Celebrate National Take a Hike Day with me

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Take a hike. No really, do it! Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States once said, “Of all exercises walking is the best.” If the President of the United States said it, it must be true! (Take that with a grain of salt). It’s National Take a Hike Day so I’m telling you to go out and do it today! Or if you can’t today, at least do it sometime in the next few days.

Several trails in Upstate New York are groomed in the winter so that you can still enjoy hiking. I recently invested in snow shoes and that creates even more options!

Exercise is to me and how important it should be to you. The benefits of daily exercise are endless. I’ll touch on just a few of them today.

How much physical activity do you actually need? Though exercise is extremely important when it comes to weight loss, it’s also important for general health and wellbeing. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotions, it is recommended that the average adult get 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise or 75-150 minutes of vigorous exercise over the course of a week. This is the recommended amount to reap substantial health benefits.

What exactly are these health benefits I’m talking about? First and foremost, exercise is GREAT for your heart. It helps keep your heart healthy and puts you at lower risk for heart disease and heart attack. In addition to heart health, exercise has been linked to dozens of other health benefits such as:

  • Improved sleep
  • More energy
  • Coping mechanism for depression and anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Better self image
  • General better sense of wellbeing

On top of these benefits, of course is that it can aid in weight loss and management. A proper diet and suitable exercise is the formula for weight loss. You can’t make it happen without one or the other.

So get out and take a hike today! Shave some time off that 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Burn some calories before Thanksgiving!

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Five ways to keep your heart healthy

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It’s February—National Heart Health Month. I talk about heart health a lot. It’s a huge deal—heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women! I am going to do something a little bit different in this blog!

I usually talk about heart-healthy foods. In this entry, I am going to discuss some lifestyle choices you should make to reduce your risk of getting heart disease.

 Exercise

Exercise improves overall heart health! Exercise gets your heart pumping harder, which strengthens it. It’s suggested to exercise moderately at least 150 minutes per week for maximum benefits. You don’t have to hit the gym to get exercise. Take your dog for a light jog. Dance with your girlfriends!  Try an app like Sworkit to get in a great 20-60 minute workout at home. Even a 10 minute mini-workout is better than no workout!

Sleep

Get enough sleep. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Studies have linked getting sufficient quality sleep had healthier arteries than those who didn’t.  Turn electronic devices off at least an hour before bed.  Determine a relaxing sleep ritual for yourself (maybe reading or doing some yoga or stretching, or even a warm bath).

If you have difficulty sleeping, make sure your room is dark (consider blackout curtains). White noise machines also help light sleepers.

Smoking

Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.  Smoke can damage your arteries and lead to the buildup of fatty material. When fatty material builds up in your arteries, they narrow, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Ask your doctor what you can do to quit smoking as soon as possible.

Alcohol

Keep alcohol to 1-2 glasses per day(1 drink for women and 2 drinks per day for men). Drinking more alcohol increases chances of developing high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and other heart disease risk factors.

Stress Reduction

Stress is a major factor in heart disease. Several studies show that meditation is an effective modality to reduce stress. It also helps to reduce anxiety, and harmful hormones. Meditating can lower heart rate and blood pressure.

And do something that will make you laugh! Laughter is good for your heart; it actually raises your HDL (good) cholesterol!

Eat well, exercise daily (even if for 10 minutes), sleep well, quit smoking, limit alcohol, and reduce stress and your heart will thank you!

Become “Healthy for Good”

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Healthy for Good™ is a movement started by the American Heart Association (AHA). I encourage you all to sign up. Their approach is smart; they are encouraging everyone to: Eat Smart. Add Color. Move More and Be Well. When you sign up for this free movement, you will be given encouragement and resources. Here is the plan broken down:

Eat Smart

You won’t find any fad diet pointers from me and you won’t find fad diet tips from the AHA either. Eating smart is about making healthy choices, such as swapping out processed food for nutrient-dense, wholesome food. It’s about eating balanced meals, including BREAKFAST.

Add Color

The best way to get all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need to boost your health is to incorporate a colorful array of fruits and veggies into your snacks and meals. Click here to read a blog I wrote about the nutrients found in different colored vegetables and fruits. Click here for an awesome infographic that will give you ideas of great food choices representative of each color.

Move More

Of course nutrition is my focus, but I am the first to say that exercise is just as important!  The AHA states that a good starting goal is at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. That’s just 21 minutes a day folks! You can even break it down into two mini workouts of around 10 minutes each. Find forms of exercise you enjoy and will stick with! Dance, bike, swim, take a kick-boxing class, walk your dog! Just move! Take the stairs more. Park in that parking spot that is furthest away from the store you are going to.

Be Well

Along with eating well and being active, real health includes getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, managing stress, connecting socially, and more. Stress is a major problem in this day and age and it will harm your health more than anything else. Click here for a great inforgraphic with awesome tips on how to manage stress.

Let’s all focus on our health! By eating smart, adding color, moving more, and being well, you will no doubt be on the road to Healthy for Good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Push-Up Your Life

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Pushups. Quick, what’s the first thing you think of when hear the word pushups? Your mind probably wanders off to some scary memories of being forced into doing them in gym class. Don’t  worry; it is completely okay to admit that you laid on the floor when the gym teacher turned their back. We were all there at one time in our lives, no need to be embarrassed. You’re probably a little curious as to why I’m stirring up memories from gym class. Well, your gym teacher wasn’t completely crazy.

Pushups actually make for a great full-body workout.You know that familiar burn you feel when you lower your body down to the floor? That’s created by the use of multiple muscles. Pushups are one of the only simple workouts that targets all of these muscles. You feel the burn in your biceps, core muscles, triceps, anterior deltoids, and your lower body muscle groups. All of these groups are activated to stabilize your body during the up and down movements. Targeting all of these muscles makes pushups known as a compound exercise. Doing pushups also stretches your muscles. When you lower your body down to the floor, your back muscles are stretched and when you push yourself back up, your biceps are stretched. This improves your flexibility, helps prevent injuries, and gives you the toned appearance you desire.

Pushups also enhance your cardiovascular system because you heart has to work harder to pump blood to all of the muscles being used. In doing this, you support your heart and work on reducing your stored fat.

Did you know that pushups can protect your from obtaining shoulder injuries? I know nobody wants to talk about getting old, but it’s inevitable. As you age, a common injury rotator cuff damage Doing pushups regularly is one of the most effective waysto protect and prevent your shoulder joint from injury. In today’s society, everyone has their nose stuck in a tablet or on their cellphone. With the advances in technology comes bad posture. Pushups are known to improve your posture. In order to have proper posture, your core muscles need to be strong and stabilized to support vertical positions. When pushups are properly executed, your core muscles are strengthened and fine-tuned, increasing your posture in the long run because your body will want to be more in line.

So the next time someone mentions doing pushups, take a moment and remember all of the benefits it has for you before you roll your eyes and pass!