10 Fitness Hacks That Will Make You Healthy

Did you know that you can hack everything now? Including your health! That’s right, including your health!

These days it’s all about staying fit and healthy, and that’s great. Where our parents and other elders (and, sure, ourselves in our younger years) were all about living life to the fullest in a particular way, these days we’ve come up with a better, more sustainable and more useful definition of that.

That definition includes making smart choices and taking better care of ourselves, from exercise to diet.

Of course, this change also comes at the strangest possible time, at a point when the world’s pace has skyrocketed and keeps us busier than ever before. We might know all about the importance of getting to the gym, but who has the time to carve out that much time out of their week?

 

Image result for life hackFortunately, this is also the era of the life-hack, when we’ve figured out how to identify and share meaningful but straightforward ways to improve our lives.

There are many ways to “hack” our lives to make time and room for fitness, with small moves and choices that can have a far-reaching impact. We’ve also come up with new ways to share them, via social media walls like Pinterest and YouTube

  1. Switch off or set to sleep your electronics, an hour before bed.

    Image result for turn off phoneRelax about it. It can be difficult to talk yourself into disengaging, especially if you think that reading your Twitter feed before bed can help put you to sleep. The fact is that it doesn’t– the artificial light generated by your screen triggers your brain, specifically the part of the brain that regulates sleep. Go old school and pick up a book or magazine (don’t watch TV either — same problem) to settle your mind without jarring your body clock.

2. Boil your day down to two points on an index card.

Tim Ferriss developed a simple method for decluttering your mind for the day ahead. While some of us may feel that the day ahead is overwhelming because of the number of things we need to accomplish, we can get a handle on things by listing the two most important things on an index card that we carry with us the whole day. This limits our to-do list (we’re not cutting things out, as we can cluster the other tasks around the two main ones) and keeps us from getting overwhelmed.

3. Meditate for five minutes before bed.

 

Image result for meditate in bedMuch easier to do when you give your electronics a rest before going to sleep, for sure. Drop the stigma against meditation and give it a shot — stress is one of the leading factors preventing people from getting to sleep at night, so it’s not so farfetched. Give yourself five minutes with no electronics, keeping very still, and focusing on your breathing. If this is the last five minutes before falling asleep, that’s good too.

4. Look up bodyweight circuits online, and stay fit at home.

 

Some people think that because they can’t afford a gym membership, fitness is out of their reach forever. Not true. You can find a challenging bodyweight circuit that will let you do good workouts at home — significant movements like squats, planks, leg lifts, and lunges are all within your reach, and all you need is yourself.

5. Stretch between episodes.

 

Image result for stretching while watchingYou’ll have times in your day when all you want to do is binge-watch, and it’s easier than ever to do that now. Rather than skip the commercials or skip ahead from S104 to S105, get up and walk around a bit, do a few crunches, or stretch. It all adds up, and it’s all automatically better than nothing. Don’t forget to wear your favorite cotton compression socks!

6. Drink a glass of water with every snack.

 

Not just every meal, every snack. We snack a lot during the day, admit it – Image result for water and snacksbut we don’t always keep hydrated alongside it. While we often know we need to drink water while we eat a proper meal, we often forego it when we have a quick bite – but this small change will make a huge difference.

7. Reward exercise with low-fat chocolate milk instead of a protein shake.

 

Image result for low fat chocolate milkNot only is this easier and cheaper, but it rewards your body with proteins and carbs that will help you refuel. The sugar should be just enough to perk you up after the workout, as the body will put those carbs to use refueling the worked-out muscles.

8. Finish workouts with stretching.

 

Rather than merely hitting the showers like we often do right off the bat, we can help ourselves recover from strenuous workouts by stretching for five minutes as a cooldown. Have only half an hour in the gym? Use the last 5 minutes to stretch rather than filling the whole time with working out. If you work out art homer, there are even fewer restrictions.

9. Make a list of the next day’s tasks.

 

Related imageAs part of clearing your mind before going to sleep, you can list the most critical tasks for the next day. (If you get overwhelmed, the index card trick above is your way out). This helps you feel in control of the things that need to get done, which can have incredible motivational benefits. It’ll also prevent you from using up a lot of time figuring out what to do and where to go while on the go.

10. Keep an eye out for other life hacks.

 

Keep an open mind and you might discover some other good life hacks, like quick recipes you can put together (like a good drink of Himalayan salt and lime juice in water to start the day, which balances your body pH and gives you energy), comfortable desk or couch exercises, or other small ways to improve your body functioning that do add up.

#keepyourselfhealthy #fitnesshacks

5 Benefits of Cooking: How Cooking Can Make You Healthier

These days cooking had become quite popular. Cooking shows are everywhere and celebrity chefs have become as popular as rock stars. The result is that everyone and their mother seems to have an opinion on a dish or even an ingredient, from avocado to kale.

This is great, sure, and it’s not hard to see the appeal. Food getting to be trendy is pretty impressive as a development, and we can usually enjoy it from where we are, becoming more adventurous in eating out, whether by ourselves or with friends and family.

But, for many of us, that’s where it usually ends — cooking at home is still not something many of us want to wrap our heads around.

That should really change, because far from being an unglamorous thing to do, cooking at home actually does us a lot of good.

So, what are the main benefits of cooking?
BENEFIT 1: CONFIDENCE BOOST

Sure, it can be nerve-wracking to cook a new dish for the first time, and you might not always get it right — that’s pretty daunting. But when it works, and when a plate really comes together — and when you serve it to family and friends who love it? It’s a high that’s hard to beat.

Whether it’s baking a cake or making a sauce, it’s a rush of confidence that comes from finishing a tricky project, of figuring out what needs to be done and doing it well. The best part? That confidence can spur you on to try other dishes, which can lead to more confidence!

BENEFIT 2: HELPS WITH MENTAL HEALTH

Fun fact: many mental health clinics actually incorporate cooking programs in their treatments, such as treatment programs for anxiety and depression. Cooking is a thoughtful process that forces you to slow down and focus, and this actually helps a person de-stress.

For that matter, the sensory stimulation — try cooking well without keeping an eye out for color changes in caramelization, listening for the sizzle of a saute running out, or even enjoying the smell of bread you’re baking — it contributes to increasing your endorphins, which means cooking can literally put you in a happier mood. This, along with the increased confidence and self-satisfaction it can give you, allows for cooking to curb negative thinking and nudge you toward a more positive direction.

BENEFIT 3: IT BRINGS THE FAMILY TOGETHER

Forget bonding in front of the TV (seriously, how do you bond while you’re each staring independently at a show, barely registering the presence of anyone there?).

Cooking is a far better way to interact and build stronger relationships, and it doesn’t even have to be a high-stakes “we’re having the boss over for dinner” cliche sitcom plot.

Good food is a great motivator for people to come together, so schedule a night of the week where different family members agree on a favorite type of cuisine and cook it. Involve the kids and get them invested in making their own food (which will also help take some of the work off parental shoulders when the kids are holding down the fort at home).

Bonus points! If you’re all eager to try making your own favorite cultural cuisine, whether it’s dividing the labor to make Japanese maki or teaming up to dice vegetables for tacos. If the relatives are coming over for lunch or dinner, set the coming over a bit earlier so you can make and cook the food together. That’s a lot of time to talk, have fun, and bond. This is guaranteed to be better at bringing you together than “we bought this at a restaurant on the way.”

BENEFIT 4: NEW STUFF IS FUN

Seriously, this is worth a try every once in a while. Go into a grocery store or mega-mart, and pick out some interesting ingredients you stumble upon (sure, you can Google them first to make sure you’re not allergic). Radicchio? Langoustine? Red snapper?

Anything goes, as long as the budget permits of course. (You can make this more structured by picking out categories: a grain, some vegetables, a protein, and some fruit for dessert.) Then, figure out what dishes you can make from these, whether Google-assisted.

PRO TIP: The fishmongers and butchers selling the meats may have some suggestions about what goes well with what. Why surprise yourself like this? The trouble with cooking, or indeed any skill, is we tend to fall into a rut and default to certain things we know we can do well.

BENEFIT 5: IT’S GOOD FOR YOU

One advantage they always trot out for infomercials for cooking products is that since you’re frying or chopping or slicing or dicing the food yourself rather than buying pre-processed stuff, you know exactly what ingredients went into the dish you’re eating. And while we’ve learned to tune out the infomercial nonsense, there’s a kernel of truth in that: you control the ingredients, you control the cooking method, you control it all.

This definitely beats being at the mercy of however your favorite fast food joint wants to cut corners and serve you food that’s been prepared with speed, not flavor or healthfulness, in mind.

Now, no one’s saying you only have to make healthy food at home, but the beauty of it is, you can tailor what you’re eating to be good for you anyway. If you dare (and really, it isn’t that hard), you can go full Good Eats with it and make a lot of your food at home — your own ground beef mixes for burgers or meatloaf, your own pancake batter (which literally involves sifting a few dry ingredients into a tub and shaking them together!), your own spice rubs. Think of it as a fascinating project.

BONUS: IT’S CHEAPER THAN EATING OUT!

Stocking up on ingredients and cooking and eating it will no doubt be cheaper than eating out. Sure, nothing’s stopping you from taking the hubby or the family out for a night out (which also saves you all some dishwashing), but keep those to occasional treats, and you’ll find that you save a lot of money by doing your own cooking. For one thing, you don’t have to factor in restaurant upkeep or wages for the wait staff in your price breakdowns.

For another, you can make executive decisions about which ingredients offer the best value for money — and where to buy them.

Start cooking now and begin your journey to a healthier and happier you!

Debunking Myths of Being a New Mom: What a New Mom Should Know

Motherhood is a fascinating time in a woman’s life and one where a lot of changes occur. There are a whole lot of myths that revolve around it. We feel that it is our duty to debunk these myths to help newly mothers out there.

There are even myths about pregnancy that should really be done away with. Fortunately, there are many sources out there that have been working to give moms the facts.

A Whole New World?

A whole industry has sprouted around it, of course, with tons of angles being looked at as a starting point for profit. It’s not hard to see why, either, as mothers — particularly first-time moms — and their newborns have a host of new, quite specific needs that must be addressed. Everything from feeding to cleaning to bathing to dressing to information about all those things is a need that has been targeted.

Here are some whoppers, and the lowdown on what a new mom should really know.
MYTH 1: DON’T DRINK COFFEE WHILE PREGNANT

The jury’s actually still out on this, with studies pointing in the direction of caffeine being linked to the child’s chances of acquiring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, many studies also show no adverse effects in mothers who take 3-4 cups a day during pregnancy. Listen to your doctor, of course, but some doctors suggest that merely moderating intake

WHAT TO DO: (perhaps to less than those 3 cups to be on the safe side) may be better overall than trying to quit cold turkey, which can be stressful on the system.

MYTH 2: YOU’LL FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR BABY AT FIRST SIGHT

Dial back those dirty looks, please. It’s romantic to anticipate an instant connection with your baby upon seeing each other for the very first time, and indeed many mom-baby pairs do experience this. But don’t think less of yourself if that doesn’t happen right away, or for a while.

REALITY CHECK: Many moms don’t experience that quick emotional click, but the unfortunate part is they blame themselves and think there’s something wrong with them.

The intensity of giving birth, especially if labor was more demanding on you than you’d hoped, may be clouding your emotional processes. Then there’s all the enormity of the whole thing which really comes into focus when your little one shows up in person for the first time — it can be pretty daunting. So go easy on yourself.

MYTH 3: BREASTFEEDING IS EASY… IF YOU’RE A GOOD MOM

Actually, anything qualified with “if you’re a good mom” should probably be dismissed as a myth, and indeed a kind of hurtful one. So many new moms go through feelings of shame and guilt when they have trouble breastfeeding because they’ve been culturally taught to associate breastfeeding — and the ease of taking to it — with good motherhood.

REALITY: Nursing can be painful, and it’s far from intuitive, so learn the proper positions to make it easier on you and the baby. Even then, for some moms, it may take a day or two for the milk to come.

MYTH 4: THE BABY WILL FIX YOUR MARRIAGE

Yikes! Aside from the self-esteem-damaging myths, this is probably the biggest red flag on this list.

WHAT’S REAL! No, the baby is not going to fix your marriage, or frankly anything. Don’t put that kind of pressure on the child, please. Parenthood is a challenging new phase in a couple’s life, especially once the glow of the new experience fades, and exhaustion makes communication even more difficult than normal.

MYTH 5: THE BABY WILL WRECK YOUR MARRIAGE

Now some might think this is truer than the previous one. Some might have even avoided having a baby because of this myth.

The Truth:  This doesn’t have to be true at all. If your relationship is not ready for a child, the two of you can reach an agreement not to have one. But if you’re at a point in your life where you can add a player to your team and not compromise your dynamic — keeping in mind you will all need to adjust regardless of how “prepared” you are — then that should be agreed upon too. Having a child isn’t an automatic heal-all, but the experience isn’t a death sentence either, come on.

MYTH 6:  YOU SHOULD ENJOY EVERY MOMENT

Your mother, or aunt, or any elderly busybody has probably given you this remark: “enjoy every moment, it goes by so fast.”

What you should keep in mind: While moments do in fact go by “so fast,” it’s healthier to keep a more realistic view of motherhood, especially soon after the birth. It won’t all be enjoyable baby-powder commercial stuff. Your less-positive feelings, whether they be of frustration or apprehension or fear triggered by any of the many uncertain moments that follow, are all as valid as your positive feelings of excitement or pure joy. Feeling this and not knowing all the answers doesn’t make you a bad mother in the least. For that matter, excitement and pure joy can be sweeter when they aren’t the only things you’re feeling.

MYTH 7: VACCINES ARE BAD FOR YOUR BABY

This is a myth, full stop!

Medical Studies Show: Vaccines continue to be necessary to prevent disease — studies indicate disease rates have started climbing now that many parents opt out of giving their children vaccines. Lots of wrong information out there has continually tried to make vaccines look unsafe and unreliable, but these are some of the most effective and safe treatments available, and that’s by design. For that matter, a` baby getting vaccinated isn’t the only one benefiting from the vaccine — other babies too.

On a Final Note…

Don’t just believe in what other people say or what you read online, especially when it comes to your health and the health of your baby. Do your research and talk to experts. Being a new mom is hard but it is also a joyful experience. Take advantage of that!

#newmom #newmomgoals