11.24.2014

Why I Hate Exercise


Why I hate exercise and what to do about it


I am a health blogger, and I hate the word exercise.  I could be shunned and promptly escorted out the door of the healthy health bloggers' club for admitting such a thing. Perhaps you could deem me a fraud and I would understand.  Regular movement is a rather important part of this whole health bit, after all.  And, besides, how can I write asking you to try this strategy and this tool to improve your health and that of people you care about after such a proclamation?

But, allow me to back up a bit.  I said I hate the WORD exercise. It just feels like work, that word. And, frankly, I can get a bit bored with that word, too. I would much prefer to move my body and get my heart pumping in natural ways where my mind is occupied as well.  Occupied perhaps on the beauty of nature,  a great conversation or an athletic skill I am working on. Not, climbing a fake stair machine, bicycling in place or running while staring at a wall.

But despite hating the word exercise, I know I still have to do it.  Our bodies (and minds) require it. And, really, that includes yours, too!





How to Hit Restart in Your Exercise Routine

I do enjoy exercising so much more through an activity like hiking, skiing or kayaking for example, however, most days I don't have the luxury of being able to set that much time in my day to devote to that.  So, I do have to work in an exercise routine that can be fit into a busy week to stay fit.

Because I have gotten off track these last few months with sticking to that type of exercise routine, I have gathered some tips.   Here are a few ways I have found help me in the past when I got away from a routine and that others use to help them stay on top of their exercise game that I plan to borrow as well:


Don’t stop.  The easiest way to keep any good habit going is not to break it.  Although, sometimes that can't be helped.  I had a foot injury that started this whole "stopping the exercise routine" and I just have not gotten back into it as much as I should.  Try your best though to avoid long breaks in exercising as rebuilding the habit is more painful and takes more effort. I know!

Go steady and start easy.  Keep to it but don't start a program too intensely or you will be too sore to move or hate it so much, you will find an excuse to not keep to it.

Schedule it.  I think this really helps me.  If it is on my schedule or on my to do list, I love crossing it off! If I do it earlier in the day, I don't have the phone ringing to interrupt me, either. That whole 21 days to make a habit could be a myth though so just schedule it and keep scheduling it.










Don't let perfectionism get the best of you.  You will have good days and bad.  Don't let one less than stellar workout ruin your efforts.  Just keep going and you will have better days, too.

Play music to make the time pass.  Music is a great tool for elevating the intensity and enjoyment of your workout. Here are some playlists to help with that tip.

Let your outfit lead the way.  If I lay out my workout clothes the night before, I just slip them on first thing in the morning and get the exercise routine going early in the day.

Find a buddy.  When I walk my dog with my husband or neighbor in our hilly neighborhood, the time flies.  Also, taking a class with a friend or having a gym buddy can keep you motivated (or at least too embarrassed to back out).

Change it up.  Try to vary your types of workouts to keep the boredom at bay and give your body a break. Yoga mixed in with a run or a swim or kettlebells with some long walks and a pilates class, etc.

So, how do you stick to an exercise routine that you can fit in your schedule easily? Help me keep to mine and let me hear how you do it.

Need a bit more?


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11.20.2014

Easy, Free Ways to Bring More Music Into Your Life



Music is a powerful tool for your health and there are plenty of free ways to access it.

I wrote about the numerous ways music can play a role in benefiting our health over here.  Besides clocking those hours at the gym and creating nutritious meals, studies are showing us how simply listening to beautiful sounds can improve so many aspects of our health, too!

Many have music storage devices filled to the maximum with their favorite tunes, while others need to expand their repertoire a bit or just don't have the time to create playlists or the money to download them.  




Playlists for Almost Every Mood

So, if your cell phone isn't jammed with latest musical trends, but, incorporating more music in your life is something you are more interested in doing after you have learned how many ways music can benefit you, here is a nudge.  Below are a few ways to do just that.  First, a few suggested playlists you may enjoy based on whatever you may be doing or what kind mood you find yourself in:


A playlist to deflect a bad mood It's pretty much impossible to be in a lousy mood and listen to this at the same time! Some real toe-tapping. mood elevating oldies here!


A playlist for a fun night ahead:  This one could do the trick and is pretty fun, too!


A playlist to get the job done:  Ah, the not-so-fun: final exams. They are coming up for many right before winter break! So, these are for you, my dear daughters, who will be hitting the books extra hard soon! I hope this or maybe this can make it a bit more bearable!  

Or, perhaps you may prefer background noise to help you concentrate and get your work done. This cracked me up but I must say, it is really authentic!

11.17.2014

Take Note: Why Music Is Good For Your Health


Music is a powerful tool to improve your health.


My father had a very successful jazz band in college, played the saxophone and had a wonderful baritone voice.  My mother played the piano by ear and could magically harmonize almost any song, but, the musical gene sorta skipped me.

I did sing soprano in a pretty popular singing group way back when, but when I tried to learn to read music, the nuns told me it was hopeless. I dreaded my weekly piano lesson when I was 8.  But, I figured out if I just watched Sister Frances play the songs on the piano and listen to the tune she was assigning me during my weekly lesson, then I could go back and not have to practice at all and just play the tune by ear at my next lesson.  It worked for a while, but, Sister Frances wised up. She caught on when she kept pointing to notes and I could not recall them. Busted!

But, whether you are a musician, singer or a listener, you probably feel how powerful music can be. It has the ability to set the mood instantly, does it not? It can bring up emotions and intensity the moment.  Yes, it is a real game changer!





Music and Its Powerful Effects On Your Health

I am rather sure you have felt how music can change your mood, but did you know it actually can affect your body in other ways as well? Here are some other fascinating effects it may have on your health:

Play tunes an hour day to keep that doctor away.  Listening to music that pleases you may increase your immunity, which in turn helps fight disease. It lowers stress hormones that harm our body. What a deal!

Pounding headache? Music may help.  And, I have the playlist right here for you! There may be a tendency to search for quiet when your head is pounding, but this says otherwise.  Next time, I feel a migraine coming on, should I reach for that playlist rather than the aspirin? Apparently! Studies say music can help sufferers reduce the intensity, frequency, and duration of headaches.

Music makes for a great entrance.  Incorporating music therapy during childbirth decreases post-natal anxiety and pain, increases the satisfaction with childbirth and reduces the likelihood of postpartum depression.  I'd day that's a great way to bring a child into the world!

11.13.2014

Health Clicks: Whose Side Are You On?


The side dishes rule at Thanksgiving. Vegetables like fresh pumpkin are beautiful.

The turkey gets all the attention at Thanksgiving, but for me, the true excitement and all the action at Thanksgiving belongs with the sides!  But, many of them can be very rich and loaded down with too much fat and cooked too long losing all the nutrients.  But, we have lots of help with undoing all that.

Food bloggers.  Gotta love 'em. They work so hard to bring us such beautiful bounty. Their original photographs, their tried and true recipes that they make and make again to get it just right to present to us.

So, food bloggers, thanks, thanks a lot . . . for inspiring me and so many others. Thanks for all your help to feed our families, to entertain our friends and make us look better doing it, and most importantly to nourish our bodies.




Pick a Side

Chose one of these seven delicious, healthy sides that some really talented bloggers created for a special day of thanks we celebrate here in America in a few short weeks:

1.  I love some crunch on the Thanksgiving table to offset all those creamy, luscious sides. I think the colors of this squash and fig salad from Allison presented on wooden plates would be so picture perfect harvest!

2.  Or . . . I think this salad would really wake up the taste buds with a kind of licorice, citrus snap to it. I think Helen got it just right here.

3.  You may fool everyone at your table because this looks like mashed potatoes but it's not. But, Jenn says it's just as comforting and silky and so good for our bodies!

11.10.2014

Entertaining: Should You Consider Place Cards At Your Next Party?


photo of white napkin with place card in it for dinner party


Whether you plan to extend or accept invitations in the coming weeks, we are about to embark on a condensed time of entertaining - the holidays.  But, I am sure you don't need me to tell you that. After all, I was hearing Christmas music on the radio before Halloween!

Developing and deepening your relationships is important for leading a healthy lifestyle, and celebrations at the holidays can be an great time to reinforce your relationships, strike up new ones and take part in family traditions. If you are choosing to attend any events or hosting them soon, I ask: what's your reaction to assigned seating for dinner parties? Too stuffy? Too bossy? Too old-school? I think most people don't favor them.  But, I have learned to embrace them, and, in fact, I regret not creating them for some past hosting gigs, myself.  Here's why:






Benefits to Using Place Cards For Dinner Parties 

I do not suggest strong arming your guests into seating submission, but there are some good reasons to consider putting place cards on your next dinner party table:

Place cards show consideration.  Place cards can actually be quite welcoming.  They can even be a conversation starter if you get fun with it and use photos or other personal thought into making them for each individual.  The host took the time to think it through and place you where he or she thinks may work best for you.  Relax and trust your host's judgement.

Single guests or newcomers have a place.  Guests without a spouse or date or new friends sit right down and don't have to figure out where to sit and feel they are taking someone's spot.

Practice those conversation skills.  Being a mother, I love to watch my children as they get older engage and connect with family friends and family.  If they are seated next to someone they don't know as well or someone we know would be a great influence, they get one-on-one exposure to the guest they otherwise might not have had.

11.06.2014

21 Tips to Make Kitchen Clean-Up Faster and Easier




You cook. Then, you clean. The two do go together . . . unfortunately.  I like the first part, but I could do without the later.  But, if you want to eat mindfully and healthfully and really know what you are putting in your body, it does require stirring a pot or two.  But, we can make cleaning those pots a bit less painful, can't we?





Cook With Less Mess

Try incorporating these kitchen clean up tips next time you find yourself reaching for your favorite pot and make cleaning it up a whole lot easier and a whole lot faster:

1.  Plan before you begin.  The clean-up process actually can begin before you even get started cooking. When reading a recipe and meal planning, look at the recipe in terms of how much mess it will create, too.  I save the messier making meals for days when I have more time.

2.  Choose wisely.  One pot meal making can really cut down on messy clean-up.  Try these healthy ones or some soups and stews like these.

3 - 6.  Clear the deck.  Create a clear path for easy clean-up later by taking these steps before you begin cooking:
  • Empty the dishwasher. Clean out the sink of any dishes in there too.
  • I think spoon rests can be too small sometimes for the mess I make. Rip off a generous piece of tin foil or use a dishcloth to set up next to the stove or area where you are cooking. Rest all your messy spoons, knives, measuring tools, etc. on it rather than the counter.  Wash the towel later or scrunch up the foil and toss. No counter clean-up.
  • Place the trashcan or large trash bowl next to where you are working. No walking across the kitchen with onion skins to scatter all over your clean floor.
  • Place a large bowl or bin filled with hot, soapy water next to dishwasher for dirty utensils, measuring cups and small plates to soak right after use to make them clean up easier and much faster.  Later, when loading the dishwasher, they are right there to directly place on the rack. 
7.  Make extra.  Always chop extra of food items you use frequently.  Go ahead and chop up that extra onion and store it covered in the refrigerator to use later and not have to create another mess.  Double that soup recipe and freeze, as well.  There is no clean-up in pulling a home-made soup from the freezer!

11.03.2014

A Quick Energy Fix for The Afternoon Slump












The afternoon slump can hit both our bodies as well as our minds.  We may find our posture slouching right along with our brain.  The demands of a busy day can really hit us and as we glance at our "to do" list for the rest of the day, we wonder how we are going to make it through.

Sound familiar? Maybe I can help.

Let's steady our energy levels right along with inching up our metabolism with a familiar ritual: afternoon tea. But, hold on! This tea is no ordinary afternoon tea. It has a bit of an island feel to switch it up from the many pumpkin flavoring foods we all tend to consume this time of year.  So, take a break with me from the pumpkin spice and let's head for the tropics, palm trees and all.  Grab your flip flops and pull out your blender, and, I promise, this will only takes a few minutes from that busy day of yours.





Ingredients to Increase Your Energy and Your Metabolism, Too

I wrote about a green tea called matcha here and the many health benefits, one of which is a nice, even energy boost.  It is a main ingredient in this tea, but, I have thrown in a few other metabolism boosters as well:
  • The EGCG found in green tea, and in much greater quantities in matcha, promotes fat-burning as well as many other health benefits.
  • Hemp seeds are full of protein that provides energy and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which are a great anti-inflammatory and help your metabolism too.

10.30.2014

3 TED Talks on Health To Fascinate and Inspire You




Some people really like to talk. And, TED Talks was cleverly created to harness all that talking and innovation and put it in one place for us all to access for free.  Many new ideas, interesting angles and inspirational thinking on a vast array of topics is available with a simple click.  It is a generous world!

I wrote about TV and movies recently and how your choices could be affecting your health, but I want to introduce you (if you have not established a relationship already) to TED Talks. But, this is TED talks-health, and these people talking have loads of creative, fascinating information and wonderful stories to tell regarding health.






How To Create TIme to Listen To TED Talks and Videos

I usually have a hard time just sitting there watching a video at my desk, as interesting as it may be.  I typically find myself wanting to do something.  So, that is what I do -- I do something while I listen. Here are some ideas of how I create time for TED talks or other videos to get inspired or introduce myself to new ideas and information:
  • While I am cooking: I set up my laptop on the kitchen counter and start stirring. 
  • When I am getting dressed in the morning: Why not start the day with some great ideas?
  • When I am folding laundry and cleaning: Take a mundane task and make it inspiring.
  • Paying bills: Why not have some fun while depleting the bank account.
  • Organizing a closet or drawers: I love to open a closet and drawer and find what I need.




Watch and Be Amazed: 3 TED Talks on Health

Here are three TED talks on health that I listened to lately and really enjoyed. I think you might, too.

10.27.2014

Are Your TV and Movie Choices Affecting Your Health?


man searching huge  tv screen for program to watch


I shut my eyes and cover my ears during a lot of TV programming lately. My family has come to accept this part of me, but a few friends tease me about it. But, I ask them - am I really the strange one? It is almost impossible to turn on the television now without being barraged with negative imagery, characters and stories.  The violence in the world appears to be at an all time high worldwide. It is difficult to keep up with the latest horrific event or act of violence.  And, as far as the movies -- filmmakers leave nothing to our imagination.  They want to fill in all the blanks.

As much as you would choose not to socialize or engage in conversation with someone that has dark or violent tendencies, why do we allow them in our home so often and more importantly in our minds via the television or the movies?  I get the world is not a perfect place with lots of ugly, complicated struggles and to portray it realistically, artists and newscasters want to show the raw footage.  I am a big follower of the news myself, but the effects over time of viewing it so often and so graphically, I think can be damaging.

Too much TV viewing can possibly even decrease our attention spans. Further, studies show it can make children more fearful, insensitive and maybe even more aggressive. That negativity just seeps in our psyche affecting our moods, the way we interact with others and our health -- all without us even realizing it.




How to Make Better TV and Movie Choices For Your Health

Take charge, protect yourself and those young minds being shaped each day in your family and put up some barriers to the destructiveness that can sometimes be so upfront on TV and at the movies. Here are a few ideas on how to do just that as well as maybe even decreasing your time in front of the TV in the first place:


It's your life.  You owe it to yourself to create your life -  not passively watching someone else's on TV hour after hour.  If you decrease your television watching and work on your own development, you will be far more interesting than some other character on the TV.  You have a lot to offer, so offer it.


No surfing.  Choose your programming ahead of time. Don't watch TV just to fill your time or help you relax by viewing whatever happens to be showing. Get out the guide, plan ahead to see what you want to see that week and record it.  Let your children choose as well (as long as you approve of the program).  Recording programming and movies allows you to skip the commercials that carry negative messaging as well.  And you are taking less time to watch TV because you have effectively deleted the commercials.  Once the recording is over, turn it off.  Don't switch to surfing.
 
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