Saigon Wellness - Part 1: How To Stay Young and Healthy

Heat Up Your Health

Now that I’m over 40 years old, optimum health and fighting the ageing process are my main goals. I partake in activities, follow dietary habits and exercise in a way that promotes youthfulness and prevents, or protects me from life threatening or disabling disease. I want to share these with you… One of the most recent activities I have adopted is to use infrared saunas.

When most of us think about saunas, one of two things comes to mind: people sweating in a steam-filled room or in a wood-panelled, very hot room. Indeed, traditional saunas are typically extremely hot, with some maintaining dry heat and others dousing the heat source with water, creating steam. I am not a fan of these saunas, as they do not make me feel good after and they are just plan uncomfortable to use. I can generally only manage a 5 – 10 minute time period before having to leave due to feeling unbearably hot or dizzy. I’m also not a huge fan of getting into a small space with naked strangers.

In contrast, the experience of using an infrared sauna is extremely pleasant here in Saigon. They are private units, so you can enjoy the relaxing experience by yourself or with friends of your choice. There is a built in entertainment system that allows you to watch Netflix movies, TV shows, surf the internet or stay connected on social media.

 

The room temperature is a comfortable warm, as infrared saunas heat the body without heating the surrounding air. The heaters in genuine infrared saunas emit mid and long, infrared wavelengths that deeply penetrate the skin. Essentially, an infrared sauna conveys all of the benefits of the sun without the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. More importantly, the heat of a far infrared sauna has a body penetration of up to 1-3/4 inches, whereas traditional saunas only penetrate about 1/8 inch of the body. This can result in a number of potential health benefits. Here are six benefits that I feel I gain from using these saunas:

Better Sleep

An infrared sauna session will help you unwind as it decreases the production of cortisol, the main hormone for stress in the body. I find these sessions dramatically improve the quality of my sleep. Quality sleep is essential for all aspects of health

Detoxification

Through the air we breathe, the environment in which we live, and the foods we eat, our bodies accumulate and store a lot of chemicals and toxins. Because infrared saunas have such deep penetration, they can help detoxify the body – both at the cellular level and through the skin. This kind of detox helps eliminate such toxins as mercury, lead, alcohol, nicotine, sodium, and cholesterol.

Cardiovascular Health

Partaking in an infrared sauna causes your peripheral blood vessels to dilate, which in turn makes your heart work harder. This “workout effect” can help lower blood pressure and increase blood flow. Infrared sauna therapy also dilates blood vessels and reduces the volume of their inner lining, thus increasing circulation to promote healthy blood pressure.

Boost Immune System

When you use an infrared sauna it increases the core temperature of your body. Bacteria and viruses can’t survive under certain temperatures and this increased heating helps your body to fight these off, giving your immune system that added boost!

Pain Relief

Because a far infrared sauna penetrates so deeply into the body, it can make a real difference when it comes to pain relief. Those suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms and other chronic pain conditions often find that pain is alleviated by regular infrared sauna sessions. They have also been shown to half recovery time from exercise

Anti-Aging

While our skin is our largest organ, it can also be our biggest enemy when it comes to aging. Years of sun damage, along with an accumulation of dirt and toxins, can make us look old before our time. The deep heat of infrared saunas induces sweating, which is a natural way to cleanse the skin, and helps blood flow, which brings nutrients to the skin. In addition, far infrared saunas restore the elasticity of ligaments and tissues – including skin tissue – helping to make us feel and look younger.

The infrared saunas have been a great addition to my total health regime. However, be careful when choosing your place to Sauna. Some locations are touted as infrared but are actually not. If you’d like to try infrared saunas or learn more about the technology and benefits contact Aura & Co Sauna Centre .

I leave these 45 minute sauna sessions feeling clear headed, energised yet related and refreshed. I experience a fantastic nights sleep afterwards and feel that the sessions greatly help me recover from my workout routine. The exact scientific evidence and studies related to infrared saunas is somewhat inconclusive (it’s almost impossible to obtain conclusive evidence these days) plus companies make some bold marketing statements BUT the proof is in how I feel and the benefits I experience. If your goals include optimising your health and staying young I would recommend to give infrared sauna’s a try.

 

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Saigon Fat Loss Experts: Is Your Fat Burning Switch Turned On?

The Fat Burning or Storing Switch – Insulin vs. Glucagon

When it comes to either burning fat or storing fat our bodies have a chemical switch that you can manipulate to get the result you want. There are two hormones that control your fat burning or storing result – Insulin & Glucagon

Insulin health is a complex process. Insulin management is considered one of the most important factors when striving for a lean physique, have sustained energy levels, preventing chronic disease and to feel better.

What is insulin?

Insulin is the hormone that regulates how the body uses and stores carbohydrates (glucose) and fats. Insulin’s job is to control blood sugar levels. When sugar in the blood is high insulin is released to signal our muscles (and liver) and fat cells to ‘take in’ the glucose from the blood. The first place it try’s to push sugar is into the liver and muscles for energy when we exert ourselves. We have very limited storage space in the liver and muscles for glucose and once these stores are full the glucose is transported to our fat cells. Think of insulin as the storage hormone – we store fat in the presence of insulin.

What is Glucagon?

Glucagon is insulin’s opposite. The two need to work together to keep blood sugar in balance. One of Glucagon’s main roles is to breakdown stored fat for use as fuel by cells. It serves to keep blood glucose levels high enough for the body to function well. When insulin isn’t around glucagon can work to ‘burn’ fat to fuel your bodily functions and activities.

Importance for fat loss?

The crux of the fat loss matter is that Insulin stores fat and Glucagon burns fat. Our body releases insulin in response to elevated blood sugar. If you keep your sugar and starch intake low then your insulin levels should also be low allowing the body to release glucagon into your system to utilize stored fat for fuel… equaling fat loss. The SWITCH for fat burning or fat storing is in your control. It is a matter of switching off insulin and switching on glucagon.

Two other key terms to understand are Insulin Sensitivity and Insulin Resistance. These are not absolute terms and operate as a continuum where you can shift how your cells respond on the continuum to be either more resistant or sensitive. However, if your body is on the resistant end of the continuum for too long you can ‘break’ the system, which is commonly how type 2 diabetes develops.

Maximizing insulin sensitivity (when your body only needs to use a small amount of insulin to get it’s job done = efficient) is extremely important for fat loss because when you are insulin resistant (when your cells are less affected by insulin, the receptors stop ‘listening’ and stop accepting insulin and sugar into the muscles) the body is much more likely to store the food you eat as fat. If you are more resistant to insulin your body needs to pump more insulin into the blood stream and high insulin increases fat storage, which is why insulin resistance is associated with obesity. For a normal (md-range) insulin sensitivity person about forty percent of dietary carbs are converted to fat. For a person who is higher on the insulin resistant continuum this percentage is much higher and results in their cells remaining hungry causing them to ‘signal’ for more food! Hence, creating a negative cycle for an insulin resistant person to eat more.

Insulin resistance also produces inflammation in the body, causing a whole lot of heath problems. By eating foods that are lower on the glycemic index, performing adequate physical activity and ensuring proper nutrient intake we can place ourselves on the sensitive end of the continuum for effortless and long-term fat loss.

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Saigon Fat Loss Experts - Manage Hunger for Effortless Fat Loss

Manage Hunger for Effortless Fat Loss

When people generally attempt to loss fat they follow the mantra of “eat less and exercise more” but do this in a way that makes them not feel good: always feel hungry, have low energy, experience mood swings, develop cravings, etc. These feelings are why 90% of people fail to achieve or maintain the results they desire. However, we can manipulate certain hormones, so that you don’t have to suffer when attempting to lose body fat and become healthier.

Hunger Hormones

Hormones don’t exist in a vacuum. No single hormone can be classified as good or bad. Instead, hormone levels are constantly in flux, influencing each other as well as impacting different systems in the body. It’s when there is too much or too little of a hormone that problems can arise or when nutrients and chemicals in our diet and environment disrupt the auto-regulatory system of the body.

Leptin

I want to introduce two hormones that can directly affect your fat loss and muscle gain efforts. The first is Leptin. Leptin is an extremely important hormone in relation to fat loss/weight gain. Leptin is a ‘hunger hormone’… it’s job is to basically tell your brain that you are full and satisfied when eating. However, this process can be interrupted causing leptin resistance where your body no longer listens to leptin’s message resulting in overeating or not feeling full/satisfied. Stress, sleep deprivation, high calorie foods and fructose can turn your leptin response off allowing you to over eat.

Exercise and proper fat loss nutrition have the opposite effect. This is why most people can’t simply “eat less” to loose weight… they always feel hungry or their satiety level does not last long (feel the need to eat again shortly after a meal). Encouraging a good Leptin response can make fat loss feel effortless.

Ghrelin

Ghrelin is considered the counterpart to the hormone leptin. Think of Ghrelin as your go hormone… it should naturally increase before meals (sending hunger signals to the brain) and likewise decrease after meals helping with satiety levels. The very interesting thing about dieting is that it directly affects ghrelin function.

Research has shown that Ghrelin levels rise immediately with calorie-restricted diets for weight loss. Successfully lean people do not “diet” they “eat for fat loss”, which creates an optimal hormonal profile for long-term success. A simple fact is the more a person restricts calories, the hungrier they get! It is almost as if semi-starvation triggers gherlin to increase. The study concluded that this might be part of the reason that individuals regain weight lost, and then some, by calorie restrictive dieting.

The level of ghrelin within the body is highly dictated by the nutritional status and hydration levels of the individual. In other words, ghrelin also regulates water and fluid intake, so if you drink a glass of water when you are hungry, ghrelin signals can be satisfied and subside the feelings of hunger for a while. This provides a simple way to control your hunger. Research suggests that one 250ml glass of water before every meal decreases the amount you will eat by at least 8 ounces and suppresses ghrelin for longer after the meal”.

To lose weight without feeling terrible and constantly hungry you need to effectively manipulate the brain’s hunger signals. Therefore, to optimise these two fat loss hormones and achieve long-term fat loss you need to reduce stress, get quality sleep, eat low GI nutrient dense foods, limit fructose and stop calorie restrictive dieting. If you do these actions you will feel great and effortlessly lose weight.

 

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Get Back into Shape After Pregnancy - Part 3:

Get Back into Shape After Pregnancy – Part 3:

The final 3 tips of our Get Back To Shape After Pregnancy series are here. If you haven’t read the first Two Parts you can find them here:

We see so many new mothers struggle to regain their shape; doing the right things can exponentially speed recovery, return function, as well as improve wellbeing and appearance post pregnancy. Our final tips are:

3 – Correct Cardio

Once you’ve returned to moving regularly, restored the activation and function of your core muscles and without discomfort or contraindication you can begin to “pick up the pace”. After clearing the six-week check-up you should be ready to do 20 to 30 minutes of cardio 3 to 5 times a week.

Walking is extremely good for us and should be done every day. If you are going to run (for more than 30minutes) do so at an easy pace. This will not over stress your system and teach your body to utilize fat as a fuel. Once you are comfortable and built up your stamina to should include high intensity interval training (HIIT). You will burn more belly fat with sprint intervals; a large number of convincing studies show that high-intensity interval training is the best for losing belly fat.

4 – Get Strong

Resistance training not only strengthens muscles but ligaments, tendons and bones as well. Weight training is an essential element of correcting your posture and function, burning fat and also conditioning you to deal with life as a mother. The stronger you are the easier and more effortless it will be to carry your child plus all their essential equipment for the day and help you recover from stress.

Muscle is a metabolic tissue. The more muscle you have the more energy you burn throughout the day… the easier it is to lose fat. Muscle is also what gives your body shape. The word “toned” actually means the ability to see muscle. Resistance exercise will make you look better, perform better, prevent injuries and feel less tired.

You do not need to go to a gym to achieve these benefits. Instead of going to the gym you can complete bodyweight exercises at home as well as incorporate your baby into the routine. For example, lie on your back placing your baby on top of your stomach or hips and perform glute bridges, or hold them to your chest and complete a set of squats.

5 – Take Naps

Abnormal sleep cycles like those placed on you by a baby can upset your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose your pregnancy weight. Sleep helps with weight loss because it combats stress, keeps your energy up and you’re not compelled to binge on high-calorie, high-sugar foods for energy.

As I mentioned in tip 1; take a nap anytime the baby does. That way, you won’t end up with a long-term sleep deficit, and you’ll keep your energy levels and your potentially naughty cravings in check.

Whatever you do, don’t sacrifice sleep for exercise time in those early weeks. If you don’t sleep enough, you won’t have the ability to recover effectively from the workouts. All the benefits come in the recovery of exercise, not when actually exercising.

In conclusion, the only exercise you should be considering in the immediate postnatal period is pelvic floor and TVA exercises and some light walking. You can then progress to strengthening exercises ideally through bodyweight movements and exercises that develop the bond between parent and child. It is especially important to realise that the build up of fitness after pregnancy is a gradual process. Ensure you have enough rest and enjoy the wonders of being a mother.

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Asia Fitness & health: 4 Keys of Excellent Health

4 Keys of Excellent Health

Last month for Western New Year (following the Gregorian calendar) I discussed 5 key Signs Your Training Efforts Are Failing. Two New Years allows a double opportunity to start 2018 in the most positive way possible. Last month we looked at training now I want to make suggestions for health, so if you haven’t kick started your efforts yet… the Lunar New Year provides a second chance.

A healthy functioning body is the most valuable material asset you possess. It’s the first thing of value given to you when you enter this world and you owe it to yourself to value it and increase its functioning value. This article touches on the 4 key underlying element to create a healthy body and life for yourself, so that you can enjoy life to the fullest.

1 – Think Right:

“As your mind flows so your life goes”. Meaning – your life is a product of the thoughts you think, which leads to the actions you do, which then creates the results you see. Someone who is 10 kilos overweight cannot loose that weight if they continue to think that they must eat ice cream every day to be happy. Clearly the key to changing this ingrained habit pattern is to progressively change that way of thinking to one that will produce right habits/actions. Habit change is the true path to success… do not try to complete a diet, instead aim to adopt healthy habits.

We have written a few articles in the past regarding this extremely important topic. If your mindset isn’t positive and aligned with your goals it is impossible to achieve results. Checkout one of the following articles for more information:

2 – Eating & Drinking Right:

This is obvious – right? Then why is it so hard to accomplish? Many people find this hard to do because they’ve long formed improper eating habits that can be very hard to change without assistance. Eating healthy food is easy but changing a habit is very difficult. How would you rate your eating habits? Health is fuelled by the food you eat. Understand that your body is a living organism that uses the food you consume to recreate itself. Before a cell dies it reproduces another cell from the food you are currently consuming. So consider this: If you had the choice would you create your body from the nutrients in the food you are consuming right now?

We have written so many articles on the topic of food covering organic vs non-organic, fat loss supplements, diet rules made to be broken, workout nutrition tipsthe calorie myth, chemical load – a health and fat loss problem, coffee – rules of consumption, and many more…

What you put in your mouth is 100% in your control… and it makes a huge difference to your health and wellbeing!

3 – Resting Right:

Rest = Restoration. While exercise and movement are essential for stimulating circulation and the elimination of toxins… rest and sleep provide an opportunity for the body to cleanse, repair, and rejuvenate on a deep cellular level. This is the most commonly overlooked and misunderstood element of health. Nourishing your body with plenty of healing sleep and rest is essential.

To learn more read our article on: The Essentials of Recovery

4 – Being Happy:

  • You are responsible for your own happiness! Happiness is a mindset. Some people would consider the possibility of Being Happy every day to be impossible but I’m here to tell you that it is possible. How you look at yourself and the world is totally in your control. YES IT IS! Psychologists say that we can be trained to be happy. How? Well for starters I recommend that you tell yourself some positive affirmations. “I choose to be happy and I deserve to be happy”, “I am kind, I am loving, I am happy” and “I perform my random act of kindness regularly. Kindness breed’s love and love results in happiness” for example. What you tell yourself over and over you will become.
  • Secondly, I recommend that you smile and say “HI” to as many people as you can throughout the day. Some people will ignore you but others will light up… Simply giving and then receiving a smile has more power than you can imagine. These 2 tips alone are enough to improve your mood and outcome in life significantly. Abraham Lincoln said “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” So let’s put your mind to it!

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