Friday, March 31, 2023

Hair Moisturizing Sprays - Yes, No, Maybe??????


The other day, we looked at how well face mists hydrate the skin.  We discovered that they only work when your skin is freshly cleaned and then the moisture has to be sealed in with a moisturizer.  But what about hair moisturizing sprays ?  Do they help keep your hair hydrated?  I've used them myself but I'm never sure if I am using them correctly.

Quick side note in here.  Hair moisturizing sprays should not be confused with hair mists which are perfumed sprays one applies to hair rather than using regular perfume.

When I talk about hair moisturizing sprays, I'm thinking about those sprays you use on your hair to moisturize them so they stay in better shape.  I have friends who have absolutely straight hair who never seem to worry about moisture while I'm always fighting to keep enough in my hair so it won't frizz.  Technically, these sprays are designed to protect your hair from becoming dry or experiencing increased hair breakage.  They are crucial to keep your hair as healthy as possible.

A good spray contains ingredients designed to hydrate and emollients that lubricate, hydrate, soften, and moisturize your hair all at once. Since such sprays tend to be quite light weight, they can be used on the scalp and strands regularly without experiencing product buildup. They are extremely easy to use but it is important to read directions because some are designed to be used on damp hair while others are only for dry hair and some work on either.

If you look for a product, please note that there is a difference between a hair hydrating spray and a hair moisturizing spray.  A moisturizing spray is actually for everyday use while the hydrating spray is used when your hair is feeling dry.  When you are checking out products, you might see some moisturizing sprays that double as a detangler, others are advertized as restorative sprays, hair strengthening sprays, but they all have moisturizing as part of the description.

Have fun checking the products out and see if any help keep your hair in better shape.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Intro To Resistance Bands

A good workout is made up of so many different parts.  I've used resistance bands in the past but not recently, due to the package I'm working through.  Instead of using resistance bands, it relies on weights to provide the resistance but I have done workouts that used these bands.  Resistance bands come in so many different styles and shapes that it can be confusing but they are easy to use and take anywhere with you.

Resistance bands are also known as workout bands or exercise bands and are used both in general fitness and in physical therapy.  In general, a resistance band is made of a type of elastic that causes muscles to contract during use. It is this contracting motion that helps strength as a person pulls against the band. In addition resistance bands can take the place of bulky exercise machines because the force needed to use the bands is almost the same as using free weights or machines.

As far as resistance bands go, you have a choice of six different types which is why it can sometimes be difficult as you want to select the proper one.  The first type is the therapy band which is used in physical therapy.  These are flat bands, about four feet long but do not have handles of any sort. Next is the compact resistance band or tube which is around four feet long, with plastic handles on each end and might be labeled as "fit tubes".  These are better for training both the upper and lower body and arms.

Next, we have the fit loop bands or mini bands that have a flat rather than tubular surface but are found in a loop.  They range from 4 inches up to two feet long and are best used on the lower body.  Don't forget the figure eight bands which have two plastic handles connected by the elastic surface in a figure eight. These are best to help develop the upper body, especially the arms.  They are usually around twenty inches long.

Then there is the ring resistance bands which consist of a small single ring with two handles and is about a foot long.  This one is best for working the lower body but are done with a different set of exercises than other resistance bands.  The final type is the lateral resistance band which has velcro cuffs at each end so you can fasten them around your ankles because they are designed to help your lower body, specifically your hips and thighs.

To add to the mix, resistance bands come in different colors and each color designates the level of resistance.  Although some companies have their own color scheme, most share a common listing. In general, the lightest colors have the least resistance and as the colors darken, the amount of resistance increases so yellow, red, green, blue, purple, black is often least to most resistance but always read the accompanying description to make sure.

I tend to use the flat ones without any handles because I can adjust them, tie them to create a loop, or wrap the ends around my hands so that I can shorten them.  These are also great if you are traveling and do not have time to visit the local gym.  They fold up and you can tuck at least one into a small pocket in your backpack, or bag. I'll talk about actual exercises using the resistance bands later.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Do Face Mists Really Hydrate Your Face?

Have you seen those nice little spray bottles filled with a light refreshing solution to use on your face?  The one they advertise as being something to help hydrate your face throughout the day. I bought a nice bottle of a nicely scented product that said on the label that it would hydrate by skin but it felt more like it cooled it while it dried.  So today we'll look at the question of how well do these face mists hydrate your skin.

The idea behind these face mists is that they are supposed to contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid so that as soon as the mist hits the skin, it helps plump it us so your skin looks so healthy. These mists can help hydrate your skin but not exactly to the extent you might want.

Face mists can hydrate, calm and sooth the skin, improve the barrier function, while helping to protect the skin and it can help in dry climates but you have to use it correctly otherwise it won't be as effective as it could be.  It is best if you do not spritz a mist on top of your make up throughout the day since all it will just sit there and do nothing.  It is made to be used on a freshly cleaned skin.

To get optimum results from using facial mists, one needs to clean the skin, mist it over the face before finishing off with an emollient moisturizer to lock the molecules into the skin for a longer period of time. If you do not follow with the moisturizer, you skin can end up dryer than before. When the mist hits our skin, it will evaporate and take the natural moisture off the skin with it leaving our skin more dehydrated.  

When shopping for a good face mist, make sure it does not have any alcohol because that will automatically dry your skin. Always look at the ingredient to see if the product contains lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, or glycerin because they help your skin absorb moisturizers better. In addition, one should look for Vitamin C and E to help with hydration.  However, do not rely only on face mists to hydrate your face.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Advantages Of Using Ankle Or Wrist Weights.

 I often read that people should add some extra weight by using ankle or wrist weights to improve their resistance as they workout but is it really worth using them?  The answer is it depends on when you use them and how you use them.  So I'll look at this topic in a bit more detail.  

First off, ankle or wrist weights are weights that one can wear around the ankle or the wrist. They come in either a band or pouches filled with weights, sand, or water.  Some of these come with multiple weights that you can add or subtract to change the amount of weight you are using each time.  

These are designed to increase resistance during certain cardio exercises however, one has to be very careful when using them.  If you use them while walking, you should use light weights of no more than three pounds because ankle weights tend to make you the fronts of your thighs (quadriceps) rather than the backs of the thighs (hamstrings) thus causing an imbalance.  

In addition, ankle weights tend to pull on the ankle joint which could result in injuries to the knees, hips, or back.  It is much better to use ankle weights when doing exercises that target the hip and leg muscles such as leg lifts. Since ankle weights rely on gravity to provide resistance, when used with leg lifts, the muscles end up working harder leading to increased strength.

Furthermore, wrist weights can have the same issues of muscle imbalance due to swinging your arms back and forth. This movement can also cause injuries in the neck, shoulders, elbows and wrists.  But as with ankle weights, there is a time and place to use wrist weights effectively.  They can easily be used instead of dumbbells if you cannot use regular weights. They work well with targeted exercises such as bicep curls or rows.

If you want to use these, consider contacting an experienced personal trainer to learn the best way to use them so you don't hurt yourself.  If you have joint or back problems, talk to your doctor.  Like any weight, you do not want to use these every day and you only want to use them when doing exercises containing up and down movements. 

Just because they fasten around the ankle or wrist does not mean you want to use heavier weights, consider what you would normally use and stick with that amount. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

How Many Face Products Do You Really Need To Use Everyday?


The other night, I realized I use a lot of face products.  I use one set in the morning and a different set in the evening.  I save those products with vitamin C and retinol for the evening along with a denser moisturizer when it does the most good.  I don't mind it at home but when I travel, especially internationally, I wonder if I can cut down on what I take so I don't have to worry about weight.

The first thing to know is that what you do every day has a large impact on how you look. However, when you read all the articles out there, everyone has a recommendation but do you really need all 10 steps of this or that routine to have great skin?

Maybe not.  A good skin care routine is broken down into three parts.  The first part is cleansing where you wash your face but not necessarily with soap. The second encompasses toning or balancing the skin while the last part focuses on moisturizing the skin where you hydrate and soften the skin.  These three steps are designed to help your skin function at its best and most experts suggest you only need three to four products in your skin care routine, not 10 or 20. 

If you get a product to address a specific skin issue, you need to be prepared to use it for at least 6 weeks to notice a difference because there are no products which produce instant results.  When you do apply products, go from the thinnest to the thickest such as your cleanser, toner, serum, and finally your moisturizer.

When looking for a cleanser, look for a gentle effective one that will remove dirt, oil, sunscreen, and pollution. It doesn't matter if it is a cream or is foaming.  You want to make sure it doesn't strip the skin because it is your first line of defense when it comes to taking care of your skin.  Although many people recommend the double cleansing, a good cleanser will do the same job with just one product.

As far as the moisturizer, it doesn't matter if it is a cream, lotion, or ointment.  You want one that is filled with emollients that will trap moisture in your skin while protecting it from the elements.  If you want to use an oil, make sure your moisturizer has it because if you try to use only oil, it is not as effective as a regular moisturizer.  Don't forget to finish everything off with a good sunscreen which adds another layer of protection.

This is the minimum anyone needs for a good skin care product.  If you want, you can include a good eye cream, a toner, serums, and others but you don't "need" them to have wonderfully looking skin.  For me this important because I can leave half my facial products at home.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Walking With Weights


Although it is supposed to be spring, I am sitting here in my house, watching the snow fall for the third day in a row.  This morning it cleared just enough for a couple of planes to come in before the weather closed in again.  Pretty soon, it will be nice enough that I'll start walking a lot more and when that happens I tend to use my weights way less.  I decided that I need to figure out how to walk using weights so that I keep my bones dense and keep myself more in shape.

When you add weights to your daily walk, it can provide an additional challenge to your workout while helping you to burn more calories but you have to be careful or you could injure yourself. When you begin walking with weights, choose the light ones weighing between one and two pounds.  You can increase the weight as your fitness level improves. Furthermore, using weights can help you strengthen your muscles while walking so your walk is now doing double duty.

Although it is easy to carry the small hand weights, look for those that have a strap to help you carry it or look for weights you can wear on  your wrists  otherwise you might drop the hand weights and hurt yourself.  You can also look at using ankle weights that strap to your ankle and provide resistance to your legs at the same time.

No matter whether you choose one or both types of weights, make sure you maintain good posture and form while walking with the weights.  Always keep your back straight, your shoulders relaxed and avoid swinging the weights otherwise you might end up off balance. In addition, shorten your stride when walking with weights so there is less strain put on your joints.  Furthermore, make sure you do not use the weights for more than 20 to 30 minutes when walking but only use them once or twice a week so you don't hurt your joints or muscles.

It is important that you cool down properly after your workout and take time to stretch out your muscles so you don't start cramping. If at anytime, you experience any pain or discomfort while using weights, step back and decrease the weight, check your technique and if it persists, talk to your doctor. Adding the weight will increase the overall intensity of your workout.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Too Many Hair Products

I learned that since I have naturally curly hair, I need to make sure I hydrate it on a regular basis.  I wear it extremely long, down to the rear, so the weight helps control the curl but I still end up using quite a few products.  The other day, I wondered if it was possible to use too many hair products since there are times when my hair gets a funny feel to it and I just pin it up without brushing it.

Yes, it is possible to use too many products in your hair and there are signs to look for that give you a hint, you might just be using too many.  One visible sign is that your hair is stiff when it dries rather than nice and bouncy.  In addition, your hair can become dull, feels sticky, and the shine disappears These signs indicate you are experiencing product buildup. 

Product buildup is actually when the product leaves a film on the hair strand due to both improper rinsing and using too much product which prevents moisture or water from getting into the hair cuticle. Your hair needs this moisture to stay bouncy and healthy.  

One way to avoid product buildup is to only use a little bit of any product as most instruct the user to use a small dime sized amount.  In addition, the type of product used depends on the type of hair you have.  If you have finer hair, you want to use lightweight products that will not weigh your hair down but if it is thicker and coarser, you might need something with a bit more body to it.  

If you do end up with product buildup, think about using a clarifying shampoo if you can't get it out with a simple rinsing.  In the meantime, try to reduce the number of products you have.  You can do this by sticking to the basics of cleaning, hydrating, protecting, styling, and finishing.  In reality, all you need is a good shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner, a styling product, and a decent hairspray.

One way to save money is to realize that you can take some of your regular conditioner, add some spring water to it to thin it out and use that for your leave-in conditioner. If you use a little bit of regular conditioner in your hair, it can double as a styling balm.  In addition, conditioner is extremely important to use because it hydrates, protects, and helps keep your color solid. If you apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair, it can help protect your locks against heat and help the color last.

So next time you look for another hair product, you might ask yourself if you really need it or do you already have too many.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

What To Use Instead Of Weights.

Sometimes, when we travel or we've just moved into a new place, we don't have access to weights so we need to be aware of alternatives.  This last move, I ended up using some 16 ounce cans instead of one pound weights because I hadn't found my three pounders during my unpacking. I've gotten a list together of things one can use instead of regular weights to use while working out.

One of the first recommended substitutions for one pound weights are 16 ounce cans of anything be it beans, soup, or coconut milk.  As long as it weighs 16 ounces, you'll have your pound weights.  If regular canned food is a bit awkward for your hands, look at those more narrow cans that spritzer and such come in but don't open any carbonated drinks after a workout or you might end up drenched.  

If you need a set of two pound weights, look at boxes of oat, almond, or even regular milk.  As long as the box contains 32 ounces, you have a nice substitution for two pound weights. These are a nice size for things like curls or presses and many of us have them in our pantries.

On the other hand, if you prefer three pound weights, look for three pound bags of uncooked rice. The great thing is that it seldom goes bad so you'll always have some around.  I admit, I'd start with the bag of rice but end up using it because I forgot to pick some up but then again, it is easy to replace.  

Should you have need of some four pound weights, make sure you have those 64 ounce boxes of milk stored in your pantry.  The milk might be regular, oat, almond, or any other type.  It doesn't matter as long as it weighs 64 ounces.  

Are you up at five pounds, look at the five pound bags of flour or sugar to use as weights.  They come in a nice package but if you want some extra protection, just wrap them in some cling weight or pop them in large ziplock bags so you don't sprinkle powder all over the place.

Need something that weighs even more, try a set of gallon milk jugs filled with milk, water, or other liquid for something that weighs about 8.4 pounds.  The thing about this sized jug is that its center of balance is off so it is hard to use than an 8 pound dumbbell. If you have the 150 ounce jug of liquid tide soap around, it is great for a nine pound weight.  

So if you need weights and don't have any handy, you have a whole list of substitutions you can use in your workout without omitting that part.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Is A 2 - in - 1 Shampoo and Conditioner Worth Using?

I travel enough that I've been looking for ways to cut back on the hair stuff I take so I have more space for other things.  I know people who swear by them but the last time I tried one, I didn't like how it left my hair but that was many years ago.  So I'm revisiting the topic, just to see if they have gotten any better.

To begin with, a 2 - in- 1 shampoo and conditioner is a product designed to clean the hair like shampoo while conditioning the hair like your regular conditioner.  In general a shampoo contain negatively charged surfactants that cleanse while conditioners contain positively charged ingredients to attach to the hair to give it the conditioning properties.  If the two are not combined properly, you end up with a not so great product.

So chemists have found a way to combine the two by hiding the conditioning ingredients in an emulsion that releases them when rinsing the hair.  What actually happens is you shampoo your hair and everything breaks open so the conditioning ingredients such as silicones or polymers are deposited on the hair. 

The advantages of using a 2 - in - 1 is you are saving time because you don't have to use a shampoo and a conditioner separately and money since you only buy one product.  It also saves space in your cupboard, shower, or gym bag, and it promotes sustainability. 

Unfortunately, 2 - in - 1's have some built in downsides.  For instance, product buildup can happen faster than when using two separate products.  The buildup can make your hair seem dull and limp.  To counter this, you'll need to use a clarifying shampoo to strip away the buildup.  In addition, this type of product can be more drying for many folks. This happens because the conditioning ingredients are not enough to counter the shampoo removing the oil from the scalp and hair. 

Trying to find a 2 - in - 1 that works for your hair is going to take time and some trial and error.  If you find one that promises everything, it won't.  Furthermore, if you have curly or coily hair, this type of product is not recommended but if your hair doesn't need a lot of work, it will work for you. No matter what, one should not use this more than twice a week. 

So the bottom line is that they are ok for some folks but not for everyone.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.  

Friday, March 10, 2023

Muscle Cramps During Exercise - Causes And Solutions


It has happened to all of us.  In the middle of exercising, the muscles suddenly cramp and you have to stop and wait for the muscle to quit cramping.  It always happens at the wrong moment. My mother always handed me a banana to take care of the problem but it didn't always work.  In addition, things have changed so that isn't always the recommended method of treating exercise induced muscle cramps.

By definition, a muscle cramp is when contracts strongly without your control.  Although any muscle can spasm, the calf muscles, foot muscles, the quadriceps, and hamstrings are the ones most likely to act out during exercising.  According to research a person's chances of experiencing exercise induced muscle cramps increases with age and with increased body mass index or BMI.

Should muscle cramps occur while exercising, you should immediately stop exercising to slowly and gently stretch the muscles,  The stretching position should be held at least 30 seconds because you want the muscles to relax. Each stretching exercise may need done multiple times to relax the cramping muscle.  You might also need to gently rub the muscle or drink a hydrating liquid to provide electrolytes if you are dehydrated.

Suggest exercises for spasming calf muscles include standing in a lunge position with the affected leg stretched out behind you.  Push your heal towards the ground and hold for 30 seconds or pull the toes and foot upward towards the shin and hold for 30 seconds.  If the muscles in your feet cramp, grab the toes and pull upwards for 30 seconds.

Should the front of your thigh or quadriceps spasm, grab your toes or ankle and pull backwards towards the back of your thigh and hold for 30 seconds.  On the other hand, if your hamstrings spasm, sit on the ground, with both legs straight in front of you and reach down towards your toes.  Hold for 30 seconds.  You can repeat any of these exercises as necessary.

Unfortunately, no one knows what causes muscles to cramp during exercise but there are a few things you can do to cut down on the possibility of getting them. First and foremost, always do a proper warmup so your muscles are ready to go and don't forget to stretch the muscles regularly.  Next, make sure you have enough liquids so you do not become hydrated.  Keep an eye on your electrolytes because it is easy to sweat enough salt out of the body to cause cramps.  Finally, eat a healthy diet so you have enough carbohydrates as this helps cut down on muscle fatigue.

Although muscles cramps cannot be totally avoided, you can cut down on their happening by following the above guidelines.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

What To Look For In Sunscreen.


Although one should always wear sunscreen, people don't think about it much until the days get longer and the temperature rises.  I admit, it is hard thinking about wearing sunscreen when it is still in the negative temperatures but I also know how important it is to wear, no matter what.  Since we are almost at the time of year that we spring forward into daylight savings time, I've decided to visit the topic of what one should look for when purchasing sunscreen.

The problem with sunscreens is that not all of them are created equally. You want one that will allow protect you from sunburn, skin cancer, and help slow down early signs of premature aging.  It is fine to have skin that is not tanned. Did you know that one in five people will develop skin cancer in their life time? 

When shopping for sunscreen, look for a SPF of 30 or higher for the best protection. Although you can find sunscreens with SPF's of higher than 50, most organizations state that anything higher than a 50 is not any more effective than a 50.  An SPF of 30 prevents about 97 percent of UVB rays from reaching your skin while one containing an SPF of 50 prevents about one more percent of rays from reaching your skin. In addition, make sure that it is labeled as being broad spectrum.  This means it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays as both can damage your skin.  It is important to make sure the sunscreen is water resistant so you know it will stay on wet or sweaty skin for a while.  Most water resistant sunscreens stay on either 40 or 80 minutes before it needs to be reapplied.  It should say on the bottle.

Furthermore, it is advised that one use one ounce of sunscreen or the equivalent of a shot glass worth every time you put it on.  This provides the best coverage and it should be reapplied every couple of hours for the best protection. In addition, know whether you are using a mineral or chemical sunscreen.  A mineral sunscreen remains on top of the skin where it filters out the suns rays.  Mineral sunscreens usually contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  On the other hand, a chemical sunscreens containing oxybenzone, avobenzone, or homosalate  are absorbed into the skin where they turn UV rays into heat and reflected off the body.

When you shop for sunscreen, look for one that matches your skin type so that you do not make your oily skin oilier or dry out your skin too much.  Now a days, sun screens are made for a variety of skin types.  In addition, look at whether it is a spray, solid stick, or liquid.  The problem with sprays is you don't know when you've put an ounce of sunscreen on and to get the most effectiveness out of the product, rub it in once you've finished spraying it.

 Having looked at what to look for in a sunscreen, there are some ingredients you should avoid so read the bottles very carefully.  Try to avoid any product with parabens, since they could possibly cause cancer. In addition, try to avoid sunscreens with fragrances, chemicals, or dyes because they might irritate your skin and many people have a sensitivity towards fragrances. 

Finally, even if your makeup has sunscreen, apply a layer of sunscreen on top of it to provide maximum coverage. If you don't like sunscreen per say, think about getting a tinted sunscreen that matches your skin tone so you get the look you want with the best protection.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Best Ways To Increase Metabolism.


We've all heard that our metabolism slows as we age but that isn't quite true. Sometimes it is not that our metabolism is slowing due to age but that we no longer do the same activities we did when we were younger.  In fact, there are studies that show metabolism does not really start slowing until we reach the age of 60.

Earlier this year, I discovered I'd gained several pounds in a rather short period of time.  The doctor didn't seem too concerned but I was since I knew that gaining wait could lead to certain health issues.  So I took time to sit down and realize that I was not exercising as much and eating more.  I immediately looked for ways to increase my metabolism. The above mentioned study indicates that the best step to take to have a good metabolism is to have a lean body mass.

Metabolism is defined as the amount of energy your body burns in calories. If you eat more calories than your body uses, your metabolism will seem slower but if your body uses more calories than it consumes, your metabolism will seem faster.

When you talk about metabolism, you are referring to one of three things.  The first is the basal metabolic rate which refers to the rate your body burns calories when you are at rest. Second looks at how fast your body burn calories when it is digesting the food you eat.  The third focuses on how many calories are burned when you move around. Although some of it is controlled by genetics, there are choices a person can make to help improve their metabolism.

One step you can take is to eat more protein since it takes more calories to burn a gram of protein as compared to a gram of carbohydrates. So if you replace some of the carbohydrates with protein, your body will use more calories when it is a rest.  A study showed that people whose diet contained about one third protein tended to burn over 200 calories more each day while at rest than people whose died was composed of about 11 percent protein.

Another is to exercise more.  It is important to choose exercises that build muscles since increasing the amount of muscle also increases the amount of calories burned. Don't forget to  improve your cardio health at the same time.  As for gaining muscle, think about lifting weights, using resistance bands, or other forms of resistance training. Think about adding High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT to help increase your metabolism. The nice thing about HIIT training is that it helps to build muscle while increasing the amount of energy your body burns. In addition, it helps your body keep burning muscles for up to one day after doing it.

Eliminate sugared drinks from your diet and replace with cold water.  The cold water requires your body to burn calories to raise its internal temperature.  There are people out there who tell you to drink more coffee or green tea because they supposedly increase your metabolism but it appears this is not true based on several studies.

Finally, make sure you get enough sleep every single night.  When you don't get enough sleep, your body tends to demand you eat more calories so it is strongly recommended that you get 7 to 8 hours every night.

The best way to help your metabolism is to eat a healthy diet without over indulging. It doesn't matter how how many things you do to improve your metabolism if you are eating all the wrong things or eating too many calories.  The three biggest things you can do is to sleep more, exercise more, and eat better.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, March 3, 2023

The Best Ingredients For Face Creams.

 I admit that it is always so hard when I go looking for face cream.  The aisles are filled with so many different types, different ingredients, and the number is mind boggling. I tend to find face creams I like and I stick with them until they are no longer manufactured since I hate trying to figure out which ones I want.  So today, we'll visit at what you should look for in a face cream.

One should begin using face cream in your mid to late 20's to experience the most benefits.  In addition, it is recommended you purchase a cream designed specifically for your skin type. If you aren't sure what type of skin you have, talk to a dermatologist. It is also recommended that you use two different creams - one in the morning and one at night.

The biggest reason to use a face cream is that the cream helps seal in your skin's moisture and helps the skin retain elasticity. A face cream also helps provide a protective barrier for your skin. When you look at face creams, look for one that says its noncomedogenic which means that it does not block pores so you won't break out. 

During daylight, you should use a day cream. A day cream is lighter on your skin than the night cream which is designed to penetrate to help repair your skin.  A day cream should contain sunscreen and vitamin C.  Vitamin C helps brighten your skin, even the color, and helps cells overall.  If your day cream does not include sunscreen, it should be applied separately year round so you don't experience sun damage. 

For a night cream, one should look for ingredients such as Retinol, or Hyaluronic acid because night creams are designed to moisturize your skin while repairing and soothing it at the same time over night as you sleep.  One should look for retinol which is a derivative of vitamin A. It helps with fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots but it can irritate sensitive skin so only use it three times a week at first.  Next, check for alpha and beta hydroxy acids since these gently exfoliate nd soften your skin so the cream penetrates better.  Hyaluronic acid is great since it helps your skin absorb and retain moisture so your skin looks more alive.  There should also be vitamin E as it is a antioxidant that helps both moisturize and brighten your skin.  

If you have sensitive skin or you are older , you should look for ceramides since they are a natural protein found in the outer layer of the skin.  They help keep moisture in your skin and protect it from the enviornment.  If you are older, your skin does not produce as many ceramides as it did in your twenties, so this ingredient helps.

Another ingredient to look for if you have sensitive skin is glycerin because it is a natural moisturizer that helps heal the skin.  A gentler exfoliant is lactic acid and it removes dead skin cells so your skin absorbs moisture better.  

So these are ingredients to look for in your face cream.  Next week, I'll look at ways to increase your metabolism naturally and ingredients one might find in moisturizers that are really beneficial and were not discussed here.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Metabolic Conditioning.


I have been following a program to help me get in better shape. It is an eight week course with lots of DVD's filled with toning, cardio, and so much more.  The other night, I did the one called metabolic conditioning.  It was a good workout but I wondered if there really was an exercise routine by this name or if it was something created by the instructor.  Turns out, metabolic conditioning is real.

Metabolic conditioning is a series of exercises designed to increase the amount of energy both stored in and released by your body. In other words, this workout helps you burn the maximum number of calories within a specific time frame.  Metabolic conditioning or MetCon for short uses high intensity exercises to help your body lose weight, gain lean muscle, and improve performance.  One experiences results in a shorter time than many other programs but if the exercises are not done correctly, one can become injured or even die.

MetCon contains specific exercises designed to improve how well the body works short, intermediate, and in the long term.  As you know, metabolism refers to how the body converts food and drink into usable energy. In the process, your body makes andenosine triphosphate or ATP which fuels the contractions of muscles. The amount of ATP used by your body depends on the intensity of physical activity.  Basically, when you do low intensity exercises your body produces ATP from the long term part, medium intensity exercises from the intermediate area, and high intensity produces ATP immediately.  The exercises in metabolic conditioning are geared to work with the intermediate pathway so your body is conditioned to do more work in less time.

It makes your energy production more efficient, helps you burn more calories so you lose weight, it increases the amount of oxygen your body uses, and increases lean muscle while reducing body fat.  A MetCon workout can be designed to take a person from where they are right now, to an improved level.  It might be as simple as walking up hill, riding a stationary bike with bursts of sprints, or up to ones that demand a lot.

Although it may sound like it is similar to something like HITT or high intensity interval training, they are different.  Metabolic conditioning has you workout at the maximum for longer periods of time than the HITT training.  If you are new to this, find a trainer who can help tailor a program to your needs so you get the best results and decrease the possibility of injury.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.