How to be your own Valentine ❤️

​This Valentine’s Day, why not take the time to appreciate someone who rarely gets your attention; someone who deserves a thoughtful gift and a few kind words? Someone like – you! Whether you are single or attached, Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to send yourself a gift of thanks and appreciation.

Do you remember sending valentines when you were a child? Can you recall those cute cardboard box valentines with your favorite TV characters on them?  

Perhaps the first serious Valentine’s Day gifts received like a pretty bracelet or a dozen red roses?
 Receiving a Valentine’s Day gift is a magical experience. It makes people smile, sometimes even feel a bit giddy. 
Often times though, the expectations one has on Valentine’s Day can leave us a little disappointed.  

Or down right sad if we don’t get a valentine at all, but feel as though we should. We let it affect our entire day, some of us even going as far as to be “anti-Valentine’s Day”. But that’s no way to love now is it?  

 Instead, start thinking of Valentine’s Day as a time to celebrate YOU. Prepare to treat yourself in the same way you prepare to send a gift to your partner or special friend. Perhaps you have resisted buying a special piece of jewelry, or a beautiful dress. 

 Maybe you would love to have a day at the spa, but have put it off due to time constraints. 

Valentine's Day Heart The Spiritual Panda

Snuggle up to watch your favorite movie with yummy snacks. Have a long soak in a bubble bath with a glass of champagne. Spend the day meandering through the cute antique shops you always meant to check out, but never got around to finding the time to explore.  
However you decide to care for yourself this Valentine’s Day, remember in order to be your own valentine, you will need to send yourself a card.  

Write a thoughtful note to yourself, listing what you love about yourself, and why you know you are special. 
Make being your own valentine an annual tradition, a time when it’s okay to take time off to take care of you.  

It’s the perfect time of year to pay extra special attention to your own needs and desires, to have the kind of fun you like to have, and to notice your unique loveliness.

Yoga Poses For Stress Relief & Flexibility

Yoga has been utilized for centuries as a means to help people relieve stress, revitalize the mind, and heal the body. Try the Yoga sequence below to help reset and rejuvenate.

 

Slowly transition from each pose to the next holding each position for 6 seconds each.

  
Hero Pose

Benefits:

  • Stretches the quads.
  • Helps keep knee joints healthy.
  • Improves digestion and relieves gas.
  • Broadens the sacrum.

 

Child’s Pose 

Benefits:

  • Stretches the hips and thighs.
  • Reduces stress and fatigue.
  • Relaxes the front muscles.
  • Stretches the back and shoulders.
  • Lengthens and Stretches the spine.

 

Kneeling Half Bow Pose 

Benefits:

  • Stretches the front of the body, ankle, and groin.
  • Stimulates the kidneys.
  • Boosts adrenaline.
  • Improves balance.

 

Downward Facing Dog

Benefits:

  • Calms the mind.
  • Helps relieve stress.
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and hands.
  •  Relieves headache and back pain.
  • Improves digestion and relieves menstrual discomfort

 

Upward Facing Dog

Benefits:

  • Improves posture.
  • Strengthens the spine, arms, and wrists.
  • Stretches the chest,  lunges, and shoulders.
  • Therapeutic for asthma.
  • Firms the glutes.

 

Box w/Knee to Chest

Benefits:

  • Helps improve balance.
  • Relieves headache, insomnia, and back pain.
  • Helps strengthen the abdominals.
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure.
  • Improves digestion.

Woman doing yoga pose on beach jpg
You can perform the above sequence at any time, but it’s especially effective in the mornings to help wake up your chakras and have a productive day. Namaste.🕉️

The Health Benefits of Yoga

By The Spiritual Panda

 Yoga is a ancient practice that helps create a sense of union between the mind, body, and spirit. Two of the most important benefits of yoga are physical and mental therapy. The aging process, which is largely an artificial condition, caused mainly by autointoxication or self-poisoning, can be slowed down by practicing yoga. Although yoga has been shown to be beneficial in a variety of conditions, it is not considered a therapy for specific illnesses. Yoga also strives to increase self-awareness on both a physical and psychological level. This allows people to take early collective action, such as adjusting posture, when discomfort is first noticed.

 Yoga is approximately 4,000 years old and is a scientific methodology aimed at uniting the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga is believed to reduce pain by helping the brain’s pain center regulate the gate-controlling mechanism located in the spinal cord and the secretion of natural painkillers in the body. Breathing exercises used in yoga can also reduce pain. Yoga has consistently been used to cure and prevent back pain by enhancing strength and flexibility. Both acute and long-term stress can lead to muscle tension and exacerbate back problems.

Proven Benefits of Yoga

Biochemical benefits of Yoga:

1. Sodium decreases.

2. Triglycerides decrease.

3. Cholinesterase increases.

4. Hemoglobin increases.

5. Total white blood cell count decreases.

6. Thyroxin increases.

7. Vitamin C increases.

Exercise Benefits of Yoga:

1. Rapid forceful movements.

2. Increased muscle tension.

3. Moderate caloric consumption.

4. Fatiguing.

5. Imbalance activity of opposing groups.

6. Great segway into Pilates.

Physiological Benefits of Yoga:

1. Pulse rate decreases.

2. Cardiovascular efficiency increases.

3. Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase.

4. Posture improves.

5. Strength and resiliency increase.

6. Immunity increases.

7. Pain decreases.

Practicing yoga can provide chronic pain sufferers with useful tools to actively cope with their pain and help counter feelings of helplessness and depression.  Laboratory tests have proved the yogi’s increased abilities of consciously controlling autonomic or involuntary functions, such as temperature, heartbeat and blood pressure. Patients who practice yoga have a better chance of gaining the ability to control their breathing problems.

Fit Quote of The Day

“Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body”

                                                                                                                     Arnold  Schwarzenegger

arnold-schwarzeneggers-8-best-training-principles-musclepharm-arnold-series-graphic-1

How To Develop Your Own Workout Routines

What should I do for a workout?”

The question I’m asked more than any other related to fitness. Whether you’re just getting started, you feel like mixing things up, or you’re ready to start some heavy lifting, it’s important to understand what goes into an effective exercise program. Here’s some general knowledge of what you should consider when starting your own routine.


How Much Time Should I Devote To Exercise?

Be consistent with your time. 3-5 workouts a week are standard in most cases. Give yourself plenty of time to rest in between training days and minimize distractions while in the gym to keep your workouts effective.


Keep It Simple.

I recommend doing full body routines starting out. Set a goal that’s challenging, but attainable. You can develop a full body routine that uses only four or five exercises in most cases. Pick one exercise from each category below for a workout, and you’ll work almost every single muscle in your body.

Quads – squats, lunges, one legged squats, box jumps.

Butt and Hamstrings – hip raises, deadlifts, straight leg deadlifts, good mornings, step ups.

Push (chest, shoulders, and triceps) – overhead press, bench press, incline dumbbell press, push ups, dips.

Pull (back, biceps, and forearms) – chin ups, pull ups, inverse body weight rows, dumbbell rows.

Core (abs and lower back) – planks, side planks, exercise ball crunches, mountain climbers, jumping knee tucks, hanging leg raises.


How Many Sets Should I Do?

Not including a warm-up set or two, I recommend doing between 3-5 sets per exercise.


How Many Repetitions Should I Do?

If you’re looking to burn fat while building some muscle, keep your number of repetitions per set in the 8-15 range. If you’re looking to build size and strength, lift heavier and keep your sets to about 3-5 reps. Keep your muscles guessing by constantly forcing them to adapt to different routines.


How Long Should I Wait Between Sets?

Here’s a very basic formula for how long to wait between your sets based on the exercise:

1-3 Reps: Rest for 3 to 5 minutes

4-7 Reps: Rest for 2 to 3 minutes

8-12 Reps: Rest for 1 to 2 minutes

13 Reps+: Rest for 1 minute or less


How Much Should I Lift?

Lift enough so that you can get through the set, but not too much that you have NO fuel left in the tank at the end. If you’re body weight exercises, you need to find a way to make each exercise more difficult as you get in shape – once you get past 20 reps for a particular exercise and you’re not gassed, it’s time to mix things up.

Always be challenging yourself.

How Long Should I Exercise?

You should be able to get everything done within 45 minutes to an hour. Not including a warm-up and cool down. If you can go for over an hour and you’re not completely worn out, you’re simply not pushing yourself hard enough.

Less time, more intensity, better results.


Alternating Sets.

Do a set of squats, wait one minute, then do a set of dumbbell presses, wait one minute, then do your next set of squats, and so on.
Because you’re exercising two different muscle groups, you can exercise one while the other is “resting.” Also, because you’re actually resting less time overall, your body has to work harder so your heart is getting a workout too.


Circuit Training.

A circuit requires you to do one set for EVERY exercise, one after the other, without stopping. After completing one set of each exercise in succession, you then repeat the process two to three more times.


Recovery Time.

Muscles aren’t built in the gym, they’re built when you’re resting. Give your muscles 48-72 hours to recover between workouts.  A Monday-Wednesday-Friday workout schedule works well to ensure enough time to recover.


Keep Track.

Keep a workout journal! You should be getting stronger, faster, or more fit with each day of exercise. Write everything down so that you can compare yourself against a previous workouts.

An apple a day!

Natural Component of Apple Peels Found To Help Prevent Muscle Weakening

By Amdis Health 

In search of an effective method to prevent muscle wasting that comes with illness and aging, researchers have located a natural compound that is very promising. 

The findings reported in the June issue of Cell Metabolism (a Cell Press publication), identify a natural component of apple peels known as Ursolic Acid as a promising new nutritional therapy for the widespread and debilitating condition that affects nearly everyone at one time or another. 

image

“Muscle wasting is a frequent companion of illness and aging,” explained researchers from The University of Iowa, Iowa City. “It prolongs hospitalization, delays recoveries and in some cases prevents people going back home. It isn’t well understood and there is no medicine for it.” 

The research team first looked at what happens to gene activity in muscles under conditions that promote weakening. Those studies turned up 63 genes that change in response to fasting in both people and mice and another 29 that shift their expression in the muscles of both people who are fasting and those with spinal cord injury. Comparison of those gene expression signatures to the signatures of cells treated with more than 1300 bio-active small molecules led them to ursolic acid as a compound with effects that might counteract those of atrophy. 

“Ursolic Acid is an interesting natural compound,” they said. “It’s part of a normal diet as a component of apple peels. They always say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away…” 

The researchers next gave Ursolic Acid to fasted laboratory subjects. Those experiments showed that ursolic acid could protect against muscle weakening as predicted. When ursolic acid was added to the food of normal subjects for a period of weeks, their muscles grew. Those effects were traced back to enhanced insulin signaling in muscle and to corrections in the gene signatures linked to atrophy. 

The subjects given ursolic acid also became leaner and had lower blood levels of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides. The findings therefore suggest that ursolic acid may be responsible for some of the overall benefits of healthy eating. 

“We know if you eat a balanced diet like mom told us to eat you get this material,” the researchers explained “People who eat junk food don’t get this.” 

It is not yet clear whether the findings will translate to human patients, but the goal now is to “figure out if this can help people.” If so, they don’t yet know whether Ursolic Acid at levels that might be consumed as part of a normal diet might or might not be enough. 

How to Find The Best Used Home Gym Equipment

Exercise equipment can be very expensive.  Even if you appreciate that using it is an investment in your health and longevity, it can still be very difficult to fit it into a home budget.

So if fitness is a priority, but you want to save money, maybe used home exercise equipment is the way to go. Since most equipment can last for decades even with regular use, you can find some great deals out there on quality equipment. But where do you find good used exercise equipment and what should you look for before purchasing?

Before you start your search for used exercise equipment, you should decide on the type of equipment you think would best benefit you. Take a trip to your local sports store and check out the types of equipment available. While shopping around for used gym equipment, be sure to the quality of workmanship. You should also look for the normal wear and tear. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more knowledgeable you are, the better your chances of finding a great deal. You can also find thousands of used items online. Some of the most popular sites for used equipment are eBay and Amazon. Keep in mind though, there is usually a shipping cost when ordering equipment online outside of your immediate area.

It’s never a good idea to just pay for something this expensive without having inspected it first. Craigslist is another great online site to purchase used exercise equipment. It’s also probably the best way to save money as it caters to individuals who prefer to pick up equipment in an effort to avoid shipping costs. You may have flea markets nearby that sell exercise equipment as well. Goodwill, Purple Heart, The Kidney Foundation, and even The Salvation Army often sell pretty good equipment from their donors. You can find out more information online.

It’s important to inspect and try out the used home exercise equipment you find anywhere before you buy it. When it comes to treadmills, look at the belt for signs of extreme ware frayed edges. Tryout elliptical machines and bikes. Are the pedals securely fastened? Do they have a tendency to wobble? This might mean inferior quality. As for weight machines and other pieces of used home exercise equipment, check pulleys, cords, belts, benches, and every moving piece. Does it work effortlessly?  If not, then something may be ready to break.  Make sure the cords and pulley don’t look frayed and worn.

Buying used home exercise equipment rather than new can be a good idea if it means sticking to your budget, but exercise caution and be sure that you don’t grab the first thing you see. Make sure to thoroughly inspect everything no matter what the brand name or price.