Easy Steps to Prettier Skin

Easy Steps to Prettier Skin
As winter approaches, skin becomes cracked and dry from the warm summer days. Our bodies change with weather, and skin care regimens should be changed to boost complexion. Try these top 5 healthy approaches to transform your skin from dull to glowing in the winter…
Wear sunscreen, even if you work indoors. The most prevalent cause of skin cancer is sun exposure, causing premature skin aging. UV rays attack the skin and cause sunspots in over 85% of people. Utilizing SPF Sun Care is not an option anymore; it is a lifestyle. Most people don’t wear enough sunscreen daily and select the wrong SPF. Try Coola’s Organic Sunscreen in SPF 30 Cucumber to soothe and protect daily.
Skip the exfoliation and try a mask. Scrubbing too much may cause redness in the face from over-exfoliation. Try a facial mask, like tea tree, in the winter to soothe and kill bacteria from daily environmental aggressors. A purifying mask will help to restore and calm skin rather than irritate it. Try ingredients such as witch hazel, Kaolin and grapefruit to diminish pores and reduce breakouts. If skin is feeling dry, opt for a mask containing carrot seed oils, vitamin E and macadamia nut to plump and nourish depleted skin.  Skincare powerhouse, hyaluronic acid, helps refine skin and helps it to retain moisture.
Take your vitamins! Add evening primrose oil capsules to your daily vitamin regimen as well as skincare products that contain vitamins. Doubling up on vitamins heals from the outside in and from the inside out. Vitamin E, C and primrose oils have the powerful hydrating and nourishing effects needed in cold winter months. Enjoy vitamin-C rich fruits like oranges, grapefruits and kiwi to help fight wrinkles and increase collagen production. Select vitamin C serums to boost, brighten and lighten dark spots.
Get 7.5 hours of beauty sleep daily. The longer you rest, cortisol levels (the stress hormone) decrease and enable collagen to reproduce. Sleep allows the body to heal. Those suffering from skin conditions will especially notice the difference after a good night’s sleep. Skimping out on sleep may start a chain reaction leading to less exercise, bad food choices and dull skin. The best time to use antioxidant-rich face creams happens to be at night, when our skin regenerates and produces cell turnover.
Exercise four times a week to keep the oxygen flowing. Not only does your body produce endorphins with a sweat session, but your complexion benefits with a healthy glow. Those suffering from acne and dryness will notice a difference due to the oxygen which is sent to the skin after a workout. Cardio is a great way to boost confidence–and a clear complexion.
Staying healthy involves healthy nutrition, an active lifestyle, proper skincare regiment, sun protection, rest and relaxation. These five easy steps can make an impact on a first impression…your face! It’s never too early or too late to begin healthy lifestyle choices.
Karina Chung is Spa Director at the Hyatt Grand Champion’s Agua Serena Spa and can be reached at 760.674.4100.

5 Small Resolutions That Make A Big Difference

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Although losing a fifth of your body weight might sound great, is it really achievable? The chances are that come February your New Year’s resolutions will have been ditched until next year. But it doesn’t have to be the case! Small resolutions can lead to bigger things.


Drink herbal tea

After consuming a month’s worth of food and two months’ worth of drink within just one week, it’s no wonder that after the Christmas period we all vow to be healthier and lose weight over the coming year. Yet, how many of us manage it and how many of us come up with excuses about why we can’t stick to our resolutions?

Research shows that the weight we gain at Christmas is not usually lost over the ensuing 12 months and that every year we get heavier. To change this predictable pattern, get into drinking herbal tea. Some herbal teas, such as green tea, are thought to aid weight loss, and the antioxidants within herbal teas can help improve your skin and protect your heart and blood vessels.


Book a course

The long, festive break can make going back to work harder and many people want a career change or a new job come January. Although this might be a good thing, finding a new job is not an easy task. To make this New Year’s resolution achievable you should book onto a course at your local college.

Take a look at the jobs you would like to have; what qualifications or experience are employers looking for? If you see a gap on your CV that could hold you back from getting the career you crave, then book onto a course. Before you do so make sure that the course is recognised within your industry and that it suits your style of learning.


Count the cash

Most people’s bank accounts are not looking too healthy after the dozens of presents you have just forked out on. Therefore most people make a New Year’s resolution to improve their finances over the coming year. Although this sounds like a simple resolution, it’s one that most people fail to stick to after February.

To make sure this year is different, buy a piggy bank and when you get home from work stick in some coins you have loose in your wallet, purse or pocket. It is surprising how quickly and how much money this saves. After two or three months you will need a new piggy bank. Do not open the money boxes until December next year. Chances are, if you’ve stuck to the daily money-giving routine, you’ll have enough saved to cover the costs of Christmas.


Start a new chapter

Now that you’re no longer at school, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to read. Once you’ve settled into bed with a good book it can only be a few minutes before you’ve nodded off. Yet, reading can improve your memory and help prevent mental decline, so not only is it relaxing and enjoyable it’s also great for our mental health.

To make sure you get to read more this year why not buy a collection of short stories? You could also join a book club to make sure you stay focused every month. Another way to make sure you read more this year is to download a book list that has been voted for by others, so that you have a stock of well-written and gripping books to read. Finally, you can always start a book review blog and write your opinions on the books you’ve read.


Get the travel bug

After slipping back into your normal routine after the excitement of Christmas most people are desperate to break out of the rut they feel their life has fallen into. Most people yearn to travel in order to break free of their normal restraints, but quitting your job, leaving your home and tying up other responsibilities like rehoming your cat means that traveling around Thailand for six months is not a realistic New Year’s resolution.

Yet, other forms of travel are achievable and can make a big difference to your attitude towards your current lifestyle. For example, rather than going on your usual vacation this year why not volunteer on an overseas project for two or three weeks? You can also travel within your local area. Pack a bag and head out exploring for the weekend. Don’t book any accommodation, just head to the train station and catch a train somewhere new. Although not the most glamorous of trips, you will still get a thrill from the unexpected and will not feel like your life is so predictable or planned out.

New Year, New You Strategy That Will Work For You

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Losing weight and getting fitter are two excellent choices for resolutions; the big challenge is to keep those resolutions going further than the first week in January so that you achieve your desired goals.

To help you focus on starting, continuing and remaining fit in the New Year, we have the ultimate New Year, new you strategy, including:

  • A simple, effective 5-step fitness plan
  • Fitness focus tips that really work!
  • Target ideas to help you reach your goals

5-steps to fitness

With your motivation at maximum levels, the temptation to enroll at your local gym, throw yourself headlong into exercise classes and slash your diet to the bone is extremely high. However, before you embark on your personal journey to improved health and fitness, take a little time out to plan and prepare. Time spent in this phase will pay dividends again and again in terms of safety, continuity and long term improvements. Simply follow the 5-step plan below which will set you on your way safely and effectively.


Safety first

To start with, it is vitally important to ensure that it is safe for you to begin an exercise programme. Complete the safety checklist below and if you answer yes to one or more questions, or alternatively, if you are at all concerned about starting training, then make an appointment with your doctor for a checkup before you start.

Health-status safety checklist

  • Are you aged over 30 and/or have not exercised for some time?
  • Do you suffer from any medical conditions?
  • Are you a smoker or have recently given up smoking?
  • Have you undergone any surgery in the past two years?
  • Are you suffering from any injuries?
  • Are you currently on any prescribed medication?
  • Are you unsure about beginning an exercise programme?

Once you have the all-clear from your doctor then you’re ready to step out on the road to ‘new you’ fitness.


Seek professional help

Before you launch headlong into exercise, seek out an exercise professional who can provide expert input into your plans. A good exercise professional should be qualified to assess your current fitness levels, including cardiovascular (CV), strength, your nutrition and most importantly, with respect to your posture – flexibility. All are fundamental to a proper health and fitness programme. Time at this point will reap continual benefits during subsequent stages because your training will be relevant to and correct for you and your progression will be faster.


Set targets

Target setting is extremely important as it will give you goals to aim for. Your goals can be anything you like, for example a desired weight, a particular dress size, a sporting event that you would like to try or complete, absolutely anything that you like. Discussing your targets with an exercise professional is also extremely useful as they should be able to advise on progression and offer relevant advice on how to reach your desired goals safely and effectively.


Start steadily

In the first few days of your new exercise regime, when your enthusiasm is likely to be high, it can be very easy to do too much too soon. The dangers here are overload, in the form of overworked muscles, fatigue, soreness, or worse still; injury. Any of these problems will be extremely de-motivating so it is important to balance your enthusiasm against your current fitness levels. Start sensibly and slowly so that you make the desired gains without struggling to walk or move for several days after your first session!


Adapt and modify

One of the keys to maintaining improvement during an exercise programme is to ensure that the body is sufficiently challenged so that adaptation (or fitness improvements) occurs. For real, long-lasting results, it is essential that your training is continually modified, adapted and updated at the correct pace for you, so that your health and fitness progresses and equally importantly, your motivation is maintained.

Keep that focus

However motivated you are at the beginning of your new fitness regime, there are certain to be times when your enthusiasm wavers. Other commitments, tiredness, bad weather and work are just a few of the challenges to your commitment that you will face as you try and maintain your ‘new you’ focus. When those ‘wobbly moments’ appear, keep your eye on the ball by trying one of the following strategies to counteract those negative thoughts.

Write it down

Write down your personal reasons for making your lifestyle changes, why it is important to you, what you aim to achieve and how good you’ll feel when you achieve your goals. Use this record as a touchstone to reaffirm your enthusiasm when the going gets tough.

Phone a friend

Linking up with a like-minded training partner can do wonders for maintaining your motivation. You can support each other when any negatives appear and sometimes, the simple act of making an exercise date with a friend can be enough to get you out of the door when your motivation is flagging.

Stepping stones

At the beginning of your exercise plan you will have set yourself a target – which may take many months to achieve. The danger here is that although you progress towards your target, because it is a long way off, you sometimes feel that you’ll never get there. The solution is to set some interim goals – or stepping stones which are mini targets to aim for as you get fitter.

For example: If weight loss is your goal, break it down into monthly targets – and importantly, celebrate each monthly achievement.

If your goal is competition based, perhaps to complete a 10k race, target a 5k race as part of your build-up. The smaller event is an ideal short term focus point and will also serve as an effective measure of how your fitness is progressing.

New you – all year!

Start as you mean to continue and continue just as you’ve started is an appropriate mantra for your New Year focus. By planning ahead and beginning slowly, your health and fitness gains will be sustainable and you will achieve long lasting results. Additionally, employing a few simple tools for target setting and adaptation will ensure that you enjoy continual progression towards your goals. Fad diets and quick fitness fixes don’t work and will leave you unmotivated before January is through, so instead, focus on smart strategies – the new you is just around the corner!

10 Ways To Have A Healthier Christmas

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Don’t sit down all day

We know every Christmas special under the sun will be showing on the TV, but you don’t need to plonk yourself on the sofa all day! Encourage the whole family to get out for a walk at some point – ideally, after dinner to aid digestion. The more activity, the better, so take along any new outdoor gifts, like bikes, scooters, footballs or Frisbees, or play old-fashioned games.


Go easy on the booze

If you are firmly ensconced at home over the festive period, those alcohol units can really mount up. Mulled wine on Christmas eve, Bucks Fizz with breakfast, wine with dinner, Baileys, brandy… the list goes on! So, do try to keep tabs on how much you are drinking, and intersperse alcoholic drinks with soft ones.


Don’t give yourself a Christmas stuffing!

Recent research suggests that we consume around 3,000 calories in our Christmas dinner – more than the entire recommended daily intake for a grown man!

This huge feast not only contributes to weight gain but also to indigestion and heartburn – not to mention lethargy for the rest of the day, reducing the chances of you burning much of it off. Instead of gorging yourself on Christmas dinner, eat a normal-sized meal and then take a 20-minute break to see if you are still hungry (it takes this long for the brain to register that the stomach is full). The chances are, you’ll realise you’ve had enough.


Keep colds at bay

Colds are rife at Christmas, partly because many of us travel around the country, exposing ourselves – and others – to different cold viruses. Minimise your risks by maintaining a healthy immune system (eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and not smoking will help), so you are more able to fight off any viruses.


Don’t stress

‘Tis the season to be jolly’ but jolly is the last thing many of us feel with overspending, cooking, cleaning, endless ‘to do’ lists and visitors we could do without. Try to keep a sense of humor and proportion. Is it really the end of the world if the carrots are overcooked or if the mantelpiece is a bit dusty? Do you really care about Auntie Mary’s disapproval of the fact that you and your partner are living together and aren’t married? Remember, Christmas is just one day out of 365 and it isn’t worth stressing over.


Eat fruit

Let’s be honest, most of us get through the entire Christmas period eating no more fruit than the satsuma in the Christmas stocking. It just doesn’t really feature on the Christmas menu. But at this time of late nights, overindulging and partying, it’s more important than ever to get your vitamins and minerals, to help you stay in good health. Ensure that your Christmas shopping list enables you to fill up the fruit bowl and get your recommended daily portions of fruit and veg. (And no, mulled wine doesn’t count as one portion!)


Do something for others

It’s hard to avoid the consumerism that has overtaken Christmas in the western world, but it doesn’t all have to be about giving or receiving gifts. Try to do something for others this festive season, whether it’s baking some extra mince pies for an elderly neighbor, inviting an acquaintance who doesn’t have family around them to your home or helping out with a local Christmas fete or carol service.


Think before you eat

Christmas is a time of plenty, and with nuts, chocolates, mince pies and cheese straws wherever you look, it would be rather Scrooge-like to suggest that you don’t eat any treats over the festive period! But rather than mindlessly popping whatever is in front of you in your mouth, spend a moment thinking about whether you really want it, or are just eating it because it’s there.


Engage your brain

Instead of switching off in front of the TV, keep your mind active by playing games like Trivial Pursuit or Charades. This is also a great way of getting everyone together. If you aren’t a ‘game’ person, engage your mind by setting up any new gadgets, such as Playstations, iPads, mobile phones or laptops.


Be a careful cook

If your Christmas duties include cooking the dinner, you won’t be delighted to hear that according to the Food Standards Agency, December is one of the most common months for people to get food poisoning. To minimise the risks, don’t leave food out all day. Put out small amounts at a time, so that what is on the table has just been cooked or just come out of the fridge. Ideally, try to use any leftovers within 48 hours or freeze them. As for the turkey, always defrost it in the fridge, allowing 10 to 12 hours per kilo and do not wash the bird, as this can spread bacteria around, which will be destroyed by cooking anyway.

And most importantly, have a happy, healthy festive season!

How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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The holiday blues are starting to set in, and you can’t get away with finishing the 12 pack of mince pies without getting disapproving looks. It’s time to get your lifestyle and fitness organised for the year ahead, but this is the easiest part.

The tricky part of the bargain comes when you actually have to live up to your aspiring New Year’s resolutions. Enhancing your body’s fitness may sound simple enough but the temptations of junk food, computer games and your favourite TV show are all things that could have you loping back to the couch by mid-February, munching pizza from a greasy box whilst mid-marathoning a new series.

So, how can you stay true to your best intentions? These top tips will help you keep your healthy New Year’s resolutions:

  • Don’t be over-ambitious – Your New Year’s resolutions may aspire to improve the condition of your body but that doesn’t mean things are going to change overnight. If you’re an absolute fitness beginner looking to lose a few excess pounds, then trying to run a marathon from scratch is likely to prove a bridge too far. Instead, keep things in perspective by aiming for small steps forward rather than big, stuttering strides. Building a better body requires time and hard work so take things fairly easy when starting out, otherwise you might be tempted to cancel that new gym membership and return to the bad old days when the closest thing you ever got to exercise was watching sports on TV.
  • Set yourself fitness goals – If you’re serious about conquering your New Year’s resolutions, it’s essential you give yourself goals to measure your steady progress. Setting goals and deadlines will give your fitness plan a proper structure and keep you on the right track towards further advancement.
  • Get support from friends and family – Sticking to your fitness goals is hard enough at the best of times but doing it all on your own is going to prove an uphill struggle. In light of this, try and get your friends and family on board to support your training, by offering you encouragement and positive criticism throughout your exercise. With strong emotional backing to support you, the effort of training will soon become much less of a chore.
  • Create a manifesto – We’re not talking Karl Marx here, but drawing up a manifesto that outlines your training plans and goals could really help you stay focused on those healthy New Year’s resolutions. By writing down your promises and pinning them to the wall, you’ll have no excuses not to live up to your original pledges. Time to get scribbling.
  • Reward yourself for completing goals – Just because you’re trying to live up to some healthy New Year’s resolutions doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid enjoying the odd tasty treat. When you’ve completed a fitness goal, why not reward yourself with that slice of chocolate cake you’ve been putting off for weeks? By promising yourself regular (but not too regular!) rewards, you’ll soon feel more motivated to stay on course for better fitness. Moderation is key to maintaining a good physique.

Trying to keep your health-conscious New Year’s resolutions doesn’t have to be so difficult. In fact, by taking a few easy steps, motivating yourself to stay on track can actually be a positive and worthwhile experience in itself, bringing you closer to your family and friends whilst instilling a newfound sense of self-worth. It may be a struggle in the early days, but persevere and you’ll get the healthy body you crave eventually!