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Could I Have Adrenal Fatigue?

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Q: I keep reading about a problem called “adrenal fatigue.” How can I tell if I have it?

A: Well, theres some debate as to whether this even exists. There is a condition called adrenal insufficiency, or Addisons disease, in which your adrenal glands dont produce enough hormones, and youre left feeling extremely fatigued—even light-headed and achy. A blood test can diagnose this. Adrenal fatigue, on the other hand, is a catchall term used to describe a milder form of insufficiency that cant be detected by blood tests. The symptoms linked to it include aches, nervousness, and sleep and digestive problems, in addition to fatigue. But it isnt a recognized medical diagnosis, and for good reason: Theres no scientific proof that slightly low levels of the hormones produced by your adrenal glands, such as cortisol, cause these symptoms. If you feel inexplicably tired, see your doctor to find out if its a sign of a real health issue, such as a thyroid problem or depression.

 

 

 

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Cell Phone-Cancer Link Seen in Rat Study

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An important new study that has linked cell phone radiation to cancers in the brain and heart.

The new research was conducted on rats by the U.S. National Toxicology Program, which exposed rats to radiofrequency radiation that comes from cell phones for about nine hours a day for seven days a week. They found that the exposed rats were more likely to develop cancers, specifically malignant gliomas—a tumor of glial cells in the brain—and tumors in the heart.

The study was reviewed by experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the authors say more research on the link will emerge in the next couple years. There are some important caveats to the new report. A study in rats is never directly translational to humans. It does, however, give researchers evidence that can lead to further research on the impact cell-phone radiation has on people. The findings were also most statistically significant for male rats.

Other research has seen a link between cell phones and cancer, though research overall remains limited. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cell phone use and other radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as a possible carcinogen in 2011. “This study in mice and rats is under review by additional experts,” the NIH said in a statement about the findings. “It is important to note that previous human, observational data collected in earlier, large-scale population-based studies have found limited evidence of an increased risk for developing cancer from cell phone use.”

Other studies have produced conflicting results. One cohort study in Denmark looked at billing information from 358,000 cell phone users and then compared it to brain-tumor data from a national cancer registry. That study did not find a link between the two. Another recent study published in May looked at incidence of brain cancer in Australia from 1982 to 2013 and did not find an uptick in cancer cases with the introduction of cells phones. Still, other government-funded studies have made connections between cell phones’ electromagnetic fields and changes in brain activity. And a June 2014 study found that radiation from cell phones can lower men’s sperm mobility by 8% and sperm viability by 9%.

The NIH says part of the reason research so far has been inconsistent is that there are various factors that can influence the results of a study. For instance, brain cancers are notoriously difficult to study due to their high mortality rates, and studies are also subject to issues like inaccurate reporting. There are also changes over time in the type of cell phones available as well as how much people use them.

The researchers say this new report is unlikely to be the final word on the possible risks of cell phone radiation, and more data from their research is anticipated to be released in fall 2017.

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

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How to stay motivated

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Whether you’re experiencing a plateau or need a fitness pick me up, stay motivated with these simple tips.

Self-inquiry: bring on the confidence

What it does: Also known as ‘interrogative self-talk’, self inquiry promotes acknowledging doubts as part of a process to overcome them. An empowering process, it demands articulating what you’ll do by turning them into questions.

How to do it: Many negative thoughts originate from subconscious beliefs, which affirmations largely choose to ignore. Saying ‘I can’ and ‘I will’ works by making you more positive about yourself and your situation, but this has little sway if your fears surface and give you a list of reasons why you ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t’. By acknowledging these thoughts and bringing them into your full consciousness you can create congruence between what you’re saying to yourself and what you believe. A study in the journal of Psychological Science found that even something as simple as writing ‘will I?’ as opposed to ‘I will’ in an apparently unrelated writing task produced better intentions to exercise.

 

Goal priming – accountability

What it does: Planning exercise sessions can work against piking last-minute, as in the act of crafting a well-articulated plan, you’re effectively programming your mind to follow the script. “You will be more likely to stick to something when you can see it mapped out in front of you rather than just saying you want to do it,” says personal trainer and triathlete Sarah Menlove. You’ll also feel accountable to the plan. “Having specific exercises to target your individual goals means you have a plan of attack, so you don’t get to the gym and slack off or wander around wondering what to do,” Menlove says.

How to do it: Build your plan around the emotive goal you’ve identified, accounting for practical limitations (if you know you’ve got kids’ footy training on Thursdays or tend to finish work late on Mondays, factor it in). “Once you have your short- and long-term goals in place, you then need to schedule in your training, meal preparation and eating around your already busy life, ” says PT Emma James. A diary or spreadsheet or mobile phone app are ideal. Enlist gym staff or a PT to write a program that matches your vision.

Up your mood with your playlist

What it does: Music has been likened to a legal drug for athletes by exercise expert Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D. Research shows that listening to music during a workout can extend the duration before fatigue sets in, buying extra time and exertion. The analgesic effect of endorphins, which are activated by music, can mask fatigue, says psychologist Dale Barclay from Victoria’s Performance and Sport Psychology Clinic.

A study published The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that listening to a favourite playlist reduced non-productive behaviours in training and improved sprint and long-distance running performance. Studies show that a strategically chosen tempo can make hard gym graft feel easier, leading to longer sessions.

How to do it: Dr Karageorghis suggests planning your playlist around songs with which you’re familiar and that you find motivating. The tempo (measured in beats per minute) should loosely match your speed and intensity. Choose music of around 140 to 160 BPM for cardio like running and HITT, and around 115 BPM for weights and walking.

Read the full article by Madeline Lakos and Bronte Chaperon in the June 2016 issue of Women’s Health and Fitness for more motivational tips. 

For more motivational tips and tricks, check out lifestyle section. 

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How to boost your mood during winter

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Don’t let the cooler weather deter you from reaching your health and fitness goals. Here are a few ways to change your mood.

 

Slow it down with yoga

Moderate to high-intensity exercise cranks endorphins, but if you’re looking to manipulate your mood, you might try yoga. Yoga’s effect on mood and anxiety may be superior to other forms of exercise like walking according to Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) research linking yoga postures to increased levels of anti-anxiety neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric (GABA). Low GABA levels are associated with depression and other widespread anxiety disorders. In a 12-week study, a group practising yoga three times a week for one hour exhibited higher GABA levels and self-reported mood, with yoga participants largely noting more significant decreases in anxiety and greater improvements in mood than walkers.

Rise early

The most important external signal for the body clock is light, so exposure to bright morning light is a good antidote to low mood, says Prof Lack. Artificial lighting doesn’t activate the same physiological responses as natural light, so open the curtains as soon as you get up.

On weekends, resist sleeping in. “If you sleep in late, our evidence suggests it leads to a delay of the timing of your body clock,” says Prof Lack. “Because you don’t get light as early, it allows that tendency for delay to take place. Over a weekend you can delay your body clock up to an hour.”

Delaying your body clock over the weekend can result in Monday morning blues, Prof Lack says.

Lighten up

Not only are they likely to show up mismatched foundation and a carefully ironed shirt, fluorescent lights are a poor substitute for sunlight.

“The sort of environmental light outside is much more intense than the light produced by artificial lighting,” says Professor David Hillman, chair of the Sleep Health Foundation. “Artificial light needs to be quite contrived to be the equivalent of sunlight. There’s no doubt that mood gets disturbed by an inability to get out into the open air, so as far as a healthy lifestyle goes, it’s about robust wakefulness and good sleep patterns. These low-light environments are less arousing, so the quality of the wakefulness is less.”

Increasing brightness of lighting may provide an instant boost.

“Enhancement of office and industrial lighting can have an energising effect that strengthens circadian rhythms, allowing more concentrated activity during the day and more refreshing sleep at night,” says Prof Terman.

It doesn’t replace the lunchtime walk, but it might help.

Read the full article by Bronte Chaperon, David Goding and Rebecca Long in the June 2016 issue of Women’s Health and Fitness for more natural winter mood boosters.

If you, or someone you know, need to talk to someone about depression, contact Beyond Blue, 1300 22 4636, or beyondblue.org.au,

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Overcoming motivational barriers

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If you’re constantly lack motivation, these psychological tricks might save you a world of grief.

The stick: Self doubt

The fix: Self-inquiry

Also known as ‘interrogative self-talk’, self-inquiry promotes acknowledging doubts as part of a process to overcome them. An empowering process, it demands articulating what you’ll do by turning them into questions. 

How it works: Many negative thoughts originate from subconscious beliefs, which affirmations largely choose to ignore. Saying ‘I can’ and ‘I will’ works by making you more positive about yourself and your situation, but this has little sway if your fears surface and give you a list of reasons why you ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t’. By acknowledging these thoughts and bringing them into your full consciousness you can create congruence between what you’re saying to yourself and what you believe. A study in the journal of Psychological Science found that even something as simple as writing ‘will I?’ as opposed to ‘I will’ in an apparently unrelated writing task produced better intentions to exercise.

The stick: Doona-itis

The fix: Nudge theory

Referred to in psych circles as ‘automaticity’ or goal priming, nudge theory rests on the premise that small changes trick you into achieving substantial goals that can seem overwhelming or impossible. “Rather than trying to overtly change people’s behaviour, the idea is to subtly direct people down a particular path by tweaking their environment,” says health psychology researcher Dr Nicola Davies. 

How it works: “This works by tapping into our two ways of thinking: automatic and reflective,” says Davies. Automatic thoughts are those you fall into habitually and action without much hesitation, like hitting the snooze button, whereas reflective thoughts rely on a conscious effort to do things differently. “Nudging is about making the healthier option easier to execute than the less healthy one, so that eventually the new way becomes automatic,” Davies says. A nudge can be “anything that influences our choices”. Like laying out your gym clothes the night before, putting your runners by the front door, or putting the vegies on the middle shelf. Priming your goals is about changing your environment so that it not only influences your choices, but also limits them. One Stanford University study found that the more we clutter the mind, the less likely we are to make reflective choices. 

Searching for more motivational tactics? Check out our lifestyle and motivation section. 

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Your path to healthy skin

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Looking for natural remedies to treat acne, eczema and other skin conditions? The dermatologist and nutritionist share their expert tips.

 

The experts show us how to optimise your diet for clearer, healthier, brighter skin. 

ACNE

» Dermatologist says: “Look for products that are non-comedogenic, so they do not block pores or cause acne. Key pore-clearing ingredients include salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acids) and many vitamin A products. Also look for anti-inflammatory components such as benzoyl peroxide, zinc and niacinamide. You should look for products that are not too creamy or rich. Even without pore-blocking ingredients, oily or excessively moisturising products will have a detrimental effect on the skin. Go for mineral make-up and combination creams like BB and CC creams.”

» Nutritionist says: “Consume a diet low in added sugars and avoid all highly refined, processed foods. Consume three to five cups of bright-coloured vegetables per day and consider supplements such as zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C. There are also natural, DIY methods. Antibacterial tea tree oil and witch hazel are often used on acne-prone skin. Or try combining sea salt and coconut oil and using as a natural exfoliate scrub for congested skin.”

ECZEMA 

» Dermatologist says: “Corticosteroids or calcineurin antagonists may be used to help reduce inflammation and itch. Antihistamines may also help reduce the itch, while antibiotics may be required if infections are severe. Stick to cotton clothing, avoiding wool and synthetics, and you can also use wet dressings to help soothe the skin and reduce itchiness. Cosmetics are best avoided, but if necessary, look for ones that are hypoallergenic. Generally, food avoidance is not useful, but avoiding dairy products, nuts, eggs, chocolate, citrus fruits and wheat products may help.”

» Nutritionist says: “Implement an elimination diet to determine possible food triggers, consume an anti-inflammatory, plant-based, whole food diet and consider supplements such as fish oil, vitamin E and probiotics. For eczema, coconut oil may also be of benefit as it’s deeply moisturising and improves skin barrier function. Honey is also great, incorporated into a DIY face mask. It’s antibacterial and a humectant, attracting water to help keep dry skin hydrated.”

COLD SORES

» Dermatologist says: “Overtopical astringents and topical Zovirax (acyclovir), cold sores are best treated by oral treatments of anti-virals like acyclovir, valalcyclovir and Famciclovir.”

» Nutritionist says: “Address aggravating factors like food, lifestyle and stress. Avoid chocolate, peanuts and almonds and try to manage stress levels. Start incorporating foods that are high in lysine such as fish, chicken, beef, lamb, cheese, beans, brewer’s yeast and mung bean sprouts and take supplements like lysine, zinc and vitamin C.”

PSORIASIS 

» Dermatologist says: “There is no single treatment that will cure psoriasis. However, it is possible to control it and sometimes clear it. Certain medications can slow down the rate at which the skin cells are produced, but it takes several weeks for your condition to improve. Sunlight helps to clear psoriasis, which is why it usually improves over summer. Remember that psoriatic skin is more easily damaged than normal skin, so you may need to consider skin protection if your job involves hard, manual work.”

» Nutritionist says: “Look into possible food sensitivities and avoid potential triggers such as alcohol, gluten and dairy. Consume three to five cups of fresh vegetables per day and include turmeric, garlic and ginger. Supplements to take alongside may include fish oil, digestive enzymes, vitamin E and vitamin A.”

Check out our health and beauty section for more tips and tricks.

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South Australian spa retreats

 

For secluded locations and breathtaking scenery, relax your body and soul at one of these spa retreats in South Australia.

 

PURE LUXE
Southern Ocean Lodge

The place: Due to its truly secluded location, perched high on a cliff top, you can only access the treatment rooms via a boardwalk through the coastal flora. Once you reach your private oasis, admire the view, rewind and relax, soaking up the sounds of waves crashing in the background.

The experience: Their Ligurian Honey and Almond Wrap features ingredients that are locally produced. The 90-minute treatment begins with a Bay of Shoals mineral salt exfoliation before you’re wrapped in a cocoon of nourishing honey and almonds. You’re then treated to a massage using essential oil sourced from around the island, and a spritz of fragrant wild rosella flower mist.

Details: Hanson Bay Road, Kingscote, (02) 9918 4355

WELLNESS
Kangaroo Island Health Retreat

The place: Want your spa treatments served up alongside spectacular scenery, wildlife and locally produced gourmet food? Book yourself a stay at the world-renowned Kangaroo Island Health Retreat. This empowering, educating and healing experience will leave you totally refreshed by the time you return home.

The experience: One of their signature multi-day programs includes a health assessment, daily mentoring, yoga, pilates, meals and cooking classes, plus massage treatments, nutrition lectures and a post-program follow-up.

Details: 227 Bates Road, Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island, (08) 8553 5374

NEXT >> 6 must-have beauty products for your gym bag!

 

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Krystle Wyatt: November 2015 BodyBlitz winner

 Krystle Wyatt knows that family comes first; that’s why she’s decided to make her health a priority.

 

 

 

Krystle Wyatt: November 2015 BodyBlitz winner - PHOTO - Women's Health & Fitness

In early 2013, my mother passed away suddenly. Seven months later, I discovered I was pregnant with my first child. During my pregnancy, I was still dealing with the loss of my mother and didn’t focus on healthy eating at all and gained 35 kg. My son was born over 13 weeks premature and with a health condition that saw us in hospital for 166 days, two major operations, countless procedures and him enduring things that no child should have to.

I began working out as a means of stress relief during my son’s time in hospital. Training has been a godsend in terms of my emotional, mental and physical health while going through an immense period of stress. I am incredibly passionate about the mental and emotional benefits training provides. As time continued on, my focus shifted to keeping myself as fit and healthy as I could for my son; to be a better mother and ensure I would be around for years to come. The challenge was a goal to strive towards, assisting in my staying the course and keeping strong when temptation arose.

I had lost 32 kg before the BodyBlitz challenge started. My focus shifted from mainly cardio to weight training to develop tone. I wanted to be inspired go above and beyond the weight loss, health and fitness achievements I had previously accomplished. As a result, I feel more energetic and stronger, I am better equipped to handle emotional stress and more confident within myself. I feel happier with myself; I feel as though I am able to conquer any goal I set.
The one thing that sticks in my mind is how hard it is to be overweight. Physically it’s not enjoyable to run or walk long distances because it can be uncomfortable and difficult. I stuck with it, though, and now it’s one of the highlights of my day.

Krystle Wyatt after pics - Weight loss stories - Women's Health & Fitness

On overcoming challenges:
Being a single parent, I have my son the majority of the time, so my training would have to work around his schedule, not so much mine. I was unable to go to the gym because his health condition meant I couldn’t put him in day care or crèche, so I had a little gym set up at home with the basics for equipment. I enlisted the help of a personal trainer to write weekly programs for me to do at home. It was challenging, but they produced the results I wanted – my confidence with what I was doing grew with each weekly progress picture!

On workout motivation:
I don’t believe vanity or looking good in itself is a strong enough goal to sustain ongoing training and eating well. Every time I felt like giving up or stopping, I thought of my mother. Every time I wanted to cut a training session short because I was ‘too tired’, I thought of family members that were struggling through illness. Every time I wanted to eat something unhealthy, I thought about the little eyes that were watching me, and what sort of example I wanted to provide. I don’t want my son to experience losing a parent at an early age, so I will do everything I can to prevent this.

On food swaps:
Prior to this year, I would just eat whatever I felt like at the time. After researching and becoming more aware of how important nutrition is to both health and weight loss, I began making changes to what I ate on a daily basis. The urge to emotionally eat was quite strong at some stages…but revisiting the reasons I decided to take the challenge helped a lot. Initially it was hard, but my desire to change and to be a better person outweighed any food I could possibly eat.

On treats:
I treated myself by purchasing some new trainers or gym clothes. There are so many non-food treats you can enjoy while doing something like this – I’m just obsessed with fitness gear…and yes, I’m one of those people that live in it!

On measurements:
I am ecstatic with my measurements. I didn’t even realise how much of a difference it was until I held the measuring tape up where it was and now where it is. In my opinion, the measurements are the most important thing!

On goals:
My stepfather was diagnosed with cancer and sadly passed away a week after the challenge ended. Losing my mother at 59 and my stepfather at 58 has given me a heightened awareness of just how important health really is. My next goal is to complete my Master Trainer through the Australian Institute of Fitness, and to continue to train and implement what I learn on myself and to eventually begin helping other people who may have had a tough time of it or just need some guidance in the right direction. If I can do it with everything that has happened, absolutely anyone can.

WHAT I DID:
Monday: Legs
Tuesday: Back and biceps
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Chest and arms
Friday: Circuit
Saturday: Run
Sunday: Rest day/pram walk

WHAT I ATE:
Meal 1: Maxine’s protein shake with oats and maca
Meal 2: Protein bar
Meal 3: 100 g chicken breast/steak, 100 g sweet potato, salad/vegies
Meal 4: Apple and almonds
Meal 5: 150 g chicken breast/steak, 100 g sweet potato, salad/vegies or stir-fry
Meal 6: Maxine’s nighttime protein shake

Congratulations Krystle! Are you up for the challenge?

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