Improving your breathing capacity

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  1. Inhale through the nostrils in one long and continuous breath.

2. Breathe into the first abdominal target, the low belly.

3. With the same breath, breathe into the second target: the lower chest, at the bottom of the ribcage.

4. Continuing the same inhalation, breathe into the third target, the lower throat. You should feel it just above your sternum.

Once you’ve inhaled into each of the three target areas, you’ll begin exhaling. On the exhalation, focus on the three abdominal targets, but in reverse order.

  • Exhale through the nostrils in one long and continuous breath, just like on the inhalation.
  • Focus on the lower throat first, then feel the exhalation move down into the lower chest and the lower belly.

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Focuses on a smooth nasal inhalation and a steady, vocal exhalation through the nostrils.

  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through both nostrils.

 

 

As you exhale, you should train your throat to make a soft, elongated hum of the letter “e.” This should produce the characteristic buzzing sound associated with “the bee breath.”

  • Exhale slowly through both nostrils.
  • Start out with a soft, silent “eee” buzz, and gradually increase the volume as you become more comfortable with this breathing routine. Do not strain your throat. The buzzing should feel somewhat natural.

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Add variance to your technique:

Once you’ve sufficiently practiced the bee breath, you can add some variety to your technique. This can help give you a deeper sense of calm.

  • Extend your fingers, and use the thumb of your right hand to block your right nostril.
  • Perform the same inhalation and exhalation as before, but push all of your breath in and out of your left nostril.
  • Switch sides, using your left hand to block your left nostril. Push all of your breath in and out of your right nostril.

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  • Form a tube (or as much of a cylindrical shape as possible) with your tongue. Push the tip of your “tongue tube” out just past your lips.
  • If you cannot roll your tongue on your own, you may need to use your hands to “shape” the tongue.

 

 

  • As you inhale, tilt your head down and hold your chin against your chest.
  • Feel the breath enter your lungs and hold the breath for approximately five seconds.
  • Push the breath out of your nostrils in a slow, controlled exhalation.
  • Focus on your chest and contract the vocal cords as the breath leaves your body through the nose.

 

 

 

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How to Beat Marathon Muscle Cramps

The most commonly sustained injury when training for running a marathon is muscle cramps.

Cramps occur when the body runs out of energy, fluid and electrolytes or when the muscles overheat during exercise. Fortunately, cramps are preventable. Check the tips bellow:

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1) PERFORM STRETCHING EXERCISES

  • As cramps are most frequently experienced in the calves, you should focus on stretching these muscles. One good calf stretch involves starting in a standing position about 60 – 90 centimeter (35.4 in) from the wall, keeping the soles of the feet flat on the floor.
  • Step forwards with one foot and lean your hands against the wall until you feel a stretch in the calf of your back leg. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds before switching to the other leg.

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2) KEEP YOUR LEGS IN THE CORRECT POSITION WHILE SLEEPING

  • Keeping the legs slightly elevated by placing a pillow under the feet while sleeping on your back.
  • Hanging the feet over the edge of the bed while sleeping on your front.

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3) HYDRATE PROPERLY BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER RUNNING

  • Before training (or the marathon itself) it is recommended that you pre-hydrate by drinking only water – sports drinks will not benefit you at this stage, as no electrolytes have yet been lost. You should also avoid caffeinated drinks in the lead up to the race, as these have a diuretic effect that can lead to water loss.
  • Rehydrate with water during the first 60 minutes of exercise, and with a sports drink after 60 minutes of exercise. After an hour of exercise, your body loses energy and electrolytes which the sports drink helps to replace.
  • To maintain proper body hydration, it is recommended to drink 5 to 12 ounces (148 to 355 millilitres) of water for every 20 minutes of activity. Before and after running, take in 4 to 8 ounces (118 to 237 millilitres) of water. The amount of fluid intake will also depend on the body weight of the runner. It is suggested to seek professional advice on the amount of fluid to be taken.

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4) CHANGE THE TYPE OR BRAND OF YOUR SHOES

Make sure that you are wearing properly fitted running shoes. Shoes that do not fit properly cause stress to the muscles and tendons that puts the runner at higher risk of developing muscle cramps.

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5) MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET

  • Caffeinated beverages contain substances that worsen muscle cramps due to dehydration.
  • Don’t consume foods that are high in protein or fat in the 4 to 5 hours before running. Eat foods that are high in carbohydrates instead.
  • It is recommended to eat bananas while running because they contain high levels of potassium, a substance that helps prevent muscle cramps.

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6) TRY CRAB LOADING

Prolonged exercise duration greater than 90 minutes puts the body at risk for cramps.

The body gets deprived of its main energy fuel, glucose, as the muscles scurry for the final stretch.

Carbohydrate loading is a technique that focuses on storing glucose in the liver and muscles which can be tapped into for energy later.

  • During the training period for a marathon, you should be getting 60% of your daily calories from carbohydrates, 25% from fat and 15% from protein. Some examples of good carbohydrate sources are rice, bread, pasta, sweet potatoes, and potatoes.
  • In the final days before a marathon, you should increase your carb intake to getting 70% to 80% of your total calories from carbs, with the remaining 20% to 30% of your calorie intake divided between protein and fat.
  • After the marathon, you should resume a normal diet. Carbohydrate loading is not advised for long-term use because it may lead to a rise in blood glucose levels and diabetes.

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7) MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE PACING YOURSELF PROPERLY

  • Take your overall health and fitness levels into account in order to determine the appropriate pace for you, both during training and during the marathon itself.
  • Wear a watch or use a phone app that tracks your pace and alerts you if you are running too fast or slow.

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8) TRY TO TAPER OFF THE INTENSITY OF YOUR TRAINING AS THE MARATHON APPROACHES

Tapering is defined as gradual reduction of exercise intensity as a competition draws near.

This prevents overtraining and reduces the risk of injury.

Tapering is very important in a marathon race, when it is coupled with carbohydrate loading to maximize glycogen storage rates.

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9) ENSURE THAT YOU ARE GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP

Getting an adequate amount of rest will ensure that your muscles recuperate well in between training sessions and that they are not already damaged or worn down by the day of the marathon.

  • Hitting the sack for at least 7 hours per night is necessary for optimal regeneration of muscle damage and prevents overtraining.
  • Unfortunately, sleep may be difficult to come by in the night before the event, as it is normal for a person to experience extreme anxiety and excitement in anticipation of the day ahead. Therefore, the most crucial sleep happens two nights before the event. It is essential that you get a full 8 hours sleep two nights before the event to ensure that your body is well-rested and prepared.

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10) RELIEVING MUSCLE CRAMPS: GIVE APPROXIMATION A TRY

Approximation is a massage technique used to relieve muscle cramps. It is done by pressing the muscle fibers together in the same direction for a specific time.

  • You can perform this massage by grasping the muscles above and below the cramps. Then push the hands together to shorten and compress the muscle until the muscle relaxes.
  • Try to contract the muscle without pressing the opposing muscle against the cramping muscle. This forces the cramping muscle to relax, thereby relieving the cramp.

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11) USE COLD THERAPY TO REDUCE PAIN

Cold therapy helps to reduce blood flow in the swollen and inflamed muscle and slows down the pain signals that are transmitted to the brain. Thus, the pain felt during muscle cramps is decreased.

  • A cold compress can be applied to the affected muscle for at least 20 minutes every 4 to 6 hours for three days.

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12) FOLLOW UP WITH HEAT THERAPY TO PROMOTE MUSCLE RELAXATION

Heat therapy involves the application of heat to the affected area, which causes the muscles to relax by dilating the blood vessels and promoting blood circulation to the area.

  • Some studies show that the use of continuous low-level heat wrap therapy (CLHT) can help to decrease muscle and joint pain more effectively than oral analgesics, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  • A hot compress can be applied to the affected area for 20 minutes three times a day. Be careful when using heat therapy as it could cause burns.

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13) RECOGNIZING THE CAUSES OF MUSCLE CRAMPS: BE WARY OF NERVE MALFUNCTIONS

Medical problems such as spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in the back or neck could cause malfunctioning of the affected nerves and lead to the development of muscle cramps.

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14) WATCH OUT FOR MUSCLE STRAIN

Overworking certain muscles can result in a loss of energy in the muscles. When this happens, the overworked muscle suddenly contracts, leading to a muscle cramp.

This frequently happens in sports like running, where the same muscles are used repeatedly.

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15) PAY ATTENTION TO ANY BLOOD CONDITIONS

Muscles require an adequate blood supply in order to function properly. Therefore, any underlying blood conditions that interfere with the supply of blood to the muscles can lead to muscle cramping.

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16) BE CAREFUL ABOUT LEANING AT THE WAIST

When a person gets tired, the normal response is to lean to the side, with a hand on your waist. Holding this position for prolonged periods can strain the core muscles. It puts the abdominal muscles in a vulnerable position which can lead to muscle cramps.

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17) BE AWARE OF PROPER HIP EXTENSION

Proper hip extension while running involves placing the upper thigh and leg backwards when the foot hits the ground. This gives more power and speed to your running. However, if the hips are not extended properly, it puts strain on the calf and quad muscles, leading to cramps.

Source: WikiHow

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How to Recognize Zika

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1) RECOGNIZE THE SYMPTOMS

The symptoms range between 3 and 12 days to occur:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Red eyes (conjunctivitis) and/or pain behind the eyes
  • A rash

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2) KEEP IN MIND THAT MANY PEOPLE DO NOT SHOW SYMPTOMS

One of the major challenges of recognizing a Zika infection is that most infected people have no symptoms at all.

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3) CONSIDERING TIMING

The time-frame for developing symptoms is usually three to 12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti).

However, keep in mind that a lack of symptoms does not mean that you do not have Zika.

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4) SEE A DOCTOR FOR A BLOOD TEST

The only sure way to determine if you have Zika is to have a blood test.

Zika has symptoms that are similar to dengue fever and chikungunya, so even a doctor cannot diagnose you without performing a blood test.

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5) BE AWARE OF POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS OF ZIKA

The biggest risk of a Zika infection is not the infection, it is the potential complications that can develop as a result of the infection.

Although complications only develop in a small minority of people, they can be severe. The two main complications that are suspected to be linked to the Zika virus are:

  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which is a neurological condition that can lead to potential paralysis.
  • Microcephaly, which is a birth defect that develops when women who are pregnant become infected with Zika. Infants born with microcephaly have an abnormally small head and may have developmental delays as well. Some infants may even die as a result of this birth defect.

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6) RECOGNIZE SYMPTOMS OF GBS

GBS has been linked as a potential complication of the Zika virus, but there is not yet a proven link between the two. Still, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of GBS if you have Zika.

GBS is an autoimmune disorder that may occur following a viral infection such as Zika. It affects your nervous system by damaging the nerve coverings.

Symptoms include:

  • Numbness in the lower extremities such as the feet, lower legs, and hands
  • Difficulty moving
  • Numbness and/or paralysis that gradually moves upwards
  • Difficult breathing if the paralysis moves to the chest area

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7) WATCH FOR SIGNS OF MICROCEPHALY IN NEWBORNS

Microcephaly in newborns has also been linked to the Zika infection in pregnant women (who then pass it on to their fetus in the womb).

Microcephaly refers to an abnormally small head. This condition can lead to developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, and, in severe cases, it may even lead to death.

When your baby is born, the doctors will take routine measurements of head circumference (both at birth, as well as at progressive intervals throughout your baby’s growth). It is through abnormally small head circumference measurements that a doctor may diagnose your baby with microcephaly.

Microcephaly is defined as a head circumference of less than 42cm at full growth.

Doctors can use age-based growth charts to determine whether your baby’s head circumference fits into the normal range at each developmental stage.

If your baby is diagnosed microcephaly, it may be a sign that you have recently been infected with the Zika virus.

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8) KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE IS NO CURE OR VACCINE FOR ZIKA

However, GBS is treatable, so see a doctor as soon as possible if you think you have GBS.

Microcephaly cannot be treated, but there are support strategies that may help your child reach as many developmental milestones as possible through physiotherapy.

Source: WikiHow

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New Morning Pilates Routines! Variation 2

Try a simple morning exercise plan that you can do in your home, at the gym or out in a park. These are fun, low impact routines that don’t require any special equipment. This is a great way to supercharge your metabolism and increase circulation for the rest of the day creating a healthier lifestyle.

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  •  The position above allows you to work on the upper limb, especially the shoulders and the wrists, to support your weight. It is also possible to work on the abs if you keep those muscles contracted during the exercise. Pay attention to your core. Keep the position for 30 seconds.

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  •  The position above can be performed in 2 different ways, with or without the ball. The aim of this position is to stretch the muscles in your abs and also increase flexibility in the lower back area. If you do not have a ball, you can use your arms as a support, and extend the elbows to improve lower back extension. Keep the position for 30 seconds, and go back to the start position slowly.

  • This complementary position is for your core after performing the previous exercise. Bring your arms up, beside your head. Take a focus breathing through your nose, and breath out touching the low back against the mat. Repeat this action 10x, slowly.

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  • In this position, you will work predominantly in the abs. The height of the legs can vary according to your flexibility and strength in those muscles. Keep the position for 30 seconds and repeat it 5x.

You will heal faster and feel better! Be aware of how your body is changing for the better with all of your efforts.

Believe in the process!! Try any of these simple and fun variations in the mornings before you start your day. Doing this 3-4 times a week will give you noticeable improvements in your quality of life.

Remember we can combine these exercises with 8 minute Pilates Morning Routine Variation 1 for a more complete workout.

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8-minute Morning Pilates Routine Variation 1

Try these three movements in sequence. Don’t take too long of a break in between sets. Push yourself, but be careful. Use proper form, and stop an exercise if you feel any chest or head pain.

  • Repeat this sequence 5 times.
  • Rest 15-30 seconds in between exercises.

Pilates Curl

Double leg stretch

Double leg stretch

Roll Up

Roll Up

First focus on the movements and getting comfortable with the proper form, and then after a few sessions, try to increase your number of repetitions! You can do it!

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Lifestyle choices

Are you tired in the afternoons? Do you have strong body odor? Are you a type 2 diabetic?

We should all be aware of how the food we eat affects our body. At a certain point, in everyone’s lives, from infants to elderly, from athletes to obese, we all need to consider the consequences of our choices. Our body needs certain things to maintain healthy function, but also eating the wrong things will have negative effects on the body. The Vegan lifestyle is not for everyone, but having some balance in your diet will improve your quality of life and prevent diseases.

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