Meditation has become part of mainstream Western culture like never before. That's no surprise when you consider its many benefits – from improved concentration to overall peace of mind.
But does meditation also help you lose weight? While researchers are still conducting studies on the topic, some research shows there is a connection between meditation and weight loss. Here are a few of the reasons why:
1. Meditation Reduces Stress
Stress has long been shown to trigger weight gain while hindering efforts to lose weight. Meditation may lower levels of cortisol – a stress hormone that has a huge impact on metabolism and insulin insensitivity. Cortisol helps you be more aware of what you're eating and why. Moreover, stress hormones tell the body to store extra weight while leading to physical problems that result in weight gain.
A study by Carnegie Mellon University showed that 25 minutes of daily meditation for three days significantly reduced stress. Another study showed that meditation prompts brain waves to shift into a relaxed state that's similar to sleep. This relaxation lowers your body's amount of stress hormones, which can decrease overeating and weight gain.
2. Meditation Improves Self-Control
Other studies show that meditation affects the parts of the brain that aid with self-control. Improved self-control helps you be more mindful of what you're eating and how much, and makes it easier to pass on unhealthy foods when you're feeling down or distressed.
3. Meditation Helps You Become More Mindful
Daily meditation practice helps you let go of the past and excessively thinking about the future. Your past may include previous attempts at weight loss that failed or faded away when results were slow in coming. You may also experience anxiety about the future, including whether or not you can consistently practice habits such as healthy eating and exercise.
Being present helps you keep your head on straight. It can also help you pay attention to how your mind and body feel as you eat.
4. Meditation Leads To Strong Intention
It's no secret that the power of intention can have a tremendous influence on our lives. By meditating on losing weight, you're putting in the positive energy and intent to accomplish it. You're also leaving yourself open to what the world can provide you. This dedication is crucial for helping you stay on track with your weight loss goals.
5. Meditation Creates A Sense Of Purpose
Meditation not only reduces stress and creates feelings of peace within you, but it also helps you to develop a sense of purpose. Lowered stress eases the fight-or-flight syndrome that can cause hormones to become out of balance.
Although there is still a lot of ongoing research out there about meditation and weight loss, there does seem to be a relationship between the two. Meditation can help lower stress hormones like cortisol, which stops you from overeating. It also improves your frame of mind, decreasing anxiety and improving your self-control, mindfulness and sense of purpose.
If you're trying to kick off those extra pounds, you can get the basics for medication, HERE. Or, to really start shredding the pounds, give my 2 Weeks Of At-Home Workouts a try!
There's nothing quite like the feeling of an intense workout - whether it's a sense of accomplishment, or the mental exhilaration of knowing you've met a challenge while doing something good for your body. Muscle soreness can be part of the equation, too.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the soreness you may feel 12-48 hours after a workout. It can make it uncomfortable to perform day-to-day tasks, but the good news is that there plenty of ways to relieve it, such as those listed here:
1. Apply Heat
Applying heat to sore muscles reduces pain by increasing blood flow to the area. This helps heal the small muscle tears that lead to DOMS while ultimately relieving pain. You can apply heat in a variety of ways, from a hot tub, steam room, sauna, or just soaking in your tub at home.
2. Apply Ice
Many elite athletes swear by a post-workout ice bath because the cool temperatures constrict blood vessels - which reduces swelling. If sitting in shocking cold temperatures sounds daunting, then use ice to treat to specific muscles and areas.
3. Apply Heat And Ice
Since heat and ice both help in soothing sore muscles, why not combine them? One method is to apply an ice pack for 15 minutes, followed by a heat pack for 15, and then repeating the process until you feel relief. It's an effective way to promote better blood flow and muscle recovery.
4. Gentle Stretching
Muscles tend to tighten up when they're in the recovery mode, which can intensify feelings of soreness. Slow, gentle stretching will relieve the tightness and reduce pain.
5. Light Cardio
If stretching isn't enough to relieve soreness/tightness, light cardio the day after a hard workout can improve circulation and warm up your body. The important thing is to move, slowly and gently, and that can even mean walking around the house or your neighborhood.
6. Pack In Protein
Your muscles are depleted and need nourishment after an intense bout of exertion. And one thing they crave is protein, so give them what they want via natural sources such as fish, poultry, lean meats, lentils, and more.
7. Rub It Away
Not that you need an excuse to have a professional massage, but getting one is a great way to relieve pain and tension. If you can't see a professional, do it yourself with a foam roller or tennis ball.
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The recent Rio Olympics had many memorable moments, from Michael Phelps' latest gold medal haul to the incredible performance of U.S gymnast Simone Biles.
But the Olympics also re-introduced us to a form of alternative medicine known as "cupping."
It was easy to notice the athletes who are adherents of cupping thanks to the large reddish or purple spots the treatment left on their skin. Those marks were made by the use of a vacuum seal on their skin that broke capillaries while drawing blood to the skin.
What Exactly Is Cupping?
Cupping actually isn't anything new as it's an ancient form of medicine that can be traced back to ancient Chinese, Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures. It has many purposes - including to help with inflammation, pain, relaxation, blood flow, and as a deep tissue massage.
How Does It Work?
Modern versions of cupping use a rubber pump to create a vacuum in a cup specifically designed for the purpose. Silicone cups are often used in today's type of cupping treatment and can be placed on different areas of the skin to produce a massage-like effect.
The vacuum inside the cup causes your skin to redden and rise as blood vessels expand. In "wet" cupping treatment, the cup is in left in place for about three minutes. After it's removed, the therapist will make tiny incisions in the skin, after which a second suction is used to draw out a small quantity of blood. It's rare to get more than five to seven cups per session.
What Does Cupping Treat?
Cupping, as mentioned, has many purposes, and some studies have shown that it's used to improve pain, stiffness, mobility, as well as osteoarthritis and chronic neck pain. For athletes, its benefits include relieving soreness and pain that can come with strenuous training and competition. In short, it's designed to speed up muscular and soft tissue recovery after strain and/or injury.
Does Cupping Work?
The jury appears to be out when it comes to the actual effectiveness of cupping. While its uses have expanded beyond sports therapy to include treatment of issues such as migraines and eczema, there isn't - as yet - a lot of scientific evidence that backs it up. On the other hand, there haven't been a lot of scientific studies done on it. However, a 2015 study said that it could help in providing pain management as well as treating acne. And, athletes like Phelps and other Olympians, are staunch proponents of its benefits.
Ralph Roberts is a nationally certified trainer who offers individual training, group training and sports training. If you are ready to get in shape and stay in shape, contact Ralph today.
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