Archive for ‘Health care’

2017, March 24

For the longest time, I avoided the gym

Yes. For the longest time I avoided going to the gym. Come to think of it I avoided gym classes as much as possible back in school as well, even before getting a medical slip excusing me from the class for the last two years of high school.
By now, the medical issues sort of cleared up, or at least, I know how to handle stuff.

Image from Cheri Cope’s blog post, Run with Your Heart

Last Summer, I decided that I wanted to run, and maybe even exercise more. Okay, truth is, I started running to lose a little bit of weight and fit into the dress a friend let me borrow to wear to a wedding last Fall.
However, after I started running during the second half of the Summer, luckily I liked it so much that I wanted to keep going. (Here are some great tips for someone just starting out with running.)
I even signed up and ran two cross events so far, one last Fall and one this month. And, I am signed up for two other cross events this Spring, and am interested in a third in the Summer also if the admission fee won’t be too steep!

For those who choose to go, my firm offers the benefit of a gym membership to the gym close by the office. I wouldn’t want to go there though… I’d hate having to wake up early to go before work, or during my lunch break, or after work. Honestly, I don’t want to use the shower there, which I would definitely need to in either of these scenarios. So even though it’s free, I don’t go there.

I signed up for the gym close to our flat when the weather was too cold for me to run outside. I couldn’t risk getting a cold every time I wanted to run. I found a good deal at the gym – it’s 30% off if I go in between 7am-3pm!
So my very optimistic plan throughout the Winter was:
– going to the gym on Mondays and Fridays before 3pm since I work from home anyway,
– maybe a gym running-session on Saturday depending on my schedule,
– and ice skating on Wednesdays after work as soon as the ice rink opened. I am proud to say that I managed to stick to the schedule pretty well!

That said, please note that you don’t have to have a gym membership if you can’t afford it, don’t have time to find one near you, don’t want to go alone, etc. I honestly only signed up, because I wanted to continue running, and didn’t have a treadmill at home.
There are many YouTube channels out there with great workouts, which you can follow at home. Two of my favorites are FitnessBlender and XHIT Daily. I used these resources for home workouts when I couldn’t get to the gym.

Here are just a few pointers I can give someone who is starting out with regular exercising:

  • Check with your doctor in case you have any sort of physical restrictions so they can advise if it is safe to work out.
  • Eat well (and healthy), at least one meal, before heading to the gym.
  • Based on the previous point, do give the meal some time before actually walking out the door.
  • Keep hydrated. Take a water bottle with you and sip sip sip while you work out.
  • Talk with the trainers there. Tell them about any physical restrictions you might have. Ask which machine does what and how/in what order to use them. Ask for suggestions as they can provide you with a lot of helpful advice depending on what your goal is.
  • If a certain workout or machine doesn’t work for you, do something else. (For example, I get dizzy/motion sick if I try doing abs workouts on a balance ball.)
  • Do what feels good. If you have the elliptical set for 20 minutes for example, but you’re feeling too tired after 10 minutes, adjust the time or hit the “cool down” button and move onto the following exercise.
  • Take your time. No need to rush through the exercise routines. Allow at least a minute or two between sets, to rest.
  • If you feel faint or dizzy, stop immediately what ever exercise you are doing.
  • Don’t over do it with cardio, as cardio alone will not help much. Do some cardio to get warmed up, but then some kind of strength training, and finish with some more cardio if you want.
  • You don’t need to go to the gym every single day. It is a good idea to let your muscles rest between gym sessions.
  • Try to walk more (to/from work, when you go shopping, walk up the stairs instead of using the elevator, take on walking the dog three times a day or more, etc.) and take regular breaks to stretch and move around a minute or two during your everyday life, especially if you work at a desk all day.
  • If you like such things, go cycling, hiking, ice skating, dancing or include other forms of exercise into your free time.

Workout clothes and shoes can be colorful, and fun to shop for. Apparently the people who invented exercise clothes actually knew what they were doing. After buying a pair of warm tights to ice skate in (which are basically running tights, so I used them for that, too), I am never looking back!
However, I simply had spare comfy clothes I used before now.
I didn’t want to be that person who said she’s going to exercise, buys a ton of specific clothes for it, uses them three times total, then never looks at them again because she didn’t stick with exercising!

I’d suggest buying what you need as you go – more budget-friendly, and kind of like a reward system for sticking with it. Sneaky, right?

Hope you found my post helpful if you’re just starting to exercise more, or if you’ve been doing it for a longer period, please leave me a few tips you can think of, in the comment section below :) I’m always open to suggestions!

2016, June 3

Bedtime Yoga!

I know at the time this blog post goes live it’s currently morning where most of my readers reside and the word “bedtime” in the title is funny to read, but I really wanted to talk to you about Yoga today. And about Bedtime Yoga!

After an awesome afternoon spent with my friend Stephany, lots of laughs and her little nudge “Have you tried Yoga? Knowing you, I think you’d love it!”, I bought myself a Yoga mat and the next day went online trying to find a Yoga class. I figured I’d go to class once a week, and do it at home, too, when I had the time to.
Unfortunately there are literally only four places in my city which have Yoga classes (two of which I suspect have actually closed and haven’t updated their website), and none at the gym near where I live.
Good thing I had the mat already, so, I started looking around on Youtube instead. I kept finding videos like yoga for weight loss, total body yoga, power yoga and anywhere from 10 to 45 minute yoga sessions. But which one to choose?

Since I’ve never even tried it before, I was happy to find the Yoga with Adriene channel with so many great playlists for everyone’s different needs. There are also two 30-Day Yoga Challenge playlists with sessions of different lengths, and something new or different for every day. I think that is awesome for someone just starting out!
This is the playlist I started with. I didn’t get bored of the pose sequences, as opposed to if they were the same every day, and even though before doing it myself I thought of Yoga as something which looked oh-so-simple, I realized it’s actually harder than it looks. I can feel every single muscle get the workout!

It has been a blast! After the first two days, I even woke up early to do Yoga before getting ready/leaving for work when I knew I’d get home too late in the evening. When I get home early enough, I do Yoga then and maybe include Bedtime Yoga into the mix. Or, if I know I’m not able to do Yoga every day, I compensate with two consecutive sessions every other day.

I really love the Bedtime Yoga! If all else fails and I only end up doing this, I still consider it a great day, because I did show up on the mat, I did take that 20 minutes just for myself. To unwind, and let go of the day and any stress or anxiety I might be feeling. It has slowly become one of my favorite moments of the day, something I truly look forward to.

I noticed that my back doesn’t hurt as much as it did before starting Yoga, I am slowly becoming more bendy, and I started breathing deeper.
That was definitely one of the challenges – breathing. It’s funny how for the duration of the 30-day challenge, every time Adriene said her little reminder to breathe, I realized I was holding my breath… and I’m not even sure why I did that.
unnamedThe other challenge? Corpse Pose. It’s such a challenge to quiet my mind and just relax (and I know I’m not alone, friends of mine have also said this numerous times). But I do love Adriene’s approach to this. She advises to allow ourselves to acknowledge what we feel then release everything, choose to let go of the stress, of the tension, and to connect to a sensation of peace from within. I think that if we allow ourselves to feel what/how we feel, and let the emotions run though us/past us, by the time we are done with Corpse Pose we might just notice that we’ve let go of all that anxiety and unnecessary feelings, and it won’t build up, evolve and amplify into something worse.
It feels so good when I manage to achieve it all!

Are you a Yoga practitioner? What are your favorite moments of Yoga? Any advice for a beginner like myself? Or have you tried it and it didn’t work for you? What do you do instead, to clear your mind and include some kind of exercise into your days?

2014, February 10

Wintertime Sore Throat Tea Base

I have recently seen this older article on the a little life blog, and have immediately decided to make it myself. It was the perfect thing to add to my War Plan Against the Sniffles.

We had two jars of honey nearly finished, and as always, had an extra lemon in the house that I could use. Plus, it’s a seriously easy recipe that goes a long way when battling the sniffles!

page wintertime tea base

Wintertime Sore Throat Tea Base

Cut up one lemon into thin slices into a jar, then add about one and a half cups of honey (I used half Acacia, and half Floral Honey to empty two nearly-finished jars). Stir gently.

Refrigerate until a sore throat asks for some soothing, hot tea or for when ever you’re craving a fragrant and yummy drink on cold nights.

Add 2-4 teaspoonfuls of the tea base into a cup, pour boiling water over it, then get all warm and cozy in bed so you can bounce back from the sniffles!

If you want to, you can add a few mint leaves, or some ginger for extra flavor, and as an extra measure against your cold.

Stay healthy! ;)

2011, May 18

Greening up your pregnancy

Today, I welcome guest blogger Christina Lopez to Life’s a Stage, who will teach us a little bit about greening up pregnancy.


In general, most pregnant women are inclined to make themselves more aware of what they are putting into and on their bodies. This period is time to evaluate what is important for both the baby and you. Most women are choosing to live a green lifestyle; opting to make their home and world a better place for a child. By following these simple tips you can color your world green during pregnancy and keep both you and your baby in tip-top shape.

For Everybody

By eating organic produce, dairy and meat products will help reduce pesticide levels in your blood stream. And when available, choose hormone-free and humanely treated meat products.

read more »

2010, November 15

Homemade Cough Syrups

As the weather keeps getting colder each day and Winter is just around the corner, figured a simple and effective cough syrup recipe would be beneficial to many of my readers.

They don’t have side effects and harmful substances making them suitable for children and pregnant women alike (as opposed to many syrups found in pharmacies) :)

Homemade Cough Syrups

Lemon and honey Syrup

2 lemons
200 ml of good quality honey

Boil the lemons in a pot of water at soft heat for 10 minutes; by boiling they’ll soften and you will end up with a greater quantity of juice. Cut in half and squeeze very well into a glass. You can also use the pulp if you want to.
Add the lemon juice to the honey and mix well; you can even reheat it a bit so the honey will melt and mix uniformly with the lemon juice.

Take 1 teaspoon of syrup every time you cough or as prevention take about 6 teaspoons throughout the day after meals and at bedtime.

Carrot Syrup

3-4 carrots

Wash the carrots well and cut into thin slices. Put them in a deep bowl and cover with powdered sugar. Allow the syrup to form overnight.

Take 3-4 tablespoons per day. You can also eat the carrots.

Black Radish Syrup

1 black radish

Hollow the black radish in the manner of a volcano. Fill the hole with powdered sugar. It will form a thick syrup overnight.

Take 3-4 tablespoons per day.

Stay healthy everyone! :)

2010, October 25

Store without plastic – Vegetables

Last week I wrote some tips on storing fruits without using plastic containers or packaging, so I’ll continue today with some information about preserving vegetables.

Store without plastic – Vegetables

  • cabbage – can be stored up to one week in a cool pantry away from direct sunlight; if the outer leaves are soiled or begin to soften it is best to remove them before eating
  • carrots – can be kept in a closed carton box; or covered in water, which you should change daily or every two days
  • broccoli – should be kept in the refrigerator in a container without a lid, wrapped in a damp towel
  • celery – does well at room temperature in half a glass of water
  • corn – can be kept at room temperature one or two days without being cleaned of leaves and silk, though it is best to consume the day you buy it
  • cucumbers – if eaten in two days they can very well be left at room temperature; but if you want to keep for a few days, it is best to put them in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp towel
  • eggplant – are best left at room temperature as long as they are not washed
  • garlic – should be kept in a cool, dark place (they’re good for a long period of time) 
  • onions – should be kept in cool dry place in forestry type boxes to allow air circulation
  • potatoes – need the same conditions as the onion: store in a cool, dry place in forestry boxes to allow air circulation, but never put the potatoes and onions together
  • spinach and lettuce – are best kept in the refrigerator without being previously washed
  • tomatoes – shouldn’t be kept in the refrigerator more than two days because they lose their nutritional qualities and their taste changes; it’s best to keep them on your counter in a bowl, if they’re not ripe you can put them in a paper bag with an apple
  • avocado – is best kept in a paper bag at room temperature
  • peppers – keep in a cool place and only wash before eating
2010, October 19

Store without plastic – Fruits

S7009271 I need to start a small war with plastic. There are days when I think I could win, others when I feel overwhelmed. Plastic proves to be a formidable enemy, whenever I feel that I’ve made some progress, it only proves to be a one-step-forward two-steps-back sort of thing.
I make sure I go shopping with my backpack and also have enough previously bought bags and reuse those, cloth bags, etc., but I have a problem with home storing products, as I invariably end up using plastic to some degree.

So I sought advice on how I could keep fruits and vegetables fresh without the use of plastic and have found some very useful recommendations I wanted to share with you too, depending on the type of fruit or vegetables we want to keep for a short period of time (from a couple of days to a maximum of two weeks).

Store without plastic – Fruits

  • apples – can be kept on a shelf away from direct sunlight, preferably in the closet; if you want to keep them for a longer period of time you can put in a carton box in the refrigerator
  • citrus – can be kept in a cool, dark place, and never in a tightly closed container
  • apricots and nectarines – if very ripe, they can be kept in the fridge, in carton boxes (before eating it’s good to let them sit for a few hours at room temperature)
  • cherries – must be kept in a sealed, closed recipient without previously washing them (water can lead to mold)
  • figs – do not like humidity, so do not wash them until you’re ready to consume; you can even freeze them
  • peaches – if very ripe it’s best if you keep them in the refrigerator in paper bags; or in some countries they can be kept outside in a cool, dark place
  • pears – are kept well in the pantry; if you want to speed up ripening, put them next to apples
  • strawberries – preserve in the refrigerator in paper bags without washing them

Next week I’ll continue with tips for storing vegetables without the use of plastic packaging.

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