5 Self Defence Tips All Women Should Know
It’s a sad fact of the world we live in that women need to be more aware of self defense tactics than men. In a perfect world, articles like this one wouldn’t have to exists; and in a more fair world the title would be “5 Self Defence Tips All People Should Know” but the statistics show us that our world isn’t always fair.
In 2005, 92% of all sexual assault victims were female. More than one million women are stalked each year in the UK compared to nearly 400,000 men.
Obviously it makes sense for everyone to be aware of techniques they can use to stay safe when travelling alone at night, but due to the increased risk of attacks on females there is an even greater need for women to be alert and informed. With that in mind, let’s get into the list:
1. Use Your Sense
The best way to stay safe is to avoid a confrontation altogether. Criminals do not see all people as equally likely targets, they identify those who will give them the least trouble and the best chance to escape. Consequently, your best self defence strategy is to not be an easy target. Walk tall with good posture and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t wear headphones, your ears are a valuable resource in knowing what is going on around you especially after dark. Keep your head up and watch where you are going. The sooner you can react to a potential situation the better off you will be.
2. Dress for Success
If you plan on walking home alone or expect to be in some other similarly risky situation, wear clothing that will allow you full mobility. Stash a pair of running shoes at a friend’s house, in someone’s car, or carry them with you. Avoid tight fitting clothes that will restrict your movement. Part of avoiding a confrontation might be the ability to run away from a potential threat, and you don’t want heels and a skirt to get in your way.
3. Stay Visible
Be conscious of the route you choose to get home. If there are busier streets with better lighting that add ten minutes to your walk but will keep you safe, take them. Criminals tend to stick to areas where there are fewer people for a reason and it pays to avoid them. Also, be aware of how you are walking. Take a wide path around corners to avoid being surprised.
4. Have a Toolkit
Carry items that will help you out if you end up in a bad situation. At the very least, a whistle will alert other people around you that something is wrong and at best it may scare away any potential attacker. Also consider carrying weapon, but be aware of the fact that any weapon you carry has the potential to be used against you. If you live in a place that allows them, personal pepper spray canisters are a great option. Just make sure you know how to use them. A well placed shot of pepper spray in the face of an attacker can give you the time you need to get away.
5. Know How to Fight BacK
When prevention and your toolkit fail you, be prepared and know how to fight back. There is also no such thing as fighting dirty when your safety is on the line.
Direct any punches you throw at your attackers face. If they come at you with their hands outstretched grab a thumb for finger and bend it like a Christmas wishbone.
If they get closer than that, grab their shoulders and hit them in the groin with your knee as hard as you can. Other sensitive areas are the shin and the eyes.
Focusing in the right targets and landing one good shot can give you the window you need to get to safety. Look into taking a self defence class offered in your area.
Why Cutting Alcohol from Your Life May Be the Best Decision You Ever Make
Some of the fundamental problems with quitting or resisting the use of alcohol come from a skewed perception of its usage. With alcohol being promoted as widely normative, it’s easy to forget that many people don’t actually do it. More importantly, it’s easy to be ignorant to the reasons why many people don’t actually do it.
The most recent data from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention shows that there are about as many non-drinkers in the United States as there are drinkers (48.5% to 51.5%, respectively). You wouldn’t assume this to be the case, given how prevalent drinking references there are in popular culture. But if you decide to steer clear of alcohol, you won’t be only one at the party not clutching a cocktail.
Here are some of the most compelling reasons for nixing alcohol from your diet and lifestyle.
This one may appear obvious at first. The drain on your finances caused by drinking isn’t some sneaky side effect working its way undetected through your system. The evidence is right there on the tab.
Have you ever actually sat down and thought about how much you spend on alcohol, and what you could dowith that money were you to reallocate it? Say you buy just three drinks a night, three nights a week.
More expensive than a lot of your bills, no? Drop booze from your life and buy yourself a couple pairs of new shoes—every month.
There are a litany of potential health hazards related to alcohol abuse ranging from physiological traumas like nerve damage and cardiovascular disease, to psychological disorders such as dementia and depression. Then, of course, there’s the very real hazard of drunk driving and the 10,228 people killed in 2010 in the U.S. alone in drunk driving accidents.
The most nefarious health side effects, though, are liver disease and liver failure. In the same year (2010), there were 25,692 deaths from alcohol-related illnesses, 15,990 of which stemmed from liver disease.
3. Lose Weight
Aside from the more serious physical consequences of extensive alcohol consumption, there are the immediate weight-related effects. The average 12-ounce beer has about 150 calories, the average shot about 100, and cocktails can run into the hundreds of calories. Not only that, alcohol is detrimental to other efforts to keep off weight and stay fit. Research shows that alcohol can inhibit muscle development and cancel out a lot of hard work put in at the gym.
4. Sleep Better
You may associate drinking with stumbling up the stairs to your house, collapsing into bed, and passing out. And while alcohol does act as a sedative for casual drinkers in the beginning stages of the night, studies show that for heavy drinkers it actually contributes to sleeping disorders. This is because after an initial sedated period, alcohol disrupts the crucial deeper stages of sleep and keeps sleep from being as restorative as it should be. Waking up tired after excessive drinking is clear evidence of this effect.
These are all good reason for letting go of alcohol, but quitting is definitely easier said than done. If you’re looking for help, you may want to talk with a doctor, a friend, or seek guidance from those who have been there before when developing a personal recovery plan. Remember that there are far more people living soberly than you might think.
With all of these facts in front of you, it might be time reconsider alcohol’s real impact on your life, and whether it’s giving you the health and happiness you need.
7 Tips to Help You Quit Smoking
So, you’ve decided to quit smoking. That’s awesome, and you’ll undoubtedly notice that your health and overall sense of well-being will improve exponentially after you’ve quit, but the first few weeks going smoke-free will be hell on wheels (and not in that “good” way). Though nicotine itself will leave your body relatively quickly, a long-standing habit is difficult to break, and it’ll take a few months to get past the psychological addiction as well as the physical one.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you out a bit.
1. Have a Strong Support System
It’s important to let your friends and family know that you’re serious about quitting, and why you want to do so: telling other people makes you accountable to others as well as to yourself, and they’ll be able to help you out by being supportive and encouraging when you need them to be. Make sure they understand that you’re going to be a grump-faced jerk for a little while as you try to break the addiction, but that you appreciate their support. Let them know exactly what you need from them (keep you away from cigarettes; distract you; let you lie on the floor watching Die Hard 50 times in a row, etc.) and let them help you when you need it—don’t be stubborn and try to face this alone.
2. Cut Back Before Cutting Out Completely
If you’ve been a moderate-to-heavy smoker for a while, quitting cold turkey will be absolutely horrible, and you’ll be far more likely to jump right back into smoking out of sheer desperation. Start by cutting back by a couple of cigarettes a day for a week, then cut down more each consecutive week. Once you’re down to 1 or 2 smokes a day, you’ll be in a much better space to cut it out completely.
3. Take it One Day at a Time
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, but if you’re staring at the seemingly endless horizon of a thousand-mile journey, you’re going to plunk your butt down on the ground, cry a bit, and light up a smoke. It may sound difficult, but try not to think about how much time it’s going to take for you to kick this habit: try to stay present, in the moment, one moment at a time.
Any time you start to feel overwhelmed, bring your attention back to your breathing, and recognise just how many minutes you’ve spent that day not smoking. See if you’re able to add another minute to that, and then another. Soon you’ll get distracted by something else, and at the end of the day it’ll be a great epiphany to see that you’ve spent 20+ hours not smoking.
4. Drink Water, and Chew Fennel Seeds
The former sounds like pretty solid advice, but you might be wondering about the latter: fennel is a mild diuretic (it helps eliminate water from the body), so drinking plenty of water + chewing fennel = flushing toxins out of your body more quickly. Fennel also helps to freshen breath, and keeps your mouth active when cravings might arise so you’re not tempted to toss food in there instead.
5. Get Active
Nothing makes you appreciate a clearer cardiovascular system than physical activity. If you’ve been mostly sedentary, try Yoga or Tai Chi to get you up and moving without straining yourself, or take up swimming: it’s a full-body exercise that can be as gentle or challenging as you need it to be.
More active folks can sign up with a running group (which will also help you socialise with people who have healthy lifestyles), so there’s a solid support/encouragement system in that social group as well. You can run with others at the same level as yourself, and you’ll feel great as you all progress together.
6.Take Up a Hobby
Keeping your hands (and mind) focused on a specific task will keep you from thinking about shoving cigarettes into your face, and you’re less likely to have cravings when you’re focused intently on something amazing. Aim for a hobby that requires a significant amount of care and concentration, and begin with small projects that you can complete in a day or two: finishing them quickly will give you a sense of accomplishment, and will keep you from getting frustrated with them and turning back to cigarettes to calm you.
Video games can also be distracting, though turning to something like World of Warcraft to get over your smoking addiction might not be the best idea: you’ll just be trading one vice for another.
7. Stay Away from Smokers
This one might be the most difficult, especially if your social circle is mostly comprised of people who smoke, or if the activities you participate in on a regular basis encourage smoking. Unfortunately, it’s often when we try to kick a bad habit that we discover who our true friends are: when you tell people around you that you’re trying to quit smoking, it’s more than likely that a few of them will make fun of you for it, and try to mock you or pressure you into having the occasional drag. Those who aren’t proud of their own addictions tend to encourage others to join them in it so they don’t feel as guilty, and they have someone with them who’s along for the ride. You could very well find yourself in awkward situations with people you considered friends, but who will give you no support as you try to give up smoking for good.
If situations like these arise, you’ll need to distance yourself for a little while until you’ve made enough progress that you won’t be enticed by others who may offer you cigarettes. If certain people give you grief about your choice, then it might be a good idea to re-evaluate your relationship with them.
Be patient with yourself, and give yourself time to heal as the nicotine works its way out of your system. You’ll feel like absolute hell for a while, and you’ll be a cranky, snarling mess to be around, but that passes quickly—before you know it, you won’t have any more cravings, and you’ll be able to run up a few flights of stairs without wheezing.
10 Simple Ways To Be More Active
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the queen of inactivity. From faking injuries to get out of gym class to becoming winded after going up one flight of stairs, the thorn in my side has always been creating ways to be more active (and, you know, actually using them).
If you’re like me and need a nap after watching someone jog past you, it’s important to start small and work your way up to more intense workouts. If you push yourself really hard in the beginning, it’s not likely you’ll sustain a healthy exercise routine … since you won’t be able to walk.
Below are 10 easy ways to be more active I now use without fail. If you’re mindful of the little things you can do to turn each of your daily tasks into a mini-workout, you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel!
1. Go for walks.
If you’re groaning already, put incentives in place to boost your motivation. For example, I no longer subscribe to magazines – I walk to the corner store to pick up the latest issues. Creating a buddy system is also helpful: instead of having your friend over for tea, make it to go and bond over a daily walk. The conversation will distract you from the whole exercise thing.
2. Take the stairs.
I know this one’s obvious but how often do you still take the elevator instead? Five minutes climbing stairs burns up to 150 calories!
3. Clean vigorously.
I used to live with this guy who wasn’t exactly tidy. As infuriating as it was at the time, I later learned an intense tidy session can burn up to 200 calories per hour. So thank you, Sloppy Slopperson.
4. Use a basket instead of a shopping cart.
If you only have a few things to pick up after work, use a basket instead of a cart. It’s an automatic weightlifting session (and if you’re a spontaneous shopper like myself, it becomes quite the workout!)
5. Park further away.
Build in extra walking by parking further away from your destination. With how crammed many parking lots become, you’ll not only burn calories but save a lot of time (and potential accidents) waiting for a closer spot to free up.
6. Play with your pets.
It goes without saying owning a dog automatically means frequent walks and play time. For the kitty lovers out there whose cats make lazing around look incredible: tie a ribbon/string around your wrist and let it dangle to the floor. As you’re cleaning your home or doing any chore that requires a lot of moving around, your cat will go insane chasing you around. I started doing this with my cat and now he’s obsessed! He now takes it upon himself to drag the ribbon to my feet – and as any cat lover knows, he gets his way almost instantly.
7. Pace/clean while on the phone.
Phone calls between me and my family are a minimum of an hour long. I now vigorously pace around while we chat (usually with a ribbon tied to my wrist), or I throw on my headset to keep my hands free for a tidy session.
8. Set an alarm.
I’m constantly writing, so when I’m engrossed in what I’m working on I forget how long I’ve been sitting for. It feels like I blink and hours have passed. Set an alarm for every hour, so you remember to get up for a minimum of two minutes for stretching or walking around. Or try Break Pal, a program that pops up on your monitor every half hour with a three-minute routine.
9. Exercise while watching TV.
I know I’m supposed to tell you to watch less television, but that would make me a hypocrite – nobody daresto interrupt when my shows are on! However, there’s no law saying you have to laze around while watching them (unfortunately): throw in mini-workouts while you watch.
10. Support a good cause.
Sponsor charity walks or runs for causes close to your heart. Dedicate each charity walk/run to someone you care about as your motivation to train before, during, and after.
Top tips for healthy gums
Flossing is so important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Effective flossing will remove small pieces of food that get trapped in between your teeth. If this is left, it will turn into plaque which in turn, will act as a place that bacteria can breed, causing erosion of the tooth enamel. Try to floss a couple of times a week and you will really notice a difference in the health of your teeth and gums!
2. Brush your teeth
It may be obvious but you may be surprised by how many people don't brush their teeth at least twice a day. Brushing your teeth removes stains, plaque and bacteria on the teeth and gums.
3. 'H' for Hygiene
Regular hygienist appointments at least twice a year will help to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
4. Regular check-ups
Regular visits to the dentist should be a priority when looking after your teeth. The dentist will be able to examine your mouth thoroughly and will be able to pick up on any small problems that if left untreated, could turn into more significant issues.
5. Straighten up your smile
Did you know that straighter teeth are easier to keep clean, reducing the risk of long term gum disease and dental decay? With the latest technology you can now have a brace that is discreet and virtually invisible.
Is chewing gum almost as effective as flossing?
Why couldn't they have told us this sooner!
If given a choice, would you rather chew gum or floss your teeth? Seems like a no-brainer (but in the back of our heads, we're probably all hearing our dentists' voices telling us, 'Floss!')
Apparently, chewing (sugar-free) gum isn't a bad habit; it's actually nearly as effective for cleaning our mouths as flossing our teeth. In a study published in PLoS ONE, scientists say that chewing gum helps remove tons of bacteria in your mouth, so much so that the act is comparable to flossing.
In the experiment, five subjects were each asked to chew gum for different periods of time, and afterwards, researchers analysed the chewed gum. They found that each piece of gum attracted just shy of 10 million bacteria, which is almost the same amount of bacteria that flossing removes.
The bacteria that grows in our mouths can cause oral diseases without following proper hygiene. Scientists say that chewing gum picks up bacteria from different spots and helps remove it from the mouth, cutting chances of contracting those illnesses.
Now, the study doesn't specify whether you should actually stop flossing completely, so before you order gum by the truckload, maybe wait for a little bit more research. But for all of you gum-lovers out there, keep on chewin'.
Chewers, keep on chewing
4 easy ways to maintain fresh breath
There’s nothing worse than feeling concerned you’ve got bad breath, especially when there isn’t a mint to hand! But follow these four simple tricks and you won’t be worrying again.
1. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables: they act as a natural cleanser for the teeth and help wash away residual food from the mouth. Vegetables such as red bell peppers and broccoli are great for your breath as they contain vitamin C, which creates a hostile environment for mouth bacteria, helping you stay fresh.
2. Limit your intake of acidic food and drink such as fruit juice and tomatoes as they encourage bacteria in the mouth to reproduce much faster. Other foods such as meat, eggs and nuts can also cause unpleasant breath as they provide a source for the sulphur-producing bacteria that can cause oral odour.
Your toothbrush could be way dirtier than you think...
We all know oral hygiene is very important – but do you ever stop to think about how clean your toothbrush is?
Possibly not, as the British Dental Foundation has revealed the six most unhygienic mistakes that many people make when it comes to their toothbrushes. Here they are, along with our advice on how to keep your toothbrush squeaky clean!
1. Keeping it near the toilet
‘Toilets produce aerosol spray which can contain faecal matter. This can travel through the air and land on a toothbrush if it’s too close – thus contaminating it.’
What to do instead: Always close the toilet lid before you flush to avoid unwanted splashback.
2. Keeping it near the sink
‘Storing your brush too close to the sink means dirty, bacteria-filled water can splash it.’
What to do instead: Ensure toothbrushes are kept a reasonable distance from the sink.
3. Using a toothbrush cover
‘Using a toothbrush cover may seem like a good idea but it’s actually a big mistake. The cover does not allow for the bristles to dry, creating a moist environment where bacteria can thrive.’
What to do instead: Toothbrushes should be rinsed to remove any toothpaste from the brush, and then stored in an upright position so that water can drain away from the head of the brush.
4. Letting multiple toothbrushes touch
‘One of the biggest mistakes people make is storing their toothbrushes in a way that allows the heads to touch those of others in their household – enabling cross-contamination.’
What to do instead: Be aware of your toothbrushes touching others’, especially in a collective pot in your bathroom, and ensure good air circulation to dry them completely.
5. Contaminating our toothbrushes with cleaning products
‘Keeping your brush in a place where it can come into contact with cleaning products is a bad idea, as potentially toxic chemicals may seriously harm you if ingested.’
What to do instead: Keep your toothbrush away from areas where it could come into contact with potentially toxic cleaning products – and ensure these products are always properly stored.
6. Not changing toothbrushes regularly enough
‘Worn-out toothbrushes cannot clean teeth properly and may damage gums. It’s important to change your toothbrush regularly – when bristles become splayed, you won’t get an adequate clean.’
What to do instead: Change your toothbrush every two to three months, or sooner if filaments become worn. It’s also a good idea to change them after an illness, such as a cold, to reduce re-infection.
The vital step you’re missing out when you brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth twice a day is important for good oral hygiene, but it turns out many of us miss out one important step: cleaning our tongues. Here is what happens to our mouths by skipping this step and what’s the most effective technique for tongue cleaning…
However, if you find that this is not very effective, or you want a deeper clean, you should use a tongue scraper. Tongue scrapers are usually made of soft, flexible plastic that allows for the thin layer of bacteria to be scraped and removed from the surface of the tongue.
A tongue scraper may also prevent activating the gagging reflex, as a regular toothbrush can be too large and this can prevent getting towards the back of the mouth.
What is the best way to clean your tongue?
When using a tongue scraper, here is how to best way to get a thorough clean: Try to clean the whole surface of the tongue to remove as much bacteria as possible,. Start at the back and work towards the front. Do not brush too hard or you can cause irritation to the tongue.
When and how often should you clean your tongue?
Clean your tongue as often as you brush your teeth: last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste.
Make sure you use mouthwash at a different time of day from your brushing, however, so you do not wash away the effects of your fluoride toothpaste.
Although aerobic exercise is well-touted for helping manage diabetes, strength training has a host of benefits as well. Find out how to get started
When it comes to type 2 diabetes management, strength training doesn’t always get the attention that aerobic exercises like running, walking, and bicycling do. But the truth is that a well-rounded fitness regimen should include both — and strength training has some unique benefits.
While “strength training” may conjure images of bodybuilders lifting heavy weights, it doesn’t have to be that extreme. Strength training is defined simply as exercise you perform by moving part of your body against resistance. “That’s why it’s sometimes called resistance training, Good examples are exercises that use stretchy elastic bands, or free weights like dumbbells and barbells. Calisthenics — exercises that use your own body weight — such as push-ups and sit-ups qualify as strength training exercise, too.
Its recommended you do at least two sessions of strength training a week, in addition to a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. “Strength training twice a week is good; three times a week is preferable. You should have at least one day of rest between sessions, A strength-training session should include a minimum of five exercises that work major muscle groups in the arms, legs, and trunk.
5 Benefits of Strength Training
For people with diabetes, regular strength training can:
1. Help you use insulin more effectively.Insulin is a hormone that allows blood sugar (glucose) to enter your cells, where it’s used for energy (or stored for later). Pumping your muscles helps push glucose into them; regular strength training helps your body become more efficient at transporting glucose from your bloodstream to your muscles.
The more efficient your muscles are at using glucose, the less insulin you need. Because strength training sensitizes muscles to insulin, they require less insulin to bring your blood sugar down.
2. Lower your blood sugar.
In addition to helping your body be more efficient at transporting insulin to your muscles, strength training also allows your muscles to absorb more glucose. That means there’s less glucose circulating in your bloodstream while you're exercising and for a while after.
3. Build muscle that can lead to weight loss.
The more you keep your muscles exercising, the more calories you will burn. The more calories you burn, the more weight you can lose.
Strength training can also increase the rate at which you burn calories even when you’re not exercising. That’s because strength training builds muscle, and muscle requires more calories than fat just to maintain itself.
4. Lower the risk for heart disease.
As you may know, heart disease is a common complication of type 2 diabetes. But a regular exercise routine that includes strength training can help lower a number of risk factors related to heart disease, including obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. A sedentary lifestyle only increases the risk of these conditions, making exercise an efficient way to lower your risk of multiple health problems.
5. Help strengthen your bones.High blood sugar can mean more glucose attaches to the protein in bones (collagen) and thus weakens their structure, according to the ADA. “People with diabetes are at increased risk for fractures. “They may also have other complications, such as neuropathy (numbness) in the legs and feet, meaning they are more prone to falls.” Strength-training exercises can help improve your bone strength as well as your balance and mobility, all of which lessens the chance that you'll fall.
How to Start Strength Training
If you haven't been active or if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or other complications of diabetes, talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Then, consider working with a healthcare practitioner or certified fitness instructor who can help you design a strengthening workout that would be best for you, Kemmis says. You might also look for classes that combine resistance and aerobic exercise. Some household activities such as heavy gardening also can help build muscle, the ADA notes.
When you're ready to get started, you may want to begin your strength-training routine by lifting small weights and doing exercises like squats, biceps curls, and crunches.
Start slow to avoid injury and build up gradually from there Kemmis says. As you build strength, you can increase:
Start the progression by increasing the weight or resistance and then increasing the number of repetitions and finally increasing the days per week. Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, your ultimate goal should be to train three times a week and complete three sets of eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise to the point of muscle fatigue.
A safety tip: If you’re unable to breathe evenly, back off on the intensity of your resistance training
Remember, a well-rounded exercise program should include strength training and aerobic exercise. This will likely provide better benefits to blood glucose control than either exercise alone.
Health & Fitness
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