Having a Little Fun!

Making sure you take the time to relax and have fun may help improve your overall health in many ways. Have you found something fun that you enjoy doing? I enjoy blogging! Blogging is a way for me to help others by presenting health tips and healthy recipes. With all the unhealthy foods and drinks bombarding us on a daily basis, it is fun for me to provide a little encouragement to help all of you become a healthier version of yourself. Now, let’s talk way’s that fun can help improve your health.

  1. Reduced Stress – the stress hormone called Cortisol can spike to unhealthy levels when we remain stressed for long periods of time. Cortisol can cause us to gain weight and hinder our body’s ability to fight off an infection or to heal itself after an injury. So take the time you need to relax and have fun, if you do you will find that your Cortisol levels will decrease, which leads to…
  2. Increased Serotonin – Serotonin helps regulate our sleep patterns, memory, body temperature, and mood. This means that doing something you enjoy helps naturally regulate your body’s Limbic system and your brain.
  3. Improved Ability to Cope – While stress is unavoidable, taking time to have fun and relax will help you better deal with the stress when a negative situation arises.
  4. Boosted Energy – Stress and pain are both physically exhausting so if you make sure to relax and have fun you will start to feel less tired and emotionally drained.
  5. Improved Memory and Concentration – This is something I struggle with on a daily basis because my job is stressful and emotionally draining on most days. By making sure I take time for myself, whether its a bath in the evening or a run at the gym (both things that I very much enjoy), I am able to decrease my stress and improve my concentration and memory enough to get me through the next work day. Thank goodness we have the weekend so that we can fully recharge to face another week.
  6. Improved Connection with Others – Forming meaningful relationships with those around you may be something that helps you recharge. I am an introvert so I recharge by having alone time but I also enjoy spending time with family and friends on occasion. No matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert you will find that taking a moment to spend time with friends and family will help decrease stress. This is because you will form a sense of connection, belonging and usefulness.
  7. Improved Sleep – Laughing, playing, relaxing and participating in your favorite activities can help increase your serotonin levels and as discussed above this may result in improved sleep patterns. Getting a good night sleep is very important to being able to face negative situations with less negative results on your health.
  8. Increased Positive Thinking – When you are stressed and exhausted it is easy to look at the negatives in life. Doing so will result in increased exhaustion and negative thoughts. If you take the time to relax and have fun two major things will happen, (1) you will have something to look forward to which will improve your mood and increase positive thinking and (2) you will start to look at the positives about the stressful situation without even realizing it.

Altogether we see that taking the time to have fun and relax can result in many positive benefits to your health. What are you going to do to have fun this week?

 

Citation: https://heelthatpain.com/8-health-benefits-of-having-fun/

Workout Mistakes to Avoid

Posture is important when you are doing your gym routine. Take care not to have “gym slouch” while you are working out. When you back is rounded it doesn’t receive enough support which can cause muscle and skeletal injuries. Gripping too hard on your equipment can contribute to poor posture, so make sure you don’t grip too hard and make sure to pull those shoulders back and keep your back straight.

Catching up on your reading during your elliptical/treadmill workout you may not be getting the best benefit out of your workout. You should focus on your workout to receive the best benefit. If you must read, then take breaks from the reading every couple minutes, and speed up your workout and directly focus on the workout for three minutes. On the flip side don’t believe that cardio is all you need for a workout. Cardio is excellent but cardio does not active all the muscles in your body, some weight training will help activate those remaining muscles.

DON’T walk with weights! Walking with weights on may seem like the best way to get some weight training in but it compromises your stride. Walking with weights causes you to lean forward and it stresses the muscles in your quads, shins and ankles and this can cause stress fractures. Keep you weight training and your cardio separate.

DON’T rush your reps! Completing your repetitions fast can cause an increase in your blood pressure and raises your risk of joint injury. To get the best benefit out of your repetitions, take your time. The most benefit comes from the length of time your muscles are being worked, not the amount of reps you do. This goes right along with assuring that your machines are adjusted properly to your height.

Ab workouts can be difficult and, for some, the last workout you want to do. It is important not to skip your ab workout. It is difficult to properly work your abs. Take time to focus on the muscles you are working to get the best benefit. Another common workout is the Lat Pull-down. When completing a Lat Pull-down don’t lean your head forward and pull the bar down behind your head. This is very dangerous and can cause injuries to your neck and spine. To avoid this, make sure that you pull the bar down in front toward your chest.

DON’T stretch cold muscles! Stretching your muscles before working out may put you at risk for pulled or torn muscles. Also, don’t bounce while stretching. This increases your risk even further for torn muscles. Always stretch after your workout. Stretching out after your workout can help decrease the rush of lactic acid to your muscles, thus resulting in a decrease in muscles soreness.

Over the years, exercise has evolved. Exercises done years ago may have been researched and found to be more harm than good. Make sure that you research a routine that works best for you and your bodies needs. Researching the proper exercise routine will help you stay out of the rut. But, be sure not to take on too much too fast.

Warm-up and Cool-down is important. A warm-up will bring oxygen and increased blood flow to your muscles which will decrease your risk of injury. A cool-down will help prevent a rush of lactic acid to your worked muscles.

The most important thing to remember while you are exercising is to drink plenty of water. Muscles need plenty of water to contract properly, so if you don’t drink plenty of water you could risk muscle cramping. Drinking plenty of water and keeping your electrolytes up will help decrease your risk of this happening.

Out of all the advice I can give you I would highly recommend making sure you have fun with your exercise routine. Mix it up! An exercise routine does not have to be boring. By mixing up your routine every few weeks you can avoid becoming bored with your routine and you are more likely to stick to it.

Reference: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/top-20-fitness-mistakes-beginners-make#4

Zucchini Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas! For me that word says “delicious”. Before going to a low carb diet, burritos, enchiladas and pasta were my go too’s. I miss them, but I have found some great substitutes.

My favorite substitute is zucchini. It is delicious and very low in calories. One cup of sliced zucchini is only about 19 calories. Replacing your noodles or burrito/enchilada wraps with zucchini will reduce carbs and reduce the calories consumed.

Did you know that you can eat zucchini blossoms? This is something I recently learned. Zucchini blossoms have many needed vitamins in them such as A, C, E and K. There are also minerals such as zinc, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper and calcium. In other words zucchini can help maintain a healthy immune system.

Try this amazing recipe, while I substituted the chicken with veggie chicken and cauliflower, it was still amazing and my husband, who got the what the recipe called for agreed: https://www.primaverakitchen.com/low-carb-chicken-zucchini-enchilada

10 Weight Loss Mistakes to Avoid

We all make mistakes in our journey to becoming healthy and fit but the more we are aware of the most common mistakes the easier it will be to avoid those mistakes.

1. Protein is important, but eating to much can cause your body to store the excess protein as fat.

2. Veggies are very important. Did you know it is recommended to have at least 2.5 cups of veggies per day?

3. Most juices have added sugars which raise our blood sugars so make sure have the 100% juice options and also limit how much juice you drink. Those natural sugars will mess with your blood sugar as well.

4. Most people loose a bunch of weight in the first couple weeks and then get discouraged when the progress slows and sometimes stops. Don’t get discouraged, your body is just experiencing a change and once it gets used to the change you will start to loose weight again.

5. Sleep is very important. Sleep regulates the appetite and hormone balances in your body, so make sure you research how much sleep you need per night and make an effort to meet that goal.

6. Binge eating is common when you go on a diet because your body convinced you that you are starving because of the change. Fight the urge to binge and don’t let yourself waver on a healthy diet just because you walked that extra mile.

7. Life is busy and it can be hard to find the time to get your workout in. Don’t make unreasonable goals. Set a workout routine that you know you will be able to stick to. For instance, I recently set up a 12 week weight training workout routine for myself. The weight training portion is quick enough I can have it done in 15 min or less. Then I choose to walk on the treadmill for 20 min. This workout routine works great for my schedule and I am able to achieve my workout goals daily. In addition, the program is only 12 weeks and it switches up the routine every four weeks. This way I don’t feel as if there is never an end to the routine.

8. Routine is important but switch it up so you don’t get bored. Remember what I said in number 7, my routine is 12 weeks and switches up every four weeks. I definitely won’t get bored.

9. Many people think that cardio is the go to when it comes to weight loss when in reality there is no research that proves this. Don’t get me wrong, cardio is important but be sure to pair it with weight training. Weight training improves your strength and your body needs strength to keep your metabolism in high gear. Keeping your metabolism high will result in more weight loss and better health.

10. Often the excuse “I’m too tired” results in the giving up on your routine for the day. If you do feel tired don’t give in to the urge to skip the gym routine. Try walking for 10 min and you will likely find yourself doing your full routine because the exercise has helped your energy level increase.

Bottom line is, never give up. Believe in yourself and your goals. If you believe in yourself, your goals are always within reach.

Repair Your Sore Muscles

If you are just starting a new gym routine you may experience sore muscles. There are many way’s one can curb this soreness. Stretching your muscles prior to working out helps warm up your muscles. Warming up your muscles prior to exercise prevents the damage that causes the soreness. Hydration is also very important. It can help prevent cramping and inflammation. For more information visit:Β https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/quick-fixes-for-sore-muscles.aspx

Workout Facts!

There are many benefits to exercise! You may know the basic benefits like better health, sleep, and blood flow. But have you considered the other benefits? In the picture attached, you will see 12 facts about exercise that many may not consider a benefit.

One benefit that I found interesting was that music improves workout performance. This is no joke, your exercise routine can be improved by 15% if you listen to music. This means that music may help you increase the effectiveness of your routine, so get your jazz on. πŸ’ƒπŸΌπŸ•ΊπŸΌ

We All Love Ice Cream!

Did you know that the existence of Ice cream dates back to the ancient Greeks in 5th century B.C? Then in the 1300s Marco Polo brought it to Europe and it came to America in the 1700’s. This ancient delicacy is the most popular desert in the world. In 2015 an estimated 898 Million Gallons of ice cream were sold in the US alone.

If it is so popular, why should we have to give it up while we are on a diet? Shouldn’t it be diet friendly? πŸ˜‚ no? Oh, come on!

Well I have found the most amazing diet friendly substitute and it tastes just like the real deal. The recipe link provided in the attached picture is for Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream but you can adjust it to make chocolate, vanilla and so many more. For this recipe I stuck with the Mint Chocolate Chip, since it is my favorite. I had to adjust it a little since I had no liquid Stevia on hand. I doubled the recipe and added 1/2 cup of granulated Stevia and 1/2 cup granulated xylitol. I also added more peppermint extract because it wasn’t minty enough for me.

It was just like soft serve when it was done in the ice cream machine and froze to a soft churned ice cream consistency overnight. It turned out perfect and delicious. Tasted just like Tillamook Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Goodbye, Ice Cream cravings!! πŸ‘‹πŸ»

Are you a coffee drinker?

Many of us rely on coffee to get us through our day. In fact, many of us drink coffee cup after cup throughout the day. The problem with this is coffee does not really add any nutritional value to our diets. Those who choose to add creamer to their coffee are then adding an unhealthy amount of sugar to their diet. Why not choose to drink coffee that has a high nutritional value and that has a very low sugar content? It’s guilt free!

The best thing about this coffee is you will only need one cup and it will keep you going throughout the day. The estimated $2.5/day cost for this healthy and nutritional coffee will also save you money as you will find no need to visit Starbucks or Dutch Bro’s on the way to work. The decision to start drinking this coffee was the best decision I ever made. See the picture attached for more information.