We all know that exercise is a key component to leading a happy, healthy life. But do you really know how important exercise actually is for you? While we'd all like to fit in our skinny jeans and makes our exes jealous, staying active is about so much more than keeping a slim waist line and having a firm butt. Here are ten (unexpected) reasons why you should be hitting the gym daily:
1. Keep your brain fit.
Even one 30-minute cardio session pumps extra blood to your brain, delivering the oxygen and nutrients it needs to perform at max efficiency. Cardio also floods the brain with chemicals that enhance functions such as memory, problem solving, and decision making. And new research has found that this kind of exercise may even cause permanent structural changes to the brain itself.
2. Improve sleeping patterns
A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity.
3. Alleviate anxiety
The primary reason that exercise works as en effective anxiety management solution is because exercise actually has some of the same effects as some anxiety medications. Exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which are your body's natural painkillers. They're released to prevent exercise from causing your body pain, but they also play a role in regulating mood and relaxing the mind.
4. Improve posture
Proper posture supports the spine and helps prevent conditions such as sciatica and herniated disks, which can cause back pain. Regular exercise can actually improve your posture in several ways. The abs and lower back stabilize the lower torso to keep the spine upright, while the thighs and buttocks help keep the hips in proper alignment. Core-specific exercises, such as Pilates and yoga poses, condition these muscles, as do leg-specific resistance exercises, such as squats and lunges.
5. Help control addictions
It may not be a cure, but aerobic activity can help strengthen the effects of treatment for addiction. During exercise, endorphins and other naturally released substance can create a safe and natural high. Regular exercise can, in some cases, reduce stress along with stress-induced cravings.
6. Prevents colds
When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, seasonal colds and influenza.
7. Boosts productivity
One way that exercise can help boost productivity is through alertness. When you exercise, blood flow to the brain is increased, which can help sharpen your awareness and ready you to tackle your next big project.
8. Strengthens bones
Bones and muscles both become stronger when muscles push and tug against bones during physical activity. Essentially, having strong muscles helps build strong bones. Exercise can also slow the rate of bone loss, which reduces the risk of fractures from osteoporosis.
9. Improves eating habits
Skeletal muscle secretes hormones that help it communicate with the rest of the body. When muscle contracts during exercise, it releases a chemical that reduces white noise in the brain and helps the brain clearly determine the body's correct nutritional status. Regular physical activity can improve your appetite and reduce caloric intake.
10. Reduces stress
When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. So it stands to reason that if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
If you anyone what their goal in life is, no matter what their answer is — be it a job, a relationship, or something else — it all boils down to one basic want: happiness. However, most of us are doing happiness all wrong. It's not really anything on the outside that will make us happy; it's entirely internal.
Research shows that it takes about 21 days for an individual to develop a lasting habit. So we decided to give you 30 (because we're generous) daily tasks you can complete- one each day- to achieve happiness in your life. Even if it's not the start of the month, you can always start today and follow our plan for the next 30 days. Don't let any excuses come in between you and your happy place!
DAY 1: Smile at a stranger
DAY 2: Take a 20 minute walk outside.
DAY 3: Go technology free for an evening (or better yet, the entire day).
DAY 4: Write down 5 things you are grateful for.
DAY 5: Compliment someone.
DAY 6: Compliment yourself.
DAY 7: Write down one moment that you were happy this week.
DAY 8: Call someone you haven't spoken to in a while.
DAY 9: Stretch before you go to bed.
DAY 10: Teach yourself how to do something new.
DAY 11: Do something outside- anything!
DAY 12: Read a book (an actual book...with paper pages).
DAY 13: Complete a task you have been putting off.
DAY 14: Write down a goal you'd like to accomplish.
DAY 15: Give a gift to someone for no reason.
DAY 16: Take a yoga class.
DAY 17: Filter your phone contacts- remove toxic people from your life.
DAY 18: Eat your favorite meal.
DAY 19: Write down 3 amazing things that happened today.
DAY 20: Do 15 minutes of cardio.
DAY 21: Start a journal.
DAY 22: Write someone a hand written note.
DAY 23: Watch videos of cats sneezing on YouTube (trust us).
DAY 24: Lie in the grass and watch the clouds.
DAY 25: Tell someone how much they mean to you.
DAY 26: Meditate for 10 minutes.
DAY 27: Drink 64 oz of water before the end of the day.
DAY 28: Donate 5 outfits that you no longer wear.
DAY 29: Post your favorite motivational quote somewhere.
DAY 30: Write down 3 things you can improve on next month.
If you consider yourself to be a pretty health savvy individual, then you already know that a salad is not automatically the best choice on the menu. Restaurant salads can be loaded with unhealthy ingredients like creamy dressings, fried chicken strips, greasy tortilla strips, and other trans fat-loaded toppings. But what about a salad bar? Or even a homemade salad for that matter? You can see how fresh the produce is, and choose exactly what goes into it. So it’s guaranteed to be good for you… Right? Think again!
If you were to just blindly add ingredients from the salad bar, your salad might not be that healthy after all. For a complete, healthy meal, the ideal salad has four components: 6 oz. of protein, 2 Tbsp (if it’s in oil form) or 1 ounce (if it's in solid form) of healthy fat, 2 cups of greens, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Having adequate protein, fat, and fiber will balance your blood sugar and keep you full until the next meal. Keeping that formula in mind—and avoiding certain other ingredients—will help you to make your healthiest salad yet.
Here’s how to build a healthy salad…
salmon or tuna
grilled (not breaded) chicken
quinoa or brown rice
VEGGIES and FRUIT
squash or zucchini
WHAT TO AVOID:
fried chicken strips
What are your favorite salad ingredient combinations? Share in the comments below!
It's 7:56am. You have to be at work by 8:00. While frantically searching for your car keys and your left shoe, you hear your stomach growl and remember that you didn't have breakfast...
Besides providing us with energy to get through your morning, breakfast is a key time to get in key nutrients such as calcium, B vitamins, fiber and protein. Research shows that when these essential nutrients are missed at breakfast, we are less likely to compensate for them with meals later in the day. And let's be real, who has time to cook a well balanced breakfast every morning?
Don't worry, we've got you covered. Our trainers concocted a recipe for (truly) healthy muffins to ensure that even during your busiest mornings, you are getting a balanced breakfast. Keep these muffins on hand for a quick, on-the-go breakfast or snack. They're gluten free, can be made vegan and are just plain delicious.