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Lose fat and improve strength: 5 core exercises you can easily do anywhere

The Kashmir Monitor

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With New Year’s celebrations just over a month from now on, if you want to sport a flat stomach with washboard abs or just want to get toned, focusing on core exercises might be a good choice. Not only will it help you lose weight, it will also add to your strength, balance, and stamina.

The core, composed of the oft-mentioned upper and lower abdominals as well as the side, back, psoas, and glutei muscles, provides a muscular framework that protects internal organs, aids movement, and lends balance and stability to the whole body.

We have compiled a list of core exercises for you to try out.

Front Planks

Rest your body on your elbows and toes, don’t let the hips sag or pike up. The goal should be to not give up for 60 seconds at least.

Side Plank

Side planks are great for the obliques. Lie on your right side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your right forearm so your body forms a diagonal line. Rest your left hand on your hip. Brace your abs and hold for 60 seconds at least. Repeat on the other side.

Verticle Leg Crunches

Take a mat and lie flat on the floor with lower back pressed to the ground. Extend legs straight up and place your hand behind your head. Now, try to move up towards your toes, crunching the stomach. Exhale as you contract upward, inhale as you return to the starting position.

Flutter Kicks

Lie on the mat face up with legs extended, toes pointed, and hands tucked underneath glutes to support the lower back. Lift both legs off the floor by a few inches and alternately kick legs up and down or in a criss-cross motion.

Russian Twist

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold arms straight out in front of the chest, with palms facing down. Lean back so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle with the floor. Twist to the right as far as you can, pause, then reverse movement and then twist to the left.

Keep these core exercises in mind the next time you pull up your mat.


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Health

Constantly Facing Gut Issues And Indigestion Problems? Chronic Stress Could Be The Culprit!

The Kashmir Monitor

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Impact of your stress on your overall health and well-being can be much more than you can imagine. Excessive stress can play a toll on your physical and mental health. It can specifically damage your gut health and digestion. Short-term stress can make a person lose appetite and slower down digestion, while long-term stress can cause gastrointestinal issues like indigestion, constipation and upset stomach. People who are chronically stressed are likely to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other serious gastrointestinal disorders.

The key to curbing digestion problems is managing stress. Taking lesser stress can bring down inflammation in the gut and will help in keeping you nourished. This is because without stress, your body is able to absorb all the nutrients it needs in a better way.

Following are some effective measures to control stress and improve gut health:

1. Quit smoking

Smoking is hazardous to digestive health. It is likely to increase risks of gastrointestinal diseases, peptic ulcers and cancer. It is about time you stopped resorting to smoking whenever you are stressed, as it is really being of no help to you. Opt for stress management techniques like engaging in a hobby, exercising, listening to music or simply taking a walk in the park. Here are some effective tips that can help you quit smoking.

2. Yoga

Yoga is an activity which has benefits for both physical and mental health. Yoga involves postures which improve alignment and posture and these can help in eliminating digestion problems and gastrointestinal issues. Yoga is a great stress busting activity as well.

3. Include prebiotics and probiotics in your diet

Prebiotics and probiotics provide your body with essential good bacteria. Food sources of prebiotics include onions, garlic, banana and asparagus to name a few. You can get your desired probiotics from kombucha, kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut and other fermented products. Prebiotics and probiotics have the capability of altering bacteria makeup in gut microbiome, thus making room for good bacteria and improving digestion.

4. Meditation

You need to practice mindful meditation for effective stress management. Mindful meditation is the practice which helps you be more aware about your daily life. You can also practice some deep breathing exercises as they can reduce inflammation and stress. You can try deep breathing exercises before your meals. This will help you relax and also make you prepared for digestion.

It is important to know that stress can cause weight gain and may even lead to anxiety and depression. Stressful situations will always occur in life. You need to work towards changing your attitude to stressful situations and not give too much importance to every problem which occurs in your life.

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Health

Beware! Do Not Buy Skincare Products If They Contain These Ingredients

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There are thousands of suggestions available on the internet on what skincare products you should be using. But do you know about the ones you should definitely not be using? Dermatologist Dr Kiran Lohia Sethi, in one of her posts on Instagram, talks about some products which you must never use on your skin. Whenever you are buying skincare products, it is important to check the ingredients with which they are made. Read below to know about the products which you must definitely avoid using on your skin.

Products you must not use on the skin

In her Instagram video, Dr Kiran says that products there are some products which contain nasty chemicals hidden in them. These chemicals are especially present in products which have artificial fragrance. “Artificial fragrance actually contains thousands of different chemicals which have not been tested,” she says. Products which come with artificial fragrances can be harmful for the skin.

Products with artificial colours should also be avoided as they too are loaded with nasty chemicals. Such products are likely to give you an allergic reaction or even an inflammatory disorder, says Dr Kiran.

Products which contain parabens need to be avoided. Parabens are preservatives that are commonly used in pharmaceuticals, moisturisers, shampoos, cosmetics and deodorants. Butylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben and methylparaben are commonly used in parabens. If you can find non-paraben skincare products, it is going to be really beneficial for the skin. “Parabens have known to be associated with certain cancers and they have the tendency of sitting on your body for a long time,” says Dr Kiran.

Similarly, formaldehyde derivatives have also been found to be carcionogenic. Products which contain them as ingredients should be avoided.

The idea is to take care of your skin with natural and home remedies without using these products which can actually harm your skin in the long run.

(Dr. Kiran Lohia Sethi is a dermatologist at Isya aesthetics Pvt Ltd)

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Health

Novel smartphone app can detect anaemia without blood test

The Kashmir Monitor

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Biomedical engineers have developed a novel smartphone application that could non-invasively detect anaemia without the need for a blood test.

The app uses photos of a person’s fingernails taken on a smartphone to accurately measure how much haemoglobin is in their blood.

Fingernail beds are ideal for detection of anaemia because they do not contain melanin — pigment that gives human skin, hair, and eyes their colour — indicating that the test can be valid for people with a variety of skin tones.

“All other ‘point-of-care’ anaemia detection tools require external equipment, and represent trade-offs between invasiveness, cost, and accuracy,” said principal investigator Wilbur Lam, Associate Professor from Emory University in the US.

“This is a standalone app whose accuracy is on par with currently available point-of-care tests without the need to draw blood,” said Lam.

The app is particularly helpful for pregnant women, women with abnormal menstrual bleeding, runners/athletes, and patients with chronic anaemia as they can monitor their disease and identify the times when they need to adjust their therapies or receive transfusions, the researchers said.

The app, detailed in the journal Nature Communications, is part of the doctoral work of former biomedical engineering graduate student Rob Mannino, who was motivated to conduct the research by his own experience living with beta-thalassemia — an inherited blood disorder that reduces the production of haemoglobin.

Maninno first took pictures of himself before and after transfusions as his haemoglobin levels were changing.

Later, the researchers studied fingernail photos and correlated the colour of the fingernail beds with haemoglobin levels measured by complete blood count (CBC) in 337 people.

The results showed some healthy and others with a variety of anaemia diagnoses.

However, additional research is needed to eventually achieve the accuracy to replace blood-based anaemia testing for clinical diagnosis, according to the team.

The smartphone anaemia app is projected to be commercially available for public download in 2019.

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