The Health Benefits of Chimney Sweeping

Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we are committed to our readers and their health which is why we like to bring awareness to the mistakes that many homeowners make when it comes to the cleanliness of their chimney. After all, the number of stoves and fireplaces in use tends to increase as the temperatures drop and it is essential that property owners have their chimney swept in preparation. Read on as we go over some of the health benefits that can be obtained from regular chimney sweeping…

What is creosote build-up?

When carbon-based fuels are burned, they release gases and soot which are removed from a property via the chimney. As they rise, they cool and condense on the sides of the flue and build up a flammable substance known as creosote. Although it is safe in small quantities, thick deposits of creosote can catch alight and start a very dangerous chimney fire and when a chimney is swept by a professional, the amount of creosote is reduced in order to prevent such situations from occurring.

How are the by-products created during combustion removed?

Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are two gases that are created during the burning of carbon-based fuels like coal and firewood and they are typically removed by the chimney flue. With this said, thick levels of creosote can reduce the amount of space that is available, preventing the gases from being deposited outside of the home effectively. As a result, some gas may remain inside the home and can put the respiratory health of homeowners at risk, however regularly chimney sweeping ensures that the flue does not become blocked by soot and creosote.

Why is carbon monoxide so dangerous?

The incomplete combustion of coal and firewood can lead to the creation of carbon monoxide (CO) instead of carbon dioxide and the presence of this gas can put homeowners at risk when the ventilation of a property is not adequate enough due to thick creosote build-up. After all, CO is notoriously difficult to detect because it is tasteless, odourless and colourless; in high levels it gradually enters the bloody stream, replaces the oxygen molecules and causes carbon monoxide poisoning. Luckily, a CO detector often alerts homeowners to presence of carbon monoxide before they start to develop serious symptoms like fainting, headaches, nausea and dizziness and a routine chimney sweeping service will ensure that CO is safely removed via the chimney.

Although it may seem like an inconvenience, a chimney only needs to be swept twice a year by a professional who knows what they are doing. As a result, homeowners are able to make full use of their stove or fireplace without worrying about the possibility of a dangerous creosote ignited chimney fire! To find out which fuel is suitable for your burning requirements this winter, get in contact with the best coal merchants on the market and speak to a member of the Pearson Fuels team today!

The Importance of Safe Running Footwear

A surprising number of runners actually wear unsuitable footwear for the workouts that they complete. After all, the terrain that can be found outdoors is incredibly varied, particularly if an athlete likes to partake in off-road running, which means that a supportive pair of trainers is an essential part of any outfit. Read on as the team here at The Healthy Living and Fitness go over a few reasons why safe footwear is essential for runners..

Do running trainers help prevent injuries?

It is no secret that running footwear is typically more expensive than a pair of generic trainers purchased from a supermarket and there is good reason for this. After all, they are often crafted with the running style, foot shape and specific needs of the buyer in mind in order to offer the ankle the support it needs to withstand the repeated impact of each stride. As a result, running footwear is particularly beneficial when it comes to injury prevention.

Can the correct footwear improve athletic performance?

When a runner’s feet and ankles are offered the support and protection that they need, it allows the athlete to focus on their athletic performance closely without worrying about the risk of injury. After all, running trainers may not be able to completely prevent an accident from taking place but improved comfort, focused airflow and ankle support are all essential components that can improve a runner’s speed and stamina.

Why is arch support so important?

Runners with flat feet often have to purchase insoles for their everyday shoes in order to obtain the comfort they need which is why arch support is so important in running trainers. After all, poor fitting footwear can lead to painful joints and a decreased level of athletic performance, particularly for those with flat feet. Luckily, there is a market that caters specifically for runners with arch-less or over-arching foot shapes.

An injury that is obtained from unsupportive trainers can happen in a matter of seconds and set back months’ worth of progress. After all, the average sprained ankle can take anywhere between 2 weeks to 6 months to heal depending on the severity of the accident. To find the perfect footwear for your running needs, check out Laced’s online trainers range or speak to a member of the team today!

Three Healthy Ways to Cook a Chicken

As one of the most versatile meats on the market, there are dozens of different ways that a chicken can be cooked and a wide range of different dishes that it can be implemented into. Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we want our readers to explore their palate and revive their love for cooking whilst understanding the fundamental basics of cooking white meat. Read on as we go over three healthy ways that chicken can be cooked…

Roasted

Roasting a chicken is the most traditional way to cook a bird whole. The length of time that the chicken stays in the oven depends on its weight as smaller chickens will cook in around one hour whereas larger chickens can take around 1 hour and 40 minutes. The bird should be placed in a deep container and seasoned before coating with tinfoil. During the last 20-30 minutes, the tinfoil can be removed in order to crisp the skin without affecting the juices inside the meat.

Baked

In order to bake a chicken, the different parts should be separated from each other and then covered in a seasoning of choice in order to create tasty, handheld pieces of meat that will cook in less than half the time of a roasted chicken. Although many people choose to leave the skin on, removing the skin will reduce the fat content of the meat and make a meal using roasted chicken considerably healthier.

Grilled

When it comes to speed, flavour and health, grilled chicken manages to tick all the boxes. Interestingly, many people choose to grill the breast of a chicken because it is the easiest part to marinate and cook without losing any of the flavour. Depending on the size of the chicken breast piece, it is possible to achieve the signature grill marks in just 4-6 minutes and these crowd pleasers are typically paired with a healthy salad.

Chicken is a meat with a high protein and low fat content which makes it incredibly popular with athletes and runners. With this said, eating the same thing every day can become rather mundane which is why new and exciting cooking styles can add a splash of creativity to meal times. Royal Nawaab, an authentic Indian and Pakistani restaurant in Manchester and London, use halal chicken in a range of dishes in order to offer their guests an experience they will never forget. To book a table, get in contact with a member of the Royal Nawaab team today!

The Health Benefits of Spicy Food

Spices have been around for thousands of years and were even used medicinally by the Chinese, Indians and Ancient Egyptians. With this said, the modern approach to spice focuses on its infusion in a range of savoury dishes from all over the world, however, it is still possible to reap the healing properties they were once known for. Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we want our readers to understand the benefits that can be obtained from implementing certain spices in their diet. Read on to find out more…

Can spicy food improve your digestive system?

It is thought that our taste buds and digestive system are more connected than scientists previously realised. After all, the same receptors that communicate with the brain to tell us when capsaicin, the active component that makes chilli peppers hot, has been detected are also found in the gut. When it enters the digestive tract, capsaicin actually creates a chemical known as anandamide which has been shown to reduce the inflammation caused by conditions like Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis. 

Does curcumin help prevent cancer?

Found in Turmeric, curcumin is a chemical compound that occurs naturally and is thought to hold miracle properties when it comes to the treatment of cancer cells. After all, research has shown that curcumin can reduce the growth of malignant cells and even prevent them from developing, particularly when it comes to breast cancer, cervical cancer and stomach cancer.

Is spicy food an effective remedy for heart disease?

According to a doctor at the University of Maryland, turmeric and red peppers have a noticeable effect on the body’s circulatory system. After all, capsaicin, which is found in hot peppers, can cause the blood vessels to dilate and effectively reduce the blood pressure of patients. In addition to this, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are thought to work by reducing cholesterol and allowing damaged blood vessels to heal properly.

Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we believe that a healthy balance of spice in the diet is the perfect way to satisfy the taste buds whilst ensuring that the body remains healthy. After all, turmeric is a popular ingredient used in Indian and Pakistani cuisine that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. For the perfect blend of spice and flavour, get in contact with the best restaurant around and make a booking with Royal Nawaab today!

How to Stay Active and Motivated During Winter

As the evenings get darker and the temperatures gets colder, our motivation to exercise can dwindle quickly. After all, the summer sun has a lot of influence on our desire to get moving and that is why many people find it so difficult to remain active during the cold season. Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we believe that there are a few simple changes that can be made in order to ensure that winter doesn’t spoil months’ worth of progress. Read on to find out more…

Does exercising with a friend help people stay on track?

Working out solo can be counterproductive because many people find it difficult to motivate themselves. On the other hand, having another person rely on your presence at the gym, sports hall or local park can be encouraging and reduces the likelihood of a person repeatedly skipping their workouts. After all, accountability is a two-way street when it comes to exercising with a friend.

Can sleep deprivation affect an exercise routine?

In order to make the most out of a workout, it is important to get enough rest during the night. After all, sleep deprivation is a chronic state of sleepiness that occurs when people are in a constant ‘sleep-debt’ because they do not get the recommended number of hours of sleep per night. Since this condition can have adverse effects like irritability, weight gain and drowsiness, it can affect the quality of a workout considerably.   

Why is the right footwear so important?

When the weather changes during winter, it is important to be prepared for the how the ground will change too. After all, frost, ice and snow can make outdoor running very dangerous without the correct footwear and that is why it is vital that outdoor runners invest in a high-quality pair of trainers that offer the support and tread necessary to prevent injuries that may setback months’ worth of summer progress.

Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we want to encourage our readers to wake up earlier in order to fit in the activity that is necessary in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. After all, dark skies and a cold breeze should never be an excuse to hit the snooze button one too many times! To find the most supportive running footwear that will protect and perfect your sprinting style, check out Laced’s online trainers‘ collection today!

5 Vegetables You Shouldn’t Eat Raw

Although we spend our childhood trying to avoid vegetables at every opportunity, we often realise their importance in our diet by time we become adults. After all, they contain a variety of important and essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that we need in order to survive. With this said, there are some vegetables that aren’t as beneficial, or tasty, when they are eaten raw. Read on as we go over the top five veggies that should always be cooked prior to eating…

Asparagus

Known for its cancer-fighting nutrients, asparagus is a stalky vegetable that isn’t dangerous when eaten raw but isn’t very pleasant. After all, it has a very rough texture due to the plant fibres that it is made from which means that cooking will make it easier to chew and digest. In fact, steaming or sautéing asparagus in olive oil and lemon juice can add a lot of exciting flavours.

Mushrooms

With their potassium-rich content, mushrooms can be safely eaten raw but the cooking process allows these nutrients to be absorbed by the body in higher quantities. After all, not consuming enough potassium can lead to a condition known as hypokalaemia. Interestingly, mushrooms are a versatile vegetable which means that they can be fried, roasted, sautéed or steamed.

Potatoes

There are some vegetables that can be eaten raw but are most beneficial when cooked; potatoes are dangerous when they are not cooked prior to consumption because they contain a lot of toxins that can harm the body. In addition to this, they are a starch-filled vegetable which is very difficult for the body to digest in such large quantities when uncooked and can lead to digestive upset. As a result, potatoes should always be boiled, baked or roasted.

Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are known as a cruciferous vegetable and this means that they contain some sugars that can be difficult to digest by the body in a raw state, causing gas, bloating and abdominal pain. As a result, it is advisable to cook sprouts before eating them because the sugars are adapted during the preparation process which makes them easier to digest.

Spinach

Many people are surprised to find out how much spinach shrinks during the cooking process. In fact, raw spinach contains oxalic acid and whilst it isn’t considered dangerous, it can interfere with the absorption of important nutrients like calcium and iron. Plus, the shrinkage of spinach when it is cooked means that more can be consumed in one sitting and increases the nutrients that are obtained.

Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we know how important a healthy diet is as vitamin deficiencies can arise when we do not consume a balanced diet. With this said, it is always advisable to cook certain vegetables before they are eaten because the preparation process allows the body to digest them much easier. To find out which vegetables can be safely eaten raw, get in contact with a member of the Healthy Living and Fitness team today!

The Lowdown on Rounded Shoulders

In a world that revolves around technology, it comes as no surprise that millions of years’ worth of human evolution is being affected before our eyes. After all, the majority of people do not carry out an active job that keeps them on their feet all day and this provides the perfect stomping ground for muscle imbalances to take control. In fact, rounded shoulders are one of the most common ailments that affect young adults and pensioners alike. Luckily, the team here at The Healthy Living and Fitness know how to correct and prevent rounded shoulders with the help of a few top tips. Read on to find out more information…

What causes rounded shoulders?

There are many different reasons why a person may develop rounded shoulders and the condition is more common than people realise. Research suggests that a lack of continuous motion which allows the muscles in the back and chest to develop an imbalance is often to blame and this is commonly caused by an office-based job where employees spend 8 hours a day hunched over a computer. In fact, technology plays a big role in the development of rounded shoulders and the condition can even be provoked by using a smartphone or playing video games for an extended number of hours as the posture adopted for both of these activities allows a muscle imbalance to develop.

Which muscles are to blame for rounded shoulders?

In order to tackle rounded shoulders, it is important that those afflicted with the condition understand which muscles are affected as there is a continuous tug-of-war between the muscles that pull the shoulders forwards and the muscles that pull them backwards. In fact, the muscles at the front of the chest such as the pectoral major/minor and upper trapezius are tight and need to be stretched in order to release the shoulder from this rounded position whereas the muscles in the back such as the mid/lower trapezius and rotator cuff are weak and need to be strengthened in order to encourage them to pull the shoulders backwards into a neutral spinal position.

What exercises can help fix rounded shoulders?

Whilst the science behind treating rotated shoulders sounds confusing to the average individual, there are a variety of simple yet effective exercises that can be carried out in order to stretch and strengthen the appropriate muscles. For example, placing the palms of the hands on an open-door frame and lunging forwards without arching the lower back will help stretch and open the front of the chest and standing against a wall and moving the arms from a ‘W’ position to an overhead position can engage the muscles in the upper back in order to strengthen them.

Whether you are glued to a games console or spend long hours behind the wheel of a heavy-goods vehicle, the fixture for rounded shoulders is exactly the same. After all, the muscle imbalance that causes the shoulders to be pulled forwards have to be corrected through stretching and strengthening exercises before any improvement will be noticeable. In addition to this, it is essential that the affected individual also makes improvements to their posture throughout the day so that the exercises are not carried out in vain. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of The Healthy Living and Fitness team today!

The Difference Between Full Body Workouts and Bro Split Workouts

Hitting the gym can be hard enough without worrying about which workouts are popular. After all, the fitness fanatics and experienced athletes tend to understand the ins and outs of the industry in order to figure out which approach is the most effective for their requirements and goals. Interestingly, most gym goers tend to opt for a full body workout, which targets every muscle group in the body during each session, or a ‘bro split’ workout, which separates muscle groups into a routine that targets them separately and vigorously. Read on as the team here at The Healthy Living and Fitness go over some of the differences that separate them once and for all…

What are the pros and cons of full body workouts?

Carrying out a full body workout is the best way to ensure that an individual feels the full benefit of their exercise regime as every single muscle group is targeted simultaneously. As a result, missing a day here and there won’t be as worrisome. With this said, overtraining can have a negative effect on the body as lifting heavy weights multiple times a week can put a lot of strain on the muscles that are used, especially when they aren’t given enough time to repair.

Who should utilise a full body workout?

Since a full body workout can help athletes maximise their calorie burn and fat loss, it can be a very effective option for those who have a lot of excess weight to lose. After all, continuously moving is the number one way to trigger the body and convince it to utilise energy from the fat reserves as spot training individual muscles doesn’t produce results as quickly.

What are the pros and cons of bro split workouts?

The ‘bro split’ is the name given to a series of workouts that separate the muscle groups in the body and target them individually. This gives athletes more control over the development of their physique as it is easier to spot train specific muscles and shape them accordingly. In addition to this, the workouts are often tougher but more manageable because people find that they spend less time in the gym. With this said, the bro split is a muscle-based exercise regime which means that the overall calorie burning is much lower compared to full body workouts and skipping a day here and there can lead to muscle and strength imbalances, reducing the control that the individual has over their routine.

Who should utilise a bro split workout?

Since the bro split regime requires dedication and commitment in order to be effective, it is often utilised by bodybuilders and fitness models in order to tone their physique and increase their muscle size. As a result, it is recommended that only experienced lifters and athletes utilise this type of workout as the amount of time and experience that is required can be off-putting for a beginner that has never stepped foot in a gym before.

Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we believe that beginners should be well-informed before they make a decision about the type of workout that they are going to carry out. After all, bro-split workouts were popularised by bodybuilders but can be incredibly challenging for an individual with low confidence in a gym environment. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of The Healthy Living and Fitness team today and ask about our top tips for first-time gym goers!

How to Prevent DOMS

Every year more and more people become a certified couch potato as they inadvertently reduce their exercise intake and consume an unbalanced and unhealthy diet. Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we want to ensure that our readers understand how to deal with common exercise dilemmas that may put people off before they’ve even started. Read on as we go over a few simple tips and tricks that can help prevent DOMS…       

What is DOMS?

The term DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and it is the term given to the aches and pains that people often get after a long run or a brutal gym workout. With this said, beginners or those that have taken a lengthy break from working out can also suffer from DOMS because it occurs when we create micro-tears in the muscles so that they can recover stronger and more prepared. Luckily, it often subsides within 24 to 48 hours.

Why are rest days important?

Since DOMS happens because of small tears in the muscles, it is very important that we provide the body with enough time to recover and make effective repairs. After all, this is how it adapts to exercise and eventually becomes stronger. Many athletes advocate for the implementation of rest days between particularly high-intensity workouts because they allow the muscle the time it needs to repair. 

Is it necessary to stretch before and after a workout?

There are many conflicting reports about the benefits of stretching before and after exercise and this can be confusing for many people, particularly beginners who are worried about the onset of DOMS. With this said, stretching before a workout can prepare the muscles and stretching after a workout whilst the muscle fibres are repairing themselves can help prevent knots and soreness, especially if a foam roller is used.        

In most circumstances people find that a couple of aches and pains after a good workout is a good thing as it is taken as a sign that the body has been pushed out of its comfort zone. In order to ensure that delayed onset muscle soreness does not prevent people from getting the most out of their workout, it is important to ensure that rest days are not skipped. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of The Healthy Living and Fitness team today! 

Everything You Need to Know About Vitamins

In a society that has become so accustomed to living a sedentary routine, it isn’t surprising to find that lifestyle related conditions like heart disease, diabetes and obesity are on the rise. After all, it may be difficult to start exercising regularly but the length of one’s life can depend on it. Interestingly, the food we eat plays an important role in our health and research suggests that most people do not consume enough vitamins and minerals which is why we’ve decided to go over everything there is to know about vitamins and why they are a vital part of our diet…

What are the names of the different vitamins?

A vitamin is an organic component that can be broken down by heat, air or acid; however, it can be very difficult to consume enough of each one on a daily basis which is why many people often discover that they have some kind of deficiency.  In order to make them easier for the average person to understand, the important vitamins that we need are separated into categories by letters and that is why many juice drinks often talk about consuming enough vitamin ‘C’, the colloquial term for ascorbic acid.

Why are vitamins so important to our health?

Since there are so many different types of vitamins, it is important to understand their use in the body and how it impacts our health when we don’t consume enough of them. For example, vitamin A is made up of retinoids and carotene so it keeps our skin and tissue healthy; vitamin B is comprised of 8 subcategories, however, the most well-known is vitamin B9, also called folate, which is used in order to make and repair DNA; and vitamin D, also known as calciferol, which strengthens the bones and helps the body absorb calcium.

What is the difference between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins?

It is safe to say that vitamins are a very complex diet necessity which is why many people fail to consume enough of them. In fact, there are two different forms that vitamins can be found in and these are known as water-soluble and fat-soluble.

Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, C, biotin and pantothenic acid are considered water-soluble which means that they can dissolve in water and be used immediately whereas vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble and this means that they are dissolved in fats and must travel through the small intestine in order to be absorbed via the bloodstream.

Perhaps the most important piece of information to remember is that water-soluble vitamins are not stored inside the body so they must be regularly replenished through the diet whereas fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissue for use at a later date.

It is impossible to out-train a bad diet which means that running miles upon miles on a treadmill is not the most effective way of reducing the likelihood of dangerous diet related issues. After all, a heart attack is often caused by blocked arteries full of hardened cholesterol and fatty deposits that prevent blood from flowing freely. Luckily, many of the vitamins that we need can be obtained from different food groups through the consumption of a balanced diet. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of The Healthy Living and Fitness team today!