Are you stressed out? Some days my planner is so full it’s shocking that two-thirds of it gets done by the end of the day. Then, there are parents who hold full-time jobs while running kids to soccer, ballet, band practice or the school dance. I’m not sure where they find the time! If you need some excellent stress relievers, try a few that I have found. I have tried all of them and they relieve my stress.
First, go for a walk. If you can, leave all your electronics at home. This includes your phone. It should only be you and maybe Fido. Going for a walk really clears the mind of what is stressing us out. We have the work stressors, where the boss is pushing us towards deadline. Then, we have the family stressors that circle around events and where you have to drive the kids. Just for yourself, breath the clean air and soak up the oxygen. Forget about everything and let creative, new thoughts filter into your mind.
Meeting a friend at an outdoor cafe is also a stress-buster. Perhaps it’s a friend that you haven’t seen in awhile or a co-worker that you don’t get to see that often. Regardless, it’s just the two of you chatting about what’s great in life. Try to talk about something other than your kids (if you have any.) Maybe you both plan a night out together to relax and get a massage while getting a manicure and a pedicure.
Another way to relax is to indulge in your favorite treat. For many women, this would be anything that revolves around chocolate. You may enjoy cookies or fudge, however, or sour gummies from your local candy store. It doesn’t always have to be sweets, however. Try snacking on a piece of fruit such as an apricot, banana or orange. Whatever it is, go after it—if only for today.
Also, you may find it unstressful to give Fido some attention. Take him or her to the park with a tennis ball or frisbee to toss around. The light exercise will help you sleep better at night while keeping your pet active. Similarly, it’ll help reduce arthritis in both you and your pet.
Then, once you’re home, inspire your family by cooking a new dish for dinner. Let’s say you eat a lot of chicken or turkey. Perhaps you cooked something that included salmon, tilapia or even something that had no meat at all. Keeping our spouses and kids always discovering new tastes is vital because it keeps our tongues healthy. You may even enjoy the dish yourself and make more like it.
At the end of the day, you may wish to stretch or take a long, luxurious bath. Heck, you might as well do both! Both are super relaxing. Just be sure to not do these activities too close to bed time because it’ll interrupt with your sleep. You don’t want to stay up later than you normally do.
People struggle to begin exercise for a variety of reasons. They may have an overloaded work schedule, they’re always running the kids somewhere or they might not know which exercises are the best. Still, there are people that have heard exercise myths and have taken them to be fact. Well, today let’s put some of those myths to bed.
Myth 1: Crunches will give you flat abs. While this is one exercise to target the abdominals, it’s not necessarily the best. They don’t burn off a lot of calories and they don’t help you lose fat from your body. If you really want a fire-burning ab workout, try planks or bridges. These are going to get you sweating which will help you burn more calories. You may also want to try ab exercises called the low-belly leg reach, the mountain climber or the donkey kickback.
Myth 2: Running is bad for your knees. It’s actually been proven that running is safer than sports such as football. Yet, at the same time, you still have to stretch, workout those muscles and be careful. Women are more than likely to have knee injuries over men because they have less strength in the hamstrings (lower leg) and quadriceps (upper leg). These two muscles have the tendency to increase the likelihood of an ACL injury, which is why runners should stretch at least 2-3 times a week.
Myth 3: More gym time is better. While you may be able to push hard, every few days you need to give your body a rest. It’s not healthful for your body to be packing weights at the gym everyday. This puts you more at risk for a serious injury. Try having a break every other day from exercise if you’re a beginner, or once a week if you’re more serious. This will give your muscles time to relax and return strong the next time you go.
Myth 4: Lifting weights makes you look bulky. Whether or not you bulk up lifting weights has to do with testosterone. Men have about 20 to 30 percent more testosterone than women. This is why they look more muscular when they lift free weights. For women to look like this, however, they would have to workout more than the average woman. Cardio, also, helps you build muscle and loose fat.
Myth 5: No pain, no gain. This phrase has almost come cliche. It’s an exercise phrase that means you should push yourself to the push your limits of endurance. Yet, if you’re sore and feel like a dump truck of bricks fell on you the next day, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Sure, we all want the perfect body—but it shouldn’t come to the cost that we can’t get out of bed. If you’re in this much serious muscle pain, you need to consult a doctor.
I hope this debunks a few myths for you. Myths seem to circulate so fast and then people believe them. But do your homework and always believe the facts instead. Don’t ever let a myth stop you from achieving the perfect body.
Good carbs vs. bad carbs
Carbohydrates, to our body, are made up of simple-to-digest sugars that have little use to us as humans. When we talk about good carbs and bad carbs, it comes down to how much sugar and fiber is in each one. It can be confusing, however, knowing the difference. This is why I’ve explained good and bad carbs below.
First, the higher the sugar and the lower the fiber indicates a bad carb. Our body stores this sugar as glycogen. If we’re not active, and do not burn it off right away, our bodies store it as fat. Most of the time these foods are lower in nutrients. They may be considered empty calories because they increase fatigue throughout the day.
Think about soda, candy and ice cream. Other culprits may be white bread and white bread. These are foods that our body quickly digests. Our body reacts with a blood sugar crash, which is why we feel tired or hungry sooner.
Then we have what are called good carbs. These may also be called complex carbs. Our body takes longer to break these down and turns these carbs into energy. Consider foods such as whole-wheat pasta or brown rice. These foods are powerhouse foods that have loads of vitamins and minerals. They help boost your metabolism and help keep your immune system strong.
In fact, eating good carbs has potential to regulate weight loss in the body. This is because it helps curb our appetite. We don’t get hungry as often, which leads us to take in fewer calories. And, it also cuts our cravings to those bad carbs that are the sugary drinks and candies.
Furthermore, good carbs are lower in cholesterol and trans fats whereas bad carbs are saturated with it. It’s important we keep our cholesterol low in order to prevent illnesses such as heart disease and stroke. Similarly, bad carbs have no fiber while good carbs is a great source of it. Each person needs fiber to regulate their digestive system and prevent cancer.
Knowing the difference between good carbs and bad carbs is also crucial for diabetics. Bad carbs, for instance, often have a tendency to skyrocket their insulin levels. When they eat or drink sugary foods, these empty calories spike their blood sugar. Yet, when they eat or drink high-fiber foods, it’s the direct opposite effect. Their insulin levels are more regular and their blood sugar level is more normalized. That’s why it’s crucial they stay on the diet their doctor put them on.
Good carbs and bad carbs can often be tricky. But it can be literally the difference of living a cancer-free life or being a cancer patient. Many of the good carb foods are also powerhouse cancer-fighting foods which makes it worth a try. While it may not always be easy, kicking the sweet treats to the curb may most likely be a solution. Live a good carb life and you’re sure to be healthy.
Just say no to sugar
We all eat sugar. There’s processed sugar in nearly every food. And then there is what is called natural sugar, which is in fruits and vegetables. While experts may be screaming Sugar is bad!, I believe they’re arguing against processed sugar. So, let’s keep that mind through the article.
First, one of the best reasons to quit sugar is that it makes us hungry. There’s sugar in all our foods, but it lurks mostly in junk food. When we eat this food, our blood sugar rises. This causes our pancreas to release insulin which, as a direct result, delivers glucose to our blood stream. After this happens, our blood sugar drops back to a normal level which tells our body that it’s hungry.
Another reason to quit sugar is that it’s stored as excess fat. When insulin is released, it tells the body to store these calories as excess fat. This the same process for extra carbohydrates. If you take in too much sugar, however, it can make your body resistant to insulin. It’s possible that your body could produce too much insulin as a result of too much sugar. Both of these scenarios trigger diabetes or heart disease.
On another note, quitting sugar helps us to reduce our cholesterol. Keeping this is check can play a vital role in preventing high insulin production. The main keys to controlling it are eating a heart healthy diet and avoiding the sugary treats that are going to make you hungry for more. These sugary treats will also increase your cravings—which you don’t want!—so keep that in mind as well.
Likewise, cutting sugar can improve your mood and energy. Most of the food that has sugar are considered empty calories. Think of candy, cookies and ice cream. These foods often make you fatigued and tired right after you eat them. If you were to eat an apple instead, however, you would be more inclined to do something. That’s because an apple has natural sugar. It doesn’t have preservatives or additives that we don’t want in our food.
Another reason to quit sugar is that it increases aging. This is primarily due to the fact that excessive glucose speeds up the aging process. You’re more likely to have more wrinkles and blemishes if you eat large amounts of sugar. Furthermore, eating high amounts of sugar can cause damage to cells and to your DNA.
On a final note, too much sugar can can worsen inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. The pain is a direct result from the blood sugar levels soaring. This sends an inflammatory response to your body, triggering arthritis symptoms to spike higher. High-fiber sweets, such as fruit, would be a much better option.
Sugar is bad for our body—it’s just how it is. If we quit sugar, we’re going to live a healthier, more fuller life. We have greater chances of never encountering major illness or being on illness. It may be hard but at least give it a shot.
Health is hot topic right now. Anything from apps to ebooks are rolling out for phones and tablets. Developers like that users are buying them, while users enjoy how these products make their lives so much easier. Check out these healthful apps to get your new year off to an excellent start.
Cardiio. This is a terrific application if you wanting to measure your heart rate. Simply look ahead at the front of the phone’s camera. Cardiio then measures your heart rate by the light reflecting on your face. Or, you can cover the back camera and flash with your finger. It will measure your heart rate this way, which makes it simple to use in low-light environments. You can then record your heart rate under history, which is excellent if you want to keep track of it.
iTriage. This application is a wealth of information. One feature is that you look up symptoms of any illness, just by clicking on any area of the body. For example, if you click on the leg, you can see symptoms for groin pain, skin rash or insect bites. It’s also a resource of doctors of every speciality in your area, giving patients their content information while iTriage also includes information on local medical facilities. Yet, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a perfect app to store all your medical information for your trip to the doctor, including your insurance information. And, the app gives you detailed information on what you can expect from any procedure, not to mention a medication lookup. This is a must-have app for anyone serious about their health.
Pacer. Pacer is designed for those who enjoy walking, jogging or running. It tracks how many steps you walk throughout the day. Also, it tracks your weight to see how your walking helps affect your weight loss goals. While they have a free version, it’s almost worth it to get the paid version for $3.99/month. You get access to weight loss groups, advanced activity reports and access to all your personal records. This a great motivator app for those who want to start enjoying outdoor exercise.
MyDays. With the app MyDays, women have a digital way to track their periods. This app also tracks fertility and ovulation, which helps women know when the best time is to try for a baby. In addition, you can indicate through the application if you are intimate or taking any sort of birth control. You may also find it useful to record your temperature during your period, your weight, mood and symptoms. If you regularly visit your OB-GYN, all the information in this app will help them in making sure you get the correct treatment. It really takes the hassle out of trying to keep track of a notebook with all this information; now it all be in your phone!
iP. What I really enjoy about this application is that all I have to do is insert my period start date; the app does the rest. For example, let’s say my last period was August 23, 2015. The app indicates when I would be fertile and ovulating, which would have been August 4th to August 9th, labeled in green. Also, you can indicate your symptoms, mood and exercise you may have done. iP also lets you input your appetite, headaches, food cravings and so much more. Furthermore, you can indicate if you became pregnant. This app is wonderful and a must-have for any woman.
MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is an app I found about a year ago. Its main focus is to help you track what you eat and your exercise. As you put in your height and weight, MyFitnessPal estimates a number of calories that you should be eating every day. You can select from cardio or strength exercise. Cardio exercises can be anything from automobile repair, playing basketball, playing billiards, canoeing on a camping trip, playing frisbee or chopping wood. In addition, strength exercises can be anything from bent-knee sit ups, chin-ups, lunges, triceps extension, pelvic lifts or a bicep curl. As far as food goes, most of the food is already listed with the application. But if you don’t see what you need to add, scan it in or swipe in right to add it. I love this app and I think you’re going to as well.
Sleep Better. Sleep Better is designed for all those that have trouble falling asleep at night. This app is simple and easy to use. All you have to do is set a sleep timer and set it next to your pillow. The app analyzes your sleep and helps you configure which habits are going to help you sleep best. It also indicates when you were awake, in light sleep and in deep sleep. As long as you use the app, Sleep Better keeps track of how well you sleep, waking you up with a variety of sounds in the morning. It will also tell you when your longest night was and what was your shortest night. Finally, you can create dream notes if you have dreams that you want to keep track of. This will tell Sleep Better how often you dream, how many are good dreams, how many are neutral dreams and how many are bad dreams.
In Check. In Check is an application for all those have diabetes or pre-diabetes. This is a perfect application to track your blood glucose on a daily or weekly basis. You can also track your medication, indicating wether you’re taking oral or insulin medicine. From a nutrition standpoint, In Check lets its users track their fitness. It matters if you are sedentary, lightly active, moderately active, very active or extra active. What you select is going to determine how many calories you’re allowed per day and, initially how many carbs you can have. Finally, it lets you track your exercise and weight loss. This app is ideal for any diabetic that wants an app to handle their diabetes. It’s a must-have to make a person’s life so much easier.
Sworkit. If you want easy exercise, I encourage you to check out Sworkit. Included with this application are workout plans divided into four categories: strength, cardio, yoga and stretching. Within each section are well-designed workouts that all last 5 minutes. What’s nice about this app is that a trainer is actually doing the exercises. Once you are finished, it shows you how many calories you have burned and gives you a daily reminder. This app is perfect if you want to put it on your living room television and work out.
Instant Butt Trainer. Finally, Instant Butt Trainer is a fantastic fitness application. It has over 600 exercises and 100 voice-guided workouts. These exercises are targeted to firm and tone the butt while working on other core muscle groups at the same time. Each workout even has fun names to get people energized and excited about the workout. For instance, there are workouts named Butt Blast, Buns and Guns, and Smokin’ Behind. So get excited and give Instant Butt Trainer a try. Before long, you’re sure to be looking great for swimsuit season.
What’s your workout routine? This is a typical workout routine for me throughout the year, once spring rolls around. I get outside and start walking around two amazing parks that we have near our home. Usually I walk about an hour and then come home for exercises for my arms and torso, but that’s the extent of it. When winter rolls around, however, I usually lose my motivation. My muscles are screaming “Hey lazy! Let’s go get our blood pumping!” but I just can’t seem to do it. Is this you too?
If so, there are exercises you can do to keep winter exercise alive and healthy. First, change your routine. If you exercise outdoors, take it indoors. Scope out your neighborhood gym and see if they have a holiday special. Going there two or three times a week to run the treadmill or work the weights is still going to keep you active. If cold weather doesn’t affect you where you live, change what activity you do. For instance, if you’re used to running perhaps you could play beach volleyball.
You may also want to try something new. There are lots of indoor exercises you can do right on a yoga mat. Decide which area you’re going to target and go after that with new, innovative exercises. Just doing these daily exercises will keep your muscles active and ready so when spring comes you’re ready to get outdoors again. Or, if regular exercise isn’t working, then try weight machines or exercise classes. Find where your exercise fits in and you’ll fit in there too.
Next, get excited. Whether it’s raining or snowing where you live, it doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. While it’s hard to get motived in this type of weather, hold yourself accountable for your exercise. For instance, you could live post-it notes all throughout your house with motivating quotes to exercise. Or, you could fill the post-its with words such as weight machine, push-ups, jump rope, sit up—you get the idea. This way, when you see the post-it, you’ll be more likely to do it.
Furthermore, you may want to also find winter activities. Where I live we get snow nearly every year. If this is similar to your home, then consider learning ice skating, Many public parks have skating rinks for anyone to come and enjoy. Maybe join a hockey team at your local park district or take part in other winter sports. Even having a sledding contest down the hill behind your house could burn calories. Be creative and have fun.
Finally, don’t forget to set yourself goals. For instance, say you want to lose ten pounds by Christmas. You may want to start around mid-November to give yourself a realistic chance of losing those 10 pounds in a healthy way. Once you achieve your goal, don’t forget to reward yourself. Think of other rewards besides food, such a trip to your favorite mall. This is going to keep you motivated as you reach your goal weight and exercise through those dark months we call winter!