Social Support is Crucial for Weight Loss

Eating a Balanced DietAt some point in our lifetimes we’re all faced with the challenge of losing weight or changing our habits to lead a healthier lifestyle.

For many, losing weight means having more energy, having more choice when shopping for clothes or simply having a little more body confidence.

But, losing weight can address far more serious problems. Studies show that being overweight makes you more prone to developing some worrying medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea and some cancers.

Although losing weight offers a solution to many of these health conditions, achieving a target weight and maintaining it is not easy.

Losing weight and keeping it off means making a long term commitment to eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise.

Luckily, there are many options for those who want to live a healthier, longer life. Nutritional advice, meal planners, portion control plates and slimming aids such as meal replacement shakes or fat binders all contribute to realising weight loss goals.

However, although these all play their part, nothing is more effective for sustainable weight loss than personal motivation combined with social support and encouragement.

Research by Harvard and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have shown that for anyone trying to lose weight, group support is absolutely vital to success.

The Harvard study monitored the weight loss achievements of 800 people on different diet plans over two years.

They found that the “more support sessions participants attended, the more weight they lost and the less weight they regained” and that “the average weight loss among participants who attended the support group sessions was 20 lbs compared to 9 lbs for those who did not.”

The NIH Study found that in addition to group support sessions where people hoping to lose weight could meet and discuss their experiences face-to-face, there were additional advantages for those who sought group support online.

Their study found that access on an online “weight loss community plays a prominent role in participants’ weight loss efforts—roles which might not be adequately filled by clinicians or offline family and friends.”

Participants reported that being able to access the online community at any time of day was uniquely convenient. As well as getting support and encouragement to lose weight, they communicated with others who understood the real physical and emotional difficulties of being overweight.

Being able to discuss weight loss goals, take part in challenges and shares their successes and failures anonymously and without fear of judgement gave participants’ confidence and boosted their motivation.

Furthermore, using online tools such as weight and measurement trackers, exercise tutorials and a variety of healthy eating meal planners in conjunction with group support, helps users to set, and stick to weight loss targets.

To find out how you can achieve your weight loss goals with slimming aids, free professional advice and a supportive online community, visit your local Rowland’s Pharmacy instore or online for more information.

How To Deal With Leg Cramps

Leg Cramps - Calf Muscle

Isn’t it annoying to experience having leg cramps especially when you are sound asleep? The fact is that a lot of people have this unpleasant experience wherein their leg muscles tend to have some involuntary contractions which can be very painful. And the thing is that there is no exact cure for it however, the good news is that it can be prevented by doing the following:

  • Doing Calf Exercises: Doing calf exercises lessens the chances of you experiencing leg cramps in the night. What you need to do first is stand up facing a wall for at least two to three feet away. Make sure that your feet, hip and your shoulders should be facing the wall as well. Place your right foot a few inches away from the wall while keeping your left leg straight. Now, place your hands on the wall while keeping them at chest level. Afterwards, bend your elbows and gradually lean forward towards the wall. Then gradually bend the knee of your right foot. You should be able to feel your calves being stretched and then hold it for around fifteen seconds. Keep in mind that you need to keep both of your heels flat on the ground while performing this exercise.
  • Take Vitamins and Supplements: It is important that you take vitamins which have a healthy dose of potassium, calcium and magnesium. If your body lacks any one of these then you will be more prone to experiencing leg cramps. It is also vital that you have enough vitamin E intakes since it helps blood circulation which is a factor in preventing night cramps. Including black cohosh root, bilberry and or gingko biloba, which are all herbs have their individual characteristics which help blood circulation.
  • Take A Hot Shower: Having a hot shower or warm bath or immersing your cramped leg in hot water helps.

Another important factor which can help keep you away from experiencing night cramps is by drinking a lot of water. Limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink also helps.

Health Benefits of Papaya

Papaya Fruit

Papaya is a fruit which offers a lot of health benefits such as:

  • Skin Lightening: Wonder why a lot of soap these days has papaya extract as part of their ingredients? The reason behind this is because papaya can help lighten up a person’s complexion as well as remove acne. Papayas which are utilized as face packs help open pores which in turn make skin glow. It has the enzyme papain which is a contributing factor in dissolving dead skin cells which opens up the opportunity for the skin to regenerate fresh cells.
  • Anti-Oxidants: Because papaya is high in fiber, eating papaya helps the body lower its cholesterol levels. It contains anti-oxidants which keeps cholesterol from oxidizing that can eventually cause heart ailments.
  • Vitamins and Other Health Benefits: Papaya offers a lot of vitamins to the human body such as vitamin A and a high amount of potassium. Its seeds and leaves also helps when it comes to treating intestinal worms found in the human body as well as prevent constipation. It also keeps the body from acquiring infections in the colon by removing infection, pus and mucus in it. In addition, the skin of the papaya can also be used in treating physical wounds especially areas which does not easily heal.

Overall, papaya is one of those fruits which people tend to neglect but is something that they should start consuming once in a while.

Tips In Taking Care Of Your Dental Health

Taking care of your dental health does not simply ends with just brushing your teeth every after meal. There are a few things which you need to keep in mind such as:

  • Mouth-Wash: It does not mean that gurgling mouth wash is that it will permanently remove your bad breath. The truth is that it is only a temporary fix. If you are looking for something that is more effective, make sure that you look for a mouth wash which can kill bacteria or has an antiseptic. A product having a seal from the American Dental Association or ADA is a good sign that it can do the job.
  • Brushing Effectively: Most people are used to brushing their teeth around thirty to forty-five minutes but the truth is that it is not enough. You should brush your teeth for as long as two minutes to ensure that it is effective as well as your tongue since some germs often reside around your tongue.

Dental Health Care

  • Breathing on Your Hand: Just breathing on your hand will not let you know if you have bad breath. Bad breath stems from the back of your mouth which is blown out whenever you talk. The thing is that breathing and talking are two different functions of your throat. Furthermore, people are often used to their personal smell or odor that they tend not to notice any bad odor generated by their bodies.

In order for a person to have healthy gums, it is important that he knows how to properly take care of his teeth as well as having the discipline to do so.

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Safety Tips for Long Distance Bike Riding

Long distance bike riding is becoming increasingly popular as more and more cyclists join the touring craze. Cycling over extensive distances is a very different sport from short trip cycling and requires more than a basic bike. For comfort, convenience and safety there are a few things that you will need to consider.

Safety Tips for Long Distance Bike Riding

For long distance cycling you need the correct clothing. Padding cycling shorts are a must and a cycling jersey will make a huge difference to the ease of your ride. Take a long bike ride in standard shorts and you will soon understand the attraction of cycling shorts. The padding helps to protect sensitive groin areas and also keeps the body cooler as well as drier by acting as a wick to draw the sweat away from the body. Bike shorts will help you to avoid some pretty nasty sores created by friction and moisture. Bike shorts are worn without underwear and keep everything firmly in place!

Jerseys can be tight or loose fitting depending on personal tastes. They are designed to create the moisture wicking benefit and also come in really visible colours to increase your safety, particularly in conditions where visibility is poor.

Get Kitted Out
As you will be travelling distances it’s also important to be correctly kitted out. You will need to carry a bike pump as well as a puncture repair kit. You can find everything you need at

You should also carry a mobile phone and a general tool kit in case you need to carry out side of the road emergency repairs. It’s also a good idea to have a solid understanding of how your bike works. Taking the time to read the manual will prove invaluable in the event of a breakdown.

It is also important to carry plenty of water and some high energy snacks; things like muesli bars, protein snacks and bananas are good. Be wary of energy drinks as these can contain a lot of sugar which can actually dehydrate you.
Ease into It
Another important safety tip is to ease into long distance riding. Start by taking short trips close to home and gradually increase your distance over time. If you are new to the sport or haven’t been on your bike for a while, you may find a few kilometres enough to start with. Ease into it and you will avoid injury. You can also use these short stints to road test your equipment.

Make sure you spend time warming up before you ride. Do some leg stretches and also some cardio warm ups, things like jogging on the spot and star jumps. You will need to spend about ten minutes doing this to ensure you are warmed up enough to ride safely.

Pace Yourself
It is important to cycle at a pace that suits you and your level of fitness. Find your pace and stick to it. Change down to lower gears on hills. It is important to maintain a consistent pace that works for you to avoid injury. Take regular breaks. It’s a good idea to check your bike during breaks to prevent anything going wrong while you are cycling.

Do you have any tips for riding long distance? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Tips For Temporary And Fast-Relief For Back Pain

Is it frustrating when you are suffering back pains and you seriously need a good therapy but you do not have the luxury of time to get a good massage? The truth is, a lot of people are suffering from back pains every day, especially those who are focused on their computer the whole day. But the good thing is that there are ways to relieve you of such troubles even if it is a temporary solution.

  • Do Some Stretching: One reason why people tend to have body pains in general is because they lack exercise. This is true when it comes to back pains. The fastest and easiest way to remedy this is by doing some stretching on a daily basis. Doing so relieves spasms and muscle tensions which causes back pains.

Back Pain - Stretching

  • Take Vitamins: Taking a good amount of B Vitamins can help keep you from suffering chronic pain and also supports your nervous system. This also helps strengthen your immunity system. Having a good dose of Omega-3 fatty acids is also good because it has properties which can lessen inflammation in the body’s muscles.
  • Have Decent Rest: The thing is that people tend to neglect the importance of having a good rest. The human body is frail and it gets strained on a daily basis regardless of what you are doing. This is why it is important to let your muscles rest for a while so it can recover. Try relaxing your back by lying on soft pillows. You can also roll a hot towel and place it under your neck to make it feel more comfortable.
  • Use Ice: This is effective especially when you are injured since blood rushes fast to the injured area which can cause it to swell. By putting ice packs on it, you can reduce the swelling of the inflamed area. This also helps the body heal the injured area. Though ice can only numb the pain for a short time, it still does lessen the pain and helps you from experiencing them. Just be careful in how you are applying it. What you do is to dip a warm towel in a slightly hot water then wring out the excess. After that, place an ice pack or some ice cubes on it. Then immediately apply the towel over the inflamed body part for around twelve to fourteen minutes. You can repeat this process as many times as you need.

These tips may not permanently solve your back aches but then again, it should relieve you of your ailing for a short time.

The Two Kinds Of Leukemia And Their Symptoms

There are two types of leukemia: Acute leukemia and Chronic Leukemia.

Acute Leukemia: This is kind of leukemia is common in children and is characterized by the rapid growth in number of immature blood cells. Because of this, the bone marrow will not be able to generate healthy blood cells. Because of the rapid spread of the cancer cells in the body, this requires immediate attention.


  • Anemia: The person suffers anemia. This is because bone marrow abnormalities cause a low number of blood cell production.
  • Fever: Leukemia can cause a person fever even without the patient contracting any opportunistic infection or pathogen. And because of this, the human body’s immunity system will weaken making the body more susceptible to other infections.
  • Bleeding: Because of the large number of cancer-infected cells passing through the blood vessels as well as the decreased number of platelets and other infections in the human body, the afflicted person will have red spots throughout his or her body.
  • Gastrointestinal Failure: This is often caused by radiation therapy the patient goes through.

Chronic Leukemia: This on the other hand can affect any individual regardless of his or her age. Unlike Acute Leukemia, Chronic Leukemia is monitored first before treatment is done. This type of leukemia takes months and even years for it to completely progress and for this reason, health professionals take their time before taking action so as to make their actions effective. This is characterized by an over-production of mature but abnormal white blood cells.


  • Early Stage: This does not show any visible symptoms however routine check-up reveals an abnormal blood picture of an enlarged spleen.
  • Secondary Stage: The patient afflicted by the said ailment experiences one or all of the following: fatigue, excessive sweating especially in the evening, gradual weight loss and hyperthyroidism.
  • Advance Stage: The person’s complexion becomes pale as well as his or her lips. There will also be small red spots under the skin, mucous and will develop mass in the tissues of the eye sockets and skull.

Leukemia is a dangerous ailment but then again, it can be treated.

Pain Management Tips

When the body is exposed to physical trauma or there is an illness ravaging the body, a person experiences pain. And most people commonly deal with pain by administering drugs or pain relievers which may temporarily relieve the body’s pain but fails to deal with the root cause. The good news is that there are methods that people may undergo that are healthier and safer for the human body and which gets rid the root cause of the problem such as:

  • Acupuncture: This is perhaps one of the oldest practices of curing an individual’s ailing. Acupuncture originated in China and is still practiced up until the present and basically is about professional utilizing thin needles by inserting them in different vital points of the body to help regulate the body’s energy properly.
  • Chiropractic Care: Though there are experts across the globe who are skeptical of the effectiveness of this method, chiropractic care still shows relevant data and valid results. The main idea behind this that most clinics utilize is healing a person through alternate medicine and chiropractic care mostly focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of irregularities in the neuromuscoskeletal system and its general effects on the body.
  • Massage Therapy: This is perhaps the most common method that people undergo when it comes to pain management. Different clinics and massage parlors have countless methods of relieving stress felt in the body such as massaging a part of a person’s body in a circular motion, or through the use of different parts of the body in addition to hands like the elbows, the feet and many more.

So before you even take drugs or medicines to relieve your body of pain, you may want to consult a pain management doctor. These days, you cannot afford to entrust your body health on random drugs.

What Are The Side Effects Of Constipation?

Constipation is an icky word to some, and a problem most of us think will go away over time. However some cases are hard to expel and can cause a lot of pain and grief for the sufferer. Let’s take a look at the symptoms of constipation , what actually causes it and the side effects of what can happen if you leave it for too long.

What is constipation?
Toilet BowlConstipation is a digestive health syndrome that occurs due to a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements. It’s commonly associated with a low fibre diet, little fluid intake and lack of exercise, but there is actually many other causes that may surprise you. Constipation may occur is you have undiagnosed hyperthyroidism, an abundance of dairy in your diet, overuse of laxatives, currently take many medications including antacids and antidepressants, are going through pregnancy or suffer from diabetes. Constipation is mainly categorised as an incomplete excretion of the bowel passage of hard and dry faeces. Without proper treatment, the following severe conditions may arise.

Anal Fissures
The name alone sends fear deep into our hearts, they are exactly what you think they are. Anal Fissures are painful splits or tears in the skin of the anus or anal canal. Yikes! They often occur when an oversized, hard stool is passed and is mostly common in infants, children and adults. So how do you know when an anal fissure happens? Well besides the obvious pain, you may notice some blood in the toilet or on the loo paper. If you see this, don’t ignore it; anal fissures can be difficult to heal and a trip to your doctor is advised. They may suggest sitting in a warm bath, applying a cool compress and soothing it with petroleum jelly. Your doctor will also give you some useful tips to soften the stool, and prevent any further issues.

When you think of the type of people who get haemorrhoids, it’s usually the older generation. Sorry to disappoint you, haemorrhoids can happen to anyone, regardless of sex or age. For those playing at home, haemorrhoids are swollen, irritated veins in the rectal area that are caused by pressuring and straining. Symptoms include pain, itching and possible bleeding; once one has developed, they are likely to go through periods of remission and exacerbation, which means the will come and go as they please. It is possible for the vein to return to its regular size and condition if it is not continuously strained. Severe cases may require surgery.

Faecal Impaction
Be prepared, the explanation of this side effect is not for delicate eyes and worrisome minds. Faecal impaction occurs when so much stool is backed up in the colon that it becomes physically impossible to excrete. Signs you may have faecal impaction include, soiling of clothes, distended abdomen, loss of appetite, vomiting or fever. If you think you may have faecal impaction, an immediate trip to your doctors or the emergency room is suggested.

Although constipation is common, make sure you treat it swiftly to avoid any of these serious conditions occurring.

Understanding Thinning Hair and Hair Loss

Hair grows just about everywhere on the body except the palms and soles. It consists mainly of keratin, a protein produced in the hair follicles. As new hair cells grow, they push the old ones out.

A strand of hair is really a string of dead protein cells that “grow” about six inches a year. The average head has more than 100,000 strands and loses nearly 100 a day. A few stray hairs on a brush or comb is normal. Clumps of hair on a pillowcase or in the shower drain is cause for concern.

Hair Growth Phases
About 90 percent of scalp hair is growing hair. A follicle life cycle is influenced by factors like age and disease. The life cycle has three phases: anagen, catagen and telogen.

The anagen phase involves hair growth and can last up to six years. The catagen phase is about three weeks of transitional hair growth. Telogen is a resting phase that can last up to three months. New hair replaces shed hair at the end of telogen.

As people age, their hair thins due to slower hair growth. Some people experience hair loss at a faster than normal rate. Excessive scalp hair loss is called alopecia.

Hair Loss Types
There are several different hair loss types. Telogen effluvium is temporary thinning of scalp hair. Other types include involutional alopecia, androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, alopecia universalis and trichotillomania.

Telogen effluvium results from changes in the hair growth cycle. It occurs when several strands of hair enter telogen at the same time. Eventually, new hair replaces the hair loss.

Involutional alopecia is the gradual thinning of hair that occurs with age. As hair enters the resting phase, new hair does not grow back as long or thick. This causes natural hair thinning.

Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss. The hereditary condition causes a sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a testosterone byproduct. Too much DHT in the scalp causes a receding hairline and gradual thinning at the crown.

Alopecia areata is a sudden loss of scalp hair that occurs in patches and may end in complete baldness. Regrowth occurs in about 90 percent of the cases. Alopecia universalis causes complete hair loss throughout the body including the scalp, pubic hair, eyelashes and eyebrows.

Trichotillomania is more common in children than adults. A psychological disorder causes this type of hair loss. People with this condition pull out their own hair.

Hair Loss Treatments
There are many hair loss treatments, and the best one depends on the cause. Hormones, genetics, medications, diet, stress, injury and disease are common causes of thinning hair and hair loss.

Most treatments focus on hiding hair loss, preventing further loss or regrowing hair. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two drugs, finasteride and minoxidil, to treat hair loss. Some people prefer nutritional supplements as an alternative to drugs.

Surgical procedures can help people make the most of the hair they have. Hair transplants, scalp reductions and scalp extensions are three common hair loss surgeries.

Some people choose to let nature take its course. Instead of treating hair loss with medications, supplements or surgery, they hide their thin hair or baldness. Hats, scarves, wigs, toupees and hairpieces are popular alternatives to medical treatment.

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