Select your category:
Blood Pressure
Brain Stroke
Breathing and Lungs
Cold, Flu and Allergies
Depression and Mental Health
Eyes Health
Health and Fitness
Healthy Diet
Heart Health
Kids Health
Medicare Treatment & Wellness
Migraines and Headaches
Parkinson's Diseases
STIs and STDs
Sprains and Strains
Treatment and Remedies
Understanding the Anatomy of Muscles: A Comprehensive Guide
Understanding the Anatomy of Muscles: A Comprehensive Guide
February 22, 2024
Health and Fitness

Muscles are an integral part of the human body, allowing us to move, stabilize, control bodily functions, and generate heat. There are over 600 muscles in the body, comprising about 40% of our total body weight. Understanding the anatomy of muscles can help us better comprehend how they work to enable body movements and functions. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of skeletal muscle anatomy and physiology.

Skeletal Muscle Structure

Our muscles are attached to bones by tough cables called tendons. This lets them tug on the bones and move our bodies. Without muscles hooked up to skeletons, we would just be puddles of jelly!

Each muscle contains thousands of long, stringy muscle cells bundled up like telephone wires. These cells are stuffed with even smaller strings named myofibrils - made up of two proteins, actin and myosin. These proteins slide across each other and make the cells squeeze, shortening the muscle.

The muscle cells are bundled into cable-like groups called fascicles, wrapped in a thin layer of tissue. A bigger cable, the epimysium, binds all the fascicles together into one powerful muscle.

The muscles also have their own blood supply and nerves woven throughout them. The nerves allow the brain to activate the muscle cells in a coordinated way - telling them when to shorten and squeeze! So the muscles tug on our skeletons, powered by actin and myosin proteins sliding around inside the cells, all under signals from the nerves. This is what allows us to move!

Types of Skeletal Muscle

There are three types of skeletal muscles in the body, classified by their structure and pattern of use:

  1. Smooth Muscles: Found in hollow internal organs like stomach, bladder, intestines. Long, thin, spindle-shaped cells. Contract slowly but sustain contractions longer. Involuntary control.
  2. Cardiac Muscles: Present only in heart. Branching pattern allows electrical signals to spread quickly. Contracts involuntarily. Powers heartbeats.
  3. Skeletal Muscles: Attach to bones by tendons. Striated pattern. Rapid, powerful but short contractions under voluntary control. Enable body movements. Further classified into:
  • Type I (Slow Oxidative): Used for sustained activities like standing, maintain posture. Highly resistant to fatigue but weak. Rely on aerobic respiration. Examples – soleus calf muscle.
  • Type IIA (Fast Oxidative-Glycolytic): Used in short yet powerful bursts e.g. getting up from chair. Generate moderate strength. Use both aerobic and anaerobic respiration. Examples – abdominal muscles.
  • Type IIX (Fast Glycolytic): Recruited briefly for most strenuous strength-based activities. Largest and strongest. Use mainly anaerobic glycolysis for energy. Prone to early fatigue. Examples – quadriceps, biceps.

Muscle Contraction Mechanism

Skeletal muscle contraction occurs by the sliding mechanism of actin-myosin cross-bridges when motor neurons activate the muscle:

  1. An action potential travels down the motor neuron into the neuromuscular junction.
  2. Acetylcholine is released, triggering depolarization of the muscle fiber.
  3. The signal spreads across the fiber surface, into transverse tubules (T-tubules).
  4. T-tubules facilitate release of stored calcium ions from sarcoplasmic reticulum surrounding each myofibril.
  5. The calcium binds to regulatory sites on actin, exposing myosin binding sites.
  6. Myosin heads bind to actin, forming cross bridges. Myosin uses ATP energy to pivot its head, pulling the thinner actin filament along, sliding the myofilaments.
  7. This shortens the sarcomere units along myofibril length, forcing entire muscle fibers to contract.
  8. The process continues, stimulated by continuing nerve signals, until nerve signals stop and calcium ions get pumped back into sarcoplasmic reticulum.
  9. Myosin detaches from actin, muscle relaxation mediated by elastic proteins returning fibers to resting length.

While individual fibers contract in all-or-none fashion, increasing intensity of nerve signals recruits more motor units in a graded manner. This allows finely tuned control of muscular contraction strength.

Major Skeletal Muscles

The major skeletal muscles driving movement across joints perform in agonist-antagonist pairs. Important ones are:

  • Biceps-Triceps: Bend and straighten elbow. Biceps flex, triceps extend.
  • Quadriceps-Hamstrings: Extend and flex knee joint. Quads in front thigh, hamstrings posterior.
  • Deltoids: Lift arm at shoulder joint. Cover rounded contour of shoulders.
  • Gastrocnemius: Form bulge of calf muscle. Power plantarflexion of ankle and foot.
  • Gluteus: Form fleshy part of buttocks. Drive hip extension.
  • Abdominals: Several layered muscles stabilizing trunk, spine flexion. Rectus abdominus forms 6/8-pack.
  • Pectoralis: Large fan-shaped chest muscle. Draws arm across body.
  • Latissimus dorsi: Broad, triangular back muscle. Extends, adducts and rotates arm.
  • Trapezius: Triangle-shaped on upper back. Moves scapula bone.

Conclusive words

Understanding how skeletal muscles are structured, their contraction mechanism, and the major players driving movement equips us with vital knowledge of these remarkable organ systems that literally move our bodies! This can inform injury treatment, fitness training, and help appreciate the complex neuromuscular coordination that underlies something as innate as walking. Our 600+ muscles operate seamlessly without conscious thought, a testament to the wonder of human anatomy!

Read article
Common Muscle Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Common Muscle Injuries and How to Prevent Them
February 12, 2024
No items found.

We all know that exercise is important for our health and wellbeing. However, improper exercise or overtraining can lead to painful muscle injuries that set us back for days, weeks, or even months. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common muscle injuries people experience and provide tips on how to avoid them with smart training.

Hamstring Strain

The hamstring muscle group in the back of the thigh is notorious for strains and tears. Hamstring strains often occur when sprinting or performing high intensity exercises like deadlifts. You feel a sudden sharp pain in your hamstring coupled with inflammation and bruising. Mild strains may heal within a few weeks with rest, icing, compression, and gentle stretches. But severe tears can keep you out of commission for over 6 months.

To prevent hamstring strain:

  • Warm up thoroughly with dynamic stretches before workouts
  • Strengthen your hamstrings with exercises like weighted deadlifts and Romanian deadlifts
  • Build flexibility through hamstring stretches like forward folds and pyramid poses
  • Don’t sharply increase your running intensity or mileage
  • Use a foam roller on your hamstrings to alleviate muscle tension

Calf Strain

Calf strains happen as a result of overloading the calf muscle, often when sprinting or jumping. You may hear a “pop” sound at the time of injury. Symptoms include pain when pointing your toe upwards, stiffness, swelling, and bruising. Mild calf strains heal relatively quickly within 2 to 6 weeks. However full recovery can take several months if tendons rupture or you have a severe tear.

To avoid calf strains:

  • Warm up your calves properly before intense activities
  • Incrementally increase speed and incline when running rather than all at once
  • Avoid doing repetitive motions such as bouncing while stretching
  • Ice calves after challenging workouts when muscle fatigue sets in
  • Ensure you have proper running shoes that provide support and absorb shock

Shin Splints

If you feel pain along the tibia or shin bone when running, you likely have shin splints. Tiny microtears in the muscle tissue surrounding the shin bone cause inflammation and irritation. Shin splints indicate issues with overuse, muscle imbalances, or poor biomechanics. Letting them become severe can mean hairline stress fractures in your shins.

Some tips to avoid shin splints:

  • Replace running shoes every 300-500 miles to ensure proper support and padding
  • Build rest and cross training into your program to prevent overuse
  • Strengthen muscles in the hips, glutes, and ankles to correct imbalances
  • Run on softer surfaces rather than concrete whenever possible
  • Improve run form by landing lightly with bent knees to absorb shock

Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is comprised of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injuries include tendonitis, strain, and full or partial tears. They often result from repetitive shoulder motions in sports like baseball, tennis, and swimming. Symptoms include shoulder pain and weakness coupled with limited mobility. You may also experience tenderness, swelling, bruising, or clicking sensations.

Here’s how to prevent rotator cuff trouble:

  • Warm up shoulders properly with stretches and light resisted motions
  • Build rotator cuff strength using resistance bands and lightweight lateral raises
  • Avoid exercising through shoulder pain - rest injured areas
  • Ensure proper form when doing overhead lifts or serves in sports
  • Sleep on your back or side to avoid shoulder strain sleeping on stomach

Groin Pull

Groin muscles commonly get pulled when changing direction rapidly during intense sports like soccer, football, hockey, basketball and more. You may hear a popping sound at the time of injury and feel weakness coupled with sudden sharp groin pain. Swelling, stiffness, and bruising can also occur near the inner thigh area. Letting a groin strain heal fully before intense activity is crucial, as recurrence risk is high.

Some tips for preventing groin pulls include:

  • Thoroughly warm up and stretch the groin before activity via butterflies, lunges, and squats
  • Strengthen groin muscles with resistance band exercises like hip adductions and monster walks
  • Get sports massages to release tension in the hip and groin regions
  • Use proper form when rapidly changing direction during sport
  • Wear a groin support wrap or brace during intense training sessions

The takeaway...

Muscle injuries are unfortunately common, especially when we push ourselves during physical activity. But there are straightforward ways to prevent strain, tear, and overuse injuries in the calves, hamstrings, groin and shoulder areas. Follow these injury prevention tips, and be sure to gradually build up intensity in your workouts. Implementing regular strength training, stretching, and foam rolling will also help reduce injury risk and keep those muscles flexible and strong!

Read article
Sports Performance and Muscle Conditioning: Training Strategies for Athletes
Sports Performance and Muscle Conditioning: Training Strategies for Athletes
February 8, 2024
No items found.

Whether you're a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, strategic muscle conditioning can take your sports performance to the next level. Implementing a tailored training program focused on power, endurance, flexibility, and recovery addresses the physiological demands of your sport. This enables you to move more efficiently, play harder for longer, and minimize your risk of injury.

Power Development

Power refers to the combination of strength and speed. Developing muscular power enhances an athlete's ability to sprint, jump, throw, kick or punch with greater force and velocity. This is especially important for sports with explosive movement patterns like football, basketball, hockey, soccer, boxing, and track & field events.

Strategies for improving power include:

  • Plyometrics - Exercises relying on rapid, powerful movements involving various jumps, hops and bounding. Examples include box jumps, broad jumps, and tuck jumps. Plyometrics apply high intensity loads to the muscles to increase strength and power output.
  • Olympic Weightlifting - Snatch and clean-and-jerk exercises and their variations greatly boost power capabilities by training the fast recruitment of muscle fibers. Lifting lighter loads with maximum speed and technique also improves velocity of movement.
  • Sled Training - Pushing or pulling a weighted sled engages muscles explosively to mimic sprinting, develop starting strength and teach muscles to fire in synergy. Using only bodyweight, elastic bands or chains for resistance is also effective.
  • Hill Sprints - Running very short, high-intensity sprints up inclines heavily overloads leg muscles to become more powerful and efficient.

Endurance Development

Endurance allows an athlete to sustain prolonged physical activity without tiring excessively. Sports like cycling, running, swimming, soccer, tennis, and boxing require well-developed muscular, cardiovascular and mental endurance.

Effective endurance building strategies include:

  • Distance Training - Gradual progression in running, cycling or swimming volume develops capillary and mitochondrial density in muscles. This enhances oxygen circulation and fatigue resistance critical in endurance sports.
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) - Alternating between intense anaerobic bursts and recovery periods pushes bio-energetic pathways to efficiently supply energy. Very time-efficient at accelerating endurance gains.
  • Tempo Training - Running, cycling or swimming at a controlled brisk pace (80-90% max heart rate) for 20-40 minutes straight works the lactic acid system to tolerate fatigue. Useful for mid-range endurance events.
  • Cross Training - Complementing your sport with endurance exercises like rowing, stair climbing or skipping ropes provides muscular relief while maintaining cardio fitness gains.

Flexibility Enhancement

Improving flexibility aids joint mobility and range of motion, serving to amplify athletic movement capabilities. It also allows muscles to resist straining during peak exertions.

Effective means for boosting flexibility include:

  • Static Stretching - Holding gentle stretches targeting major muscle groups for 20-30 seconds. This helps lengthen muscles and connective tissues to expand range of motion over time. Should be done post-workout when muscles are warm.
  • PNF Stretching - Contracting the opposing muscle group isometrically for 5-15 seconds while statically stretching a muscle amplifies its inner tension and achieves deeper flexibility.
  • Foam Rolling - Applying pressure to muscles with a foam roller loosens up fascia and scar tissue adhesions. This regains mobility and reduces injury likelihood.
  • Yoga - Poses and flow sequences that take joints through fuller mobility ranges, with focus on breathing and alignment. Enhances neuromuscular control through poses as well.

Recovery Optimization

Recovery is just as crucial as training for deriving maximal physiological adaptations over weeks and months of progressive loading. Supporting muscle repair, fuel restoration and nervous system recalibration optimizes future performance.

Strategies for enhanced recovery include:

  • Nutrient Timing - Consuming protein and carbohydrates shortly after workouts repairs damaged muscle proteins quicker. Aim for 0.14-0.23 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight and about 0.5-1 gram of carbs per pound.
  • Cold Water Immersion - Plunging into cold baths post-workout constricts blood vessels and flushes metabolic debris from muscle tissue, curtailing inflammation and soreness. Contrast bathing between cold and warm water amplifies effects.
  • Compression Gear - Tight fitting shirts, tights and socks improve circulation and oxygenation potential as you sleep, accelerating muscle repair and glycogen replenishment.
  • Massage - Sports massage therapeutically manipulates muscles and connective tissues to resolve adhesion, scar tissues and mobility restrictions. This speeds recovery by enhancing blood flow and range of motion.

Conclusive Words

Implementing a selection of these strength, endurance, flexibility and recovery boosting strategies into a properly structured workout program yields rapid and impactful performance gains. Seeking guidance from a certified sports coach or trainer is advisable for tailoring a regimen towards your athletic goals. Be patient and consistent in applying these techniques and you will achieve new heights as an athlete.

Read article
The Impact of Sedentary Lifestyle on Muscle Health and Ways to Counteract It
The Impact of Sedentary Lifestyle on Muscle Health and Ways to Counteract It
February 4, 2024
No items found.

Our bodies are meant to move. However, with modern conveniences and desk jobs becoming the norm, many adults lead extremely sedentary lifestyles. Sitting for prolonged periods can wreak havoc on our health, especially our muscles. Read on to learn how inactivity impacts muscle health and evidence-based strategies to offset an overly sedentary lifestyle.

How Sedentary Behavior Impacts Muscles?

To understand how sitting too much zaps muscle health, let’s review how our muscles normally stay strong with regular use. Muscles contain bundles of fibers that grow and strengthen when exposed to activity and resistance training. As these fibers sustain tiny amounts of damage from activity and then repair, they increase in thickness and size over time. This results in boosted muscle mass, power, and endurance.

However, when we sit for hours on end without getting up, our muscles remain inactive in contracted positions for too long. This reduces blood flow, leading to less oxygen and nutrients reaching the muscles. Underused muscles start wasting away as protein structures and fibers begin breaking down faster than they can rebuild.

Some impacts of long-term sedentary behavior on muscles include:

Reduced Muscle Mass and Strength 

As muscle fibers shrink from disuse, you lose valuable muscle tissue. Research shows adults with desk jobs can lose up to 3.8% muscle mass per day from sitting too long. Consequently, diminished muscle growth translates into reduced strength for daily movement.

Tightness and Shortened Range of Motion 

Staying in seated postures with hunched shoulders and rounded backs for a long time makes muscles stiffen up. Shorter, tighter muscles constrain your range of motion for basic functions like bending down, looking side to side, and getting up from a chair.

Higher Risk of Injury

Weaker and less flexible muscles from long sitting spells are more prone to strains or tears from exercise, falls, accidents, or simply getting up too fast. This makes injury risk higher, especially in older inactive adults.

Impaired Metabolism 

Muscles play several unsung metabolic roles, such as helping store carbs and use fat as energy. Research concludes less active muscles impact how well our bodies process insulin and regulate blood sugar levels. Over time, this contributes to higher diabetes and obesity rates.

Strategies to Protect Muscle Health

While our modern world promotes increased sitting time for work and leisure, all hope for healthy muscles is not lost. There are many practical solutions for reducing sedentary time throughout your day. Protecting muscle health requires making a committed effort, but even small boosts in activity make a difference.

Take More Steps 

Aim to walk at least 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day for general health, counting daily lifestyle movement or dedicated walking sessions. Simply pacing while on the phone, strolling the halls at work, parking farther away, or taking the stairs assists. For extra resistance, try weighted vest walks.

Set Reminders to Move

It’s easy for hours to slip by without leaving your chair when you’re zoned into work. Set alerts on your phone, watch, or computer to remind yourself to get up or do bodyweight moves like air squats, lunges, or wall push-ups every 30 mins.

Invest in a Standing Desk 

Trading a traditional sitting desk for a standing desk helps break up long inactive spells during your workday. You can alternate sitting and standing, allowing muscles to fully contract and open up. Treadmill desks also let you walk at a slow pace on low incline while working.

Try Daily Stretch Breaks 

As muscles tighten up from ongoing sitting postures, be diligent about taking regular stretch breaks. Simple daily stretches for hips flexors, chest muscles, shoulders, lower back muscles, and hamstrings help counteract tightened muscles and restrict movement from excessive sitting.

Incorporate Resistance Training

To spur muscle growth inhibited by inactivity, make resistance training part of your routine at least 2 to 3 days a week. Bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, weights, or weight machines stress and challenge muscles so they’ll adapt and get stronger over time. Focus on major muscle groups of the hips, legs, back, core, chest, shoulders, and arms.

Stand More During Leisure Time 

Reduce sitting during relaxation or social time by standing around the dinner table, playing activity-based games with your kids, or creating a stand-up workstation while watching TV. Pacing while on the phone or standing while talking to coworkers also minimizes periods of sustained sitting.

Try Interval Sitting 

For times you have to sit for your job or a long commute, interval sitting helps muscles recover. Schedule seated tasks in chunks of 20 to 30 minutes with a 5-minute break before each new cycle to walk around. Getting upright hourly prevents muscles from staying stagnantly contracted.

Aim for More Daily Movement 

The key antidote for reversing sedentary muscle loss is compensating with regular movement outside of designated workout sessions. Seek opportunities to get your body moving throughout daylight hours with yardwork, using lunch breaks for walking meetings, or knocking out chores. Let your muscles move frequently!

The Toll of Inactivity: Where To Go From Here 

Don’t underestimate the metabolism-damaging, strength-zapping impacts from sustained inactivity and prolonged sitting time. Schedule movement as part of your day, and be rigorous about sticking to your plan. Support your hardworking muscles with frequent mobility breaks, stretching, cardio exercise, and resistance training. By keeping your muscles actively engaged, you’ll keep them happily strong, agile, and ready to power you through life.

Read article
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Surviving the Winter Blues
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Surviving the Winter Blues
January 27, 2024
Health and Fitness

The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and the holidays have come and gone. For many people, the winter months bring feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, low motivation, and fatigue. These symptoms characterize a very real disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly known as SAD. If you dread the coming winter each year, you may be one of the estimated 10 million Americans with SAD.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that emerges during particular seasons, typically fall and winter. SAD is triggered by reduced exposure to sunlight as the days grow shorter. The lack of light disrupts the circadian rhythm and leads to chemical changes in the brain, including reduced serotonin transmission. Due to these biological effects, people with SAD experience low mood, anxiety, loss of pleasure, low energy, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite and weight. These symptoms start in fall or early winter and resolve on their own in spring and summer.

Who Gets Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Women are four times more likely than men to suffer from SAD. The disorder usually begins in young adulthood with episodes recurring every year. SAD is also more prevalent in northern latitudes, with rates of seasonal depression increasing with distance from the equator. According to one estimate, 9.7% of the U.S. population experiences winter-pattern SAD while 14.3% suffers from a milder form called Subsyndromal Seasonal Affective Disorder. The prevalence of SAD varies considerably by state, with the highest rates seen in Alaska and other northern states.

Signs and Symptoms

How do you know if your winter blues have crossed into SAD territory? Here are some common symptoms:

  • Depressed, sad mood most of the day 
  • Loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities 
  • Fatigue and low energy nearly every day 
  • Sleep disturbances - excessive sleeping and difficulty waking up 
  • Changes in appetite and weight - increased cravings for carbs and weight gain 
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness 
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions 
  • Withdrawal from social situations 
  • Thoughts of death and suicide

If you experience five or more of these symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day for two weeks or more, you may have winter-pattern SAD.

Coping Strategies and Treatment

If you think you may be suffering from SAD, don’t despair - there are many effective treatment options and coping strategies that can help you manage your symptoms.

Light Therapy 

One of the first-line treatments for SAD is light therapy, which involves sitting in front of a light therapy box that emits bright light mimicking natural outdoor light. Most patients use light boxes for 30 minutes or more at a time in the morning. Light therapy has been found to relieve SAD symptoms in up to 85% of diagnosed patients. When using a light box, be sure to sit within 18-24 inches of it with light entering your eyes indirectly at a slight downward angle.


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is type of talk therapy that can help patients identify and change negative thought patterns contributing to their seasonal depression. A therapist can also teach behavioral activation techniques to help SAD patients overcome winter inertia. Group therapy allows people struggling with SAD to share their experiences and know they are not alone.


Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant such as bupropion or an SSRI to be taken during the fall and winter months. These medications can regulate brain chemicals disrupted by fewer daylight hours. Fluoxetine and sertraline are common first-line drug treatments for SAD. Always consult your doctor before starting any new medications.

Natural Remedies and Lifestyle Changes 

There are small daily changes and natural supplements that may relieve seasonal depressive symptoms:

  • Spend 30 minutes outdoors early in the day to maximize light exposure 
  • Exercise regularly - simple daily walks can vastly improve mood
  • Try mindfulness, meditation, or yoga to reduce stress and anxiety 
  • Take vitamin D, omega-3, or St. John’s wort supplements 
  • Eat mood-boosting whole foods like leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts and berries 
  • Establish regular sleep, meal, and workout routines to support your circadian rhythm
  • Limit alcohol intake and stay hydrated to avoid worsening symptoms 
  • Socialize more (even virtually) to get support and counter isolation

Final verdict

While battling SAD isn’t easy, having the right coping strategies and treatment plan can help you get through the long, cold winter days. Take it one week at a time, focus on self-care basics, lean on loved ones, and trust that spring will eventually return. This too shall pass.

Read article
Navigating Holiday Parties Without Derailing Your Health Goals
Navigating Holiday Parties Without Derailing Your Health Goals
January 20, 2024
Healthy Diet

The holiday season is filled with tempting treats like cookies, eggnog, and rich desserts. With parties, family gatherings, and platters of goodies at the office, it can be tricky to stick to your usual healthy habits. However, with some planning and willpower, you can enjoy the festivities without overindulging. This blog post covers tips for navigating holiday parties so you can balance celebration and moderation.

Portion Control is Key

When you face a spread of delicious holiday foods, it’s easy to overload your plate. But be mindful of portions and know that you don’t have to say yes to everything. Here are some strategies to practice portion control:

  • Use a small plate instead of a large dinner plate at a party—this visually cues you to take less food.
  • Focus on the 2 or 3 foods you really love instead of sampling everything. Quality over quantity!
  • Dish up the protein and veggies first, then add small portions of richer sides and desserts.
  • Don’t feel obligated to finish everything on your plate or go back for seconds. It’s perfectly fine to stop when satisfied.

Strategize When Facing Temptations

Let’s face it—no one wants to pass up grandma’s famous pumpkin pie or the office chocolate fountain. When facing a food you’ve been craving, have a game plan so you don’t overdo it.

  • Allow yourself one modest serving of your very favorite treat, then shift your focus to healthier options.
  • Savor each bite thoroughly so you feel satisfied.
  • Wait at least 20 minutes before considering a second helping—this allows your body to register fullness.
  • If it’s a multi-day party, you can have the food again tomorrow. Enjoy moderation.

Stay Hydrated and Monitor Alcohol Intake

It's easy to underestimate how many liquid calories you consume during the holidays. Nurse alcoholic beverages slowly and also be mindful of mixers. Alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of sparkling water to stay hydrated. Going easy on alcohol helps inhibit overeating as well. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.

Burn Calories with Dance Breaks

Between all the mingling, eating, and cheering at big holiday gatherings, you may forget to move. Combat the effects of overindulgence by working physical activity into your celebrations. Suggest dancing to festive tunes or organize a group walk to see neighborhood holiday lights. Even occasional 5-10 minute dance sessions can burn extra calories.

Pick Your Splurges

As the holidays approach, make a list of your must-have treats that you don’t want to miss. Cross reference with the party menus you know—are gingerbread cookies served at your family gathering or chocolate ganache cake at your office party? By predetermining 1-2 splurges per event, you can better moderate the rest of your choices.

Respond to Hunger Cues

It’s easy to eat for reasons besides physical hunger when delicious food surrounds you. Check in periodically at events and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry or just bored/stressed/nostalgic?” Only eat because of true stomach hunger. Slow down and assess fullness halfway through each plate or food item. Stop when your body says so.

Stay Accountable with a Pal

Having a health-minded friend at social gatherings can encourage smart choices. Agree to cap treats at a certain number, avoid overdoing alcohol, or leave 20 minutes between appetizer and dessert plates. Look out for each other’s cues when willpower starts flagging. Share wholesome recipes that you try this season too.

Stress Less for Party Success

Hectic holiday schedules often increase stress levels. Take time for self-care between gatherings to better moderate cravings and impulses when surrounded by food. Make sleep a priority, and don’t abandon your exercise routine—even lighter workouts help manage stress. Don’t be afraid to schedule mental health days too! Find moments of calm through meditation, stretching, strolls outdoors, or enjoyable hobbies.

Keep Perspective Post-Parties

Don’t be hard on yourself for minor diet indulgences! Look at the big picture: consuming just 3500 extra calories equates to one pound. So a couple pieces of pie or an extra cocktail will likely not undo your hard health efforts. Return to normal eating as soon as possible, drink extra water day-after to rehydrate, and consider a healthy reset with lighter meals built around vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. One party won’t make or break your progress.

Final words

The holidays are for celebrating! By applying moderation mindsets and smart strategies at parties, you can happily indulge without going overboard. Keep overflowing holiday cheer, not calories, at the heart of this special season. Stay tuned for more healthy holiday eating tips!

Read article
Gift Guide for Health Enthusiasts
Gift Guide for Health Enthusiasts
January 10, 2024
Health and Fitness

People pay lots of attention to health and fitness in the modern world. It is why career prospects in the health sector are increasing daily. As per a recent survey, more than 50% of Americans have specific diets for their daily routine to maintain a healthy state of mind and body. Also, they work out daily, so the wellness market in the United States was valued at $160 billion in 2021.

With health and well-being at the forefront of many people’s minds, health-conscious gifts make great presents for the wellness warriors in your life. To help you find the perfect gift, we’ve created the ultimate gift guide for health enthusiasts.

Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches

Fitness trackers and smartwatches are must-have gadgets for health enthusiasts to monitor their activity levels, heart rate, sleep patterns, and more. Top picks in 2024 include:

  • Apple Watch Series 8 - The newly updated Apple Watch has added features like crash detection, temperature sensing, and an improved workout app. Prices start at $399.
  • Fitbit Sense 2 - Fitbit’s health-focused smartwatch tracks stress, heart health signals, sleep quality, and other metrics. Retails for $299.95.
  • Garmin Vivosmart 5 - For under $150, this fitness tracker monitors blood oxygen, fitness age, stress, and energy levels during workouts.

The data and insights from these devices help people achieve their diet, fitness, and wellness goals. They make great gifts for anyone interested in quantifying and improving their health.

Also Read - Exercise Snacks: 1-Minute Workouts Can Improve Fitness, Overall Health

At-Home Fitness Equipment

Staying active at home has become much more popular since the beginning of the pandemic. At-home fitness gifts are perfect for health enthusiasts with limited time or access to gyms. Top at-home exercise gift ideas include:

  • Connected stationary bikes like Peloton ($1,445 and up) or Echelon bikes ($500 and up) make fun gifts for cycling lovers to get streaming spin classes without leaving the house.
  • Mirror home gym ($1,495) is an interactive home gym with a mirror display for streaming strength, cardio, Pilates, and boxing workouts.
  • Weights and strength training accessories like kettlebells, yoga blocks, foam rollers, and stretch bands allow convenient home workouts. Great for beginners to advanced weightlifters.
  • Lululemon yoga mats ($68 to $88) provide cushioning and grip for home yoga and Pilates sessions. Available in fun colors and designs.

    Also Read - No Gym, No Problem: How To Stay Fit and Active at Home

Healthy Cookbooks and Nutrition Books

What health enthusiasts put into their bodies is as important as working out. Help them fuel their fitness with the latest healthy cookbooks and nutrition education books. Consider gifting:

  • “What to Eat When” by Dr. Michael Roizen - A New York Times bestseller that provides nutritional guidance tailored to our unique daily schedules and health conditions.
  • “The Doctor’s Kitchen” by Dr. Rupy Aujla - Features 100+ recipes to improve energy levels, mood, brain function, immune strength and more.
  • “Hungry for Happiness” by Sonia Choquette - Combines nutritional lessons with spiritual guidance for optimal well-being.
  • “The Blue Zones Kitchen” by Dan Buettner - Recipes inspired by global destinations where people traditionally live remarkably long, healthy lives.

Cookbooks that focus on specific diets like Keto, Whole30, or plant-based fare also make great gifts for the health foodies in your life.

Self-Care Subscriptions and Memberships

Given today’s hectic pace, taking time for self-care is a vital piece of the wellness equation. Give the gift of leisure and stress relief with a membership or subscription service such as:

  • Headspace - One of the most popular meditation and mindfulness apps. Memberships start at $69.99 per year.
  • Calm - App with mindfulness and sleep resources, including music, meditations, and stretching videos. Subscriptions start at $69.99 annually.
  • ClassPass - Membership program for booking health club visits, massage appointments, and more. Local studio credits start at $9 monthly for new members.
  • FabFitFun Box - A seasonal self-care subscription box (4 boxes/year). Each box contains ~$250+ of full-size beauty, wellness, fitness, and lifestyle products tailored to the recipient’s preferences. Boxes start at $54.99/box with annual membership.

Gifts like these allow people time to de-stress and focus on personal wellbeing, a vital component of a healthy lifestyle.

Wellness Retreats and Experiences

For the ultimate health enthusiast, please give them a transformational wellness getaway where they can fully unplug and focus on their personal health goals. Some top wellness retreat packages include:

  • Rancho La Puerta Spa & Fitness Resort near San Diego, CA - Week-long all-inclusive packages with cooking lessons, fitness classes, spa treatments, and healing arts start around $5k. Voted #1 Destination Spa Resort in the World by Travel + Leisure.
  • Canyon Ranch Resorts in Tucson, AZ, and Lenox, MA - Customizable wellness retreats offering medical services, life enhancement programs, spa treatments, nutrition guidance, and outdoor adventures. Rates vary by length of stay, starting at $1,000 nightly.
  • Miraval Resorts in Austin, TX, and the Berkshires, MA region - Packages at these luxury wellness destinations include spa treatments plus activities like meditation, yoga, hiking, equine therapy, fitness, nutrition, and more. Nightly rates average $1,000+.

The chance to relax and hit the “reset” button often provides renewed motivation to stick with diet, fitness, and self-care routines long after the retreat ends. There may be no better gift than rejuvenation for the health devotee who could use some pampering.

Gift the Gift of Wellness

Health and well-being have become central focuses for Americans striving for improved quality and longevity. Help the health enthusiasts in your world continue pursuing their diet, fitness, and lifestyle aspirations with gifts catered to their interests. The ideas in this guide offer everything from high-tech fitness tools to total body rejuvenation they will be thrilled to receive.

Read article
Year-End Wellness Review
Year-End Wellness Review
January 5, 2024
Health and Fitness

As we approach the new year, it’s valuable to pause and reflect on our health and wellbeing over the past 12 months. Taking stock empowers us to celebrate progress made while also thoughtfully considering areas for growth in the months ahead.

Looking Back at 2023

Achievements Along the Way

First, acknowledge all the positive strides taken in 2023, whether small or large. Give yourself credit for developing healthier habits and sticking to them amidst life’s inevitable obstacles. Progress comes slowly with lifestyle changes, so have patience and compassion with your journey. Think back to the goals you set last year - did you accomplish what you hoped? Even if the answer is no, look for the small wins like going to the gym twice a week or having one extra serving of vegetables a day. Every step forward is meaningful.

Insights on the Health of Americans

Statistics from the CDC provide an interesting backdrop about the wellness habits and chronic disease rates currently seen across the country. For example, adult obesity rates have plateaued in recent years after decades of steady increases. So while still very high at 42.4% in 2018, the pace of growth has tempered, suggesting public health initiatives may be taking effect. So while a few metrics are moving in the right direction ever so slightly, most lifestyle-related chronic conditions require ongoing public health efforts to create change.

Where We Can Improve

Next, honestly assess areas where you struggled or want to enhance behaviors in 2024. Reflect on common goals like weight loss, reducing stress, increasing physical fitness, improving nutrition, and getting more sleep or quality time with loved ones. What changes feel most important for your health right now? Make sure your assessment of the past year includes both analytical thinking about where you objectively fell short as well as emotional reflection on frustrations, barriers, or lagging motivation that got in your way. Meet yourself where you’re at while still stretching for meaningful progress.

Also Read - Foods to Help Lower Your Anxiety

Personalizedgoal setting

As you analyze successes and shortcomings over 2023, resist comparison to the journey of others. We all start from a different place with unique constraints and realities that impact our health behaviors. Comparison breeds shame and erodes self-compassion which is essential for lasting change. Your path ahead should build on your baseline with reasonable stretch goals personalized to your current lifestyle and responsibilities. Seek input from healthcare providers or a health coach to tailor a plan that sets you up for sustainable progress.

Looking Forward to 2024

Being SMART with Goal Setting

As you turn your sights to 2024, ensure your wellness goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Break larger ambitions down into smaller milestones that incrementally move you forward. Develop thoughtful action steps that motivate ongoing effort. And schedule periodic check-ins to stay accountable, track progress made, and modify plans if needed based on what works versus what proved challenging.

Connecting with Your Purpose

Also reflect on your core motivations and values around leading a healthy lifestyle as you look ahead. Your “why” gives inspiration through life’s ups and downs while helping new behaviors stick long-term rather than falling into old habits when self-discipline wanes. Connect regularly with the emotional, intellectual and spiritual drivers fueling your wellness journey.

Key Wellness Stats to Inform Goals

As you craft goals for the year ahead, leverage key statistics on lifestyle factors protecting against chronic disease to inform your targets. While the uniqueness of your circumstances should steer the ship, having clear metrics to aim for based on public health research lends helpful guidance.

For example, only 23.9% of American adults currently meet physical activity recommendations of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity. Anything short of this threshold sharply increases risks of cardiovascular events, diabetes, and premature death. So if your current baseline falls short of this research-backed target, increasing moderate physical movement enough to hit 150 active minutes per week could be life changing.

Other stats worth informing goals include:

  • Only 10% of Americans eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Target at least 4-5 total servings across both daily.
  • 70% of US adults are overweight. Aim for a BMI under 25 and body fat % measures in healthy ranges.
  • Just over 1/3 of adults get the recommended 7+ hours of sleep per night. Prioritize getting enough sleep.
  • Over 20% of adults smoke cigarettes. If you smoke, make a firm commitment to work on quiting.

The Power of Relationships and Resilience

On your path ahead, also remember human connections and inner resolve will support your quest for improved wellness. Research confirms relationships provide meaning, combat anxiety/depression, lower blood pressure, and correlate to longer lifespan. So connect regularly with close friends and family as part of caring for mental wellbeing. Start conversations about health goals for accountability while also leaving space to just enjoy time together.

Also Read - No Gym, No Problem: How To Stay Fit and Active at Home

Bottom Line

The road of progress includes missteps and milestones in equal measure. Assess the past year while approaching 2024 with grace around where you’ve been and where you’re headed next. Stay connected to purpose and people buoying your aims. Most importantly, take the next step from where you stand, then keep stepping forward with compassion. Each small move made over time culminates into measurable positive change. Here’s to health and happiness in the year ahead!

Also Read - Hacking Your Health: How The Right Food Cracks The Code To Your Body’s Happiness

Read article
Mindful Moments: Mental Health Strategies for Holidays
Mindful Moments: Mental Health Strategies for Holidays
December 26, 2023
Health and Fitness

The holiday season brings joy to many. But for some, it also brings stress and anxiety. High expectations, financial pressure, family issues, loneliness, and grief over lost loved ones can combine to undermine our mental health. However, there are effective strategies we can deploy to better our outlook and cope effectively during this turbulent time.

Practice Mindfulness 

Mindfulness means living consciously in the present moment rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Being mindful counters the tendency to catastrophize and promotes a state of tranquility. To cultivate mindfulness during the holidays, make time for centering practices like meditating, journaling, spending a few moments focusing on your breathing, or observing your thoughts in a detached manner. 

Getting out in nature and leaving technology behind also bolsters mindfulness. Stay conscious of your emotions and reactions over the holidays. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take a break to calm your nervous system before reacting. Making mindfulness a priority provides mental space from demanding holiday dynamics.

Set Realistic Expectations 

The idealized holiday scenes depicted in media set us up for disappointment, guilt, frustration, and even depression when our holidays fail to measure up. Perfection does not exist. Challenges and disappointments are inevitable no matter our planning and effort. Setting realistic expectations helps buffer against becoming despondent when things go awry. 

Permit yourself to enjoy simpler celebrations if time or money does not permit elaborate ones. Let go of beliefs that the holidays must be magical. Accept that family clashes or logistical problems will likely occur despite our best intentions. Setting realistic expectations is key to avoiding spiraling when faced with holiday stresses.

Practice Self-Care 

Attending to basic self-care bolsters mental well-being and resilience in handling holiday turbulence. Be vigilant about getting sufficient sleep rather than pushing your limits of overstimulation since burnout leaves you vulnerable when emotional triggers arise. Eat nutritious comfort foods but avoid overindulging in sweets which can destabilize your mood. 

Incorporate stress-reducers like yoga, deep breathing, enjoyable hobbies, or soothing music. Treat yourself minimally with simple pleasures. Rejuvenate through activities unrelated to holiday preparations. Schedule relaxing alone time between social gatherings. Listen to your needs and lovingly attend to yourself even amidst the whirlwind of holiday busyness. Make self-care a priority, not a luxury.

Also Read - Healthy Holiday Recipes

Set Healthy Boundaries 

Stress breeds anxiety, resentment, and even panic attacks when we overextend ourselves out of guilt or people pleasing. Healthy boundaries empower you to balance caring for others with caring for yourself. Define what you genuinely have to give materially, physically, and emotionally without compromising your wellbeing. 

Communicate your limits openly rather than silently seething when imposed upon you. Say no without apologies when maintaining sanity requires declining additional responsibilities. Be willing to let go of traditions that no longer fit your circumstances, priorities, or budget. Protect time for people and practices that nurture you spiritually. The holidays become more enjoyable for all parties when you set boundaries honoring your needs.

Practice Gratitude

Holiday blues often accompany concentrating on stressful obligations, family complications, conflicts, or losses rather than counting our blessings. Make conscious space for gratitude. Appreciate loving relationships, comforts you easily take for granted, and simple joys that mean more than lavish commercialism. Write thank you notes to cherished people you are grateful for. 

Tell loved ones directly what you appreciate about them. Keep a gratitude journal documenting daily things large and small that lift your spirit. Concentrating on abundance rather than lack counteracts the tendency to fixate on holiday season negatives that undermine your mood and outlook. Regular gratitude practice conditions your brain to perceive positives more readily lowering the risk of anxiety and depression.

Give Back 

Generosity and contributing to causes bigger than ourselves are medicinal for the soul and psychological health. The holidays present abundant opportunities to give back formally through volunteering or donating to charities or informally through random acts of kindness. 

Serve meals at a shelter, donate gifts for needy children, or send cards to hospitalized veterans. Shovel a disabled neighbours' driveway, babysit for busy parents, or help elderly relatives organize paperwork. Spontaneous good deeds spread holiday cheer all around. 

Adapt Traditions Thoughtfully

Loved ones pass on leaving permanent voids and cherished traditions that can invoke heartache without their presence. Allow yourself to grieve losses while gently adapting customs to evolving circumstances and needs. Discuss openly with other grieving family members how to appropriately memorialize lost loved ones. Light candles, display photos, or prepare deceased relatives’ signature dishes to incorporate warm remembrances into your celebrations. 

Also Read - Mindfulness Matters: How Meditation Can Improve Your Mental Health

Wrapping up

There are ample ways of protecting our mental health during the emotionally charged holiday season with some conscious planning and priority. Concentrating on self-care ensures we have ample inner resources to weather high stress. Maintaining healthy boundaries and realistic expectations helps minimize feeling embattled. Adapting traditions with sensitivity as families change through the years can temper holiday blues. With some mindful strategies, we can harness this spirited season to lift our spirits rather than undermine our peace. May you find joy, restoration, and light this holiday time.

Read article
Boosting Immunity: Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Body's Defenses
Boosting Immunity: Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Body's Defenses
December 18, 2023
Health and Fitness

As temperatures drop and flu season approaches, strengthening your immune system is important. A strong immune system can help you fight off viruses and bacteria. This keeps you healthy through the winter and all year long. There are small yet impactful lifestyle habits and dietary choices that make a difference.

Focus On Sleep 

Getting adequate sleep supercharges your immunity. Adults need 7-9 hours per night. Going to bed and waking at consistent times is ideal. This synchronizes your body’s internal clock for peak functioning. Lack of sleep throws off critical systems. 

It negatively impacts your energy, mood, concentration, and immunity. Ensure your bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark. Limit digital stimulation and caffeine close to bedtime. A relaxing pre-bed routine signals your body that it’s time to sleep.

Also Read - Get Your Best Night’s Sleep: Expert Tips for Walking Up Refreshed

Manage Stress 

Chronic stress produces excess cortisol and adrenaline. These stress hormones suppress the immune response. This leads to more frequent and severe viral infections. Curtail unnecessary obligations and build in daily relaxation practices. 

Take short breaks during work to stretch, meditate, or walk outside. At night, unplug from digital devices which overstimulate the nervous system. Spend time journaling, enjoying hobbies, or cuddling pets. Say no to maintaining healthy boundaries around your energy. Stay grounded in the present moment through mindfulness of your senses and surroundings.

Also Read - Ways to Prevent Stress Build-up

Eat More Fruits And Vegetables 

Fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants that combat cell damage from molecules called free radicals. Free radicals appear during infections. They also accumulate from poor diet, pollution, smoking, stress, and excessive sun exposure. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E minimize these free radicals, supporting immunity and healthy aging. 

Focus especially on brightly colored produce like citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, red peppers, and sweet potatoes. These provide higher antioxidant levels. Eat fruits and veggies at every meal and snack. Whole foods, not supplements, ensure balanced nutrition and fiber for digestive and immune health.

Also Read - Hacking Your Health: How The Right Food Cracks The Code To Your Body’s Happiness

Choose Lean Protein 

Protein aids the body in replacing specialized white blood cells when battling germs. Even mild deficiency impairs the immune response. Seafood, poultry, eggs, legumes, and nuts offer lean options without excess saturated fats found in red meat. Mix up your protein choices for variety. Try new beans, lentils, and tofu if plant-based. 

When possible, buy organic and grass-fed animal products to avoid hormones and antibiotics. These compounds modify immune cells negatively. Moderate protein portions to approximately 0.36 grams per pound of body weight daily. Spread intake evenly throughout the day.

Stay Hydrated 

Dehydration compromises all bodily functions, immunity included. Thick mucus accumulations in the airways trap viruses and bacteria. This prolongs respiratory infections. Drink at least 64 ounces, or eight cups, of fluids per day. Water is best, with herbal tea or diluted fruit juice also hydrating. Cut out sugary soda and juice. 

Caffeinated coffee and tea are fine in moderation, but can be dehydrating. If your urine color trends dark yellow, up your water intake. Customize specifics to your climate, exercise regimen, and health conditions. Also, cover up or use sunscreen to avoid dehydrating burns.

Take Vitamin D And Zinc 

Vitamin D enhances the activation of immune fighters like T cells and macrophages. These locate and destroy pathogens. Many people are deficient, especially in winter with less sun exposure. Get your blood level tested to identify needs. 

Then supplement accordingly with vitamin D3, the most effective form. Zinc assists vitamin D and has extensive immune influence. Food sources include seafood, meat, legumes, nuts and seeds. If already eating these zinc-rich foods, add an extra 3-5 mg per day. This tiny dose makes a difference. Megadoses of either nutrient are unnecessary and possibly unsafe.

Add Immune-Boosting Herbs 

Certain herbs contain unique compounds that rouse weary immune cells. Traditional medicine systems relied on these antiviral and antibacterial herbs. Modern research confirms many benefits. Garlic, ginger, echinacea, and elderberry treat and prevent colds. Turmeric, ginseng, licorice, and astragalus regulate immune components. 

They reduce inflammation from infections and autoimmune conditions. Add these herbs and spices liberally to everyday cooking. Try garlic-toasted veggie bowls, ginger peanut chicken stir fry, or turmeric rice. For convenience, capsules, tinctures, and teas are available. Mix varied herbs to utilize several compounds and effects.

Also Read - The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting: How to Improve Your Health and Live Longer

Consider A Probiotic 

Over 70% of immune tissue resides in the gut microbiome. These trillions of bacteria influence systemic immunity daily. Support them with prebiotic fibers from oats, apples, onions, and asparagus. Additionally, probiotic supplements add reinforcements. These deliver specific strains with research on immunity modulation. Consider multi-strain options labeled “high CFU”. 

This ensures higher bacteria counts for digesting through stomach acid. Take for several weeks to fully seed communities after antibiotics or illness. Yogurts boasting live cultures are also beneficial but transient. Fermented items like kimchi, miso, and kefir nurture robust microbiomes long-term.

Conclusive words

The strategies discussed all positively influence immune health through unique mechanisms. While supplements and herbs can provide immune boosts when needed, do not neglect basic healthy lifestyle habits. Sufficient sleep, nutrition, hydration, and exercise give your body the best chance of fighting disease-causing microbes. Avoid quick fixes and focus on whole-body wellness through balanced self-care.

Read article
Embracing the Cold for Exercise
Embracing the Cold for Exercise
December 15, 2023
No items found.

Frigid temps and early sunsets can deter even the most dedicated exercisers. However, you can stay fit and active despite cold weather. It just takes some adaptation and planning. Follow these tips to maintain your workout routine during the winter.

Move Your Workout Indoors 

No need to brave the cold if you have access to indoor fitness options. Mall walking is a simple way to get steps. Schools, community centers, churches, and gyms often have open indoor tracks. Treadmills and ellipticals provide cardio training sans windchill. Skip the traffic and bad weather by hopping on your stationary bike or rower at home.

Streaming services like Peloton offer virtual classes for cardio, strength training, yoga, HIIT, and more. Subscribe to an on-demand program or stream live workouts. All you need is an internet connection, a screen, and some space to move.

Also Read - No Gym, No Problem: How To Stay Fit and Active at Home

Dust Off Those Fitness DVDs 

Did you invest in workout DVDs back when they were popular? Dig those discs out of storage! Pop in a cardio kickboxing, Latin dance, body sculpting, or step aerobics DVD. This is a retrospective and cost-efficient way to vary your home fitness routine.

Mix Up Your Strength Routine 

Colder months are a good time to focus on strength training. Mix up your usual workout with resistance bands, weight machines, free weights, pilates rings, or calf raises on the stairs. Work towards that fitness goal you set back on New Year’s.

Keep the Whole Family 

Active Involve the kiddos for quality family time. Have relay races across the living room, play balloon volleyball, or set up obstacle courses from furniture and toys. Activities like musical chairs, freeze dance, Simon Says, and Twister make exercising fun. Adults get moving while monitoring the chaos!

Schedule Walking Meetups 

Walking is a low-impact yet effective form of exercise. Schedule regular walking meetups with friends. Mall walking is a popular social option out of the cold. Or take shelter indoors at warehouse stores like Costco. Schools, churches, and community centers often open doors for public walking too.

Warm Up Properly 

Cold muscles are more prone to injury. Spend at least five to ten minutes thoroughly warming up before any chilly outdoor fitness endeavors. Jumping jacks, knee lifts, squats, lunges, and arm circles increase blood flow and flexibility.

Also Read - Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally: Proven Stress-Relief Techniques

Layer Up! 

The right cold-weather gear enables safe and comfortable workouts outdoors. Synthetic moisture-wicking base layers keep skin dry. Insulated softshell jackets and pants buffer wind and retain body heat. Top off the outfit with a water-resistant jacket or vest. Don’t forget hat, gloves, and wool socks!

Embrace Winter Sports 

Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing. Winter activities galore for fun fitness! Head to local slopes, skating rinks, or parks to try something new. Or stick to neighborhood hills for classic sledding sessions with the family. Cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails offer great cardio too.

Sign Up for Cold Runs 

While slippery roads discourage running outdoors, weather-resistant treadmills provide a solid alternative on blustery days. Or register for a frosty 5K, 10K, or half marathon rather than braving solo winter runs. Events keep you accountable while offering camaraderie. Look for holiday-themed costumed races too!

Prep for Indoor Cycling 

Stationary bikes are a mainstay for at-home fitness. And cold months are ideal for logging miles indoors rather than biking outdoors. Invest in a bike stand, smart trainers now convert regular rides into digitally controlled spin bikes. Interactive classes make virtual cycling social through platforms like Zwift.

The Great Indoors 

If all else fails and it's just too cold to function, focus on stretching. This is the perfect weather for improving flexibility and mobility. Prioritize gentle, full-body stretching routines. Try restorative yoga flows or Pilates too. Amp up the cozy factor with warm beverages, candles, and blankets!

Also Read - Exercise and High Cholesterol: How Physical Activity Impacts Your Levels?

Maintaining Motivation 

When icy weather dampens motivation, call upon social support and accountability. Schedule regular check-ins with a personal trainer or fitness buddy. Join virtual communities through fitness trackers or social media groups. Financial commitment also boosts dedication, so prepay for classes or events. Establish rewards to reinforce goals as well!

Consistency Counts 

Aim for consistency over perfection with winter workouts. Even if your cold-weather routine differs from summer training, do something active most days of the week. Consistency cements habits so it's easier to maintain fitness gains long-term. Celebrate small wins through the winter to stay motivated when it's cold. Spring will arrive before you know it!

Read article
Enjoy Wholesome Holiday Fare with These Ultimate Recipes
Enjoy Wholesome Holiday Fare with These Ultimate Recipes
December 8, 2023
Healthy Diet

The holidays are a time for indulgence. But that doesn’t mean your health should suffer. You can create nutritious versions of classic dishes. This allows you to celebrate while providing your body with quality fuel. Read on for tasty, good-for-you recipe ideas.

Lighter Mashed Potatoes 

Mashed potatoes are a popular side dish. But they’re typically loaded with butter and whole milk. For a healthier take, try this recipe. Peel and cube potatoes. Then boil until fork-tender. Drain and return to pot. Add roasted garlic, vegetable broth, pepper, and nutmeg. Mash to desired consistency. For a creamy texture, blend in plain Greek yogurt instead of butter.

Green Bean Casserole 

This classic casserole can get a wholesome makeover by swapping key ingredients. Rather than cream of mushroom soup, make your sauce from almond milk and mushrooms. Top freshly steamed green beans with this sauce. Add crispy fried onions for crunch and tradition.

Also read - Mental Health During the Holidays

Brussels Sprouts Gratin 

This gratin turns the most famously hated vegetable into a delicious, healthy dish. Halve Brussels sprouts and roast with balsamic vinegar to caramelize. Make a quick cheese sauce from plain Greek yogurt, flour, dijon, and Parmesan. Toss roasted sprouts with sauce. Top with whole-grain panko breadcrumbs. Bake until bubbly and browned.

Cranberry Sauce Two Ways 

Tart cranberries pair perfectly with Thanksgiving turkey. Skip the canned version loaded with added sugar. Make your own quick stove-top cranberry sauce instead. Simmer fresh or frozen cranberries with orange juice and zest. Sweeten with just a little honey or maple syrup. For a fun twist, pulse-cooked cranberries in the food processor with ginger, cinnamon, and almonds.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Root veggies like carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and radishes take well to high-heat roasting. The natural sugars caramelize while the insides become tender. Peel vegetables and chop them into bite-size pieces. Toss with just a drizzle of olive oil. Roast on a sheet pan at 400 degrees, stirring once, until browned outside and soft inside. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary.

Also Read - Foods to Help Lower Your Anxiety

Lighter Egg Nog 

Skip heavy cream and load up on protein with this lighter take on a holiday classic. Whisk egg whites vigorously, then gently fold into egg yolks. For a tasty nutmeg-vanilla flavor, heat almond or skim milk with spices, then let steep. Whisk the seasoned milk into the eggs. Top each serving with freshly grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.

Banana Pumpkin Loaf 

Quick breads are holiday breakfast staples but are often packed with sugar and butter. Ripe bananas and canned pumpkin keep this loaf moist and sweet without adding loads of sugar. Whisk bananas and pumpkin with eggs, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Gently stir in whole wheat flour just until combined. Bake in a loaf pan until browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Slow Cooker Apple Cider 

Warm spiced cider instantly gets you in the holiday spirit. But traditional versions come loaded with added sugar. Simply fill your slow cooker with apple cider. Stud apple halves with cloves and add cinnamon sticks. Cook for 2-3 hours on low until steaming hot and infused with spice flavor.

Dark Chocolate Bark 

A little dark chocolate makes the ultimate guilt-free treat. Simply melt 70% cacao chocolate slowly in the microwave or over a double boiler. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top immediately with dried fruit, cinnamon, crushed candy canes, or other mix-ins. Slide the baking sheet into the fridge or freezer. Once cool and hardened, break into irregular bark shapes.

Cranberry Ginger Mule Mocktail 

Make a fun seasonal mocktail by combining tart cranberry juice with fragrant ginger beer and lime. Pour both juices over ice in a copper mug or glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with lime wheels and fresh cranberries. For a kid-friendly version, use less ginger beer for a sweeter flavor.

Pomegranate Iced Tea 

This ruby red tea looks and tastes festive for holiday meals, but skips the added sugar. Combine strong-brewed black tea with 100% pomegranate juice while still hot. Sweeten with just a touch of honey or maple syrup. Chill thoroughly before serving over ice with orange slices and mint sprigs.

Also Read - X Best Foods for Eye Health, According to a Dietitian

Maple Glazed Carrots 

Carrots get a candied touch for the holidays thanks to maple syrup. Peel and slice carrots on the bias. Simmer in broth with minced ginger just until crisp-tender. Drain any excess broth. Add real maple syrup and butter. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until maple glaze coats each carrot slice. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Baked Apples with Nuts and Raisins

Skip the pie and bake apples for a naturally sweet dessert. Core apples and score around their “equator” to prevent bursting. Stuff holes with walnuts and raisins. Arrange stuffed apples in a baking dish. Pour apple cider and ground cinnamon over the apples. Cover and bake at 375 until tender. Uncover and broil briefly to caramelize the cider glaze.

Enjoy More Balanced Holiday Meals 

With a little creativity, you can update traditional holiday dishes for better nutrition. Focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients. Boost fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while moderating added sugar, butter, and cream. Share these better-for-you recipes for merry, healthy gatherings.

Read article
No items found.

Sign up for our newsletter

Tru Health Logo