, measurement-based care, and others.  

 

2. Eat Healthily

Food is fuel. The kinds of drinks and foods you consume determine the types of nutrients in your system, which has a significant impact not only on your physical body but also on how your mind functions.

As one of the busiest organs in the body, the brain needs quality fuel to function well. There are strong links between what you eat and how you feel. For instance, missing meals can cause your blood sugar level to drop, making you feel tired and bad-tempered. Eating a well-balanced meal full of foods and drinks rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals can improve your overall mood and promote cognitive functioning.

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3. Be Active

One of the most effective methods to maintain good mental health and steer clear of behavioral issues is by exercising. Studies show that staying active stimulates the release of endorphins or the ‘feel-good’ hormones that can help relieve stress while improving your psychological and emotional state.

Plus, exercising for at least 20 minutes a day is a great way to feel a sense of accomplishment and helps you take control of your life, especially during times of uncertainty.   

Thus, simply getting your body moving can help improve your mental health and works as an effective treatment for negative emotions and behavioral difficulties. You don’t have to do strenuous exercise either; taking morning walks around your neighborhood or stretching can make a huge difference.   

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4. Don’t Skimp On Sleep

You’re probably guilty of promising yourself that you will sleep earlier every night only to end up scrolling for three hours on social media or tapping the ‘Next Episode’ of your favorite series on your Netflix app. Sure, it’s easier to get distracted by today’s technology than get some shut-eye. However, the constant yawning and that voice in the back of your mind reminding you to sleep is mostly right.

Sleep deprivation, as well as low-quality sleep, can have a significant impact on how you’ll feel the next day. It will make you more irritable and reduce your ability to focus and concentrate on your tasks and activities. Getting enough sleep can help your brain and body recharge. As a result, it makes you perform at your best during your waking hours.

Ensuring a consistent good night’s rest can significantly improve your mental health and psychological functions, even in ways that are not readily apparent.   

 

5. Be Sociable

Socializing can mean simply opening up to someone about an issue or problem, or it can also mean just being kind in general. Confiding in others and receiving their trust can help build self-worth and improve your overall emotional being.   

That said, the quantity and quality of social relationships we maintain can also impact our mental health. You want to ensure that the people around you evoke positive emotions and attitudes, are supportive, and are generally good for you. Being around the wrong people can contribute to mental issues and invite behavioral problems into your life.

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Takeaway

Just as physical fitness helps the body stay strong, mental and behavioral wellness can help us nurture and sustain the mind and emotions. By being mentally healthy, you can enjoy your life, achieve better behavior and attitude, and have better relationships with others.

You’ll be creative, try new things, learn and take risks. You can also cope better during difficult times in your personal and professional life. And although bad things may happen in life, having solid mental and behavioral health can help you get on with it and enjoy your life once again.

Prioritising Mental Health

World Well-being Week – Did We Learn Anything About Mental Health From the Pandemic?

Prioritising Mental Health

With World Well-being Week commencing on 27th June, did we learn anything about prioritising our health at work from the pandemic or are we simply going back to the way things were?  For many, the jury is still out.

The Stevenson/Farmer review, Thriving at Work, in October 2017 highlighted that an estimated 300,000 people lost their jobs each year due to mental ill-health pre-pandemic. Stress has been one of the top work-related factors that affect the health of adults in the UK in the last decade. That is pre-pandemic, the situation is now much worse but how does this translate to the workplace?

Many of us are struggling with poor mental health, burnout and anxiety.  In April 2021 McKinsey stated that at least 49% of respondents to a survey said they feel somewhat burned out. Work-related mental ill-health was costing UK businesses up to £45 billion in 2019, but those numbers are now £56 billion a year according to Deloitte UK, an increase of around 25%. This is likely to be as a result of staff turnover, absenteeism and the negative impact on productivity and profits for staff who are unable to cope due to mental health issues.

Equally according to the Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk) in February 2022, 78% of those who worked from home in some capacity said that being able to work from home gave them an improved work-life balance and 47% also reported improved well-being.  The pandemic taught others to prioritise work/ life balance and re-introduced us to more outdoor pursuits and the importance of community and purpose.

Thom Dennis, CEO of Serenity In Leadership, says we are entering a new era of addressing mental health. “Whilst there has been some success over the last ten years in opening up dialogue about mental health, breaking down the stigma, and some employers are increasingly addressing trauma, anxiety and stress at work, there is a huge way to go. Long gone is the time when businesses were not involved in their team’s health, and employees just came to work, clocked in, did their work and went home again.  It really is time for businesses to understand the importance of well-being and in particular, mental health, because so many more of us are suffering and well-being has never been so important to our lives and livelihoods.

“We need to learn the lessons about well-being that the pandemic taught us and not just try to go back to the way things were.  Going backwards is a losing battle anyway which won’t work as workers have different and greater expectations than they had pre-pandemic, and you will get push back. It is in the business’s interest to help too. We have been resilient, but we need time to heal and be strong for the next lot of upheavals, and the solution is multi-faceted.”

Naomi Glover, an applied neuroscience and brain health specialist, who also runs training, coaching and consultancy company Neuro-Informed Ltd says: “Record numbers of people experienced isolation, increased stress, anxiety, trauma and grief. There are long-term dangers associated with isolation and so the partial return to the office is valuable for many, particularly younger people.  But for employees over 40, the desire to continue working remotely is compelling and may help reduce stress and burnout. One of the issues facing employers is they need to address a spectrum of mental well-being needs because different people have been affected in different ways.”

 

How can we ensure we are prioritising well-being and good mental health at work?

 

1. Don’t wait for the tipping point. Responsibility and relationships are at the heart of caring for colleagues. Leaders need to show real empathy and deal with employee uncertainty and health issues with compassion. Look for the signs of burnout, long term anxiety, pressures, trauma and grief.  Start conversations with employees and see how best you can meet their needs. Ensure your work culture does not support long-term working out of hours, holidays not being taken and poor work/life balance.

 

2. Educate and promote well-being at work. McKinsey stated that 47% of respondents want increased focus to be on employee well-being. The pandemic has provided valuable insights into how we can recover, maintain and even optimise our mental health and well-being through better food choices, meditation, yoga, social connections, exercise, being in nature and life-long learning. What’s more, taking these positive steps doesn’t just improve your mental health and well-being, it also increases your brain performance, cognitive function and helps to futureproof your brain.

 

3. Check for inequality. For example, hypothetically if women want more flexibility and to work from home, businesses need to ensure men are not getting the promotions in the meanwhile because they are more visible physically at work.

 

4. Pay well to give financial security. The cost of living crisis means many workers are grappling with the rising cost of living and struggling to make ends meet. Leaders must do what they can to ensure a fair, equal wage.

 

5. Don’t suppress trauma in organisations. A positive mindset can help but doesn’t solve all problems. Trauma, anxiety and fear cannot be left unaddressed. An empathic corporate leadership will put its people first, rather than see looking after them as a distraction.

 

6. Ensure your managers take time off. Your managers are role models and set the culture in their area of responsibility. If they are not taking holidays, that puts all sorts of pressure on those who report to them and can create a very unhealthy atmosphere. Remember also that a manager who lives alone might have a different view on, and approach to life compared to someone who has children. Both managers need to bring curiosity and an openness to empathy.

 

7. Ensure psychological safety so people can reach out. This gives individuals permission to talk about what is on their minds because they feel included, supported and safe and encouraged to not suppress themselves. When people feel safe they are more likely to bring their entire self to work (and that’s what we want).

 

8. Build community relations internally and externally. Encourage full participation, inclusion, and respect, and build mutual understanding, especially across any interpersonal and cultural divides. Define your values, optimise learning from one another, foster connections, organise training and full team events which everyone can attend.

 

9. According to a McKinsey survey, 30% of respondents say they are likely to switch jobs if returned to full onsite work. Leaders need to think about the needs of the individual as well as the requirements of the business before they lose valuable talent. The main thing is to give everyone a very clear lead which takes in the needs of both.

 

10. Build resilience by empowering. People with the most resilience find a way to emotionally heal and move forward from stress or trauma. Empowering your team often helps them build resilience. Let people play to their strengths. Have role models, mentors, collaborations, partnerships and a plan that can be continually adapted because resilience is built on life experiences and the world is constantly changing.