Tag Archives: Workout

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!

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!

Brains, Bones & Brawn

Boxing

Why do so many people hate doing cardio?  It has been called monotonous; actor Stephen Moyer even said, “Cardiovascular is the devil.”  So what’s the deal with cardiovascular exercise?  If so many people hate doing it, why should we?  Maybe we should stick to toning.  Well, before you throw your Nikes in the trash, read this article.  Cardiovascular exercise is one of the most powerful ways of beating the clock and keeping your brain sharp.

Need proof? According to the Journals of Gerontology, a study was conducted in 2006 involving 59 participants between the ages of 60 and 79.  The group was split in half.  For six months, one-half of the group did cardiovascular exercise while the others did stretching and toning and guess what they found out?  The half that did the cardiovascular showed a significant increase in brain volume in both gray and white matter, while the half that did the toning and stretching showed no increase.  Shocking, isn’t it?  Although toning is not without its rewards, it was concluded from the study that cardiovascular exercise actually spares brain tissue and improves cognitive functioning.

Still not convinced? Physical therapist and fitness expert Maureen Hagan says, “Fitness is a youth serum.” U.S. guidelines suggest the average person get 150 minutes of cardio per week, but Hagan’s research suggests that 240 minutes is best for optimal heart health.

(Yeah, that’s 4 hrs. – sorry)  But, just think, aerobic exercise increases the mitochondrial function, associated with energy production, which can decrease with age.(No kidding!)

So, now that you have resigned yourself to the fact that cardio is necessary, you will need to pick your poison. According to Hagan, memorizing choreographed dance steps involves working your brain as well as your body. Consider kickboxing, dancing, or rumba for those.  And be sure to keep those arms and legs in motion.  Hagan says that crossing your legs and arms over the middle of your body actually increases communication between the right and left brain hemispheres and  prevents lapses in short term memory!

“But”, you say in a final attempt at denial, “I heard that high impact workouts can be harmful.”  Well, you are not wrong.  Cardio can be dangerous to muscles, ligaments and cartilage, whereas toning will  actually protect bones from impact and increase bone density, while reducing the risk of osteoporosis.  Toning will also preserve muscle mass as you age and improve flexibility, stability and balance and strong bones. An added bonus:  by  improving your balance, you reduce your risk of falling.  Imagine that: not only will you decrease your chance of falling, but you also increase your chance of coming out of the fall in one piece!  No wonder toning is also credited with building confidence! Good examples of toning exercises include dumbbell reps, squats and pilates.

In conclusion, to lose body fat, it takes three things : cardio, strength training, and a low-calorie diet. So, get that heart pumping and keep that back straight and keep those muscles toned, and, the next time you are running on your treadmill or doing those reps and wishing you were doing anything else but, just remember,  you are doing yourself a world of good, so keep it up and we salute you!