I have found that in times of stress, physical exertion is one of the most effective and important steps to take — and it can actually help us through hard times!
Numerous studies have confirmed the fact that the right amount of exercise relieves stress and boosts the immune system. It releases feel-good hormones — such as endorphins and adrenaline — and reduces levels of stress hormones.
Yet our natural reaction to stress is usually to take things out of our day that seem superfluous and time-consuming. Often that includes the time we spend on our own health. We sacrifice that time — and ourselves — to other more “important” causes at hand, even when the cause of our stress is something we don’t have control over anyway.
I’d like to point out three other important benefits of exercise that are less often highlighted — but equally great reasons to find time every day to just move.
My clients often ask how they can reach the optimal “fat-burning zone.” I recently came across an interesting article that explains some of the science and suggests strategies for burning fat, information that I’m excited to share the next time someone asks.
In “How to Burn Fat Faster & More Efficiently,” professional running coach and fitness consultant Jason Karp explains that our bodies use both fat and carbohydrates for energy during exercise. Low-intensity exercises, such as walking, use proportionately more fat, while high-intensity activities, such as running or bicycling, draw more heavily upon carbs.
Today, I would like to share one of the best core exercises I know, which is a plank/back extension.
Lie face down on the floor, and extend your arms over your head. Now lift your arms and legs into a back extension, and contract all muscles in the back of your body. Make sure your head is facing down. Hold for five to 10 seconds.
Cardio and strength training oftentimes take center stage, but flexibility exercises are just as important in your fitness routine. Regular stretching can increase your range of motion, improve balance and posture and reduce the risk of injury. It can also improve circulation and relieve stress. And if that’s not enough, it actually feels good!
Do you sometimes get stuck eating the same foods over and over that you know you like? They might even be healthy foods, but a little variety (or a lot!) is important when it comes to getting phytochemicals, the plant-based chemicals that are believed to boost our immune systems and protect against disease.
Cold weather might not be the best motivator in terms of going out and exercising, but being stuck indoors is a great opportunity to get reacquainted with your kitchen and focus on healthy nutrition. Here are some suggestions for nourishing winter foods …
Could pesto be a prescription for swine flu? When I heard that some people are using basil as a treatment for H1N1, I had to know more. Here’s what I discovered…
It turns out that a variety of basil known as holy basil or tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which has long been used as a medicinal herb in Ayurveda, is now being used in India and elsewhere to treat H1N1. According to WebMD, “chemicals in holy basil are thought to decrease pain and swelling (inflammation).”
One of the most important components of effective physical training is INTENSITY. Here’s how to achieve ideal progress both physically and mentally by knowing how to recognize what zone of intensity you’re in, and pushing yourself into higher zones.
The 4 zones of intensity
There are four zones of intensity:
The busier we become, the more we steal from our “joy” time. If work demands more time and effort, chances are our gym time will suffer. When the teenager has yet another hormone tantrum, watching a movie or painting our toenails goes out the window.
When we’re stressed we overeat. We have a hard time sleeping. These reactionary ways of dealing with stress are usually automatic — and they put even more stress on your body in the long run. But you can take a proactive approach to stress management this holiday. Try one or more of these five steps I’ve seen help my clients the most: