Snack Your Way to Fitness and Health

exercise and superfood snacks to keep you going

Exercise and Superfood Snacks to Keep You Going All Day Long

Looking for ways to integrate more movement and nutrition into your day? We’ve got you! Here are two simple ways you can live your life and work on your health and fitness simultaneously. Exercise snacks and superfood snacks are an easy hack.

If you need to break up hours of sitting in front of a screen, exercise snacks are for you. These small bursts of activity can have a big impact on your health. Exercise snacks are a great way to hit your reset button. They will boost your energy, brain power and focus and help you to de-stress. You will be more creative and productive after giving your body and mind a break.

What Are Exercise Snacks?

Exercise snacks are short bouts of activity interspersed throughout your day. If you struggle to find the time or energy to work out, they are a lifesaver. While many people think such micro-workouts don’t count, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether you work out regularly or not, adding short activity breaks to your schedule is beneficial. You can significantly improve your health and wellness by implementing exercise snacks. You will also feel recharged and much more ready to tackle your next project.

Sample Exercise Snacks

Stair climbing

Push ups or wall push ups

Wall sits and Squats

Jumping Jacks

Walking lunges

Jogging in place

Jump roping or faux jump roping

Brisk walking or jogging

Planks

Bear crawls

Inchworms

Mountain climbers

Sit ups

High knees

Burpees

Marching in place

Pull ups

Dancing

Turkish Get Ups

Man Makers

L-Sits

 

Why Should I Include Exercise Snacks in my Day?

Exercise snacks can help prevent Type 2 diabetes by controlling your blood sugar. These activity bursts increase your metabolic health by improving your insulin sensitivity.

Your body is able to process nutrients better if you don’t sit for more than an hour at a time without moving. Getting up every hour and exercising helps to reduce inflammation. It increases blood flow and delivers more nutrients to your muscle tissue.

You can improve your lung and heart function by incorporating these micro-workouts. 

Exercise Snack Tips

Start with three to five bouts of one-to-ten minutes per day. These mini-workouts are not meant to replace regular workouts but to complement them or get you started.

Choose what you want to focus on: mobility, strength, flexibility, cardio, learning a new skill or ideally all of the above.  If this step overwhelms you just pick an activity or two from the list above.

Set digital reminders to break up periods of being sedentary. Remind yourself to get up and move every 30-90 minutes of sitting.

Playing your favorite tunes is a good way to motivate yourself to move.

Adding an exercise snack to an existing habit will help to make it stick.  For instance, performing ten wall push ups, ten sit ups and ten jumping jacks before every meal will eventually become automatic.

 

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Edible Snacks to Keep you Energized, Fit and Healthy

Do you struggle to come up with satisfying, quick and nutritious snacks when hunger hits? The worst time to choose a snack is when you’re hangry.

Having the right snacks in the right portions can make or break your day and your health.  Having an idea of what to eat ahead of time is key.  We have lots of snack ideas to nourish your mind, body and soul. These will energize and sustain you rather than drain you.

 

100-Calorie Superfood Snacks

25 Baby Carrots or 8 Baby Carrots with 1 Tbsp of Hummus

3-½ cups of Air-popped Popcorn

¼ cup of Oats with ¼ Banana

½ cup of low fat, sugar free Greek Yogurt with ⅓ cup of Berries

25 strawberries (1 cup)

2 tbsp of Hummus with 1 cup of Veggies

Small Skim Milk Latte

13 raw Almonds

¾ cup Apple Slices with 2 tsp of Peanut Butter (90 calories)

1 Orange (72 calories)

½ cup of low fat Cottage Cheese with ¼ cup of pineapple

Smoothie: ½ cup spinach, ½ cup berries and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp of Almond or Peanut Butter on Celery

½ Baked Sweet Potato or Potato with 1 Tbsp of Salsa

129 Blueberries (1-¼ cup)

1 Hard Boiled Egg (75 calories)

¾ cup Frozen Mango

1 slice of Whole Grain Toast with ¼ Avocado

1 medium Baked Apple with Cinnamon

⅓ cup Edamame (75 calories)

1-½ cups Melon

Healthy Snacking Tips

Have an exercise snack before your edible snack.  This will help to control your blood sugar.  You may think you’re hungry when you’re really just bored or tired.

Variety is the spice of life: the more you mix it up, the more exciting your diet will be and the more nutrients you will take in.

The Takeaway

You can be fit and healthy no matter how busy your schedule.  Exercise snacks are a great way to move more throughout the day. They help to battle fatigue and stress, stabilize blood sugar and improve cardiorespiratory fitness. You will give your body and mind a break by incorporating them. The end result will be a more energized, focused and productive you.

Exercise snacks are great for beginners or for those of us in a time crunch. Most athletes will require their full meal workouts in addition to their exercise snacks in order to reach optimal health and fitness.

If you need to refuel in between meals, how you do it is key. Selecting nutrient-dense, low calorie foods will help you in the short and long run. There are countless superfoods to satisfy your cravings and nourish your body and mind. If you know what your options are before you get hungry, you are much more likely to make the right choice.

You are what you eat and what you do. Implementing exercise and superfood snacks will help you be and feel your very best!

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Bluezones.com; webmd.com; beyond.ubc.ca; nytimes.com; everydayhealth.com; theconversation.com; mynetdiary.com; stylist.co.uk; shape.com; verywellfit.com; eatthis.com

THE MIND DIET REDUCES YOUR RISK OF DEMENTIA

The MIND Diet Reduces Your Risk of Dementia

Did you know that what you eat today could determine if you get dementia tomorrow? Most of us don’t want to think about getting older. The statistics are scary and make cognitive impairment seem inevitable.

Alzheimer’s Disease affects more than five million Americans and the numbers are increasing.  Dementia is the sixth leading cause of death in the US. It is also a major cause of dependency and disability. One in three Americans over the age of 65 die with it. One in five seniors have mild cognitive impairment. One in seven are diagnosed with dementia. 

Should you cross your fingers and just hope it doesn’t happen to you? Absolutely not.  There is a lot you can do today to be proactive in the fight against degenerative brain disease and disfunction.

According to the CDC, cognitive impairment is NOT inevitable. The lifestyle choices you make today can make or break your golden years. There are ways to protect your learning, memory and thought processing. Following the MIND Diet is one of the best.

The good news is that you can slow brain aging by seven and a half years, and lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 53%!

WHAT IS THE MIND DIET?

The MIND diet combines elements from the Mediterranean and DASH diets. It zeros in on foods that prevent and slow brain aging, reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

MIND DIET BRAIN-BOOSTING FOODS, SUGGESTED SERVINGS & EXAMPLES

  1. GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES: 6+ ONE-CUP SERVINGS PER WEEK. Salads, spinach, kale
  2. OTHER VEGETABLES: 1+ DAILY. Bell peppers, beets, eggplant
  3. BERRIES: 2+ HALF-CUP SERVINGS PER WEEK. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries
  4. NUTS: 5+ SERVINGS PER WEEK. Walnuts, almonds, cashews
  5. OLIVE OIL: use for cooking in place of butter or other oils
  6. WHOLE GRAINS: 3+ SERVINGS DAILY. Oatmeal, quinoa, 100% whole wheat bread
  7. FISH: 1+ SERVINGS PER WEEK. Salmon, tuna, sardines
  8. BEANS: 4+ SERVINGS PER WEEK. Garbanzos, black beans, lentils
  9. POULTRY: 2+ SERVINGS PER WEEK. Turkey or chicken
  10. WINE (OPTIONAL): 1 (OR LESS) 5 OZ. SERVING DAILY. Red or white

MIND DIET FOODS TO AVOID OR LIMIT

  1. BUTTER AND MARGARINE: USE LESS THAN 1 TBSP DAILY. Replace with olive oil 
  2. CHEESE: CONSUME LESS THAN ONCE A WEEK
  3. RED MEAT: 3 SERVINGS PER WEEK OR LESS Beef, pork, lamb
  4. FRIED FOODS: LESS THAN ONCE A WEEK
  5. SWEETS: 4 TIMES A WEEK OR LESS. Desserts, processed snacks, ice cream, cookies, doughnuts, pastries and candy.

HOW THE MIND DIET WORKS

The MIND diet reduces inflammation and oxidative stress which leads to cognitive decline.  It contains nutrient-rich foods that are good for your brain. These foods contain: Carotenoids, Flavonoids, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and vitamin E.

WHAT ELSE CAN THE MIND DIET DO?

The MIND diet also lowers your risk of heart disease, some cancers and diabetes

37% lower risk of death

60% lower risk of breast cancer

13% lower risk of Parkinsonism Motor Impairments

It can also be modified for weight loss

THE MIND DIET, EXERCISE & COGNITIVE TRAINING: A WINNING STRATEGY

The MIND diet works best for those on it the longest and most consistently. Seniors who follow the diet moderately have a 35% reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Those who follow it strictly lower their risk by 53%.

Combining the MIND diet with physical activity and cognitive training programs is a surefire way to optimize your brain power.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps to supply it with nutrients. Being physically active reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50%.

Cognitive training programs improve memory and thinking skills.  Detecting patterns, memorizing lists and timing thought responses are ways to keep your brain active. Chess, puzzles, math problems and crafts also benefit your brain long-term.

A lifestyle that incorporates the MIND diet, exercise and cognitive training optimizes brain and overall health.

THE TAKEAWAY

Dementia is the elephant in the room that threatens your peace of mind and independence. You can’t control all of your risk factors for cognitive decline but there is a lot you can do. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory MIND diet is the best place to start. It promotes eating minimally processed, largely plant-based foods that are rich in nutrients.

Blueberries, salmon, eggs, walnuts and broccoli are some of the superfoods on the MIND diet that boost brain power. Avoiding or limiting saturated fat and added sugar also protects your brain. Following the MIND diet, and exercising both your body and brain are the best ways to keep your mind sharp and young.

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Rush.edu; Hsph.harvard.edu; healthline.com; webmd.com; health.usnews.com; forbes.com; medicalnewstoday.com; eatingwell.com; everydayhealth.com

Trick or Treat Health Stats

trick or treat health stats

The Pros and Cons of Moving More

Some people like to get spooked on Halloween.  Some people like to get treated.  Either way we’ve got you covered with health statistics that run the gamut.  Ultimately none of us wish to play Russian roulette with our health.  It’s easy to think how much we move throughout the day is inconsequential.  The eye-opening facts below will show you just how wrong that is.

TRICK

spooky facts about being sedentary
 

 

You probably already know that sitting too long can lead to:  sluggishness, neck and shoulder stiffness, weakened glutes, legs, back and hips, digestive issues, varicose veins and blood clots.  But there’s so much more to be alarmed about.

Spooky Facts About Being Sedentary

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting.  We are sitting ourselves to death.” -Dr. James Levine, Director of the Mayo Clinic

Being sedentary is the fourth leading risk factor for death

Physical inactivity causes 3.2 million deaths per year 

A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of …death by 71%

…heart disease by 147%

…cancer by 66%

…diabetes by 112%

…depression by 47%

…dementia and Alzheimer’s by 12%

Physical inactivity increases your risk of obesity.  It slows down your metabolism.  Your body has a hard time regulating blood sugar and blood pressure and breaking down fat.

Brain function slows, affecting both cognition and memory.

Your posture may be compromised which can lead to chronic pain and rheumatic disorders.

The US spends $27 – 117 billion in health care per year due to low physical activity

or

healthy lifestyleTREAT

Reeses Pieces are delicious but nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!

Sweet Facts About Moving More

Sharper memory and thinking

Stress relief

Stronger bones and muscles

More energy

Better sleep 

Less pain

More endurance

Weight loss and maintenance

Mood boost

More confidence

Better mobility and joint health

If you sit for no longer than 30 minutes at a time, you will have a 55% lower mortality rate than those who sit for longer.

110,000 deaths per year will be prevented if people 40 and over get just 10 minutes a day more of moderate to vigorous exercise.

Moving for 2 minutes or more per hour reduces your risk of death by 33%.

The Problem with Being Sedentary:  The Sitting Disease

Humans were meant to be upright and mobile.  Sitting uses a lot less energy than standing.  Moving boosts your energy, bone strength, muscle tone, endurance and mood.  If you regularly sit for more than 90 minutes at a time, your risk of death doubles.  It is unfortunate for our bodies and minds that sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since 1950.  It is important to consciously move more throughout the day.

What You Can Do About It

Organize walking meetings rather than sitting ones.

Take a 5 to 15 minute walk after each meal.

Whenever possible, alternate standing for 30 minutes with sitting for 30 minutes.

Use an activity tracker to monitor your steps, working up to 10,000 or more a day.

Read your email while standing.

Exercise during commercial breaks.

Listen to audiobooks while being active rather than sitting and reading.

Fit five to ten minute exercise breaks into your day.

When you must sit, maintain proper alignment.

The Takeaway

Being sedentary threatens our wellbeing and longevity.  An inactive lifestyle can lead to obesity, diabetes, dementia, cancer, heart disease and death. 

While the sitting disease is prevalent in our culture, there is a lot we can do.  Some of the negative consequences of too much sitting can be offset.  Being mindful of how long we are sedentary is important.  Taking breaks from sitting and maintaining an active lifestyle have profound effects on our health.  

Small changes can lead to big rewards.  So let’s follow James Brown’s lead and “Get Up Offa That Thing”!

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Juststand.org;  cdc.gov;  mayoclinic.com;  ergonomictrends.com;  eatthis.com;  betterhealth.vic.gov.au;  biotrust.com;  businessinsider.com;  prevention.com

FUEL YOUR AM WITH PROTEIN

Many Americans consume a protein-rich dinner and little or no protein in the morning.  If you are one of them, it’s time to rethink how you break your fast.  A nutritious balanced breakfast rich in protein is the best way to go. The first meal you eat has lasting effects on your day as well as your health.  Here’s why.

HOW AM PROTEIN BENEFITS YOUR SHORT & LONG TERM HEALTH 

AM Protein gives you a steady energy boost.  It keeps your blood sugar from crashing mid-morning.

AM Protein curbs your appetite so you don’t overeat.  It increases the gut hormone which makes you feel full.  It also decreases the hormone that makes you feel hungry. 

AM Protein benefits your workouts.  Protein is necessary for muscle growth, tissue repair and recovery.  AM protein promotes muscle growth more than protein eaten at any other time of the day.

AM Protein raises the tyrosine levels in your brain.  This makes you feel alert and awake.

AM Protein boosts your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day.

AM protein improves your body’s response to high-carb foods for up to four hours.  Your blood sugar and insulin levels are better regulated after eating protein.

How Much AM Protein Should I Eat?

Shoot for 25-30 grams at breakfast (and at each other meal)

AM Protein Sources

Avocado toast with eggs, Greek yogurt with berries, oatmeal with nuts and fruit, banana almond milk smoothie, smoked salmon omelette.

The Takeaway

Eating a balanced, nutritious breakfast rich in protein is the best way to break your fast.  It helps you power through your day by providing steady energy and deflecting hunger.  It benefits your long-term health by building lean muscle mass, boosting metabolism and controlling your blood sugar.  Fueling your morning with protein is a simple way to boost your health, crush your workout and slay the day!

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Nutrition.org;  healthline.com; webmd.com;  medicalnewstoday.com;  healthyeating.sfgate.com

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