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HEALTHY LIVING

7 Exercises For Maintaining A Healthy Heart

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Maintaining a healthy heart is essential for overall well-being. Regular exercise plays a crucial role in promoting a healthy heart. In this read, you will learn about a range of exercises that are not only effective but also enjoyable for your whole being. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just starting your fitness journey, these exercises can help strengthen your heart, improve circulation, and boost your overall cardiovascular fitness.

There is no one “best” exercise for a healthy heart, but any type of aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for a sustained period is beneficial.

Some of these exercises for heart health include:

1. Brisk Walking or Jogging:
Walking or jogging are excellent low-impact exercises that can be done almost anywhere, making them accessible to people of all fitness levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking or jogging most days of the week. This simple exercise helps lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Walking Versus Running | The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News  — Guardian Life — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

2. Cycling:
Whether outdoors or on a stationary bike, cycling is an excellent way to get your heart pumping. It provides a low-impact cardiovascular workout that can be adjusted to various intensity levels. Cycling helps improve endurance, strengthens leg muscles, and promotes heart health.

3. Swimming:
Swimming is a fantastic full-body workout that is gentle on the joints. Being in the water provides natural resistance, which helps build strength and stamina. Regular swimming sessions help improve heart health, increase lung capacity, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):
HIIT workouts involve alternating between intense bursts of exercise and short recovery periods. These workouts are time-efficient and highly effective for improving cardiovascular fitness. HIIT exercises can include jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, and high knees. Such workouts increase heart rate, improve cardiovascular endurance, and burn calories efficiently.

5. Dancing:
Dancing is an enjoyable form of exercise that can significantly benefit your heart health. It not only gets your heart rate up but also improves coordination, balance, and flexibility. Whether you choose the traditional dance, Zumba, salsa, or hip-hop, dancing is a fantastic way to engage your cardiovascular system while having a great time.

Alvin Ailey Company Flexes New Muscle - The New York Times

6. Aerobic Classes:
Participating in aerobic classes, such as step aerobics, kickboxing, or cardio dance, can be a fun and energetic way to boost your cardiovascular fitness. With upbeat music and guidance from instructors, these classes offer a dynamic and engaging workout that targets the heart, strengthens muscles, and improves overall endurance.

7. Circuit Training:
Circuit training involves performing a series of exercises in quick succession, targeting different muscle groups. This high-intensity workout not only improves overall fitness but also provides cardiovascular benefits. Incorporating exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and jumping jacks in a circuit format helps improve heart health, burn calories, and build strength.

Other exercises you can do to improve your heart health include:

  • Running, a more vigorous form of exercise that can help to improve your cardiovascular fitness. If you are new to running, start slowly and gradually increase the distance and intensity of your runs.
  • Strength training, which helps to build muscle, which can help to improve your heart health. Aim for at least 2-3 strength-training sessions per week.

Outdoor Training Athletic Black Couple Doing Sport Exercises Together In  Park Stock Photo - Download Image Now - iStock

It is important to do some strength training exercises which not only help build muscle but also improve your overall fitness. Regular exercise is a key ingredient in maintaining a healthy heart. Whether you prefer low-impact activities like walking and swimming or high-intensity options like HIIT workouts and aerobic classes, there is an exercise for everyone.

Remember to consult your healthcare professional before starting any new exercise regimen, especially if you have existing medical conditions. So, lace up your shoes, get moving, and let these exercises help you on your journey towards a healthier heart!

Some additional tips for getting the most out of your exercise routine for heart health wouldn’t hurt, right? Check below.

  • You must find an activity that you enjoy and that you can stick with.
  • You should start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
  • Always warm up before you exercise and cool down afterwards.
  • Do not forget to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workouts.
  • Listen to your body and take breaks when you need them.

Also, keep in mind that there are drinks you take when you are on this journey. They help to make your exercise journey an easier one.

HEALTHY LIVING

8 Poisonous Fruits To Avoid For Health And Safety

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Poisonous fruits contain toxic compounds that can be harmful or even lethal to humans if ingested. These toxins can cause a range of harmful effects, from mild discomfort to severe illness and, in some cases, death.

It’s essential to stay away from these fruits for several reasons.

Why you should avoid these fruits

Fruits and veggies that could poison you - CNN

1. Health Risks:

The toxins found in poisonous fruits can have harmful effects on the human body. These effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, dizziness, and, in severe cases, organ failure or death. Avoiding these fruits is essential to prevent these health risks.

2. Lack of Edibility:

Due to their toxicity, poisonous fruits are inedible and should not be consumed by humans. These fruits frequently developed their toxic qualities as a defence mechanism against infections and herbivores.

3. Safety Concerns:

Some poisonous fruits, like the castor bean or the fruit of the manchineel tree, are so toxic that even simple contact with them can cause severe poisoning or skin responses. For the sake of personal safety, avoid these fruits at all costs.

4. Preventing Accidental Ingestion:

Sometimes, especially while exploring new areas or searching for sustenance in the outdoors, people may unknowingly come across toxic fruits. Accidental intake can be avoided by being aware of these hazardous fruits and staying away from them.

Things That Are Poisonous

5. Children and Animals:

Children and animals are frequently prone to the negative effects of the toxins present in some fruits. Protecting loved ones requires keeping these fruits out of reach and alerting family members about their risks.

6. Cultural Awareness:

It is important to know which fruits to avoid for cultural reasons as well. Using specific fruits for therapeutic or other purposes may be part of some cultures’ traditional knowledge and traditions. Knowing which fruits are poisonous can assist in preventing abuse.

7. Ecosystem Preservation:

Because their toxins prevent herbivores from overgrazing or upsetting delicate balances, some deadly fruits are necessary for the survival of particular ecosystems. Interfering with these natural processes on the environment can be detrimental.

It’s crucial to be aware of and stay away from poisonous fruits to ensure your safety.

Some of these poisonous fruits that you should know

1. Ackee (Blighia sapida):

This tropical fruit is native to West Africa but is also found in the Caribbean. Its unripe or improperly prepared seeds contain a toxin called hypoglycin A, which can lead to Jamaican vomiting sickness if consumed. It’s essential to wait until the fruit’s protective pods open naturally and discard the seeds before eating.

2. Manchineel (Hippomane mancinella):

Often referred to as the “beach apple” or “death apple,” this small tree bears a highly toxic fruit. Every part of the manchineel tree, including its fruit, is poisonous. Touching or ingesting it can cause severe skin reactions, gastrointestinal distress, and even death.

12 Strangest Delicacies Around the World • Lists.ng

3. Elderberry (Sambucus species):

While elderberries are used in various culinary and medicinal applications, their raw and unripe parts, particularly the leaves, stems, and seeds, contain cyanogenic glycosides that can release toxic cyanide when consumed in significant quantities. Proper cooking or processing removes these toxins.

4. Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana):

The pokeweed plant produces berries that are highly toxic when consumed. They contain compounds called saponins and oxalates that can lead to severe digestive upset and, in extreme cases, organ failure.

5. Bitter Almonds (Prunus dulcis var. amara):

Bitter almonds contain amygdalin, a compound that breaks down into cyanide when ingested. While sweet almonds are safe to eat, consuming even a tiny number of bitter almonds can be lethal. This is why commercial almond products in many countries must be made from sweet almonds only.

Pretty Poisonous Pokeweed

6. Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum):

The seeds of the horse chestnut tree contain a substance called aesculin, which is toxic when consumed raw. Ingesting them can lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, and even paralysis.

7. Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum):

The mandrake plant has a long history of being associated with poison and folklore. All parts of the plant, including its fruit, contain alkaloids that can cause hallucinations, delirium, and severe toxicity if ingested.

8. Castor Bean (Ricinus communis):

Castor beans are known for containing ricin, a deadly toxin. While the beans themselves are highly poisonous, even a single castor bean chewed or swallowed can be lethal. Ricin disrupts protein synthesis and can lead to organ failure.

Castor Beans: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties - Garden.org

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HEALTHY LIVING

10 Simple Tricks For Improving Digestion

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Digestion is a basic process that plays a vital role in maintaining our overall health and well-being. It is the body’s way of breaking down food into essential nutrients, which are then absorbed and used for energy, growth, and repair.

A healthy digestive system ensures that we receive the maximum benefits from the food we consume. However, many factors can disrupt this intricate process, leading to digestive discomfort and health issues.

In this comprehensive yet friendly guide, you will explore a variety of strategies and tricks to improve digestion naturally. Let’s go!

10 Simple Tricks For Improving Digestion

1. Eat Mindfully:

One of the most fundamental steps in improving digestion is practising mindful eating. This means paying attention to what you eat and how you eat it. Avoid distractions like watching TV or using electronic devices while eating. Chew your food thoroughly, as digestion begins in the mouth with the action of enzymes in saliva breaking down carbohydrates.

Chewing well also reduces the risk of swallowing air, which can cause bloating.

2. Choose Whole, High-Fiber Foods:

Incorporate a balanced diet, rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. These foods are high in dietary fibre, which promotes regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and aids in the overall digestive process.

Fibre also feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, fostering a healthy gut microbiome.

3. Stay Hydrated:

10 Simple Tricks For Improving Digestion

Adequate hydration is essential for maintaining healthy digestion. Water helps dissolve and transport nutrients, softens stools, and supports the smooth movement of food through the digestive tract.

Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, and increase your intake when consuming high-fiber foods.

4. Probiotics and Fermented Foods:

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help balance the gut microbiome, promoting better digestion. You can incorporate probiotics into your diet through foods like yoghurts, milk drinks, fura da nono, kimchi, and kombucha. These foods can improve gut health and help avoid digestive issues like gas and bloating.

5. Manage Stress:

Chronic stress can negatively impact digestion. The body’s “fight or flight” response diverts blood away from the digestive organs, which can slow down digestion and lead to discomfort.

Practising stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness can significantly improve digestive health.

6. Regular Exercise:

10 Simple Tricks For Improving Digestion

Physical activity plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Regular exercise can help stimulate the muscles of the digestive tract, speeding up the movement of food and preventing constipation.

Go for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

7. Portion Control:

Overeating can put excessive strain on the digestive system. It’s important to eat in moderation and be mindful of portion sizes. Smaller, more frequent meals can be easier for your body to digest than large, heavy meals.

8. Avoid Trigger Foods:

Identify foods that trigger digestive discomfort and try to avoid them. Common culprits include spicy foods, fatty foods, caffeine, and carbonated beverages.

Keep a food diary to track which foods may be causing issues and adjust your diet accordingly.

9. Chew Ginger or Peppermint:

Both ginger and peppermint have been used for centuries to aid digestion. Chewing on a piece of ginger or peppermint after a meal can help reduce gas, bloating, and indigestion.

10. Seek Professional Help:

10 Simple Tricks For Improving Digestion

If you continue to experience digestive problems despite making dietary and lifestyle changes, consult a healthcare professional.

Digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may require medical intervention.

Improving digestion is a multifaceted process that involves both dietary and lifestyle adjustments. However, you must keep in mind that individual responses to these strategies listed above may vary. With that, it is important to adjust your approach to your specific needs and consult with a medical care provider if digestive issues persist.

Now that you have learned the tricks dir improving digestion, also note that “A healthy digestive system is the foundation of overall well-being”, so you must invest in your digestion for a happier and healthier life.

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HEALTHY LIVING

How To Deal With Stress

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Stress is a natural and adaptive response that your body experiences when you encounter a challenging situation or perceive a threat. It triggers a “fight or flight” response, releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare your body to respond to the stressor.

While stress can be helpful in certain situations, chronic or excessive stress can have negative effects on your physical and mental well-being.

Stress can be caused by a wide range of factors, and what may be stressful for one person may not be the same for another. Here are some common causes of stress:

Workplace Stress

  • Heavy workloads and tight deadlines
  • Conflicts with colleagues or superiors
  • Job insecurity or fear of job loss
  • Long commutes and work-related travel

Financial Stress

  • Debt and financial instability
  • Unexpected expenses
  • Insufficient income to meet basic needs

Family and Relationship Issues

  • Marital problems or divorce
  • Parenting challenges
  • Caregiving responsibilities for aging family members
  • Family conflicts and disagreements

Health Concerns

  • Personal illness or injury
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Concerns about the health of a loved one

Life Transitions

  • Moving to a new location
  • Starting or ending a relationship
  • Going through a major life change like retirement or becoming a parent

Academic Pressure

  • Exams, deadlines, and academic performance
  • Balancing coursework with other responsibilities

Social and Peer Pressure

  • Pressure to conform to social norms
  • Peer pressure related to lifestyle choices, appearance, or behaviour

Environmental Stressors

  • Natural disasters or environmental concerns
  • Noise, pollution, and overcrowding

Traumatic Events

  • Personal experiences of trauma
  • Witnessing or being affected by a traumatic event

Technological Stress

  • Information overload
  • Constant connectivity through devices
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO) on social media

High Expectations

  • Setting unrealistic standards for oneself
  • Fear of failure or making mistakes

Lack of Control

  • Feeling powerless or unable to influence situations
  • Uncertainty about the future

Discrimination and Social Injustice

  • Experiencing discrimination based on factors like race, gender, or sexual orientation
  • Concerns about societal issues and inequality

Effects of Stress

Physical Effects

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Muscle tension and headaches
  • Digestive issues
  • Weakened immune system
  • Sleep disturbances

Mental Effects

  • Anxiety and worry
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Depression in some cases

Behavioural Effects

  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Increased use of substances like alcohol or tobacco
  • Social withdrawal
  • Decreased productivity
  • Procrastination

Ways to Deal with Stress

Mindfulness and Meditation

  • Practice mindfulness meditation to stay in the present moment and reduce anxiety.
  • Deep breathing exercises can help calm your mind and lower stress levels.

Regular Exercise

  • Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.
  • Exercise also helps with relaxation and improving sleep quality.

Healthy Eating

  • Maintain a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Limit caffeine and sugar intake, as they can exacerbate stress.

Time Management

  • Organize your tasks and set realistic priorities.
  • Avoid overcommitting and learn to say no when necessary.

Social Support

  • Share your feelings and concerns with friends and family.
  • Seeking support from a therapist or counsellor can also be beneficial.

Hobbies and Relaxation

  • Engage in activities you enjoy, such as reading, painting, or gardening.
  • Taking time for relaxation can reduce stress.

Limit Stressors

  • Identify and reduce sources of stress in your life when possible.
  • This might involve setting boundaries or making lifestyle changes.

Time for Yourself

  • Prioritize self-care and self-compassion.
  • Make time for activities that rejuvenate you.

Seek Professional Help

  • If stress becomes overwhelming or persistent, consult a mental health professional for guidance and support.

Medication and Therapy

  • In severe cases, medication prescribed by a healthcare provider or therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), may be recommended.

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