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29Apr/16Off

Watch Out for the 9 Signs of Dehydration

h11Our bodies are composed of a lot of water. For adult males, its 60% while for the ladies, its 55%. Imagine if the water levels go down significantly, all sorts of problems can set in. Whether you're physically active or just going about your everyday routine, you can get dehydrated. But how do you know you're already lacking fluids or just being affected by the summer heat? Watch out for the 9 signs of dehydration.

Always Hungry. Most of the time, thirst is mistaken for hunger. People unnecessarily eat rather than drink. This is because the part of the brain which indicates hunger and thirst is the same area. How do you know thirst from hunger? Hunger happens gradually, not suddenly. So if you become hungry all of a sudden, reach for a glass of water first and not for a sandwich.

Sudden Sweet Tooth. The lack of water reduces the liver's release of glycogens for energy. The brain sends this as craving signals, which you may interpret as a sign to grab a chocolate bar. When you have that craving, reach for a high water content snack, like a watermelon. Not only will your thirst be quenched, but you get to satisfy your sweet tooth in a natural way.

Dry Skin. Let's say you're out for a run. A good SPF cream will take care of your skin right? While it's true the cream moisturizes and protects, you also need good fluid intake to keep your skin from drying. Even the best moisturizer can't keep the skin from drying because of dehydration.

Cramps. If you're physically active, cramps are a good indicator that your fluids are on the low side. Muscles are composed of over 70 percent of water, imagine when you hit 40 percent or less because of sweating, muscles can cramp up. All that sweating depletes sodium and potassium levels as well, so besides water, a sports drink may be necessary.

Dry Mouth and Smelly Breath. Salivary glands use water to produce saliva, when there is a low supply, the glands reduce production significantly, leaving you with a dry mouth. But it does not stop there, the lack of saliva and warm environment promotes bacteria build up which then results in bad breath.

Headaches and Dizziness. There is a fluid sack which envelops the brain, protecting it from the impact of sudden blows. If the fluid sack's water level significantly decreases, expect severe headaches. Also, when you're dehydrated, there is a tendency for your blood pressure to decrease, leaving you dizzy. Some even experience disorientation.

Reduced Sweat. This one's a bit more basic, you don't drink much and you're dehydrated, your body can barely produce sweat even on a very hot day.

No Twinkle in your Tinkle. Urine is another indicator of dehydration. If you have dark urine, and has a really pungent smell, then you lack fluids. Urine should be clear or light yellow. Some vitamins and medicine can affect the color of your urine, but they will only make it into a darker shade of yellow.

Constipation. Your bowels need enough water to successful pass stool, without it you'll be constipated. Being well hydrated also helps your intestines absorb nutrients from digested food.

12Apr/16Off

The Therapeutic Value of Tears

h10Human beings are the only creatures able to shed tears in response to emotional stress. This is what makes us different from animals. But because of social, cultural or parental influence, crying makes us feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. How often have we heard the admonition "Big boys don't cry." It is dinned into the minds of children, that crying signifies weakness. An advertisement on TV showed how a boy who throughout his growing years was reminded that 'boys don't cry.' He grew into an emotionally repressed adult and became moody, glum and short tempered. Later in life he turned into a tyrant and wife batterer and was convicted for domestic violence.

In ancient literature we read about great heroes who were not afraid to cry. Achilles cried at the death of his friend Petroclus. Aneas wept for the loss of his friends and companions in war. In Egyptian mythology Isis wept for the dead Osiris. In the Bible, we read that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. In recent times Presidents like Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Regan, Clinton and Bush (Sr) have been known to shed tears in public. So crying is not just the prerogative of women. Males also shed tears in public, disputing the belief that 'boys don't cry.' Of course women cry more readily than men. But girls who break into sobs at the slightest provocation are called 'cry babies' and even suspected of emotional instability. Neurotics cry easily and alexithymics don't cry at all.

God has endowed human beings with a gamut of emotions - to feel, to cry, to be happy or sad or angry. Crying is a healthy response to some of life's problems. We shed tears of joy when we are happy. People who receive unexpected awards or recognition are overwhelmed with tears of joy. Some people cry out of frustration. Children, who cannot have their way or cannot retaliate against elders, exhibit their frustration through tantrums. But usually crying is associated with grief. The loss of a loved one or a job or a business or even a pet are hurtful psychological experiences which create a great deal of stress. Tears are one way to relieve tension and initiate the process of healing.

Crying is a normal response to bereavement. When sadness reaches a peak of intensity, tears bring therapeutic release. Once the crying stops the body relaxes, heart rate slows, breathing becomes regular and blood pressure is back to normal. So crying is actually a transitional point between tension and feeling better. It will not make problems disappear but will help put them in perspective so that one can deal with them in a level headed way.

Even 2000 years ago the Greeks and Romans were aware that shedding of tears relieved tension. "It is a relief to weep. Grief is satisfied and carried off by tears," said the poet Ovid. Aristotle was of the opinion that crying "cleanses the mind" of suppressed emotions. Freud and Breuer considered crying "an involuntary reflex to relieve tension and allow blocked negative emotions to be released."

Professor William Frey of the University of Minnesota in his study said that chemicals which build up during emotional stress are removed through tears. Tears associated with emotions have a higher level of certain proteins and chemicals such as magnesium and potassium. Manganese which affects moods was found to be thirty times of greater concentration in tears than in blood serum. So unalleviated stress was likely to cause heart attacks or even damage certain areas of the brain.

The presence of the hormone Prolactin in tears explains why women cry more easily than men.

Alexander Fleming (discoverer of Penicillin) did a chemical analysis of tears and found that they contain an enzyme Lysozyme which dissolves the outer coat of many bacteria. Through suppression of tears we may suffer both physical and emotional consequences.

Weeping is not weakness. Those who put on a brave front and bottle up their emotions are merely internalizing their pain and suffer symptoms like headache, peptic ulcers, high blood pressure, irritability or depression. Inability to cry can make a person dysfunctional. Men giving vent to tears is now acceptable in society. In Japan they call it the 'crying boom' encouraging people to express their emotions.

God has placed in our bodies a natural provision for relief of tension and grief. Everyone grieves differently depending on one's personality, coping skills, faith, nature of loss and tradition. In some cultures it is okay to cry loudly without inhibitions and make a show of their grief. I witnessed a death in a Khurdish community in Iran. It was frightening to see women tearing their hair, clawing at their cheeks to draw blood and rolling on the ground, and screaming. They believed that the departed soul would rest in peace knowing how dearly he or she was loved.

Therapeutic Value of tears:

• Crying is something personal. It is not an exhibition of grief but a physical manifestation of internal emotions.

• It is the beginning of a process of dealing with sadness. "We are healed of suffering only when we experience it the full," said Marcel Proust.

• Crying helps to visualize a new scenario for our lives. It helps accept that our loss is real and even while we continue to grieve, we begin to envisage a life without the person we have lost.

• Crying is cathartic. It releases toxins and pent up emotions, helping us to handle our loss instead of being afraid of it.

• Crying is effective in starting the process of healing. "It is not only a human response to sorrow and frustration but a healthy one," says William Frey. According to his study 85% of women and 75% of men felt less angry or sad after crying. In Ancient Middle East mourners would collect their tears in wineskins and place them on the tomb of their loved ones.

• Crying may also be a call for support from relatives and friends. "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted," says the Bible. Friends and relatives should allow the griever to vent his pain and help validate his grief.

3Apr/16Off

Choose Your Fitness Classes With Care and Have Maximum Health Benefits

h9It seems as if everyone around wants to stay fit and healthy. It also seems as if everyone plans to join a gym and get total fitness. Maybe not everyone but it's true that more people today want to gain fitness and health benefits. It's also true that more people are joining gyms these days in the hope of achieving desired fitness level and health benefits. Fitness classes are now in great demand and in fact, they are coveted by people of all age groups. Some want to lose weight while others are desperate to tone the body, and all this makes them join a gym.

It's perfectly normal for people to join gym and try to tone and chisel the body in order to look good and make an impression on the world and people around. However, health-conscious people sometimes make the mistake of choosing wrong classes, which fail to give them the desired results. They often rush into joining a fitness centre even without assessing its classes, facilities and equipment. As a result, they end up losing a lot of time and money with exercises neither beneficial nor easy for them to do. It's therefore important to join only those classes that meet specific fitness requirements.

In order to choose a right kind of fitness class, one should be first aware of their workout strength and weaknesses. One should know in advance that weights can be rigorous and physically demanding while aerobics not. More so, one should enrol for a combination of circuit training and weight if the prime target is to get as toned and chiselled a body as a bodybuilder possesses. You simply can't enrol for aerobics hoping to craft the body and get rippling muscles. There has to be a clarity of thought else your investment may be squandered away without fetching any concrete results.

The best strategy would be to first consult a professional health trainer or expert and get a complete idea about right fitness classes. Once the kind of classes is ascertained, the next step should be about knowing the nature or method of training. Fitness goals and time-frame often determine whether group workouts or one-on-one training will do the trick. Both these factors will also play a role in determination of the cost that your fitness classes will entail. After that, you can decide whether to chart out your daily, weekly and monthly fitness goals.

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