Energize Yourself!

Energize yourself!

Ever feel like there are more hours left in the day than there is energy left in your tank? Life is busy always and most especially during the holiday season. Making a few changes to your routine can have a big impact on your level of energy.  Having more energy will make your days less hectic and more enjoyable.

How much energy you have is largely controlled by what you eat and how much you move. The good news is that a sedentary person can reduce fatigue by 65% by doing even low intensity exercise regularly.

Energy Boosting Tips

1 Exercise! The more you move the more energy you have to power through your day. If you don’t want to get winded or tired during routine activities, increase your level of physical activity. Try walking briskly 10 minutes a day for three weeks and you will notice a substantial increase in your energy stores.

Mitochondria, the powerhouses of your cells, convert calories into energy. If you are physically active, you have more of them.

Exercise makes your body better at converting fat and glucose into fuel. It helps to regulate your blood sugar levels, preventing spikes and crashes.

When you exercise you increase oxygen and blood flow throughout your body.

Regular physical activity trains your heart and lungs to work more efficiently.

Hormones including endorphins, serotonin and dopamine are released when you work out. These boost your mood and energy.

Being active increases your metabolism, improves your sleep and lowers stress all of which boost your energy!

2 Gauge your energy levels throughout the day. Some activities drain your energy while others restore it. The same is true of people and places. If you are aware of these effects, you can guard your daily reserves. You can also plan to tackle the most important projects at your most energetic times.

3 Eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Include veggies, fruit, lean protein, whole grains and low fat dairy. An adequate combination of carbs, protein and fat will give you all the energy you need.

Have more whole grains and less sugar to balance your blood sugar.

Start your day with protein, healthy fats and complex carbs. Avocado toast with eggs or a spinach, peanut butter and chia seed smoothie are two good choices.

If you need a snack make it a power snack. A skim latte and a handful of almonds or peanut butter on a banana will provide you with the sustained energy you need.

Make sure you’re getting enough micronutrients as well, including vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B-12.

4 Get enough quality sleep. Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night.

Obtain quality sleep by: getting sunshine first thing in the morning, going to bed and waking at the same time, creating a relaxing environment devoid of light, clutter and noise, managing stress and avoiding blue light at night.

Being active during the day also improves your sleep.

5 Manage stress. Activities such as exercise, meditation and breath work can do wonders to help you unwind. Spending too much time on social media can be draining rather than energizing or relaxing.

6 Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water allows your body and brain to work optimally. Thirst, on the other hand, can make you feel hungry and tired. Being even a little dehydrated can make you lethargic.

Limit or avoid alcohol which ultimately drains your energy.

It is better to have small amounts of caffeine throughout the day than larger quantities all at once. Sipping a quarter cup or so of coffee at strategic times can be beneficial. It’s best not to consume caffeine after 2pm.

7 Fuel your to-do list. Doing things that align with your purpose and values is life-affirming. Make sure that at least some of the energy you expend daily goes towards an activity that fuels you. This will add excitement, happiness and energy to your to-do list!

8 Be Kind to Yourself and Others. Negative self-talk and unresolved conflicts and emotions are draining. Holding in feelings like anger and guilt is exhausting. Effective coping strategies include exercising, going to therapy, journaling, or finding a creative outlet.

9 Take breaks. Even a few minutes of stretching, talking to a friend, listening to music or working out can help to recharge your battery.

10 Streamline your activities and environment. A cluttered environment can lead to a cluttered mind. Clean out your space for better focus.

Consider whether you are trying to do too much and plan out your day. It’s better to do a few things well than to be inefficient at multiple projects. Prioritize and narrow down your tasks.

The Takeaway

You need a lot of energy to power through your days. Chances are, some days you’re feeling it a lot more than others. Tweaking your routine and mindset can help you have more sustained energy on a daily basis.

How well you eat and how much you move largely determine how much energy you have. Sleeping enough, drinking plenty of water and managing stress are also huge contributors to your energy production.

Positive thinking, purposeful activities, taking breaks and a clutter-free environment help to preserve your energy. It’s important to monitor and protect your energy stores so you can function at your best from morning to night!

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Health.harvard.edu; newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org; webmd.com; health.com; besthealthmag.ca

For a Healthier Thanksgiving: Shift Your Focus

For a Healthier Thanksgiving: Shift Your Focus

Putting the “Thanks” and “Giving” Back in Your Holiday

The Thanksgiving holiday is a special day that only comes around once a year.  Because the holiday celebrates a bountiful harvest, it highlights an elaborate feast.  More food is consumed in the US on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year.

Most Americans consume 3000 to 5000 calories during the Thanksgiving meal.  On average, they gain one to five pounds during the holiday season.  Unfortunately, that added weight tends to stick around. 

Fortunately, Thanksgiving done right doesn’t have to sabotage your health and wellness.  Feeling stuffed, hung over, lethargic and guilt-ridden is not inevitable.  We have lots of tips for enjoying yourself without all the negative consequences.

Step One:  Enjoy Your Family and Friends and Be Present

If you shift your focus back to giving thanks, you can make the most of your Thanksgiving holiday.  Engage in conversation with your family and friends.  Be present.  Show gratitude for all the amazing people in your life.

Even if you spend Thanksgiving alone there is much to be thankful for. Be sure to count your blessings, including being safe, healthy and having everything you need.

Put the “giving” back in the holiday by volunteering and giving back to the community.  Providing the less fortunate with meals adds tremendous value to your life.

Step Two:  Savor the Delicious and Nutritious Foods

Thanksgiving is a great time to appreciate all the different foods available to us in the US.  A traditional Thanksgiving meal is loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and antioxidants.

Turkey is rich in protein, low in fat and calories and it boosts your mood.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are nutrient dense.  They contain vitamin C, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium and fiber.  These nutrients are good for bone strength.  Sweet potatoes also have beta carotene, important for immunity, vision and healthy skin.

Cranberries contain lots of antioxidants to help ward off disease.

Pecans have heart-healthy fats, copper, thiamine, zinc, magnesium, fiber and antioxidants.

Pumpkin contains vitamin A, potassium and fiber.

Step Three:  Enjoy a Healthier and Happier Thanksgiving Day

Starting the day with a protein-rich breakfast is a good idea.  This will allow you to control your appetite. Oatmeal, yogurt or eggs with fruits and veggies will keep hunger at bay.  Saving up calories for the big meal tends to backfire.  It’s hard to be disciplined when you’re famished.  People also tend to overestimate how many calories they have saved.

Create a new activity-based tradition. You will improve your digestion, and feel less tired if you go for a walk after eating.  Brisk walking improves your blood sugar levels, aids digestion and burns calories.  What about playing football with your family and friends rather than watching it on TV?  Participating in a Turkey Trot is another great option.

Drink lots of water and little or no juice, soda or alcohol, throughout the day.

Work out a little more  the week before and after the holiday to offset indulgences and stay on track.  This is not a punishment but a reward for being strong and able.

Lighten up your dishes.  You can swap the butter and cream in mashed potatoes for low sodium broth or skim milk.  Make a healthier stuffing using whole grain bread, fruits and veggies. Leave the skins on potatoes and sweet potatoes for added fiber which helps stabilize blood sugar.

Be realistic.  Avoiding all temptation can dampen the day.  Feeling deprived does not pay off in the long run.

Choose your indulgences.  Rather than focusing on trying every dish.  Start with your must-have favorites and stop when you are full.

Fill up on the healthier fare. Three ounces of skinless white turkey meat and a serving of roasted sweet potatoes are two great choices.

Control your portions.  You don’t need a huge quantity of each food to fully enjoy the moment.  Using a smaller plate and filling half of it with veggies helps.  So does skipping seconds and thirds.

Eat mindfully.  Don’t rush through your meal but take the time to savor every mouthful.  Put your fork down between bites.  Give your body time to cue you that it’s full.

The Takeaway

Thanksgiving Day is the perfect day to focus on gratitude.  Your health, family, friends and an abundant meal are just some of the blessings to be thankful for. Traditional Thanksgiving foods are loaded with nutrients we are lucky to have access to. With a little interaction, activity and forethought, you can indulge healthfully and end your day with a full heart.                                                                                                                                           Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Golden Home Fitness!

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Globalnews.ca;  medicalwesthospital.org; myfitnesspal.com; swimmingworldmagazine.com;  intermountainhealthcare.org

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

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