Saturday, April 18, 2015

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

A few years ago I started posting on Facebook daily about the “Holiday” of the day. An example: Today, April 18th, is National Oatmeal Raisin Cereal Day! I started doing this because it was fun and was a way to bring joy into others lives. I hope it brings a chuckle to my “friends” as they read my post.  The joyful sound of laughter is far more contagious than a cold.  Laughter brings people together and increases happiness across the board.  
I know I feel better after a good laugh with a friend or doing something so wacky I laugh for hours. I know other people must like it too or there would be no comedy clubs in the world. Here are some reasons why you should have a good laugh often:
  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress.  It can even leave your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after you’re done laughing. It will also increase your energy and help you stay focused.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter helps to take away the stress hormones and gives you more immune cells and infection fighting antibodies which all help to improve your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s natural feel-good chemicals that promote an overall sense of well-being. They can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter helps protect the heart. Laughing increases blood flow which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
  • Laughter helps lessen stressful emotions. You can’t feel sad, angry, or anxious when you’re too busy laughing.
  • Humor shifts perspective. Who hasn’t had an experience when, at the time, it seems like the end of the world – yet days later, when you tell the story, you can’t help but laugh at what happened?  A humorous perspective will help you not feel overwhelmed.  Next time you feel like your world is ending, shift your perspective and see how you feel.
When you are faced with stress or difficulties try to laugh – or even just a smile.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Please Don't Stop The Music

There is a reason people like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West are making millions. Aside from the antics they pull with the media and the great shots the paparazzi sneaks of them, they do have quite a bit to offer. Music plays such a vital role in our lives. Singers who produce a great song can make enough money to sustain them, even if they are just a one hit wonder. Those responsible for creating movie soundtracks are well paid, too. People across the country are fighting to keep music programs in schools. Music matters.
Many of us have a favorite go-to playlist when we’re ready to hit the town for a night of shenanigans with our friends. You might have a separate playlist for long road trips. Some of us have a playlist that helps pump us up when we’re feeling blue. We create these playlists because music speaks to us; it motivates us and gives us a different perspective on life. That’s why it’s so important that fitness class instructors create awesome playlists for their classes.
Making great playlists is no easy task. There will be a vastly different playlist for Zumba than there is for step aerobics. Cycling music won’t be the same as a boot camp style fitness class. We know that music helps boost our moods. If you’re putting yourself through a challenging workout (as you should be!), there will be points where you’ll want to give up. Playlists for fitness classes are meant to keep you going through that last little bit of the workout when the instructor knows you’ll be drained. Another benefit of having great playlists in fitness classes is that, if done correctly, the playlists are intended to match the workout. The beats per minute of the song should match whatever activity you’re doing. That’s why playlists differ so vastly by class. You may hear the same song remixed in different ways so that it matches the goals of the fitness class.
So who is responsible for making these great playlists? Surely, fitness instructors just order them off the Internet or something, right?

Quite the opposite, in fact. Good fitness instructors will spend the hours it takes to create the perfect playlists for each of their classes. Most would probably outsource the work if they could, but the intricacies involved in making great playlists are those that only the fitness instructors can be responsible for. So the next time you find yourself jamming to your favorite song while sculpting your heart out, be sure to thank your instructor.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A healthy lifestyle

There are a few things I do a lot that I get "heat" for. I too am concerned with the side effects of what I eat to just eat anything. I don't want to gain weight either! Here are a few things I do that aren't that weird but keep me in check especially when it comes to snacking.

I say "no" to fat-free products.
Fat (something we like that tastes really good) goes out and sugar (another thing we like that tastes really good) goes in. Why? Because manufacturers are selling you on the fact that the product is fat-free -- not sugar-free. Huge culprits include fat-free salad dressing (honey or high fructose corn syrup often coming in as the second or third ingredients), fat-free cookies or cakes (angel-food cake for example has a devilish 20 grams or more of sugar per slice) my favorite smart sweet treat is from, Alternative Baking Company, Colossal Chocolate Chip Cookie. They are delicious, vegan, dairy free and no hydrogenated oils ever. Also stay away from fat-free puddings, muffins and reduced-fat peanut butter. Read the ingredient list BEFORE purchasing. The first few ingredients should not include sugar. Keep your salad dressings and peanut butter the full-fat variety. You will be more satisfied and won't need to eat 20 fat free cookies to be.

Go to bed and get some sleep
I'm anal about this one. I make sure I get 8 hours each night. Most people also are less equipped to resist a high-calorie treat (candy comes to mind) if we are sleepy throughout the day. When you are tired it is more difficult to say no to the candy bar. Bottom line, while diet and exercise have a lot to do with staying away from the sweets, neither of them will be as effective if you're not getting enough ZZZ's.

Keep snacks close by.
When I'm hungry, I want food immediately. One tactic that's worked for me is to keep healthy snacks on hand. That way I don't end up at a convenience store loading up on junk without even realizing it. My impulses are reduced though, when I keep trail mix in my bag. I can easily grab it and have a few satisfying bites of peanuts, raisins and whole-grain pretzels. Just this simple action is satisfying. Figure out what your trigger is and have something on hand to distract yourself. It could be an apple in your purse, a bag of healthy popcorn in your pantry or a string-cheese stick in your office refrigerator.

I always chew gum.
I find that chewing gym in the afternoon reduces my cravings for sweet snacks.

These are some simple tricks I do everyday. Do you too? Is there something awesome you do that I should know about? Send me a message.