Are you willing to make a positive change? Join the thousands of individuals on the same fitness journey!

TESTMONIALS Start Your Transformation
English Macedonian

Are you willing to make a positive change? Join the thousands of individuals on the same fitness journey!

TESTMONIALS Start Your Transformation
English Macedonian

How Much Calories Do I Need A Day?

What are calories?

Most people only associate calories with food and drink, but anything that contains energy has calories. 1 kilogram (kg) of coal, for example, contains 7,000,000 calories.

There are two types of calorie:

  • A small calorie (cal) is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram (g) of water by 1º Celsius (º C).
  • A large calorie (kcal) is the amount of energy required to raise 1 kilogram (kg) of water by 1º C. It is also known as a kilocalorie.

1 kcal is equal to 1,000 cal.

The terms “large calorie” and “small calorie” are often used interchangeably. This is misleading. The calorie content described on food labels refers to kilocalories. A 250-calorie chocolate bar actually contains 250,000 calories.

Figuring out Your Daily Calorie Intake Isn’t Rocket Science

Being conscious of your calorie intake can help you maintain a healthy weight, or lose a few extra pounds if necessary.

The average recommended daily caloric intake is 2200 calories for males, and 1800 calories for females. These values are based on an average weight and physical activity of the average male and female Singaporean. For a more personalised and accurate caloric requirement, you would need to take into account your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level.

Calculating your daily calorie intake for weight management is a straightforward process, with recommended average values of 2200 calories for males and 1800 calories for females, though personalization based on factors like age, gender, height, weight, and activity level is crucial for accuracy

Portion Control Helps with Calorie Intake

One of the simplest and most effective methods for controlling your calorie intake is portion control. Often, we eat what is on our plate rather than what our body needs. By deciding beforehand how much we need and what goes on our plate, we are a lot more likely to succeed in controlling our diet and calorie intake.

Here’s a scenario: You’ve identified that your recommended daily calorie intake is 2,200 kcal. It’s now time for dinner, and you’ve already consumed 1,500 kcal throughout the day. That leaves you with an allowance of 700 kcal for dinner. You should then portion what goes onto your dinner plate accordingly to keep those extra pounds away.

A range of dishes on your dining table to choose from:

  • Brown rice — 137 kcal (½ bowl)
  • Deep-fried lemon chicken — 347 kcal (100 g)
  • Sambal egg — 67 kcal (1 egg)
  • Beef rendang — 201 kcal (90 g)
  • Fishball soup — 53 kcal (½ bowl)
  • Stir-fried spinach — 163 kcal (100 g)
  • Ice cream— 136 kcal (1 scoop)

To achieve your target of 700 kcal, you can only pick, for example, the brown rice (137 kcal) + beef rendang (201 kcal) + sambal egg (67 kcal) + fish ball soup (53 kcal) + spinach (163 kcal), which would add up to 621 kcal. If you wanted the scoop of ice cream, you would have to forgo another item such as the sambal egg.

Depending on your physical output for the day, you might also want to adjust your food intake accordingly. For example, if it’s the weekend and you did nothing but sit in front of the TV all day, you could consider adjusting your portion downwards.

Pro Tip

Effective portion control is a key strategy for managing calorie intake, ensuring you stay within your daily limits and make informed choices about what goes on your plate, helping you maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

Why Is It Important to Watch Our Daily Calorie Intake?

Consuming too many calories which we do not use up will lead to weight gain. Studies show that when our body weight is at an unhealthy range, we are at a higher risk of health problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, among other chronic diseases.

Factors that impact your caloric intake

A calorie is a measure of the energy in food.

To maintain your weight, energy in must equal energy out (calories consumed vs. calories burned).

Eat fewer calories than you burn, and you’ll lose weight.

But if you consume more calories than you need, your body stores that energy for later (in the form of extra padding on your hips and around your middle).

Everybody’s daily calorie needs are different, which can make it hard to figure out the magic number. In general, men need more calories than women. Active people need more than those who have desk jobs. And younger people need more than older people, whose metabolisms slow down as they age.

These factors can impact your caloric intake:

  • Sex.
  • Height.
  • Weight.
  • Age.
  • Activity level.
  • Hormones.
  • Medications

Quality of Calories, Not Just Quantity

Consuming the right number of calories is a good first step towards achieving a healthier body. However, you should know that not all calories are equal. Keeping to the calorie count on a diet consisting of only sugary cakes, meat dishes, or a glass of wine is far from ideal. This is because your body needs a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre to function properly.

Eating healthy is not limited to eating the right amount and the right mix. It is also important for optimum nutrition to choose healthy foods prepared with healthier options and ingredients. Steamed chicken, for example, is far healthier than deep-fried chicken.

For example, wholegrains are healthier than refined grains (white rice or bread) as they contain more vitamins, antioxidants and fibre. In addition, they also keep you filling full for longer, which helps reduce the risk of overeating. Choosing healthier cooking oils are also important as they can affect your body’s good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.

Tips for Sticking to Your Daily Calorie Intake

Here are six useful tips to help you achieve your food intake target:

  1. Order less — The tendency, with big groups especially, is to order more than you can finish. Even if you can finish what’s on the table, it’s likely that you would have busted your recommended daily calorie intake.
  • Pack leftovers — If you’ve ended up over-ordering, it doesn’t mean that you have to finish it all to avoid food wastage. Don’t be afraid to ask for unfinished dishes to be packed for takeaway.
  • Share your food — When eating out, it isn’t always easy or possible to control the amount of food that comes to you. If you know beforehand that the portions are too large, get a friend to share a meal with you.
  • Be flexible — Remember that the recommended calorie intake figure is a daily target. If you overate at breakfast, try to make up for it at lunch or dinner or by cutting down on your snacks.
  • Keep healthy snacks handy — Achieving your target doesn’t have to involve depriving yourself of food. It’s about eating smart. Whenever you’re feeling hungry, have a healthy low-calorie snack ready such as a chilled fruit or yoghurt, instead of high-calorie foods such as potato chips or fries.
  • Choose healthier food options when eating out — Look out for HPB’s healthier dining identifiers on menus in partner food courts and restaurants. These identifiers indicate if the dishes use a healthier oil, wholegrains, or are lower in calories

Successfully sticking to your daily calorie intake is facilitated by practical tips such as ordering less, packing leftovers, sharing meals, being flexible with daily targets, keeping healthy snacks accessible, and choosing healthier options when dining out, promoting a sustainable and balanced approach to managing your diet

The bottom line

Calories go beyond mere numbers—they impact your weight, health, and overall well-being. Understanding and managing your daily caloric intake through personalized approaches, portion control, and choosing nutrient-dense foods are key factors in achieving a healthy lifestyle.

Should I take a collagen supplement?

It will make your skin look dewy and fresh, your bones and nails strong, and your joints pain-free. These are the claims made by the countless manufacturers of collagen supplements that come in the form of powders, pills and creams. For that reason, it’s no surprise that collagen has become a widely sought-after ingredient in the wellness and beauty communities. But collagen’s efficacy is still pretty up in the air. Frustrated? Here’s what we know.

Key Takeaways:

  • Collagen, the most abundant protein in your body, plays a crucial role in skin, joint, bone, and muscle health.
  • Aging leads to a natural decline in collagen production, prompting many to explore supplements for potential benefits.
  • Collagen supplements may improve skin elasticity, relieve joint pain, prevent bone loss, boost muscle mass, and promote heart health.
  • Foods like bone broth and animal sources provide collagen, but supplements are believed to be more efficiently absorbed.
  • While collagen supplements show promise, more research is needed on claims related to weight loss, gut health, and brain function.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein responsible for healthy joints and skin elasticity, or stretchiness. It’s in your bones, muscles, and blood, comprising three-quarters of your skin and a third of the protein in your body.

As you age, your existing collagen breaks down, and it gets harder for your body to produce more. As a result, many people turn to collagen powder or other types of collagen supplements, such as capsules, gummies, and liquids.


Find some time to take stock of just how your uncontrolled emotions are affecting your day-to-day life. This will make it easier to identify problem areas (and track your success)

Foods that contain collagen

Foods that contain gelatin, such as bone broth, provide collagen. Gelatin is a protein substance derived from collagen that has been processed .

Collagen is found in the connective tissues of animals. Thus, foods such as chicken skin, pork skin, beef, and fish are sources of collagen.

Vitamin C is crucial for collagen synthesis, so you should also be sure to eat foods rich in this vitamin, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers .

More research is needed to determine whether eating collagen-rich foods helps increase collagen levels in your body, as they may not have the same benefits as supplements.

Digestive enzymes break down the collagen in food into individual amino acids and peptides. However, the collagen in supplements has already been broken down, or hydrolyzed, which is why it’s thought to be absorbed more efficiently than collagen from foods.

Pro Tip

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. You can increase your intake of collagen by taking supplements or eating animal foods and bone broth. However, absorption from food may not be as efficient as from supplements.

Health benefits of collagen supplements

Collagen supplementation provides a variety of health benefits.

1. May improve skin health

Collagen is a major component of your skin.

It plays a role in strengthening skin, as well as in elasticity and hydration. As you age, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles .

However, several studies have shown that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help slow the aging of your skin by reducing wrinkles and dryness.

One review of 11 studies focusing mostly on women found that taking 3–10 grams of collagen per day for an average of 69 days led to improvements in skin elasticity and hydration.

These supplements may work by stimulating your body to produce collagen on its own. Additionally, collagen supplements may promote the production of other proteins that help structure your skin, including elastin and fibrillin.

There are also many anecdotal claims that collagen supplements help prevent acne and other skin conditions, but these aren’t supported by scientific evidence.

2. May relieve joint pain

Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints.

As the amount of collagen in your body decreases with age, your risk of degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis increases.

Some studies suggest that collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce overall joint pain .

A review of studies in people with osteoarthritis found that taking collagen led to significant improvements in joint stiffness and overall osteoarthritis symptoms .

Researchers have theorized that supplemental collagen may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make collagen. In turn, this may lead to lower inflammation, better joint support, and reduced pain.

Even though the research is promising, experts caution that stronger evidence is still needed before recommending collagen as a treatment for osteoarthritis.

3. May prevent bone loss

Your bones are made mostly of collagen, which gives them structure and strength .

Just as the collagen in your body deteriorates with age, so does bone mass. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and a higher risk of bone fractures .

Studies note that collagen supplements may help inhibit the bone breakdown that leads to osteoporosis .

In a 12-month study, post-menopausal women took either a calcium and vitamin D supplement with 5 grams of collagen or a calcium and vitamin D supplement with no collagen daily.

At the study’s end, those taking the calcium, vitamin D, and collagen supplement had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that promote bone breakdown than those who took only the calcium and vitamin D. The collagen group also had lower loss of bone mineral density .

Another study found similar results in 66 post-menopausal women who took 5 grams of collagen daily for 12 months. Those who took the collagen exhibited an increase of up to 7% in their bone mineral density (BMD) compared with those who didn’t take collagen .

BMD is a measure of the density of minerals, such as calcium, in your bones. Low BMD is associated with weak bones and osteoporosis risk .

Although these results are promising, more human studies are needed.

4. May boost muscle mass

As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is an important component of skeletal muscle.

Studies suggest that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that happens with age.

In a 12-week study, 27 older men with this condition took 15 grams of collagen while participating in an exercise program. Compared to men who exercised but didn’t take collagen, they gained significantly more muscle mass and strength .

Researchers have suggested that supplemental collagen may promote the synthesis of muscle proteins such as creatine, as well as stimulate muscle growth after exercise.

However, collagen protein isn’t more effective than whey protein for building muscle or strength. That’s because collagen is lower in branched chain amino acids which play a key role in muscle building. Whey protein is a richer source of these amino acids .

More research is necessary to investigate collagen’s potential to boost muscle mass.

5. May promote heart health

Researchers have theorized that collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of heart conditions.

Collagen provides structure to your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough collagen, arteries may become less flexible and elastic.

This may lead to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by the narrowing of your arteries. This condition may lead to heart attack and stroke.

In a 6-month study, 31 healthy adults took 16 grams of collagen daily. They had experienced a significant reduction in measures of artery stiffness from the study’s beginning to its end.

Additionally, their levels of HDL (good) cholesterol rose by an average of 6%. HDL is an important factor in the risk of heart conditions, including atherosclerosis .

Nevertheless, more studies on collagen supplements and heart health are needed.

6. Other health benefits

Collagen supplements may have other health benefits, but these haven’t been studied extensively.

Hair and nails. Taking collagen may increase the strength of your nails by preventing brittleness. Additionally, it may help your hair and nails grow longer .

Gut health. Although no scientific evidence supports this claim, some health practitioners assert that collagen supplements can treat leaky gut syndrome, also called intestinal permeability.

Brain health. No studies have examined the role of collagen supplements in brain health, but some people claim that they improve mood and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Weight loss. Proponents believe that collagen supplements may promote weight loss and faster metabolism. However, no studies support these claims.

Although these potential effects are promising, more research is needed before formal conclusions can be made.


Collagen supplements have several benefits related to skin, joint, bone, muscle, and heart health. There’s scant evidence to support collagen’s purported effects on weight loss or gut or brain health.

Downsides and side effects of collagen supplements

Collagen supplements are generally well tolerated, with few reported side effects.

However, some supplements are made from common food allergens, such as fish, shellfish, and eggs. People with allergies to these foods should avoid collagen supplements made with these ingredients.

Some people report nausea and bloating when taking collagen supplements, but research has not consistently shown these as side effects .

There are some reports that collagen supplements may cause other digestive side effects, such as heartburn and feelings of fullness.

Regardless, these supplements appear to be safe for most people.

Pro Tip

Collagen supplements may lead to mild side effects such as bloating, heartburn, and feelings of fullness. If you have food allergies, make sure to purchase supplements that don’t contain your allergens.

How long does it take to see results?

Collagen turnover is a slow process. As such, no matter your goal for using collagen, it will take at least 8 weeks to experience noticeable results .

Most studies use a minimum of 8 weeks to assess collagen’s effects on skin health and joint pain relief, but other studies use longer periods, such as 12 months, for bone health.

Thus, you should be patient and not expect results for a while.


Allow at least 8 weeks of supplementing with collagen daily before assessing whether collagen is working for you.

Alternatives to animal-based collagen

Because collagen’s amino acid composition differs from those of other proteins, the possible alternatives are limited.

Vegan collagen can be made from genetically modified yeast and bacteria. To do so, four human genes that code for collagen are added to the genetic structure of these sources, which then generate their own collagen.

Proteins similar to collagen are also naturally found in some types of bacteria. These are being investigated as potential collagen sources .

You can also buy supplements that contain the primary amino acids involved in collagen synthesis — glycine, lycine, and proline. Some supplements obtain these amino acids from vegan sources.

They may also contain vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which helps your tissues retain water, keeping them lubricated and moist.

Keratin — the structural protein in hair, nails, and skin — has been suggested as an alternative to collagen, but there’s limited research to support keratin products for anything other than topical application on skin and hair.

Keratin is not vegan, as it’s derived from the feathers, wool, and horns of various animals.


Collagen’s makeup of amino acids is different from those of other proteins, meaning the alternatives are limited.

The bottom line

Collagen supplements offer a range of potential health benefits, particularly for skin and joint health. While research supports their efficacy in certain areas, more studies are required to validate other claims. Collagen turnover is a slow process, requiring patience for noticeable results. Individuals considering collagen supplements should be aware of possible side effects and explore alternatives, including vegan sources.

How to Control Your Emotions

Emotions are a natural and wonderful part of life. They color our world, help guide us through life, and give us insight into our inner thought processes.

But what happens when our emotions feel like they’re controlling us instead of the other way around?

Overwhelming emotions can result in emotional blow-outs, damaged relationships, and poor life decisions. Although it takes some practice, anyone can learn to better control their emotions and use them in more productive ways.

Key Takeaways:

  • Embrace Intense Emotions: Intense emotions are a natural and essential part of life, making it exciting and vibrant. They indicate a full engagement with life.
  • Identify Problematic Emotions: Regularly experiencing emotions that spiral out of control may lead to issues in relationships, difficulty relating to others, work or school troubles, substance misuse, and physical or emotional outbursts.
  • Regulation Over Repression: Rather than suppressing or repressing emotions, aim for regulation. Accepting emotions can contribute to greater life satisfaction and fewer mental health symptoms.
  • Acceptance is Key: Accepting your emotions, viewing them as messengers, and understanding the information they provide can help you become more comfortable with intense feelings.

Take a look at the impact of your emotions

Intense emotions aren’t all bad.

“Emotions make our lives exciting, unique, and vibrant,” Botnick says. “Strong feelings can signify that we embrace life fully, that we’re not repressing our natural reactions.”

It’s perfectly normal to experience some emotional overwhelm on occasion— when something wonderful happens, when something terrible happens, when you feel like you’ve missed out.

So, how do you know when there’s a problem?

Emotions that regularly get out of hand might lead to:

  • relationship or friendship conflict
  • difficulty relating to others
  • trouble at work or school
  • an urge to use substances to help manage your emotions
  • physical or emotional outbursts


Find some
time to take stock of just how your uncontrolled emotions are affecting your
day-to-day life. This will make it easier to identify problem areas (and track
your success)

Aim for regulation, not repression

You can’t control your emotions with a dial (if only it were that easy!). But imagine, for a moment, that you could manage emotions this way.

You wouldn’t want to leave them running at maximum all the time. You also wouldn’t want to switch them off entirely, either.

When you suppress or repress emotions, you’re preventing yourself from experiencing and expressing feelings. This can happen consciously (suppression) or unconsciously (repression).

Either can contribute to mental and physical health symptoms, including:

Pro Tip

Accepting emotions may lead to
greater life satisfaction and fewer mental health symptoms. What’s more, people
thinking of their emotions as helpful
may lead to
higher levels of happiness.

Accept your emotions — all of them

If you’re trying to get better at managing emotions, you might try downplaying your feelings to yourself.

When you hyperventilate after receiving good news or collapse on the floor screaming and sobbing when you can’t find your keys, it might seem helpful to tell yourself, “Just calm down,” or “It’s not that big of a deal, so don’t freak out.”

But this invalidates your experience. It is a big deal to you.

Accepting emotions as they come helps you get more comfortable with them. Increasing your comfort around intense emotions allows you to fully feel them without reacting in extreme, unhelpful ways.

To practice accepting emotions, try thinking of them as messengers. They’re not “good” or “bad.” They’re neutral. Maybe they bring up unpleasant feelings sometimes, but they’re still giving you important information that you can use.

For example, try:

  • “I’m upset because I keep losing my keys, which makes me late. I should put a dish on the shelf by the door so I remember to leave them in the same place.”


Accepting emotions may lead to
greater life satisfaction and fewer mental health symptoms. What’s more, people
thinking of their emotions as helpful
may lead to
higher levels of happiness.

Take a deep breath

There’s much to be said for the power of a deep breath, whether you’re ridiculously happy or so angry you can’t speak.

Slowing down and paying attention to your breath won’t make the emotions go away (and remember, that’s not the goal).

Still, deep breathing exercises can help you ground yourself and take a step back from the first intense flash of emotion and any extreme reaction you want to avoid.

Pro Tip

The next time you feel emotions starting to take control:

Breathe in slowly. Deep
breaths come from the diaphragm, not the chest. It may help to visualize your
breath rising from deep in your belly.

Hold it.
Hold your breath for a count of three, then let it out slowly.

Consider a mantra.
Some people find it helpful to repeat a mantra, like “I am calm” or “I am


Practice Self-Care Activities

Exercising, getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious foods, and engaging in hobbies can support emotional well-being and regulate intense emotions and build social and emotional learning, says Serani.

“Studies have long shown that tending to your mind, body and soul in these ways will deepen
your attunement to yourself and help with self-regulation,” she says.

Engage in Inner Work Exercises

Expressive arts like journaling and blogging, attending support groups, and seeking out psychotherapy can help process emotions and gain insight into underlying causes for strong emotions, says Serani.

“One of the additional benefits is these experiences can help root out some of the triggers, traumas, or unresolved patterns that set off overwhelming emotions,” she notes.

Identify Triggers That Heighten Emotions

Although triggers like certain situations or people are highly unpleasant and it’s natural to avoid them, Dattilo says identifying your triggers can give you the best opportunities to apply an alternative response to them.

“Practice helps us build and strengthen emotion regulation skills like breathing and reframing so that they are available and useful to us when we need them, in real time,” she says.

Constructive Communication

The following are assertive communication techniques to help you express emotions effectively, listen actively, and assert boundaries while maintaining respect and empathy.

Maintain healthy relationships

We can also use healthy relationships to regulate emotions by having a trusted friend or loved one to confide in, which is why you usually feel better after venting to a friend. Socializing can help to calm your mind and can even help regulate your body’s physical response to emotions. Although we can’t see people face-to-face as often right now, you don’t want to cut yourself off from people you were previously close to.

Practice mindfulness

One way to practice nonjudgmental awareness is to meditate, and it’s a lot easier than you might think. Simply taking five to ten minutes a day to notice what your body and mind feel like can help you gain an understanding of your emotional habits. This can act as a practice for when you experience emotions in your regular life. When meditating, play close attention to any emotions that may arise and how your instinct tells you to respond. You can ask yourself:

  • What kind of emotions arise, and how often do they come?
  • How does your body feel when they arise?
  • How does your mind respond?
  • Are there any judgments when emotions arise?
  • Is that response helpful? Is there a better way to respond?

The bottom line

Balancing and regulating emotions is crucial for mental and physical well-being. Acceptance, self-care, mindfulness, and constructive communication are valuable tools to navigate intense emotions and build a healthier, more satisfying life.

Fitness & Finance: The Correlation Between a Healthy Life and a Wealthy Life

The wealthy and super-wealthy are not always the overweight people we expect them to be, sitting around eating gold-plated burgers, as movies and popular imagination portray them to be.

In fact, rather than just a link between fitness and money, several of them credit exercise and a healthy lifestyle as a primary factor for their success. Which, may even explain why I am actually broke…

Key Takeaways:

  • The allure of quick fixes often leads to short-term progress but fails to sustain long-term goals in both health and wealth.
  • Balancing immediate gratification with strategic, long-term planning is crucial for achieving sustainable results in both fitness and finance.
  • Understanding the concept of opportunity cost can help individuals make informed decisions that align with their long-term goals.
  • Cultivating discipline, self-control, and mindfulness in health can translate into better financial management and wealth-building strategies.

The Illusion of Quick Fixes: A Comparative Perspective on Health and Finances

We have seen the advertisements that promote a new pill, diet, or product that promises to help you lose a lot of weight in a very short amount of time. It seems too good to be true; but, at the same time you wonder if it is worth a try. When we fall for these scams, we are choosing short term progress over long term fitness. The shortcut may lower the number on the scale initially, but this will not be sustainable change. Eventually, the change stagnates and may even revert you to your previous state. Although it can seem daunting and complex, there is no secret to staying healthy. So why do so many people struggle in this area of their lives? The challenges people have with being healthy are the same problems they face with managing their finances. Those who seek to cut corners may find themselves satisfied with their finances in the short run, but ultimately will fail to build wealth that can grow and support them throughout their lives.


Quick-fix weight loss products often provide temporary results but fail to sustain long-term fitness goals. The allure of rapid change should be approached with caution, recognizing the importance of sustainable lifestyle changes. This parallel is also seen in financial shortcuts that may offer short-term satisfaction but hinder long-term wealth growth.

Balancing Immediate Gratification with Long-Term Goals: The Importance of Strategic Planning

With immediate gratification becoming more and more prevalent in society, it is important we understand which areas of our lives deserve more attention. Today we can do everything from our smartphones: read a book, watch tv, order food – all can be done with a click of a button on a single device. It is only natural that we would want to make all areas of our lives this convenient, which is why pills and diets sell. Immediate gratification techniques make us feel good in the moment, but some areas of our lives require more attention and effort. With something as important as your finances, it is a bad idea to rely on a quick fix. Instead, our finances should be given attention and time in order to be viewed strategically. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” a perfect phrase to describe building wealth and creating a fit lifestyle. A long-term plan will guarantee more success when compared to a short-sighted opportunity.

Pro Tip

In a society driven by instant gratification, it’s crucial to distinguish between convenient solutions and those that require long-term dedication. Just as financial planning demands strategic attention, achieving fitness goals necessitates perseverance and a balanced approach. Embracing the concept of a marathon, not a sprint, is vital for both wealth building and a healthy lifestyle.

Weighing the Costs: The Consequences of Immediate Satisfaction in Health and Finances

Once you have a plan in place, it is time to put it into action. In any area of our lives (whether that be fitness or finance), our choices are weighed with an opportunity cost. What are we losing and gaining? If we decide to eat that extra slice of pizza, we are gaining 5 minutes of satisfaction, but we are giving up the progress we are trying to make to be healthier.

Pro Tip

Every decision comes with a trade-off, whether it’s indulging in momentary pleasures or prioritizing long-term well-being. Recognizing the opportunity cost in health and finance empowers individuals to make mindful choices that align with their broader goals. Consider the implications of immediate satisfaction on your journey to a healthier and wealthier future.

Choosing Sacrifice for Future Gain: Navigating the Trade-offs in Health and Wealth

Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide which opportunity cost weighs more. Do you value the 5 minutes of feeling happy and full more than your long-term goal to feel and look healthier? For many the choice is clear, but the discipline is hard. This same concept applies to our everyday finances. For the choices we make we have given up something in return. In order to build your wealth, you may have to give up eating out so frequently or buying that new car. In terms of opportunity cost we need to give up immediate gratification in order to achieve sustainable wealth.


The pursuit of immediate satisfaction can jeopardize long-term goals, both in health and wealth. Making sacrifices, whether in dietary choices or financial decisions, is necessary to achieve sustainable growth. Individuals must evaluate the trade-offs and exercise discipline to avoid short-term temptations that may hinder their long-term progress and success.

Cultivating Discipline for Long-Term Success: The Interconnected Path of Health and Financial Wellness

So how can you practice financial discipline and long-term thinking? A not so obvious way to achieve your financial goals is by staying healthy. People who are healthy have the skills they need to practice more discipline in their lives. They need the self-control to say no to that extra slice of pizza, and they need time management skills to find time to exercise during their day. The skills that healthy people use everyday are the same skills that help people grow wealth. This is why many times the two go hand in hand. By developing healthy habits, you are training your mind to think long term, and you are practicing many skills like discipline, focus, patience, and self-control. Healthy people are not tempted by immediate gratification and can view the bigger picture. Therefore, healthier people with these skills will find managing their finances and building wealth a lot easier since they are already used to being long term oriented. Being mindful of what you put into your body will translate into being mindful about how you spend your money. Losing weight the proper way will not happen overnight, and neither will building wealth, but by practicing healthy living, it will be much easier to achieve your goals, whether in finance or in fitness.

Pro Tip

Cultivating discipline and long-term thinking in both health and finances is interrelated and crucial for sustainable success. By establishing healthy habits, individuals can develop valuable skills such as self-control, focus, and patience, which are essential for managing finances and building wealth. Practicing mindfulness in health can translate into mindful financial habits, leading to holistic growth and success in both areas.

10 forms of fitness wealth

Spiritual/Inner Self

This is about inner peace and feeding yourself the personal nourishment you need. Taking 10-15 minutes a day to give gratitude to what you are thankful for. This could be church, it could be meditation, it could be whatever you want it to be. Dig deep inside.

Physical Health

Your health is the true sign of wealth. Are you feeding your with movement to make your body better? Are you exercising? Your physical will always make your mental better.


Mindset is everything…literally everything. How you approach life mentally defines your success. Are you confident in your endeavors? Personal or professional?


Are you spending enough time with your kids or your spouse? Are there any relationships that need attending too?


Are you where you want to be professionally? What is holding you back from achieving your goals? Do you hate your job? Are you working too much? Not enough?


Are you saving money? Are you investing money? Do you need to pay off debt?

Circle of Genius/Social

You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. If you want to get ahead in life, spend time with people who make you better. People who push you. People who believe in you. If you have negative people surrounding you, leave them behind.


Are you having fun? Are you doing something that is out of your comfort zone?


If you’re married are you spending quality time with your spouse? If you’re single are spending time dating or spending time with your significant other? Can you spend more time with your kids?


What are you giving back to the universe? Charity work? Community work? Are you leading the people who need lead? As we said last week, I feel like this is the most valuable currency in life and will define how you are remembered.


use specific energy systems for very short-duration or high-force activities.
The rest periods between sets of resistance training can be changed to achieve
certain goals, such as strength or weight loss.


Muscle hypertrophy
is best achieved with moderate rest between sets, such as 30–90 seconds.

Pro Tip

Strength can be maximized by rest intervals between 2–5 minutes in
duration. This allows the muscles to recover enough to produce a comparable
amount of force for the next set.


Resistance training can be beneficial for weight
loss when paired with dietary modifications. In addition, it can help maintain
lean body mass during weight loss.

The bottom line

By recognizing the parallels between health and wealth, individuals can adopt a more holistic approach to their well-being. Building sustainable habits, embracing discipline, and focusing on long-term goals are key to achieving success in both fitness and financial endeavors.

Nicotine: Effects, Addictive Properties, and How to Quit

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Some of these harmful and negative effects are immediate. Find out the health effects of smoking on different parts of your body.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why is it so hard to quit? The first week you stop, your dopamine is lower than baseline because you’re not giving your body & brain the hit it’s come to expect at a certain time so you feel much worse

  • Nicotine, a highly addictive chemical present in various tobacco products, poses significant challenges to quitting smoking due to its psychoactive effects, tolerance, and physical dependence.

  • Nicotine impacts the central nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, and gastrointestinal systems, leading to several health issues such as increased blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, and muscular degradation.

What Is Nicotine?

Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical found in cigarettes, chewing tobacco and vaping products. Nicotine is the main reason why it is so hard to quit smoking.

Why Is Nicotine So Addictive?

 advertisements that state it is an addictive chemical. These warnings can be found on the box or packaging of any of these products.

How to recognize nicotine addiction

Here are some signs to look for if you think you might have an addiction to nicotine:

  • You feel grumpy, anxious, or easily angered if you stop using tobacco.
  • You have trouble controlling when, where and how often you smoke.
  • You think about using tobacco (you crave a cigarette) many times a day.


Nicotine addiction is a serious condition that can have both physical and psychological effects.

Harmful Effects of Nicotine

Addictive substances are not addictive because they taste or smell good: they are addictive because they fundamentally change our brain chemistry. Nicotine addiction is no different and its properties include:

  • Psychoactive effects
  • Compulsive use
  • Quick relapse
  • Drug-reinforced behavior
  • Tolerance
  • Physical dependence

Nicotine can act as both as a stimulant and a sedative, depending on the quantity you ingest. Typically, cigarettes contain anywhere from 8 to 20 mg of nicotine – average being 14 mg. A steady smoker smokes at least a pack of cigarettes a day, so 20 cigarettes equal 280 mg. While only a fraction of that gets inhaled (around 20 mg per pack – the rest dissipates in smoke) it’s important to note that 30 -60 mg of nicotine in its liquid form is lethal for an adult. Around 10 mg is lethal to small children and even less than that to babies. In comparison, a lethal dose of cyanide for an adult is 1.5 mg per 2 pounds of weight.

Pro Tip

Understanding the mechanisms of nicotine addiction can aid in developing effective cessation strategies.

Nicotine Side Effects on Your Brain

Cigarettes are one of the fastest ways to get nicotine into your system. After an inhale, tar with nicotine deposits travels to lungs where it latches on and gets absorbed by the organism. It takes up to twenty seconds for nicotine to travel to the brain. Other delivery methods, such as chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarette systems are slower, but not by much.

When nicotine reaches the brain it attaches to neural receptors usually reserved for acetylcholine. This begins a series of chain reactions in the body. First, it starts to stimulate the adrenal glands which start releasing large amounts of adrenaline into the system. This ‘flight or fight’ hormone elevates the heart rate and breathing. As the heart rate goes up so does the blood pressure and this means that nicotine is also partly to blame for numerous vascular diseases.

That rush of adrenaline also signals the body to dump sugars into the system –under normal circumstances that sugar would be useful for either the fight or the flight response. In this case, it stays in the bloodstream, accumulating and since nicotine suppresses insulin release this means that smokers regularly have elevated blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is one of the reasons why smokers tend not to feel hungry after a cigarette, regardless of how long it was since their last meal.

Nicotine is also responsible for dopamine floods that occur after smoking or chewing tobacco. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain and smoking there for gives smokers the same sensation you would get when eating something you really like or making love. This is where the craving part of the addiction comes into play. As nicotine-caused dopamine levels begin to stabilize, smokers get an overwhelming urge for another cigarette – essentially, another hit of nicotine. And that is how this vicious circle transforms into a snake biting its own tail.

Nicotine Side Effects on All Systems in the Body

Nicotine has adverse effects on every bodily system. Some of these develop over time but some are present with every dose of nicotine you take.

Nicotine Effects: Central Nervous System

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Abnormal sleep disturbances
  • Blood-flow risk
  • Headache

Nicotine Effects: Cardiovascular System

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Aortic enlargement and dissection
  • Increased clotting
  • Heart rate fluctuation
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Tachycardia
  • Arrhythmias

Nicotine Effects: Respiratory System

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Bronchospasm
  • Cancer

Nicotine Effects: Muscular System

  • Spinal disc degeneration
  • Joint pain
  • Tremors

Nicotine Effects: Gastrointestinal System

  • Peptic ulcer
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Dyspepsia
  • Cancer


Ignoring the adverse effects of nicotine on the body can lead to irreversible damage to multiple organ systems.

Smoking Lowers Your Testosterone Level

Testosterone level is linked to the muscle building. Muscle cells have receptors for testosterone called androgen receptors. When testosterone binds to the receptors, muscle fibres are maintained. Without testosterone, maintenance stops and muscle is degraded.

Another risk of smoking cigarettes is that it can damage the testosterone-producing cells within the body. With decreasing testosterone level, the muscles start to turn to fat, particularly in unwanted zones like chest and stomach. According to a study, low testosterone is replaced by a hormone called estrogen that is linked to increased belly fat or where you least want it.


Smoking can disrupt hormonal balance and lead to undesirable changes in body composition.

Smoking Raises Cortisol

Smoking is responsible for an increase in the level of a stress hormone called cortisol, which decreases the production of testosterone. It also reduces protein synthesis, an important requirement for muscle growth. In smokers, there is an increased level of myostatin, a hormone that inhibits muscle growth reduces the strength of the muscles and prevents the toning of muscles.

Smoking Makes You Insulin Resistant

Smoking can cause insulin resistance, which can hugely impact your muscle-building goals. Insulin is a protein cum hormone, released after consuming carb-rich foods and works as a signal for the muscles to absorb glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose releases after consuming meals and produces ATP energy cells for the body. Whereas when you become insulin resistant, the muscles refuse to respond to the signal to absorb glucose from the blood and your energy levels decrease due to overload of glucose in the blood. 

It makes you feel tired and prevents you from performing to the optimum level. Insulin resistance hampers the storage of glycogen. Glycogen is a longer chain version of glucose and the body’s energy storage mechanism. Less glycogen means that your workout intensity will be lower than normal. Insulin resistance also affects the nutrient absorption of the body and increases fat deposit, especially belly, a complete ‘no’ for the muscle builder.

How To Quit Smoking?

Quitting smoking can be a bit difficult due to its psychological and physical affect. The nicotine offers a momentary and temporary high. Same smoking quitting method doesn’t work for every individual.

It is important to recognise the fact that it is a kind of addiction and requires help to get over it. When trying to quit smoking you not try to wean away from the psychological and physical high provided by the cigarette, but unconsciously move out from the circle of friends and co-workers with whom you enjoy your smoke, which can be difficult.

In fact, quitting smoking is stressful, which is why it is very important to prepare yourself for that stressful period of quitting by following the below-mentioned things.

  • Opt for therapies like laser and acupuncture.
  • Talk with a friend that can understand your quitting journey and support you. It actually becomes easier if you have a partner who is also trying to quit smoking.
  • A key part of quitting is to manage cravings that can make your quitting program successful. Find ways to divert your attention when the craving strikes.
  • Try nicotine replacement therapy as it works for many people and is worth trying.

If you want to know how much smoking is too much? Just forget that as to achieve your bodybuilding goals you have to say bye to smoking.

Don’t lose hope when trying to quit. Always remember quitting will help your lungs and overall health that will help you in gaining muscle. So, keep trying!

Pro Tip

Maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise can help manage insulin resistance caused by smoking

The bottom line

Understanding the addictive nature and harmful effects of nicotine is crucial in realizing the importance of quitting smoking for overall health and well-being. Overcoming nicotine addiction requires perseverance, support, and a combination of effective strategies, ultimately leading to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

How Long Should You Rest

The optimal time for muscle recovery can vary, and it’s difficult to know when to rest.The problem with resting too little or not at all is that your muscles won’t have time to recover and grow. You’ll be more prone to injury, which can lead to months of inactivity and lost progress.

Key Takeaways:

  • Different energy systems fuel muscles during exercise, and understanding their roles can help tailor rest periods for specific training goals.

  • For muscle hypertrophy, optimal rest intervals between sets range from 30 to 90 seconds, promoting the best conditions for muscle growth.

  • Maximizing strength and power requires rest intervals between 2 to 5 minutes, enabling muscles to recover sufficiently for high force production.

  • While resistance training contributes to weight loss, its impact is maximized when combined with a balanced diet, and the duration of rest intervals between sets plays a minimal role.

Rest Between Sets: What’s Right for Me?

Resistance training is used for a variety of purposes. The main reason is to increase strength. However, some people want to focus on muscular endurance, weight loss, or form, among other goals.

When you’re focused on an objective, it’s easy to pay the most attention to the work you’re doing in each set. However, to achieve these objectives, you should also keep in mind the rest between sets of exercise.

How muscles are fueled

Muscles are fueled by three energy systems: the phosphagen system, the anaerobic (glycolytic) system, and the aerobic (oxidative) system.

As your muscles work, these systems take turns leading the way to synthesize adenosine triphosphate, providing energy to your muscle cells.

The first two systems are shorter duration systems, meaning they provide high force production for a short amount of time.

The phosphagen system provides muscle energy for up to 30 seconds of muscle work and is involved in high force production activities. After that, the glycolytic system provides energy for work from 30 seconds–3 minutes and is involved in moderate force production activities.

These two systems are involved in most resistance training activities focused on strength and muscle hypertrophy.

As exercise duration exceeds 3 minutes, the aerobic system takes over and is involved in lower force production activities.

These energy systems are constantly at work during all types of activity to supply your body with the energy it needs to perform activities.

For example, if a person is lifting heavy weights, they will produce a greater force for a short period of time, but they will need a period to recover to be able to repeat the same activity with the same force.

Nevertheless, the amount of time you rest to recover enough to repeat the same performance can be adjusted to help meet specific training goals.

Whether your goal is to increase muscle size or increase endurance, rest periods between sets can be tailored to achieve each type of goal.


use specific energy systems for very short-duration or high-force activities.
The rest periods between sets of resistance training can be changed to achieve
certain goals, such as strength or weight loss.

How long should I rest between sets if my goal is muscle mass?

In order for muscle fibers to grow in size, they need to be stimulated to increase the cross-sectional area of the muscle. This is called muscular hypertrophy.

Typically for bodybuilders, the increase in muscle size is the most important factor, compared with strength, endurance, and fat loss. Bodybuilders are judged in their sport based on size, muscle symmetry, and definition.

Even if you aren’t a bodybuilder, many fitness enthusiasts want to enhance muscle size to achieve a certain look.

If your goal is aesthetic, you’d benefit from hypertrophy training. This type of training typically leads to higher lactic acid and blood lactate levels, which are associated with an increase in muscle work performed.

In hypertrophy training, the objective is to overload the muscles and cause temporary trauma to the muscle fibers so that they are stimulated to grow and increase their cross-sectional area.

Typically, there is very little difference between the loads handled for those wanting to induce hypertrophy and those wishing to solely increase strength. These loads typically range from 50%–90% of your 1 rep max.

However, the biggest difference in training for muscle size versus strength is in rest between sets. Studies have found that to induce muscle hypertrophy, optimal rest intervals are between 30–90 seconds.


Muscle hypertrophy
is best achieved with moderate rest between sets, such as 30–90 seconds.

How long should I rest between sets if my goal is maximizing strength and power?

Muscular strength is the ability to produce force to move a weight.

In weightlifting, muscular strength is often tested via a 1 rep max, which involves successfully moving the maximal amount of weight through the entire range of motion for 1 rep.

Powerlifting uses three exercises to determine the strongest person. They include the bench press, the squat, and the deadlift. Powerlifters have three attempts for each exercise to move the maximal amount of weight they can.

When building strength, there is less emphasis on muscle size and more emphasis on maximal force production, or power. Adequate rest between sets helps to maintain a high level of force production for the next set.

Thus, typical rest periods for increasing strength are between 2–5 minutes, which research shows to be optimal for strength development. However, researchers note that this may vary depending on age, fiber type, and genetics

Pro Tip

Strength can be maximized by rest intervals between 2–5 minutes in
duration. This allows the muscles to recover enough to produce a comparable
amount of force for the next set.

How long should I rest between sets if my goal is weight loss?

Resistance training can positively affect body composition. However, it’s important to remember that pairing a nutritious diet with resistance training is most important for weight loss. This ensures that calories consumed are less than calories expended.

Both strength and hypertrophy training have been shown to aid caloric expenditure; the rest interval duration isn’t as big a factor.

HIIT training has also been shown to positively affect weight loss when compared with moderate intensity continuous training. The two had similar effects on whole body fat loss and waist circumference. But HIIT training took about 40% less time to complete .

Resistance training and HIIT resistance and cardiovascular training have shown similar positive benefits on weight loss when paired with diet modifications. The rest between sets doesn’t have as much influence as being consistent and making lifestyle changes over time.


Resistance training can be beneficial for weight
loss when paired with dietary modifications. In addition, it can help maintain
lean body mass during weight loss.

How often should you take a rest day?

There are many steps to creating a fitness plan. First, you identify your goals. Then, you select the types of exercise you will do. And finally, you choose a workout schedule to help you reach those goals. Deciding how many rest days a week you need is an essential part of that plan.

Most people should aim for 1 to 3 rest days per week. But the number of rest days you take –– and what you do on those days –– depends on several factors, including:

  • Your current fitness level
  • The types of exercises you’re doing
  • Your workout intensity and duration

Why is it important to take a rest day from working out?

Rest is a necessary component of a successful training plan. Here are some of the top benefits of rest days.

Supports exercise recovery

It is fairly easy to see why taking a rest day can reduce the risk of injury and overtraining. But you might not realize that rest helps your body recover and adapt to your training.

New or strenuous exercise creates tiny tears in your muscle fibers. Adequate rest allows your body to repair and rebuild those muscle fibers after your workout. The repair process causes cellular changes that help your muscles adapt and grow. It also helps restore energy before your next workout.

Helps you reach fitness goals

Time off gives your body and mind a break from strenuous training. You can use rest days to relax, clear your head, and focus on other forms of self-care. That could mean doing a hobby, getting a massage, or spending time with loved ones.

That way, you’ll be mentally prepared for your next sweat session. If you have more focus, energy, and strength to devote to your workouts, you can perform optimally and stay on track to reach your fitness goals.

The bottom line

When working toward your strength goals, force production and training volume are important, but so is rest.Rest between sets should allow enough recovery to reintroduce the stimulus while maintaining good form. Depending on your goals, you can shorten or lengthen your rest intervals for the best result.

Your workout schedule may not always go as planned. So listen to your body and take a rest day when you feel depleted or have unusual aches and pains. Doing so can help you avoid injuries or other training delays in the long run. 

How Can You Increase Testosterone Naturally?

Testosterone is important in many aspects of your health, from sexual function to disease risk. Learn how actions such as lifting weights can help you improve your testosterone levels naturally.

Key Takeaways:

  • Recognizing Symptoms: Recognize the signs of low testosterone, including reduced sex drive, insomnia, and increased body fat.

  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Implement changes like quality sleep, exercise, and avoiding estrogen-like chemicals to optimize testosterone levels.

  • Impact of External Factors: Be aware of the influence of opioid pain medications and environmental toxins on testosterone levels

What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone is an important sex hormone that is mainly produced in the testicles. It plays a key role in many essential functions, including making sperm, strengthening muscles and bones, and regulating your mood and libido.1 Starting between the ages of 30 and 40, testosterone levels naturally decline as you get older. Low testosterone can also be caused by certain medications, conditions, and injuries. Common symptoms of low testosterone include lower sex drive, reduced sperm count, erectile dysfunction, and increased body fat. You may also experience insomnia, bone loss, and depression.1 Testosterone levels are measured through a blood test typically performed in the morning when levels are highest.1 If it’s determined that you have low testosterone, there are several ways to increase your testosterone levels.


Testosterone is also made by the female reproductive system—in the ovaries—but to a lesser degree. Regardless of sex, testosterone is also made in the adrenal glands, which are the organs above the kidneys. Among women, any concern about testosterone levels is typically that they are too high and need to be decreased.

Increase Vitamin D Intake

Several large-scale studies have found that low vitamin D is associated with low levels of testosterone in your blood. Taking vitamin D supplements or incorporating more vitamin D into your diet may help to boost your testosterone.Foods and drinks that have been fortified with vitamin D, such as orange juice, cereal, and milk are how most Americans get most of their vitamin D. But the best dietary sources of vitamin D are fatty fish, such as trout, salmon, and tuna, and fish liver oils.


Some studies have found that low levels of vitamin D could be associated with decreased testosterone levels. However, more research is needed to determine whether supplementation may be beneficial.

Get More Quality Sleep

Studies indicate that sleep-related conditions, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, as well as low-quality sleep, are linked to low testosterone in men. This is likely a two-way relationship, with low testosterone symptoms making it harder to fall asleep and sleep deprivation lowering testosterone levels.

Keeping good sleep practices may help you get a better night’s rest.

 Healthy sleep habits include:

  • Going to bed at the same time every night
  • Shutting off your phone and other devices an hour before bed
  • Keeping your bedroom quiet, dark, cool, and clutter-free
  • Exercising more frequently during the day
  • Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, especially close to bedtime

Pro Tip

It’s important to get plenty of high quality sleep to maintain healthy
testosterone levels and optimize overall health.

Avoid estrogen-like chemicals

Several other factors may affect your hormone levels. For starters, a healthy sex life is important in regulating your sex hormone and testosterone levels.

High exposure to estrogen-like chemicals may also affect testosterone levels. Try to minimize daily exposure to plastic.

Minimize stress and cortisol levels

Research often highlights the dangers of long-term stress, which can elevate levels of the hormone cortisol.Sudden elevations in cortisol can quickly reduce testosterone. These hormones often work in a seesaw-like manner: As one goes up, the other comes down .Stress and high cortisol can also increase food intake, weight gain, and the storage of harmful body fat around your organs. These changes may negatively affect testosterone levels.For both optimal health and hormone levels, try to manage your stress levels. Staying active, getting plenty of sleep each night, and practicing some stress-relieving techniques may be beneficial.

Pro Tip

Chronic stress can negatively affect health and reduce testosterone levels.

Smoking Lowers Your Testosterone Level

Testosterone level is linked to the muscle building. Muscle cells have receptors for testosterone called androgen receptors. When testosterone binds to the receptors, muscle fibres are maintained. Without testosterone, maintenance stops and muscle is degraded.

Another risk of smoking cigarettes is that it can damage the testosterone-producing cells within the body. With decreasing testosterone level, the muscles start to turn to fat, particularly in unwanted zones like chest and stomach. According to a study, low testosterone is replaced by a hormone called estrogen that is linked to increased belly fat or where you least want it.


Smoking can disrupt hormonal balance and lead to undesirable changes in body composition.


A combination of aerobic (increase in heart rate) and resistance (weightlifting) training has been found to increase the production of testosterone. This also helps prevent the most common diseases that men are most likely to die from, heart disease and cancer. Overtraining in endurance sports such as American football and weight-class wrestling and excessive exercise with calorie restriction can cause testosterone deficiency as well


Morphine and other opiates decrease testosterone. This can go on for months to years while a person is being treated with opioid medications. Levels can drop as quickly as a few hours after starting opioids. It appears that the higher the dose of opioids, the greater the risk of low testosterone. Fortunately, this side effect should be reversible after stopping the pain medication. Of course, do not stop or change pain medication suddenly without consulting with the prescribing provider.


Xenobiotics are compounds from the environment that mimic the body’s hormones. Research has shown that the average testosterone level in men has gradually dropped over the years. This may be in part due to all the environmental toxins that have accumulated over the years. The main toxins that we know about thus far include the following:

• Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is found in plastics. To avoid it, don’t microwave food in plastic containers. Avoid plastic containers with the numbers 3, 6, or 7 engraved in the triangle on the product. Buy BPA-free water containers. Drinking water out of containers with the numbers 2, 4, 5, or 7 is OK. Do not drink out of Styrofoam containers.

 • Phthalates. These chemicals are used in plastics, coatings, lubricants, and binders. Many are found in hygiene products such as shampoos and colognes. A useful website on phthalate-free products is the Guide to Less Toxic Products.

 • Organophosphates. These are mainly found in pesticides and herbicides. Eat organic when possible to avoid exposure to them.

The bottom line

Testosterone levels in males peak at 19 years and naturally decline with age. They decrease by an average of 1%–2% each year after age 30, although they may stabilize in your 40s or beyond . This decline is of concern because strong research shows a link between low testosterone and obesity, increased disease risk, and premature death. Healthy testosterone levels are also important for people assigned female at birth, along with other key hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Following a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle using some of the tips outlined above can help optimize testosterone levels and promote overall health.

Working Out While Sick: Good or Bad?

Engaging in regular exercise is an excellent way to keep your body healthy.In fact, working out has been shown to decrease your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, help keep your weight in check, and boost your immune system .While there’s no doubt that exercise plays an important role in health, many people wonder whether working out while sick will help or hinder their recovery.However, the answer isn’t black and white.This article explains why sometimes it’s OK to work out when you’re sick, while other times it’s best to stay home and rest.

Key Takeaways:

  • Above the Neck” Rule: Use the “above the neck” rule to decide if it’s safe to exercise when sick. If symptoms are limited to above the neck, like a stuffy nose or mild sore throat, you can consider light exercise if you feel up to it.
  • Safe to Exercise: It’s generally safe to work out with mild cold symptoms, earaches, stuffy noses, or mild sore throats, as long as you aren’t experiencing more serious symptoms.
  • Modify Intensity and Duration: If you’re not feeling your best, consider reducing the intensity or duration of your workout to match your energy level.
  • Hygiene is Key: If you decide to exercise with mild symptoms, practice good hygiene to prevent spreading germs to others. Wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing.

Is it OK to work out when you’re sick?

A speedy recovery is always the goal when you are sick, but it can be hard to know when it’s OK to power through with your normal gym routine and when it’s best to take a few days off.Exercise is a healthy habit, and it’s normal to want to continue working out, even when you’re feeling under the weather.This can be perfectly fine in certain situations but also detrimental if you’re experiencing certain symptoms.Many experts use the “above the neck” rule when advising people on whether to continue working out while sick.According to this theory, if you’re only experiencing symptoms that are above your neck, such as a stuffy nose, sneezing, or an earache, you’re probably OK to engage in exercise at mild intensity for a shorter period, but only if you feel up to it .On the other hand, if you’re experiencing symptoms below your neck, such as nausea, body aches, fever, diarrhea, a productive cough, or chest congestion, you may want to skip your workout until you feel better.A productive cough is one in which you’re coughing up phlegm.


Some experts use the “above the neck” rule to
determine whether working out while sick is safe. Exercise is most likely safe
when your symptoms are located from the neck up.

When it’s safe to exercise

Working out with the following symptoms is most likely safe, but always check with your doctor if you’re unsure.

Mild cold

A mild cold is a viral infection of the nose and throat.Though symptoms vary from person to person, most people who have a cold experience sneezing, a stuffy nose, a headache, and a mild cough .Given current events, if you have a mild cold and the energy to work out, the best solution is to take a light walk outside or at home rather than engage in vigorous exercise. With the added possibility of developing COVID-19, it’s even more important to maintain social distancing.

If you feel that you lack the energy to get through your normal routine, consider reducing the intensity of your workout or shortening its duration.

While it’s generally OK to exercise with a mild cold, keep in mind that you might spread germs to others and cause them to become ill.

Practicing proper hygiene is a great way to prevent spreading your cold to others. Wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.


An earache is a sharp, dull, or burning pain that can be located in one or both ears.Though ear pain in children is commonly caused by infection, earache in adults is more commonly caused by pain occurring in another area, such as the throat. This is an example of referred pain .Ear pain can be caused by a sinus infection, a sore throat, a tooth infection, or changes in pressure.

Certain types of ear infections can throw you off balance and cause a fever and other symptoms that make working out unsafe. Make sure you don’t have one of these ear infections before beginning exercise .

However, most earaches can just be uncomfortable and cause a feeling of fullness or pressure in the head.Though exercise is likely safe when you have an earache, try to avoid exercises that put pressure on the sinus region. Stick to light walking. Something as simple as bending over can be very uncomfortable with a sinus infection.

Stuffy nose

Having a stuffy nose can be frustrating and uncomfortable.

If it’s associated with a fever or other symptoms like a productive cough or chest congestion, you should consider taking some time off from working out.

However, it’s OK to work out if you’re only experiencing some nasal congestion.

In fact, getting some exercise may help open up your nasal passages, helping you breathe better .Ultimately, listening to your body to determine whether you feel well enough to exercise with a stuffy nose is the best bet.Modifying your workout to accommodate your energy level is another option.

Going for brisk walks or bike rides are great ways to stay active even when you aren’t feeling up to your usual routine.Because of the COVID pandemic, you shouldn’t be going to a gym if you’re sick. If your nose is really stuffy, don’t try anything more strenuous than very light exercise or walking. Pay attention to your breathing and what you feel you can handle.

Mild sore throat

A sore throat is usually caused by a viral infection like the common cold or flu.

In certain situations, such as when your sore throat is associated with a fever, productive cough, or difficulty swallowing, you should put exercise on hold until a doctor tells you it’s OK to resume your workouts.However, if you’re experiencing a mild sore throat caused by something like a common cold or allergies, working out is likely safe.

If you’re experiencing other symptoms that are often associated with a common cold, such as fatigue and congestion, consider reducing the intensity of your normal exercise routine.

Reducing the duration of your workout is another way to modify activity when you feel well enough to work out but don’t have your usual stamina.Staying hydrated with cool water is a great way to soothe a sore throat during exercise so you can add activity into your day.

Pro Tip

most likely OK to work out when you are experiencing a mild cold, earache,
stuffy nose, or sore throat, as long as you aren’t experiencing more serious

When exercise is not recommended

While exercising is generally harmless when you have a mild cold or earache, working out when you are experiencing any of the following symptoms is not recommended.


When you have a fever, your body temperature rises above its normal range, which hovers around 37°C. A fever can be caused by many things, but it’s most commonly triggered by a bacterial or viral infection .

Fevers can cause unpleasant symptoms like weakness, dehydration, muscle aches, and a loss of appetite.

Working out while you’re feverish increases the risk of dehydration and can make a fever worse.Additionally, having a fever decreases muscle strength and endurance and impairs precision and coordination, increasing the risk of injury .

For these reasons, it’s best to skip the gym when you have a fever.

Productive or frequent cough

An occasional cough is a normal response to irritants or fluids in the body’s airways, and it helps keep the body healthy.However, more frequent episodes of coughing can be a symptom of a respiratory infection like a cold, the flu, or even pneumonia.

While a cough associated with a tickle in the throat isn’t a reason to skip the gym, a more persistent cough can be a sign you need to rest.Although a dry, sporadic cough may not impair your ability to perform certain exercises, a frequent, productive cough is reason to skip a workout.

A persistent cough can make it difficult to take a deep breath, particularly when your heart rate rises during exercise. This makes you more likely to become short of breath and fatigued.

A productive cough that brings up phlegm or sputum may be a sign of infection or another medical condition that requires rest and should be treated by a doctor.Furthermore, coughing is one of the main ways viruses like the flu and SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, are spread.

Avoid going to the gym when you have a cough, as you’re putting fellow gym-goers at risk of being exposed to the germs that caused your illness. Also, if your cough is occurring during exercise, it may be a sign of asthma. See a doctor if this persists.

Stomach bug

Illnesses that affect the digestive system, such as the stomach flu, can cause serious symptoms that make working out off-limits.Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, stomach cramping, and decreased appetite are all common symptoms associated with stomach bugs.

Diarrhea and vomiting put you at risk of dehydration, which physical activity worsens .Feeling weak is common when you have a stomach ailment, increasing the chance of injury during a workout.

What’s more, many stomach illnesses like the stomach flu are highly contagious and can be easily spread to others .If you’re feeling restless during a stomach illness, light stretching or yoga at home are the safest options.

Flu symptoms

Influenza is a contagious illness that affects the respiratory system.

The flu causes symptoms like fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, headache, cough, and congestion.

The flu can be mild or severe, depending on the level of infection, and it may even cause death in serious cases .Although not every person who gets the flu will experience a fever, those who do are at an increased risk of dehydration, making working out a bad idea.

Though the majority of people recover from the flu in less than 2 weeks, choosing to engage in intense workouts while sick may prolong the flu and delay your recovery.Though it’s a debated topic, some researchers believe engaging in higher intensity activity like running or a spin class temporarily suppresses the body’s immune response .Plus, the flu is a highly contagious virus that’s spread primarily through tiny droplets that people with the flu release into the air when they talk, cough, or sneeze.

If you’re diagnosed with the flu, it’s best to take it easy and avoid exercise while you’re experiencing symptoms.


If you’re experiencing symptoms like a fever,
vomiting, diarrhea, or a productive cough, taking time off from the gym may be
the best option for both your own recovery and the safety of others.

When is it OK to return to your routine?

Many people are anxious to get back to the gym after recovering from an illness — and for good reason.Regular exercise can reduce your risk of becoming sick in the first place by boosting your immune system .However, it’s important to let your body completely recover from an illness before returning to your exercise routine, and you shouldn’t stress even if you’re unable to work out for an extended period of time.While some people worry that a few days off from the gym will set them back and cause a loss of muscle and strength, that’s not the case.

Many studies show that for most people, muscle loss and strength start to decline around the 5-day mark .

As symptoms subside, gradually begin introducing more physical activity into your day, being careful not to overdo it.On your first day back to the gym, begin with a low intensity, shorter workout, and be sure to hydrate with water while exercising.

Remember, your body may be feeling weak, especially if you’re recovering from a stomach illness or the flu, and it’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling.If you’re questioning whether you can safely work out while recovering from being sick, ask your doctor for advice.

Additionally, while you may be feeling better, keep in mind that you might still be able to spread your illness to others. Adults can infect others with the flu up to 7 days after first experiencing flu symptoms .Although getting back to the gym after an illness is beneficial for your overall health, it’s important to listen to your body and doctor when deciding whether you’re well enough for more intense activity.


Waiting until your symptoms completely subside before gradually getting back into your workout routine is a safe way to return to exercise after an illness.

The bottom line

When experiencing symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, a fever, or a productive cough, it’s best to rest your body and take some time off from the gym to recover.However, if you caught a mild cold or are experiencing some nasal congestion, there’s no need to throw in the towel on your workout, though it’s good sense to stay away from indoor public spaces like gyms.

Yet, it’s important to confine your workouts to home during this time due to the risk of spreading your illness to others.It’s not always possible to know for sure whether you’re experiencing a cold or something more serious. It’s better to err on the side of caution when you’re not feeling up to par.

If you’re feeling well enough to work out but lack your usual energy, reducing the intensity or length of your workout is a great way to stay active.That said, to stay healthy and safe when you’re sick, it’s always best to listen to your body and follow your doctor’s advice.

How and Why to Stretch

How and Why to Stretch

Flexibility and stretching are crucial for our basic body plan, learning new movements, injury prevention and repair, and reducing inflammation throughout the body. There are multiple types of stretching, including static, dynamic, and ballistic stretching, and each has its own benefits. Building flexibility and engaging in specific stretching exercises can help modulate your ability to tolerate pain, both physical and emotional. Almost all of us can benefit from having some sort of understanding about flexibility and having some stretching protocol that we incorporate into our life, not just for physical performance reasons and for postural reasons, but also for cognitive and mental reasons.

Key Takeaways:

  • Incorporating a stretching routine into daily life can improve flexibility, prevent injury, and reduce inflammation. It can also help increase pain tolerance, both physically and emotionally, for a well-rounded approach to overall health and wellness.
  • Flexibility can be improved by understanding the neural, muscular, and connective tissues involved in stretching. Proper neuromuscular control and adequate stretch are essential for increasing flexibility without causing muscle damage.
  • Regular stretching and exercise can prevent the natural decrease in limb range of motion that comes with aging. By understanding how our nervous system controls flexibility, we can improve our physical health and well-being safely and logically.
  • Maintaining flexibility through regular exercise can prevent injuries, but pushing it too far can lead to acute and chronic injuries. The posterior insula in the brain plays a crucial role in regulating our physiological and emotional state.

Understanding the Components of Flexibility and Stretching

Flexibility and stretching involve three major components: neural, muscular, and connective tissues. Nervous system controls your muscles, and sensory neurons within muscles sense the amount of stretch. Therefore, there are protocols and tools through which you can increase your flexibility by leveraging mechanisms that ensure you don’t overload your muscles and damage them through weight or tension or effort. Stretching beyond a certain limit activates the spindle neurons that create a form of sensing what’s going on in the muscle and sends electrical potential along the wires into the spinal cord. This sensory neuron communicates with the motor neuron and makes sure that it contracts. Therefore, adequate stretch and proper neuromuscular control are essential for improving flexibility.


Avoid overstretching or excessive tension, as it can lead to injuries.

The Role of Nervous System in Limb Range of Motion and the Benefits of Stretching

Our limb range of motion is regulated by circuits in our nervous system that sense stretch and loads. These circuits activate protective mechanisms, including muscle contractions and shutting down motor neurons, to prevent excessive stretch or loads that could cause damage. However, a dedicated stretching practice can improve limb range of motion by leveraging these protective mechanisms in a safe and logical way. It’s important to note that a decrease in limb range of motion is a natural part of aging, but can be prevented with regular stretching and exercise. Understanding how our nervous system controls flexibility and stretching can help us improve our overall physical health and well-being.

The Balance between Flexibility and Injury Prevention

Maintaining flexibility and range of motion is important for injury prevention, but pushing it too far can lead to acute and chronic injuries. While there is a gradual decrease in flexibility from age 20 to 49 of about 10% every 10 years, it’s not necessarily linear. Lifestyle factors like regular yoga practice and resistance training can indirectly improve flexibility. The insula region in the brain, specifically the posterior insula, plays a crucial role in interpreting and regulating our internal somatic experiences and sensations, known as interoception. Van Economo neurons, unique to humans and some large animals, are found in the posterior insula and are essential for regulating our physiological and emotional state.

Pro Tip

Consult a fitness professional to create a customized stretching plan for your age and activity level

The Role of Van Economo Neurons in Stretching Practices

Van Economo neurons play a crucial role in our understanding of body movements, sense of pain and discomfort, and motivation. When we encounter discomfort, our decision to push through or relax through it can impact the integrity of these circuits. Relaxing into a stretch means activating parasympathetic activation and shifting the internal state of the body towards relaxation. Our brain has upper motor neurons that can override lower motor neurons and control reflexive mechanisms, like the mano synaptic stretch reflex. Understanding these neural circuits can help us make safe decisions while enhancing flexibility through stretching practices.

Understanding How Our Body Works: The Role of Neurons and Muscles.

Our body has circuits controlled by the spinal cord that allow us to perform certain actions without conscious decision-making, but we can override these reflexes by making decisions with our upper motor neurons and van Economo neurons. These neurons help us pay attention to what’s happening in our body, control our alertness or calmness in response to sensory experiences, and make decisions

about what to do with our body. The way we contract and relax different muscles in our body can affect our flexibility and range of motion. Contracting the quadriceps can relax the hamstrings, increasing our range of motion. This shows that the muscles in our body work in an antagonistic push-pull fashion, and understanding these mechanisms can help us improve our physical abilities.

Pro Tip

Learn how to consciously activate and relax specific muscle groups to enhance range of motion.

Using Contractions to Improve Muscle Flexibility

Contracting the opposite antagonistic muscle can release neural spindle reflex and increase range of motion. For instance, to stretch triceps, flexing biceps simultaneously can help. Contracting muscles can remove neural breaks and improve flexibility temporarily. Consistent stretching for several weeks can lead to changes in muscle fibers and sarcomeres, which are interdigitated thick and thin layers, respectively. This change in confirmation, not lengthening, can enhance muscle flexibility. This technique can be applied to various muscles, including larger ones like biceps, triceps, hamstrings, and quadriceps, by consciously contracting and relaxing muscles. This mechanism is due to the neural connections among joints and motor neurons, which play a crucial role in muscle activation and contraction.

Understanding Muscle Mechanics to Improve Performance

Stretching changes the relative size and spacing of muscle parts like sarcomeres and myosin and actin, and also changes the resting state of muscles. Muscle length and bellies are genetically determined and stretching can increase flexibility and range of motion. Specific adjustments can be made at both macro and micro levels to improve performance. Interleaving sets of pushing and pulling exercises for antagonistic muscles can offset the drop in the number of repetitions. By understanding the details of muscle mechanics and making small adjustments in stretching and exercise protocols, we can optimize our performance and increase our range of motion.


Contracting antagonistic muscles can improve range of motion.

Different modes of stretching and interleaving push and pull exercises can enhance performance and flexibility in an efficient and safe manner.

Interleaving push and pull of entire antagonistic sets can leverage neural circuits and enhance performance, while maintaining the same amount of rest and increasing flexibility. Different modes of stretching like dynamic, ballistic, static and PNF stretching can increase limb range of motion most safely and efficiently. Dynamic stretching involves controlled movement with less momentum, whereas ballistic stretching involves swinging of the limb with more momentum. Static stretching involves holding the end range of motion with minimal momentum. Passive or active forms of static stretching can be used. It’s important to pay attention to these concepts for efficient and effective stretching and enhanced fitness.

Understanding Different Types of Stretching for Safe and Confident Limb Range of Motion Enhancement.

Static stretching, including PNF, is more effective in increasing limb range of motion than dynamic and ballistic stretching. While dynamic and ballistic stretches can be useful for improving performance in sports, they carry a risk due to momentum. It’s important to be safe and pay attention to the protocols while performing static stretches. There are four major categories of stretching: dynamic, ballistic, static and PNF stretches that can be used to target different muscle groups. It’s easy to find exercises for these stretches on YouTube and other platforms. Proprioceptive feedback is crucial in PNF type stretching. By understanding different types of stretching, one can increase range of motion safely and confidently.


Avoid overloading your routine; balance is essential.

The science behind effective static stretching.

Static stretching, including PNF, is the best way to increase limb range of motion in the long term. Holding the stretch for 30 seconds is sufficient and yields the maximum effect, but holding it for more than 30 seconds is not additionally useful. One should aim to hold static stretches for sets of at least 5 days per week for 6 weeks. Holding stretches for more than 8 sets per day did not result in any significant improvement. This gives us an idea of the specific parameters to follow while stretching and also emphasizes the importance of not overstretching or stretching all day, as that can lead to injury.

Tips for Effective Static Stretching

To maintain or improve range of motion, it is recommended to do static stretching for at least 5 minutes per muscle group, divided into sets of 30 seconds each. The frequency of stretching practice distributed throughout the week is also important, with a minimum of 5 days per week recommended. Static stretching is the preferred mode for increasing limb range of motion, with significant gains compared to ballistic or PNF protocols. The reduction in flexibility that occurs from 20 to 49 years of age can be countered by embarking on a stretching and flexibility program. Short-term neural improvements and stretch tolerance are the primary improvements in the first three weeks of stretching, with the utility of yoga also noted.

Pro Tip

Follow the recommended frequency and duration for static stretches.

Tips for Improving Limb Range of Motion and Flexibility through Stretching

To improve limb range of motion and flexibility, aim for two to four sets of 30 second static hold stretches, five days a week. The frequency of sessions distributed throughout the week correlates with the improvements in limb range of motion. There is no specific list of exercises to follow. Rather, construct a stretching program tailored to your specific goals and muscle groups. Warm up before stretching with easy cardiovascular exercise or calisthenic movements for five to ten minutes. It’s best to stretch after resistant or cardiovascular training when the body is already warm. Rest periods between stretching sets are unclear, but doubling the amount of time for the interleaving rest is doable.

Static Stretching After Warm-Up Improves Limb Range of Motion

Doing static stretching after a brief warm-up to raise your core body temperature seems to be the right way to go. Even doing 3 sets of 30-second static stretches after some other form of exercise will improve your limb range of motion. This is essential and will benefit us by offsetting the age-related losses in flexibility, improving posture, and physical performance. Though it requires a commitment of at least 5 minutes per week, getting repeated sessions for an individual muscle group turns out to be important. While the literature suggests different forms of stretching improve limb range of motion, static stretching gives the greatest degree of gains. For those who exercise or do athletics, training five days a week may not be necessary to get significant improvements in strength and hypertrophy.


Static stretching after a warm-up can enhance range of motion.

Maximizing Training Efficiency and Promoting Neuromuscular Health through Stretching and Push-Pull Exercises

Maintaining good limb range of motion can promote longevity by reducing pain, improving posture, and enhancing performance. PNF stretching can leverage spindle mechanisms and GTO mechanisms to inhibit the spindles in antagonistic muscle groups, providing autogenic inhibition. Interleaving push and pull exercises can activate or near activate the GTO system in a way that provides autogenic inhibition for opposing muscle groups, making it an efficient and effective training program. By constructing protocols that incorporate static and PNF stretching with resistance training, one can achieve better results in a shorter period of time. These practices contribute to maintaining the integrity and health of the neuromuscular system, connective tissue, and neuromuscular connective network, and the efficiency of any training program.

Importance of Muscle Focus in Static Stretching

When practicing static stretching, it’s important to focus on feeling the stretch in the relevant muscle groups rather than pushing to reach a certain distance. The Anderson method emphasizes holding the end range of motion and taking into account internal and external factors that may affect range of motion on any given day. It’s crucial to feel the muscles as you stretch them, rather than just going through the motions and not getting attached to achieving a certain distance in a given session. Overall, evaluating range of motion over time is the key parameter for successful range of motion training.

Lower Intensity Stretching is More Effective for Increasing Range of Motion

Low intensity stretching is more effective than moderate intensity stretching in increasing range of motion. The study suggests that approaching the point of pain is less effective than performing stretching at an intensity that’s quite low and relaxing. Lower intensity static stretching appears to be the most beneficial way to approach stretching. It reduces the injury risk and improves reciprocal inhibition within the muscle groups. Low intensity stretching accesses some of the spindle and GTO type mechanisms, making it effective. The study’s findings come as a relief to those who want to embark on a flexibility and stretching training program. One can perform stretching at an intensity that feels not painful and yet be effective in increasing range of motion.

The Benefits of Ballistic and Static Stretching

The debate on whether to do ballistic or static stretching before exercise is split, but there are instances where static stretching is useful, such as increasing limb range of motion to overcome neuromuscular limitations or to improve stability within a movement. Similarly, doing dynamic or ballistic stretching prior to exercise can provide benefits by warming up neural circuits, joints, and connective tissue for improved performance. It’s important to consider your specific goals for the training session to decide the type of stretching to do. Stretching can also help with relaxation, reducing inflammation, and preventing cancer. Serious science in mechanistic exploration is being conducted to evolve new protocols for respiration, meditation, yoga, and acupuncture.

The Benefits of Daily Stretching and Yoga Practice

Stretching daily for 10 minutes can reduce local inflammation and fibrosis. In mice with induced tumors, daily stretching for four weeks led to a 52% reduction in tumor volume without any other form of therapy. The stretching didn’t directly act to reduce tumor size, but it affected certain pathways related to the immune system that allowed the immune system to combat tumor growth to a significant degree. Relaxation induced by stretching can have a powerful influence on memory tumor growth. Additionally, a study found that yoga practitioners have increased pain tolerance mediated by the insula, the part of the brain that handles our internal landscape. Yoga may reduce pain perception by improving the function of the insula.

The Benefits of Yoga on Pain, Flexibility, and Interoceptive Awareness.

Practicing yoga can reshape the way the nervous system deals with pain, flexibility, and interoceptive awareness. Yoga practitioners have double the pain tolerance of non-practitioners, and their gray matter volume in the insula, associated with interoceptive awareness, increases with the duration of their practice. Yoga not only teaches movements but also helps control the nervous system in a way that can leverage and overcome pain through breathing, relaxation, and mental strategies such as positive imagery. Practicing yoga involves pushing into the end ranges of motion and discomfort, but it should be done in a healthy and safe way. The study shows that subjective experiences during pain tolerance tasks differ for yoga practitioners and non-practitioners, indicating that yoga’s mental work can be effective in dealing with pain.

Pro Tip

Use yoga as a holistic approach to physical and mental well-being.

The Benefits and Techniques of Yoga and Stretching

Yoga can improve mental functioning related to pain tolerance and stress management, in addition to increasing limb range of motion and flexibility. Static stretching at low intensity (30-40% of pain threshold) and at least 5 minutes per week for a muscle group can create meaningful lasting changes in range of motion. It is best achieved with 5-7 day protocols consisting of three sets of 30-60 second static holds. Other forms of stretching (PNF, dynamic, ballistic) can also be effective for improving range of motion for specific types of work. Embarking on such practices can improve one’s internal awareness, pain thresholds, and stress management that may impact other areas of life.

Bottom Line:

Incorporating stretching into your daily routine is not just about physical performance and posture; it’s a holistic approach to improving overall health, well-being, and even cognitive function. Understanding the science behind flexibility and the role of the nervous system can help you stretch safely and effectively. Remember to strike a balance, avoid overstretching, and consider consulting a fitness professional for a customized plan that suits your age and activity level.

How Stress Affects Our Lives – And How To Get Rid Of It.

How Stress Affects Our Lives – And How To Get Rid Of It.

Stress lies at the heart of our internal experience not matching our external experiences, creating emotions. Emotions have a strong physiological component involving the brain and body’s communication. The nervous system, which controls the body and brain, has a concrete influence on each other. Stress is not always bad, and it can enhance the immune system. Mindfulness is a vague concept, and today we’re discussing objective tools to control emotions and lean into life better. This gives us greater power and control over our inner real estate, allowing us to control our emotions when appropriate. It’s important to understand what stress is and that it’s not just an ancient leftover from times when we were being attacked by predators.

Key Takeaways:

  • Stress is a natural response that can enhance our immune system, but it can also lead to negative emotions. By understanding how stress affects us and learning objective tools to control our emotions, we can better manage our internal experience and live more fulfilling lives.
  • Deep breathing or meditation can reduce stress quickly and understanding the stress response is crucial for effective stress management. Telling oneself or others to calm down does not work.
  • Take control of your stress levels in real-time by using the physiological sigh technique. Double inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat one to three times for fast relief from heightened alertness.

Understanding And Controlling Your Stress Response

Stress is a universal experience for all species, and it is not something we can completely eliminate from our lives. However, we can control our stress response with hardwired biological mechanisms that exist in us, allowing us to de-stress in real time. Stressors can be physical or emotional and our response to them is generic. Our stress response is initiated by a chain of neurons called sympathetic chain ganglia, which become activated in response to stress. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of stress and our response to it can help us better incorporate stress-reducing tools like meditation and breathwork, and to modify them as our circumstances change. Our ability to control our stress is a powerful tool, and through the right tools and understanding, we can learn to breakthrough it in real-time.

The Two-pronged Reaction Of Stress And Practical Solutions

The stress response is a two-pronged reaction in which the body activates certain systems while shutting down others. The result is an agitation that is designed to make you move or speak. To reduce or eliminate stress quickly in real-time, tools that have a direct line to the autonomic nervous system, such as deep breathing or meditation, are recommended. Telling oneself or others to calm down does not work and can even exacerbate stress. Understanding the stress response and learning how to work with its agitation is crucial for stress management.

The Power Of Physiological Sigh For Stress Management.

The parasympathetic nervous system has levers that allow you to push back on stress in real-time and feel relaxed quickly. One effective technique is physiological sigh, which involves controlling your breathing to directly affect your heart rate. Inhalations and exhalations affect the size of your heart and the speed of blood flow, which can elicit different responses from the sinoatrial node and impact heart rate. By inhaling longer or more vigorously than exhaling, you can speed up your heart rate. Conversely, if you want to slow down your heart rate and reduce stress response, exhale longer or more vigorously than inhaling. Understanding these mechanisms of physiological si can enable you to conveniently and self-directedly manage stress in your daily life.


Practicing the physiological sigh technique should be done with moderation and awareness, as altering your heart rate can have health implications. Always consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

The Physiology of Stress Control Through Breathing Techniques

Controlling stress can be achieved through the relationship between the body, the meaning, the diaphragm, heart and brain. Exhales play a vital role in calming down quickly and require no learning. The physiological p sigh, a double inhale and long exhale combination, reinflates little sacks of lungs and rids the body and bloodstream of carbon dioxide, relaxing you immediately. You can control your diaphragm voluntarily to double or even triple up your inhales or exhales. Physiological p sigh, the fastest hardwired way to eliminate the stress response in real-time, can modulate emotionality and stress response. [/tip] To harness the full benefits of stress control through breathing techniques, focus on mastering the physiological sigh, a powerful tool [/tip]

The Power of Physiological Sigh Breathing

The physiological sigh, which involves double inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, is a powerful tool for controlling stress levels in real-time situations. When we are stressed, it is difficult to control our mind with our mind, but using physiological breathing techniques can quickly bring our levels of autonomic activation down. This technique should be done one to three times, bringing fast relief to a heightened state of alertness. It is important to note that the heart rate may take time to come down to baseline, so repeat the physiological sigh as necessary. This tool can also improve our brain and mind’s availability to control the stress response and react to it. Additionally, exhale emphasized breathing can be used to induce sleep and relaxation, making it a useful tool for those with trouble sleeping or relaxing.

The Connection Between Breathing, Stress, and Our Health

Breathing and stress have a profound impact on our emotions and functioning. The para facial nucleus in the brain is responsible for helping us breathe while speaking and relaxing our jaw. By using the physiological sigh, we can activate this neural circuitry and speak more clearly. Stress can be short-term, medium-term, or long-term, and each type of stress has different effects on our bodies. While chronic stress is harmful, acute stress can boost our immune system by combatting bacterial and viral infections. It’s important to understand the boundaries and guidelines around stress to better manage our emotional and physical health.

Short-term stress can boost immune function but should be used with caution

Short-term stress and the release of adrenaline, specifically through deliberate hyperventilation or exposure to cold, can be beneficial in combating infections. Adrenaline released during the stress response primes the immune system to fight against invaders like bacteria and viruses. This was demonstrated in a study where participants who did deliberate hyperventilation were better able to combat a bacterial wall that mimicked infection. However, it is important to note that short-term stress narrows our focus and may not be ideal for seeing the big picture. It is also important to control stress thresholds and not overuse this tool. This breathing technique is called whim Hoff breathing and it involves rapid deliberate breathing for 15-25 cycles. Overall, short-term stress and adrenaline release should not be overlooked in the context of fighting infections.


While short-term stress can enhance immune function, particularly through techniques like the Wim Hof breathing method, it’s essential to exercise caution.

How Short-Term Stress Can Be Beneficial and How to Use it Wisely

Activating your stress system through short-term stress can be beneficial for combating infection and healing wounds. Deliberately activating your stress response through methods like hyper oxygenated breathing can be beneficial, but it is important to know when to press the break and turn it off. Chronic stress can have negative effects on the immune system and overall health. Therefore, it is crucial to learn how to turn off your stress response and achieve good sleep. Short-term stress is not always intense and can help with tasks like focusing on a deadline. It is important to remember that stress acts like a powerful neutropic or smart drug and can be used to your advantage but should be used responsibly and with caution depending on one’s health conditions. Lastly, it is crucial to avoid certain stress-inducing activities such as deliberate hyper oxygenated breathing near water to prevent any health risks

Building Stress Resilience with Simple Tools

Managing medium term stress involves raising our stress threshold through simple tools such as placing ourselves in situations where adrenaline is increased and then calming ourselves mentally. This helps things that once felt unmanageable feel manageable. Such tools include cold showers, cyclic oxygenation breathing, sprinting, or biking. Dissociating mind and body in a healthy way is important. To do this, we need to relax the mind while the body is very activated. Physiological responses help calm the mind when it’s stressed. By doing this, it increases our stress capacity and makes medium term stress more manageable.

Dilating Your Gaze to Manage Stress and Improve Sleep

Dilating your gaze can help in managing stress. By deliberately widening your view from tunnel vision to panoramic vision, you can calm your mind while your body stays in high alertness, high reactivity mode, high output. It creates a calming effect on the mind because it releases a particular circuit in the brainstem that’s associated with stress response. Training yourself to be calm when your body is activated can make stress more manageable in the medium term. Long-term stress is bad, and you want to be able to fall asleep at night, stay asleep for most of the night, and go back to sleep if you wake up. Breathing can modulate heart rate through the loop that includes the brain and the parasympathetic nervous system, and this is the basis of H R V heart rate variability.

The Importance Of Social Connection In Managing Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is bad for our health and can lead to heart disease. To manage long-term stress, engaging in regular exercise, getting good sleep, and using real-time tools to manage stress response are essential. However, the best mechanism to reduce long-term stress is social connection. Humans are social creatures, and we need to stay connected to one another. Social connection can mitigate the long-term effects of stress by activating neuromodulation systems like serotonin and blocking certain harmful elements like tacky kinan. While oxytocin is not associated with the release of social connection, serotonin generally gives us feelings of wellbeing and makes us feel like we have enough in our immediate environment.


Chronic stress poses health risks, including heart disease. While exercise, quality sleep, and stress management tools are crucial for long-term stress management, the most effective strategy is maintaining social connections. Humans thrive on social interaction, and it can counteract the lasting impact of stress by triggering neuromodulation systems like serotonin while inhibiting harmful elements.

The Power Of Social Connection And Delight In Mitigating Chronic Stress

Social connection and finding delight in things can mitigate the negative effects of chronic stress and improve various aspects of our life. It’s important to invest time and effort in maintaining connections, whether it’s with humans, animals or even inanimate objects. Chronic social isolation leads to the secretion of tachykinin, a harmful molecule that makes us more fearful, paranoid and impairs our immune system. Suppressing tachykinin is crucial as it promotes good functions of our brain and body and prevents bad ones like irritability and fear. Paying attention to feelings of comfort, trust, bliss and delight can help recognize the release of serotonin in the brain which has positive effects on the immune system and neural repair. Social connections are powerful and worth the investment of time and flexibility.

The Power Of Gratitude And Stress Management

Practicing gratitude by recognizing and writing down small things you’re thankful for can have a positive effect on the serotonin system, which can help reduce long-term stress. It’s important to also focus on social connections, finding the right diet and exercise schedule, and getting quality sleep. There are non-prescription compounds like ashwagandha, theanine, and melatonin that can help modulate the stress system, but it’s important to be cautious with supplementing melatonin at high doses as it can have negative effects on reproductive hormones and the adrenals. While there’s no such thing as adrenal burnout, taking melatonin at high levels for too long can cause a pseudo adrenal insufficiency syndrome. Overall, practicing gratitude and finding ways to modulate the stress system can greatly benefit overall wellbeing.

The Benefits Of Theanine And Ashwagandha For Sleep, Stress, And Anxiety

Supplementing with theanine and Ashwagandha can help alleviate sleep issues, chronic stress, and anxiety. Theanine can improve sleep quality and reduce stress by increasing GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It can also help reduce anxiety related to task completion. Ashwagandha, on the other hand, can reduce cortisol, which is associated with the negative effects of chronic stress. It can also reduce fatigue, cognitive impairment, and depression. Both supplements should be taken during times of chronic stress and not on a regular basis. Tourine, found in energy drinks, may have negative effects on the microvasculature and isn’t recommended for everyone.

Pro Tip

When dealing with sleep issues, chronic stress, or anxiety, consider supplementing with theanine and Ashwagandha. Theanine enhances sleep quality and reduces stress by boosting GABA in the brain. Ashwagandha, on the other hand, reduces cortisol levels linked to chronic stress, combating fatigue, cognitive issues, and depression. Remember, use these supplements during times of chronic stress, not regularly.

Controlling Stress Through Physiological And Neuroscience Perspective.

Matching your internal state with the demands placed upon you is crucial for interpreting emotions. When our internal state of stress or calm matches the demands, we tend to interpret them as good, and when it’s mismatched, we tend to interpret them as bad. Understanding stress and controlling it can help us stay in a better position to handle demands. Tools like respiration, dilation of gaze, social connection, and proper diet, exercise, and sleep can help control stress. Emotions are context-dependent, and having a physiological and neuroscience perspective helps understand it better. Stress will happen, but our ability to modulate and control it in real-time using tools can help take control over it.

Modulating Stress Response FOR Optimal Performance

Learning to modulate your stress response can help you hear information better and react to things in a more effective way. This can be achieved in real time by using tools that are anchored to the neuronal systems in our body, brain, eyes, and diaphragm. Poor rest, overwork, and feeling like the world is bearing down on us can make us grumpy, anxious, or depressed. Therefore, it’s important to have tools that can help us modulate our stress response. Stress isn’t necessarily evil, but it’s powerful and useful in certain contexts and problematic in other contexts. What’s in our control is how we react to events in the world. By using tools to control our internal levels of alertness or calmness, we can lean more effectively into life, including sleep, social connection, and work.

Bottom Line:

Mastering the art of stress management not only enhances your emotional well-being but also empowers you to navigate life’s challenges effectively. From deep breathing to the physiological sigh technique, from the power of social connections to the benefits of gratitude and supplements, this blog equips you with valuable tools. Take control of your stress response, improve your performance, and embrace a more fulfilling life by understanding and managing stress with these actionable insights.

5 Tips for Building a Healthy Relationship

All romantic relationships go through ups and downs and they all take work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change with your partner. But whether your relationship is just starting out or you’ve been together for years, there are steps you can take to build a healthy relationship. Even if you’ve experienced a lot of failed relationships in the past or have struggled before to rekindle the fires of romance in your current relationship, you can find ways to stay connected, find fulfillment, and enjoy lasting happiness.

Key Takeaways:

  • Emotional Connection: Maintaining a meaningful emotional connection is crucial.
  • Maintaining Individual Interests: Avoid putting all your emotional needs and expectations on your partner.
  • Open and Honest Communication: Good communication is fundamental. Express your needs, fears, and desires openly and directly.
  • Giving Back and Volunteering: Strengthen your relationship by focusing on shared values and interests outside of the relationship.

What makes a healthy relationship?

Every relationship is unique, and people come together for many different reasons. Part of what defines a healthy relationship is sharing a common goal for exactly what you want the relationship to be and where you want it to go. And that’s something you’ll only know by talking deeply and honestly with your partner.

Knowing these basic principles can help keep your relationship meaningful, fulfilling, and exciting whatever goals you’re working towards or challenges you’re facing together.

You maintain a meaningful emotional connection with each other.

You each make the other feel loved and emotionally fulfilled. There’s a difference between being loved and feeling loved. When you feel loved, it makes you feel accepted and valued by your partner, like someone truly gets you. Some relationships get stuck in peaceful coexistence, but without the partners truly relating to each other emotionally. While the union may seem stable on the surface, a lack of ongoing involvement and emotional connection serves only to add distance between two people.

You’re not afraid of (respectful) disagreement.

Some couples talk things out quietly, while others may raise their voices and passionately disagree. The key to a strong relationship, though, is not to be fearful of conflict. You need to feel safe to express things that bother you without fear of retaliation and be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation, or insisting on being right.

You keep outside relationships and interests alive.

Despite the claims of romantic fiction or movies, no one person can meet all of your needs. In fact, expecting too much from your partner can put unhealthy pressure on a relationship. To stimulate and enrich your romantic relationship, it’s important to sustain your own identity outside of the relationship, preserve connections with family and friends, and maintain your hobbies and interests.

You communicate openly and honestly.

Good communication is a key part of any relationship. When both people know what they want from the relationship and feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears, and desires, it can increase trust and strengthen the bond between you.


A healthy relationship thrives on shared goals and open, honest communication. It’s about maintaining emotional connection, respecting disagreements, preserving individuality, and fostering trust through transparent communication.

Falling in love vs. staying in love

 For most people, falling in love usually seems to just happen. It’s staying in love—or preserving that “falling in love” experience—that requires commitment and work. Given its rewards, though, it’s well worth the effort. A healthy, secure romantic relationship can serve as an ongoing source of support and happiness in your life, through good times and bad, strengthening all aspects of your well-being. By taking steps now to preserve or rekindle your falling-in-love experience, you can build a meaningful relationship that lasts—even for a lifetime.

Many couples focus on their relationship only when there are specific, unavoidable problems to overcome. Once the problems have been resolved they often switch their attention back to their careers, kids, or other interests. However, romantic relationships require ongoing attention and commitment for love to flourish. As long as the health of a romantic relationship remains important to you, it is going to require your attention and effort. Identifying and fixing a small problem in your relationship now can often help prevent it from growing into a much larger one down the road.

The following tips can help you to preserve that falling-in-love experience and keep your romantic relationship healthy.

Pro Tip

Remember that staying in love requires ongoing effort and commitment. Prioritize your relationship consistently, not just when problems arise, to build a lasting, meaningful connection that enhances your overall well-being.

1. Spend quality time face to face

You fall in love looking at and listening to each other. If you continue to look and listen in the same attentive ways, you can sustain the falling-in-love experience over the long term. You probably have fond memories of when you were first dating your loved one. Everything seemed new and exciting, and you likely spent hours just chatting together or coming up with new, exciting things to try. However, as time goes by, the demands of work, family, other obligations, and the need we all have for time to ourselves can make it harder to find time together.

Many couples find that the face-to-face contact of their early dating days is gradually replaced by hurried texts, emails, and instant messages. While digital communication is great for some purposes, it doesn’t positively impact your brain and nervous system in the same way as face-to-face communication. Sending a text or a voice message to your partner saying “I love you” is great, but if you rarely look at them or have the time to sit down together, they’ll still feel you don’t understand or appreciate them. And you’ll become more distanced or disconnected as a couple. The emotional cues you both need to feel loved can only be conveyed in person, so no matter how busy life gets, it’s important to carve out time to spend together.

Commit to spending some quality time together on a regular basis.

No matter how busy you are, take a few minutes each day to put aside your electronic devices, stop thinking about other things, and really focus on and connect with your partner.

Find something that you enjoy doing together, whether it is a shared hobby, dance class, daily walk, or sitting over a cup of coffee in the morning.

Try something new together.

Doing new things together can be a fun way to connect and keep things interesting. It can be as simple as trying a new restaurant or going on a day trip to a place you’ve never been before.

Focus on having fun together.

Couples are often more fun and playful in the early stages of a relationship. However, this playful attitude can sometimes be forgotten as life challenges start getting in the way or old resentments start building up. Keeping a sense of humor can actually help you get through tough times, reduce stress, and work through issues more easily. Think about playful ways to surprise your partner, like bringing flowers home or unexpectedly booking a table at their favorite restaurant. Playing with pets or small children can also help you reconnect with your playful side.

Do things together that benefit others

One of the most powerful ways of staying close and connected is to jointly focus on something you and your partner value outside of the relationship. Volunteering for a cause, project, or community work that has meaning for both of you can keep a relationship fresh and interesting. It can also expose you both to new people and ideas, offer the chance to tackle new challenges together and provide fresh ways of interacting with each other.

As well as helping to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, doing things to benefit others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to help others. The more you help, the happier you’ll feel——as individuals and as a couple.

2. Stay connected through communication

Good communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. When you experience a positive emotional connection with your partner, you feel safe and happy. When people stop communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of change or stress can really bring out the disconnect. It may sound simplistic, but as long as you are communicating, you can usually work through whatever problems you’re facing.

Tell your partner what you need, don’t make them guess. It’s not always easy to talk about what you need. For one, many of us don’t spend enough time thinking about what’s really important to us in a relationship. And even if you do know what you need, talking about it can make you feel vulnerable, embarrassed, or even ashamed. But look at it from your partner’s point of view. Providing comfort and understanding to someone you love is a pleasure, not a burden.

If you’ve known each other for a while, you may assume that your partner has a pretty good idea of what you are thinking and what you need. However, your partner is not a mind-reader. While your partner may have some idea, it is much healthier to express your needs directly to avoid any confusion.

Your partner may sense something, but it might not be what you need. What’s more, people change, and what you needed and wanted five years ago, for example, may be very different now. So instead of letting resentment, misunderstanding, or anger grow when your partner continually gets it wrong, get in the habit of telling them exactly what you need.

Take note of your partner’s nonverbal cues So much of our communication is transmitted by what we don’t say. Nonverbal cues, which include eye contact, tone of voice, posture, and gestures such as leaning forward, crossing your arms, or touching someone’s hand, communicate much more than words.

When you can pick up on your partner’s nonverbal cues or “body language,” you’ll be able to tell how they really feel and be able to respond accordingly. For a relationship to work well, each person has to understand their own and their partner’s nonverbal cues. Your partner’s responses may be different from yours. For example, one person might find a hug after a stressful day a loving mode of communication—while another might just want to take a walk together or sit and chat.

It’s also important to make sure that what you say matches your body language. If you say “I’m fine,” but you clench your teeth and look away, then your body is clearly signaling you are anything but “fine.”

When you experience positive emotional cues from your partner, you feel loved and happy, and when you send positive emotional cues, your partner feels the same. When you stop taking an interest in your own or your partner’s emotions, you’ll damage the connection between you, and your ability to communicate will suffer, especially during stressful times.

Be a good listener While a great deal of emphasis in our society is put on talking, if you can learn to listen in a way that makes another person feel valued and understood, you can build a deeper, stronger connection between you.

There’s a big difference between listening in this way and simply hearing. When you really listen—when you’re engaged with what’s being said—you’ll hear the subtle intonations in your partner’s voice that tell you how they’re really feeling and the emotions they’re trying to communicate. Being a good listener doesn’t mean you have to agree with your partner or change your mind. But it will help you find common points of view that can help you to resolve conflict.

Manage stress When you’re stressed or emotionally overwhelmed, you’re more likely to misread your romantic partner, send confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals, or lapse into unhealthy knee-jerk patterns of behavior. How often have you been stressed and flown off the handle at your loved one and said or done something you later regretted?

If you can learn to quickly manage stress and return to a calm state, you’ll not only avoid such regrets, but you’ll also help to avoid conflict and misunderstandings——and even help to calm your partner when tempers build.


Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Maintaining a positive emotional connection through open dialogue and attentive listening is crucial, especially during times of change or stress.

3. Keep physical intimacy alive

Touch is a fundamental part of human existence. Studies on infants have shown the importance of regular, affectionate contact for brain development. And the benefits don’t end in childhood. Affectionate contact boosts the body’s levels of oxytocin, a hormone that influences bonding and attachment.

While sex is often a cornerstone of a committed relationship, it shouldn’t be the only method of physical intimacy. Frequent, affectionate touch—holding hands, hugging, kissing—is equally important.

Of course, it’s important to be sensitive to what your partner likes. Unwanted touching or inappropriate overtures can make the other person tense up and retreat—exactly what you don’t want. As with so many other aspects of a healthy relationship, this can come down to how well you communicate your needs and intentions with your partner.

Even if you have pressing workloads or young children to worry about, you can help to keep physical intimacy alive by carving out some regular couple time, whether that’s in the form of a date night or simply an hour at the end of the day when you can sit and talk or hold hands.

4. Learn to give and take in your relationship

If you expect to get what you want 100% of the time in a relationship, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Healthy relationships are built on compromise. However, it takes work on each person’s part to make sure that there is a reasonable exchange.

Recognize what’s important to your partner Knowing what is truly important to your partner can go a long way toward building goodwill and an atmosphere of compromise. On the flip side, it’s also important for your partner to recognize your wants and for you to state them clearly. Constantly giving to others at the expense of your own needs will only build resentment and anger.

Don’t make “winning” your goal If you approach your partner with the attitude that things have to be your way or else, it will be difficult to reach a compromise. Sometimes this attitude comes from not having your needs met while younger, or it could be years of accumulated resentment in the relationship reaching a boiling point. It’s alright to have strong convictions about something, but your partner deserves to be heard as well. Be respectful of the other person and their viewpoint.

Learn how to respectfully resolve conflict Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but to keep a relationship strong, both people need to feel they’ve been heard. The goal is not to win but to maintain and strengthen the relationship.

Make sure you are fighting fair. Keep the focus on the issue at hand and respect the other person. Don’t start arguments over things that cannot be changed.

Don’t attack someone directly but use “I” statements to communicate how you feel. For example, instead of saying, “You make me feel bad” try “I feel bad when you do that”.

Don’t drag old arguments into the mix. Rather than looking to past conflicts or grudges and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here and now to solve the problem.

Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive others.

If tempers flare, take a break. Take a few minutes to relieve stress and calm down before you say or do something you’ll regret. Always remember that you’re arguing with the person you love.

Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.


In a healthy relationship, compromise is key, with both partners understanding each other’s priorities and needs. Prioritizing the relationship over winning disagreements, resolving conflicts respectfully, and practicing fair communication are essential for its strength and longevity.

5. Be prepared for ups and downs

It’s important to recognize that there are ups and downs in every relationship. You won’t always be on the same page. Sometimes one partner may be struggling with an issue that stresses them, such as the death of a close family member. Other events, like job loss or severe health problems, can affect both partners and make it difficult to relate to each other. You might have different ideas about managing finances or raising children.

Different people cope with stress differently, and misunderstandings can rapidly turn into frustration and anger.

Don’t take out your problems on your partner.

Life stresses can make us short-tempered. If you are coping with a lot of stress, it might seem easier to vent with your partner, and even feel safer to snap at them. Fighting like this might initially feel like a release, but it slowly poisons your relationship. Find other healthier ways to manage your stress, anger, and frustration.

Trying to force a solution can cause even more problems.

Every person works through problems and issues in their own way. Remember that you’re a team. Continuing to move forward together can get you through the rough spots.

Look back to the early stages of your relationship.

Share the moments that brought the two of you together, examine the point at which you began to drift apart, and resolve how you can work together to rekindle that falling-in-love experience.

Be open to change.

Change is inevitable in life, and it will happen whether you go with it or fight it. Flexibility is essential to adapt to the change that is always taking place in any relationship, and it allows you to grow together through both the good times and the bad.

If you need outside help for your relationship, reach out together.

Sometimes problems in a relationship can seem too complex or overwhelming for you to handle as a couple. Couples therapy or talking together with a trusted friend or religious figure can help.

Bottom Line:

Building and maintaining a healthy relationship requires open communication, emotional connection, mutual respect, and a willingness to adapt and grow together. By following these key tips and being prepared for the inevitable ups and downs, you can nurture a fulfilling and enduring partnership that brings happiness and support to both partners.

What to Know About the Benefits of a Cold Shower vs. a Hot Shower

Getting into a cold shower is never a pleasant experience, but there are a few health benefits you may gain from braving the experience. Cold showers can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, improve circulation, lower stress levels, and reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. Hot showers, meanwhile, can improve cardiovascular health, soothe stiff joints, and improve sleep.

Understanding when to take a hot or cold shower is essential. Both deliver incredible potential health benefits and can affect your body differently.

Key Takeaways:

  • Introduction: Start with a compelling introduction that grabs readers’ attention and outlines the topic’s importance.
  • Benefits of Cold Showers: Explain the advantages of taking cold showers, such as improved circulation, reduced muscle tension, and potential sleep benefits.
  • Benefits of Hot Showers: Highlight the benefits of hot showers, like muscle relaxation and potential cardiovascular health improvements.

How cold showers increase circulation

There’s a reason your first reaction to a polar blast of H2O is to move away from it: Cold water strains your body. The natural response to icy water hitting your skin is your system flipping the switch to survival mode.

The shock brought by cold water puts your circulatory system into overdrive. Your body increases blood flow to warm your core and protect vital organs. At the same time, it constricts circulation near your skin.

This process stimulates blood flow, which – on the whole – is a good thing for your overall health. Even your skin gets clearer and healthier with increased circulation.

Pro Tip

Go for a 10 minute walk instead

Can cold showers help you lose weight?

Research has shown that cold showers (and exposure to cold in general), in addition to increasing metabolic rate directly, stimulate the generation of brown fat. Brown fat is a specific type of fat tissue that in turn generates energy by burning calories. Cold showers, then, are an effective tool for people who are looking to lose a few kilograms


Cold showers are not going to be your best route to weight loss

Impact of cold showers on your immune system and mental health

Showering alternately with hot and cold water is great for improving circulation. During a cold shower, the work of the heart increases as well as during exercise. When the muscles come into contact with the cold water, they contract. The contraction of the muscles and the moving blood through the body contribute to a greater flow of blood through the muscles and the elimination of toxins from the body.

How affects fertility

Cold showers can actually increase your chances of having children. This applies to both women and men. One study found that men who were forced to not take hot showers had a 500% improvement in sperm quality in just six months.

Increased testosterone

 Testosterone is important for many men, increasing muscle and even confidence. Researchers have found that hot showers can alter DNA, manipulating it to produce less testosterone.

Helps in muscle recovery

If you work out in the gym, the most important thing you need is muscle recovery. The faster your muscles recover, the faster you can increase your reps and weight.

Cold showers are key to speeding up muscle recovery, which is why Olympians almost always take advantage of cold showers and baths.

How It keeps you awake

Waking up in the morning and starting your day can be the hardest part, especially if you’re not a morning person.

Taking a cold shower can help a lot. Contact with cold water speeds up the work of the heart and forces your body to take in more oxygen, thereby waking up the brain faster.

Risks of taking a cold shower

If you have heart disease, resist the urge to adopt a cold shower routine. Your body’s reaction to cold water puts added stress on your heart and could lead to an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia.


It’s going to tax your heart in a way that could be dangerous

How to make cold showering a habit Like any other habit, you have to generate the right triggers and motivators to be able to kick it all the way.

Do it either all at once or little by little

You choose how you start. You can start with hot water, as you normally do, and towards the end of the shower, gradually lower the water temperature over the course of a week, until you can stay under cold water for at least three minutes. Or, immediately stand under the stream of cold water.

Start in summer

Adapting your body to a period of high temperatures will help you endure the practice in the winter.

Keep in mind that it takes time and persistence

If you think you’re going to bathe like this forever, then the reward center in your brain is probably limiting you from getting the energy you need to do this. Instead of this approach, think of taking a cold shower as something you do “just today”, and you will see that this approach will bring you better results.

It’s better if you sweat beforehand

For example, some routine exercise of any kind before taking a cold shower will go a long way. In fact, it’s a recovery technique used by elite athletes to prevent muscle fatigue.

Breathe, take a deep breath

One suggestion is to constantly focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath through the nose and let it out through the mouth. And repeat. If you want to sing, this is the time when you can do it with all your might. And you can also stretch your body in different ways. These are the strategies that will help you incorporate the habit.

Hot Shower Benefits

After a long day at work, you probably dream of rushing home and jumping into a hot shower. Everyone loves sneaking away for a soak in the tub or a long, warm shower. You may not know that every time you take a hot shower, though, you also enjoy a few health benefits. Here are some benefits hot showers can have on our minds, bodies, and skin.

Burn some calories

When you are soaking in a hot bath, you are shedding a few calories while enjoying all the wonderful and relaxing benefits of a warm tub. Hot baths and showers should never be used as a substitute for exercise, though, and you should limit your time in the shower when you use hot water because it can increase your risk of burns or heat stroke.

Keep your skin clear and healthy

Taking a hot bath or shower can help open your pores and flush out toxins that become trapped in your skin throughout the day. Warm water can result in fresher skin that feels more hydrated.

Get better sleep

The muscles in your body may feel tense after a long day, and entering a warm bath or hot shower can help you relax, soothing your body as it soothes your mind. Jumping in the shower a couple of hours before bed can actually help you achieve better sleep. Additionally, getting clean before crawling under the cover will reduce the buildup of germs, dirt, sweat, and body oils that can accumulate on your bedding over time.

Making night-time showers a regular part of your routine can increase your sleep quality and help alleviate stress.

Bottom Line:

In the eternal debate of hot vs. cold showers, the choice ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and health goals. Cold showers offer benefits like increased circulation and potential weight loss, while hot showers can relax your muscles and improve sleep quality. So, whether you’re seeking an invigorating wake-up call or a soothing way to unwind, both options have something to offer. Remember, the key is moderation and finding the temperature that suits your needs best.