Reasons to Get Your Body Moving

photo credit: www.blog.applefit.it

photo credit: www.blog.applefit.it

While we all know we should work out on a regular basis, quite often hitting the gym slides further and further down our list of priorities.  However, making time to work out can have many positive impacts on your life beyond simple weight maintenance.  Read on to find out how working out can help build a better you in addition to some muscles.

1)      It helps you sleep better.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, 67 percent of those who exercise regularly report getting a good night’s sleep, and these benefits are experienced regardless of the time of day the individuals choose to work out.  This is because exerting yourself physically helps to keep your body’s circadian rhythm in check.

2)      It is a natural mood elevator.  Studies show that riding a bike, running, or performing any other cardio workout two to three times per week at a moderate pace can increase your energy levels by 20 percent and decrease feelings of fatigue by 65 percent.  This is because after just 20 minutes of exercise, your metabolism is boosted and the amount of feel-good brain chemical dopamine increases inside your body.

3)      It keeps you from getting sick.  Research shows that working out two to three times per week will strengthen your immunity against bacteria and viruses, thus keeping you from getting colds or the flu as frequently as someone who doesn’t work out.  Exercise also reduces your risk of having much more serious long-term illnesses, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and dementia.

4)      It can ease cramps!  Exercise triggers your body to release endorphins, which act as natural opioids in the body that can relieve pain.  In general, exercise increases the oxygen in your body’s cells, resulting in an all-over reduction of aches and pains.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/10-reasons-to-work-out

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201205/19-reasons-exercise

Loving an All-Natural Woman

Photo courtesy of Consciouslifenews.com

Photo courtesy of Consciouslifenews.com

Men, let’s face it.  When it comes to birth control options, the sex education you receive and the media you take in on a daily basis send the message that in terms of preventing pregnancy, the birth control pill is your best choice.  You are sent this message repeatedly to the point where if you meet a woman who is not taking the pill, you may find it odd.  However, there are many reasons you should be glad that your partner prefers non-hormonal options of birth control.

First, hormonal birth control can cause a variety of health issues in the woman you love.  For example, if the pill is taken before a woman’s first pregnancy, her risk of developing breast cancer is increased by 44%.  Birth control pill use also increases the risks of developing cervical cancer, liver tumors, blood clots to the lung, and heart attacks.  In terms of everyday side effects, hormonal birth control can cause weight gain, headache, dizziness, breast tenderness, migraine headaches, nausea, and mood swings.

There is one side effect of hormonal birth control use that can cause a great impact on your day to day relationship, and that is loss of interest in sex.  Birth control pills work by suppressing ovulation (and therefore her natural cyclical hormones) and essentially tricking her body into thinking it is pregnant. Multiple studies have linked the pill to decreased levels of testosterone, which is the fuel source for the female libido.

Finally, there is evidence to support that men find women more attractive when they are ovulating. In a 2012 study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior, researchers showed 500 men photos of 202 women’s faces while playing them recordings of the women’s voices at two different points in their menstrual cycles.  The men found the faces and voices more attractive when the women’s voices were recorded during ovulation.

In conclusion, there is definite research to support that if your partner is not on hormonal birth control, she will be healthier, and your sex life will be the better for it. What’s not to love?

 

Sources:

http://onemoresoul.com/contraception-abortion/risks-consequences/problems-associated-with-hormonal-birth-control.html

http://health.howstuffworks.com/sexual-health/contraception/5-ways-birth-control-affects-love-life.htm#page=3

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/sex/birth-control-more/birth-control-pills-hurting-sex-drive/

http://www.livescience.com/25457-fertile-women-attractiveness.html

Menstrual Cycle Positives

When women discuss their menstrual cycle, it is usually about some negative aspect of it.  After all, the start of your period brings on a full range of emotion, from the discomfort of premenstrual syndrome to the disappointment of not being pregnant.  While your monthly cycle is all too often unwelcome, we would like you to consider the ways in which it can be used to your benefit.

In previous postings, we have discussed how estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone fluctuate in your body throughout your cycle.  By tracking your cycle and being attuned to your body, you can schedule certain tasks on days when your body’s hormones will give you optimal performance.  Below you will find some examples of ways you can maximize your menstrual cycle.

  • You can make the most of exercising on days when your estrogen levels are lower,
    photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

    photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

    which is typically days 4-11 in a 28 day cycle.  At this time, you will find high-intensity exercise easier, resulting in lower breathing and heart rates throughout.  This is because the decreased estrogen allows for more efficient burning of the glycogen in your body, which provides quick energy.

  • Many women report feeling more creative when they are menstruating, which would be the result of the calm brought on by the drop in estrogen and progesterone levels. If you are a writer, artist, craftswoman, etc., you may find this time to be very productive for you.
  • In her book, “The Optimized Woman: If You Want to Get Ahead, Get a Cycle,” author Miranda Gray posits that women’s skillsets change throughout their monthly cycle, and describes how awareness of this can increase productivity and effectiveness in the workplace. Gray states that abilities that you will find heightened at various times of the month include logical reasoning, strategic planning, critical analysis, team building, project initiation and management, and outside of the box thinking.

Have you noticed times in your cycle where your abilities are heightened?  Tell us more in the comments below.

Sources:

http://www.womentowomen.com/pms-menstruation/reverse-the-curse-benefits-of-your-period/

http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/understanding-your-menstrual-cycle-109611

http://www.optimizedwoman.com/women-business-take.html

photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk

Yoga and Your Menstrual Cycle

Yoga is a spiritual science founded in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.  It is a series of women-doing-yogaphysical postures, varying in difficulty level, which help you become more in tune with your body and at peace with your surroundings.  Yoga has become extremely popular in the United States due to its dual purpose of helping you get fit while also calming your mind.  For women, yoga can play a positive role in various aspects of your menstrual cycle.

  • PMS Relief– Yoga can be used for the wide variety of symptoms that accompany premenstrual syndrome.  First, it boosts circulation, which can relieve the buildup of fluid that causes bloating.  Next, the focus on deep breathing increases oxygen flow to your tissues, which eases uncomfortable cramping.  Finally, yoga requires focus, which, if nothing else, will take your mind off how you are feeling for a blissful period of time.  Poses to try include child’s pose, cat pose, and bridge pose.
  • Fertility– While yoga is not a direct treatment for infertility, it has elements which can be helpful to a woman struggling with fertility issues.  First, it helps to increase blood flow in the pelvic area.  Next, it helps those practicing it achieve tranquility.  This is important because the stress that occurs in most people experiencing infertility can only exacerbate the issue further.
  • Regulating Hormones– Yoga works by pressurizing and depressurizing specific glands in your body, and in doing so, can help regulate your hormonal secretions.  Therefore, the regular practice of yoga has a positive impact on your endocrine system.  As a result, yoga can help you decrease hot flashes brought on by menopause, boost your libido, improve memory, eliminate good cravings, reduce and manage pain, combat fatigue, lower anxiety, decrease mood swings, lower depression, balance your thyroid, and much more.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.active.com/a3_articles/7aac0f15-c7f9-4a14-8d12-c48b96addafb/1?page=1

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/04/26/for-women-trying-to-conceive-fertility-yoga/

http://www.ageology.com/top-25-reasons-to-do-yoga-for-hormonal-health/

What Affects Your Period?

Most women only know when their period starts and ends, and sometimes they may even be off by a couple of days due to changes in their diet. But in the world of women’s health, there is a lot more to understand about the entire menstrual cycle – not just your period. When thinking about your cycle in its entirety, there are so many things to consider, including the number of days in your cycle and days of menstrual flow. Whether or not you are planning for a new addition to the family, it is important to understand your whole cycle, not just the start and stop times of your period.

It’s very important to keep in mind that diet plays a huge role in regulating your menstruation, from bloating to even missing a period. Right before and during your period, it is a good idea to increase your fruit intake. Eating foods that are high in potassium can help with bloating, such as bananas and cranberries. Drinking plenty of water during this time is also a cheap and naturally effective way to flush out any toxins and sodium in your system that can cause puffiness in your skin and reduce water retention. Like a little spice in your food? Try adding some fresh ginger to the foods you eat to help relax and soothe those very muscles that cause cramping. A diet that is high in fiber can actually cause your cycle to be irregular and may potentially flush out some of the estrogen in your body. Keeping a good balance between both fiber and saturated fat will help you to keep a regular cycle. Aside from balancing your diet in the right places, it’s also good to keep in mind that smaller, more frequent meals are best. This helps keep your blood sugar and your mood up.

Calcium, Evening Primrose oil, Wild yam, Monks pepper and Magnesium are other good natural supplements to add into your diet. In fact, for women 19 years to 50 years of age, 1000mg of calcium should be included in your diet daily. For some women, primrose oil has been known to soothe menstrual pain and inflammation. Wild yam is another natural method of helping with not only menstrual discomfort but postmenopausal symptoms. Today, wild yam is said to be used more to replace hormone replacement therapy. Monks pepper, also known as chasteberry, is something else to consider when looking for more natural ways to help with menstrual pain. Monks pepper also helps to alleviate pre-menstrual tension. Lastly, it’s good to remember what you’ve been doing during your entire cycle to anticipate any irregularities like sudden weight loss or weight gain.