MyDoc Fitness: Outdoor and body weight exercises

As part of MyDoc@Work, we will be sharing fitness related content produced by our fitness partner uFit.
Marcus Fam, Head of uFit Bootcamps, shares his top five exercises you can do outdoors with no equipment required.

Fitness Tip 1: Lunges

Not only does working the legs expend more calories due to recruiting a higher amount of motor units, who doesn’t want to have nice legs?
Try incorporating lunges in sprint intervals as part of your active recovery. Always keep your chest and shoulders upright, and your spine in neutral while lunging. As with all resistance exercises, the focus should be on the muscles, not the joints. Perform a full range of motion and avoid bouncing or jerking. If your legs are burning, congratulations, keep going!
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Fitness Tip 2:  Sprints

Lots of bootcampers are ace runners, but for those who aren’t keen to clock in 10km runs or more, give a go at sprinting. So we’re not talking about aerobic running. Full-on anaerobic sprints that leave you gasping for air and leave your legs jelly. Try 60m – 200m sprints. 8 sets, with no more than 3 minute rest periods. If you have a hill, spectacular, knock yourself out!
With the added benefit of building muscle along with speed, sprinting helps you build and define your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, while at the same time burning off the fat layers that hide under the muscles. Sprint training is the most explosive training you can do.
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Fitness Tip 3: Burpees

There’s a reason why bootcampers groan when they hear the sheer mention of the word. It’s perhaps the most compound of exercises and combines a squat, push up, squat thrust & plyometric jump all in one. It’s great for cardiovascular fitness and strength training. Try doing 100 a day, throughout the day.  Nothing like having burpees for breakfast!
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Fitness Tip 4: Push-ups

This gets on the list not just because of its simplicity, but also because of the fact that it allows various degrees of intensity.
Always maintain a strong core and neutral lower back. Bring your chest to the ground and use your chest and triceps to push yourself off the ground. If you’re strong enough, push the earth away from you. Also if you’re upto it be brave and try some variations!

Fitness Tip 5: Mountain climbers

Another top exercise which hits various body parts, including the core. Try hitting a set of 20 reps immediately after push-ups. Always maintain a neutral spine, and tight core throughout the exercise (hips should not be moving up and down).
A variation of this would be to draw the knee to the opposite elbow (left knee to right elbow, vice versa) for greater recruitment of the obliques.
If performed correctly, mountain climbers will not just get your core firing – but triceps, hip flexors, and shoulder stabilisers smashed as well.
To read more healthcare and health-related content visit our blog here. To find out more about MyDoc@Work, please visit our website to speak to our team.
This post was originally posted on uFit’s blog.

5 Great Alternatives to Processed Sugar

Health-conscious people are constantly looking for natural and nutritious ingredients to replace the processed ones. Ditching refined or processed sugar is at the top of the list for most, as health professionals keep warning us about the dangers of consuming what’s considered the drug of the 21st century. Starting a whole foods diet is key to keep insulin levels in balance; in exchange, you’ll get rid of cravings and, most importantly, you’ll avoid health conditions triggered by refined sugar such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.
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A Secret Enemy

It’s hard to stay away from sugar when having a sweet tooth, though. That’s why the aim of this lifestyle change is not so much quitting all kinds of sugar for good but to opt for sugars coming from unprocessed natural sources (plants and fruits), thus healthier for our bodies. By making small changes in eating habits, you’ll put an end to a serious addiction harming your physical and mental health: you’ll quickly see your skin improve, and your cholesterol and glucose levels will drop, as well as your chances of getting diabetes in the future.
Where to start? The biggest step is avoiding packaged treats, which surely contain lots of processed sugar. Instead, head to the health store and experiment with all of the natural sweeteners available these days. It’s a good way to become familiar with healthier alternatives to processed sugar. Not only do they make great substitutes when baking, but they are also more nutritious than table sugar.

Healthier Alternatives

  • Raw honey. The most well-known alternative to processed sugar, honey brings innumerable nutritional benefits to your body thanks to its organic acids, minerals, vitamins and amino acids. The raw kind (the most authentic version of honey) is especially recommended against the commercial pasteurised ones normally found at the supermarket.
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  • Coconut sugar. It’s considered one of the most sustainable sweeteners in the world for the minimal amount of water it needs to be produced. Moreover, it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients nor is it genetically modified. Apart from having a low glycemic index, we can benefit from its zinc, calcium and potassium. It’s widely used in Southeast Asia.
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  • Dates. A Middle Eastern delicacy, the Medjool is the most adored type in the kitchen it’s gooey and has a caramel-like flavour, perfect to replace unhealthier sweeteners but still give a nice texture to the dessert you’re making. One Medjool date contains about 60 calories, 16 grams of natural sugar and two grams of fibre. Nutrition wise, they are rich in B vitamins, calcium, copper and magnesium. They are excellent to sweeten smoothies, muffins, cookies and other treats.
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  • Molasses. It comes from cooking sugar cane or sugar beets. Containing a wide array of antioxidants, it has a thicker texture (and darker colour) than maple syrup or agave, two other options for plant-based sweeteners. Molasses is great to replace the traditional caramel used in puddings, tarts and cakes.
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  • Lo Han. It’s a plant native to southwestern China, also known as monk fruit, which is being introduced to the Western world as a natural zero-calorie sweetener and a great source of antioxidants. Although its cost is still much higher than other natural sweeteners, it’s suitable for cooking and baking and it can be combined with other sweeteners such as stevia.
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Bottom line, replacing processed sugar by the alternatives presented above is a great way to take better care of your body, though you still need to consume them in moderation. It’s advisable that our daily added sugar intake doesn’t exceed 10 percent of the total calories consumed in a day. This applies to healthier sweeteners too, as no matter how nutritious, they are fundamentally made of sugar that our liver needs to metabolise.
This is a content partnership between MyDoc and Lifestyle Collective to provide high-quality health content to our readers. MyDoc is a digital health brand that makes access to quality health easier and faster. This series is focused on educating people on general health topics. The information shared has been reviewed by third-party medical professionals. 
The original post appeared here.
To read more healthcare and health-related content visit our blog here.

MyDoc Fitness: Stretches to get your body moving

As part of MyDoc@Work, we will be sharing fitness related content by our fitness partner uFit.
Maire, uFit clinic physiotherapist, shares her top 5 stretches to get you loose and limber.

Fitness Tip 1: Hip rotations and lower back stretch

Lay on your back, put your arms out in a “T” position and bend both knees bent to 90’. Keeping knees and ankles together, gently rotate knees to one side and turn head to loot to the opposite side. Slowly de-rotate and repeat the same stretch to the other side. Move slowly and with an exhaled breath. Hold the stretch for 3-5 breaths and do 3 repetitions on each side.
Stretches to follow

Fitness Tip 2: Lower back stretches

This is a little more intense that the above stretch. Lay in the same position as above. But instead, take one knee into your chest and then slowly rotate that knee across your body and over to the other side. Try to keep the opposite shoulder down. Hold this position for 3-5 breaths and repeat on the other side. Do 3 times on each side.
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Fitness Tip 3: Thoracic (mid-back) extensions

This stretch can be done over a foam roller if you’re flexible and over a rolled up towel if you’re a little stiffer.
  • Lay down on your back and place the foam roller or rolled up towel behind you, around your mid-back (bra line for women and nipple line for men).
  • Place hands behind your head to support your head and gently tuck your chin.
  • Inhale to prepare and exhale to extend your mid-back over the foam roller or towel whilst maintaining your chin tuck.
  • If using the foam roller, then stay in this position for an inhale, then on your exhale gently curl back up using your abdominals into your starting position. And repeat this exercise 3 times at this spinal level.
  • But if using the rolled up towel, then stay in this extended position for at least 1 minute with arms rested on the floor and take nice big deep breaths. Then place hands behind head again and curl back up into a seated position.

Fitness Tip 4: Hip flexor stretches

  • Kneel on one knee on an exercise mat, or cushion if you’ve any knee problems.
  • Tuck your tailbone under as if tightening your butt.
  • Stretch up the same-sided arm up to the sky and feel a stretch down through the front of the thigh and hip.
  • Hold for 3-5 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.

Fitness Tip 5: Glute stretch – seated

  • Sitting upright on your chair, cross your ankle over your opposite knee and pull close to your hip.
  • Straighten your back again and then lean forward into the stretch.
  • Hold for 3-5 breaths keeping back straight. Repeat on the other side.
To read more healthcare and health-related content visit our blog here. To find out more about MyDoc@Work, please visit our website to speak to our team.
This post was originally posted on uFit’s blog.

A Vegetarian Diet: What Does Your Doctor Think?

A strict vegetarian diet consists solely of plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and beans. However, there are several variations of this fundamental principle.
Ovo-Lacto vegetarians also eat eggs and dairy products. Pescatarians include fish and seafood into their meals.
A strict vegetarian that excludes all animal products is also referred to as a vegan. Vegans might go one step further and consume mainly uncooked and unprocessed, “raw foods.”
The American Dietetic Association believes that well-planned vegetarian diets are healthy, nutritionally sound, provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of diseases, and are suitable for individuals at all stages of the life cycle.

Why do people use vegetarian diets?

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Although many vegetarians eschew animal products due to environmental and ethical beliefs, it’s the numerous health benefits that grab the attention of the medical fraternity and health authorities. It’s been estimated that as many as 70 percent of all diseases are related to diet.
Non-vegetarian diets, if not properly managed, can be high in saturated fats and processed foods and low in essential nutrients and complex carbohydrates. This deadly combination leads to higher rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and even death.
In contrast, people who switch to a low-fat, vegetarian diet tend to experience significant weight loss and can keep that weight off, leading to subsequent improvement in health.
Studies carried out by the Loma Linda University of Public Health, and George Washington University School of Medicine, have found vegetarian diets lead to a significant reduction in the incidence of diabetes and assist with management of the disease.
Numerous studies have found that eating a vegetarian diet, which is full of antioxidants, fibre, Vitamins C and E, magnesium, unsaturated fats and a multitude of phytochemicals, correlates with lower cholesterol and blood pressure, with a commensurate decrease in heart disease.

Common Mistakes of Vegetarians

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Despite it’s many health benefits, there are several pitfalls to avoid when adopting a vegetarian diet.
When you cut out all animal products, it’s vital to ensure that you still get a full range of essential nutrients. A lack of iron and Vitamin B12 are two of the most common deficiencies. It’s also important to consume enough essential fatty acids, zinc, iodine, calcium and vitamin D.
Vegetarians who don’t eat a balance of proteins, the right carbs, and good and bad fats can end up eating unhealthy meals, just like any non-vegetarian with a poor diet.
Eating too many refined and processed foods that contain little to no nutritional value is also a problem. Processed tofu, for example, can be high in estrogen and cause hormonal imbalances if eaten in excess. Organic tofu or tempeh are far healthier alternatives.
Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats and whole grain bread, rice and pasta are healthier options than their white alternatives.
Processed cheese is high in saturated fats and can inflame the digestive system if too much is consumed. Some vegetarian hot dogs, hamburger and bacon substitutes are full of processed soy, sugar, and artificial flavours. Black beans, pinto beans, lentils and chickpeas are better options because they contain high-quality, plant-based proteins without the toxic additives.
It is recommended that you speak to a professional to assess your own specific dietary needs. Advice from a qualified dietician or medical practitioner can assist in helping get the balance right. In addition to assessing an individual’s nutritional requirements, they can help educate and advise on suitable sources of specific nutrients, what foods to purchase, how to prepare them and specific dietary modifications necessary.
This is a content partnership between MyDoc and Lifestyle Collective to provide high-quality health content to our readers. MyDoc is a digital health brand that makes access to quality health easier and faster. This series is focused on educating people on general health topics. The information shared has been reviewed by third-party medical professionals. 
The original post appeared here.
To read more healthcare and health-related content visit our blog here.

5 Surprising Benefits of a Healthy Sleeping Pattern

Sleep is an important indicator of your overall health and wellbeing. After all, people spend one-third of their lives under the sheets. And the quality of your sleep helps determine the quality of life you will have. A good night’s sleep of seven to nine hours is as important as eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

5 Surprising Benefits of a Healthy Sleeping Pattern
To prove how important sleep is, here are five surprising benefits of a good night’s rest:
Sleep Promotes Healthy Weight
Sleep helps you achieve a healthy weight. A sleep-deprived body produces a decreased amount of leptin, also known as the starvation or fat hormone, and more ghrelin or the hunger hormone, leaving you with an increased appetite. A sleep study of 11-year-old children found that those who sleep for shorter periods of time have 14.9 percent higher ghrelin levels and 15.5 percent lower leptin levels than those who sleep seven to nine hours at night. Another study by the CDC found that 35 percent of Americans struggling with their weight are sleep deprived.
When you get enough sleep, you just feel better and happier. When you don’t sleep enough, your body produces more cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, which is known to increase your appetite and affect your mood. If your hormone levels are stable, it makes you feel hungry only when you should feel hungry, thereby promoting a healthier weight.
Sleep Enhances Your Skin
Sleep deprivation can also have detrimental effects on your skin. A 2015 article posits that chronic poor sleep is connected with increased signs of aging, diminished skin barrier function, and lowered satisfaction with physical appearance. People who sleep enough feel better about their appearances.
As you sleep, your body recovers and repairs itself by increasing blood flow to the skin, resulting in that “healthy morning glow.” The skin produces new collagen, creating brighter, clearer and firmer skin. The more quality sleep you get, the more collagen your skin can produce, helping to eliminate sagging skin, such as the “bags” that appear under your eyes, also known as dark circles. Collagen also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory that aids in fighting acne and immune-related skin irritations.
Sleep Stimulates Your Sex Life
According to a 2012 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 26 percent of people in the U.S. claim their sex life suffers because of sleep deprivation. Men who do not get enough sleep — due to obstructive sleep apnea, for example — have lower testosterone levels. Testosterone helps not only in building muscle mass and bones but also stimulates a healthy sex drive.
A pilot study of 171 Caucasian women concluded that getting enough sleep improves a healthy sexual desire and genital response. Just one increased hour of sleep per night can increase the likelihood of a woman to engage in sexual activity with her partner by 14 percent.
Sleep Battles Depression
According to an article published in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, between 60 and 90 percent of patients with depression have insomnia, while approximately 20 percent of people suffering from depression have sleep apnea. In longitudinal studies, researchers found that insomnia was a risk factor for new-onset or recurring depression in patients spanning multiple age groups.
Sleep gives your brain time to rebalance the natural chemicals and hormones that affect your mood, emotions and mental clarity. Getting a good night’s sleep can increase emotional stability.
Sleep Improves Decision Making
The wise words advising you to “sleep on it” before making an important decision are true: a good night’s sleep can drastically improve decision making.
Sleep helps you organise your memory, process information gathered throughout the day and solve challenging problems. Sleep deprivation affects your self-control in two ways: first it can reduce your capacity to exercise willpower, and secondly, it can diminish the energy you need for self-control. A person who does not have enough sleep might struggle to control impulsive behaviour such as good diet and exercise choices.
The benefits of sleep are extensive. They can make a substantial difference in both the quality and length of your life. Place sleep as a top priority to promote your physical and mental health!
This is a content partnership between MyDoc and Lifestyle Collective to provide high-quality health content to our readers. MyDoc is a digital health brand that makes access to quality health easier and faster. This series is focused on educating people on general health topics. The information shared has been reviewed by third-party medical professionals. 
The original post appeared here.
To read more healthcare and health-related content visit our blog here.