Tag Archives: Mood

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!

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.

Great Diet, Great Mood

Woman having lunch

You’re going out to eat at your favorite restaurant, “Big Food.”  You are very excited.  You have an excuse to put on that forest green slinky dress that has been festering in your closet for the last few months and your thinking of burgundy stilettos and and pewter clutch.  Jewel tones, nice contrast, but not too Christmassy.

Into the car you go in a great mood.  You get to the restaurant and obsess over the menu.  Too much choice!  You should really pig out!  Isn’t that what restaurants are for?  You deserve it!  You’ve been working hard on your body!  Everyone will be asking, “Where does she put it?” and looking at you with envy.  You decide.  You’re going to have the Seafood Pasta Alfredo and the Double Decadent Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake a la mode.  You come back home with a sugar high and reminisce about your evening, when it hits you.  Suddenly, you feel terrible!  You’re stomach hurts and its straining against your dress.  Your mouth is dry and your breath smells!  You’re good mood slowly evaporates as you watch the skinny Bachelorette on TV.

Ok, now everyone is entitled to pig out now and then, especially if you exercise regularly, but we do often find that as happy as we were before we went out, we are equally depressed after a huge heavy meal.  So let’s talk about some choices we can make so we can start happy and end happy.

Lentil soup

Appetizers

Triple Bean Salad
How about this for a starter of side: garbanzo beans, kidney beans and black beans with some vinegar and oil.  This Contains selenium, a micro mineral that protects against free radical damage, lower inflammation and helps patients with moderate depression.

or

Ginger Lentil Soup
Carrots, onion, ginger, olive oil, lentil and tomatoes, now you’re talkin’.”  Full of protein and fiber, this soup contains 25% of your daily folate needs.  Low folate is associated with depression so eat up and get happy!

Main Course

Spanish Shrimp and Farfalle
With farfalle, large shrimp, olive oil, cinnamon and pimiento stuffed olives, you can’t go wrong with this dish. carbohydrate-rich, it increases level of serotonin and elevates your mood.

or

Yogurt and Spice Grilled Chicken Skewers
Spicy chicken, low fat yogurt and reduced fat cream cheese in honey mustard make this a dish to remember. Protein rich foods keep you alert and energized. Dig in!

Banana smoothie

Dessert (the big finish)

Blackberry Banana Smoothie
Who needs a milkshake?  You will be in a great mood after you eat this antioxidant-rich smoothie with bananas, blackberries, low fat yogurt and light coconut milk.  Better than coffee for maintaining a good mood!

or, how about some…..

Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti
The best for last!  With whole wheat flour, flaxseed, baking soda, dark brown sugar, dark chocolate chips and unsalted almonds, you’re not giving up anything.  Antioxidant-rich, these healthy ingredients will help you avoid the lows associated with processed food and high sugar content.

Eat well and prosper!