Health and Fitness


Health Checks You Need to Make Before Travelling

In all the excitement of making plans to travel, it’s easy to forget the basics. You’re deciding where to explore, planning an itinerary, brushing up on local phrases and finding a place to stay, perhaps even arranging to work.

There’s a lot to organise, so it’s little wonder that health matters can seem to come quite far down the list. Bump them up a few places, if only because being in a foreign country if and when something does go wrong can be a frightening experience.

If you do have an accident or fall seriously ill, it can ruin your experience and go wrong in far more drastic ways than you may have anticipated. A bit of preparation before you climb on the plane can save an awful lot of heartache should the worst case scenario happen.

Before You Go

Make sure you have enough time before leaving to schedule in all the vaccinations you may need for travel – about seven months allows you enough time if you need to have a series of immunisations. Never be tempted to skip these, as being unvaccinated in some countries is asking for trouble. A good doctor or travel clinic should be able to advise what you will need for your intended destination.

Dental problems overseas are no joke – toothache and root canal work can cut short your trip – as dentistry in your destination country may be less advanced and a lot more expensive. Schedule a thorough check-up and any follow up work before leaving and consider Full Coverage Dental Insurance as well.

Put together a basic first aid kit to travel with – good immediate care of any minor injuries can save a world of pain and complications further down the line. Include bandages, plasters, antiseptic spray, rehydration sachets, paracetamol, burns ointment and a foil blanket. Make it small enough to carry with you wherever you go.

Health Conditions

If you have any ongoing health issues that require management through medication or diet, make sure that you are able to continue that care at your destination. Speak to your doctor about obtaining medication in advance or how to go about it overseas for extended trips. Have a plan in place to manage your symptoms before they appear. When travelling, keep essential medicines in your hand luggage with a doctors’ note and check the legal status of them in the country you are going to before you fly. There’s nothing worse than having vital medicine confiscated at customs or lost in a suitcase somewhere – that can quickly turn into a serious emergency. The same goes for any allergy medication you know you may need. Know the brand and generic names, and how to ask for it in a pharmacy in the native language of your destination country. Know your blood type and how to communicate it in an emergency. Plus, make sure your travel insurance policy is tailored to take account of existing health conditions and that you have the cover you need. Bon voyage!

5 Steps To Taking Control Of Your Health

How’s your health looking right now? Maybe you’ve recently had a bit of a health scare or someone close to you has, and it’s sparked concern about your health levels all round? Or maybe you don’t feel your best? When that’s the case, you know that you need to take control of your health levels and turn them around. But when you’re not someone that has been super vigilant about their health levels before, how do you know what to do? Although you know that you need to focus on your diet and exercise, there’s often a lot more to it than that. So if you’re serious about turning your life around, here are five ways to take control of your health.

  1. Commit To Change

First of all, you’re going to want to really commit to this. If you just go at his half-heartedly, you will find that it’s so hard to actually stay on track. The way to really make this work, is to stay consistent. If you’re going to get any kind of results, then you have to go at this in the long-run. So, you need to commit to this. You’ll want to really change your mindset and agree that you’re going to put your health first and work on the things that you need to. The next point is going to help you to do this.

  1. Set A Goal

From here, you then need to set yourself a goal. It’s handy to have health and fitness goals like show, as it keeps you on track. When you can see what you’re working for, it makes it easier to stay on track. Without that vision, you may give up easily.

  1. Include Your Mental & Emotional Wellbeing

But don’t just make this about your body. If you want to be healthy, then you need it to include your mind and your emotional health too. Think about staying away from stress and keeping your mind as relaxed as possible. This will help you to boost your physical health too.

  1. Trust The Right Professionals

Finally, you’re then going to want to work with the best people. Look for a great doctor to avoid issues like as well as a great trainer. It’s often good to do this in a holistic way, including with a nutritionist, so that you can really care for your health. But you will need them to be great at their jobs.

  1. Do It For You

But most importantly of all, this has to be something that you do for yourself. You’ll know by now that consistency matters. And you’re not going to be able to commit to this if you don’t really want to do it. But if you’re ready to change your life, improve your health, and generally feel better about yourself, then it’s time to make that change. When you do it for yourself and nobody else, then you will be able to take control of your health.

Is Stress At The Roots Of Your Most Dangerous Habits?

We all know stress as something worth avoiding. We know that it’s generally unpleasant to be stressed, but many of us might be unaware as to how deeply the roots of stress can settle and how they can affect our body, our mind, and our behaviour. Here, we’re going to look at some of the most common negative consequences of too much stress and see if you might have any warning signs you’re not coping with your current situation.

Encroaching pain

Mental stress and physical stress are both very linked. For one, stress often leads to a decrease in physical exercise, which can make your body more susceptible to pain. It also increases the tension in your muscles, which can lead to friction that induces back pain and joint pain. The best solution to both issues is to find stress-busting exercises that help you flood the brain with happy hormones. They can not only improve your mood but relax your muscles and dull your sense of pain.

The wrong coping mechanisms

We all find ways to cope with stress, but some of us turn to the unhealthiest habits in doing so. Comfort eating, alcohol consumption, and cigarettes all contribute to stress more than they help you relieve it. Eliminating your bad habits permanently is the only effective way to stop yourself from leaning hard into them when you’re under stress.

Road rage

Aggressive driving is one of the leading causes of road accidents. When you feel aggressive or angry on the road, you are more likely to make risky manoeuvres, particularly in an effort to reaffirm your “right of way”. A good way to stop yourself from getting angry on the road is to set off a little earlier. If you’re not as worried about being late or being held back, you’re more likely to keep your cool when something threatens to interrupt your journey.

Those restless nights

Sleep deprivation might not seem like a “habit” so much as something you have to suffer through. But it an issue that you can combat with these sleep tips. Increasing light exposure throughout the day and avoiding electronic lights at night, like a cell phone screen or laptop monitor, can help you adjust your body clock so that you get ready for bed more easily, for instance.

Social withdrawal

Do you find yourself getting more anxious about going outdoors, or making excuses to avoid social calls more often? These are the first signs of social withdrawal. If it’s allowed to continue unimpeded, it can turn into real isolation at any point of life. Once you spot it, you have to stop the spiral of social isolation. Make plans with friends you haven’t seen in a while or go out for a meal in a café or simply relax in the park. Re-introduce yourself to society.

If you begin to feel like stress could be at the root of some of your problems, you need to tackle the source as well as the problems. Is there someone you can talk to or perhaps a way you can scale back your responsibilities to ease up the pressure on you for a while?

Your Internal Ally: Why Exercising When You Have A Disease Can Have A Major Impact On Your Recovery

We all know that exercise is thoroughly beneficial for us, it’s not rocket science. But, there are times when you might be concerned where the exercise is actually the right thing to do. A very good example is if you have an illness. When you have the flu, your body is telling you to rest as it aches and you feel low in energy. But, what about illnesses that are more severe, such as cancer? The temptation can be to avoid exercise and focus on the treatment. But, exercise, when done right under the circumstances contact can aid your recovery, how can it do this?

The Issue Of Weight

The big issue when it comes to cancer is that being overweight gives you an increased risk. This is common knowledge, so naturally, if you are undertaking a healthy exercise regime, even if you don’t have an illness like cancer, it can benefit every single one of us to be within a healthy BMI. Being in a healthy weight range in relation to our height reduces the risk of numerous diseases. So naturally, exercise is touted as a great way to prevent cancer. And so, as there is a lot of focus on the fact that so many people are sedentary, losing weight and being in a healthy weight range will give your body a fighting chance. And it’s important to note that any sort of physical activity is beneficial, not just embarking on an intense exercise regime. Physical activity can reduce breast cancer from 20% to 80%, and colon cancer by up to 40%. So it’s important to note that it’s not just certain cancers it has a benefit on, it can have a fantastic impact on your internal organs. And this is something we don’t necessarily think about a lot, because we can’t see inside our bodies. So, for anybody reading this, exercise is beneficial, regardless of whether you have an illness or not.

The Emotional Benefits

Naturally, undergoing treatment for a life-threatening illness like cancer is incredibly taxing in a psychological sense. As we go through numerous hospital appointments and discuss chemotherapy being a viable option, or other ways in which to manage the disease, we can feel like it’s weighing us down. It’s important to note that in this respect, exercise gives you an emotional boost. Not just in the way of endorphins, which naturally increases your mood, but the sense of satisfaction you have upon completing a particularly grueling workout gives you that feeling like you’ve climbed a mountain. Now, this isn’t express permission to go and lift heavy weights as soon as possible, because if you are unwell, physical exercise does help, but if you have extreme pain, when it’s not your muscles aching, it’s important to take a step back, re-examine your exercise regime, and consult a medical professional before embarking on any type of exercise, especially if you haven’t done any before. But it seems that strength training has numerous benefits for people who are undergoing cancer treatment. And, in fact, the Exercise Medicine Research Institute in Perth, Australia, has been monumental in experimenting with how exercise impacts cancer treatment for the better in a physical sense, more of which later. But you need to consider what exercise can do for you in an emotional sense, with or without illness. When you increase your strength, you will naturally feel better about yourself. This is great in terms of cancer treatment when a common symptom of chemotherapy is lethargy. It’s a fine balance, especially when you are trying to gain physical strength as well as emotional strength to combat the illness. But, it’s something that pays off, exercise. Of course, we know what it does to us in a physical sense, but the emotional benefits are numerous, especially when facing a difficult time in motion early. Naturally, your patience is going to be tested, and when going through a difficult time in life, exercise couldn’t be a healthy distraction, but can also give you the tools in which to cope. That feeling of being under an Olympic bar and completing those last 5 reps will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Joe Rogan talks about if he hasn’t had good quality time in the gym, he feels it. He feels grouchy all moody. And of course, this is partly due to the endorphins, but when you feel good about yourself, you want to maintain this feeling. And you don’t realize how much of a benefit exercise has on you, and so, it stands to reason when facing a difficult time, it’s going to be your ally. Not only does it provide physical strength, it provides emotional strength.

The Physical Benefits

Exercise is one of the great ways to detoxify your body. Now, we are used to living such a sedentary lifestyle, where physical activity is something we can choose to do, rather than it not being a necessity, it’s hardly surprising that so many people rely on medical care. But, the physical benefits of exercise, especially when diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, are numerous. The great thing about exercise is that it builds strength. When you undergo treatment, you can end up feeling weak, especially due to the decrease in muscle mass as a result of chemotherapy. Roughly, 15% of a person’s muscle mass is depleted when undergoing chemotherapy. But the research conducted into exercise and cancer in Perth’s Exercise Medicine Research Institute has shown that the muscle wastage was blocked, and some actually experienced muscle gains. As there are advancements in research into cancer, with various laboratories, like it can be easy to sit back and wait for a cure, but this is sedentary thinking. As more and more research is being undertaken into killing specific cancers, we can still maintain physical strength. It is important to remember that the way we can tackle cancer is by working at improving our bodies to be as detoxifying as possible. This means getting your heart rate up, increasing your blood flow, and boosting your immune system. Exercise does these three things. And of course, it would be foolish to think that this is all you need to combat it, but for anybody out there that is of the mindset that they should rest and do nothing, it’s time to help yourself.

Other Ways To Help Yourself

And, while you are working at boosting your immune system, there are things you can do to help yourself in the long run. It’s that well-worn cliché, after exercise, you should have a healthy diet. This means ensuring you have more than your fair share of multi-colored fruit and vegetables. Depending on where you live in the world, you may have a lack of sunlight, in which case, Vitamin D will be a big help. They call it the sunshine vitamin, but it seems that a lot of people get illnesses, such as the common cold, by not having enough Vitamin D. And in fact, it was found that Vitamin D deficiency was more common with women diagnosed with breast cancer. On there is a handy list of supplements that you should be taking when you are diagnosed with cancer, including garlic, mushrooms, general antioxidants, as well as anti-sickness herbs such as ginger. After a while, it seems that the more information you get about coping with cancer, aside from the complex medical treatments, a healthy diet that is rich in all of the typical goodness, is what you need. It seems that now, we are so keen on eating a bad diet, high in sugar, that we neglect the most common forms of healthiness. And it’s plain to see, from natural herbs, as well as a diet rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, such as the Mediterranean diet, is what we need to ensure we overcome any illness. On top of this, as we’ve already discussed, emotional strength is what will benefit due when undergoing treatment for any illness. And, it’s surprising that’s a lot of this can be down to diet. Gluten, for example, has been linked to depression. This is partly due to it impacting the gut-brain axis. It’s important to undertake some health tests to see how your body reacts to certain foodstuffs. Food intolerance is more common nowadays, and so, combining a detailed knowledge of what your body can and can’t cope with, as well as exercise, means you will have the essential tools to tackle any debilitating disease.

Of course, we’re all different, and we need to listen to the advice any medical professional gives us, but, the important thing to take away from this is that, if you have recently been diagnosed with an illness, the temptation can be to give up, physically and mentally. Don’t do this, and don’t give up. Exercise is a vital tool in anyone’s arsenal to tackle any life-threatening illness or disease, and long after you beat it or manage the symptoms, exercise will still be your ally.

Proven Tips that will Help you To Sleep Way Better at Night

If you are struggling to sleep at night then you are not alone. Thousands of people go through this problem every single day and it is way more common than you’d like to think. The problem here is that a good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet, so if you are struggling to sleep then it’s super important that you get this sorted out, and you can find some helpful hints and tips below to get you started.

Increase Light Exposure

Your body really does have a natural clock and this will help you to get into the right routine. If you do not get enough natural sunlight or even bright light during the day then this can really mess with your routine and it can also make it harder for your body to know when it’s time to go to sleep as well. if you want to avoid this then it’s important that you try and get out in the sun as much as possible. One walk a day can really help you out and it can also help you to wear out some of that extra energy as well. You’d be surprised at what a difference this can make to your physical health and your mental health as well.

Reduce Blue Lights

Blue light is awful when it comes to your night-time routine. If you have excessive amounts of blue light when you are trying to sleep then this can really disrupt your routine. Blue light often comes from a range of devices, so if you have a smartphone, a laptop or even a computer device that you use at night then this could be really keeping you awake. If you cannot go to bed without checking your phone or if you can’t seem to put your device down then it’s really worth investing in some glasses that will block out blue light. You can even get applications that will block out any blue light from your phone as well, so this could well be worth investing in.

Don’t Consume Caffeine

This may seem like an obvious choice, and you may avoid drinking caffeine at night but caffeine can stay in your system for a very long time. If you consume caffeine six hours before bed then this can provide you with a much lower level of sleep quality. On top of this, it can also cause you problems when it comes to staying asleep as well. If you want to avoid this then you need to try and avoid drinking caffeine after a certain time. Avoiding it after 3pm is great here, but if you are struggling with this then you can easily swap to decaffeinated. This is a brilliant way for you to still have that cup of java without having to worry about the long-lasting effects.

Reduce Naps

Power naps are ideal and they can be very beneficial. If you have long or even irregular naps during the day then this can seriously affect your sleep. When you sleep in the daytime, this can confuse your body’s internal clock and it can also make it much harder for you to sleep at night as well. In fact, a lot of studies show that you may actually be way more tired after taking a nap when compared to if you didn’t nap at all. If you nap for 30 minutes in a day then this can increase your brain function, but any longer than this can seriously affect your quality of sleep and even your health as well. If you are struggling to sleep at night then you need to try and limit the amount of naps that you take. Sure, you may not be able to do this right away and this is completely normal, but you should try and do it over time. For example, you can nap for an hour one day, and then 50 minutes the next to try and get yourself into a good routine.

Wake up at a Consistent Time

You also need to make sure that you are super consistent with your sleeping routine. If you are

not consistent then this can really affect you in the long-term and this is something that you will want to avoid at all costs. If you want to get this sorted out then you need to try and wake up at the same time every day, even at the weekend. This will make those Monday slumps easier to get through and it will also make it easier for you to wake up in the morning as well. If you sleep-in at the weekend then this will reset your body’s natural rhythm and this is the last thing that you want to do if you are struggling to sleep at night so do take that into account.


Have you ever thought that your mattress could be to blame for your sleepless nights? The mattress that you have can really have a huge impact on your sleeping ability and it can also stop you from entering a true REM sleep stage as well. If you are not sure if your mattress is to blame or not then one thing that you can do is check for any loose springs, bumps or generally uncomfortable parts. If you do notice that your mattress is wearing out then it’s well worth investing in a new one from Vacuum Packed Mattress. Another way for you to find out if your mattress is to blame would be for you to think back to your last hotel stay- did you have trouble sleeping then? Probably not, and if this is the case then you most certainly need to think about changing out your mattress and/or your bedding.

Getting to sleep at night doesn’t have to be a huge challenge and it doesn’t have to be super difficult either. By using the tips above, you can be sure to get a great result out of your routine and you can also be sure to really give yourself the TLC you need to have more energy in the day as well.

Putting Safety First: The Warning Signs Of Excessive Exercise

Exercise is good for us, and it can also be fun to boot! Whether you visit the gym on a regular basis or test yourself to your limits on your daily run, exercise can be both rewarding and challenging. However, as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Rather than boosting your health, excessive exercise can be detrimental to your wellbeing. If any of the following symptoms occur the next time you are exerting yourself, it’s time to stop and perhaps seek medical advice before you start to feel worse.

The warning signs of excessive exercise are…

Sharp pains: If you experience sharp pains in and around your chest area, then you need to slow down. Hopefully, the pain will subside, but if not, you may be having (or in danger of having) a heart attack. The other warning signs on this list are also symptomatic of this life-threatening problem, so dial the emergency services if you find yourself in trouble.

Difficulty with breathing: Running out of breath is normal during exercise, especially if you are pushing yourself way beyond your limits. However, if you regularly feel out of breath, and are exercising at your usual pace, there may be a serious problem. Again, see your doctor, and then see a pulmonologist for rehabilitation if you have specific respiratory problems.

Feelings of dizziness: While this can be common during exercise, especially if you haven’t eaten enough or are dehydrated, there may also be signs that you have other health problems. Again, it may be symptomatic of a heart attack if linked with any of the other warning signs on this list, but you may also be suffering from a high-blood pressure. Take a break, drink some water, and if the symptom persists, see your doctor.

Excessive sweating: Sweating is normal, and is part and parcel of exercise. However, if you are sweating far more than you usually do, then you know you are exerting yourself too much. Particularly if your heart is beating fast and you are suffering any other symptoms on this list, slow down or stop altogether, and see a doctor if you recognise other dangerous side effects of exercise.

Feelings of numbness: Some numbness is common, especially if you are gripping something for extended periods, such as weights or bicycle handles. Adjusting your grip or loosening your hands for a for moments should alleviate the problem. However, if you experience feelings of numbness when running, or the issue persists during the examples we mentioned, you may be in trouble. Again, seek a medical professional for advice.

Muscle cramps: If you have over-exerted yourself, you are in danger of muscle cramps. If you do have these joint pains, stop immediately before you put yourself into a worse position. Muscle cramps also occur when you are dehydrated, so take a break and top yourself up with fluids before deciding whether you are safe to continue exercise for the day.

Final word

While the phrase ‘no pain no gain’ can sometimes be associated to exercise, you do need to take precautions. Always pace yourself, and if you do experience any of the warning signs we listed, ensure you get the relevant assistance. Exercise is good for you, but safety must always come first.