Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ten Tip Tuesday, Volume 2

Hello again. I hope you had a healthy week.  Was it a little more stressful than usual?  I'll admit, it was for me, because I chose to have 16 family members get together at my house for an Easter brunch, and an egg hunt.  Notice I said "chose".  Sometimes I have to remind myself to not take on too much.  Does that happen to you?  The only problem for me was that I neglected to walk the dog, or workout, for more than two days in a row, and that's a big no-no for me, and of course for the dog.  (Sorry, Lucy.)  If you read my first blog, then you know that I have a self imposed rule: I cannot go more than two days in a row without a workout.  But, sometimes I break that rule, maybe once or twice a year, and it reminds me why I need to slow down and take breaks.  Did my company really notice that I had scrubbed the floors and washed the windows?  Is it really that important?  Well, I guess if we didn't have these get-togethers once in awhile, some of the deep cleaning would never get done, and some of the little repairs would never happen.  So, it's all good.  It's all about balance, don't you think?  Wellness.  Well, enough on that, on to the ten tips for this week:

1.  Splurge on the right tools, such as a pedometer that can handle all the times you might drop it accidently; a good pair of workout shoes; an ipod that will help you enjoy your workouts more; a salad spinner;  tools that can help get you to your goals with more ease and enjoyment.

2.  When you look at the ingredients on a container, remember that they are listed in order of weight within the recipe.  Largest quantities are listed first, so look for healthy ingredients listed right away, such as whole grains.

3.  There is a good reason why you should take a day off between weightlifting sessions:  If indeed you are working a muscle group "to fatigue," the 24 hours of rest will allow the micro-tears that have occured while lifting to repair themselves and therefore be strengthened.  The muscles need this time to heal and grow.  Some people alternate their lifting days by working arms one day, and lower body the next day.

4.  Self esteem quote:  "Just as it's impossible for people to agree on 'the best movie or book of all time'; a single definition of beauty doesn't exist." -Shari Graydon.  Please keep that in mind when you start picking on yourself.  Learn to love yourself as the unique person you are.

5.  Eating protein after a workout will help your recover faster.  That's because protein and amino acids will help the muscles begin the healing process, and make new cells.  Source:  Women's Health, 10/08.  A study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabollism. 
Consider having a hard boiled egg, a cheese stick or some almonds after your workout.  You get the drill.

6.  This fact from the National Institutes of Health is alarming to me:  If your waist-to-hip ratio is .88 or more, your risk of dying from cardio-vascular disease increases nearly 3.5 times!  It's never too late to start a new eating/exercise plan.  Make a list of all of the benefits a new program would help you gain.

7. Which do you remember more quickly--the most recent criticism you received?  Or, the most recent compliment you received?  That's what I thought.  Why not start a "Compliment Book"?  You could take a blank notebook and write down compliments you've received.  Plus, that would be a good place to put those thank you notes and warm fuzzy cards you (hopefully) get once in awhile.  Lastly, compliment yourself too!  When that little voice inside congratulates you on a job well done, write it down!  Visit your "Compliment Book" from time to time, when you find yourself having a pity party.  Make a fun cover for your book, with photos and phrases you cut out of magazines.

8.  I like this one, it gives you permission to have some dark chocolate daily:  German researchers gave a group of 22 men and women with high blood pressure a quarter ounce piece of dark chocolate each day for 18 weeks.  At the end of this study, the blood pressure levels dropped so much that risk of stroke was lowered by 8%!  Plus, four of the participants wound up having normal blood pressure levels at study's end. Important point to remember:  that was 1/4 ounce, not one ounce.  Bummer.

9.  Take yourself on a Wellness Field Trip.  Go visit the local health food store;  check out the athletic supply store;  go to the bookstore specifically to look at self-help books; go to the library and check out exercise DVDs;  visit a bike store;  check out the shoe store that caters to athletes.  You get the drill.  While you're at it, walk to the destinations you choose.

10.  Do you have a basket of fresh fruit on your counter, or on your desk at work?  It might be just the boost you (and others around you) might need to grab a healthy snack when you want something NOW.

That's all folks! 

Sending you motivation and encouragement,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's Ten Tip Tuesday!

Hi Everyone.  Here's a list of Ten Wellness Tips that I hope you can benefit from.  I would love to hear some of your wellness tips too, if you are willing to share.  I also hope to post other "Ten Tip Tuesday" blogs in the future.  Read on, and most of all, here's hoping this finds you happily working on your own state of wellness.

1.  Aim for a Five Star Day, and see how good it feels.  Give yourself one star for each of the following you have done in one 24 hour period:  completed a workout; written down everything you ate and drank; slept for at least 7 hours; stretched for 10 minutes; and given yourself a sincere positive comment.  You could even create a Five Star A Day Chart to use everyday for a week, for a Five Star Week!

2.  Try adding cinnamon to your diet.  (No, that doesn't mean you give yourself permission to bulk up on cinnamon rolls).  Research has linked cinnamon with reduced levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes.  Cinnamon also has polyphenols--antioxidants that can improve the health of your arteries.  The recommended daily amount to add to your diet is 1/2- 1 1/2 tsp.  Try adding cinnamon to oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, lattes, peanut butter, sweet potatoes and chicken or pork recipes.

3.  Practice the "plank pose" to build those core muscles that support your back and stomach.  See if you can work up to being able to hold the pose for 30 seconds at a time.  Unsure of what the plank is?  It looks like the "up" part of a pushup.  The more advanced plank has your forearms on the floor.
4.  Next time you have an urge to overeat, set a timer for ten minutes and drink a glass of water.  If you're still hungry after ten minutes, try a healthy snack.  Meanwhile, make yourself a list of things you can do during those ten minutes.  Take a bath?  Call a friend?  Organize the junk drawer?  Go through some photos?  Put your list where you can easily find it.

5.  Mary the Optimist says, "Concentrate on your strengths, not your weaknesses!"  Not sure of what those strengths are?  Shame on you.  Well, how about if you think back to some of the compliments you've received lately.

6.  Try to switch what you wish you were doing with what you are doing.  For example:  If you wish you were spending more time with your family than spending extra time on work, make it happen!

7.  If you have trouble with heartburn, try sleeping on your left side.  Your esophagus curves a little bit at the entrance to the stomach , so sleeping on the left side makes the angle sharper, and this can prevent acids from going up the esophagas.

8.  If you just make this one change--having either an open face sandwich or 1/2 sandwich for lunch, instead of having a whole sandwich, you can save about 80 calories a day.  Over time that means that you'll lose at least one pound every seven weeks.  That's over 7 pounds a year.  Not bad!  Fill the rest of your plate with vegetables and fruits.  You might not even notice a difference in the fullness and enjoyment factors.

9.  The maxiumun # of hours to wait between workouts is 48.  That's because a study found that if you are inactive longer than two days, then the calories that you normally burn during your workout will start to be stored as fat.

10.  If a food is labeled as "light" it means that is contains 33% less calories, or 50% less fat or 50% less sodium than the regular version of that food. 

That's all folks.  I hope you found this information useful.  Until next time.............Be Well!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Exercise is Your Top Age Eraser

So, here goes!  Blog #1.  I hope I can help motivate at least one person each time I write a post.  And, I'm looking forward to being motivated by many of you, from your blogs, and your feedback.

I subscribe to three wonderful health magazines.  Each time I go through a magazine, I tear out articles, sayings, recipes and ideas that I want to refer back to, and glue them into a blank composition book that I have decorated wtih magazine pictures and phrases.  I was just looking at the cover of one of these "Good Stuff to Know" composition books of mine, and saw that I'd glued down this saying- "Exercise is Your Top Age Eraser".

Amen to that, don't you think?  Think about the people you know who work out.  Aren't they just vibrant and happy?  Don't they just have a healthy glow about them?  A positive outlook?  Good posture?  I don't have any statistics to share, but I don't know very many people who exercise frequently that use many of their sick days.  I do think people who exercise frequently tend to appear more youthful.

Now, I'm sure many of you would agree with me that it takes awhile to be in the zone with exercise, and that it's tough to get motivated when you are just starting an exercise program.  It takes probably about six weeks of working out at least 3-4 times a week, for at least thirty minutes at a time, for you to get that extra bounce in your step, and not feel like it's pure drudgery to get up and get moving.  When I say "thiry minutes at a time", I mean non-stop movement, using the large leg muscles--biking, swimming, walking, your choice.  Find what works for you.  Do you prefer to be inside?  Outside?  Alone at home with an exercise DVD?  Out walking with a buddy?  Are you someone who prefers to be at the gym very late at night, so that you are not around the large crowds?  Or, do you enjoy being in a large class with others?  Do you have a dog that needs a daily walk?

One thing that has worked for me is a little rule I've made for myself:  I may not go more than two days in a row without exercise.  If life gets too hectic, I have to at least put in a few fifteen minute exercise sessions on that third day, even if that means just a short dog walk and lifting a few weights at home.  Seems to work for me.  It's good to make healthy rules for yourself, as long as they are reasonable.

I will close for now, hoping that you might consider starting an exercise program, if you have not yet done so.   If you are someone who exercises, good on ya!  Think about trying something new and please let me know how that goes for you.  I tried a spinning class at the gym the other day.  Yeow-sah!  Guess I haven't been sweating much in my other workouts, compared to what I went through with that workout.  It was a reminder to push myself to 60-80% of my maximum heart rate.  That is the level one must work at in order to improve the strength of the heart muscle, and to burn fat.

Happy Exercising!

The Fit Optimist