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7 Reasons why women should lift weights

Being scared to lift weights is normal, especially when there are so many lies and confusing resources out there.

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You may have read that women should lift weights – but won’t that make women ‘bulky?’ Being scared to lift weights is normal, especially when there are so many lies and confusing resources out there. 

This is why it’s so important to learn a little about the body and how it works – then you know what to believe and what not to believe. For example, some resources will tell you to do high reps of a low weight to build ‘leaner’ muscle, but this isn’t the case. You will build very minimal, if any muscle by doing this and will likely build up endurance more than anything. Challenging yourself with weights and aiming for 8-15 reps is a good start for anybody.

Image source: Pexels.com

However, if you need to be convinced, read on for seven reasons women should lift weights:

1. Lifting Weights Will Help You To Get That ‘Toned’ Look

‘Toning’ is also a bit of a myth in the fitness industry, which is why things can get confusing. ‘Toning’ is basically losing fat and building muscle. Beginners can do both at the same time, but if you’ve been working out for a while you will usually want to focus on one goal at a time. If you want definition at all, then you will need to lift weights – there are no two ways about it. 

2. You’ll Love How Strong You Feel

Feeling strong is amazing. Many women love how empowered they feel when they start to lift weights and this makes them want to continue! 

3. You’ll Feel Fitter And More Capable In Every Day Life 

Lifting weights can help women to feel so much stronger, fitter, and more capable every day. Whether you’re taking bags from the car to the house, or moving furniture around, you’ll notice a huge difference when you’ve been lifting weights consistently for a while.

4. You’ll Learn the Power Of Your Mindset

Lifting weights truly requires a focus on mindset – you need to be able to push through your sets, keep going when the going gets tough, and believe that this is something you can do. The mind-muscle link is also important, as this encourages you to focus on the muscle and ensure you’re working the right one as you train. Visualizing the muscle working is said to help get better results. 

5. You’ll Burn Fat Faster

The great thing about lifting weights is that it doesn’t just build muscle – it also helps to burn fat. Spending ages on the treadmill is so outdated! 

6. You’ll Have More Interesting Workouts

You’ll struggle to get bored with a weight based workout as there’s so much you can do with it. You can do circuits, HIIT, and even heavy sets with a 3 minute break in between. You can switch things up and keep them fresh. 

7. Relieve Stress 

If you find yourself feeling stressed, there’s nothing quite like throwing some weights around to let it all out! Many people find it therapeutic

Are you going to try this out? Leave a comment! 

Health & Wellness

Hedonism can lead to happiness

Of course self-control is important, but research on self-regulation should pay just as much attention to hedonism, or short-term pleasure. That’s because new research shows that people’s capacity to experience pleasure or enjoyment contributes at least as much to a happy and satisfied life as successful self-control.

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Relaxing on the sofa or savoring a delicious meal: Enjoying short-term pleasurable activities that don’t lead to long-term goals contributes at least as much to a happy life as self-control, according to new research from the University of Zurich and Radboud University in the Netherlands. The researchers therefore argue for a greater appreciation of hedonism in psychology.

We all set ourselves long-term goals from time to time, such as finally getting into shape, eating less sugar or learning a foreign language. Research has devoted much time to finding out how we can reach these goals more effectively. The prevailing view is that self-control helps us prioritize long-term goals over momentary pleasure and that if you are good at self-control, this will usually result in a happier and more successful life.

“It’s time for a rethink,” says Katharina Bernecker, researcher in motivational psychology at the University of Zurich. “Of course self-control is important, but research on self-regulation should pay just as much attention to hedonism, or short-term pleasure.”

That’s because Bernecker’s new research shows that people’s capacity to experience pleasure or enjoyment contributes at least as much to a happy and satisfied life as successful self-control.

Distraction disrupts pleasure

Bernecker and her colleague Daniela Becker of Radboud University developed a questionnaire to measure respondents’ capacity for hedonism, i.e. their ability to focus on their immediate needs and indulge in and enjoy short-term pleasures. They used the questionnaire to find out whether people differ in their capacity to pursue hedonic goals in a variety of contexts, and whether this ability is related to well-being.

They found that certain people get distracted by intrusive thoughts in moments of relaxation or enjoyment by thinking about activities or tasks that they should be doing instead. “For example, when lying on the couch you might keep thinking of the sport you are not doing,” says Becker. “Those thoughts about conflicting long-term goals undermine the immediate need to relax.” On the other hand, people who can fully enjoy themselves in those situations tend to have a higher sense of well-being in general, not only in the short term, and are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, among other things.

More isn’t always better

“The pursuit of hedonic and long-term goals needn’t be in conflict with one another,” says Bernecker. “Our research shows that both are important and can complement each other in achieving well-being and good health. It is important to find the right balance in everyday life.”

People’s capacity to experience pleasure or enjoyment contributes at least as much to a happy and satisfied life as successful self-control.

Unfortunately, simply sitting about more on the sofa, eating more good food and going to the pub with friends more often won’t automatically make for more happiness. “It was always thought that hedonism, as opposed to self-control, was the easier option,” says Bernecker. “But really enjoying one’s hedonic choice isn’t actually that simple for everybody because of those distracting thoughts.”

Conscious planning of downtime

This is currently a topical issue with more people working from home, as the environment where they normally rest is suddenly associated with work. “Thinking of the work you still need to do can lead to more distracting thoughts at home, making you less able to rest,” says Bernecker.

So what can you do to enjoy your downtime more? More research is needed, but the researchers suspect that consciously planning and setting limits to periods of enjoyment could help to separate them more clearly from other activities, allowing pleasure to take place more undisturbed.

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Health & Wellness

Laughter acts as a stress buffer – and even smiling helps

People who laugh frequently in their everyday lives may be better equipped to deal with stressful events – although this does not seem to apply to the intensity of laughter.

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People who laugh frequently in their everyday lives may be better equipped to deal with stressful events – although this does not seem to apply to the intensity of laughter. These are the findings reported by a research team from the University of Basel in the journal PLOS ONE.

It is estimated that people typically laugh 18 times a day – generally during interactions with other people and depending on the degree of pleasure they experience. Researchers have also reported differences related to time of day, age, and gender – for example, it is known that women smile more than men on average.

Now, researchers from the Division of Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology of the Department of Psychology at the University of Basel have recently conducted a study on the relationship between stressful events and laughter in terms of perceived stress in everyday life.

Questions asked by app

In the intensive longitudinal study, an acoustic signal from a mobile phone app prompted participants to answer questions eight times a day at irregular intervals for a period of 14 days. The questions related to the frequency and intensity of laughter and the reason for laughing – as well as any stressful events or stress symptoms experienced – in the time since the last signal.

Using this method, the researchers working with the lead authors, Dr. Thea Zander-Schellenberg and Dr. Isabella Collins, were able to study the relationships between laughter, stressful events, and physical and psychological symptoms of stress (“I had a headache” or “I felt restless”) as part of everyday life. The published analysis was based on data from 41 psychology students, 33 of whom were women, with an average age of just under 22.

Intensity of laughter has less influence

The first result of the observational study was expected based on the specialist literature: in phases in which the subjects laughed frequently, stressful events were associated with more minor symptoms of subjective stress. However, the second finding was unexpected.

When it came to the interplay between stressful events and intensity of laughter (strong, medium or weak), there was no statistical correlation with stress symptoms. “This could be because people are better at estimating the frequency of their laughter, rather than its intensity, over the last few hours,” says the research team.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Find your relaxation bubble to combat stress

If you can feel the symptoms of stress encroaching on your life, think about how you can combat this.

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Stress is one of the twenty first century’s growing mental health problems. With the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, more people than ever are being confronted by anxieties, worries, and intrusive thoughts. These heightened states of emotion can make us stressed. This feeling of pressure and anxiety can manifest in many different ways. Some people become isolated, reclusive, and seek solace in doing nothing. Others don’t recognize their stress and throw themselves into ever more stressful pursuits. Finding a balance during unprecedented times can feel impossible.

IMAGE SOURCE: PIXABAY.COM

If you can feel the symptoms of stress encroaching on your life, think about how you can combat this. The easiest way is to try and create a relaxation bubble that encloses you in activities and situations that you find calming. With a new normal being thrust upon us, it can be challenging to discover new and relaxing ventures, so go with what you know. Take a look at these soothing things you can do to create your relaxation bubble.

Sleep

There’s nothing more relaxing than getting some shut-eye. However, many of us have found the rolling news detailing statistics and future concerns about the coronavirus pandemic acutely worrying. This means that our minds are whirring as we hit the sack and we find it difficult to get to sleep. Vivid dreams and broken sleep can impact on the quality of our snoozes. It’s time to hone a more relaxing sleep routine before bed.

If you are an avid social media scholar and you love nothing more than opening up the news alerts on your smartphone whenever you hear a ping, it’s time to stop. You need to put your phone down and any other screen at least two hours before bed. The fake news that is present on our Facebook feeds and Twitter pages can make its way into our psyche and heightened levels of stress can manifest. To combat this, it makes sense to have a social media detox. This isn’t to say you can’t go on your Instagram page throughout the day, but in the evenings, you should put the phone down. This allows you to switch off from the stats and bad news stories. 

Rather than embrace social media, pick up the phone, and have a chat with a pal. Talk about something other than the pandemic. Run yourself a hot bath and have a long soak in the tub with some scented candles and a good book. It’s vital that you are more relaxed when your head hits the pillow. This will improve the quality of your sleep and leave you feeling less stressed.

Get Outside

If you aren’t a big advocate of the great outdoors, but you are tired of being cooped up at home because of a lockdown, make use of the outside space around you. This might just mean sitting out in your garden and listening to the birds. Being outside allows you to soak up the natural rays from the sun. Natural light allows you to absorb more Vitamin D leaving you feeling more alert. Your circadian rhythm will also be knocked back into place as your happy hormone, dopamine, is released.

If you fancy going further afield, why not partake in a spot of exercise outdoors. While you may have been a gym bunny, plenty of trainers are now taking their socially distanced workout classes to the parks. Sign up and you can be enjoying a boxercise or Zumba class two meters away from everyone else in the park while enjoying the sunshine. For many people, exercise releases endorphins which can leave us feeling more fulfilled and content.

Learn Something New

Having more time on your hands because you are working from home can result in feelings of boredom. When you are bored, you may choose to head online and procrastinate. Rather than doing this, consider learning something new to occupy your time and give you a challenge. Many people look to numerology and learn the meaning behind this universal order of things. It’s interesting and can leave you with a different understanding of those around you.

Alternatively, you might prefer to learn a skill. Consider playing a new instrument such as the guitar or the violin. There are plenty of online tutorials for beginners and with the advent of Skype, you can still enjoy a one on one class albeit virtually. Perhaps you aren’t musical and would prefer to learn Japanese, learn the art of cooking a decent curry, or you want to take a new qualification to enhance your resume. Whatever it is you want to channel your energies into, go for it. Looking forward to something can help banish the feelings of stress caused by an overbearing boss or financial concerns.

IMAGE SOURCE: PIXABAY.COM

Talk

While we may not be physically close to our nearest and dearest, we can utilize the power of Skype, Zoom, and Teams to speak to our friends and family over the Internet. Virtual quizzes and get-togethers are quickly becoming the new norm. Feelings of isolation can quickly set in when in lockdown. We all know that the rules regarding social distancing are to lower the infection rate number of the virus and to save lives. However, this doesn’t make it any easier. 

Talking to your loved ones is crucial. Staying connected and communicating is a vital part of human nature. We are social beings and without the interaction with our support network, we can quickly become stressed and suffer from anxiety. Keep in touch with your pals via Whatsapp and arrange weekly catch-ups online. This way, you won’t ever have to feel like you are on your own.

Relaxing during a global crisis can seem like an oxymoron. We can feel anxious, desperate, and worried about what the future may bring. Health is a major concern but so is the economic climate, our jobs, and our relationships. However, by following this guide, you can find your relaxation bubble to help you through this pandemic, banishing those feelings of stress forever.

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NEWSMAKERS

Research from Lenovo & Intel finds that tech could be great equalizer among different cultures

More than half of global respondents say that a company’s diversity and inclusion policies are “extremely” or “very” important when deciding where to apply and whether to accept an offer.

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The first chapter of a new global research report by Lenovo and Intel finds that technology will play an integral role in achieving diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace of the future.  With the power to bridge accessibility gaps, connect people who are otherwise divided, and expand the impact of upskilling and progressive training programs, tech already facilitates the ability to work in more dynamic, flexible ways than ever before.

The joint global study explores how people around the world view D&I in their personal and professional lives, and their perspective on the role technology plays to address systematic inequities, create more access, and enable growth.

“We know that when organizations prioritize diversity and inclusion, financial performance, innovation, and talent acquisition and retention flourish,” says Lenovo’s Yolanda Lee Conyers, Chief Diversity Officer and President of the Lenovo Foundation. “As the makers of devices that enable connectivity across cultural and geographic boundaries, tech companies like Lenovo have an obligation to ensure that products are created with diverse consumers in mind, and that can only be achieved with a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

“Intel has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion. We believe that transparency is key, and our goal is to see our representation mirror the markets and customers we serve. Just as we apply our engineering mindset to create the world’s leading technological innovations, we do the same with our D&I strategies, using data to inform our decisions and sharing it transparently to drive clear accountability and deliver results across the industry,” says Barbara Whye, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and VP of Social Impact and Human Resources at Intel. “We know that to truly progress D&I, it takes companies working together and being a global company, this work can’t be limited to the US only. That’s why with both companies sharing a rich history of collaboration, we decided to extend our partnership and conduct a global survey.”

“We know that when organizations prioritize diversity and inclusion, financial performance, innovation, and talent acquisition and retention flourish.”

The findings within the technology chapter suggest that, if a more diverse and inclusive workplace is the goal, technology has the potential to get us there, as it facilitates human connection, understanding, and ultimately, empathy.

The study shows the potential of technology does not come without apprehension, though. Many respondents indicated they worry about whether technology, including AI, could potentially silence or leave behind those historically marginalized or underrepresented. Although participants expressed concerns over the harmful potential of AI, those in emerging markets are most optimistic, with more than 8-in-10 participants across Brazil and China agreeing that AI can be used to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive.

Lenovo and Intel’s Diversity and Inclusion in the Global Workplace study explores the attitudes of approximately 5,096 respondents across five key geographic markets of China, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Brazil between December 19, 2019 and January 7, 2020. This chapter focusing on the theme of technology is the first of four total installments. Additional chapters regarding “What Workers Want”, “Modern Mentorship”, and “D&I as a Workplace Trailblazer” are to be announced throughout the remainder of the year.

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Health & Wellness

Text messaging as the next gen of therapy in mental health

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people’s schedules have been upended, which may prevent individuals with mental illness from having routine access to a therapist, such as parents who have children at home. Texting can bridge the gap.

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In the US alone, it is estimated that approximately 19 percent of all adults have a diagnosable mental illness. Clinic-based services for mental health may fall short of meeting patient needs for many reasons including limited hours, difficulty accessing care and cost.

In the first randomized controlled trial of its kind, a research team investigated the impact of a texting intervention as an add-on to a mental health treatment program versus one without texting. A text-messaging-based intervention can be a safe, clinically promising and feasible tool to augment care for people with serious mental illness, according to a new study published in Psychiatric Services.

Ninety-one percent of participants found the text-messaging acceptable, 94 percent indicated that it made them feel better and 87 percent said they would recommend it to a friend.

“This study is very exciting because we saw real improvement in those who utilized the text messaging-based intervention on top of normal care. This was true for individuals with some of the most serious forms of mental illness,” explained co-author, William J. Hudenko, a research assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth, and an adjunct assistant professor of clinical psychology in Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. “The results are promising, and we anticipate that people with less severe psychopathology may even do better with this type of mobile intervention.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people’s schedules have been upended, which may prevent individuals with mental illness from having routine access to a therapist, such as parents who have children at home.

“Texting can help bridge this gap, by providing a means for mental health services to be continuously delivered. A text-messaging psychotherapy is an excellent match for the current environment, as it provides asynchronous contact with a mental health therapist while increasing the amount of contact that an individual can have,” explained Hudenko.

For the study, the research team examined the impact of text-messaging as an add-on to an assertive community treatment program versus the latter alone. Through an assertive community treatment program, those with serious mental illness have a designated team who helps them with life skills, such as finding a job and housing, managing medications, as well as providing daily, in-person clinic-based services. People with serious mental illness are likely though to experience symptoms each day for which they may need additional therapy.

The study was a three-month pilot, which was assessor blind. There were 49 participants: 62 percent had schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder, 24 percent had bipolar disorder and 14 percent had depression. Assessments were conducted at baseline, post-trial (three months later) and during a follow-up six months later.

A text-messaging psychotherapy is an excellent match for the current environment, as it provides asynchronous contact with a mental health therapist while increasing the amount of contact that an individual can have.

Licensed mental health clinicians served as the mobile interventionists. They received a standard training program on how to engage effectively and in a personal way with participants. The mobile interventionists were monitored on a weekly basis to ensure that they were adhering to the treatment protocol. Throughout the trial, over 12,000 messages were sent, and every message was encoded, monitored and discussed with a clinician.

The results demonstrated that 95 percent initiated the intervention and texted 69 percent of possible days with an average of four texts per day. On average, participants sent roughly 165 or more text messages and received 158 or more messages. The intervention was found to be safe, as there were zero adverse events reported.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Top 5 ways to get a guy’s attention on Instagram

Keep reading to find out some of the creative ways to gain traction on Instagram and how to use it to lure the guy of your dreams.

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So you found yourself attracted to a guy who does not seem to know you even exist. Don’t worry – you are not the only person this happened to. Many people complain about not being able to draw their crush’s attention, despite all of their best efforts. 

It is very easy to get lost in the vicious cycle of hopeless attempts to get a guy to notice you. It can even become increasingly time-consuming, as you’re scouring the internet for advice on sites like Beyond Ages or Reddit, and constantly trying to make improvements to your appearance, hoping that your long eyelashes and pretty makeup will finally be the breakthrough you were looking for. 

While much of the advice you can find online can be really helpful, getting sucked up into the world of relationship advice can lead to your getting advice from doubtful online “experts” and even turning your infatuation into a creepy obsession. 

Thankfully, you don’t need to turn into a stalker or glue yourself to online forums in order to successfully get a guy’s attention. One of the best ways to approach this issue is through social media, thanks to its unique abilities to magnify an individual’s reach, as well as seemingly increase their social standing.

Keep reading to find out some of the creative ways to gain traction on Instagram and how to use it to lure the guy of your dreams.

Build a Follower Base 

The most wonderful thing about establishing a following on Instagram or any other social media platform is the fact that the only thing that counts in this regard are numbers. It doesn’t matter who follows you or what their backstory is (unless they’re bots or purchased follows – the algorithms can spot them quite easily, and it might diminish your reach), as long as enough people are following you, you will be more visible to everyone else, including your crush. 

There are a few ingenious ways to gain followers without resorting to paying for them. The most simple one is basically following loads of random people daily. The more you follow, the better (stick to the 150 per day limit, though, unless you want to get blocked from following others for a couple of days). Some, if not most of them will follow you back. If you do it for long enough, you’ll go into the thousands quicker than you thought possible. Remember to regularly unfollow a few accounts as well, to keep your followers-to-following ratio believable. 

Drop Hints in Posts 

When you post a picture, you can add a little something that’s meant to grab his attention. Things like references to his favorite movies or books in the post description can work well, and so can a poster of his favorite band in the background of your photo. There are plenty of ways you can play around with this method; just remember not to be too obvious. Keep some of your photos without these subtle digs, so that he doesn’t figure out that you’re doing it on purpose.

Show Your Best Self 

It might not be the most politically correct piece of advice out there, but if you really want to seduce a man via a visual medium, such as Instagram, you’re going to have to showcase your attractiveness on there. Publish photos that exhibit your best sides, and leave out the ones where the imperfections are obvious. Keep it PG-13, though, and don’t try too hard to alter your appearance to suit the guy’s preferences. 

Make Use of Stories 

Instagram imploded upon the developers’ addition of Stories to everyone’s feeds, and for a good reason – it diverted a lot of the attention from posts to these little byte-sized videos and pictures added at a moment’s notice and, for a lot of users, without much thought put into them. 

Stories are also your chance to shine. As opposed to posts, they are a place where you can showcase your awesome personality – you can publish pictures of the fun places you go to, goofy videos from parties and hangouts as well as snapshots of what music you’re currently listening to, or a movie you enjoyed. 

And if some of these pop-culture references just happen to fall right into your crush’s tastes, it’s just gotta be destiny, right? 

Slide into His DMs – but Tread Lightly 

Although the common sentiment is that it’s the man who should message first, you don’t need to follow that rule like it’s the Word of God. Guys actually like it when a girl shows initiative and texts them first – it lets them know she’s interested, and that she’s not afraid to take risks. 

Don’t be overly flirtatious, though! Just as much as men like when girls text them first, they can be put off by a woman who is obviously too “thirsty” for her own good. Keep the conversation casual, and keep a leeway open into something more serious, if he shows interest. 

Final Thoughts 

Even though you might be absolutely certain that the guy you’re crushing on is the one, and you can’t imagine just stopping being into him, sometimes you’ll just have to accept defeat. If he’s simply not interested, there might be nothing you can do to change that despite all of your efforts. Accepting it will be much healthier for you than altering your entire appearance and personality only to adapt to his preferences. Keep that in mind when chasing after him on Instagram.

*Maciej Grzymkowski

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