Why Exercising In Extreme Conditions Boosts Your Fitness

Why Exercising In Extreme Conditions Boosts Your Fitness

In this article, our friend Amy discusses the benefits of working out in extreme conditions. Amy enjoys helping people improve their life by offering them
valuable information on health, beauty, and fashion at her website, procrazystyle.

You can’t watch the athletics for more than ten minutes without the commentators mentioning how so and so has been altitude training or humidity training to give them the edge. This is frustrating because although most people know training in extreme conditions can help athletes, it is rarely explained why this is the case. Extreme is good the most of the time because the only way to extend your zone of comfort is to get out of it often. It’s the same for muscle growth.

Picture of a fitness enthusiast standing on a high cliff

Working out in extreme conditions is one way to really be prepared for a sports event. A lot of top athletes will train in humid and hot conditions or at high altitude to push the body to the limit so when they enter their event they will be prepared. In the sport of Rugby, there are teams that play on altitude and they seem to overpower the visiting teams who don’t operate in such locations normally.

This article takes a look at three of the most common training methods (altitude, humidity/heat, and hypoxic training) and explains why they help.

#1 – Altitude Training

Many people confuse altitude training with hypoxic training, when in fact they are quite different. Altitude training takes place thousands of meters above sea level, where the percentage of oxygen compared to the volume of air is lower. The difference between this and hypoxic training, however, is that all the other air components (nitrogen, CO2, Argon etc) are also lower at altitude. This is because the air is less dense due to lower pressures, meaning all the elements are spread out more (to put it in layman’s terms). Having less oxygen to work with forces the body to adapt in order to keep energy production sustainable. Adaptations can include:

  • Thickening of arterial walls (to improve blood flow)
  • Increasing in heart size and strength
  • Increase in number of red blood cells and hemoglobin (to help transport oxygen around the body)
  • Increased lung capacity
  • Increased alveoli in lungs (to aid gaseous exchange)

When the athlete returns to normal conditions, their body is super efficient and can process more oxygen and CO2 than it could do before its period at altitude.

Picture of a fitness enthusiast doing yoga on a mountain

#2 – Humidity/Heat Training

Humidity training and heat training are actually different, but I have grouped them together as the outcomes are relatively similar. When the body is exercised it is subject to overheating and so adopts something called thermoregulation. This is a process whereby the body works to maintain its core and extremity temperatures to ensure that its functioning is not inhibited.  Some of the problems an athlete faces when they overheat include:

  • ‘Denaturing’ of important enzymes responsible for many functions such as energy production, waste removal, body fluid levels etc
  • Impaired nerve functioning
  • Impaired gaseous exchange efficiency
  • Dehydration

It makes sense then for an athlete to become as good at thermoregulation as possible so they can push their body further than the other athletes and not have to worry about overheating. This is where training in very hot or humid conditions comes in and why you commonly hear of teams spending time in a place with elevated heat and humidity in the weeks leading up to big competitions. In hot conditions the body temperature is raised by the external conditions, and in humid conditions that the body is unable to lose as much heat through evaporation of sweat. Both of these circumstances require the body to adapt and become more efficient at losing heat.  Some of the adaptations that take place are:

  • Increased capillary density at skin surface (improve heat loss via conduction and radiation)
  • Reduction of insulting fat layer under the skin
  • More alveoli and surrounding capillaries in lungs (greater surface area for extraction of heat via breathing)

#3 – Hypoxic Training

Hypoxic training basically involves exercising the body in conditions where the oxygen level is lower than at normal sea level (approx 21% at sea level). Special training chambers are used to regulate oxygen levels and whilst conditions are similar to altitude training, this technique is preferred for three main reasons:

1.)    You don’t have to climb to 6000 or more meters to find the right conditions, which can be difficult to do in flat countries

2.)    The composition of the air is very similar to normal air with regards to nitrogen and CO2 levels etc. This means that the body is trained in conditions more closely matched to competition conditions.

3.)    It is very easy to regulate temperature in hypoxic chambers, meaning that the body does not need to suffer any detrimental effects of very cold temperatures. In fact, you can match the temp and humidly levels very closely with those of the competition conditions.



The Complete Guide to Weighted Blankets for Autism

The Complete Guide to Weighted Blankets for Autism

Dealing with an individual or loved one who is afflicted by autism definitely has its challenges, but ultimately, you would only want what is best for him or her. Fortunately, modern technology has helped make all of our lives a lot easier through different innovations that have been developed over the years.

When caring for someone with autism, for example, there are a good number of delicate methods. However, we will be focusing on the one tool that alleviates the discomfort for most children with autism, and that is the weighted blanket.

As the word itself implies, weighted blankets are fabrics that are a bit heavier than usual, and are essentially aimed to help a child or teenager with autism sleep better or decrease the amount of time before he or she falls asleep. But there are deeper explanations and scientific reasons for the use of such a contraption, and these are what we will be delving deeper into through this article.

Picture of Child Wearing a Blue Weighted Blanket

How Does the Weighted Blanket For Autism Work?

The pressure and weight that the blanket provides, otherwise known as deep touch simulation, helps produce serotonin. This is the chemical that is responsible for calming the body down, which then leads to the production of melatonin, which is then responsible for giving us a good night’s sleep.

Many parents who have children with autism use a weighted blanket not only for sleeping, but also to calm them down as well. Parents usually drape it across their child’s shoulders in order to make him or her feel more secure. https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/do-weighted-blankets-improve-sleep-children-and-teens-autism

And because the weighted blanket is believed to be the remedy for sleep disruption, the child’s quality of sleep improves, which also transcends to their quality of life. The blanket lessens the likelihood of them tossing and turning during their sleep, as the deep touch simulation further enhances the experience.

What Are Other Benefits of Using a Weighted Blanket For Autism, Apart from Sleep Quality Improvement?

As previously mentioned, the improved quality of sleep among children with autism after using a weighted blanket can be enormous, and can greatly improve the quality of their life overall. Having ample amount of sleep is something that all people can benefit from, especially children afflicted with a disease.

For one thing, the use of a weighted blanket can be great for sensory input, especially since those dealing with such diseases have trouble with developing body awareness. Once again, it is the benefit of having the deep touch simulation which helps them deal with this sensory processing disorder.

The overall effect of weighted blankets can also be seen in the improvement of a child’s classroom performance, again because of the improved sleep quality. Studies have shown that a child’s on-task behavior when performing motor skills are greatly improved. The weight on the blanket also helps reduce self-stimulatory behavior, or cases of fidgeting that usually manifests within them.

The effects of a weighted blanket can even go as far as psychological aspects, as it can also give off the same feeling as a hug from a parent or loved one. Since children with autism have difficulty in dealing with physical touch, even from their mother or father, the weighted blanket helps fill that void and helps prevent problems brought on by the lack of physical touch.

In turn, children are able to have better brain development because they are made to feel secure and safe with a lot more ease and less struggle.

Lastly, the use of a weighted blanket can also help improve a child’s transition from low energy activities to those that require a bit more energy and vice versa. These activities include working on homework as soon as they get home from school or getting ready for bed after a long and active day. The calming effect that the deep touch simulation gives out helps them settle down before beginning a new activity.

Picture of Child Sitting Up in Weighted Blanket

How Do You Pick Out the Right Weighted Blanket for Your Child?

It goes without saying that the bigger the blanket size is, the heavier it will get. But according to experts, finding the right size for your child to use is essential for them to get the most out of this very helpful tool.

The rule of thumb, as advised by those in the know, is that the perfect blanket is around 10% of the child’s body weight, with an added two pounds. Of course, it will be different for adult use and would need to be carefully studied since it would vary a great deal.

This means that if your child weighs up to 40 pounds, the ideal weighted blanket for them would be up to 5 pounds. Those who weigh up 70 pounds will need a 7-pound blanket, while a 90-pound child will need a 10-pound blanket.

But ultimately, the important thing is to find the right blanket size that would suit your child and give them utmost comfort. The idea here is to make their lives easier and their conditions a lot less complicated to deal with, both for you as a parent, and for your children themselves.

Why Should We Use a Weighted Blanket?

While there have been new research findings claiming that there are not really any direct positive effects of using weighted blankets for children with autism and their quality of sleep, there also are many many first-hand accounts that say otherwise.

Ultimately, it is all about proper discernment and doing your due diligence as a parent before deciding to utilize this tool. After all, we would only want what is best for our children, especially for those that need more intensive care.

History of Whole Body Vibration

History of Whole Body Vibration

The science and benefits of whole body vibration stretch across centuries. Dating back to the ancient Greeks, and continuing in to the 1900’s, body vibration machines have seemingly always been a part of human life. In this article, we provide a brief history of the modern day best vibration machine. We will also analyze how vibration therapy has woven its benefits into the fabrics of many cultures across the world.

Body Vibration Machines in Ancient Greece

The Greeks were a warrior society. As with any warrior people, dealing with injury from armed conflict was a reality of daily life. Ancient Grecian doctors invented the first body vibration machines as a therapeutic methodology to help soldiers recover from their injuries. They utilized a bow-like wooden instrument, and would ‘pluck’ the strings of the bow to allow it to vibrate over soldiers’ wounds. Doctors in Ancient Greece found that soldiers’ injuries would heal faster as a result of vibration therapy; this “buzzing” allowed pus to drain faster from wounds and stimulated the production of human growth hormone. Together, these benefits helped to stimulate healing in the patient’s body.

Vibration Therapy in the 1800s

Although Ancient Greeks invented body vibration machines, whole body vibration was not widely used until the late 1800s, when a Swedish doctor named Jonas Gustav Zander established the modern gym. In Zander’s gymnasiums, members could test out various types of gym equipment. Included in some of Zander’s earliest gyms was the vibration machine. Indeed, Zander employed vibration therapy as a way to help stimulate weight loss and muscle gain in his patients.

In 1895, John Kellogg, who would later invent the modern breakfast cereal, improved on Zander’s designs and came up with the first whole body vibration machine. Kellogg’s invention paved the way for modern machines like the Power Press.

Whole Body Vibration in the 20th and 21st Centuries

In the 1960s, scientists became increasingly bullish on whole body vibration, believing in its utility across various health aspects and careers.

Russia was the first country to fully embrace vibration therapy. In the 1960s, the nation utilized what they called rhythmic neuromuscular stimulation. This led to the discovery that whole body vibration could not only support muscle growth, but also help stimulate bone regeneration. Some of the first people to enjoy the benefits of vibration therapy were the Russian cosmonauts, who commonly suffered from poor bone density as a direct result of space travel.

The Russian space program took huge steps forward as a result of vibration therapy. In 1995, equipped with an effective solution for the negative effects of weightlessness in space, the cosmonaut Valery Polakov became the first man to stay in space for more than 400 days. In addition to the space program, Russian athletes also leveraged body vibration machines to speed up their rehab during the Olympics.

From its birthplace in Russia, body vibration machines spread far and wide. The Americans used it to get a man on the moon. German scientists put it to work in improving people’s flexibility. An Italian physiologist named Carmelo Bosco then came up with the modern day whole body vibration machine, allowing people from all over the world to access the benefits of vibration therapy in the comfort of their homes or in their neighborhood gyms.

The Benefits of Whole Body Vibration: Fact or Fiction?

The Benefits of Whole Body Vibration: Fact or Fiction?

If you’ve been reading about health and exercise lately, you have likely come across a puzzling trend called “passive exercise,” or more specifically, vibration fitness. Whole body vibration machines are exploding in popularity and don’t show signs of disappearing any time soon. In this article, we will dive in to discover the truth about whole-body vibration.

Origins of WBV

Whole-body vibration was born in the USSR, where Soviet astronauts used rudimentary vibrating “plates” to simulate various aspects of space travel. News of the positive effects of vibration on human health spread internationally. In no time, countries from the US to France to China began including whole body vibration in their space programs.

How Does It Work?

The most popular form of vibration exercise features a person standing with knees bent on a platform. When the user is ready, they flip a switch and the platform begins to vibrate. Vibration machines vary in their speed, but the most common setting is 30 vps (vibrations per second).

The human body interprets 30 vps as a danger signal, and fires a powerful “stress reflex” that causes the muscles to contract. The body’s “stress” reaction is the key to whole body vibration fitness. The contraction of human musculature generates a wave of physiological changes, including increased strength, better balance/stability, and improved blood flow. Believe it or not, professional athletes have begun using vibration machines to help speed recovery from intense workouts. Some additional benefits include increased metabolic rate, flexibility, HGH production, improved bone density, and better circulation in the lymph nodes.

While the above effects have been studied and proven at various degrees, do not trust everything you hear about whole body vibration. It won’t make you more beautiful, reduce bags under your eyes, or give you clearer skin. While whole-body vibration has shown great potential for improving human health and fitness, it is not a miracle-worker. There are many unsubstantiated claims floating around, and if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is!

Picture of Woman on Vibration Machine

Who Can Benefit From Whole Body Vibration?

One of the most incredible facts about whole body vibration is that it can improve the lives of everyone – able-bodied people, the physically disabled, and even our elders. Whole-body vibration can serve as a much-needed exercise alternative for sufferers of Parkinson’s, MS, and severe arthritis who may not have the mobility to exercise in more traditional ways. Similarly, elderly people who are too feeble to perform traditional exercises have shown improvements in muscle strength and bone density after using vibration machines.

Buying a Vibration Machine: Try Before You Buy

Studies have found that using vibration machines can be as effective as treadmills for losing weight. As we’ve already covered, there are clearly many benefits of vibration machines, from improved blood circulation, to stronger bones, to improved muscle strength. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that more research needs to be done before fitness experts can understand the exact value of whole body vibration machines. This new form of nontraditional or passive fitness is still in its infancy.

The best vibration machines like the Power Plate, the DKN, and the 3G Cardio Vibration Machine can run in the thousands of dollars. Because of this huge financial commitment, you need to be absolutely positive that you enjoy – and your body responds well to – vibration exercise. How often will you use it? Are you disabled, an elder, or have other mobility challenges? Do you have space in your home or apartment?

We suggest trying several different vibration machines before spending thousands of dollars on one. One of the challenges here is that your local gym probably does not have a vibration machine to try out. Whole body vibration is only now entering the mainstream, but who knows if gyms will adopt them? Vibration machine companies know this – adoption and lack of credibility are existential threats to their business. To help with adoption of their products, they’ve taken a “pop-up” strategy. “Pop-up” stores are special short-term, brick-and-mortar events that allow prospective customers to interact with a product line. If you live in a big city, it is very likely that there’s a vibration pop-up near you!

Finally, beware of any vibration machine under $200. You put your own health at risk by using a machine that isn’t built well or that takes shortcuts. That said, if you make the right choice, and you buy a high quality machine, you’ll reap the benefits for many years to come. But skimp on the price, don’t expect your machine to last long.

For more information, check out this article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2017/03/19/study-whole-body-vibration-may-reduce-weight-like-running-on-a-treadmill-but/


The Best Home Remedies to Fix Dry, Cracked Feet

The Best Home Remedies to Fix Dry, Cracked Feet

There are few things that are more unattractive than dry, cracked and peeling feet. If your feet are rough and dry, you don’t have to suffer with them. You can restore them to health by experimenting with ingredients you can find at home. Check out some of our favorite home remedies below.

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has so many healthful and beneficial uses. If you don’t have some of this amazing stuff in your kitchen already, go get it now. You can use it to cook with and you can also apply it to your feet before going to bed. It provides a deep moisturizing effect, and keeps fungal and bacterial issues at bay. We've talked previously about the wonders of coconut oil for skin; it's an extremely versatile ingredient.

2. Mentholated Rub

If you’ve got dry, cracked feet and toenail fungus, your mentholated rub that you use during cold season is just the thing. Smooth it onto your feet before bed and cover with socks. Over a few days, the rough skin will peel off and leave you with gloriously soft feet.

3. Paraffin Wax

Pamper your feet with paraffin wax. You can heat it in your microwave. Once you heat it, add in coconut oil until it forms a thick and creamy paste. Apply it to the cracked part of your feet and then cover with socks. Wash your feet in the morning and moisturize. Keep repeating this process for a week until your feet look flawless.

4. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is great for promoting circulation. It also contains magnesium, which is fantastic for your body’s overall health and removing toxins. You’ll want to soak your feet in a tub of warm water with a half cup of Epsom salt. After 10 minutes, rub your feet with a pumice stone to slough off the dead skin. Soak your feet once more for 10 more minutes. Afterward, dry your feet and moisturize.

5. Vaseline

Good old Vaseline has been touted as one of the best remedies for dry, cracked feet. Simply slather it onto your feet before bedtime and cover with thick socks. When you wake up, you will have softer feet. If you follow this treatment after soaking in Epsom salt, you will have spectacularly soft and supple feet!

6. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera is one of the most wonderful gels in the world and is completely plant-based. After soaking your feet, generously cover your feet in Aloe Vera gel and then slip on a pair of socks before going to bed.

7. Listerine

Mouthwash safely and effectively clears away the germs in your mouth, so imagine how amazing it is on your feet! Mix a cup of it with a cup of white vinegar and two cups of water, then soak your feet in it for at least 10 minutes but no more than 15. Scrub your feet with a pumice stone and wash off. Then moisturize and you’ll be on your way with soft and sensual feet!

If you tried one of these home remedies, please leave a comment and let us know if it helped!

Time-Proven Natural Remedies for Clear, Radiant Skin

Time-Proven Natural Remedies for Clear, Radiant Skin

If you really want to have the best skin of your life no matter what your age, always remember that healthy skin begins from within. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will help you maintain a clearer, more youthful, more radiant glow. Another great tip: stay hydrated by drinking enough water. Below, we have listed our seven favorite natural remedies to achieve supple, soft skin. These remedies are not only effective, but also convenient. You can find the items around your house:

  • In your pantry
  • In your refrigerator's produce drawer
  • Next to the stove
  • On your spice rack

Follow the tips below, and you'll achieve your best skin ever.

Honey and Lemon

Raw, organic, unprocessed honey is wonderful for your wellbeing, both inside and out. Mix a tablespoon of honey with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice together, then apply this mixture to your moistened face. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. The nourishing effects will be seen instantly after you rinse it away with cold water.


Oats are great for scrubbing away impurities and calming irritated skin. You’ll want to take 1/2 cup of oats and add just a little warm water to it. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes so it gets a pasty consistency. Then apply it to your face in circular motions, massaging gently as you go. Wash away with cold water when finished.


Tomatoes are great for smoothing out your complexion and reducing hyper-pigmentation. Rub the pulp of the tomato on your face and let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse it away for a renewed-looking you!

Green apple

Green apples are used in many natural hair and skin formulations because of their ability to restore luster. Pulp up a green apple and smooth it onto your skin. It will help increase circulation as well, and once you rinse it away, you’ll see a definite difference in the glow of your skin.

Natural oils

Whether you have coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, grab those out of your cabinet and smooth a few drops of it onto your cheekbones for an instant glow. If using coconut oil, you’ll need to render it into a liquid state first to achieve this effect.


Sugar gets a bad reputation for the inside of your body, but for the outside, it makes for an excellent scrubbing agent that sloughs off dead skin cells. Add lemon juice and honey to it and you have an effective exfoliant that will leave you looking fresh-faced and bright.

Turmeric powder and lemon

You’ll have to be careful with this one since using too much turmeric powder can tinge your face yellow. If you make a paste using turmeric with fresh lemon juice and smooth it on, you’ll get that glowing skin you’re after. Just a thin layer will do. Let it dry and then quickly and thoroughly wash it away.