Top Tips for Health-Conscious Coal Combustion

Although statistics suggest that domestic homeowners only account for around 4% of the total coal demand each year, the number of residential burners continues to increase steadily. With this said, coal combustion is a skill that is learnt over time which means that many homeowners can put their health at risk by failing to abide by basic safety practices. Read on as the team here at The Healthy Living and Fitness go over everything there is to know about health-conscious coal use…

Ventilation

Burning coal and other carbon-based fuels creates gases like carbon dioxide as a by-product which must be safely removed via the chimney. As a result, it is vital that property owners ensure that their ventilation is in tip top condition or installed by a professional as poor-quality ventilation will prevent carbon dioxide from being removed and puts the respiratory health of those inside a property at risk.

Carbon Monoxide

Another dangerous gas that coal can create when it is burned is carbon monoxide (CO). In fact, CO is incredibly toxic and can put lives at risk when it is inhaled for long periods of time because it displaces the oxygen in the blood with carbon, preventing vital organs like the brain and heart from receiving the oxygen they require. Carbon monoxide is created during the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels and property owners should ensure that they have a functioning CO detector in place as well as effective ventilation.

Anthracite

The oldest form of coal is known as anthracite and it is renowned for being naturally smokeless. After all, it has been subjected to the pressure and heat of coalification for over 350 million years which means that it has a very high carbon content and little to no volatile materials. As a result, many people choose to burn anthracite rather than bituminous coal because it is more eco-friendly, creating cleaner air quality and protecting the health of everybody equally.

Coal is a carbon-based fossil fuel which means that it should always be used safely. After all, incomplete combustion is a common occurrence and the carbon monoxide that it creates can put lives at risk without the correct precautions. To find out more information about burning coal safely, get in contact with the best coal merchants on the market and speak to a member of the Pearson Fuels team today!

Diet vs Exercise: The Lowdown on Weight Loss

With 2020 drawing nearer, it is safe to say that there are thousands of people who make weight loss their new year’s resolution and fail to stick to it by the end of the first quarter of the year because they overcomplicate the process. In fact, many people will spend hours upon hours running on a treadmill when exercise makes up just 20% of every weight loss journey. Read on as the team here at The Healthy Living and Fitness go over everything there is to know about losing weight…

What is a balanced diet?

For a diet to be considered balanced, it should include the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, at least two litres of water per day and a sweet treat every now and then. In fact, tracking the consumption of macronutrients is the most effective way to ensure that a diet is balanced because protein is required to preserve muscle mass and encourage fat loss, carbohydrates provide our body with energy and dietary fats support cell growth and help our body make vital hormones.

Is cardio necessary to lose weight?

Cardiovascular exercise is the name given to any type of workout that gets the heart beating faster than usual such as running, cycling, swimming, boxing, dancing, and even hiking. It is important because it allows our muscles to adapt and ensures that blood is transported around the body effectively. With this said, exercise makes up just 20% of a person’s weight loss regime because it is impossible to out-train a bad diet. As a result, it is entirely possible to lose weight without exercising and following a healthy diet plan, but this is not recommended.

Is weight training just for body builders?

Many people incorrectly presume that lifting weights will leave them looking like a body builder, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, weightlifting is a popular form of exercise that can actually assist weight loss when coupled with the right diet because the weights help the body preserve muscle and encourage it to burn fat instead. After all, muscle is much easier to burn for energy than fat so the body will use it first unless a diet and exercise regime actively prevents it.

In order to lose weight at a sustainable rate, it is important that people track their calorie intake and ensure that the food they put in their mouth is nutritious and beneficial. After all, chocolate and cake may increase our energy levels but the result is short-lived. With this said, exercise is also important for our cardiovascular health and should never be neglected! To find the best workout shoes for all your weight loss needs, check out Laced’s online trainers‘ range today!

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 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!

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!

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!

What is the Best Time of Day to Exercise?

Finding the motivation to sever ties with the sofa and engage in some physical exercise is not an easy commitment, especially for those who have never stepped foot in a gym since high school. In fact, there are tons of different articles that boast about the benefits of running before the sun has even risen whilst simultaneously announcing that an evening gym session is the best way to let go of tension after a busy working day. Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we’ve decided to set the record straight. Read on as we go over the benefits of working out at different times of the day…

Morning

For early risers, working out at the crack of dawn can be a great way to kickstart the day. After all, it can help ensure that a routine remains consistent and is even said to reduce the temptation to snack on unhealthy foods throughout the day. In addition to this, morning workouts are also the least time-consuming because they add time to the day rather than take it away.

Afternoon

Sometimes it is impossible to hit the gym before sunrise, however, research suggests that our body can actually adapt to a regular mid-afternoon workout with time. After all, this is the time of day when early mornings start to catch up with people and a quick run can be the energy boost that a worker requires. In fact, more and more office workers are starting to use their lunchbreak as a gym hour as it provides a change of scenery and breaks the day up.

Evening

The last thing that a 9-5 worker wants to do when they get home is dust off their running trainers, however, there are many stress relieving benefits that can come from an evening workout. After all, statistics suggest that 50% of people bring work related tension into the home which means that hitting the gym first can change a person’s entire mindset, creating a happier household as a result.

When it comes to exercise, the best thing to do is find a routine that fits in with your lifestyle and responsibilities. After all, busy parents are less likely to jump out of bed early in the morning when they have children to look after, however, students are more inclined to slack off exercising in the early evening. To find out more information about the best time of day to hit the gym, get in contact with a member of The Healthy Living and Fitness team today!

Common Mistakes Made During an Ab Workout

Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we want our readers to get the most out of their workouts without risking an injury. In fact, the core plays a vital role in the stability of the body and that is why it is important that fitness fanatics complete exercises that target the abs properly and effectively. With this said, there are many different ways that beginners and experts alike can develop bad habits when it comes to the core. Read on as we go over the top three and explain how they should be done in order to reduce injuries and get a better workout…

Why is arching during a plank bad for the back?

As one of the most effective exercises around because it targets every muscle in the body, the plank can do a lot of harm when it is done incorrectly. After all, it is vital that a straight line is made with the body and retained throughout the entirety of the move as over-arching the back removes the focus on the core and can lead to over exertion in the back, leading to serious back-pain.

Should bicycle crunches be slow and controlled?

When most people complete a bicycle crunch, they tend to move their limbs quickly and sharply in order to get as many into a short space of time. Unfortunately, this lack of attention to detail can lead to form problems as it is difficult to complete an exercise properly when speed is the only focus. During a bicycle crunch, controlling the movements slowly and pacing oneself can ensure that the core remains engaged throughout. After all, it is very important to rotate the torso during this activity.

How can Russian twists be more effective?

In order to work the obliques, the two muscles that are located on the sides of the abs, it can be very effective to complete an exercise known as Russian twists. With this said, this movement is very dependent on the rotation of the torso and many people simply move their arms from side to side without turning their midriff. As a result, the abs do not get an effective workout. In order to complete a Russian twist, it is important to lean back at a 45° angle and keep the back straight as this helps ensure that the core is engaged and rotating throughout.

Whether a person prefers to work out in the comfort of their own home or enjoys the versatility of a gym environment, it is vital that the core is given the attention it deserves. After all, weak abs are a common cause of back pain and are frequently found in those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Luckily, the addition of a few simple core exercises like crunches, push ups and the plank can make a big difference. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of The Healthy Living and Fitness team today!

3 Causes of Poor Sleep Quality

The experts emphasise the importance of getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night, however, it is important to take other factors into consideration too. After all, there are many different things that can attribute to a lack of healthy sleep and many of them can be easily rectified with a little bit of perseverance. Read on as the team here at The Healthy Living and Fitness go over three common causes of poor-quality sleep…

Which pillow is the most supportive?

Although many people are adamant about sleeping with at least two pillows, the reason we even use them is to keep the spine and neck in alignment throughout the night. This means that the wrong pillow can actually cause the muscles to tense unnecessarily and lead to neck pain and headaches upon waking that can disrupt an entire day. In addition to this, an unsupportive pillow can also affect sleep quality by failing to allow people to enter deep sleep properly. As a general rule, back and side sleepers should opt for a thicker and firmer pillow whiles stomach sleepers require a flatter, softer pillow.

How many sleep cycles do you need?

The average sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes and a healthy night’s sleep should involve around 5 of them as this equates to 7-8 hours of sleep per night. In fact, recent studies have shown that people who regularly wake up tired and achy may actually be rising in the middle of a sleep cycle. During one sleep cycle, the body goes through 5 important stages: stage one, which is a light sleep; stage two, which is when our body temperature drops; stage three and four, which is when blood supply increases and repair work is carried out and finally, stage five which is when REM sleep (rapid eye movement) takes place. During this stage, the brain is incredibly active and this is when we tend to dream. In fact, it is so important that we are not disrupted during this phase that getting just 4 cycles of undisturbed sleep will leave a person more rested than 8 hours of sleep with continuous disruptions throughout the night.

Can technology affect your sleep?

Unsurprisingly, technology can also have a negative impact on a person’s quality of sleep as it can engage the brain and encourage wakeful activity. In fact, the blue lighting of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are implemented for this very reason! As a result, a bedroom that is littered with televisions, smartphones, laptops and tablets can have a bad effect on the quality of sleep that a person receives which is why it is more advisable to read a book before bed.

It is not uncommon for people to sacrifice the quality of their sleep for a job or leisure activity. In fact, many people will actively fight tiredness in order to watch a film and we are surrounded by technology that is designed in order to keep us awake for as long as possible. Unfortunately, chronic poor-quality sleep can wreak havoc on a person’s health and lead to the development of headaches, mood disorders and even gastrointestinal problems. By cutting out mobile phones and investing in supportive bedding, many people find that their sleep quality improves drastically. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of The Healthy Living and Fitness team today!

The Lowdown on Dehydrated Skin

At some point or another, every person will suffer from a variation of skin irritation. After all, it is important that we pay attention to what our skin is telling us in order to alter our routine accordingly. With this in mind, there are many different skin types and this means that finding the perfect products can be overwhelming and incredibly difficult. From dry and oily skin to combination skin, getting that perfect glow can be a challenge. In fact, dehydrated skin is the latest discovery that is causing sufferers to completely alter their routine. Read on as we go over everything you need to know…

What is Dehydrated Skin?

Unlike dry skin, which is a skin type that people are usually born with, dehydration is often caused by a compromised skin barrier and can be treated with the correct products. In fact, it is possible for people to suffer from oily skin and dehydrated skin simultaneously because the stratum corneum, the outmost layer of the skin, is lacking in moisture and as a result, starts to produce excess oil in order to compensate. As a result, it is not uncommon for acne sufferers to discover that they have dehydrated skin because they have been using harsh oil-banishing products which strip the skin completely and subsequently cause even more oil production.

What are the Signs of Dehydrated Skin?

After washing the skin in the morning and evening, it is important to note how it feels and looks as this can be a clear indication that there is a dehydration problem at play. For instance, if the face feels dry and tight immediately after washing then the moisture is being absorbed faster than it can be delivered and no amount of moisturiser is going to fix it. In fact, if pressing down on the skin creates a wrinkle pattern around the fingertip then that is also a clear indication of dehydration.

How is Dehydrated Skin Treated?

Since dehydrated skin is often caused by the use of incorrect skincare products, the best way to treat it is by condensing the skincare routine in order to find the best way to return moisture back into the skin. After all, a lack of moisture may be the problem, however, simply drinking water isn’t an effective enough solution. In order to treat dehydrated skin, it is important to use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t foam with lukewarm water and then a toner in order to restore the pH balance. This should then be followed up by a moisturiser that is suitable for your skin type, either dry or oily, and an occlusive, a skincare treatment that prevents water loss. In the morning, it is also important to use an SPF agent too in order to prevent sun damage from further drying out the skin.

Although it may sound complicated and time consuming, formulating the perfect skin care routine is easier than it seems. With this said, it is important to assess the products that are used on a regular basis in order to ensure that they are still suitable for your skin as the weather, particularly during the winter season, can affect the skin barrier and make it more susceptible to dehydration. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of The Healthy Living and Fitness team today!