A Beginners Guide To Back Stretches For Flexibility

Strong, flexible back
Photo credit: Unsplash – Strong back muscles


Your back is one of many crucial components of the body. Not only does it help with balance and posture, but it also connects various parts of the body such as the torso with the hips, the shoulders and neck, and the buttocks. 

Still, while the back is a very important muscle, it is often taken for granted and neglected. Strengthening your back has a multitude of benefits which I will mention a bit later on in this post. 

What causes back pain?

Photo credit: Unsplash – Back pain treatment

Bad posture is often a major culprit and the cause of back pain. Poor posture when sitting down, standing, or lifting things can lead to long-term chronic back pain. Strengthening the back muscles will not only enhance aesthetics, but also improve your wellness and reduce the chances of injury and strain. 

Why is back stretches for flexibility a good thing? 

Photo credit: Unsplash – Flexible back

Flexibility is essential for all muscles in the body, but for this post, I want to focus on the large back muscle. Daily poor posture can result in muscle strain. This includes sitting for long periods of time. The strain exerted on the back can cause shoulder and lower back pain. 

Back stretches for flexibility has many pros. 

Reduced risk for injuries 

When your back is more flexible and you practice proper posture, then the chances of injuries to your back is reduced. 

It may speed up the healing time of back sprain

If you’ve hurt your back by straining it, it takes very long to heal and hampers your normal movement abilities. But, when it comes to spinal flexibility, you’ll notice a faster healing time.   

Better posture and balance 

With spinal flexibility, it helps to improve your posture naturally as well as balance. This is good news and thus reducing the risk of falls especially in the elderly. 

Easy back stretches for flexibility: Beginners are  welcomed 

Photo credit: Unsplash – Improve balance 

Sphynx pose 

This gentle back pose is excellent for beginners and intermediates. To do the sphynx pose: 

Lie on your stomach 

Lift your arms up under your shoulders and rest your forearms on the ground (similar to a plank) 

Stay in the pose breathing 5 to 10 breaths 

Cat/Cow pose 

On all fours hands and knees get into this position

With an inhale flex your back towards the ground turning your gaze towards the ceiling

On the exhaled breath, arch your back extending it towards the ceiling 

Do this for 5 breaths 

Bow pose 

Lie on your stomach and bring your legs up at the back to grab your ankles 

With your chest lifted away from the ground make sure the knees are apart

Hold this pose for 5 breaths or longer if you can

Supported bridge 

While lying on your back, lift your hips and support your weight with your feet

The bridge pose with support should have a block underneath your hips to create support 

You can hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths 

Senior yoga or chair yoga

Photo credit: Pexels – Senior yoga

Age is just a number and you can still take care of your wellness throughout your years. The wonderful practice of senior yoga is excellent and improves posture, balance and range for elderly folks. What’s more is that there isn’t strain and overexertion during the poses because it is low impact yet effective. 

Furthermore chair yoga can also:

Reduce muscle and joint stiffness

May help improve blood pressure

Improves blood circulation

Improve coordination

May help to reduce inflammation and arthritis pain 

       May improve spinal flexibility

The conclusion about why you aught to embrace back stretches for flexibility

Photo credit: Unsplash - exercise for back pain
Photo credit: Unsplash – Exercise for back pain

Sometimes when working an office job, sitting behind a desk is part of the process. But when you change your seating area and create a more ergonomically comfortable space, your posture and back will thank you later. 

If your regular exercise routine doesn’t feature these back strengthening and flexible exercises,  then implementing it will help. You can add it to your routine along with the breathing techniques following through.

4 Effective Breathing Techniques For Anxiety, Stress, And To Help Cope With Depression

Breathing for wellness
Deep breathing is good for your wellbeing 

Mental wellness is very important and during the current age and times we’re living in, there is a huge concern for the mental wellness of people. Often, adapting to some kind of new normal is harder than it looks. 

Part of what makes these difficult times harder includes people having lost their jobs, businesses forced to shut their doors, an inability to freely go out, the coronavirus, and things are just not the same way as what we could relate to before. 

Focusing on natural ways to lower stress levels, anxiety, and depression will go a long way to help improve mental wellness. There are various ways to cope and manage stress and anxiety without resorting to extreme measures. This includes different types of lung exercises, or yoga breathing. 

Mental wellness has an effect on our physical wellbeing – Breathing techniques are very important

When our mental wellness is effected, it tends to have a bearing on our physical wellbeing. For example, anxiety may increase stress hormones which leads to even more stress and emotional instability. 

Oftentimes, people develop chronic health conditions as a result of stressful jobs or lifestyles. These can include high blood pressure (hypertension), insomnia, headaches, palpitations, and may increase allergies. 

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how important breathing techniques are or the fact that a simple few deep breaths can lower stress and anxiety levels. One of the reasons yoga makes us feel so relaxed because yoga breathing helps to improve wellness on a wide scale. 

Some factors that contribute to stress include financial stress, poor health, sedentary lifestyles, unemployment, low income, and a lack of education to name a few. 

By changing your lifestyle, it improves the chances of better health and overall wellness. This is often easier said than done, but slowly implementing positive changes will produce positive results. 

Why do we need oxygen and how does breathing techniques fit in?

Oxygen into your lungs: Unsplash

Breathing is a natural response of the body. We breathe and inhale oxygen into our lungs. Oxygenated blood travels through to the organs and provides it with essential O2 helping it to function. O2 also contributes to the process of energy production and the breaking down of sugars and fats. 

But how we breathe also plays a very important role in how we feel. For example, shallow breaths or (chest breaths) increases cortisol and adrenalin. These chemicals are needed in fight-or-flight responses and not as part of regular breathing. 

But because when we’re faced with difficult situations, our body tends to respond in this manner. The best way to adjust this is to practice proper deep breathing or what’s also known as “diaphragmic breathing.”

You’ll notice in yoga or martial arts for that matter, that deep breathing plays an integral part of focus and energy. 

Breathing techniques for wellness

Breathing for wellness
Deep breathing promotes focus and clears the mind: Image Unsplash

#1 Take deeper breaths (deep breathing)

While breathing properly is very important, breathing deeper is highly recommended for it’s health benefits. Full diaphragmatic breathing is when you  feel your stomach and chest expand upon inhalation and contract when exhaling. 


It can help to lower your stress levels naturally by redirecting or altering the chemical reactions. 

Deep breathing is also invigorating and may improve your ability to feel awake and energised. 

It helps to manage pain by increasing serotonin and dopamine hormones

#2 Alternate nostril breathing exercises for anxiety and more

Alternate nostril breathing is an effective way to instil a sense of calmness and focus. This is a wonderful practice and one of many good breathing exercises for anxiety, as well as improved mental focus. It’s easy and can be done at anytime and anywhere.


It works to help your body to calm down

You’ll feel less anxious 

It may improve cardiovascular function

#3 “Ujjayi Breath” aka Victorious breath (yoga pranayama breathing)

Breathing (pranayama) yoga breathing: Image Unspalsh

This is a very good breathing exercise and is usually paired with yoga vinyasa. The Ujjayi breath is a relaxing practice with many advantages. Along with the yoga poses or vinyasa, the breath helps to create focus and mental clarity. 


Activates energy for mental focus and clarity

It increases concentration throughout the yoga practice  

It may help to release tension in the body 

#4  7/11 Breathing or 2:1 breathing techniques

You’ve probably heard of this breathing exercise because it does wonders to create a feeling of instant calmness.  This is especially effective when you’re anxious and it can help you to feel more relaxed. Hyperventilation is also sometimes due to anxiety amongst other possible contributors.

When our breath is shallow and rapid it’s often due to stress or feeling anxious. As mentioned, to help reduce this reaction, its important to breathe properly. 

Two-to-one (2:1) breathing is breathing in for a shorter count and exhaling on a longer count. This is the same principal for 7/11 or 3/5 breathing. It’s a long breath in and longer exhale to almost empty your lungs as much as possible. 


2:1 enhances relaxation and prolongs the parasympathetic responses throughout the breathing practice 

It helps to quiet the mind and improve focus 

May help the body to manage and reduce hypertension 

Conclusion about breathing techniques for a healthier lifestyle

Your body starts to find balance: Image Unsplash 

While stress, anxiety, and depression form part of the most common mental conditions in the world, following a road to healing and wellness is important. 2020 Is and has been a very difficult year and for many of us, and as a result, an increase of emotional stressors. 

Practicing these breathing exercises for anxiety and wellness may not be an overnight change, but will definitely improve your life and wellbeing. The key is to help condition the body to tap into its already present ability to “heal” itself. At the same time your body will adapt to finding balance. 

10 Reasons Why Drinking Warm Lemon Water Is Good For You

Photo credit: Unsplash 

Lemons have been around since forever, but not always recognised for it’s health benefits. The truth is, lemons are rich in vitamin C and immune system boosting perks that every one could do with. 

During peak flu season, people often need to take precautions to boost their immune system so that they don’t get easily sick. Lemons are also good at naturally fighting germs and thus is often used in household cleaners.

What are the key characteristics or genetic imprints that make lemons so healthy? 

Lemons contain riboflavin (Vitamin B2) as it is also known. Vitamin B has many good properties including that of uplifting a low mood. Riboflavin helps with cellular respiration (chemical and oxygen conversions inside the body as needed).

Antimicrobial features making it good for detoxing and cleaning. Another thing to note on why lemons are so special is that they are also naturally deodorising and works great to freshen the air as well as a natural breath fresher.

Photo credit: Unsplash – lemons are a superfood

The limonene (oil found naturally in citrus fruit skins) is used as a fragrance and also to help flavour food dishes. We know how important staying hydrated is. Combining water with lemon juice adds double the benefits for your body. 

1. It is a natural skin cleanser 

Drinking warm lemon water also has fantastic benefits for your skin and complexion. This is another reason beauty industries manufacture products containing real lemon juice or oil. It gives the skin a toned, matt finish.

You have even more reasons to enjoy the benefits of lemon for your skin because of the high levels of vitamin C. Not only an immune system strengthened, but also helps with collagen production.

When you drink warm water with freshly squeezed lemon in it, you can enjoy the cleansing benefits from the inside out. 

2. It improves the body’s ability to absorb iron

Anemia is caused by a lack of iron in the body. Iron plays an important role in oxygen production inside the body through the blood. Having lemons helps this process and it can be combined with foods rich in iron like lentils, red meat, fish, and dairy products.

3. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory 

Because of the limonene present in lemons as mentioned earlier, it can thus contribute to reducing inflammation. While doing so, it is also a strong source of antioxidants which is essential at protecting the body against disease causing “free radicals” amongst other.

 4. Drinking warm lemon water in the morning has its benefits for your nervous system

Photo credit: Unsplash – benefits the immune system


Lemons contributes to the wellbeing of the nervous system and is good for brain function. As mentioned before this is because of the ingredients that it is comprised of.

5. It adds to the fibre needed in your diet

Photo credit: Unsplash – Fibre for your diet

Drinking lemon juice squeezed into water is excellent, but you can go a step further by eating the lemon slice or pulp. This is excellent. Our bodies need both soluble and insoluble fibre. Fibre is found oats, whole fruit, broccoli, lentils, nuts, wheat, seed and beans to name a few. It helps with digestion and maintaining blood sugar levels. 

6. It helps to reduce cholesterol 

While the body can do with good cholesterol, its the bad cholesterol that is usually the problem. Because lemon is rich in soluble fibre, it aids in lowering bad cholesterol.

7. Regulate your apatite with some lemon infused water


Photo credit: Unsplash

Water itself is a natural apatite suppressant, but when pairing it with lemon, it goes on to kickstart your day in an even healthier way. You’ll get the hydrating benefits of H2O plus all the good stuff in lemons for your wellbeing. This is good news if you want to maintain your weight because it will help you to feel fuller.

8. Helps to keep joint pain under control

As already mentioned in this post, lemons have anti-inflammatory properties and this is what makes it so good when it comes to pain management.

Now while you may not be able to feel the difference by only drinking lemon water alone. You can, however, go on and do a self-massage using arnica or another menthol infused rub. This, together with a glass of lemon water can help manage pain. 

 9. It can help to lower blood pressure

Photo credit: Unsplash – lemons can help to regulate blood pressure

Hypertension is very dangerous if not monitored and treated. Yet it is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world. According to the World Health Organization, over 1billion people have high blood pressure. Doctors usually prescribe special medication and along with that a patient should try to adapt their lifestyle and diet.

Lemons can help to lower high blood pressure and when having lemon water along with regular exercise and or regular walking, it can improve blood pressure. 

10. It acts as a natural diuretic

Water retention is common and also occurs because of the foods that we eat, hormonal imbalances and changes as well as lifestyle choices. Foods rich in sodium and alcohol drunk in excess can lead to bloating. Some medications may also cause bloating.

There are prescription medicines that act as a diuretic to help keep excess water out of the body, but having fresh lemon water can do this naturally. Prescription diuretics also tend to cause dehydration which seems to be the case for a number of OTC and prescribed meds. Lemons or lemon juice in water, on the other hand, will keep you hydrated. 

How to have your lemon water?

Photo credit: Unsplash

If you drink it first thing in the morning, it is highly beneficial to boost your digestive system before you eat anything else.

Simply boil some water and let it cool down a bit. You don’t want to drink it scalding hot because this will be hard for the body to process. In the same way, iced-cold water with lemon in is hard for the body to process.

Take a fresh lemon and cut it into halves or quarters. Squeeze the juice of the quarter or the half (depending on the size) of the lemon.

You can sip this concoction at your own pace.

You can also use room temperature bottled or purified water for your lemon juice drink.


*Remember to “swoosh” your mouth with regular water afterwards because lemons have high acidic levels. This doesn’t always bode well for the enamel of your teeth. So, do this at the end of your drink. 

The conclusion on why drinking lemon water is good for your health?

It’s clear that lemons are an amazing “superfood” and one that is needed in a healthy diet. But for those who are sensitive to citrus or have other abdominal conditions, it would be better to find an alternative. There are some lemon swaps you could try out like lavender water.

Lemons are affordable and available in nearly every grocery store, mini market and vegetable and fruit outlet. While they are very beneficial, it should not be the only thing you rely on in your journey to a healthier you. You must also consider daily exercise and eating a balanced diet.

Do you drink lemon water at the start of your day? How have you felt since doing so?

Understanding Social Anxiety: Seeing the signs and methods of coping

Photo credit: Unsplash

Feeling anxious every now and again as influenced by circumstances is one thing. But when you’re always anxious in a “crowded” setting then you might be dealing with social anxiety. In fact, a venue doesn’t even have to be crowded to warrant feelings of anxiety and fear of the other people.

Anxiety has many different categories, and phobias are one of these. As a whole, anxiety affects millions of people in the world, yet not everyone are getting the help they need to manage it. 

Let’s have a closer look at social anxiety

Photo credit: Unsplash

In short, social anxiety is feelings that overcome individuals when they are around other people. These can include but are not limited to shyness, worry, and difficulty speaking. In children, this may be a part of growing up, and they tend to “outgrow” it.

But when it persists and even becomes worse with time, then there are steps to help manage it. In bad cases, social anxiety tends to disrupt a person’s life and makes it hard for them to be around people. It can easily lead to self-isolation and “disconnecting” with friends and family. This could have many negative mental effects on an individual.  

Some people experience the following social anxiety symptoms:

In some cases, the psychological symptoms are so severe the person may worry for days, even weeks before an event they have to attend. 

There is sometimes a need or reliance on alcohol to help muster up the courage to go somewhere or to “mix” with other people. Another common psychological fear is worrying you’ll embarrass yourself in front of everyone. 

How does the nervous system influence this? 

The nervous system consists of a “parasympathetic” the one responsible for calming effects and the “sympathetic” nervous system which focuses on fight-or-flight. 

Parasympathetic responses

The aim of getting your anxiety under control is by stimulating this nervous system. This is what breathing techniques does as well as practicing sounds such as “Aum” (Om), singing, or humming which activates your vocal cords and stimulates the “vagus nerve”.

When stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system it helps to slow down the the rapid heart rate and blood pressure drops. At the same time, the O2 levels of consumption decreases. All of these things taking place helps to clear the mind and allows it to become still or quiet.  

What can you do if you’re having a panic attack?

Photo credit: Unsplash

Stop for a moment and take a few deep breaths.

Breathing deeply stimulates dopamine and serotonin which helps the body to relax. At the same time deep breathing lowers cortisol or stress hormones in the body which are elevated under stressful situations. In this case, when you’re experiencing a panic attack. 

What causes social anxiety? 

Oftentimes it’s related to upbringing. Adults who were bullied as kids, often find it harder to cope with their anxieties. Another one with consequences that we often see is family conflict. No home is perfect, but if family conflict is severe for example parents getting a divorce, or often fighting it can lead to an individual developing emotional difficulties.

This comes in the form of depression and anxiety. Sexual abuse is another factor that leads to depression, loss of self-esteem, and anxiety to name a few.

Social anxiety can also be caused due to an imbalance of mood stabilisers in the brain. One of these hormones includes “serotonin.” Various hormones (chemicals) influence mood and some control “fight-or-flight” sensors while others stimulate relaxation and calmness.  

Treatment and methods of coping with social anxiety

Social anxiety is not uncommon and based on statistics from “Our World Data” recorded in 2017, 2.8% are males and 4.1% are females. Roughly this indicates an international total of 284 million people with some sort of anxiety disorder. That being said, there are many options for treatment. Some individuals may have to change their lifestyle because these could have factors that trigger their anxiety.


Photo credit: Unsplash 

Exercising is able to help increase uplifting mood chemicals which in turn reduces stress hormones like cortisol. It also helps to increase serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine is the body’s “natural pain reliever. This has an effect by positively reducing inflammation in the body and thus pain related to stress such as headaches and tension or knots in the body. 

Prescribed medication

Photo credit: Unsplash

The doctor may prescribe medication to help stabilise the chemicals in the brain and to help reduce anxiety and even symptoms of depression. Some meds may include fluoxitine, setraline, and buspirone, clomipramine, and selegaline to name a few.

These medications also have side effects as do all drugs. Some users experience dry mouth, low libido, nausea, dizziness, and headaches amongst others.

Alternative treatment/practice

Photo credit: Unsplash

Breathing exercises are very effective in helping people to calm down even when in a state of shock. Regularly breathing properly can help to improve the body’s response to certain situations.

Meditation is another effective way to instil a sense of calmness and clarity within the “whole person” since it effects the mind and body together. This, along with breathing exercises is a very good and natural way to combat anxiety, depression and stress. 

Teas, herbs and essential oils

Photo credit: Unsplash

Aromatherapy has long been part of the medicinal history of mankind. In fact, this along with special herbs sourced from trees and plants bear potent properties. Chamomile tea for example, is known to help ease and relax the person drinking it. That’s why this is often good at night time before you go to bed.

Herbs like lavender, roman chamomile, spearmint, Frankincense, and Myrrh are just some of the essential oils that can help you on your relaxing journey. 

Reduce your caffeine intake

Photo credit: Unsplash

You know how it seems the logic thing to do and to sip some energy (high-caffeinated) drink to help feel more awake?

This can seem plausible after a restless night of no sleep. But what caffeine does is just aggravate the situation. Limit your caffeine consumed and try to keep away from energy drinks.

Foods rich in vitamin B are excellent to help boost your energy naturally. Some people rely on vitamin B supplements if they’re not getting enough in their diet. As mentioned, exercise can also uplift mood as well as boos energy levels naturally. 

Enjoy some sunlight

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Sunshine helps our body to produce vitamin D which helps us maintain healthy bones as well as uplifting our mood. It will also help your body to produce melatonin (the hormone that stimulates sleep) so that you’ll get a better night’s rest. 

The conclusion on coping with social anxiety

Take things in your stride. Try and make breathing exercises part of your daily routine. In this way, you’ll be lowering those stress hormones and will be able to manage the situation better.

It is also a good idea to practice other relaxing techniques such as meditation and yoga because this will also help your mental and physical well-being.

Speak to someone if your anxiety is overwhelming. It is important to get the help you need before it progresses.

Nancy Rachael Amon Avatar

I’m a passionate author and freelance writer who loves health and wellness. I also enjoy fiction, mystery, and espionage. Authors like James Pattison and Tom Clancy are my inspiration. When I’m not writing, I find time to enjoy beautiful things, cats, art, and music.

It's Time To Get Those Muscles Stretched: 12 Stretches for improved flexibility and better posture

It seems that as the older we become, the less flexible we are too. But it doesn’t have to be this way if you incorporate regular stretches into your lifestyle. Stretching can form part of your daily exercise routine and a few stretches a day is good enough to give you an energising boost if you’re feeling exhausted.

Photo credit: Unsplash – Stretching for flexibility

What are the benefits of stretching?

If you haven’t considered stretching as an important part of your exercise regimen, then it’s time to give it a re-think. Stretches provide you with many advantages such as:

 Improving blood circulation

When you’re sitting at a desk in one position for a long time, your blood circulation won’t be as good. Restrictions in blood circulation for long periods is not ideal as it can pose risks of blood clot development. 

Taking a break from what you’re busy with to do a few stretches will improve your blood circulation and increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to cells and tissue.

Better posture 

When you improve your posture, you reduce the risk of injuries. Muscle and joint injuries often occur when there is too much strain or pressure exerted onto the muscles. Proper posture will guide you to walk, sit and pick things up correctly without hurting your back amongst other areas that are often affected. 

More flexibility 

Being flexible doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to do a split. Instead, when you’re more flexible, you can reach further without straining your joints or muscles. This is handy for injury prevention. 

Better balance

Even while it may not seem like it, stretching can help to improve your balance too. This is good for preventing falls and again injury. Seniors over the age of 80 are more likely to risk injuries due to a fall compared to younger people. Stretching moves for seniors are extremely important.

Reduces tension

With the tension in the shoulders reduced, you’ll experience fewer headaches, neck and upper back pain as a result. Stretching also helps to soothe your mind and to give your body a naturally energising feeling. 

Mental focus and calmness

As mentioned in the above point, stretching can help to instill focus and to calm you down when you’re feeling stressed. This is why it is so beneficial to breath properly through every stretch as it has a positive mind-body effect. 

 Tips on warming up before stretching

Photo credit: Unsplash – warm up before stretching

Any activity done before warming up the muscles can result in injury. The same is said of stretching without warming up first.

Before you start your stretches (note stretches isn’t a warm up strategy), first do a cardio activity to warm up. This can be anything from a short brisk walk, to a short run. Only after warming up like this can you start stretching. 

2. Standing quad stretch for tight quads

This is another easy stretch to do. Quad pain is common amongst athletic people, but you can also experience pain during exercise. This is why warming up helps.

How to do it: 

3. Extended “puppy pose” (Uttina Shishosana)

This pose helps to stretch the back, glutes, an shoulders. Oftentimes, when we have bad posture during sitting it can lead to shoulder and neck pain. Yoga provides a variety of stretches that especially targets certain areas of the body.

How to do it:

4. Laying quad stretch

This is an extended version of the standing quad stretch and you need to lie on your side for this.

How to do it: 

5. Seated shoulder squeeze 

Even though often overlooked, the seated shoulder stretch helps to ease tension in the shoulders. While doing so, it also eases tightness in the upper back.

How to do it: 

6. Hand to big toe pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

This pose is excellent for stretching your hips, hamstrings, groins and calve muscles. If you have tight hamstrings and cant stretch as far, you can always use a strap on the instep of the raised leg.

7. “Eye of the needle” stretch (Sucirandhrasana)

Photo credit: Unsplash – “Needle in the eye” stretch variation

This particular stretch is good for hip flexors and is important especially for people who work at a desk for prolonged hours. It can help to reduce pain and injury if you do this and other stretches targeted at hip flexors. 

8. Crescent lunge (Anjaneyasana

Photo credit: Unsplash – variation of the “forward fold”

The crescent lunge helps to stretch the hip flexors, groin, and leg muscles. It is a relaxing and also energising move that is excellent if you want to wake up from feeling exhausted. Again, this paired with other yoga poses is very effective at helping you feel energised.

How to do it:


9. Lunge with a twist (Parivarrta Uttitha Ashwa Sanchalanasana)

Photo credit: Unsplash – Lunge with twist

The lunge with a twist move pose is good to help flex your spine. It can also help to stretch the muscles in your legs and with time helps to increase range and flexibility. Sometimes this stretch is referred to as “the world’s greatest stretch because it effectively helps correct posture-related issues.

How to do it:


10. Standing hamstring stretch or “forward fold pose” (Padangusthasana)

Photo credit: Unsplash – Forward fold

Tight hamstrings are common, even in athletic people. It is important to stretch these muscles to avoid the risk of injury and sprains. There are many ways to stretch hamstring muscles but this post guides you through the standing pose. 

NB: Don’t be afraid to bend your knees if your hamstrings are tight.

How to do it: 

11. The butterfly stretch (Baddha Konasana)

Photo credit: Unsplash – Butterfly stretch

This stretch is good for the inner thighs, groin, and lower back. It is easy to do and will help you on your journey to flexibility.

 How to do it:


12. Plank pose 

Photo credit: Unsplash – plank stretch

Plank pose is one of the most loved core exercise routines. It helps to tone the core muscles as well as improve posture. In addition, it helps with flexibility and strengthens the muscles in the back. You can practice this stance everyday.

How to do it:

Some people are doing the 30 day plank challenge. You can give it a try and set your goals starting today.

Conclusion to stretching for flexibility 

The more flexible your muscles are the lower the chances of pain and strain occurs when doing everyday movements. Correct stretching also targets certain areas that are sore and can help to speed up the healing process. While this is so, adequate stretching can help reduce pain and the need to have pain medication.

While it takes time for your body to become more flexible and it differs with everyone, one of the best things to to is be consistent. If you don’t have a schedule, start slotting one into your day.

Do you do a few stretches to kick start your day or for winding down? Which are your favourites?


Let's Talk Fibre: Why is this so good for you?

Not everyone enjoys a bowl of fibre crunchy cereal, but getting your daily dose of fibre doesn’t have to be in the form of that chewy cereal.

Still, fibre forms a very important part of our health and well-being and plays an essential role in digestion as well as keeping the gut in great shape. I thought this would be a good post to share why fibre is good for you. 

Photo credit: Unsplash

What is fibre?


How can you enjoy the benefits of eating fibre? 

Fibre has a variety of benefits and here are just to name a few:

It can help you with your weight loss goals 

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Since fibre keeps us fuller for longer, you won’t feel the need to graze on snacks and munch all day. Fibre is sustaining and better for your diet than carbohydrates (white bread, sweetened yogurt, white bagels, pasta, pizza etc)

Maintain your weight

Again, when aiming to maintain your weight loss efforts, eating fibre will help to sustain you for longer. This is a plus because you won’t feel the need to snack as frequently. 

It helps to reduce the risk of developing diabetes

Oftentimes, people with type 2 diabetes have to watch what they eat because their bodies can no longer make insulin. Insulin is needed to break down blood sugar and to help the process of storing fats as energy sources.

Apart from diabetes being hereditary at times, people can develop it based on their diet. Watching wat you eat can help to improve your health and fibre is a good source of nutritious goodness. 

It helps to improve your gut bacteria 

As mentioned a bit earlier in this post, fibre maintains the good bacteria in the gut. It helps to nourish the good bacteria and improve overall wellness. In this way, your good bacteria can function efficiently and help the immune system to fight off infections and germs.


It helps you to naturally detox

Fibre is an excellent and natural way to help your to body detox. It moves unhealthy toxins along where it is excreted.

It can improve digestion 


Photo credit: Unsplash

We all know that bloated feeling that “strikes” after eating a meal or just at random. Being bloated is sometimes as a result of low fibre intake. The gut has to work harder with less fibre.

 Lowers high blood pressure

Oftentimes after eating a meal high in carbohydrates, the blood sugar levels will rise. This is why fibre also helps in the fight to keep diabetes type 2 at bay. It lowers blood sugar levels making things a bit easier for the insulin process. 

Less risk of constipation

Fibre works inside the gut and because of this it deals with many things including waste before the final exit. A fibre-rich diet can help to reduce not only feeling bloated but also constipation.


How much fibre is enough?

The amount of fibre you eat and need comes down to your age and whether you are male or female. According to the NHS in the UK, toddlers 2 – 5 years need about 15g of fibre, 5 – 11 years need 20g of fibre and 11 – 16 years 25g of fibre a day.

Adult men under 50 years need about 30 to 38g of daily fibre whereas women in this age bracket need around 21 to 25g of fibre daily.

Fibre in older men over 70years need less on average 30g a day and older women over 70 years about 20g

What foods are the best sources of fibre?

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A nutritious diet consists of all foods eaten in moderation when they are higher in calories. Red meat for example, due to it’s high calorie levels it should be lead and in smaller portions as opposed to white meat which is lighter.

Maintaining a healthy diet comes with regular exercise and sometimes changing your lifestyle. Getting more fibre into your diet will improve your health and it is easy to come by. 

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I’m a passionate author and freelance writer who loves health and wellness. I also enjoy fiction, mystery, and espionage. Authors like James Pattison and Tom Clancy are my inspiration. When I’m not writing, I find time to enjoy beautiful things, cats, art, and music.

4 Types of Medication That Causes Weight Gain and Increased Appetite

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Ever felt super hungry lately since you’ve been on your new meds? That could be because your new medication may be the thing that’s giving you an increased appetite. So, why do we get hungrier with certain medications?

This post helps to identify some of the meds that’s contributing to our ravenous appetite.

Is my medication giving me an increased appetite?

When it comes to medication, especially chronic and prescription, we can’t simply stop taking them because we feel as if it’s making us hungry. Every designed pill is made for a reason and created to target certain symptoms.

Weight gain medication – Does my medication make me gain weight?

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1. Depression medication

2. Mood stabalising medication

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3. Diabetic medication

4. Antihistamines

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Tips to stay healthy and avoiding the effects of medication that causes weight gain

Having a balanced diet includes eating healthy and doing regular exercise. Oftentimes a sedentary lifestyle can lead to unwanted weight gain. As a result, this may increase the medication’s side effects of an increased appetite.

Conclusion about medication that causes weight gain

Chronic and prescribed medication is crucial to help treat symptoms of health conditions. But all medications have side-effects. Still, you shouldn’t stop your medication without your doctor’s permission. Speak to your health care professional if you have any concerns. 


10 Foods That Can Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels and Help Manage Diabetes

High blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes and other health concerns. There is a large majority of people that suffer from diabetes and are not always aware of this. I’d like to chat about foods that will help to lower and improve blood sugar levels. At the same time, chat a bit more about the illness.


What is diabetes?

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The body needs glucose to perform. Glucose serves as energy and this energy is burned when any physical action takes place. Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that helps to break down blood sugar to form glucose.

Once someone has diabetes, their body is no longer able to produce insulin, and thus manual insulin medication is injected. Insulin allows the body to store fat as energy reserves but when the body becomes resistant to this hormone it can no longer perform this function. Insulin resistance also means that the body can’t break down the sugar levels inside the blood. 

Diabetes is a disease that can develop over time or can be part of a person’s life from a young age. While it isn’t exactly hereditary, oftentimes families with a history of diabetes would end up more likely to develop it.  


How to identify diabetes

Diabetes can present in many ways at different levels but most commonly these are some of the symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst
  • A frequent need to urinate
  • Increased hunger
  • Problems with vision
  • Wounds that take long to heal


The following are some foods that can help to lower blood sugar levels

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To maintain sugar levels it’s important that foods have a low glycemic index (GI) . Foods that fall in the middle 55 and less are okay but also to eat with caution.

1. Legumes

Foods in the legumes class include grains like beans, chickpeas and lentils. With a low glycemic index, these foods won’t spike your blood sugar levels.

2. Fish rich in omega 3

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Omega 3 is an essential fat found in certain fish like salmon and tuna. They are a more healthy form of fat as opposed to processed fats (fried foods) or red meats.

3. Blueberries

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These delicious picks of nature will not only give you a boost in antioxidants but also has low glycaemic index levels which are good news for keeping blood sager under control.

4. Cinnamon

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For centauries people hailed cinnamon and other spices for their medicinal properties. Some pharmaceuticals manufacture cinnamon supplements which can help manage blood sugar levels. You can also add cinnamon to your foods or sprinkle over your oats.

5. Mangoes

Mangos are rich in vitamins A and C and this is good news for people with type 2 diabetes because it falls in the low GI bracket of 51. But, since it has a GI of 51, it should still be eaten with care as mentioned earlier in this post.

6. Tumeric

Tumeric similar to ginger, cinnamon and garlic have a long history of medicinal properties throughout the ages. Tumeric has anti-inflammatory benefits which are excellent for your body’s well-being. It is also said to help with the way the body absorbs glucose.

7. Oats

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Oats is a good food source to help reduce and manage blood sugar. It has a low glycemic index and is both nutritious and good for you.

Oats also contains something called “B-glutans” which is a natural compound, a sugar-like substance found in certain algae, fungi, and plants like barley.  This compound can help to improve insulin levels in the body.

8. Nuts

Some nuts are very nutritious and contain low GI. These include walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews and peanuts to name a few. Having a bit of nuts everyday isn’t a bad staple for your diet as they are also high sources of fibre and good oil/fat.  

9. Green veggies

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Remember how your parents or grand parents always said that you should eat your vegetables when you were a kid? This is because vegetables are packed with goodness and nourishment that will help to keep your body healthy.

Veggies such as lettuce, cucumber, radish, celery, tomatoes, parsley, asparagus, cabbage, and kale are just to name a few.


10. Plain yogurt

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While not everyone may enjoy plain yogurt, it is a healthier choice compared to sweetened versions. It also contains natural probiotics and is excellent for the environment of your gut. Good bacteria is essential for a strong immune system and by eating plain yogurt, you also lower the blood sugar levels.


Foods that contain higher glycemic levels

  • 100% Fruit juice (undiluted)
  • Honey, jam, marmalade
  • Sweet fruit (grapes, pineapples, pears)
  • Cakes and pastries
  • Dried fruit



Foods that contain a high sugar content will spike blood sugar levels and make it hard for the insulin to break this down. It will also help if you lower stress levels and adapt to a different lifestyle that has less of the “stress factor” in it.

If you’re leading a sedentary life, try to implement more exercise into your daily routine. Changing your lifestyle could help you to manage diabetes and lower the risk of developing it. It would be good to quit smoking as soon as possible since smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes.  


Don't let insomnia ruin your life, start fighting back today!

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Insomnia is no stranger to the world. According to the Sleep Foundation 30% of the population suffer from sleep disorders. This is one of the many reasons some people wake up feeling unrested the next day. If we’re not able to get a good night’s rest, it puts our immune system in a vulnerable state.
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Sleep disorder types

·         Insomnia (can’t sleep for the whole night)
·         Sleep apnea (not breathing properly while asleep)
·         Parasomnias (causes movement and behaviour whilst asleep)
While there are various types of sleep disorders but today’s post will focus on insomnia. Here are some of its symptoms:
  • Struggling to fall asleep
  • Are unable to fall asleep and stay asleep for the duration of the night
  • Waking up early and cannot fall back asleep
  • After waking up the next day you don’t feel rested
  • Inability to focus during the day
  • These can continue for several days in a week and can carry on unless it is treated.

Why do people experience insomnia?  

There are various reasons people suffer from insomnia and it’s frequently related to their lifestyle.


Most people dealing with depression will agree that getting a good night’s rest is virtually impossible. It can deprive you of sleep leaving you feeling even more exhausted.


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Work and aspects of our personal lives can put us under immense pressure. As a result this could lead to a lack of sleep because just like in the case of depression. The chemicals in the brain thus changes and this could lead to emotional outbursts and irrational behaviour.
NB: Stress along with depression is bad because one acts as a catalyst for the other causing the body to increase stress hormones, elevating feelings of anxiety and depression. This would need to be managed as soon as possible because it can be detrimental in the long run for your overall mental well-being and health. 


Similar to leading a stressful life, anxiety and anxious feelings and worry can stimulate stress hormones leading to the reduced ability to sleep. Life can bring many challenges and it’s normal to feel anxious now and again, but being anxious all the time is no good.


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All medications have side effects and some can cause sleep deprivation. This is common with certain antidepressants, contraceptives, high blood pressure beta blockers, diet pills, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) pills to name a few.


Oftentimes, older people struggle with sleep and insomnia is one of the most frequented sleep disorder amongst the middle-aged and senior generation.

Learn to manage insomnia and get better sleep

Invest in vitamin D

The body can naturally produce a certain amount of vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Receiving enough sunlight in the morning can help with that. Getting sun in the cooler hours of the morning will minimise UV damage, but will help your body adjust to the sun’s goodness.

Read before bed or do something to distract your mind

Sometimes when you can’t get sleep, your mind may be working “overtime.” This leads to more anxiety and thus the inability to sleep. Reading could help your brain to wind down as the eyes move to and fro.
When keeping yourself preoccupied before bed, make sure that you’re not doing something that overexerts your body? The lights shouldn’t be bright and you should refrain from screens emitting “blue light” right before bedtime. Not only does the blue light contribute to eye strain, but it also tricks the brain into thinking that it’s daytime leaving you alert and awake.

Have a morning exercise routine

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Exercising in the morning isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I get that. But, light stretches and low impact exercise can help your body get into a better sleep routine.

Practice good sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene is very important for a healthy rest at night time. This includes cutting out late heavy suppers, sweet treats and drinks right before bed. You can also improve your sleep by limiting your naps during the day.

Eat a balanced diet

It’s amazing how what we eat can have an effect on our health. Eating healthy will help your body perform better and that along with exercise is an excellent combination for better wellness.
There are certain foods that can help improve your sleep because it helps to boost melatonin the sleep hormone. These foods are also packed with antioxidants and other nourishing nutrients:
  • Almonds
  • Kiwi
  • Fatty fish
  • Milk
  • Bananas
  • Chamomile tea
  • Honey

Stop looking at the time

It’s normal to want to look at the time if you’ve woken up in the middle of the night, but looking at the clock will make you feel more anxious.

Change your lifestyle

  • Breathe
  • Yoga
  • Meditation

Add a relaxing breathing exercise into your day. Taking deeper breathes can help reduce stress hormones such as cortisol.
Another form of relaxation and healing for your mental wellness and body comes in the form of meditation. The benefits of meditation are plentiful and worth every moment. It can help reduce stress and depression. Meditation not only helps you to relax, but also helps you become more mindful and instils a sense of awareness.
With regular breathing exercise, yoga and meditation, you could find yourself enjoying a better night’s sleep more regularly.


If you’re battling insomnia, know that you’re not alone. It’s great to know that there are so many natural ways to help cope with this sleeping disorder. 
Natural healing doesn’t pose the risks of medication and thus it is good for your well-being. However, don’t stop taking any of your medication without your doctor authorising it.
Are you getting a good night’s sleep every night?

What is acupuncture and how could it benefit health and wellness?

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Acupuncture is an ancient practice said to help the body engage in its inherent ability to heal itself. Yes, the body is able to heal itself and is wondrously created with this ability.

Sometimes injuries and underlying chronic health conditions can inhibit these performances. Thus results in an increase of inflammation leading to various complications. Acupuncture is an alternative form of medicine widely practiced in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and versatile to help treat various conditions.

Whilst it may have only been popular in the East some several decades ago, many people of the “Western worlds” are appreciating the benefits of acupuncture.

Delving deeper into the specs of acupuncture

It is believed that acupuncture helps to target energy throughout dedicated pathways of the body. “Qi” the word for energy in Chinese is one of the body’s many vital sources. Once qi is flowing, it encourages the body to engage in healing.

Despite being an old health practice, many people are still going back to ancient healing methods such as acupuncture for healing and wellness.

Are there different types of acupuncture?

There are different types of acupuncture and also while with needles for the most part, certain techniques vary among Asian countries.

In other words, you’ll find Japanese acupuncture, Korean acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Acupuncture. These are performed with needles “manual acupuncture” because the needles are manually inserted.

Apart from those mentioned, there is also electroacupuncture. Electroacupuncture uses a machine to help complete the process. This is a specially designed machine that delivers electric currents from a needle to the meridian point.

What are the core benefits of receiving acupuncture?

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Acupuncture can help you with many health conditions including but not limited to:

·         Treating insomnia
·         Headaches
·         Arthritis pain
·         Helps to reduce pain related to inflammation
·         It is calming and relaxing thus may help to reduce stress
·         Helps manage allergies

What are the side effects of getting acupuncture?

In recent years more people choose the availability of alternative medicine because it has fewer side-effects. But not everyone is a fan of needles and some practices experienced in alternative medicines.

Acupuncture may result in bruising on the points pierced by the needles. Some people have experienced nausea and vomiting, but this is also a rare side-effect. Some studies have observed severer effects as a result of acupuncture, but as with any medical procedure there are always the risks involved.  

What are the safety measures for acupuncture?

Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to acupuncture and most health procedures. The practitioner uses sterile needles to prevent the spread of other infectious diseases.

Seeking professional help

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It’s of crucial importance to use a certified practitioner in acupuncture. You cannot leave it to an untrained person because as mentioned there are side effects.
Most certified practitioners are affiliated with groups like The SAACMA (SA Association Of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture) and the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa.


Acupuncture is a good alternative to taking pain killers. Once you’ve found the professional to help you, they will be able to give a proper consultation. The practitioner will also discuss the process and what is expected during the process as well as the pricing. At the same time they will answer any of your questions and concerns.
Have you had acupuncture?