To get traffic to your website is tough. It can be easy if you know how. Just follow the SEO guideline, create great content using your keywords and share. Sounds simple but it can be a tricky thing if you are just starting your website. You can use a few other strategies but other people might have the same idea as you. Thank God there is another way. An easy way to showcase your content and stands apart from your competitors.

Create visuals in your content. Not the usual photos but create an infographic, and you can do it with Canva, the free infographic maker.

NOTE: This article 'Create Infographic with Canva' was originally published at startingnewonline.blogspot.com and now moved to this site.

create infographic with canva

What Is Canva?

Canva is a free online tool to transform your information or idea into a visual content. It can be in the form of an infographic, blog graphic, blog title or social media post. You can also do it as a poster, documents, and marketing materials such as menu, flyers, etc. Yup, there are tons of templates. Most of these are free to use and ideal for a non-professional designer like me. The premium templates, images, and illustrations are sold at $1 apiece. This is very affordable. But don't worry. The free items are more than enough to produce thousands of infographics.
Once done, you can save it in Canva, download it as jpg, png or as a PDF file.

Why Use Visuals in Your Content?

You must have read that 65% of people are visual learners. That a whopping 90% of the information that goes to the brain is visual. And 43% of the content with visuals are more persuasive. But wait, the best part is, this type of article gets 94% more views! (I can do an infographic with this facts!)

So it makes sense to have visuals (photos, illustrations or videos) in your content. Better still, create an infographic for your article.

What Is Infographic?

Canva described infographic as:

Make complex information eye-catching, shareable and easily digestible. They can help boost engagement on your social media profiles. Make your presentations interesting and transform your marketing materials to have a greater impact.

It is like saying a picture is worth a thousand words. You summarize the information and present it in one graphical format that can be easily understood.  It must be visually engaging to be shareable on the social media. This will increase traffic to your site and benefits search engine optimization.

An example of an infographic is similar to the one I created below:

canva free infographic maker

How to Use Canva

Getting started with Canva is easy. The interface is intuitive and self-explanatory and uses the drag-and-drop feature. So it is no big deal if this is your first time. I can also list out the 'how-to' here but it is already available on its website.  You can also watch this video instead and increase your learning curve a lot more.


If you worked on Picasa or other image editing apps before, you will find it easy to understand and use Canva. If you have any problem, just let me know. I will try my best to answer.

Do a Simple Infographic Design

There are many infographics out there cramped with texts, graphics, and colors. It can be confusing and mind-numbing, like the example shown below. I will not waste my time reading it and I am sure you wouldn't either. I know this is an extreme example but you get my point.

bad infographic design

When you create an infographic, do a simple and concise design that can and will be shareable.
Follow these tips to create informative and beautiful infographics:
  • Firstly, ensure all information is accurate and contextually relevant.

  • Don't cram every available space with texts and graphics. By spacing out your design, you get white space. This will be easy for the eyes and improves readability. Whitespace is a space without any design elements. It can be the margin, space between column, text, and graphics. And it doesn't have to be white. It can be filled with any color. 

  • Go through Canva's free template and choose a simple layout that has whitespace (ALL have it). The beauty of Canva is their template that is adaptable and editable to suit your needs.

  • Canva has several icons and illustrations. Go through them and use only SIMILAR style icons throughout your work.

  • Once you decided on the theme and design, maintain the style by matching with the right fonts.  If you create an infographic of serious nature, use a simple icon. Then match it with a serious/business typeface. If the content is more relax and entertaining, use colorful icon and fun fonts. But don't go overboard with this type of fonts. It can be difficult to read throughout your content. Use it for headings or sub-headings with 20 characters or less. Maintain this consistent style throughout your work. Examples of the business typeface are Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Courier, etc. Fun fonts are Comic Sans MS, Lucida Handwriting, Tempas Sans ITC, etc.

  • Aligned your icons and text to make your content easier to read. If you think this is tough, don't worry. Canva has grid line that helps to align your text, icons, illustrations etc. with each other

  • Next, chose the right color scheme. You can use your company's corporate colors as your color scheme. Or pick one primary color and use complementary colors as a combination. Other inspiration can come from your content itself. In the example below on How to Grow Pineapple from Top, I used orange as the primary color. This is the color of a ripe pineapple. I use black and yellow to complement orange, and white to add 'color'. If you read an article on color styling, they recommend using at most four colors for your color scheme.
infographic color

Using Canva for Infographic

With these good design tips, you are now ready to create infographic that is amazing and shareable. To learn more, click on Design School on Canva website, then on Tutorial. For more inspirations and ideas, I usually head over to Pinterest. They have good collections of great graphics. Use it only as an inspiration, but don't copy.

Another site that has awesome collections of graphics and illustrations is Creative Market. Although most are for sales they are good sources of inspirations. Creative Market does offer discounts as well as a weekly free download. Just sign up as a member (free) and you will be notified when this is available. The photo below is an offer for Infographic Mega Bundle going for 82% discount. This is a limited time offer but if you click on this link it will take you to the FREE DOWNLOAD page.

Can I Create Infographic in Other Design Size?

Yes, you can. There is no standard infographic size. While the majority are vertical (portrait size 800px x 2000px, as per my first example on benefits of infographic), you can also create infographic as a blog graphic (800px x 1200px as per my second example on pineapple) or a blog title in 560px x 315px (as per my chimpanzee example, below). You can find all these and more at Canva.

Below are examples of infographics and blog title that I did in the size smaller than the vertical 800px x 2000px.

infographic health benefits of mineral water


I did this for my article on the Health Benefits of Mineral Water at HubPages. This is a website where members write content and share revenue with owners of HubPages.

Another example, also at HubPages, is the Health Benefits of Dragon Fruits. I use Blog Graphic size for this.

infographic health benefits of dragon fruit

This article on Tax Clearance in Malaysia is in Blog Title Size. It is very simple with a photo on the left and text block on the right.

create infographic with canva

For more examples of graphics that I did for this website, please browse through my home page. Or you can check my article Is Coffee Good for Men? for the infographic summarizing the coffee benefits.

infographic is coffee good for men

Appreciate your comment, both negative and positive about these graphics.

Other Infographic Creators Software

There are several other free and paid software that you can use to create an infographic. One example is Piktochart. This tutorial, 'Create Your Own Infographic', gives a good overview of what is infographic and how to use Piktochart to create one. Piktochart is free for casual users. To use the better templates, you need to upgrade and monthly fee starts at $29/month.

Share Your Infographics Here

If you have created infographic with Canva why not share it here. I love to see your work and maybe get feedback from other readers as well. See you soon.

Do You Know How to Remove a Cow Brain?

You can buy beef brain from the local butcher or ask them to special order one for you. But if you have a fresh cow's head and ready to extract and remove the brain, do you know how?

I recently followed a friend when he slaughtered a cow and had the brain removed. If you want to know how - read on.

remove cow brain

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IMAGES ARE GRAPHIC AND MAY BE DISTURBING

Some readers will find the following photographs I used to illustrate this article, disturbing and offensive. I have to include these images as it is necessary to give a good graphical representation of how to remove the cow brain. So continue with caution.

Removing a Cow Brain

Dissection of a Cow Skull

  1. First, skin the cow head, then wash and pat it dry with a clean dishcloth.
  2. Next, place it on a solid table or any flat surface.
You are now ready to dissect the skull and remove the cow brain.

how to remove cow or sheep brain or sheep brain dissection
To remove cow or sheep's brain, first skin the cow's head, wash and pat it dry to prepare
 for the skull dissection

Tools Required to Remove the Cow Brain

The tools that will come in handy are:
  • claw hammer
  • mallet hammer
  • chisels (0.4 inch - 0.6 inch (10mm - 16mm) blade width)
  • knife
tools to dissect cow skull to remove cow brain or sheep brain dissection
 These are the tools required to remove the cow brain

Marking the Skull for Dissection

  1. Mark the area behind the eye for easier identification for dissection as this is where the cow brain case is located. Be patient as the cow skull has two layers of bone and it is a slow process. 
  2. Then, use a mallet hammer to drive the bigger chisel (0.6 inches) through the skull. 
    use chisel to drive through the sheep skull to remove sheep brain
    Use a chisel to drive through the cow skull to remove cow brain

  3. Continue to drive the chisel around the skull, as shown in the photos below.
use chisel to drive through the sheep skull to remove sheep brain
Use a chisel to drive through the cow skull to remove cow brain

remove cow skull to remove cow brain
Continue to drive the chisel with a mallet hammer into the cow skull

Use Claw Hammer to Prise Open the Skull to Expose the Brain

  1. Once you finish the 'circle' continue to the upper part of the head. This time, make a rectangular cut going towards the 'edge' of the head.
  2.  Next, do a rectangular cut going towards the 'edge' of the head to expose the cow brain
    Next, do a rectangular cut going towards the 'edge' of the head to expose the cow brain

  3. Then, use the claw hammer to prise it open to expose the brain. 
  4. With the claw, remove the other 'circled' part of the skull. You have now exposed the cow braincase.
Use the claw hammer to prise the cow skull open to expose the cow brain
Use the claw hammer to prise the skull open to expose the cow brain

You Are Now Ready to Remove the Brain from the Skull

  1. Use a knife to gently cut the nerves that 'connect' the brain to the skull.
  2. Then, gently remove the brain and place it in a bowl.
  3. You are now ready to clean and cook it the way you like.
Note: You can use the same technique to remove lamb or sheep brain.
the exposed cow brain
The exposed cow brain

More Weird Food Articles & Other Stuff

For more posts on weird and exotic food, please check out my articles on the
And for weird alternative medical therapy, check out
And on things related to our human brain, read
·         Smart Drinks to Make You Smarter  Can these man-made drinks make you smart.

Is it Safe to Eat Cow Brain? 

The risk of eating cow brain was never a concern in the past until the Mad Cow Disease appeared in the United Kingdom in 1986. This was the first known case and since then, the fear of eating cow brain became an issue. As reported in WebMD, eating beef products from cattle suffering from Mad Cow Disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) can result in the brain-wasting disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease since the cow brain is linked to the infected central nervous system tissue.

how to remove sheep brain or cow brain

Body Parts linked to the Nervous System is Easy Target for BSE

Prion, the abnormal protein found on the cell surfaces, is the cause of this disease. As Prion tend to live in the nervous system tissue, any food linked to the central nervous system such as brain and spinal cord, becomes the easy target. Hence, the inherent fear and risk of eating a cow brain.

Based on the NBC News report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service took precautionary measure in the control of BSE by allowing sales of cow brain from cattle that are 30 months or younger At this age range, Prion will not reach the incubation period for a cow to develop BSE

If a cow is healthy, below 30 months old and not suffering from BSE, is it safe to eat cow brain? Except for the high level of cholesterol, there are no reports to say otherwise.

Any Health Benefits of Cow Brain?

If a cow is healthy, are there any nutritional benefits of a cow or beef brain?
If you consider the surprisingly rich amount of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fat in a cow brain, then yes, there are some benefits. It also has substances that may be a health risk. But first, let's look at the benefits.

The Nutritional Profile of Cow Brains

Based on livestrong.com's report and nutrition data website on the nutritional value of cow brain, a cow brain is rich in the following nutrients:
  1. PROTEIN: Base on the studies done by Iowa State University, a cow brain can give about one-fifth of an average person daily protein needs. Based on this report, protein from brain source can help boost your immune system and maintain a healthy muscle.
  2. HEALTHY FAT: Cow brain is rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an Omega-3 fatty acid that helps reduce the chances of getting a cardiovascular disease. This can be confusing as cow brain is also rich in cholesterol, a component that also causes cardiovascular disease - we will discuss this in more detail at the later of this article. DHA is also an important component in promoting a healthy brain function.
  3. VITAMINS: Cow brain is a good source of Vitamin A, B5, B12 and in smaller amount; Vitamin C, riboflavin, and thiamine. Vitamin A is essential for low-light vision, development of skeletal tissues and healthy skin and teeth. Vitamin B-5 will aid in your metabolism and hormone production. Vitamin B-12 helps the nerve cells and keeps the red blood cells healthy. B-12 is also used to treat Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer. Vitamin C helps protect your body immune system, assist in prenatal health problems, and the skin complexion. Thiamine or Vitamin B-1 will give a healthy nervous system and aid in the proper function of the cardiovascular system and other muscles. Riboflavin or Vitamin B-2 is essential for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It is also required for the repair of the hair, skin, and nails.
  4. MINERALS: The beef brain is a rich source of phosphorus, selenium, calcium, and copper. Phosphorus will work together with Calcium to keep your bone and teeth healthy. It is also essential for a healthy kidney. Copper will help strengthen your body tissues and immune system. Selenium, with its antioxidant properties, help to protect your body from toxic free radical. It also plays a key role in your metabolism.
Despite the unthinkable thought of eating this weird and exotic food, eating cow brain does have its health benefits.

Health Risk of Eating Cow Brain

Besides the earlier reported risk of eating cow brain affected with BSE, there are also other health risks in eating cow brain.
  1. CHOLESTEROL: A 3oz (85 g) serving of cow brain will give you a whopping 2635 mg of cholesterol, which is more than the recommended daily limit. Eating food that is rich in cholesterol will lead to the hardening of the arteries and hence, bad for your cardiovascular system. In another study, the benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the cow brain as discussed earlier, is replaced by the danger of the high content of cholesterol in the cow brain.
  2. TRANS FAT in COW BRAIN: It also has Trans Fat that increases the blood levels of LDL or low-density lipoprotein, commonly known as the bad cholesterol. This will increase your risk of a coronary heart attack. The presence of Trans Fat also eliminates the benefits of DHA in the cow brain. Hence, the role of DHA is only to help you maintain a healthy brain function.

Benefits vs. Risks of Eating Cow Brain

When you weigh the benefits and risks of eating cow brain, will you stop or continue eating them?
In a recent interview, most die-hard cow brain eaters say they will continue to eat cow brain!
Based on a report by naturalnews.com, a cow brain is the most nutritionally dense part of a cow and is the best source of healthy oil. It went on to say that cholesterol is largely misunderstood by the public. It recommends continuing eating cow brain if you want a healthier brain and a better nervous system. (As written by Mike Adams, the Health Editor of NaturalNews.com)

Ready to Try Cow Brain? - Learn How to Prepare Cow Brain for Cooking

Before cooking, do the followings:
  • Soak cow brain for at least an hour in several changes of water.
  • Peel off the membrane that covers the brain.
  • Poached the brain in simmering water that had vinegar (of your choice) for 10 minutes.
  • The brain once cooled is now ready for cooking

Who Eats Cow Brains?

It seems almost every one! Cow brain in the form of fried brain sandwiches is popular in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Ohio River Valley, USA. The cow brain is breaded, then deep-fried and served like a burger. Since the outbreak of BSE, demand for fried brain sandwich dropped drastically. But it is now back in popularity.

cow brain beef brain sandwich
Cow Brain Sandwich

In Europe, cow brain is popular in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, and France, and you can find recipes to cook cow brain in many European cookbooks.

The popularity is also prominent and is a traditional delicacy in the Middle Eastern and African countries. They use cow brain in several dishes and as a sandwich filling. In Egypt, the cow brain is battered, fried, spiced up with a special red sauce, and served with pita bread. The Lebanese dish called Nikhaat, is a lamb brain fried with eggs, onions, salt, and pepper.

In the developing countries, the Latin Americans will have cow brain in their tacos and quesadillas, and these are popular in El Salvador and Mexico.

In Asia, the Indonesian cuisine from Sumatra is Gulai Otak, whose popularity had spread to neighboring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia that have large Indonesian Minangkabau descendants and Indonesian migrant workers.

In China, eating animal brain is common, but not so common with cow brain. Pig brain is more popular and the most adventurous Chinese will go for the more exotic animal brain. In the Philippines, pig brain is also a popular choice.

Eating Cow Brain Raw

The Africans, not to be outdone, will eat cow brain raw.
So there you are. Cow brain, which has very little characteristic taste, is eaten across the world, but in different preparation style.

Will you try one soon?


If you are looking for free adult coloring sheets or books, there are several available online. But the downloadable version for your android operating system is another fun way to enjoy the benefits of adult coloring books. Browse through these five free awesome coloring books and download one, or all of these apps, and enjoy coloring now.

free adult coloring book

Coloring Book   

download free adult coloring sheets
Released on March 5, 2017, this free adult coloring sheet is for both adult and children. It is applicable to any devices that have Android Operating System 2.3.3 or above and will take up 36.5MB of your memory space.

The designs are the florals, mandalas, animals, famous paintings, garden and more. With its easy controls, you can create and experiment your own color combinations. Although it was designed as adult coloring sheets, it is also suitable for children. Children will enjoy doing this and at the same time, develop their creativity and improve their hand-eye coordination. 

Mandala 2 

Mandala 2 is the free adult coloring sheets/book based on the spiritual and ritual symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism that represent the Universe. It has different mandala category with varieties of designs from easy to complex mandala designs.
download adult coloring sheets mandala design

While it is relaxing to use this app, it can get annoying with:
  • A little girl's voice saying "Wow" or "Amazing" after you color the space.
  • The back button will erase ALL the whole picture.
  • Not all pages are free. You will be prompted to buy different color pages.
This app will take up 12.7MB of your memory space and was released on May 26, 2016. There is no update or no newer version available since it's launched.

Adult Coloring Books

adult coloring book This free adult coloring sheets /book by androidpro was released on May 25, 2018, and run on Android 4.0 or higher.

It will take up 29.1 MB of your memory space and has 24 colors pencils and 12 brushes size to give several creative options to your coloring adventure With its theme of mandalas, complex pattern and more, it will keep you and your children occupied for hours.

You can save a different version of your artwork for the same illustration and revisit later! It is also easy to save and share your artwork with all your family members and friends.

Adult Coloring Books: Alphabet Garden

free adult coloring books alphabet garden
Alphabet Garden Coloring Books for adults has about 45 free adult coloring sheets but take up 7.6MB of your memory space. The illustrations are of flowers and leaves on alphabets and numbers.

This app claimed to help teach basic color theory with some unique techniques. But with limited color options, it is hard to come up with unique design every time. However, the illustrations are at least different from the standard mandalas, animals, and other standard offerings on many other coloring books.

This app runs on Android 4.0 or higher.


Coloring Book Adults & Kids

free adult and kids coloring sheets
Coloring book adults & kids, first released on March 15, 2016, was updated on August 19, 2016. It has more than 60 paint sketches and doodles of funny cats and kittens, flowers, animals, dragons and of course, mandalas.

It has high-quality zoom and for that reason, occupies a massive 44.5MB of your memory space. User reviews vary from 1 to 5 star with contradictory remarks. So if you want to download this app (which apparently is in the top 1000+ of the Amazon bestseller list of free apps), read their comments first. However, I will give this app a try as after all it is free (but need to pay for more illustrations) and delete it if it is not up to mark. 

It runs on the older Android 2.3 or higher.



Free adult coloring sheets for android

Have Fun

I hope you like the selection and will download at least one of the apps to try. If you enjoy or hate it, let us know in the comment below.

Cheers.


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Can coloring the adult coloring sheets or coloring book relieve your stress? Yes, it can and it is also fun.

A few years ago if someone said that adult coloring books will be the rage in promoting mental, emotional and intellectual health, he or she will probably be laughed at. These days, adult coloring books are very much sought after; they are frequently on the bestseller lists in both France and the UK. I have seen adult coloring books being prominently displayed at our local bookstores. It gets the prime spot that even the best selling novels failed to get.

These are also available as coloring sheets for people who prefer the 'tear-off' version.

coloring sheets for adult to help focus

Therapeutic Benefits of Adult Coloring Sheets 

There are very few studies done to evaluate the above statement, but many psychologists believed that adult coloring sheets or books can promote relaxation. If you need to refer to one particular study, then read 'Outcome Studies on the Efficacy of Art Therapy: A Review of Findings' by Sarah C. Slayton MA, ATR-BC Marylhurst University, Marylhurst, OR, Jeanne D'Archer MA, ATR-BC & Frances Kaplan DA, ATR-BC.

This study showed that adult coloring sheets or books have the therapeutic avenue as a stress reliever. It can reduce anxiety and create focus. It can even be helpful for a retired person or those that embraced the golden years to keep their mind alert and creative. And it was reported that College Coloring Books are now the rage in some universities to help students de-stress!

But how can these coloring sheets for adults help a person find their inner Zen?

Coloring Sheets - How It Helps

When you are so busy with your business, work, or household duties you get stressed or can even be annoying to others. Spending time on these coloring sheets can help you get out of this routine. It will make you feel more comfortable and relaxed at the end of a long day. This activity can also help a person to be with his/her thoughts. 

Helping You to Focus

Giving your own version of the various designs in the coloring books are a way to focus as you go about creating your masterpiece. It helps you focus on the act of coloring designs that are elaborate for hours, instead of focusing on intrusive and troubling thoughts which may lead to stress. The time spent on coloring helps divert a person from negative thoughts and keeps them focused and occupied in a healthy way.

When you are coloring, you utilize the frontal lobes of the brain to not just help you concentrate but also help with organizational skills and problem-solving.

Helping You to Relax

The art of coloring helps clear the mind and makes a person feel calmer, happier and more relaxed. Engaging in this unique hobby has benefited many who suffer from anxiety and trauma - their worries temporarily fade away as they are brought to a level of pure relaxation. It gives the brain-specific focus, which is similar to that of meditation or yoga. So, if yoga or meditation is tough for you, try adult coloring books instead!

Help People with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 

If you suffer from PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, then the therapeutic action of doing these adult coloring sheets can help you with those anxiety and stress issues. How?

It works by calming down your amygdala, the almond-shaped mass of gray matter within the temporal lobes of the brain that controls the memory-processing, decision-making, and emotional reactions.

When you focus on the coloring you in a calm state of mind. You forgot your worries and you feel more relaxed. Your mind and body feel more rested.

The book, The Arts in Psychotherapy described how art therapy program was designed as an alternative treatment modality for Vietnam veterans who were dealing fifteen years later with the psychological sequelae of the war. The author presented this at the 14th annual American Art Therapy Association Conference, Chicago as far back as October 1983. It was also presented at the 3rd National Conference on the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Baltimore, in September 1984. So, if you think art therapy for the adult is a new fad, no it isn't. By the way, Carl Jung created mandala paintings and sketches as art therapy from 1916 through 1920.

Art Therapy and Cancer

There are several studies that had proven the effectiveness of illness-related therapy in the crisis intervention. The study on 'Art Therapy with Three Women Diagnosed with Cancer' by Erin Borgmann, M.S. explained how using art therapy with women cancer patients had enhanced coping strategies, helped them better understand their illness and motivated them to take positive steps toward improving their quality of life.

Coloring Through Cancer: An Adult Coloring Book with 30 Positive Affirmations to Encourage Cancer Survivors is an adult coloring book designed specifically for people who have lived with or are living with cancer. It has 30 affirmative illustrations to encourage and uplift every colorist.

Many cancer patients are now spending time on adult coloring books to relax, relieve stress and get through the painful treatment. 

This same art therapy with adult coloring books will probably work with a person that suffers from other types of illness as well.


Helping Your Problem Solving Skill

There is no such thing as “left-brained” or “right-brained" person. (you can read more here at  Psychology Today). We use both the right and left brain all the time, So when we do coloring we are using the logic and creative part of our brain. We think about the best color for each section of the design, and how to coordinate and balance the color. As we go about doing these, we are working on our problem solving and fine motor skills.

easy adult coloring sheets and free printable coloring sheets

Easy Adult Coloring Books

The best thing about these adult coloring sheets is that, even if you lack artistic instruction or experience, you can color them as you like, There is no right or wrong way to color; you have the freedom to color it in however you wish and in whatever works best for you.

To get maximum benefits, coloring these books or sheets in a regular routine will help you find a way to color yourself calm.

To try these easy adult coloring books, check here at Amazon for a simple laid back design.

If you want to download adult coloring sheets for your android devices, read my review on the free adult coloring sheets here.

Benefits of Adult Coloring Books

While there are values in the use of these adult coloring sheets or books, there are others who think otherwise. That an adult is more capable of doing other interesting things for relaxation instead of regressing to childhood and picking up crayons and color pencils as a form of therapy. That they should stick to knitting, music, gardening, art & craft etc. that are also therapeutic which can lessen depression and anxiety.

What's your take on this?
 “It is only too true that a lot of artists are mentally ill – it’s a life which, to put it mildly, makes one an outsider. I’m all right when I completely immerse myself in work, but I’ll always remain half crazy.”  
~ Vincent van Gogh, perhaps the most prominent 
example of the “mad artistic genius” 
who find peace when drawing,


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Do you know that 80% of people experience lower back pain at some point? For the elderly people, back pain can be due to osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis (abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal). It can also be due to diabetes nerve pain. There are several over-the-counter pain relievers to ease the pain. Before you do that try the following back pain relief remedies. However, do note that seeking medical advice is important if your pain persists.

back pain relief remedies

Three Simple Back Pain Relief Remedies

#1. Take a Rest 

Rest for about a minute and assess your pain level. The spasm may pass. But do not take a bed rest. This will lead to a lack of activity and muscle will grow stiff and will weaken. It will also lose its flexibility and will be susceptible to injury.

According to Jae Jung, MD, associate professor of orthopedics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles, the moment the spasms and sharp pain subside, get up and walk as this will help ease the stiffness as well as the pain.

#2. Stretch Your Quadratus Lumborum

Work out your back by stretching your quadratus lumborum (QL), a lower back muscle. 

There are several ways to do QL stretching. It can be done lying down, sitting down or standing. Personally, I prefer to do laying down. First thing in the morning before I get out of bed, I will lay motionless for a few seconds. Then I stretch my arms to the side. Keeping the knees together, I raise the knees slightly and turn it to one side whilst maintaining my posture straight by having my face looking upwards. Hold for a few seconds (increase the timing as you progresses every day) then I raise my knee and rotate to the opposite side.

The photo below, taken from Hands from Heaven best illustrate the technique.

back pain relief remedies with lying knee roll over


If you prefer to do QL stretching sitting down, then watch this video on how to do so.


Sometimes when you are out for a walk, you can stop and do QL stretching standing. To do this, stand up straight (lol!). Then extend both hands to your left with your palms clasped. Hold for a few counts. Then face the opposite direction and repeat. Easy right? Or see photo below to get an idea of the movements. This photo is taken from ScienceofSpeed.

QL stretching standing for back pain relief

#3. Ice Pack Remedy

Ice is effective in relieving back muscle pain especially in the first 48 hours of injury. It will reduce the swelling, numb the affected tissues and gives you a slight pain relief (by slowing down the pain impulses’ to the brain).

How does it work? As you know, ice will drop the body temperature of the affected area. This will cause blood to circulate to this area. Hence, bringing more oxygen that helps remove pain-causing toxins from the muscles. 

So when you have back pain, get some ice and wrapped it in a towel. Then get someone to apply to the area for 10 minutes. If there is no ice, run cold water over a towel, wring it out and use it as a compress.

Why Ice and not Heat Pack?

Heat should be applied after 48 hours whilst ice in the first 48 hours of an injury. If you apply heat too soon after the injury, it will cause the swelling to increase. This will give more discomfort for the back pain.

Back Supports & Braces

As a stop-gap measure, you may want to wear a back support or braces that you can buy from your local pharmacy or for a better deal, buy from Amazon.com. A back support or back brace can relieve some of the pain. It also improves your back posture.

Conclusion

Follow these simple back pain relief remedies and be strong again like a superman! But if it persists, seek medical advice. 

Maintaining a consistent flexibility will help you to steer clear of back pains. Gentle Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise that will get you there. Give it a try for at least a month and you will see LOTS of improvement. I can vouch for this as I do this at least three times a week.

Do you suffer from back pain? How about sharing what's worked well for you. Feel free to use the comment box below.

Thanks.

back pain relief remedies

Disclaimer

This article contains general information about back pain relief remedies. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

You must not rely on the information in this article as an alternative remedy to your back pain problem. If you or someone you know is experiencing back pain, seek medical advice.

You should never delay seeing your doctor, disregard medical advice, or stop medical treatment because of what you learn from this article.

References:

2. NCBI

Note: Affiliate  Disclaimer: Some of the above links are affiliate links and at no extra cost to you, I may earn credit if you click and buy their product or services. For more info, please read my Affiliate and Earning Disclaimer and Privacy Policy statements. Thanks for your support. 
There are many ways to prevent muscle cramp and that includes limiting or avoiding alcoholic drinks. This is easier said than done and many will find this difficult to avoid.
For older people, the most common form of a muscle cramp is a leg cramp. This usually happened at night. Whilst there are medications to prevent and treat this leg cramp, the following simple remedies are cheaper and easier to apply.

how to prevent muscle cramp

Proven Remedies to Prevent Muscle Cramp

Follow these five proven remedies to ease your muscle cramps:

1. Stretching

Regular stretching targeted at muscles that are prone to cramps can relieve and reduce it from happening. It can also stop once it's started. Do passive stretches and hold it for 15-30 seconds at a time. If you don't have any particular area to work on, then focus on the big muscles i.e. calves, quads, hamstrings, hips, and back. Doing regular stretching exercises will also help if you suffer from back pain.

Do the following stretching exercises taken from sportsscience.com

stretching exercise

Stretching Exercise Video

If you prefer to watch stretching exercise video to help you do these exercises, then you should buy this highly rated 'The Stronger Seniors Stretch & Strength Workout Program' designed by certified fitness instructor Anne Pringle Burnell.

These exercises are designed not just for seniors but also applicable to anyone of all ages to develop strength and to enhance the ability to function well in daily life.

2. Drink and Stay Hydrated

Drink lots of water because water will transmit all the electrical signaling activities in the muscles. So if there are less hydration in your body, electrical signaling will get impaired and chances of getting muscle cramp are higher.

Drinking coffee, tea or booze doesn't qualify for staying hydrated. These caffeinated drinks have a diuretic effect. Instead, drink mineral water. Read the advantages of drinking the mineral water here.

prevent muscle cramp

3.  Walk

A trained muscle is less likely to cramp than an untrained muscle. If you cannot do any workout, then at least walk. Do some brisk walking and if you are ready, jog. This will help build muscle stamina.


4. Add Salt

An electrolyte imbalance can make muscles contract. One of the easiest ways to restore electrolytes is to sip on a sports drink. Why? Because sports drink contains sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium; minerals that can eliminate cramp.

Or you can take salty pretzels or nuts to replenish the sodium lost through sweat.

5. Drink Pickle Juice

Some athletes swear by a shot of pickle juice as a way to instantly reverse muscle cramp. The effect is due to the acidic/salty taste. So any similar drink (e.g. sports drink), or food (salty pretzel) would work well too.

Reduce Your Risk of Muscle Cramps

In addition to the above-proven remedies, when you get a cramp, take a rest. Most cramps will not last more than three minutes at most.

Do you have anything to share or questions relating to muscle cramps? Feel free to use the comment section below.

Thanks


Disclaimer

This article is provided for general information only. It is not meant to be a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.
How to grow old and fit, and embrace the golden years? And have a wonderful and enjoyable experience?

embrace the golden years

Getting old and into retirement is not just about the senior discounts, free bus ride, and special counters in the bank etc. It is about enjoying the endless hours of free time and reconnecting again with your family members, friends and your mind and body.

After six decades of wear and tear on your body, you can expect some decline on your physical wellbeing. And after years of trying to make a statement, you have angered, offended or maybe pleased someone?

Old and Fit - What Do You Want to Do?

Aging is a natural transition and you may have a different take on this whole progression. Some of you may have a greater tolerance for ambiguity. So you are able to see the bigger picture in life. Some may want to return to college, start a new online business or maybe run a marathon!

Living in this digital age, you now have free access to knowledge and information. You may be old and fit, but you can still use this to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Or follow the preventative health care procedures which can reduce or prevent health problems associated with aging.

Sure, how you age is your personal choice. What I have here are suggestions that you may want to consider. If that is okay, shall we move on?
If you don't make peace with your past it will keep showing up in your present - Wayne Dyer

Embrace the Golden Years

Even if you have had some unhealthy habits throughout your lifetime, it is never too late to be aware and understand what your mind, body, and spirit need. Making lifestyle changes that will improve your health can enhance your wellbeing now and in the years to come. Do it one at a time and don't rush yourself into it. I have taken on to gardening on a 'full-time basis' now. This is one of those physical activities that are not physically taxing but very satisfying. If you are not into gardening, give yourself a go and see if it works for you.

Unfortunately, there is a profound cultural fear of aging. This, in turn, glorifies the young and deprecates anything old. In any case, you should always have a positive outlook on getting older and embrace what time has to offer. Make your sixties a deeply meaningful period.

RELATED ARTICLE: House Design for Our Old Age

Old and Fit - Learn New Things

In the study by Professor Gary J. Kennedy of Geriatric Psychiatry and Behavior Science, Montefiore Medical Center in New York, the growth of neurogenesis i.e. new brain cells, continues well into your sixties. Therefore, the capacity to learn new things stays strong.

Thus, with your extra hours, you can learn new skills any way you want. For me, I took on website building because I want to turn my passion for things that I know and like, into an online business. There are several courses available online and most of them are via paid membership. You can do a web search and there will several that will pop out.

embrace golden years

Forgetfulness Old Age

If you find yourself suddenly in a space, it is a mild case of forgetfulness. This is due to the transmission of nerve impulses between cells that is slowing down. It is something that shouldn't worry you. But real cognitive decline becomes especially prevalent in your seventies and eighties.

The best remedy is to exercise your mind to be more mentally active. As reported in The Guardian newspaper, doing tongue exercise can prevent memory loss and even Alzheimer's Disease. That is why in Islam, Muslims are encouraged to read the Quran every day as each verse in the Quran will give different tongue movement. This is akin to doing a tongue exercise!

reading quran can prevent memory loss

Loneliness in Old People

Whether by choice or chance, the number of single elderly people living alone is increasing. Based on The Telegraph's report, there is an increase of 10% over the last decade for the UK. Based on The Washington Post, the figure is even higher at 12% for the USA.

The reason: They want to stay independent, live in a smaller space and connect to family and friends through social media. Yeap, technology has now taken over the elderly people's mindset!

There are also some that find it hard to request for help. It hurts their pride and self-esteem to rely on others when they were once able to do so for themselves and others as well.

Fighting Loneliness

Keeping quiet and ignoring the distress that you are in can be dangerous. Without realizing it, it can be too late to help. By not asking for help because you do not want to bother people is false humility. We, including myself, tend to think this way.

You are not enforcing people from taking on more than they can handle. But instead, you are endangering yourself especially when it comes to health issues and depression. If you sense that something is significantly amiss, request for help.
In Asian culture, it is instilled in every individual that it is the duty and responsibility of a child to care for their parents. That is why the unmarried individuals and childless couples would go to lengths to adopt a child in the hopes that their future is secured.

Retirement Homes for Elderly

In Asia, checking your elderly parents into a retirement home was unheard of decades ago. But this is now very common, especially among the Chinese communities. Some still think that people in retirement homes are unloved and has no one to care for.

This is a highly misconstrued as most of these retirement homes are properly monitored with good nursing support. Family members can also rest well knowing that their parents are being well cared for. So keep an open mind when it comes to it. 

find old friend

Find Old Friend and Reconnect

With social media's popularity even with the elderlies, finding old friends and family members is easy. With a simple search, you can find them on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitters or even on LinkedIn.

Or you prefer to find new friends instead? Making new friends after sixty can actually be fun and engaging. It is easier to start by finding friends that share the same interest as you. So go join a yoga class or tai-chi or go to a theater. Anything that you loves. Who knows you might meet someone there.
Enjoy this new friendship and pay attention to them. Embrace this new connection. Embrace the golden years. Be yourself no matter what. Some will adore you and some will hate everything about you. But who cares? It's your life. Make the most out of it - Unknown Author

Now is the Time to Travel

Yes, to explore new places and immerse yourself in a new culture and language. You can travel alone, with your family or friends, whichever you are most comfortable with.

It can be a trip to a nearby city that you had not been before or to a different country. There are many packages designed for the elderly but if you are not a fan of group travel, you can travel solo.

As a senior citizen, you get cheaper rates on public transportation, hotels, and dining. Just ask and you might be lucky.



Or Do Voluntary Works

Giving your time to a noble cause can be a gratifying experience. There are several associations who are more than happy to welcome older volunteers.

Love animals? Check out the local SPCA and see what errands you can help them out with.

Worried about the environment? You can join your local communities or societies that share the same concern as you.

Or volunteer your services at the local churches, mosques or temples.

Better still, bring your grandchildren and do a gardening project. Share your knowledge with them. Whatever skills or traits you possess, you can easily pass it to the younger generation. Not only does it keep you engaged, it also helps maintain a healthy relationship with your family. At the end of the day, your contribution does matter.

Keeping Seniors Busy and Active

Keeping yourself busy and active is important. An active lifestyle will helps prevent common problems such as depression, loneliness, or even heart disease.

Find something to do and reconnect with people. If you have something to share, feel free to comment below.

Thanks

 It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change - Charles Darwin

Note: Affiliate  Disclaimer: Some of the above links are affiliate links and at no extra cost to you, I may earn credit if you click and buy their product or services. For more info, please read my Affiliate and Earning Disclaimer and Privacy Policy statements. Thanks for your support.