Tag Archives: Exercise

Avoid These Barriers To Healthy Living

Woman running

Does anyone out there really believe that supermodels eat fast food burgers? Although we are probably living in one of the most health-conscious time periods to date, we are still receiving mixed messages about what it means to be healthy. While it might be tempting to believe that the typical beer drinker has bright eyes and glowing skin, or that ice cream is a common nightly indulgence for the physically fit, quite often these examples would be more aptly place in the “too good to be true” files.

False advertising can encourage bad habits, and bad habits can become barriers to healthy living. If you are struggling to live healthily, here are some tips for avoiding some of the most common barriers.

Take Stock
One of the first steps to healthy living is to assess your current state of health. Make an appointment with the doctor and dentist to gauge your health. Have your BMI checked and make sure your waistline is not putting your health at risk.

Think about your physical activity. The CDC recommends at least two and a half hours of aerobic activity and two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises per week. How do you stack up?

Consider your social network and keep an eating journal. “The idea, says Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD, and nutritionist, “is to write it down without judgment. You can’t change what you’re not aware of.”

Eating healthy

Eating Healthy
Healthy eating requires the ability to take power over what you eat. The key, according to Williams, is saying, “I choose,” rather than, “I should.” So it’s, “I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables,” instead of, “I should be eating more fruits and vegetables.” Williams says. “it shows that you’re in control and making the right choice.

Another thing Williams recommends: leave guilt out of the equation. The doctor points out, “Usually, whenever someone feels guilty about something, it feeds right back to the behavior that they’re trying to get rid of. So if someone is an emotional eater and they say, ‘I know I shouldn’t be doing this,’ it implies more guilt and judgment on themselves; they feel worse, and they end up eating more.

Exercise More
Pick something you like to do. if you’re dreading cardio in the gym, go for a hike or take a dance class. Set weekly goals for physical activities and keep track of how much you do. Williams says, “Make the first goal so easy that you say, ‘I know I can do that.’ She recommends weekly checkpoints because they give more flexibility. If you miss one day, you can redeem yourself on the next. Williams often encourages you to reward yourself after being good all week with a visual reminder that you can look at often to celebrate your accomplishments.

Sleep better

Sleep Better
Common barriers to a good night’s sleep are computers and TVs before bedtime. Not only does the light from electronic devices trick your body into thinking its time to be up and about, computer activity and t.v viewing can be very stimulating, and not conducive to a peaceful rest.

Heavy exercise close to bedtime is another contributor to poor-quality sleep. Sleep medicine specialist Lisa Shives, MD says vigorous activity can heat the core temperature of the body and make sleep difficult. As a guideline, she says, “If you’re working up a sweat, you’re working too hard before bed.”

Improve Relationships
Although diet and exercise are big contributors for healthy living, social connections also play a major role. C. Nathan De Wall. assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky suggests looking for a person like you. “What really is important in terms of promoting relationship webbing is that you share a similar level of comfort in getting close to people. Feel people out in terms of, ‘Does this person seem like me in terms of wanting to be close to other people?”

DeWall also emphasizes the importance of having in-person relationships in these days of virtual online connections. He does not discourage social media relationships, but advises, “I think long term, having all your relationships online or virtual would probably be something that wouldn’t be as beneficial as having a mix.

Woman meditating

Cut Down on Stress
Stress is another big barrier to healthy living. Positive coping skills, like yoga and visualization can be very helpful in keeping stress levels to a minimum. Williams recommends handling stressful situations by burning off anger through exercise or allowing anger to dissipate in a quiet place.

Have you broken through barriers that were keeping you from living a healthy life? Tell us all about how you did it! We love to hear good stories!

Work Out To Relieve Anxiety

Anxiety and excess weight have a lot in common. They are both dreaded first world problems, they are both unhealthy, and they are both difficult to avoid. While it sometimes appears that there is no escape from either, there is one more thing that the two have in common: an enemy. Although it is true that stress and obesity are formidable contenders, there is one thing that has been proven capable of taking down both of them in one fell swoop. What is this thing of which we speak? The Workout. Find out why working out may be your best ally in the constant battle to remain stress and fat-free.

Woman running

How does exercise help relieve anxiety?
Exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals, reduces immune system chemicals, and increases body temperature, all of which may have calming effects and have been shown to improve mood and boost confidence. Meeting exercise goals can make you feel better about yourself and looking better increases confidence in your appearance.

Exercise can also distract you from your worries and give you the chance to socialize with others. You may find friends at a gym, in an exercise class, or simply strolling the neighborhood. Physical activity is also a healthy coping activity, and a healthier alternative to dwelling on problems.

Physical Activity Vs. Structured Exercise
While the phrases physical activity and exercise are often used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between the two. Physical activity is defined as any activity that expends energy and contracts muscles, and can be applied to household work and leisurely activities. Exercise refers to a more structured repetitive plan done with the sole aim of improving fitness.

Although we generally think of lifting weights and running as ways to get in shape, less intense physical activities, such as walking or gardening are equally capable of improving your mood and helping to maintain physical health.

Family cycling

How to Get Started

Pinpoint What You Enjoy Doing
Pick out something you can envision yourself sticking with and try to make a plan that you’ll be likely to follow through with.

Set A Reasonable Goal
Find a plan that meets your abilities and schedule. While 30 minutes a day three to five days a week is the recommended amount, as little as 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity can be enough to make a difference. Also, keep in mind, more vigorous activities can improve your mood and meet your workout requirements in less time.

Avoid Thinking of It As A Chore
If you think of exercise as something in your life that you need to live up to, you’re likely to associate it with failure. Try instead to think of it as a therapy session to help you feel better.

Find Out What’s Stopping You
Try and think of what may be preventing you from working out. Do you feel self-conscious? If so, you may want to exercise at home. Maybe you would prefer to work with a partner. Find out what it is that’s causing you to hesitate and try to find an alternative.

Know Your Limits
Remember to pat yourself on the back every once in a while and forgive yourself for small slip-ups. Just because you miss a day, doesn’t mean you can’t get right back on the horse.

Does working out relieve your anxiety? Let us know you’re best workouts for helping to get through your day!

Staying Active Defends Against Aging

Vine vera Staying Active Defends Against Aging

Mick Jagger became a father again at the age of 70. While some spend their golden years in recliners in front of the TV, Jagger prances across stages and impregnates women half his age. If that isn’t proof positive that staying active keeps you young, I don’t know what is. Of course, while touring the world is not on the agenda for most of us who qualify for the senior discount at Souplantation, there are certain steps we can take to make sure we don’t resign ourselves to a fate of stagnation and inactivity. Here’s the low down of how staying active can defend against aging.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Less Grumpiness
We have all heard the stereotypes about grumpy older people, and we certainly wouldn’t want to turn into one. A study in the Cognition and Emotion journal found that, when exposed to negative emotional stimuli, active people bounced back far more easily than sedentary ones. So stay active and stay positive!

Less Brain Fog
A study published in the journal PLOS One concluded aerobic activity can improve mental clarity, as well as mood. According to the study, it is not the amount of intensity or activity that makes the brain sharper, but the fitness of the lungs and heart. So you don’t have to commit yourself to a rigorous workout, just focus on keeping those organs pumping! Studies show that just you can cut risks of mental confusion in half by simply gardening or dancing.

Doctors have also found that aerobic exercise can improve the “executive function” of the brain, which is the cognitive ability controlling flexibility, attention, and working memory to help you focus and get through your day.

Woman stretching

Benefits of Resistance Training

Stronger Bones
Weak and brittle bones are one of the most common problems associated with aging. Studies show that just six months of resistance training can lead to significant increase in bone density, while one year can lead to even greater benefits. Researchers found increased levels of osteocalcin, a bone-building protein, in subjects who participated in resistance training for one year.

Liver Health
Your liver is detox central for your body. It sorts out toxins, cholesterol, and more. When fat builds up in the liver, it becomes less effective and toxins begin to attack other organs.

Israeli researchers found that resistance training 3 days a week can lower levels of fat and cholesterol in the liver of subjects. This means lower risk of disease and better overall bodily function.

How Much Exercise Should You Get?
Healthy adults should aim to get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. You can do it in exercise classes, but brisk walks can be just as effective. Include movements that work your major muscle groups twice a week and do a range of motion exercises 2 to 3 days per week to improve flexibility.

If 150 minutes sounds a bit overwhelming, do it in small chunks. A ten-minute walk or even cleaning the house for ten minutes can make a dent. The simple goal is to try and include a half hour of moderate exercise on most days.

Remember, we can’t all be “Stones,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t get “rolling.” Tell us what you do to stay active and stave off aging!

Plan Your Own Personal Wellness Day

Woman in nature

Here’s the scenario. You wake up in the morning, you’re coughing, your nose is running and you feel like you’ve been hit in the head with a hammer. You know you’re not going to perform your job well and you’re liable to cause a health risk to your fellow employees. Here’s another scenario. You wake up in the morning, you’re tired, your stressed, you’re resentful. You’re not going to perform your job well and you may be liable to cause bodily harm or injury to your fellow employees and quite possibly your family. What do you do? You take a wellness day.

Let’s face it. We all suffer stress and anxiety and sometimes the only cure is to take a day off to decompress. Here are some ideas about taking your own personal wellness day.

Why We All Need Wellness Days
As it becomes more widely acceptable to admit to struggling with depression and stress, the more justifiable taking a wellness day has become. Kathy Caprino, woman’s career coach says, “I believe that part of the widespread malaise of corporate America is that so many people feel and believe they don’t have any control over their lives and time, and they’re exhausted to the point of non-functioning.”

She believes that control is the key to ending this epidemic and recommends managing “your time in and out of work in an empowered way.” Ciprino cautions against ignoring the symptoms of stress and anxiety as potentially leading to mental and physical breakdown.

How Do I Know I Need a Day Off?
If you’re almost killing the woman at Sephora because they didn’t restock your lipstick color, you may think this is a signal that you need to take a day off. Not so, says Caprino.

“Feelings of extreme apathy -like you just don’t care- or extreme anxiety about nothing in particular are cues that could indicate you would be better off taking a day to reset.”

Women doing yoga

Planning Your Day

Gather Materials
Look around your house for things you might want to turn your house into your own private sanctuary. Have candles, oils, music, healthy foods, and whatever else you may need on hand in advance.

Plan the Day
Decide what your day will look like. What activities will be included? What will you eat? Will you meditate? Exercise? Read?

Incorporate Nature
Consider including a walk in the park, or some gardening time.

Zone Out
Turn off cells phone, radios, and computers.

Of course, your wellness day should be tailored to suit your likes and dislikes, but here is a suggested formula that may inspire you.

Start the day with some light weightlifting and yoga.

Give yourself a facial with a high-quality cleanser.

Bask in a long shower or bath with a salt scrub or essential oils using a loofah to exfoliate.

Eat light meals, like fruit and juices. Indulge in a salad with a large variety of vegetables, cranberries, nuts and cottage cheese with a light dressing.

Relax to music, burn incense or use fresh flowers and candles to add to the atmosphere.

Try meditating, reading, or journaling.

How did your wellness day look? Did it work? Can your co-workers feel safe to go to work tomorrow? Let us know!

Ways To Exercise Your Body and Mind

Jenna can burn 300 calories per hour on the elliptical trainer and 530 calories per hour on the stair master at moderate intensity. If she works on the elliptical for 45 minutes and on the stair master for one and a half hours, how long will it take her to burn the calories in a Boston Cream Donut?

While most of us know that exercise is smart for our bodies, we don’t always think of the ways exercise benefits our mind. Maybe we don’t need to use the Pythagorean theorem to determine the distance between our bodies and the floor when we do a push-up, but it is important to acknowledge the positive effects that push-up may be having on our mental well-being. Here are some ways to do just that.

Brain-exercise link

The Brain-Exercise Link
John J. Ratey MD and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School compares the effects of exercise to “taking a little Prozac or a little Ritalin at just the right moment,” adding, “(Exercise) affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being.”

In fact, MEd Stephen C. Putnam took up canoeing as a way to combat adult ADHD and wrote “Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind,” a book documenting the benefits of exercise on brain disorders. He cites one study involving children who ran around for 15 to 45 minutes before school and found them to exhibit calm behavior for two to four hours after the exercise, cutting unruly behavior by half.

How Does Exercise Train the Brian
According to Christin Anderson, MS, exercise effects places in the nervous system causing it to send out pleasure chemicals like dopamine and serotonin which leading to happiness and calmness. She says, “When one exercises, one can think more clearly, perform better, and raise morale. This is pure science-stimulate your nervous system and function at a higher level.”

Exercise and Depression
A study cited in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, tested 80 young female and male volunteers for mood and depression. The 52 that were found to be depressed before the exercise reported a decrease in fatigue, anger, and tension and an increase in vigor following the workout.

Another study done at Duke University compared the effects of exercise with antidepressant drugs. The study involved 150 people, 50 of whom had been diagnosed with depression. These people were divided into three groups, one of which was given the antidepressant, Zoloft, another of which were treated with exercise, and the third of which was given a combination of the two. Results found that while all three experienced short-term improvement, the exercise group relapsed at lower rates than the Zoloft and combination groups. in fact, scientists even felt that the Zoloft may have undermined the effects of the exercise, and the combination group may have faired better without the pill.

Exercise as a Brain Trainer
Do you want to try and use exercise to train your brain? If so, try doing low to moderate forms of exercise, as more intense exercise may have less immediate results. Ratey suggests 8 to 12 minutes of perspiration and heavy breathing activity per day for training the mind.

Anderson recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as swimming or walking three times a week. “Swim for 20 minutes in the morning, then walk at night,” she advises. “Right after hard, intense exercise, you may not be as acute. Overtraining can set off enzymes that can lead to fatigue, which is the enemy of alertness.” She also cites yoga as a way to improve mental acuity and meditation as an ideal complement to physical activity.

Are you feeling the mental burn? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know how you keep your mind and body fit.

Natural Treatments For Depression

Recently, our nation mourned the loss of Carrie Fisher, known best for her role as the brave and beautiful Princess Leia of the Star Wars Hollywood movie franchise, and maybe almost as well known for maintaining a sense of humor in her ongoing fight against depression. Those who kept apprised of Fisher’s funeral arrangements will know of her request to have her ashes placed in an urn designed to resemble a giant Prozac pill. Fisher made no secret of her reliance on and gratitude for the part the pill played in helping the troubled star fight her emotional demons.

Smiling woman
While some find relief in medication, others may prefer a more natural route or simply want to supplement their prescription medicine with other treatments. Here are some tips that can help you feel better the natural way.

1. Start a Routine
One way depression can affect you is by decomposing the structure in your life. One day seems to turn into the next with little distinguishable difference. Ian Cook, MD and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA, advises his patients to set a daily schedule to help get back on track.

2. Set Goals
Depression often goes hand and hand with feelings of powerlessness. Lack of accomplishment can lower your self-esteem. Setting small goals for yourself may encourage you to do more. Cook advises starting small. “Make your goal something you can succeed at, like doing the dishes every other day.”

3. Exercise
Exercise boosts those natural happy chemicals in your body called endorphins; and the results can have immediate as well as long term effects. According to Cook, regular exercise can even cause the brain to rewire itself in a positive way. Even walking a few times a week can make a difference.

4. Sleep Well
Lack of sleep can be a vicious cycle. Depressing thoughts can make it hard to sleep and getting too little sleep can lead to more depression. Try to improve sleep habits by keeping a regular sleep schedule and taking distractions like the computer and TV out of the bedroom.

Woman eating salad
5. Eat Well
Although there is no “feel good” diet, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of what you eat, especially if you tend to overeat when you’re depressed. Cook says there is evidence that food containing omega-3 acids, like tuna and salmon, and folic acids, like avocado and spinach can be beneficial in warding off depression.

6. Supplements
Cook says, ” There’s promising evidence for certain supplements for depression. Folic acid, SAMe, and fish oil all may be effective in fighting depression. However, more research needs to be done in this area and you should always check with a doctor before starting a supplemental regimen.

7. Try Something New
Changing things up may be a good way to get out of a depressive rut. Cook explains, “When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in our brain. Trying something new alters the levels of dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment and learning.” Pick up a book, or sign up for a class that interests you.

8. Have Fun
The obvious way to fight depression? Enjoy yourself! And, in case you’ve forgotten how to do that, Cook says, it’s “just a symptom of depression” and you need to fight it off. Try to plan things you used to enjoy, like going out with friends. Who knows? Life may start to feel fun again!

How do you keep the doldrums away? Let us know! We love to hear it!

Secrets Of The Chronically Sickless

There is a Japanese superstition that stupid people are immune to colds. Similarly, In France, coryza, a condition similar to a cold, is called “rhume de cerveau” or brain cold, the takeaway being that people without brains can’t catch the sickness. And, of course, you may be more familiar with the English expression, “too slow to catch a cold.” Perhaps this is a reference to idiots being too stupid to realize they have a cold, or perhaps it means that only an idiot would do things that cause colds. Or maybe it’s just sour grapes on the part of the chronically infirm.
Either way, the outtake is this, you have to be pretty smart to outsmart a cold. So, let’s take some time to explore the “Secrets of the Chronically Sickless.”

Woman exercising
1. They Exercise
According to David Nieman, DrPH. director oaf the Human Performance Lab, “exercise is the single most important thing o can do to reduce sick days.” Although scientists are yet to find a likely explanation, one thing is for sure, consistent exercise is good for the immune system. And, you don’t have to take up a second residence at the gym to reap the rewards. Says Nieman,” People who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week have a 46% reduction in the number of days of illness compared with those who don’t exercise.”

2. They Wash Their Hands
Your fingertips can be breeding ground for bacteria, and research shows you touch your face about 16 times each hour. The CDC recommends washing hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to keep germs to a minimum. If you can’t get to a sink, hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol can provide a decent backup, although a proper hand washing is preferable.

3. They Have Lots of Sex
Well, if you needed an excuse, researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that college students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of an immune system protein called immunoglobin A, as compared with their less lucky counterparts.

Woman eating 4. They Mix Up Their Meals
Jackie Newgent, RDB says, “There’s not just one specific nutrient or food component that’s linked to staying healthy. Instead, it’s about synergy. Aim to fill half your plate with non starchy vegetables.” They are full of antioxidants to support your immune system. Include green tea in your diet. It increases the number of regulatory T cells, which are important to the immune system and try probiotics. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that college students who consumed probiotics had fewer sick days and recovered faster that those who didn’t.

5. They Get Lots of Z’s
Americans who say they have above average health sleep an average of 18 to 23 minutes more per night than those who reported their health as fair or poor, says the National Sleep Foundation. The immune system needs sleep to keep healthy and studies found that people who get less than 6 yours shuteye a night are four times as likely to catch a cold than those who get 7 hours.

How do you stay chronically sickless? We would all love to know your secrets! Send them on in!

Energy Boosting Pre-Workout Snacks

Maybe you have heard some strange things about the athletes’ eating habits at this year’s Rio Olympics. You may have heard that the only MacDonald’s in the Olympic Village is doing unprecedented business with sales of fries, Big Macs and McNuggets going through the roof. Perhaps you’ve gotten wind of Australia’s badminton Olympian, Sawan Serasinghe, whose late night binge included over twenty items, causing Mickey D’s to put a 20 item limit on all orders. Or maybe you’ve heard about Ryan Lochte’s Friday night 8,000 calorie habit replete with wings, pizza and soda.

Well, while this may seem like a ton of fun, you should know that these athletes require a whole lot more calories than the average person, and that, if you ate only a quarter of what they did, you would probably be morbidly obese. So before you start downing those super sized -meals, here are some more realistic choices.

1. Honey
Recent research shows that carbs that blend fructose with glucose may be better than straight glucose for increasing energy. Although sports drinks may satisfy this description, honey has the perfect fructose- sugar balance with the added benefits of antioxidants. The darker the color of the honey, the better it will be in fighting disease.

Woman drinking chocolate milk

2. Chocolate milk
According to a 2006 study, chocolate milk is the new sports drink! In a study funded by the dairy industry , nine cyclists rode their bikes to the point of exhaustion, rested for a four hour period and then resumed biking. During the period in which they rested, they were given either Gatorade, an electrolyte replacement drink, Endurox, a carbohydrate replacement drink, or low fat chocolate milk. Results showed that the cyclists who drank the chocolate milk could bike about 50 % longer than those who consumed the sports drink. Ovaltine, anyone?

3. Yogurt
Exercise can also affect your immune system and athletes sometimes display greater susceptibility to infections of the upper respiratory tract, Probiotics, found in yogurt, may reduce the likelihood of contracting these infections. According to a 2008 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, endurance athletes who took daily probiotic capsules demonstrated greater activity of immune enhancing T-cells, cutting the likelihood of experiencing such infections by half. Probiotics can also soothe a nervous stomach, while providing a mix of proteins and carbs, great for just before a big race.

Eating Fruit
4. Fruit with A Mozzarella Stick
Who doesn’t love a good mozzarella? According to personal trainer and certified nutritionist, Mary Jane Detroyer, your body need carbohydrates, rather than protein, to perform physical activity. “You need to have something that’s going to get into the bloodstream and stay there throughout the workout. So you wouldn’t want to have a lot of fat or too much protein or too much fiber because those things slow the way the food is absorbed. She recommends fruit, “it doesn’t matter what kind of fruit it is. And you could have a few nuts with that.”

5. Crackers with a little hummus or hummus with veggies and an apple
Detroyer suggests a quarter cup of hummus, which she recommends because the beans in it offer fiber. “It’s going to give you some energy that will stick throughout the workout. Carbs form the veggies and fruit will contribute to the boost.”

And you? Do you subscribe to the healthy pre-exercise snacks or do you swear by the energy of the Big Mac? Let us know what works best for you and if you have some great advice about foods that give you energy, we’d love to add them to our list.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Water

Woman drinking more water
You may have noticed some pretty creative things being done with water lately. You may have seen pitchers of water on the counters of Trader Joe’s or Souplantation with cucumbers or strawberries floating in them. You may have seen ice cubes infused with black raspberries or kiwi slices. Maybe you’ve sucked on a water popsicle with a few frozen cherries inside, Tootsie Roll style. Let’s face it. Water is pretty great for us, but it can be kind of boring. Tom Ford, Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Aniston agree, but they all drink it, and if they can do it, so can you. So whether you infuse it with fruit, fizz it up with bubbles, or down it straight, water is a crucial part of the human diet and here are some of the reasons.

1. It Helps to Balance Body Fluids
The human body is about 60% water. We use this water for saliva, digestion, absorption, maintenance of body temperature, circulation, the transportation of nutrients. When the fluids run low, your brain tells your body you’re thirsty, and when it does, you should listen. Get a drink of water, juice- as long as it’s not alcohol, you’ll be fine. Kaiser Permanents nephrologist , Steven Guest , MD, warns that “Alcohol interferes with brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can lead to dehydration.”

2. Water Can Promote Weight Loss
Although pouring water through your system does not directly result in shedding pounds, it is a great substitution for higher calorie drinks, like soda and sugary fruit juice. You never have to check the sodium content on a water bottle.

As an added perk, food with high water content looks larger. Compare dry pasta to cooked, it puffs up like a balloon, and have you ever seen a prune in contrast with a plum? Water makes a big difference. Water- based foods also take longer to chew and help you feel full, perfect for those who like their portions generous.

Woman drinking water

3. Water Energizes Your Muscles
Imbalances in fluids and electrolytes can cause cells to shrivel up, causing muscle fatigue. To make sure you are getting enough water before and during exercise, look at the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines – which recommends the intake of 17 ounces of fluid two hours previous to physical activity with supplements at regular intervals.

4. Prevents Dehydration
Although water will not erase your wrinkles, dehydration can make them look worse, according to Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD. “Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration. But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.” In other words, if you drink too much, you will only end up needing to run to the bathroom, so don’t overdo it.

5. Helps Your Kidneys
Blood urea nitrogen is the body’s main toxin. Guest says, “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate.” If you take interest in your urination, you should know that free flowing, light colored, odorless urine is a sign that your body is getting enough fluids. Dehydration causes an increase in cold, odor and concentration of urine because the kidneys are working to trap fluids in order to maintain function. Chronic dehydration can cause kidney stones.

Maybe you still think its boring, but you have to agree, water does some pretty great things for us. Let us know how you jazz up for water or what you think of jazzing up water. You may provide some pretty good tips!

Improving Your After Work Routine

For a lot of American children, American sitcoms set the standards for what a normal life would look like. Take the Brady Bunch, for example. Now, the “Brady Bunch” parents were always busy, but they always had time for fun. After all, who would want to watch a TV show about a family that never has fun? Even while they were busy raising six kids and working, the Bradys still had time to go on vacation, talk about Marcia’s braces, put on plays, go on dates, take vacations, and have guests over. This is the stuff of the American Dream, in which every child would grow up and have a life with a healthy balance of work and fun.

Alas, for many of us, this is not the reality. We find our lives have become an endless series of going to work, coming home, eating on the couch in front of the TV and going to bed. Are you stuck in a rut? Looking forward to a day of fun that never seems to come? Well, there is an alternative. By making just a few changes to your after work routine, you can greatly improve your quality of life.

woman working from home 1. Compartmentalize Work
If your job is demanding, you may have to bring it home with you, but that doesn’t necessarily put the kibosh on everything else. Try to divide work into shifts, taking some breaks for family time. It might also help your productivity, sending you back to work with a new perspective.

2. Be Flexible
Schedules are important but they don’t have to be overly rigid. Time management expert Laura Vanderkam says, “People will say things like, ‘I can’t exercise in the evening because I have a family,’ but you could probably manage it one night a week.” Doing one activity does not necessarily cancel out any other. You can vary your after work activities each day.

3.Turn Off The TV
TV is great, but it really takes up a lot of time. I know you think you really need to see who gets booted off “Dancing with the Stars” every week so you can talk about it around the water cooler tomorrow, but you may find that you will find the trade-off is worth it when you realize how much more you can get done. You can always find out on the internet the next day.

4. Exercise
If you’re already super busy, why would you throw exercise into the mix? Because it is necessary for your health. Plan it in advance, consider scheduling it for after work. That way you will be less distracted at home.

family game night 5. Plan Fun Activities
Vanderkam says,” It sounds counterintuitive for a time-strapped family, but try having a goal of at least one enjoyable group activity so it’s not just a death march to dinner.” Try to keep in mind that sometimes the quality of time is more important than quantity. It could be a quick trip to the ice cream parlor or a night out. Start thinking of things you can do later on your commute from work,

6.Take Advantage Of The Internet
Online shopping is a definite advantage for the time-strapped. You also can sign up for regular deliveries and get online banking done.

7. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Vanderkam says, “Most people who say they get by on only 4 hours alight are probably lying. Successful people know they think better and make smarter decisions after getting enough sleep.”

We’re sure Mrs. Brady always got her 7-9 hours in. Make sure you do too.