Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

What makes or breaks the best-laid “top ten goals for a healthier me”? Inertia, and it can’t wait to wreck all our plans. Counter-solution: stay focused on the positive stuff we will gain, right? To some, that is applicable and realistic, but to others, that sounds easier said than done.

Enter the concept of planning and aiming smart, not just planning to get tough. Read on to find out how gradual changes increase your chances for inner and outer success, more than just wishing for a shot-in-the-dark grand slam.    

1. Select a goal and aspire to achieve it.

Write down a healthy target, and make sure it is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. An example of a well-written SMART goal is: “I will (particular activity) to burn at least (X target) calories through (realistic: exercise?) in this (time frame).”

Here are some examples of some diet goals broken down into simpler targets:

Instead of the norm: a huge share devoted to carbs, then some protein, then a so-so bit of vegetables, try to set up in reverse order. Half your plate is for vegetables, then split up the remaining portion between a starch (consisting ideally of complex carbs) and a protein.

Another goal could be to drink a glass of water before eating.

Yet another is that for every hour spent sitting, step out and go for brisk five-minute walks. Sitting for most of the day is the hallmark of a sedentary lifestyle, and it is no help for your cardiac health. But remember what we said at the start: it may feel unrealistic to push yourself to exercise when you’re the activity go-getter, so scattering movement throughout your day might just be what suits you. Doing the above will help you achieve a total of a 40-minute walk.

2. Floss!

There are many reliable reports on how flossing daily is strikingly related to a longer life expectancy. Flossing helps you in two ways: it reduces the risk of gum disease, and may even prevent heart disease.

Now here’s something else to make you put that dental floss beside your toothbrush: there is some evidence linking bacteria found in a common type of gum disease to dementia. Just the same, many scientists, for now, can only say there’s enough of a connection to persuade everyone not to take chances. So, try to have healthier gums by incorporate flossing into your dental routine.

3. Get a healthy amount of sleep.

The stuff of nightmares for fitness lovers: getting a near-fatal stroke at a relatively young age. But similar news made the rounds of social media some weeks ago; a fitness instructor (who is also a family man, too) pointed to his stroke’s root cause in his 6 hours of sleep or less.

There is no way around your body’s request for 7 to 8 hours of sleep to repair cells. Try going to bed five minutes earlier each night (or just every few nights, if you find it tough). The point is to hit the seven to nine hours of sleep for adults, recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.

4. Make your social network (the actual real-life variety) add value to your lifestyle.

Tone down on TV and online gaming and devote it to developing better social connections. A good number of people nowadays describe social networking (allotting time for family and friends) as a time-consuming effort.

Nevertheless, these real-life investments are worth the effort when it comes to getting support to be able to face life-changing events (family issues, unemployment, a life-threatening disease, etc).  

Sometimes lifelong friendships start with mere effort to improve your communication with them (start with e-mail, phone or in person) by having a great story to share. What makes a great story? It builds connections, it’s a motive to collaborate, or that it simply implies concern and empathy.  

We could go on and on with great small steps you can take to start a healthy lifestyle. But remember, the lifestyle itself would be just a symptom of your success. The goal and target is a more meaningful time for people who matter to you, and this is possible because you are healthy, you can focus, or put effort into reciprocating them. But it’s easier for your brain to process a healthy lifestyle by breaking it down into SMART goals and aspiring to achieve them.

The Difference between a General Pediatrician and a Developmental Pediatrician

A mother and a boy walk hand in hand for a morning appointment. First, they stopped by the child’s favorite restaurant to have some breakfast. While the child roams around the restaurant with very high energy for a typical morning, his mother prepares his food on a plate. She calls the child and he comes rushing—bumping the table—and the glass of water spilled. After eating, they proceed to the second floor of the building and enter the clinic of the boy’s pediatrician for his regular check-up. The doctor performs his routine and asks many questions while the boy’s energy is still high. The doctor’s eyebrows slightly creased. After almost an hour of questioning and check-up, with a soft voice and calm manner, the pediatrician advised that they must see a developmental pediatrician.

This suggestion might bother many caring mothers. Countless unsaid questions and worries about their children come to mind. Why see a developmental pediatrician? Is there something wrong with my child? Will my child be fine and normal as he or she grows? What do developmental pediatricians do? These are some of the many questions that run through a parent’s mind. Identifying the differences between a general pediatrician and a developmental pediatrician might answer some of these questions.

General Pediatrics vs Developmental Pediatrics

Care, diagnosis, and treatment of many medical conditions and concerns from infancy up to early adulthood are usually under the scope of general pediatricians. On the other hand, developmental-behavioral pediatricians or most commonly known as Developmental Pediatricians have advanced experiences and are well-trained in analyzing, determining, and providing treatment plans for numerous kinds of developmental problems and behavioral concerns of children. They are also trained to provide treatment sessions, document the progress and changes, and prescribe appropriate medication suitable to the child’s needs. They can also assist parents and families as the child goes through different levels of education.

Education

General Pediatricians and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians went to medical school and spent years acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for the field. Four years of study and a year of internship are the requirements in the United States. A medical student will have to choose whether he wants to further his studies by focusing on a subspecialty during the internship period. Medical students will, later on, be general pediatricians if they choose not to take up subspecialty; while medical students will, later on, be developmental-behavioral pediatricians if they choose otherwise and go through further three years of residency in the field of pediatrics in order to be equipped and skilled in diagnosing and treating any behavioral problems and concerns on the development of children. Both are medical doctors who graduated and passed a national licensure examination.

Functions

The general health and care of a child are under the scope of general pediatricians. They look into the child’s attributes such as social, mental, physical and behavioral, and they compare it to the attributes generally accepted as standard or norm. Should there be any differences, concerns, or delays, they refer it to developmental pediatricians. Specialists in the development and behavior of children are called developmental pediatricians. Some (but not limited to) examples of the conditions they diagnose and provide treatment plans for are: behavioral disorders like anxiety, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and depression; learning disorders such as dyslexia and writing problems; developmental incapacities like spina bifida, mental retardation, visual and hearing defects and cerebral palsy, habit disorders; developmental delays such as cognitive and speech; and regulatory problems such as sleep and feeding difficulties and toilet-training problems.

Knowing the difference between a general pediatrician and a developmental pediatrician can guide loving parents in choosing the appropriate medical practitioner that can properly address their child’s medical needs.

Eating Disorder—Types and Its Effect on Our Overall Health

Almost everyone loves to eat. How about you? We eat, not just because we want to, but because we have to. It is one of the basic human needs, other than clothing and shelter. However, eating and healthy eating, are two completely different things. After all, everyone has their very own “favorite foods.” Still, no matter how basic a topic eating may be, there is something that needs to be addressed about it. Have you ever heard about eating disorders? Let us cover the most common types of eating disorders and their corresponding effects on our well-being.

Anorexia Nervosa: This is a grave and life-threatening eating disorder marked by excessive starving of oneself and extreme weight loss. Signs include visibly notable low body weight for one’s physical health, age, or sex, fear of becoming fat and gaining weight, distorted view of body appearance and weight, restricting oneself to eat then binge afterward. Fasting and excessive exercise to avoid weight gain are also exhibited by the affected individual. 

This should never be taken lightly as studies have shown that this type of eating disorder is possibly associated with depression. If prolonged and left untreated, it further leads to suicidal instincts, heart failure, hormonal imbalance, menstrual irregularity in women, weakened heart muscle, and gastrointestinal complications. Aside from that, a person with anorexia nervosa may experience frequent stomach aches, bloating, sexual deprivation, insomnia, irritability, and social withdrawal.

Bulimia Nervosa: Similar to anorexia, this is also life-threatening if left untreated. However, contrary to anorexia, bulimia is characterized by binge eating—then to be followed by self-induced vomiting to compensate for binging. Signs include a series of binge eating with the patient subconsciously having the idea that he is losing control over his eating behavior. Just like anorexia, overly conscious weight monitoring and self-evaluating one’s body weight or shape may also be noticed. 

Associated features are also very close to that of anorexia: menstrual irregularity, poor dental health, high suicide risk, and gastrointestinal complications. In addition to that, there can be also ruptured blood vessels, cardiac arrhythmias, pancreatitis, and chronic dehydration.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED): This may sound similar to bulimia, which is true, but there is one significant difference—no compensation for weight-control is done to counter the binge eating. Signs include intake of large amounts of food regularly, then feeling guilty and ashamed afterward. Hoarding food in strange places, the disappearance of great quantities of food in just a short time, and eating very quickly even when not hungry are also telltale signs of this disorder. 

Complications associated with BED include: obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure (including abnormally high cholesterol levels), heart disease, gallbladder disease, and the overall quality of life is affected. 

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID): This type of eating disorder is similar to anorexia—it also ends up in extreme weight loss. However, this is linked to zero interest in appetite to food such that no response is manifested by the patient. If there is such a thing as poor appetite, then people suffering from this technically have ‘no appetite.’ This is not because of the lack of food sources. 

Signs and symptoms of this disorder are both physical and psychological. 

Similar to the previously stated disorders, these also include excessive weight loss, fear of gaining weight, restricting food intake which results in significant nutritional deficiency, and gastrointestinal complications. If left untreated, it can take too much toll on the body and disrupt the processes and normal functions taking place which will eventually result in death.

Hair Loss: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

No one is exempt from losing hair; you see the evidence during your morning shower, near a mirror in the house, and for sure under the sofa—but usually that’s normal. Human hair, on the average, goes through its cycle, with new ones ever ready to replace it.” But losing hair more than what is average may be a sign of a more serious issue that needs medical attention and advanced treatment. Here are some top causes of hair loss, with data on symptoms and recommendations.

Hereditary Hair Loss

Genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is a major cause of hair loss. It is possible to have it if both parents suffer from hair loss. Women undergoing this experience thinning at the hairline very near the forehead.

Nevertheless, a prudent solution is to use minoxidil, to be applied on the scalp twice a day. The medicine is useful for both men and women. Women ought not to use minoxidil during pregnancy.

Lupus

Lupus is a serious and long-term autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system goes after healthy tissues. The condition has around 1.5 million sufferers. Symptoms include headaches, oral ulcers, fatigue, and swollen joints. Some people report a butterfly-shaped irritation on the nose and heightened sensitivity to the sun. Many people also experience hair loss.

A rheumatologist could give more advice if the hair loss occurs together with joint fatigue, pain, plus other signs of lupus.

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is a hormone heavily involved in a wide range of roles, from basal metabolic rates to the growth of your hair, nails, and skin. Thus having thyroid in unbalanced amounts may lead to serious changes in bodily functions.

Hypothyroidism (too low levels of hormone) may lead to symptoms such as constipation, depression, fatigue, unexplained weight gain, and difficulty in concentration. Hyperthyroidism (too high levels) may manifest in heart palpitations, nervousness, sudden weight loss, moist skin, irritability, diarrhea, muscle weakness, and a jumpy look in the eyes. Hyperthyroidism is more seldom in occurrence than hypothyroidism.

As a remedy, your doctor may recommend hormone medication to restore thyroid levels to within normal range.

Skin Conditions

Here are some various scalp issues that are connected to hair loss. Examples of skin conditions linked to hair loss are psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), and even some fungal infections.

Seborrheic dermatitis results in the shedding of the skin on the scalp; those affected will notice skin flakes in the form of yellowish scales on their shoulders or the hair. Psoriasis, an autoimmune condition mainly about excessive skin cell turnover, is not just limited to red scaly patches on the body, but also white scales on the scalp. As for ringworm, red patches on your scalp comes soon after acquiring the fungus via contact with an infected person or animal.

Each skin condition requires unique treatment, whether it be a medicated shampoo, medications or light therapy, or oral antifungals, among other treatments.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is yet another autoimmune issue with still-unknown causes where the immune system sees hair follicles as a threat. The condition has three forms. One type causes smooth patches of baldness on the eyebrows, scalp or legs. Total hair loss on the head is another type, while the third known type is hair loss for the entire body.

The condition is usually remedied with corticosteroids, or sometimes with minoxidil (Rogaine). But it’s also good to just keep in check stress levels.

To end, the overall look of your hair doesn’t just sum up your looks. it may give clues about your inner being too! Stop hair loss, see a medical expert today. 

Tips on How to Get Rid of Ingrown Toenails

Toenails often grow and curve at the edge, thereby penetrating the surrounding skin. This can be painful and may cause some swelling and redness. Both men and women experience this condition and the big toe is often the most affected. Ingrown toenails are commonly caused by toenail trauma when you stub your toe, cut them too short or at an angle and wear very tight shoes. However, treating them as soon as they occur can help to prevent infection. For mild cases, minor treatment using home remedies can make the problem go aware but more severe cases may require surgery. Below are top tips to help you eliminate ingrown toenails.

Soak them in warm, soapy water. This can help to ease pain and reduce swelling. This can be done for 20 minutes up to three times daily. You may also soak them in apple cider vinegar, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and some pain-relieving abilities, although scientific evidence seems limited. You can mix 1/4 cup of this vinegar with a basin of warm water and then soak your feet in it for 20 minutes daily. Ensure you dry your feet properly thereafter.

Over-the-counter antibiotic ointment can also reduce the risk of toenail infection and promote healing. Applying the cream or ointment to your toenail according to the manufacturer’s instructions can help relieve the affected area of pain and related symptoms. Examples of such ointments include Polysporin, Bactroban, and Neosporin.

Ingrown toenails are also caused by tight or uncomfortable socks and shoes. This means you should avoid wearing socks and shoes that crowd your toes. Wearing comfortable socks and shoes can help to control the growth of ingrown toenails. Also, wearing sandals often can reduce the pressure applied to your toenails.

Consider using over-the-counter pain relievers for ingrown toenails such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help relieve the pain caused by ingrown toenails. They usually have mild or no side effects unless you take more than 3, 000 mg, which is the daily recommended dosage. Consuming them with alcohol may also cause you to experience some side effects. Ibuprofen (Advil) may also be used if you are experiencing pain and swelling. However, ibuprofen may cause some stomach upset, abdominal pain, and even diarrhea in some cases. Also, do note that over-the-counter pain relievers should be taken as directed by the drug manufacturer or your physician.

You can also try toe protectors to give you the cushioning barrier you need to avoid developing ingrown toenails. They are in the form of rings to fit around the painful area or to cover the entire toe. A few contain a medicated gel to soften the affected toenails to give you an easy time for trimming. Alternatively, you can use toe braces made of adhesive, composite material and are thin enough to be placed on your toenail for protection. They can help to protect you from sharp, ingrown toenails that can cause injury to your skin.

Some doctors recommend using oral antibiotics but they are not routinely prescribed by physicians for unaffected ingrown toenails. They are ideal for infected toenails or a weakened immune system. Common signs of infection may include throbbing pain, redness, swelling, foul odor, and pus. However, antibiotics for effective treatment may include amoxicillin, ampicillin, and vancomycin.

Ingrown toenails are common and tend to affect the big toe. They can cause excruciating pain and become unbearable. Getting rid of them requires a mix of strategies that may include dipping your feet in warm, soapy water and applying ointment or cream and following your doctor’s prescription.

Important Tips to Achieve Good Nutrition

Many people are still confused when it comes to dieting, health, and nutrition. Several myths are surrounding the topic and even experts in nutrition tend to hold opposing views. A healthy diet is one that has been scientifically proven to deliver nutritional benefits and lower the risk of chronic conditions whilst keeping your weight and body in a healthy state. Such a diet should contain various types of foods to allow you to have enough intake of virtually all the nutrients that the body needs. 

Below are important tips to help your body gain all of the essential nutrients you need to stay healthy.

Avoid Drinking Sugar Calories. There is a reason sugary drinks are often referred to as ‘empty calories’. They can easily make you add weight and the brain is unable to measure calories from liquid sugar, in the same manner, it does from solid foods. Drinking soda and other sugary beverages can result in your body accumulating more total calories. This is commonly associated with obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and several other lifestyle diseases.

Avoid Junk/Processed Food. Junk or processed food has been associated with several health problems, including obesity and diabetes. The sugars, salts, and fat in these foods trigger pleasure centers, thereby tricking your brain into thinking you are hungry. As a result, overeating results in food addiction. They are low in protein, fiber, and micronutrients but high in refined grains and processed sugar. They will only give you empty calories. Therefore, eat real food instead and promote healthy living.

Choose Whole Grain Over Refined Bread. Opting for whole-grain bread instead of refined bread can make your regular diet healthier. Whole grains are associated with various health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. They are also rich in fiber and B vitamins. Several minerals, including iron, zinc, manganese, and magnesium, have also been found in them.

Add Fatty Fish to Your Diet. Fatty fish like salmon can be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fat, and high-quality protein. Eating fish has been associated with a lower risk of dementia, heart disease, and even depression.

Increase Protein Intake. When you think about nutrients and healthy dieting, protein always tops the list. It is often recommended because of its ability to influence hunger/ satiety hormones. Increasing your protein intake can reduce your overall daily calorie intake. It is also helpful in retaining muscle mass, which typically affects your metabolism rate. If you want to retain muscle mass as you age or lose weight, incorporate more protein into your diet. Other sources of good protein include lean meat, dairy products, eggs, beans, peanut butter, and nuts.

Drink Plenty of Water. This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of nutrition because at least 80 percent of our body is primarily water. Drinking water has been associated with numerous benefits, including weight loss, weight retention, and high metabolism rate. Drinking water before eating your meals can significantly lower your appetite, thereby causing you to consume fewer calories. Rather than drinking soda and other sugary beverages, you should resort to drinking plenty of water.

Get Enough Sleep. Many people know that they should be getting sufficient and high-quality sleep but still ignore that fact. Poor sleep can fuel insulin resistance, lower physical and mental performance, and interrupt your appetite hormones. You also risk gaining weight and becoming obese if you don’t have enough sleep.

To achieve good nutrition, you should be eating real food and avoid junk/ processed foods. Your eating habits have a significant role to play in your overall health. Also, drink plenty of water and have enough sleep.

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis commonly causes sore, red eyelids and results in inflammation of the same. It is also likely that your eyelashes will be crusty if you have blepharitis and they also become red and irritated. You may feel some itchiness. Dandruff-like scales may develop on your eyelashes. This eye disorder is quite common and can be caused by a skin condition or bacteria. While it can affect people of all ages, recent studies have revealed that young people are more likely to be affected. 

However, the condition is not contagious and does not usually result in permanent vision damage. The two types of blepharitis include anterior blepharitis, which affects the outside front of the eyelid in which the eyelashes attach and posterior blepharitis, which occurs at the inner edge of your eyelid adjacent to your eyeball.

Symptoms, Causes and When to See the Doctor

Signs and symptoms of blepharitis include red eyes, watery eyes, itchy eyelids, greasy eyelids, red and swollen eyelids, a gritty and stinging or burning sensation in your eyes, flaky skin around your eyes, loss of eyelashes, increased sensitivity to light, eyelid sticking, abnormal growth of eyelashes, crusty eyelashes after sleep, and more frequent blinking. 

There are numerous causes of blepharitis and some of them include dry eyes, bacterial eyelid infection, Demodex eyelash mites, and similar parasites or Meibomian gland dysfunction among others. 

Blepharitis and dry eyes tend to take place simultaneously, thereby causing a lot of confusion regarding which one causes or comes before the other. This commonly happens and some eye practitioners now believe the two are behind the DEBS (dry eye blepharitis syndrome), which is a chronic eye problem. They also believe that dry eye represents the late manifestation of DEBS and treating blepharitis could help to prevent, minimize or get rid of dry eye symptoms.

It is important to remember that the exact causes of this condition remain unclear, but some of the factors that have been commonly associated with the same include a bacterial infection; rosacea, a form of skin condition that causes facial redness; seborrheic dermatitis, which causes the eyebrows and scalp to show dandruff symptoms; lice or eyelash mites; allergies, such as allergic reactions to contact lens solutions, eye medications, and eye makeup; and malfunctioning or clogged oil glands in the eyelids.

If blepharitis symptoms do not seem to disappear or improve even after taking the steps necessary to improve hygiene and overall cleanliness of the affected area, then it is perhaps time to visit your eye doctor before things get worse. 

Treatment

The typical blepharitis treatment should begin with a trip to the eye doctor’s office to establish what’s causing the eyelid inflammation. A thorough examination will reveal whether you have blepharitis and the doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment option. Some of the treatment options may include gentle eyelid scrubs, which gets rid of the buildup of biofilm and eliminates excess bacteria accumulated in your lid margins. Daily warm compresses can also effectively reduce the bacteria on your eyelids. 

Other cleaning agents you may use are prescription eyelid cleansers and diluted baby shampoo. Topical medicines may also be prescribed to eliminate blepharitis and microbes that cause it. Sometimes the eye doctor may recommend BlephEx treatment, Thermal pulsation treatment, or Intense pulsed light therapy.

Blepharitis is a chronic condition and may keep coming back if you do not take the steps necessary to prevent its recurrence. Always clean your eyelids daily so that there is no buildup of bacteria on your eyelid margin. However, you should always see your doctor as soon as possible to determine whether you have blepharitis and get started on the right treatment plan.

Eye Discharge and When To See an Eye Doctor

Eye discharge may signify that something is wrong with your eyes. It is often characterized by mucus, skin cells, oil, various forms of debris, and dirt collecting to form a whitish substance in the corner of your eye, especially when you are sleeping. The substance can be dry and crusty or wet and sticky, as this depends on the amount of moisture that has evaporated from the substance. Sometimes referred to as “rheum,” eye doctors Pembroke Pines says it can also perform a protective function, which typically involves removing potentially harmful debris and other waste products from your tear film, including the surface of the eye.

The eye secretes mucus all day long and it is bathed by a thin film of tears when you blink. This flushes out the rheum fast, thereby removing it from the eye before it hardens. However, when asleep, no blinking occurs. This means eye discharge accumulates and forms crusts along the eyelash line and in the corner of the eyes. This is why you are likely to develop crusts when sleeping. A few crusts in the morning after waking up is quite normal, but eye discharge secreted excessively could mean you need an eye checkup to determine whether there is a problem developing. This discharge can be yellow or green and may cause eye pain, light sensitivity or blurry vision. If that happens, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible because your eyes may have developed an eye infection or a serious disease.

Causes

You don’t have to be worried that your eyes are producing some discharge unless it is excessive and yellowish or greenish. Inconsistency in discharge may also mean you have an eye infection or a serious eye disease. Some eye conditions can cause abnormal eye discharge, including blepharitis, conjunctivitis, dry eyes, corneal ulcer, and more. Conjunctivitis is characterized by eye discharge. The white, green, or yellow eye mucus is often accompanied by eye irritation, redness, or itchiness. Other eye infections associated with eye discharge include eye herpes, a viral eye infection that seems to recur; fungal keratitis, which is rare but a more serious form of inflammation of the eye’s cornea; blepharitis, inflammation of the lash line along the eyelash hair follicle; and dry eyes, which is the insufficient production of tears that causes the eyes to be irritated.

When to See Your Doctor

If you’ve experienced moderate eye discharge for a few days then there is no need to worry about it because it may be due to dirt and debris. The eye has a mechanism of cleaning itself. However, if the discharge is green or yellow and seems to persist, you may have to seek medical attention. Eye pain and blurred vision accompanying eye discharge may also require medical attention.

Treatment

While minor eye discharge is generally harmless and does not require any medical attention, excessive yellow or green discharge may signal a serious eye disease or infection and you should consult your eye doctor immediately. Your eye doctor may prescribe antiviral or antibiotic eye drops to help get rid of an eye infection that causes the eye to produce mucus. Some ointments can perform the same function. There are also over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops that you can use to treat eye allergies that make your eyes watery. For itchy eyes, you may try placing warm compresses over the eyes may also help you relieve some symptoms of eye discomfort and itching.

Eye discharge can be a sign of eye irritation or infection. If the symptoms do not disappear after a few days and over-the-counter eye drops do not work, it is best to consult your eye doctor because your eyes may be infected.

The Fundamentals of Physical Fitness

Fitness—hearing this word makes people think of huge guys with bulging muscles and it carries the image of the Incredible Hulk. However, it also adds up to the fire in the hearts and minds of those endeavoring to achieve physical fitness. Although a Hulk-looking physique may be an indication of a fit person, it is just the icing on the cake. In this article, we are going to break down the basics of physical fitness: what it is, its components, why it is important, and how to achieve a physically fit body. Without further ado, let’s get down to business. 

What is physical fitness? The very essence of it is when your body systems work efficiently, thus allowing you to perform daily tasks without tiring out easily. Hence, you can do schoolwork, household chores, and still, have enough energy for sports and other recreational activities. It also allows a person to meet the demands needed in an emergency, such as when a friend runs into an accident or if immediate help is needed at home. 

What are its components? The five components commonly taught in school curriculums, gyms, as well as health clubs are cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. The first one, cardiovascular endurance, refers to the ability of the heart and lungs to work together, fueling the whole body to sustain loads for long periods. 

Activities in this category include swimming, jogging, and cycling. Muscular strength or simply called ‘strength’ refers to the amount of force the muscles can produce. Activities include bench press, bicep curls, and deadlifts. Usually, this component can be measured by a push-up test to see how much weight an individual can lift or how much resistance a person can withstand. 

On the other hand, muscular endurance, as the name itself tells us, uses certain muscles that are forced to perform repeatedly and continuously without fatigue. Stationary bikes, elliptical machines, and cycling are all activities that fall under muscular endurance. Next, flexibility refers to the joints and their ability to move through a wide range of motion without getting injured. Gymnasts and ballet dancers are excellent examples of people with flexibility. This aspect is often measured using the sit-and-reach test. 

Finally, body composition, as the name stands for, refers to tissues such as fat, muscle, organ, and bone that make up the entire human body. Body composition is usually shown as your body fat percentage versus your lean body mass. Hydrostatic weighing, skin calipers, bioelectrical impedance, are examples of the most common ways to measure body composition.

Why is being physically fit considered as important? As you might expect, there are countless benefits in being fit—both immediate and long term. In the US alone, 86% of healthcare costs and 7 out of 10 deaths are due to chronic diseases, and basically, people who ignore the significance of physical fitness. Although conditions such as stroke, diabetes, and heart disease cannot be prevented, the risks of getting these can be greatly reduced by staying physically active. 

So, being physically fit will not only save you money, but it will also save your life. Life expectancy and reduced risk of getting injured are also some of the benefits of being fit. A stronger muscle means you’re less prone to fall and good bone health minimizes the risk of getting a fracture or the like should you tumble.

Therefore, how do you get a physically fit body? There’s no secret, no shortcut, no easy way to achieve this. But, to spare you the effort, here’s the equation: proper nutrition + regular exercise + adequate rest = physical fitness.

The Telltale Signs of Drug Addiction

If you ask someone as to whether they want to live a happy life, what do you think would be their answer? Needless to mention, we all want a satisfying and enjoyable life as much as possible. However, we are aware that not everyone has the same circumstances. We come from different walks of life and some struggle with drug use. It can be very difficult to quit once it has been started, but let’s dig deep into the details.

How It Begins

Many people who have been into drug addiction before, but were able to quit, pointed out that they did so because their friends were doing it, that they were depressed, that they wanted to have a good time, and that they were overly stressed and anxious with family and/or personal problems. Some, however, tried it just by curiosity alone. When we talk about drug addiction, it can be both caused by illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and the like; or by prescription drugs like tranquilizers, painkillers, and sleeping pills. How serious of a problem is drug addiction in the US alone? Statistics show that every day, more people die in drug addiction than from traffic accidents and guns. So, how can you save yourself or a friend from this?

Signs of Addiction

Just as a doctor would not perform surgery without knowing what happened to the patient, let us first identify the symptoms of drug addiction. The most common drugs are alcohol, stimulants, opioids, and marijuana. These are the specifics since the word “drug” is a very broad term. You might be surprised, but alcohol is a drug. Signs of alcohol addiction include blackout, or the inability to remember what has previously happened over and over again. The influence of alcohol drives the person to do illegal acts such as stealing and physical and verbal harassment. 

If there is “stress eating”, then there’s also “stress drinking”, pun intended, and it is already a sign of drug addiction. Neglecting family, work, and school responsibilities due to alcohol overconsumption is also a very obvious sign that alcohol use has gone out of control. 

Aside from alcohol, many are addicted to stimulants like methamphetamine or cocaine. Symptoms, in this case, are more similar to that of alcohol. But in addition to those, there may be changes in appetite, facial tics or jerky movements, dilated pupils, and rapid blinking or eye movement. There can also be mood swings, anger management issues, disrupted sleeping patterns, and tooth decay. “Crash phase” as they call it, is also a symptom of meth use. This is caused by the lack of dopamine previously supplied by the use of such drugs and is shown by unusually long sleeping hours, drug cravings, and even depression.

Opioids like oxycodone, methadone, and codeine may sound unfamiliar but are also addictive. The use of these substances stimulates the release of dopamine from the brain, one of what we call the ‘happy hormones’. This experience, if left untreated and taken for high amounts, causes addiction. Symptoms include needle marks from a syringe on legs and arms. Constricted pupils, impulsive actions, withdrawal from social activities, and visiting several doctors to get more supplies can be all signs of opiate addiction.

One of the drugs we don’t even have to describe for people to know is marijuana or cannabis. Addiction to this can be spotted by difficulty in concentrating, red eyes, and uncontrollable laughing and talking. It can make users feel that they’re starving which makes them binge on unhealthy foods. They also have a noticeable smell different from that of a cigarette, just slightly sweeter. Now that you have an idea of some of the signs of drug addiction, go ahead and save a friend, or even a life.