What Is a Healthy Post-Pregnancy Workout?

So you want to get back in shape now that your baby has arrived. That’s great, but remember your body has just been through a whole lot. It’s important to take things slow and to care for yourself as you start working out. Here are several healthy, post-pregnancy workout options, plus an idea of how long you should wait before you begin.

How Long to Wait

Most doctors say it’s a good idea to wait about six weeks before you get back on the scale and start thinking about a normal exercise routine. Your body needs time to recover, and of course, you’re going to want to have some time with your baby too. So don’t worry about getting back to your workout routine until at least two months or so have passed.

Walking

Walking is a perfect, no-stress, post-pregnancy workout option. You can start with this earlier if you like, as long as you remember to take it very slow and to be careful with your body. It’s also a great way to bond with your baby, as you can walk while pushing your little one along in a stroller.

Kegels

When you need a low-impact workout that will make a huge difference post-pregnancy, try some kegel exercises. Sit or lie down and contract the muscles you would use if you were to try and stop urinating. Doing 15 to 20 of these is a great way to help your body start to heal and shape up.

Abdominal Contractions

Start by breathing deeply into the belly. Contract your abdominal muscles as you breathe in and then relax on the exhale. Try to slowly increase the amount of time that you contract your abs. This is a great way to relax your muscles and create toning in your abs after pregnancy.

Lifts

Try doing some head lifts where you lie on the floor, bend your knees, and relax your stomach on the exhale, lift your head and neck off the floor and hold them up. Then inhale as you lower your head back to the ground. When this gets to easy, try raising your head and shoulders off the floor too.

Pelvic Bridge

Try lying flat on your back with your feet bent, then inhale. As your exhale, start raising your pelvis off the floor and draw your abs upward. Lift your hips off the floor until your body forms the bridge position. Try to hold this for a few seconds, then lower back down. Start with 5 reps of these, then try to build to 10.

Dancing

If you were always more into cardio than stretching, you can get back to your favorite workout by dancing. This is a safe option for post-pregnancy that will get your heart pumping. Try putting on your favorite song and then shaking your groove thing the whole time. For at least 3 to 4 minutes, you will get your heart rate up, which will be great for your body.

I Tried Nurx, the Subscription Birth Control – Here’s what Happened

Okay ladies – listen up. We all know how frustrating and time consuming getting our birth control is. You have to make an appointment, which alone can sometimes take weeks to get in, then you have to take time off of work or school to actually go see the doctor, then take the prescription to the pharmacy, wait for the prescription to be ready, and then go pick it up. And on top of all that, if you work for a company whose insurance doesn’t cover birth control, AHEM – Hobby Lobby, it can be even more frustrating. 

It’s 2019 – there’s gotta be other options, right?

Yep! There’s a new player in the market – Nurx. Currently being labeled the Uber of birth control, Nurx is the new subscription service you actually need. Okay we also need our groceries delivered, but that’s a given.

I’m a single woman in my late 20s and figured I needed to do my due diligence, try the service myself, and pass along the info because it’s time we innovated this process. 

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Nurx (pronounced Nu-ar-ex) is a start up, dedicated to alleviating the lengthy (and expensive) process of getting birth control, allowing easier access for all – whether you have insurance or not. All you have to do is create an account and fill out your basic health information (like your height and weight). You also need to know your blood pressure. My local grocery store has a free blood pressure machine so I stopped in there on my way home from work. If your grocery store doesn’t have one, check CVS or Walgreens!

Once your basic information is filled out, you’ll be matched to a doctor who will choose the best birth control pill for you based on your health information and preferences. If you have insurance it’s completely FREE! If you don’t have insurance, it’s only $15/month – way cheaper than the $75 I was previously paying.

It took a few days to process, but once I received the shipping notification, it the next day. That’s right ladies, the NEXT DAY! I don’t think it can get any easier than that. I am so happy that I never have to go to the doctor or pharmacy for birth control again! It gets delivered to my house, as I need it. I can’t say enough good things about this company.

If you want to try it out – sign up here!

Top Ways to Prevent or Reduce Bloating

Bloating is something that most people deal with – unless they hardly eat anything. That’s because bloating is a consequence of eating and digesting that food.

Some foods make some people bloat more than other foods, but figuring which foods those are and then avoiding them can be difficult.

As you start the journey of figuring out what will help you prevent or reduce bloating, consider these 10 ways.

Eat Slower and Less

Eating too much too quickly can cause bloating. Your body isn’t able to process all that food in such a short amount of time. The result is bloating.

When you eat, take each bite with mindfulness and then think about how it tastes. Be sure to drink water in between some of the bites. Just take your time and really enjoy what you’re eating. Not only does this help you with bloating, but it can help you stay on top of whether you’re done eating instead of overeating.

Identify Food Allergies

Some foods cause people to bloat because they are allergic to them. The only way to really identify what you may be allergic to is by eliminating them from your diet.

Dairy causes bloating for a lot of people, so start with that. If you cut out dairy and still deal with bloating, introduce it back into your diet and try another possible culprit such as gluten. As you take out and put back in foods in your diet, you’ll start to see what each of them does to your body.

Avoid Gassy or Airy Foods

The reason your stomach is bloated is because you have air inside of it. This air can come from gas or simply just air. The biggest cause of air in the abdominal is soda or other carbonated drinks. Cut down on those, or eliminate them all together to see if that cuts down the bloating.

To avoid swallowing a lot of air, don’t chew gum, drink from a straw or eat while talking. All of these can cause you to swallow air that could lead to bloating.

Eliminate FODMAPs

Some foods are harder to digest, and people with irritable bowel syndrome should stay away from them. These foods are:

  • Watermelon
  • Wheat
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Artichokes
  • Beans
  • Apples
  • Pears

 

Try to eliminate these foods from your diet to see if they help with bloating. Many people with IBS report that bloating is the biggest problem they have with their condition, and eliminating these foods can reduce the severity of that symptom.

Exercise

Constipation causes bloating, and one way to beat constipation is by exercising. By doing something physical for 30 minutes a day, you can get your digestive system more on track so the bloating may be less.

Use Probiotics

Probiotics are good for the digestive track. Take a supplement each day to keep you regular and to help your body digest foods effectively and efficiently. It can take some time before probiotics start doing their job, so give it a couple of months.

Now you know some new ways to help you with bloating. Try them out to see what works for you.

High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Could Lead to Future Blood Pressure Problems

New research has just come out that shows there’s an increased risk of elevated blood pressure if a woman suffers pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. Actually, this medical condition could be experienced as early as a year after birth.

About Pre-Eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a medical condition in which a woman develops high blood pressure when she is pregnant. The amount of protein increases in the urine when a woman becomes pregnant, and this can cause elevated blood pressure. If it is not controlled, it could be life threatening to  the baby and mother.

However, even if the blood pressure is controlled, the after effects of condition can lead to problem later after birth.

The problem is that blood pressure is usually not checked a year after birth. Most new mothers stop seeing the doctor after their follow up appointment shortly after delivery.

This means that high blood pressure goes unnoticed for as long as they don’t see a doctor.

A person with high blood pressure is seven times more likely to suffer from heart disease.

The percentage of women with high blood pressure after birth is high – 41 percent. This is a huge concern that needs to be addressed.

The other issue is that the blood pressure can increase and decrease. When woman had their blood pressure read inside of the clinic, it could be normal. When they left the clinic, it could be high. The sustained readings was only seen in 14.5 percent of the women. If in-clinic readings were looking at more than half of women’s high blood pressure reading would go unnoticed.

Going Forward

The researchers have this to say:

“Our findings suggest women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy should continue to monitor their blood pressure long after they’ve delivered their babies,” “It’s not only important to monitor blood pressure in the doctor’s office, but also at different times of the day and night, at home.” – Source

With this information, it will be easier to find women who are suffering from high blood pressure after delivery. This can save women’s lives.

If you’re a woman who has recently given birth or you have in the last year or more, have your blood pressure check regularly throughout the day. If you notice high blood pressure signs:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

 

If you notice any of these signs of high blood pressure, contact a medical professional as soon as possible. The effects of high blood pressure can damage your kidneys and heart. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of your baby.

How to Eliminate Feeling Tired All the Time

Constantly feeling tired can be a result of many different issues, but most of them are relatively easy to correct once you determine your issue. However, left unaddressed, being overly tired can have a devastating effect on your life. One in 25 drivers reported falling asleep at the wheel each month and each year over 70,000 car accidents are the result of a driver falling asleep or becoming drowsy. If you find that you feel tired frequently, then determining the underlying cause and correcting it will greatly improve your quality of life and your overall health.

Lack of Sleep

According to the American Academy of Sleep and the Sleep Research Society, adults between 18 and 60 require about 7 hours of sleep for optimal health. Getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis can result in fatigue, impaired performance, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, heart disease and a greater risk of strokes. If you are not getting the necessary sleep each night then try to maintain a more consistent sleep routine, ensure that your bedroom is quiet and dark, limit caffeine and avoid alcohol and tobacco before bed.

Proper Nutrition

Your diet can also be the cause of your excessive tiredness. Improving your diet will help to boost your energy level and your overall health. Following these guidelines can help you to begin improving your diet:

  • Eat the proper amount of calories for your sex, age and weight
  • Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables
  • Make sure that whole grains are at least half of the grains that you consume each day
  • Switch to low fat or fat free dairy products
  • Eat a variety of proteins including lean poultry and meat, unsalted nuts and seeds and omega-3 rich seafood
  • Cut down on sugar
  • Never skip breakfast
  • Eat at regular intervals
  • Drink plenty of water

Proper Exercise

A sedentary lifestyle is likely to make you feel more tired than being active. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all adults exercise at a moderate level for 2 hours and 30 minutes each week. In addition, muscle strengthening exercises should be included 2 or more days each week. The University of Georgia reported that after sitting quietly, a 20 minute period of exercise actually increased energy rather than depleting it.

High Stress Levels

Excessive or long term stress has been found to cause physical and emotional exhaustion and can lead to illnesses. Stress is a mechanism that causes your body to generate chemicals to prepare your body for an emergency, a fight or flight type of action. But in a long term situation the chemicals that would normally protect you, can damage your health and ultimately be used up. Learning tricks to manage your stress can be very beneficial to your long term health.

  • Learn to say no
  • Avoid stressful situations when possible
  • Keep a stress journal to learn what your stress triggers are and how to avoid them
  • Communicate your concerns rather than keeping emotions bottled up
  • Accept things that you cannot change
  • Learn to forgive

Determining what the cause of your excessive tiredness is and correcting it can have a huge impact on your energy level and your happiness. Investing the time to find the issue and address it will have a positive impact on your immediate life as well as a long term impact on your overall health.

Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

With the goal of raising awareness and saving lives, May 8th has been dedicated as World Ovarian Cancer Day. Over 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Unfortunately, this silent killer is often detected only in the later stages. However, when detected and treated early the five year survival rate is over 90%. Knowing the signs of ovarian cancer is critical to an early diagnosis and successful treatment.

Common Signs

Because the ovaries are such tiny organs and are nestled deep in the abdomen, the signs are often overlooked or unnoticed. But many women find that these common occurrences were actually warning signs:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full very quickly
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or very often.

Other less unusual symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual changes

When to Seek Medical Care

If you are experiencing these symptoms and they do not resolve themselves or are not corrected with changes in diet, exercise and rest, then it is time to seek a medical opinion. Early diagnosis and treatment hold a great potential for a successful outcome. In addition, if there is another underlying cause for your discomfort, you can seek the appropriate care knowing that you need not worry about ovarian cancer.

Your Options

Of course, your doctor will determine which treatment approach is best for your specific case but there are many options that you should be aware of to understand that this is a very treatable disease. It is also important to know that even after the removal of a single ovary, you can still become pregnant and carry a healthy child to term. Having a single ovary does not mean that you are only half as fertile or have only half as good a chance of conceiving, providing your remaining ovary is healthy.

Some of the most common treatment options include:

  • Surgery to remove the cancerous growth or the entire ovary.
  • Chemotherapy is treatment with chemicals which are designed to destroy cancer cells or stop them from growing.
  • Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells or to shrink tumors.
  • Complementary Therapies uses a whole body approach to fight cancer and focuses on relieving stress and lessening side effects such as fatigue, pain and nausea.
  • Clinical Trials are research studies that are being conducted to improve the methods used to treat various types of cancer.

Early Detection is Critical

Everyone experiences discomfort from time to time or even a low grade pain. But a long lasting pain or sharp severe pain is you body’s way of alerting you to an issue. Disregarding these warnings is only going to allow the issue to continue and most likely worsen. Seeking a diagnosis and treatment in a timely manner is the best way to ensure a very positive outcome for ovarian cancer or any disease. And there is no better time than May to help spread the word about the signs of this silent killer. Awareness and action – (sponsored link) – will save lives and help in the fight to eliminate ovarian cancer.

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Create a Luxurious Spa Day At Home

There is nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than pampering yourself with hours at your favorite spa. I’m talking a full day of sipping tea, relaxing in the sauna and hot tub, getting a facial, and maybe even a massage. But realistically, this won’t always fit into our schedule or budget. Thankfully, we can recreate a spa like experience at home in just a few simple steps. Read on to find out how!

  1. Create your sanctuary. The ambiance of a spa feels so special because all five of your senses are engaged. You want to make sure to incorporate elements that are pleasing to you – to your sense of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Set the lighting, perhaps a low-light lamp, light a few scented candles, choose your favorite instrumental music, make yourself a cup of cucumber water or herbal tea, and drop in to the space.
  2. Gather the best products. You want to ensure you have products that you love, that are good for your skin, and that feel luxurious. I’m currently obsessing over Copper+Crane’s entire product line! The Shimmering Bath Oil Soak is my favorite, and a perfect way to create a nourishing milk bath at home. Your skin will feel rejuvenated, moisturized, and the softest it’s ever been after just one bath. I’ve also been using the Radiance Mask once every couple of days and my skin has gotten clearer, brighter and overall, healthier. Check them out for yourself. 

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  3. Make a bundle of hot towels. When giving yourself a facial, you don’t want to be running back and forth to the sink to wash your face every step. Load up on the softest cotton towels, soak them in hot water with a few drops of lavender and eucalyptus essential oil, and wring them out until just slightly damp. Use these towels to gently wipe the products off your face, breathing in the aroma of the essential oils for an additional calming effect.
  4. Dry Brush. Dry brushing is a simple way to exfoliate, improve circulation and make skin smoother. Before stepping into the bath or shower, grab a body brush and begin brushing your body in short, circular strokes, starting at your feet and moving upward. Follow up with a hydrating lotion post-bath or shower and repeat a few times per week for best results.
  5. Relax. While steps for a facial, mani or pedi are important, make sure you Include time in your spa day for complete relaxation. Slice cucumbers or refrigerate soaked chamomile tea bags and place over your eyes for 10-15 minutes, and zone out.

And remember, a spa day doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars and hours at a time. You can create your own sanctuary at home, for a fraction of the price! Take time for yourself, you deserve it!

In Summary 

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Secrets of Women Who Maintain a Healthy Weight but Never Diet

Every woman knows that person who claims that they can eat anything and never gain a pound. And in a few rare cases these ladies are actually blessed with the metabolism of a hummingbird and are being honest. But in most cases, the women who never seem to diet but maintain a stable weight are the ones who have mastered a few simple secrets when it comes to their weight and how it impacts their overall health.

Hydration is Critical

Drinking a lot of water is very important to staying hydrated and giving all of the parts of your body the ability to function efficiently. And despite all of the creative marketing material for sports drinks and zero calorie drinks, there really is no substitute for water when it comes to hydration. Unfortunately, many ladies consume a great number of calories in their drinks and are still not getting enough water to remain hydrated. Experts point out that if you feel the thirst sensation, then your body is already in the early stages of dehydration. Keeping a water bottle handy or a pitcher of water to help remind you to consume the original zero calorie drink. In addition to hydration, the water will help you to feel more full and reduce your calorie intake from food.

Keep Special Occasions Special

When you see slim ladies enjoying a desert after dinner you are probably witnessing the exception and not the norm. Ladies who only indulge in a treat on occasion are much better at managing their weight. Making everyday a special occasion is simply an excuse to over indulge. In addition to helping with health goals, consuming treats sparingly actually increases your enjoyment of the reward. The law of diminishing returns applies to desert as well as finances. Anything that you do or eat regularly becomes a part of your routine and is then less enjoyable. Keep special deserts or calorie laden lattes for special occasions and you will enjoy them more and truly feel rewarded and indulgent.

There are No Bad Dogs or Bad Foods

Food is not a person and it doesn’t have a personality or desire to cause you harm. Yes, some foods have more calories just like some dogs have more energy and are more excitable. But the choice of how to handle each of these potentially “bad” things is solely up to you. All food is best consumed in moderation. There is no one perfect superfood that you should consume in mass quantities to guarantee good health and fitness. Managing your calorie and fat intake is more about the total number at the end of the day and not each tiny item. But when you do indulge in a high calorie item realize that you need to account for those calories for the rest of the day. So a tiny bite could leave you very hungry later in the day after consuming your regular calorie intake.

Be Realistic

For most of the world, managing calories and your activity level are going to have a huge impact on your weight. So accepting what your metabolism is and learning to manage it is the toughest part of the battle. Lots of water and moderation are the two best kept secrets in the “diet” world.

 

 

Tips for Women to Achieve Complete Fitness

Most women will agree that society places a great deal of importance on how women look and how much they weigh. There always seems to be pressure to drop a few pounds and hopefully a dress size, no matter how it makes you feel from a health perspective. Tiny is viewed as superior, better or more desirable. But the fact is that women need to focus on achieving complete fitness to find better health and happiness and not try to derive their happiness and strong self-image from a number associated with their dress size.

Make a Plan and Set Goals

Life is busy and without a plan and steps to follow, it is nearly impossible to reach any goal. Setting goals for your health and exercise is the most certain way to make sure that you set aside time for these important parts of your life. Plan your exercise, plan trips to the market to buy healthy foods and plan time to prepare and enjoy the healthy meals you are making. These are all investments in your health and yourself. Just as you set goals at the gym for increased weight or longer workouts on the treadmill, set goals for cooking more healthy meals or trying new healthy recipes. It won’t all happen overnight but small steps will get you to all of your goals.

Don’t Be Afraid to Build Muscle

We all know that muscle is heavy. But building muscle is not a bad thing even though it might slow down your actual weight loss. Muscle needs to be maintained and this happens by burning the calories that you consume. So by building more muscle you actually are going to be burning more calories simply for maintenance purposes. And this doesn’t mean that you will need to have bulky weightlifter looking muscle. Long lean muscle burns calories just the same and is more slimming and sculpted than the fat that you are burning to build it.

Don’t Forget Water

As you work out and sweat your body is losing fluids, minerals and nutrients. It is critical to replace all of these with enhanced water, coconut water or other sports drinks with electrolytes. Water also helps to flush out the acids that are created when you are working muscles. Without enough water they build up in muscle and lead to the aching and stiffness you feel a day or two after exercising. A good rule for staying properly hydrated is to divide your weight by two. The resulting number is the number of ounces of water you should be consuming daily. So a 150 pound person needs 75 ounces of water each day.

Complete Fitness = Better Health and Happiness

Women’s health is about more than a dress size or meeting unrealistic standards set by society. Achieving complete health is a complex process which incorporates a better diet, more exercise and a healthy mindset about your body. Finding your optimal weight and level of fitness for your body and age will help you feel your best, enjoy your life and have a positive outlook on your entire life.

The Top 5 Exercises to Relieve Anxiety-Related Issues

Anxiety disorders are becoming more and more common, possibly because more people are starting to recognize the signs of anxiety that go far beyond normal worry and agitation to indicate a full-blown medical condition. Doctors have plenty of treatments for stress-busting, including medications and therapies, but many medical professionals will tell you one of the best things you can do to beat anxiety-related symptoms is to exercise.

Don’t Worry; We Know.

Exercising can feel almost impossible when you’re paralyzed by intense anxiety and the serious problems that can occur with disorders like PTSD, GAD, and others. But physical activity is one of the best ways you can treat the mildest to the most intense symptoms of your disorder, and even a little bit of movement can be helpful. So bring on the exercises!

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  1. Yoga

Doing yoga is great for anxiety-related issues, simply because it asks the individual to slow everything down and focus on their breathing. No matter what pose you’re in and no matter how intense your practice is, the breathing should always come first. Even if your anxiety isn’t letting you get out of bed, you can practice yoga in its simplest form by closing your eyes, slowing your breathing down, and taking deep, calming breaths.

  1. Dancing

Dance classes like Zumba can actually be great to help relieve anxiety and to make you feel comfortable and healthy at the same time. Other types of dance classes—like salsa, belly dancing, and hiphop—are also great ways to get loose and exercise. If you don’t feel ready to dance with others, just put on one of your favorite jams in your bedroom and bop along to the music.

  1. Hiking

Hiking is a great alternative to an actual exercise class, plus it gets you out in the fresh air. Walking in places with lots of trees and flora will also lower the hormones in your body that produce the feeling of stress. Though it may seem like a cliché, there’s a reason why getting back to nature can help bust the cobwebs and help you find a calmer headspace.]

  1. Running

If you can get your body up to it, running is one of the best ways to bust calories, boost your mood, and generally improve your overall health. It can also be meditative for your brain, as it causes you to repeat the motion of putting one foot in front of the other to a rhythm. It can be hard sometimes for those struggling with mental disorders to engage in such a vigorous activity, though, so you can always start out walking. As long as you’re putting one foot in front of the other, you’re helping yourself.

  1. Cleaning

This is a low-key exercise you can take on that will also help you improve your living space, which in turn, will benefit your mental state. In some ways, cleaning is the ultimate exercise for anxiety! If you feel you’ll have trouble focusing, give yourself a specific task like “vacuum the carpets” instead of a broad one like “clean the house.”

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